Waifs down a mossy path: Dries Van Noten’s clothes for next spring.

Cutting Class at Finishing School

heropompom

Dear Ann,

Earlier this week, I was digging through my denim stash in search of pom pom fixings (as you do), and I came across this artifact.

denimbabysurprisejacket

It’s a Baby Surprise Jacket made of denim pom pom fixings. I do not recall when I made it, but I believe it was during the 2006-2008 period when we were renovating and life was a cycle of packing, unpacking and dust protection efforts. I remember pondering how to seam this little sweater. Because I don’t like the look of sew seams on garter stitch, I experimented with picking up stitches along both edges and working applied i-cord to join them. It made a lovely, flexible seam that flowed seamlessly into an edging and back into a seam again.

Until I stopped very near the finish and banished the project to plastic bag oblivion. I no longer recall if there was a baby I had in mind for this little jacket, but if there was, he or she is now getting on towards middle school.

Today I read a plaintive tweet from a knitter who despairs of her habit of not finishing things. I saw this tweet as an invitation to share my philosophy on finishing things. I don’t worry about finishing things. This is my hobby. I do it for the love and the joy and all the talking and photographing it brings. The clothes and the baby presents are little door prizes–my son would say Easter eggs–that pop up along the way. They are like merit badges: a symbol of a skill or feat. FOs are delightful, but they are not the whole point of knitting, and for some of us Process Knitters, they are almost beside the point.

Often, when I’ve given myself permission not to finish something, the enthusiasm for that thing returns, and I actually do finish it. And something like this BSJ, that has been sitting in time out for so long that I can’t remember knitting it? It’s very easy to finish, because it feels like an Instant Knit. Like I’ve wiggled my nose (or folded my arms, depending on your sitcom) in the direction of a pile of yarn, and a jacket magically appeared. Also, I happen to know a baby who will wear it soon. Win win!

puerperium

In other Baby Sweater News, I finished Puerperium for the baby boy in California.  I used Purl Soho Worsted Twist instead of the prescribed DK weight yarn, so it came out 6 month sized instead of newborn sized.  I hope that means I can get buttons on it before he outgrows it.

Because I am complicated and contain multitudes, my next post will be a little panic attack about a wedding shawl I’ve committed to knitting but haven’t achieved traction on, and a cry for help in the form of a wee contest.

Love,

Kay

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. This is so true, and right on: FO aren’t the journey.

    • Hear, hear!

  2. Another process knitter speaking. I don’t always give set them aside to start something new. I rather lose them in the Wool Room (which isn’t strictly wool, but there is an inordinate amount of it on shelves and in purple hampers). As for the wedding shawl, can’t wait to hear more. We’re rooting for you!

  3. I really should proofread my comment before hitting the SUBMIT button. lol

  4. Comment

  5. Let’s try that again, shall we? I TOTALLY remember that BSJ, because when you blogged about it lo! these many years, I sent you an e-mail and asked how you did the seam as an applied i-cord, and you sent me a message and told me how. My BSJ looked great thanks to you. I’m actually contemplating making another one out of the MILES of leftover Berocco Vintage that I have at my feet after finishing a log cabin blanket. What a nice reunion, Ann!

  6. I recently found a denim pullover I’d abandoned last year after sewing some of the seams and reaching the end of denim-wearing season in my climate. I’d thought if I put the project in a really cute bag I’d be more likely to pick it up again. (No, that trick did not work.) This thing had more ends than any single-color project has any business having, but I’ve now gotten it down to just one more seam and about 5 more ends, but when I stuffed it back into its bag I wondered, is that the last I’ll see of it for another XX months? years?

  7. Oh my, Kay. You just reminded me of, um, something.
    There is a BSJ in a ziploc bag, in a plastic storage box, in a stack of plastic storage boxes, in my parlor. It was a pretty challenging project for me at the time, and I bought pretty fancy yarn for it, too: Mirasol Hacho. I finished the knitting in 8 days, then went on a successful Button Hunt. The last hurdle: I could not decide how to seam it. Those two little seams defeated me completely.
    I made it for my tiny little great-niece, who now, 6 years later, is now a little big for a BSJ.
    It’s a little embarrassing to suddenly remember this forgotten project, but I don’t feel too badly about it being unfinished. Lots of good yarn there, for the unraveling. Maybe I’ll turn it into pom-poms!

    • Quinn–I enjoy reading your comments and think that you must be a very good knitter, and that BSJ probably looks precious. So, perhaps there is a wee one around (or expected to soon make a debut) who would love such a goodie. Not that you shouldn’t ravel it if you wish to do so; but, perhaps it was really meant for a little someone who wasn’t ready for this world six years ago. Just saying. Best.–Diane

  8. For the person who wants to finish more knits: I have started buying some very dear yarn, the kind where I would be ashamed if I let it wallow for too long in a wip pile. It certainly makes one finish things! Another trick is to plan your next project, preferably one that uses the same needles I am currently using. Can’t start the next project until I’ve finished the one I’m working on!

  9. *sweet smile,* historic knitting excavation! ;-) what makes me smile even more is a regular reader who remembers the project!

    happy national macaron day kay & ann, lots and lots of love from QC

  10. I remember that project too. I have knit a few of these sweaters, and don’t remember any weirdness about the seaming. Huh.
    And what’s the pompom about?

    • I’m weird about the seaming. Wasn’t looking good in the stiff cotton.

  11. Ah the Zen of knitting as practiced by our abbess in residence. Right on Sr. Kay, with the no shame, no blame philosophy of FOs. Easter eggs for sure.
    I love knitting! But I also love reading your blog about knitting, looking at Ravelry to see what others are knitting, and even watching the occasional episode of knitting tee-vee (yes, Virginia, there is such an animal). I like cooking! But even better to read a good cookbook, and best of all watching others cook on the tee-vee! The labor involved in all hand-wrought works completely justifies its ancillary pleasures. I wonder if the Spirit of Denim (withheld from the light of day for so long) could be accountable for all this contemplation…

  12. That sweater put me on to my first BSJ of many. I have never minded the seams, and when you did this I was still afraid of I-cord, but I’ve gotten over that too.

    Can’t wait to hear about the contest!

    Stephanie

  13. Well I can’t remember that BSJ!

    Totally the opposite to you (as you know very well), I knit to Have Something To Wear. Or for someone to wear. Perhaps because it’s always been a job, too. The knitting is a means to an end, enjoyable but not the reason I knit. Now – cooking – whilst I love the end result (eating), cooking is the thing I love doing just for the hell of doing it. Thankfully without i-cord. But if you want your turkey brining, your aubergines smoking, your sourdough baking…. X x

  14. PS, that pompom looks awesome. X

    • Belinda–I hear you about cooking. Often, I have found that it is like a prayer and a meditation. It can put me deep into thought and concentration.–Diane

  15. I just finished Puerperium – knit with Knit Picks Cotlin as I wanted a washable “summer” weight cardy for my friend’s baby due in May. It’s also more than newborn, so hopefully Baby G will be able to wear it until October. It was such a quick knit – just 3 evenings after work!

  16. Yes, process knitting! Once I inadvertently knit up an entire skein of fingering weight cashmere swatching to find the perfect pattern stitch.

    But sometimes knitting becomes a means to an end, and something huge and/or boring and/or complicates is so desirable that it’s worth the slog. Lately I’m obsessed with learning two-color brioche. So much fun! so many color-combo possibilities! Someday I will make Nancy Marchant’s Under Dutch Skies. Your* Birch(es) are to blame for this, ’cause they created the compulsion to knit a big, leafy shawl.

    *Just spent several minutes groping for the possessive plural of ‘you all’. Got nothin’ here.

    • Susan–How about: “Y’all’s” or “You all’s” or “All o’ y’all’s”? At least that’s how we would say it here down south–southern Westchester, that is. ;)

    • Isn’t “all of you all” the plural of “you all” ?

    • Go for the South Bronx version–youse all.

  17. Word! Whenever someone fusses at me – or gently inquires- about my finishing something they’ve seen me knitting , I remind them (I hope not peevishly) that I knit for fun, not for my job. My job has deadlines…my fun is for the un of it. Sometimes the fun gets stretched over a decade , y’know? That’s the point.

    • “My job has deadlines, my fun is for fun, that’s the point.” Ha, love it! Can I borrow that?

  18. I have neither BSJ nor pompoms nor Puerperium (and have yet to tackle i-cord seams) but I loved this post from the very funny get-go. Chloe

  19. Amen Kay! Say it Sistah!

    I love the process of knitting, the excitement of finding a new project or technique. I love how so many geometric (or otherwise) patterns can be translated into knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery (including needlepoint). These things can fire the imagination and boost the spirit. I also enjoy so much visiting MDK. You and Ann have created something special, something that holds a special place in my heart.

    Continue on!

    LoveDiane

    P.S.–I went to the MDK search box and found two previous posts that show your bsj. They are:
    –“Weekend Devotion” from 12/04/05
    –“I’ve Come Over All Tutorial” from 02/12/08

  20. I LOVE Puerperium. One of the cutest little things I’ve ever seen. Your denim BSJ is so denim-y. And, thank you for making it “okay” to be a Process Knitter!

  21. “My husband & kids think the objective of knitting is the sweater. They don’t understand the objective of knitting is the knitting.” ~~ Knitting Fool tweet. I see a kindred spirit here.
    Thanks for making it okay to be a process person!

  22. I don’t like seams in garter stitch either but my set-aside-sweater story is a lovely cables Aran. I’d include a picture if I could only find it.

  23. The other night I started gathering up the thing that only need a bit of this or a smidge of that and put them all in one back. It was shocking!

  24. I think we are knitting on the same wavelength–Quatrature last month and Puerperium now. I’m knitting for a new grandson and really love having a reason to make baby things. Thanks for sharing your found object. I think of them as the other FO.