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Matters of the Heart in Story Format – Tales of a Vancouver Girl

Category: knitting

A Hand-knit Sweater: A Romantic Symbol of Dedication in a Life Transition

I gave Nathan his Valentine’s Day present early this year. Hand-knit sweaters can be very romantic. I practically cried when I gave it to him.  It’s more than just an effort of love.  I stayed up until 4am ripping apart and re-knitting the collar until I was satisfied. Then I woke up early because I still wasn’t satisfied and did the same thing. My eyes bloodshot. My body weary. To me, it was about commitment. I wasn’t about to give up on getting that shaping right. I am just as persistent in putting in the work for marriage.

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You can see my baby bump in the corner (in pink).  It’s an Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater and if you are familiar, that means that it is seamless, and very little instructions are given.

With a baby on the way, this sweater is a symbol of dedication in a life transition.

When I learned that I was expecting, I was very aware of the dangers of how everything could end up being about the baby…that I could easily lose touch with Nathan and be on a completely different wavelength. Sure, some of my life will be about the baby. For instance, what I actually eat. But quite honestly, this whole thing is about becoming a family which involves more than just the kid.

This sweater is a symbol that we are committed to each other and that raising a child is something we do together. We are still our own individual beings.

So now, when I am working on a pair of socks for myself, or a sweater for Nathan and am asked, “Shouldn’t you be knitting for the baby?” I can say, “Yes I am.” My commitment to Nathan (and myself) through the extension of knitting is a symbol of us becoming a family. It’s about giving our best to each other to give the best to our child.

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Like a hen revolting

I finished knitting my Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater during the last Stitch ‘n Bitch! My sweater held my fellow stitchers hostage until I seamed up the sleeves (I crocheted the seam) and weaved in the ends. Basically, the stitchers starved with me (living off vending machine food) or fended off a husband until I was 100% finished. We were on the brink of madness.

If you don’t know who Elizabeth Zimmerman was, she was essentially a knitting guru who always had an awesome tips about sweater proportions, construction, and more. This particular sweater is called the Hand-to-Hand sweater.

Wearing it proud!

Wearing it proud! This is the back of the sweater…if you can’t tell.

If you’ve never knitted from an Elizabeth Zimmerman “pattern”, what you should know is that it isn’t your typical pattern. She speaks more of general construction of sweaters, and she might give you stitch patterns, but she basically lets you figure out specific techniques. It’s akin to someone telling you how a bridge is constructed but it’d be your job as an engineer to figure out the appropriate materials, techniques for creation, etc.

fisherman's front

Front of the sweater!

I actually have the “pattern” to this sweater in one of my Elizabeth Zimmerman books. It is only two or three pages in large font. I think I read those paragraphs for 4 hours over the span of a few days before even starting because I am paranoid about failure.

I was like a proud little hen walking around in my sweater. I was like a hen that has somehow taken over reign of the yard by wrestling the rooster to the ground and revolting. I basically feel as though I stuck it to the man in some way.

It was a wet spring day in Vancouver today and this sweater was all I wore. I mean, I wore pants and all, but I didn’t wear a jacket. I’m really glad it’s made of Fisherman’s Wool. It’s slightly water repellant, and I know it to be wet-dry-warm.

I am clucking over here.

That duck’s gonna pop some tags

I took Easter Monday off from work and decided to hang with Mother Nature. She’s been complaining that we do not spend quality time together. She’s been waking me up by putting the sun in my eyes, flaunting her fantastic weather and not caring if I notice (but really hoping I notice)…actually, I think Mother Nature might be a cat.

I headed out for a morning run. It was HOT out and I nearly melted because I was running hills. When I say “running”, I mean, “sluggishly putting one lead leg in front of the other and knowing that an ant is probably beating me.”

I spotted plenty of cherry blossoms on my “run” and the trees are starting to look like they have been frosted with pink icing.

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Frosting on tree-shaped cupcakes

Are you sick of hearing about these cherry blossoms? Well, gotta warn you, they will likely last for 2 more weeks. So hold your breath until then, and then make a wish.

I also ran by this house which I think is amazing.

EASTER!

EASTER!

During the last leg of my run, I ran into some squirrels playing. They were chasing each other across the street and back again. I actually laughed aloud. Probably looked like a crazy person since I was sweaty, dishevelled and laughing to myself. I ran into the house to get walnuts, but they were gone when I got back outside. I kept the nuts in my pants (ha ha – I’m immature) but I never did run into them again.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

Come back! I have nuts to give. No, not that kind.

After lunch, Nathan and I loaded up the car with our lawn chairs and headed to a park by the river. He took a nap in the sun while I knitted. The ducks were floating by. One of them was quacking loudly and yelling at its posse. I could be wrong, and it could just be floating by and singing Mackelmore’s Thrift Shop. It’s gonna pop some tags. I am having a heck of a time getting that song out of my head.

knitting by the river

Take me to the river, drop me in the water…well, actually, don’t. Wet clothes are not comfortable.

Also stopped by my father-in-law’s house. Look at the size of the flowers on this plant.

Amazing blossoms

Amazing blossoms

The man has a green thumb.

Running for President of Sweater Council

Bean was wearing an olive green sweater today and went into a soliloquy about the greatness of sweaters and how they are amazing for fat days. Did not want to interrupt his artful speech to let him know that they are not a new high-tech invention. His speech was so artful, you’d think he was running for President (of Sweater Council). I may run against him in this fictional, made-for-tv election.

Met up with coworkers for Stitch ‘n Bitch so here’s the weekly progress on my sweater.

Ever growing sweater

Ever growing sweater

I’m on the easy part now. I’ve picked up stitches and am knitting downwards for the rest of the body. Hard to believe I was still on the sleeve just a week ago.

I like seeing parts come together and this is not just true for knitting but also for people, information, and projects.

Stitching, Bitching, and Rapping – The Hardcore Stuff

Every Wednesday, sandwiched between yoga day and running day, my coworkers and I gather around an astroturf rug at work, and we sing hymns. No, we don’t. We stitch, and we bitch…while we rap. The hardcore stuff.  While we’re working on hardcore cabling and large-scale projects, we rap like Ice Cube. Is knitting looking totally hardcore yet?

This is the sweater project I’m currently working on…

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At one point, I had to have three stitch counters going because I had three different cables happening (only two types are shown above).

This sweater was intended for Nathan, but I mixed up his chest size, so now it’s a sweater for me. What I need to do is hurry before it gets too warm in Vancouver for Fisherman’s Wool. Nevermind that I have another sweater project awaiting me. The other sweater is close to being finished…but I haven’t touched it in a year or so because I am not sure of how I would like to do the neckline. This the problem when you design a sweater, your options become unlimited.

Knitting is one of my favourite rainy day activities. I try to fight the urge of overdoing it though. It rains so much in Vancouver that I would be in danger of becoming a hermit. Might be different if I had cats though because that would be warm and snuggly…but I then I’d be in danger of becoming crazy cat lady…because I’d want LOTS of cats. I suppose it’s a blessing that Nathan is allergic.

Will keep you posted on the progress of the sweater 🙂

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A nurse that knits, a lot.

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