Hanging on

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I’ve finished the knitting on my flowery sweater!

Finished with the knitting

I’ve also made a bit more progress on the embroidery; I’m about 1/2 of the way around the yoke in terms of finishing the flowers that I couldn’t knit while the yoke was in progress. I’ve made it across the front and almost all of the way around the left shoulder.

Left shoulder flowers.

But, of course, that means I still have the back and the right shoulder to do, plus the flowers at the hips and the wrists!

Still more flowers to embroider over on the right shoulder.

It turns out, though, that the embroidery requires a fair amount of attention and focus, and that is running in very short supply for me now as we reach the last couple weeks of the semester. Hence the project you see me snuggling in the photo at the top of this post: yet another Elle Melle cardigan, this one for my daughter in red & pink Beaverslide 2ply sport/sock.

future Elle Melle for M, in red & pink

This is the perfect project for me right now; once I got past the cast on, my fingers know exactly what to do (having knit 3 Elle Melles before!) and the straightforward knitting, in yarn that delights my fingers, is exactly what I need to keep my hands busy while my mind is fried. It’s very soothing.

Elle Melle stripes/ridges!

I just adore the bounciness of the ridges in the pattern, and I love knitting this pattern in 2 shades of the same color. These two colors (Winter Rosehip and Hollyhock Heather) play so nicely together; they’re the same two colors I paired for M’s pullover a few years ago.

I’m not sure when I’ll end up finishing the green flowery sweater. I need to rest my brain a bit before I go back to it, I think. I have other projects I need to go back to with a rested brain, too: I need to fix the sleeves on my kangaroo-pocket pullover, I need to fix the brioche in my Water Bearer cardigan, and I need to fix the body of my Bleideag pullover. But I also broke my “no new yarn” rule to get myself a birthday treat a couple weeks ago: some more Beaverslide sport/sock in Beebalm:

My birthday present to myself: Beaverslide yarn!

I’ve been absolutely loving the way my Vita de Vie sweater looks with my green & blue plaid Cleo skirt, and since I’m going to be making another one in the same fabric, but a pink/purple plaid, I thought it would be fantastic to make a second Vita de Vie in purple to go with it. I’ve also got fabric to make a couple other Cleo skirts, plus some to try making pants! One of my goals for the summer is to make clothing that will allow me to shift my wardrobe towards comfortable bottoms that don’t have hard waists, but that still look nice for teaching.

These next 3 weeks are going to be pretty brutal, though, so it’ll just be the soothing plain rows of Elle Melle keeping me busy for now.

Almost to the finish line!

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I only have a little bit of knitting left on sleeve number two, and then I’ll have completed all of the knitting for this embroidered flower sweater (which needs a better name). Then it’s just finishing all of the embroidery and blocking!

Loving magic loop!

One of the things I’ve discovered in the knitting of this sweater is that magic loop is actually pretty awesome! When I went to start the first sleeve, I couldn’t find any size 6 dpns, so I decided out of desperation to try magic loop. I remember deciding I didn’t like it years and years ago, back when I first started knitting small-circumference things in the round – so this was probably something like 18 years ago. I don’t even remember what I didn’t like about it! Well, turns out Past Me was wrong – magic loop is GREAT! It’s so much easier to try the sleeves on as I’m knitting them, too. I may shift away from dpns for good now that I’ve got the practice of two sleeves worth of knitting under my belt.

As I’m nearing the end of this sweater project, I’m also nearing the end of Spring Semester. Three more weeks worth of classes, then another week or two of grading. This has been the hardest semester of teaching I’ve ever done, and it’s not like last Spring (or last Fall) were easy in any way. But at this point, everyone is burnt out, both faculty and students, and not having a Spring Break just exacerbated that in the worst way. I’m trying so hard to help my students figure out how to limp over the finish line, but I’m running on a tank that’s been empty for months myself. It’s just so hard.

Nearing the end

Maybe by this time next week I’ll have a completely finished sweater to share? Just in time for it to have warmed up – though, this is Western NY we’re talking about, so I may still get a few wears out of this sweater before warm weather truly arrives. We’ll see.

Hello, 38.

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Today is my 38th birthday. (It’s also the start of Ramadan, so I send good wishes to all who celebrate!)

38 doesn’t seem like an especially “interesting” birthday, though I suppose it does mean that it’s now been 20 years since I was in high school. Time has been really weird this year because of the pandemic, but also because I’m getting more and more older than my students (I teach first-year writing) each year. This semester, a student who was researching music trends from when I was in high school referred to that time period in their paper as the “late 1900s” which just sounded SO bizarre to me! But I guess that’s me: a late 1900s baby!

Fully vaccinated!

I got my 2nd COVID vaccine shot on Wednesday last week, and it really did a number on me, but I’m so so grateful to be able to slowly let go of the terror I’ve carried for the past 13 months about how vulnerable my damaged lungs and wacky immune system issues made me.

Virtual CCCC means watching Roxane Gay's keynote from the couch, while knitting

Last week was also the virtual Conference on College Composition & Communication, at which I helped to lead a couple of Standing Group meetings (Cognition & Writing, and Language, Linguistics & Writing) and a workshop – thankfully, all of those things took place prior to me getting my shot, which meant that when I was knocked flat afterward, all I needed to be was an audience member, and I could do that from the couch, with my knitting. Which meant that I made a pretty good amount of progress on my embroidered flower sweater, between the knitting I did while waiting after my shot and the knitting I did during the various talks I attended, including an INCREDIBLE keynote talk from Roxane Gay.

sweater progress - back hem finished!

I finished the back bottom hem during a talk yesterday. I’m giving the sweater a split hem, because I just like them!

sweater progress side view
I’m really delighted with how it’s turning out! Since I took these pictures, I finished the front hem and started on one of the sleeves; maybe by next week I’ll have at least one sleeve finished!
Sweater progress; front view

Once the sleeves are finished, I’ll finish the embroidery and do a good blocking. You might not be able to tell from the photos, but I added a few bobbles at sides, around the hem split, to be embroidered into flowers, and I plan on adding a couple of flowers at each cuff on the sleeves. I probably won’t actually get to wear this sweater until next winter, but it’ll be worth the wait, I think!