Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unwarranted Confidence, or Don't Forget to Review Directions

I've been working on a "simple, quick knit" sweater since last February. Sigh. It's mostly a matter of not making time for it. But really, it seems to take experienced knitters a couple of weeks and I've dragged it on for nearly a year. I'm in the final stages now. Finished up the sleeves, just need to sew up some seams, finish the neckline, and block it. Easy, no? You'd think so, but I'm having comic difficulty with the final easy steps. Must be a lack of practice - since I so rarely finish something knitted, I just don't remember what all goes into it.

With that said, I relate to you last night's adventures in shoulder seaming...
First, get kid's jammies on, escape to living room to work on sweater. Locate embroidery needle for stitching up the seam. Match up shoulders, start sewing. Oops, he's done reading books with Daddy, time to help kiddo settle down. Maybe he'll look at a book on his own. Yeah, try that.

Back to the living room. Finish up one seam, flip it over to see how it looks. Yikes. Crappy. What did I do wrong? I was carefully stitching down below the cast off row, but it appears that I didn't have the cast off facing flat up, so a few of the edges were showing on the outside. Bad, bad, bad. Unpick, unpick, oops, need to deal with not-sleeping kid...

1/2 hour later. Kid's asleep. Okay, still need to unpick and try again. I'll put in the movie I was watching last night to finish it up too. Yeah, that won't be distracting, what with the subtitles and all. Unpick, unpick. Okay, ready to try again. Flattening out the edges nicely, stitch stitch stitch. Well, that's looking better. Yeah, much better. WAIT! Why did I just sew the two front shoulders to each other??????? Grr. Unpick, unpick, unpick.

Okay, third time's the charm. Try again. Oh - I should get those little clippy things I used once to hold it together. Matched FRONT shoulder seams to BACK shoulder seams? Check. Clipped into place? Check. Edges nicely lined up? Check. Stitch, stitch, stitch. Hey, that looks better. Shows a little bit, but not badly. Let's make it good and tight then. I think I'll weave in the ends really snug, then call it a night (and night it is: 11:30).

Next day, hmm, I need to pick up stitches to do the neck. I remember reading some technique for that, where was that? Do an online search for picking up stitches, notice articles on finishing techniques, and then recall - D'oh! I did a plain 'ol sewing stitch (in & out, every stitch) and I should have done a backstitch or mattress stitch to get it all flat & even. Ugh!

So, what's your vote? Live with it, or unpick YET AGAIN (at least it's only 6 inches total) and do it right. Keep in mind that with this sweater, I've started the body twice (frogged the first attempt at 3 inches when I realized it would be enormous) and one sleeve once (had thought it would be too loose at the wrist, so I narrowed it, then realized it looked terrible that way).

Sigh, is it any wonder this has taken nearly a year?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas card laziness

I usually (like 10 years straight, I think) make my Christmas cards. Hand-stamped, paper cut, not super fancy like Jody's cards, but handmade. This year I haven't been feeling it though. Just no energy to put into thinking up another idea (one that doesn't involve snowflakes, because that seems to be my default) and being creative with paper. All that annoying cutting, and the gluing, and no way am I doing glitter or embossing this year! So I've been putting it off. Colin was even suggesting (gasp!) buying cards! Whoa! Am I really that lazy this year? Have I lost all drive to create?

Luckily, this morning as I was about to pass PaperZone on the way between school & work, I remembered that they are open at 9:00 AM and so I dropped in. The guy behind the counter helpfully pointed me to an examples book that had customer-submitted holiday card ideas and I found one that appeals. So, yeah, I am still feeling lazy (no glitter, no embossing, and using cards already cut to size with not window cutouts to make), and I'm taking a shortcut by stealing someone else's idea (although it's one they want to share, and I'm also doing my own take on it), but at least the homemade tradition lives on! Let the card-making begin!