Finished Object: Zweig

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Also known as the sweater that was a little tighter than I planned.

This sweater is an hommage to my Minnesotan childhood winters.  The natural white mimics a blanket of snow and the tonal blue reminds me of a the blue skies that can only happen on the coldest days. Would this sweater keep me warm when windchill hits -40 degrees? Probably not by itself. But I would  be super stylish while waiting for the endless winter to end. (Also, -40 is the point where Fahrenheit and Celsius meet… v. cold)

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This sweater is tighter than I planned. I don’t mean uncomfortable or ill fitting, it just doesn’t have as much positive ease as I imagined. I’ve decided that one of the reasons for this closer fit is due to the 100% merino of the body – it’s probably more like a sport weight than a fingering. Second, I made the crucial mistake of swatching flat rather than in the round. While my flat swatch matched gauge – once I started to knit in the round, I no longer had purl rows to bulk up my stitches. The fabric I produced in the round was much tighter than if I were knitting flat. So lesson learned… always swatch in the style in which you will knit. I’ve already fixed my bad habit in my next sweater project.

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I experimented with bind offs on this sweater. For the sleeves I used Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off and for the hem I used a stretchy bind off (k2tog, tbl). At this point, I prefer the stretchy bind off for ease and overall finished look.

I have a few more sweaters planned this winter – but I’m happy with the first finished sweater of 2018. Here’s to many more!

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In Progress: Christmas Break Knitting

Yay Christmas Break! This break is all about making: knitting and sewing the days away – endless hours of craft time. We’re spending Christmas, and three weeks of the break, with my in-laws, who have an entire empty basement space waiting to be transformed into my personal crafting dungeon.

This break, my knitting plans centered on one project: Zweig – my dream sweater.

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After a lot of waffling about yarn choices, I cast on my version of Zweig on December 15th – right after I finished my Christmas sweater. I’m enjoying the knitting process so far. I especially love my simple color choices of indigo blue and natural white. This is the kind of basic color combination that makes my heart swell.

I intended to have my Zweig finished by the start of the spring semester on January 15. I was on a knitting roll and ready to meet my arbitrary deadline until I realized I forgot my other two skeins of natural white yarn at home. What a dummy! So Zweig is on hold and I feel a bit foolish.

Rather than wallow in my planning error, I moved on to the next project in my queue: the Flora Mittens by Skeindeer Knits. This pattern was perfect for the Christmas recovery days. I’m actually almost done with both mittens – just one thumb left! Look forward to a finished object blog post in the coming days.

I’m so grateful for this luxurious time to think only about making. Working on a Ph.D doesn’t leave much time for luxury. Most students I know, myself included, carry heavy loads of guilt when we don’t spend our waking hours on schoolwork. During the semester, I do my best to balance studying with my self-care and making. Typically I have to set a tight schedule for the day – something like “no knitting until 5 pm” – otherwise I tend to get lost in the craft process and procrastinate on my research. School breaks are such a delight because I no longer have to fight with that desire to spend endless hours on making. I can give those desires breathing room. These times of intense making have been essential for my scholarly career. By taking time and space away from intense academic work, I find I can start the new semester with energy and a clear mind. I know I won’t always have these times to craft for three weeks straight, but hopefully when that time comes, the intensity of Ph.D. work with also have passed. Cheers to taking breaks.

Happy Making!