Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Yesterday, I took a sick day. I stayed home all day. Notice a theme here?

I didn't feel well. It may have been more a mental health day than anything else--so I felt vaguely guilty--but boy oh boy was I happy that I stayed home.

I worked, on and off, on the sweater I'm knitting for myself. I'm perhaps a little less than a quarter of the way done. That's amazing. It looks nothing like a sweater yet...and by the end of the evening, I ran into a conceptual roadblock. I couldn't figure out what the next part of the instructions meant.

Never one to do things the easy way, I'm not strictly following a pattern. I bought myself a lovely knitting book that specializes in top-down, circular construction. What that means is, instead of knitting the sweater in pieces (a front (or two fronts for a cardigan), a back, two sleeves and then seaming them together) everything is knit "in the round" (or back and forth for a cardigan). It's how socks are done--essentially in a circle--and there's no reason not to do larger garments this way.

If you go from the bottom up, it's pretty easy to conceptualize. You go round and round until you hit the bottom of the armholes. Then you split the sweater in two and continue the front and back separately. When you get to the shoulders, you seam them together. The neck and armholes are finished by picking up stitches and doing what ever finish is appropriate.

Now, what I am doing is more complicated since I'm starting from the top and working down. Also, I'm not following a pattern. I have something very specific in mind and I cannot find a pattern that meets my needs--even though all I want to make is a very simple cardigan (modeled on my favorite sweater). I'm using the "design your own" instructions from the back of the book and comparing them to one of the patterns that is very close to what I want. I'm flipping back and forth between the general directions and the pattern. Mentally, it's a challenge. I finally had to force myself to stop last night because it stopped making sense.

This morning, I knew I would go to work. My malaise had lessened. But I made myself about 15 minutes late by going back to the sweater, reading the directions again and, finally, getting it. I knew what I had to do and I got started.

So, where am I on the sweater? I have the back finished from the shoulders to the bottom of the armholes. The shoulders are already joined, which is the beauty of this method--so there will be NO SEAMING at all. I am working around to the fronts now, which are about halfway down to the armholes. When the fronts get to the right length, I'll join them to the back and I'll work back and forth (since it's a cardigan) until I get to the right length. I'll be able to try it on as I go so the fit will be customized. When the body is finished, I'll go back and add the sleeves (which will be challenging), finish the "button bands" along the front of the sweater and the neck. I still have quite a lot of work but it's going much faster than I expected. I wonder how much trouble I'm in now that I'm starting to learn that it's not that difficult (famous last words) to make a sweater.

Ah, I also finished the tub caulking job yesterday. I really didn't want to do it. The hard part was getting rid of the old caulk. Yet I avoided the easy part, putting in the new caulk, for as long as possible. What I did certainly looks better than the job that was done previously but I don't know how good it is. Well, worst case, I'll have to redo it--but it will be much easier to remove my caulking job than what was there before.

The other problem is that now I can see all the other places in the bathroom that need re-caulking: along the back of the sink, along the floor where the tub meets the tile. Sigh. None of that is as pressing--but now that I know how, I expect I'll get to it in the next few weeks. The kitchen sink probably needs some help too but for that I'll have to buy the "clear" caulk. Times like these, I sure miss being a renter.

Other than that, I have to acknowledge that I'm in a pretty serious funk. I'm in funky town. Heh. However, I'm hope that this is just a temporary visit and I'll be back to everything-is-ok-ville soon enough.

Grateful for: knitting.

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