Yoke Progress, Ravelry Sadness

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I knew when I dreamed up making a sweater based on the “Late Bloomer” mittens from Making magazine that it would be a labor of love. It’s slow-going, but with a bit of embroidery each evening, I’ve now got flowers completely encircling the yoke! I just need to embroider them a bit further down on one side and then I’ll be ready to make decisions about how much deeper to make the yoke before splitting for body and sleeves. I just want to make sure that I account for any change in fit that results from the density of the flowers before I do that!

Embroidered Yoke Progress!

I only wish that the Ravelry team had applied such care and thoughtfulness to the way they approached the redesign of the website last year. Today is the day that they are eliminating the “Classic View”, and it may well be the last day I can use Ravelry. If you are a Ravelry user who has not been negatively impacted by the redesign, can you please stand in solidarity with those of us who are by logging out today through April 2nd?

As I’ve mentioned here on this blog before, I am one of the people who was negatively impacted by the redesign. I’ve always known that I have somewhat atypical visual processing issues (in terms of visual attention, I filter out peripheral information less effectively; in terms of stereo vision, mine is wonky; I get motion sick; I have an incredibly low flicker-detection threshold; I have high myopia as well as astigmatism, and wear progressive lenses because I struggle to shift from near-focus to far; etc) and that I am migraine-prone, but for the most part, these have not caused problems for me on other websites. (I mean, obviously staring at any backlit screen for an extended period isn’t great, but that’s a more general issue.) With the Ravelry redesign, however, I get immediate eye-strain and migraines, and to the extent I’ve been able to test it, this is true with all of the available “modes” for the new site. Making these matters worse, the Ravelry team has been incredibly dismissive about these issues, and has frankly behaved abusively towards those who have tried to raise issues. And look, I get it. I get how hard it is to put a lot of work into something that you think is awesome and then get critical feedback on it (but: if it’s not working, fix it!), and I know they’ve dealt with a lot of harassment and pushback about other decisions they’ve made and I think it’s led, not entirely unreasonably, to paranoia that the folks raising these issues are just “trying to bring them down”. Nothing could be further from the truth for me; I loved Ravelry, at one point considered the folks on the Rav team to be friends, and have frankly kind of forgotten how to be a knitter without Ravelry!

I think the website they created provides incredible infrastructure for the knitting world (and they should remember that it was the knitting community itself that built upon that infrastructure to make the site what it is today). I want the site to keep existing. I just want them to actually listen and to take responsibility, apologize for how they’ve treated the folks who have tried to raise issues, and truly fix the problems.

And if they can’t do that, then I guess I’ll be relearning how to be a knitter without Ravelry.

Happy Spring!

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The Spring Equinox is also our 16th wedding anniversary (and, because we adopted our two of our cats 8 weeks after our wedding, when they were 8 weeks old, their approximate 16th birthday!). So it’s a big day! I hope everyone had a wonderful first day of Spring, even if you live in a place like I do, where actual reliable Spring-like weather is probably still a little ways off.

My current project feels very Spring-like, with the bright spring green and the embroidered flowers. The embroidery itself is fairly slow-going, but I’m getting better at it, and it’s looking exactly like what I imagined when I dreamed of turning those gorgeous mittens from Making magazine into a yoked sweater.

Embroidered yoke sweater in progress

My goal is to try to embroider most of the yoke before I split for the body and sleeves; I obviously can’t embroider the flowers towards the bottom of the yoke, yet, because there’s no knitting on the other side of them to embroider into, but I really want to get a sense for how the yoke sits with all of those flowers before I make decisions about how much deeper to make it. All of those embroidered flowers add a pleasant heft to the sweater, and as someone who finds weighted blankets to be really calming, this makes me really happy – it’s going to be like wearing a hug!

We’ll see how much longer it takes to get the yoke fully embroidered; I’m not sure whether I’ll get any chances to wear this sweater before the weather truly warms up, but it’ll be a delight to wear next year, too.

Happy Spring, everyone!

What I’m working on

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Now that my Farmhouse cardigan is off the needles (and has already been worn several times, including today), I want to share the other two projects that I’m currently working on. One is pictured above, and I’ll get to it in a second, but first: thrums!

Thrums!

My daughter was looking over my shoulder as I was organizing my knitting patterns on Google Drive (which is where I’m storing things in case I can’t use Ravelry for that purpose in the future), and when she saw Ysolda’s Cadeautje slippers, she was smitten with the idea of having red + pink ones. I already had some chunky red wool in my stash (it’s Beaverslide’s 3-ply in “Winter Rosehip”, which I’d gotten in hopes of making a vest for M, but it was TOO chunky for that), and was able to get some roving in a pink that reminds me of cherry blossoms for the thrums.

thrum-stash

When I took photos of my Farmhouse cardigan, I also took some of the slipper-in-progress, and my daughter snuck into the picture to pet the thrums!

She loves the feeling of the thrums!

I’m almost done with the first slipper, and it fits my own foot nicely, which leaves me with some hope that these slippers will still fit my kid next fall. (Her feet are now the same size as my smaller foot; I have one size 6 foot and one size 7 foot.) But I’ve gotten sidetracked from the slippers by the project that’s pictured at the top of this post.

Being silly with my yoke-in-progress

I’m almost finished with the yoke of the sweater I dreamed up based on the mittens featured on the cover of Making’s “Intricate” issue. Each one of those bobbles is going to become the center of an embroidered flower, like this:

An idea...

I’m making up the placement of the bobbles as I go; I want it to look organic, and the goal is to have the flowers really densely packed at the top of the yoke, and then more spaced out and scattered towards the bottom. We’ll see how it looks once I start embroidering them…for now, it kind of looks like a plucked chicken!

Yoke progress.

My plan is to actually embroider the whole yoke (or at least, most of it) before I continue to the sleeves and body, both because I want to see if it looks like what I’m dreaming up in my mind before I knit too much further, and because I want to make sure I have a good sense of how much yarn I’ll have left for sleeves and body, because I imagine the embroidery is going to use quite a bit. I have a LOT of embroidery in my future!

Being silly with my yoke-in-progress

This week, I’ll get my first COVID vaccine shot, which means I’ll get my second shot shortly before my 38th birthday. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but what worries me a lot is that it feels like so many people are already talking as if things are “back to normal”. They’re not. We’re still in the tunnel. People are still getting sick and dying. And even when we have reached herd immunity levels of vaccination, we have to remember that this has been an incredibly traumatic year, and that so many of us (I include myself in this number) have been pushed to a breaking point and are burnt out. As a college professor and parent, I’ve worked harder in this past year than I ever have before, and it’s not like I was ever a slacker on that front. My students, too, have worked incredibly hard under nearly impossible circumstances. We need to give ourselves and each other a chance to recover, and I’m afraid that I’m not hearing any indications that the “powers that be” actually understand that. I hope I’m wrong.

Finished Farmhouse #2!

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I finished my second Farmhouse Cardigan last week, and it had finished drying after blocking in time for me to sew on the buttons last night. I’m really thrilled with how it came out!

Project Details:
Pattern: Farmhouse Cardigan by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Cascade Eco+ in “Aporto”, just under 2 skeins
Needles: Size 8s
Time to knit: About a month

I made a few changes to the pattern, just like I did for the first Farmhouse cardigan: I created the pockets with double knitting, and I added a bit of back-shaping, which makes it hug my curves perfectly.

Farmhouse cardigan (with back decreases for curve-hugging)
[From the side]
Farmhouse Cardigan: showing the back decreases I added
[From behind]

One happy discovery was that this particular shade of blue, which is a slightly turquoise-leaning navy, seems to look really nice with just about all of my Willow Cowls!

New Farmhouse Cardigan, with all of my Willow Cowls.

My daughter enjoyed helping me take photographs of the sweater with each of them, in rainbow order. I think my favorite pairings are with the gold, the two greens, and the brown, but they all look pretty nice! My daughter’s favorite pairing was with the light greenish blue:

Farmhouse Cardigan, worn open.

The Eco+ yarn, being worsted-spun, is quite different from the Bartlettyarns that I used for my first Farmhouse cardigan. They knit to the same gauge, but the fabric is quite different – this cardigan is more curve-hugging and also a little drapier than the other one. I tend to wear my first Farmhouse cardigan open most of the time, but this one, I think I prefer closed!

Farmhouse Cardigan, all buttoned up.

I remember being really skeptical about the Farmhouse cardigan neckline when I made my first one; it just seemed really weird-looking, while blocking. But it creates SUCH a nice fit around the neck, and I just really love it!

Farmhouse Cardigan

We’ve now reached the point where, as of this coming Monday, it will have been an entire year since I’ve seen my office. I’ve been teaching online for an entire year, and I’m staring ahead at 10 more weeks of this semester before I get anything even remotely approximating a break. I’m exhausted and burnt out, and I think sometimes it’s easy for people to look at the things I post on my Instagram, all of the knitting and the violin practicing, and think, “wow, she’s so productive, she must really have her shit together”, but I promise you, I don’t. What looks like “productivity” is really more like manic self-preservation. For me, knitting and violin playing are how I self-regulate, and it’s getting to the point where these things feel desperately necessary to an almost frightening degree; it’s not that I have my shit together, it’s that I’m completely falling apart, and the knitting and violin playing are all that’s keeping me from sinking into the abyss.

But at least I have plenty of yarn to keep my hands busy, and I will never run out of things to work on in the Bach Sonatas and Partitas. And I have something very good to look forward to: I will get my first vaccine shot on St. Patrick’s Day in a few weeks!

I hope everyone is hanging in there. This has been such a hard year.