Saturday, April 21, 2012

And Now, Time for Some FO's

Ah yes, knitter's speak.  A FO is a Finished Object, the stark contrast to a UFO, or UnFinished Object.
Sometimes, projects enter knitterly black holes, and go from WIPs - Works In Progess - to UFO's.  No one can explain how it happens, but suddenly, something you've been bashing away on non-stop falls from grace, gets put in a bag, and left in the trunk of a car for maybe 2 years...not that that's ever happened to me, no way...

I really tried to knit from my stash this year, and I did a great job until Kate Davies' Rams and Yowes caught my eye.  Well, if that wasn't an impulse purchase, I don't know what is.  I started off fast and furious, made a few mistakes, pulled back a ton of work, and there the project languishes.  I vowed if I knit just 2 rows a day, I'd be done in 2 months' time.  That's not a terrifying commitment, yet it's not happening.  Maybe today, maybe today, is the optimistic battle cry of a rejected project.  After all, when all else fails, there's always hope.  I cling to that like a shipwreck victim clings to driftwood.

I do admit to having a gray mohair pullover in the trunk of the car.  It got cast on in a flurry, and it's nearly completed, and I don't really know what my excuse is for not finishing it.  Maybe it's become a fixture in the car, and seeing it in the trunk warms my heart with potential? I don't know, but what I do know is there should be a specialization in psychology expressly for knitters.  I'd sign up for intense therapy immediately.

On the positive side, Eric's Lopi fits my father like it was made for him.  The sleeve length is perfect, the look is perfect, and my father loves it.  Again, putting in the zipper took a leap of faith:

I've never sewn a zipper into a knitted garment before, ergo the procrastination.  It was fussy, fiddly, I swore, then I swore some more.  But the end result is sublime.  I added the gray decorative tape to hide the steek edge of the sweater, and although this little detail took literally hours of sewing, the effort was worth the outcome.  The inside of the sweater is now clean and properly finished.

Some people might say, "why bother"?  And it's true - why bother?  But then again, that philosophy can be applied to so many things in life.  Just call me a nit-picking over-achiever.  I wear that title with pride, dammit.

To give you an idea, here's a look at the inside before adding the trim:
The devil, she is in the details.  Ask any knitter.

Moving onto other projects.  I started off the year with the Cabled Buttoned Wrap designed by Plymouth Yarn Design Studio.  Inspired by a fellow knitter from our knitter's group, I cast on the exact same project with the exact same yarn and the exact same needles, and should have had the exact same outcome.  Alas.  I knit a lot tighter than dear Maureen, and with that tension, my shawl didn't have the same drape.  Lookie here:

I was disappointed, and wanted to frog the entire thing and knit it again with larger needles.  I thought of blocking it to oblivion and beyond.  In an epiphany, Maureen tried my shawl on, and preferred my tension over hers.  She's shorter and her shawl overwhelmed her.  So, we did a trade.  I took Maureen's shawl, Maureen took my shawl, and both of us wear each others' shawls with pride.  I gave Maureen her buttons back, since she had spent a small ransom on them, and then I dispatched my BFF Elaine to the wool store to find some buttons, because I hadn't had any luck finding something apropos.  This is what Elaine came up with:
Brilliant.  They suit the wrap perfectly, and the organic aspect appeals to my esthetic.  Not to mention, the finish is hand-rubbed and so smooth, just touching them soothes the senses.  I am in love, and this wrap has become my super-binky.  It is so infinitely wearable, I can put it over a thin coat, wear it in the house, at work, it's become a security blanket of sorts.  Although the wool looked bland on the skein, this colour (Drops Alpaca in Denim 8120) is anything but.  Little threads of red and brown interspersed through the wool gives a beautiful depth and neutrality. 
It's classic, it's malleable, and I am in love...

Now.   Sometimes we procrastinate about a project, just because we're not quite happy with what the instructions tell us to do.  I knit this little Lopi purse to match my Lopi Aftur sweater:

This pattern is from Istex and is called Taska.  I added two chart repeats, and ended up with a purse about 9" wide and 10" high.  The instructions called for knitted I-cord straps, and I couldn't bring myself to do seemed chintzy and amateur and just didn't resonate with my inner knitter.

A few weeks ago, I headed over to a new LYS (local yarn store, for those not familiar with knittingese), and came across these beauties:
Ah-ha.  Now I know why I was procrastinating.  Because the universe wanted me to find these beauties.  Once the sticker-shock wore off, I put them on, and bingo!  Purse completed with a minimum of effort, yet maximum effect.  Man, do I love knitting!

Here's a look at the inside.  These handles by Sage Luxury might be expensive (gulp, I'll admit they cost me $55 CAD), but they finish the project off beautifully and are worth the money.  The quality is most definitely there.  So much so, I went back and bought another pair in black...  I'm not sure if I'll keep the dark brown on this purse, or switch them out for the black pair, I suppose it will all depend on what I knit next.

Again, because I'm in love, here's another view:
Can I mention one more time just how much I love the look?  Okay.  I'll shut-up now.  Project complete.  Verdict:  Total Success.

And, now for the pièce de résistance.  I actually finished the BMF.  (Use your imagination - this one I made up, B stands for Black, and the rest I'll let you figure out).

See how crinkled it is?  That's because it was SHOVED in the bottom of my knitting bag, literally scrunched into a little ball that started to work it's way into the corner of the bag, sort of like a terrifyingly huge wad of lint.  I'm not even going to bother washing it - although it might benefit a bit - because wearing it will help ease all those wrinkles out and even out each stitch.  I cannot believe the Black MoFo is donedonedone.


So there you have it.  My knitterly friends will know whereof I speak when I say procrastination is a necessary part of the creative process.  The rest of you should be so lucky.


Kelly Dawn said...

Wow! Four FOs at once! I am really impressed. The nit-picking over-achiever thing is really working for you; the finishing on Eric's Lopi is lovely. (Emma says "Love the purse!).

Shim Farm said...

Hi Kelly! Happy to have you stop by on this side of the pond! I'm trying SO hard to clean up those WIPs. Your work on Doug's "Brick" is inspiring me to work on Kate's R&Y some more...I'd love to put that project to bed, because I know it will be worth it. It's the journey to the destination that's wearing me out!

You really should get Emma knitting! It would be a shame to not pass your beautiful knitting skills on to your progeny.

Thanks for your comments - I'll pop over shortly!

Robin said...

Wow. All your projects turned out lovely. The rams and yowes pattern is super cute. I volunteer at a little library on Monday and there is a knitting group there. The lady in charge of it was putting up pictures of finished projects and I am thinking about joining the group. I really would like to do more than just knit a plain scarf.

It must feel good to finish the BMF. lol. Why is it always so hard to go back and finish a project once it's exciting newness has faded??

You were right about the handles on the bag. They look really nice and made the purse really pop. Good choice! :)

Shim Farm said...

Hi Robin, thanks! I'm really happy with everything. Last night I even showed the Rams and Yowes a bit of love, and I think we're back on again...

You should join the knitting group! It's a great hobby, and if you have a helpful resource close by, why not? With the advent of the internet, well, everything's on YouTube in the interim, so if you're stuck, you can just Google things!

Yup. Today I'm switching out the brown handles for the black (I'll admit to not having seen the black in the store the first time around, because they were my first choice), and then I'm going to knit a much larger purse in neutral tones. They've asked me to give a course at the LYS, so I guess I'll have to come up with something. Time to put the designing cap on.

I wish I knew why it's so hard to keep up with projects sometimes. I'd be in FO heaven LOL. Somethings fly off the needles, and others are a slog. I'm in love with the potential, but that said and done, I'm really holding myself to finishing lots of stuff this year. My goal is to see the page turn on 2013 with a clean slate...a totally doable task if I keep bashing away LOL.

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