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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Knitting Pattern: Umskipti (Fingerless Mitts)

According to the Internet, "umskipti" is the icelandic word for transition. I liked that as a name for this project because it evokes the transitions between the elements of this pattern (eyelet rounds, twisted rib, stockinette, and garter stitch) but also because it's the first pattern I've ever sat down and designed, knit, and recorded, which marks a transition of my own - into the realm of knitting design.

I've wanted to start designing patterns for a while now.  I've been knitting for years and I think I have a pretty good grasp of the art.

I wanted to start with something small that would be easy to work out, easy to share, and easy to knit.  I thought a cozy, bulky pair of fingerless mitts would be a great place to start.

This pattern has three of my favourite elements in knitting - eyelet rounds, twisted rib, and garter borders.  I love how twisted rib seems to pop so much more than a regular rib, and I think eyelet rounds add a touch of whimsy to items that might otherwise come off a little utilitarian. Garter borders just look clean and cozy at the same time.  I wanted all these things, and I wanted something that would be super comfy.

I had one almost complete ball of Álafoss Lopi by Ístex (89.5 grams of a 100g ball), and I figured out that should be just enough for a cozy set of fingerless mitts that I could wear at work (it gets chilly in that call centre).

Alafoss Lopi in Golden Heather

I'm beyond happy with the result.  I think the mitts are absolutely adorable, and I love the chunky look that the bulky yarn gives it.  I'm glad I went with the eyelet rounds - it jazzes them up a bit, and I think the garter border around the fingers finishes the look really well.  The slight variations in the yarn colour are something I adore about this particular colourway.

Let me know if you like this pattern!

Needed:
Yarn:  I used one ball of Álafoss Lopi by Ístex, but any bulky/12ply yarn should do. This yarn is a little scratchy at first, but it softens up beautifully over time, and it is beyond warm. The colourway I used is Golden Heather (9964).
Needles: I used 6mm (US 10) circulars, but you could easily knit this on DPNs as well.
Techniques: knit, purl, knit 2 together, knit through the back loop, yarn over, knitting in the round.

The Pattern:

CO 20 stitches.  I used the backward loop cast on as it's what I was taught first and it tends to be my go-to.  If you prefer a sturdier cast on, feel free to CO in whatever style you prefer. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. Place a marker if you like, but the tail of the yarn is what I usually use for small projects like this. It's pretty obvious where you started.  If you need to adjust it for size, make sure to do so in multiples of 2 stitches.

Cuff:

Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl
Round 3: (yo, k2t) around
Round 4: purl
Round 5: knit

Begin twisted rib (ktbl, p)"
Knit in 1x1 twisted rib for 3.5-4". Mine was about 13 or 14 rounds.

Transition at wrist:
Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl
Round 3: (yo, k1, yo, k2t)x4, (yo, k2t) the rest of the round (Increase by 4 stitches to 24 stitches)
Round 4: purl

Hand:
Knit 3 rounds
To create the hole for the thumb, switch to knitting flat. Purl back, with the wrong side facing you, and then knit stockinette for 6 rows, creating a gap for the thumb.

When you come back on the 6th row, which should be a knit row, join again at the thumb hole you created, and continue to knit in the round for 4 rounds.

Garter border at fingers:
Round 1: purl
Round 2: knit
Round 3: purl
Round 4: knit
Round 5: purl

BO loosely.  Too tight and you won't have room for your fingers to move around.

Thanks for knitting! I'd love to see other people's FOs of this, so make sure to do a project page on ravelry (if you're not on ravelry, why aren't you?!).

If you want to sell your FOs from this pattern, feel free to do so (obviously not an industrial scale).

This pattern is also on ravelry.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Letting In

The first time I was in love, it was a situation in which I developed strong and honest feelings over the course of the year and a half I was with my first boyfriend.  In the same time frame, I fell hard and fast for one of my best friend.  (Obviously, neither of those relationships worked out.)

Next time I fell in love, it was a little faster, and started out with all the fuzzy crush feelings, was interupted by a break-up and a year apart, before spending another year giving it a second go. After that ended catastrophically, I told myself I'd never get back together with an ex.

The next time, it was another one of those slow building loves that was messily truncated by the ridiculously passionate feelings that I felt immediately for my most recent ex.

It was never difficult or scary to fall for the next person in line, until this time.  Maybe that's because every time up until now, I have been the one doing the leavig.  Fed up, or on to something new.  Every time I fell in love again, it was fun and exciting and something new to look forward to. And then The Breakup happened last year, and I was more heartbroken than I had ever been.  Despite being in love many times,with different people, I had never been in love like that.  I don't think that makes the other times less real - just different.

Being the romantic that I am - which is just a ncie way of saying co-dependant, I think - I've gone and done it again, but I have never fallen in love like this before, either.  This has been the scariest Fall my heart has ever experienced.

Suddenly, I know what it's like to be the people I walked away from.  That was something that broke my heart in it's own, side-bar way when my ex first left me last year - knowing that this was what I had made people that I cared about feel.  It was an awful realization, and one I am still learning to forgive myself for.

Aside from a taste of it when I was sixteen and in love with my best friend, this has been the first time I've really experienced a true heartbreak, and falling in love again has been the scariest thing in the world - but also as easy as ever.  Easy in the sense that I just kind of blinked and realized it had happened, not easy to deal with.

It's difficult to realize that after spending a year slowly putting the pieces back together, I've taken my repaired little organ, somewhat deformed now from piecing it back together, and just handed it off to someone else.  "Here, this is precious to me, and I don't even think the glue has finished drying yet, so it's really very fragile right now.  But I'm going to trust you not to break it anyway."

And it's so strange that I've done that, because I've entrusted this person with this fragile piece of myself, and at the same time, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat and watching them hold it, tensing up every time their hands shift - I can see it crashing to the floor and breaking again.  But I've done it now, so all I can do is have faith, right?

I think this Letting In of new feelings is as important as Letting Go of the old ones.  Because, what good is repairing the heart if you're just going to put it in a glass box and never letting anybody near it?  I could have done that with the pieces and saved myself the effort of patching it back together.

And maybe it will get broken again, and I'll have to put it all back together again. And it will either be more fragile than ever, or sturdier for all the glue, tape, and staples it will take.  But I know myself, and the first thing I'm going to do if that hapens, is hand it off again, and hope the next person won't drop it.

Maybe this means I am a fool, because I keep on trusting.  But I can't imagine a life in which I kept my heart to myself.  It feels selfish.  I want someone to have it.  And I think that that is actually one of the healthiest things about me - I can't shake the hope that someone will truly treasure that precious little organ.


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Letting Go

Last week I finally hit the breaking point with my ex.  Those of you who followed me over here from my old blog and/or my catharthis blog will know that this has been a long time coming.  Considering he dumped me almost eighteen months ago now, I should have hit this point a long time ago, I know.

I'm actually really angry.  Angrier than I have been in a long time.  And not just angry at him.  I'm angry at myself for letting it get to this point.  I'm angry at my mother for sewing such co-dependent traits in me.  And I'm angry at him for hurting me - there is no way I'm letting him off the hook for this one.

I'm not going to go into detail here about what the last straw was, but suffice it to say that hypocrisy is alive and well on Planet Ex, and it just broke the damn camel's back.

This post isn't about that, though, although that is the precipitating factor.  This post is about the process of "Letting Go".

"Letting Go" is one of those things you hear a lot about in self-help lessons and internet forums about being dumped.  And to an extent, I think a lot of what you hear about "Letting Go" is a lot of bullshit, but there is some merit to the idea.

For me, I had to learn to Let Go of a lot of things, all at once. 

I had a lot of plans wrapped up in that relationship - I was going to get married and have babies and a whole future with him.  So there's a big chunk of my future I had to Let Go of.  I had to Let Go of the financial stability that comes with having a partner that you're sharing the costs with (in a way that roommates just don't).  I had to Let Go of the family I thought I had gained through our relationship, the friends who showed their true colours when I responded to the breakup by plunging into the worst bout of depression I have ever experienced, and the constant comfort of someone to hold me to sleep every night.  I had to Let Go of the person I thought had become my best friend, and I had to Let Go of the trust I had placed in him.

All of that was scary, but it was only half of the story.  All those positive things I had to Let Go of went hand in hand with other things that I had to Let Go of in order to move on.  Like co-dependancy; I had to let go of that (I'm still learning to Let Go of that).  I had to Let Go of the pain that kept me attached to him, because at least it was something he was still feeding.  I had to Let Go of the belief that I deserved to be treated the way he did, and that he was always right and I was always wrong.  I had to Let Go of the belief that he was the only person who would ever love me, and the belief that I would never love myself.

The whole process is terrifying.  And I haven't finished it yet.  I didn't Let Go.  I held on for so long.  I continued to pour my energy into a relationship with a man who continued to lie to me and do things that hurt me without feeling any remorse because it was his life, and if I wanted to be his friend, I should respect his choices - never mind that if he wanted to be my friend, he should be considerate of my feelings, as friends just should be.  I refused to take that last shred of my heart that he held between his teeth and chewed on from time to time.  I held on so furiously, because if I didn't, then all the effort, and all the pain, and all the tears and screams and dreams and hopes and love would have been for nothing.

I had to finally learn that Letting Go isn't always the same as Giving Up, and even when it is, Giving Up isn't always the same as Failing.

A week ago, I finally Let Go, and I did Give Up; I Gave Up wasting my time on someone who didn't deserve it, someone who never bothered to waste his time on me.  I Gave Up on him, but in the process, I stopped Giving Up on myself.

The next step will be to Let Go of the anger.  I learned with my father that staying angry means they remain in control of you.  I do not want him to have any control over me any longer, and that involves Letting Go of my anger towards him and towards myself.  That's the next step I have to take, and it is the hardest one that I will take, because it always feels like anger makes you strong.  But what it really does is hollow you out, and fill you with rot.  I'm done letting other people turn me into something I'm not.

I'm Letting Go.