One Book, Two Sweaters

This is a story that begins with a book.

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Phoebe’s Sweater by Joanna Johnson, Illustrated by Eric Johnson

N was given this book before she was born, by a knitterly friend of her mother’s. It’s a story about her mouse whose mother knits her a sweater while she waits for her baby sister mouse to be born. The prose is lilting and winsome, and… the pattern for the sweater is included at the back.

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Like so many beautiful things N was given as a tiny thing, she took a while to grow into it. But she got a baby sister of her own, became a voracious examiner of books, and then… noticed that the pattern for the sweater was included at the back.

I dreamt all last year about making the girls this sweater. When we went down south for our summer trip, it was the one project for which I would allow myself to buy new yarn. We decided on Cascade Eco+, N helped me pick colors on WEBS, and the first was knit up in a flash.

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After the Olympics, I cast on the second, which took only slightly longer.

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It is worth noting that this was my first time ordering yarn online… possibly ever? So I was a little shocked at the colors. I thought I was ordering sky blue and navy blue, but was completely and pleasantly surprised by peacock blue and Elsa blue.

Is there another name for that color other than Elsa blue? Not in this house there isn’t. Never mind that neither of my children have actually sat through Frozen. Oh well. I can’t really help myself, since they practically are my little Elsa and Ana. This, at least, explains why N kept asking, “Are you done my Elsa blue sweater?”

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Finished last week, complete with matching buttons from Baffin E, they were quietly blocked in the office. Then, as the book has it, on the first day of fall, “When the air was crisp and the wind was cool and the leaves were crunchy under their feet,” they tried on their brand-new sweaters.

I confess willingly, my heart’s desire was to shamelessly copy my sister-in-law’s tradition of knitting fall sweaters for her children each year then taking their Christmas picture in them. But, with the temperature below freezing most days already, under mostly cloudy skies, and sans a working relationship with a local professional photographer who will trade photo shoots for a pair of socks, I had to do my best. The first try was… interesting. I preserved the best ones for the record of personality.

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She isn’t so much a bookworm as a book tyrant.

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Then this happened:

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So the rest of my pictures look like this.

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But, magically, yesterday was warm and sunshiny, and I caught them.

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M has a fierce ham face.

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This pretty much encapsulates their relationship.

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I am in love with this yarn. Cascade Eco+ is affordable, nearly-bulky, soft, comes in a zillion colors – I want it for a sweater for myself. They didn’t even pay me to say that, though if they read my words and want to send me some more as a thank you, I would be down with that.

The aforementioned pattern at the back of Phoebe’s Sweater is simple and sweet, going for the seamless approach. The slip-stitch waffle pattern is simpler than it looks, and the whole thing was pretty good reading knitting except that it went by so quickly. The 2-year size took exactly one ball of CEP, and the 4-year size took less than 1.5.

And, because Christmas is coming, and I can’t do anything halfway, these exist already…

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This is a work in progress. The yarn underneath is included.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

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Not Idly Do the Leaves of Lorien Fall

The last few inches of my handspun Lothlorien were completed while watching, for the third or fourth time, all the most obscure DVD extras on the LotR:FotR:EE. Not for the first time, I think to myself that the Lord of the Rings Films are, to a slice of my generation, our equivalent of Star Wars. Yes, The Books Are Better, but the movies were my way in, my imaginative catalyst. And they were made with such an absolute excess of love and detail that hyperbole is almost impossible. To take a profoundly worthy piece of subcreation, and from it craft a further subcreation, is a work worth savoring. So I do, right down to the last 45-minute documentary on prosthetics.

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All of this, which some might label “geekiness,” makes me feel right at home with this particular pile of wool. The pound or so of wool on my lap came to me as a mysterious pile of white roving. I weighed it, braided it, and shipped it off to my mother, who dyed it to my specifications. Black walnut, pokeberries, turmeric, and black bean, with some mordant, were the only substances to transform the white into a fall spectrum. Then three years of spinning turned roving into yarn, and after another year’s wait, three and a half months turned yarn into something special.

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Susan Pandorf’s Lothlorien Cape pattern is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. She has managed, in this and other patterns, to capture the architectural and organic fusion that so befits the elves. Knitting is so perfectly suited to this aesthetic. The tiny cable patterns at the top which expand to great cabled flying buttresses at the bottom are very anchoring.

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Actual picture of a

Actual picture of a “bigature” from the FotR film. Image from Lyn Bailey’s blog (click for link).

I made my own adaptations, as I’ve detailed before: I knit the whole thing top-down (so as to use all the green and adapt the pattern to my yarn quantity); I knit seven panels instead of eight (because my gauge was larger); and I bound off in i-cord (because all those cables were going to feel rather jagged if just bound off plain without a solid base). I also plan to crochet around the base of the neckband, to tighten it up, because it rather sagged with blocking. I am very happy with these adaptations, for the most part. Flipping the pattern worked just fine with cables, but not with the lace, so there were a few points where I seriously had to fudge. But I already don’t notice.

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As to my yarn’s performance: The 4-ply cabled handspun is definitely rustic. This would be a totally different piece with a smooth, soft, even yarn. But I am in love, because it so very in character. A building grown into shape out of living trees would not have perfect surfaces. The roughness makes it look stronger. As a matter of fact, it is stronger – I knit it on 6s, nearly sacrificing my wrists in the process. I regretted it at the time, but now that my wirsts have recovered, the look is worth it.

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Regarding length: I did get nearly to the bottom of the pattern; I ran out of even my extra ball of doubled sock yarn before I could totally finish. The I-cord makes it not matter, though, I think.

At this complete length, it reaches past my elbows, and as such makes it, believe it or not, a hypothetically useful garment! Hypothetical because, in real life, I don’t know that I’m really brave enough to wear something so bright. And this is so worth being rocked out, not just being a shoulder snuggle for the couch. But I don’t think I have to worry about it, because I’m not sure it belongs to me. I give you, Canada’s Next Top Knitwear Model.

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I told her she could wear it if she dresses as an elf for Halloween.

This was half worked in my homeland of encompassing trees, and completed as the fall colours have spread over the two-dimensional trees of these northern fairy forests. Having bound it off, in some small way, I feel I have integrated my loves for both the old and new. Even as I look forward to a heavenly forest where the leaves are always golden and never fall. To the place where subcreation might just take on a life of its own, and even if it doesn’t… we won’t mind.

Lothlorien by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. Image from theonering.net.

Seal Skins, Staples, and Sartorial Oscillation: Inuit Arts and Me, Part 3

Fox fur is great for trim, and there’s the occasional use of rabbit, or even polar bear, if you are either a hardcore adventurer or made of money. However, the real meat (so to speak) of Inuit sewing-with-skins is done with seal skin. I’ve been longing to try sewing with sealskin for a while, so at a big craft festival last April, when the Cathedral’s fundraising table was selling a beautiful maroon sealskin, I took the plunge.

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Gorgeous, no? This one is already tanned and dyed and stamped with a size, so I’m guessing this went through a furrier before it came back to the north.

As soon as I bought it, the learning experience started. Much to my surprise, the first thing one has to do with a tanned sealskin is to block it. Yes, it’s pretty much the same idea as blocking a sweater. You get it damp, then stretch it out, stapling it to a piece of plywood to dry. This gives you up to an extra 25% of skin area and gets rid of any folds or wrinkles (after it’s stretched you roll it up to store).

Plywood is generally in plenty up here, as there are always crates of supplies coming up that are torn apart and used for everything from clubhouses to cabins to campfires. But this is a pretty big skin, and not just any board would do. Additionally, April is still a long way from the season when crates come up in ships, and last year’s flood of shipping scrap was mostly spoken for. I looked around for a piece, without success. Life and vacation intervened, and the skin sat folded up in a bag in the closet.

Finally, in August, we got out own sealift crate. It was a doozy, something like 2 meters by 2.5 meters by 1.5 meters, containing a year’s supply of canned fruit and cereal and flour and tortilla chips, four tires, and some clothes and books out of storage in our parents’ basements. My in-laws were visiting, so Jared’s dad helped us open ‘er up, and took the long top off, which was just the piece I was waiting for.

A trip to the hardware/craft supply store – inscrutably called “Baffin Electronics,” since the only thing you can’t buy there is electronics – procured me a wee staplegun, and we were ready to roll.

N helped me dampen the skin down with wet cloths, it sat in a bag overnight, then Jared helped me staple it in place.

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Fun fact: on a windy day, an enormous piece of plywood will attempt to act as a sail. Mercifully, the whole process took about ten minutes.

It didn’t grow a lot. When we stapled it on, I noticed marks along the edges that looked like they may have had staples in before, so it may have been stretched previously. Also, I may not have gotten it wet enough. But the fold marks are gone, and that was a very necessary improvement.

Some wiggling got the board back into our cold room to dry, in between the boxes we haven’t gotten around to taking to the dump and the dishwasher we haven’t gotten around to installing. If you want a picture of life without a basement, here ya go.

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It’s still out there, between empty bins and old baby stuff, because I can’t decide what to make with it. Here’s the trouble: My ultimate goal is to make big fancy things. I want to make kamiks (boots) and coats, because they are awesome and practical and beautiful. But I don’t need another coat at this point (and would need a ton more supplies), and I’m not ready to make kamiks. Kamiks (or more properly, kamiik is how you say two kamik) are really the pinnacle of Inuit sewing (or so I gather), so I should probably work my way up to that. And besides, I suspect an untanned skin is better for kamiik.

What I really need is an intermediary goal. But I just can’t decide what. A purse? A little bag? A hat? Slippers? Mittens for Martha? (I already have a pair for me.) Little flowers to hot glue on clips? A headband? A fuzzy stole? I can’t decide! When it comes down to it, this is really just a fabulous piece of fabric, and I’ve never started with a piece of fabric then decided what to make. I could make anything, and at the moment, that’s a little paralyzing.

So that’s where I’m at right now in terms of hands-on learning of Inuit sewing. I’ve made a new category for northern arts, and we’ll see how much I use it, what with the fact that I have an actual ministry job that’s interesting, plenty of knitting planned, and small children with a low tolerance for mama sitting still attending to something that is not them. Well, one day at a time. The first thing I need to do is find a screwdriver and pry those staples out. Then I can get my behind to Baffin E and see if I get a better needle for working leather. And a thimble. Definitely going to need a thimble.

Never Say Never to Nylon: Inuit Arts and Me, Part 2

I didn’t make an amauti last year, but I bought two used ones. One is for spring or fall, and one is for winter. I got the winter one for a great deal at a yard sale; it’s traditional white, has two layers, and genuine oil stains from fixing a snowmobile. It’s kinda big on me, but I love it, and it would be so nice to have fur trim on the hood. Fur on a hood really makes it a lot warmer, and it cuts the wind way down around your face. But I was waffling about whether to do it, mostly because it’d be expensive. To get a big enough piece for an amauti, 4 feet long, would probably cost me around $200. This may very well be my last winter of amuk-ing a baby, and I don’t know that this one is in good enough shape to sell when we’re done with it. See above about oil stains. (If we end up having more kids, I will make or commission an amauti that fits me a bit better.)

Fast forward to this summer. I’m in Olney, Maryland; it’s June; it’s hot. I’m on my second visit to So Original in Sandy Spring, a funky store run by a sassy Russian designer, now in its third location a sprawling labyrinth of an old bank building, its tiny rooms bristling with the wildest selection I’ve seen since Yarn’s Unlimited’s former glory. She still has a room just for novelty yarn; I didn’t even know that was possible.

I had brought my sister-in-law back to browse, and was on my third or fourth walk through when I stopped dead in my tracks. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that looked a lot like a fox fur. “Why is there a fox fur in a yarn store?” I thought, then I picked it up. It was knitted.

It was knitted out of a fun fur, but the yarn was constructed in such a way that it actually looked like fur. Looking at the yarn’s construction, the main color of fur is shorter, and is accompanied by fewer, longer strands of a different color – white or black – that makes it look like the tips are a different color. Like a silver-tipped pink, or a black-tipped orange. Hey, it fooled me for a second. (It’s Luzia by Louisa Harding yarns, by the bye.) Did they have purple? Yes they did.

My sister-in-law thought I was kidding her when I walked out of the back room with a bag full of fun fur. I’m best known for all wool all the time, the crunchier and closer to the sheep, the better. To say this is not my MO is a serious understatement. But somehow, the series of insane events that has been my life has resulted in me laying down a cool $50 for three balls of fancy nylon fun fur. (Hey, compared to what I was considering paying for a real fox fur, I was saving money! At least, that’s the justification I used when I got home.) I had my interchangeable set with me, so I could cast on right away.

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As with the black fox fur, I experienced some hesitation at first. For some reason, I remembered the shop sample being knit in such a way that the fur only showed through on one side, and I couldn’t get that to happen. I was scouring the internet for tips, to no avail. After a few attempts I realized the yarn was going to wear out if I kept trying, so – get this – I went back to the yarn store to have my hand held. That was a moment. Going back to a yarn store to have my hand held, and with fun fur. That was surreal enough to make me a little dizzy. Awesome Russian Lady was very knowledgeable and willing to help, and a closer examination of the sample showed that my memory was quite faulty. It did indeed have fur on both sides. After that, I just picked a suitable number of stitches, cast on, and knit like the wind ’till I had forty eight inches.

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Once I got going, I shouldn’t have to tell you, it was a sneeze of a knit. Trouble is, after that, I had to sew it on. So, of course, when we got back to  it sat in a drawer for two months.

This is very silly, because once I sucked it up and did it, I had it done in the time it takes to ignore a showing of Bladerunner. I was imagining another long, careful sew like my black hood trim, but combine these factors: it’s not fur (therefore really easy to sew through), it’s knitted fabric (therefore flexible), it’s not black on black, and I’m only expecting to use it for one season, well… poof.

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I swear, I didn’t know I was making this face.

 

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Exhibit A of why I almost always wear my hair in a tight braid: Most days, I have to balance this grabby girl on my head and slide her into a pocket on my back. I thought I could get away with a little side ponytail this day. Nope.

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We’ll see how this knitterly take on an old Inuit technique holds up. It’s really not real fur, and there’s a huge difference. It won’t be as warm, and it won’t hold up as long. And I definitely expect some funny looks from Inuit! But it’ll help me get one more year of use out of this coat, and I expect it to add some warmth and wind shielding. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunity to compare it with my kindercoat fur.

Tomorrow: What’s next on the docket for northern sewing projects?

Fine Fox Fur Fuzz Feels Fabulous: Inuit Arts and Me, Part 1

When we moved north north north a year ago, I was so excited to be moving somewhere that handcrafts were a big deal. To this day, I’m grateful that my knitterly preoccupations fit right into my otherwise very different environment. And I was willing – nay, eager – to adapt further to the landscape, and take up more of that other craft, the one that alternately annoys and terrifies me whenever I dare it: sewing.

Specifically, sewing with skins and furs, and sewing outerwear. Inuit women are all over it. The local craft shop (which doubles as a hardware store) stocks every color of gore-tex fabric, and furs are available both at craft sales and by mail order from furriers.

If you’re not into killing animals for their pelts, well… in another context I might have an ear for you, but up here, fur is survival. I cannot describe to you what a difference it makes to have the windbreaking softness of fox fur next to your face, or how sealskin layered with leather and fleece keeps your hands warm when it’s -40 with windchill. Also, I don’t know about the furriers, but the hunters up here – even the ones who sell commercially – use the whole animal. There are pretty strict quotas on harvesting, from what I understand. Seals are not as endangered as you think. They are also delicious.

Anyway, if you hate me now, that’s cool. I promise I won’t murder a kitten just to get your goat (so to speak). Otherwise, read on.

I did not achieve my absolutely addle-headed goal of sewing an amauti (Inuit baby-wearing coat) for my first winter here. In fact, the only sewing I got done last year was to add a strip of fox fur to my kindercoat hood.

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This is the only shot I have of it; I don’t know what happened to my in-progress shots, it was so long ago now that I worked on it. It was a bit of an experience: I saw someone on our local sell/swap Facebook group selling a hood-sized strip of fur, showed up at their house and exchanged cash for said fur, and took it home. At first I just stared at it for a while. I had insecure, awkward conversations about it with my neighbor, the dean’s wife, who is a one-woman sewing and kitting factory. Mostly they ended with “just whipstitch it on, good grief.” And, eventually, I did.

It wasn’t a technical operation, though it was operationally difficult. Black on black was potentially not the best choice, especially since at the time the days were down to 5-6 hours long. I think I had the wrong needle, and the one time I tried to work on it at ACW, the elders were all shocked that I didn’t use a thimble. Well, that explains how I wore off the pad on my left index finger. And here I thought thimbles were just for antique collectors.

But I struggled through, and after less hours than it takes to knit a DK-weight hat, I have an absolutely fabulous fur trim on my Kindercoat.

I am very very happy with my fur trim. N wants one for her coat, and I will do it if I run across a good piece. I’ll get a thimble next time. And I won’t do black.

So that was my one bit of sewing last year. Tomorrow: my one bit of sewing thus far this year, which was a rather… unusual… knitterly take on the same thing.

Fall Colours

I do miss my trees, most of all during fall. The season of turning leaves reminds me, every year, that there is no way to freeze a moment of perfection, no ownership of beauty, and all things are passing away. But up here, the warm seasons are all so short that I still have seasonal access to that heartbreaking sensation of fleeting joy. For example, this week it’s fall.

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Fall (I can’t get it straight whether it’s aujaq or ukiuksaaq – those words might have more to do with the movement of animals than what the landscape looks like, so I’m just going to call it “fall” for now) seems really busy. The weather is cooling, but it’s not cold, the summer rains are still over and the October gloom hasn’t totally set in yet. So there’s lots of “one last” trips, boating or camping.

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Much to the delight of us not-yet-hunters, all the things that grow on the tundra are ready to be harvested now, too. Berry-picking expeditions are the best. The girls and I have been out a couple times, and when we went out last week, I remembered my camera.

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This time we mostly found cranberries (above), and a few blueberries (below). They are smaller than their southern counterparts, maxing out at 3-4 mm in diameter, but just as tasty. I made blueberry muffins last week, and this week the cranberries went into our baked oatmeal, which was perfect. There are also crowberries (seedy and a little weird; last year I used them instead of currents in a quiche), cloudberries (which I have yet to find), and bearberries (which it turns out you don’t eat, though evidently they don’t kill you).

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Reason #1 that I did not bring back many berries this time.

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And the fall colors? (Excuse me: colours.) They’re all there. You just have to zoom in. There are no trees, but walking over the reds and oranges and purples and yellows makes me feel like I’m walking over the forests of a million fairies.

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Life finds a way: every streamlet is full of mosses and algaes. And therefore looks just as if fairies are hiding everywhere.

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I’ve had to tweak these pictures significantly – partly because I have no idea what I’m doing with my SLR (still), so my pictures came out all washed out. But also, when you’re out there, so used to rocks and grey, the colors look so much brighter than an objective camera can record.

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Reason #2 I did not bring back many berries this time: Little Miss Intrepid left us berry-pickers behind and took off for the top of the mountain.

This was also a first outing for my mushroom bag. I finished it, what… two years ago? Searching for that link shows me it was almost three years ago. Wow. It was the first project in my knitted through Lord of the Rings via the patterns of Susan Pandorf, and it turned out rather skewed since I was not smart enough to felt my swatch. Most of my projects in this series have run into major problems: scarves too long or too short, yarn issues, etc. and the ones that have worked out are mostly too fancy to be practical or I’ve given them away. (Not a bad problem, that last.) It’s made me stop and think a lot more about my projects, take my time, think things through, rather than rushing through every experience so I can consume the next one. Life is like a box of chocolates, not a tube of Pringles. This is one of many experiences in the last several years that has massaged me in the direction of the former approach.

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Still, I hung onto that beautiful bag, slightly misshapen though it was, and last week it was just right to carry a camera case and berry containers. I’m so glad that I did. How little did I suspect, when I was blocking this piece, that its first outing would be on arctic tundra? That the little sample bags I knit to go with it would be adopted by the at-the-time baby, who would fill them with dried a’aasaaq flowers and arctic cotton?

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Life’s a funny old thing. I am impatient by nature, so I’m glad, in the end, when I’m forced to stop and pick the berries.

BrownSands and Ravellenic Gold

The race to the Olympic finish was something else. I paced myself carefully those last few days, pulling a couple very late nights to meet a benchmark for the day. The real risk, at the very end, was running out of dark brown. I had decided to do the full length on the bottom hem, hoping it would anchor the piece below all that green, and that meant I didn’t have enough for the shawl collar. That collar is something else – it looks really simple, but it’s this complicated layering of short rows. I changed those short rows on the fly, while incorporating buttonholes (the pattern has no buttons, and I wanted some). I eked out just enough rows to look like a solid collar to me before the brown ran out. That was dinnertime on Sunday. I had only the bindoff to go.

My critical error was one of time zones. The Ravellenics officially ended at midnight – but midnight Rio Time. That’s 11 p.m. EST. I had a relaxed after-dinner routine, and only realized my mistake when I sat down. It was 8:30, and I had two and a half hours.

But it was just a bind-off, right? How do you need three hours to do a bind-off?

Well, my friends, this is the most epic bind-off ever. It’s an i-cord bind-off, around a long shawl collar and a wide hem, which included a crazy 3-needle-i-cord-bind-off to attach the bottom of the pockets. And let’s not forget, I was working in ancient breaky boucle.

In the end, I was 26 minutes late.

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Twenty-six minutes, after a two and a half week marathon! After all that careful pacing! If I had done just one thing different – if I had stayed up one more late night, if I had skipped one blog about my progress, if I had ignored my children just a little bit more – Okay, fine. Putting it that way, I have no regrets.

Additionally, I had a nice excuse to start a commiseration party on Ravelry for the several knitters who found themselves in the same boat. I called it “The 4th Place Saloon.” I even met one knitter there who had done the same thing as me: devoted herself to one sweater project, had it all paced out, but missed making it by less than an hour because she forgot the time difference. Her excuse? She did an actual triathlon during the games. Talk about no regrets!

The mods had mercy on my case, however. They declared my time change mistake a sort of “injury,” an unforeseen circumstance, so to speak, and called me up to the podium with the rest of the finishers. So with their blessing, I humbly accept this medal.

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A new addition to the Ravellenics was having “laurels” for different techniques. My sweater, being fairly simple, didn’t qualify for many, but there’s one that I accepted with honors:

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The requirement to qualify for a “Stash Laurel” is that the yarn had to be in your stash for at least 6 months. Yarn that was in my stash for a year and a half after being inherited from a friend’s stash where it sat for literally longer than my lifetime? I think I might have set a record! You know your 100% wool yarn is old when you go to block it, and instead of smelling of wet sheep, it smells of basement.

The buttons, I should add, were sent to me by my college professor Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, when I wasn’t sure what buttons to put on my last sweaterShe rescued them off one of her old sweaters. This was quite the cobbling together of old treasures.

I felt like I was knitting more just the earthy colors I always like; I was knitting a little bit of this glorious Arctic summer. We had absolutely incredible weather for the week that Jared’s parents were in town. Olympics or no Olympics, we were going out on the tundra to enjoy weather in the teens (C), sunshine, and berry picking. Not to mention Naomi’s favorite sport: toddler bouldering.

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I was hoping for some of that weather to take pictures of my Ravellenic sweater. When I bound off, I had visions of myself out on the windswept tundra, looking rustic yet feminine, glorying in the mossy greens and mottled rocks that matched the marled fabric.

But by the time Brownsands was finished blocking, the gorgeous weather had been replaced by an anticipation of October’s Gloom. For a week it’s been cloudy and rainy and cold. Today it was sunny again, but so windy that my children threatened to blow away during the 10 seconds we were outside.

So instead we had to settle for some blurry rushed pictures in my living room. I’ll juxtapose some pictures of the great outdoors near my house, and you can use your imagination.

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Pattern Review: The BlueSand Cardigan is pretty great. It’s expensive for a single pattern, but it comes with two yoke options, so it’s sort of like getting two. I did the combination yoke, and despite my perennially short row gauge messing with the carefully laid plans of the designer, I think the subtle shoulder sloping was achieved. At least, it feels like it fits right. I love the fit, and the stripes, and silhouette, so I’d love to try it again with raglan shaping, smooth yarn, and the original color distribution.

That said, I think my color adaptation worked really well. All that green at the bottom is a little heavy, but I love the way the contrasting I-cord at the top of the pocket has a framing effect with the I-cord around the outside.

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The contrasting stripes inside the pocket are like a little secret. Except I just told you all. What I’m saying is, don’t tell me any secrets.

Yarn Review: There’s not much point in reviewing decades old yarn. But I want to talk about this yarn experience. So let’s just call it that: a Yarn Experience. Because it was an experience, knitting a large sweater out of really old DK-weight boucle. The saving grace of this yarn is that it was 100% wool, because some of it was so old and fragile that I was running into a broken ply every few feet. A lot of spit went into this sweater, in the form of spit-splicing.

Boucle is… well, it’s fun to spin, but no one knits with boucle on purpose any more. After making this, I imagine it’s because it makes a really busy-looking fabric. However, it worked in a mostly-stockinette sweater, and amazingly, I didn’t spend the whole time going mad splitting the yarn with my needle. (I was too busy going mad with all the spit-splicing, I guess.)

I fulled it slightly to secure any missed breaks in the yarn, and blocking turned the crunchy fabric surprisingly drapey. If that sounds appealing to you on balance, you can still find lots of this stuff on Ebay (Templeton’s Knop Scotch, if you really want to search for it).

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And one more imagined bit of scenery for you to imagine me standing on, looking bravely into the distance:

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Peace out, Team Canada. The Rio Olympics is in the books, and I’m thankful for the journey.