Spring Resurrection

Bet you never thought you’d see this again, did you? I bought the yarn LAST March, at Article Pract in Oakland on last year’s spring break, started knitting this in June, finished knitting it in July and experienced a soul-crushing grafting fail, shelved it for August while I worked on a shawl for my friends’ wedding, picked it back up in September and almost finished all the damn grafting and seaming, but once colder weather came here to stay I just couldn’t make myself care about it anymore. It sat on the “naughty” pile all winter, and just about a week ago I picked it up again. All I had left was one small seam and a million billion ends to weave in, so I resolved to spend about 20 minutes a day on it, and like magic, this morning I found myself finished!

This is the sort of garment that makes you want to prance around; it’s pretty woodsprite-core. But then again, so am I. One of the things I try to do with my knitting is make things that I couldn’t possibly find in a store, and this project — Nadine, from French Girl Knits — fits that bill perfectly. The yarn and texture are just fantastic:

Most people on Ravelry who have made this have flipped the leaf-lace panels you see here so that the knit side is facing out, but I decided I liked the bumpy texture of the purl side and the contrast it makes with the knit front and back panels, so I followed the pattern the way it was written. My one modification was shortening the straps; when I pinned the straps in place I found that they were too long, so I ripped out about two inches off the top of each of them before seaming them to the back panel. The yarn, Bee Sweet Bambino, is a loosely-plied mix of soft cotton strands and bamboo strands, which gives it a really rustic look.

Here’s a long shot where you can see the whole thing pretty well:

What you perhaps can’t see here is the fear in my eyes — I’m doing my best to smile, but that picturesque bush next to me is swarming with bees, which I am allergic to. 😦

Ultimately I am very happy with the finished product — it fits perfectly (I made the 40″ size, for zero ease), and it looks cute, and I can wear it to all my music festivals & Burning Man events. But if you want my completely honest opinion, you probably shouldn’t bother with this. The knitting was easy enough, but the finishing was seriously, SERIOUSLY horrifying. There are FOUR 80+ stitch kitchener-stitch grafts, each of which took me at least an hour and a half to complete, and for most of them you have to pick up 80+ stitches on one side or the other before you can even begin. At the very end of the pattern, after you’ve done all your grafting and seaming and crochet-edging (and incidentally, the pattern doesn’t tell you to edge the neck and back in crochet, but in the pictures in the book you can clearly see that this has been done), Kristeen expects you to pick up 200 stitches around the bottom and purl 1 round and then bind off, as a tiny little hem. Here’s how I felt about that:

Aww, who can stay mad at a pattern that comes out so cute? I just ignored that instruction and crocheted around the bottom too; there was no way I was going through ANY more hassle with this thing.

Fortunately, my Audrey in Unst cardigan falls on the complete opposite side of the hassle-spectrum:

Knit bottom-up all in one piece — no seaming at all! One whole arm is done; now I just have to knit the other one. And the button bands, and the neck edging. This should be done pretty soon!

In further spring news, I got my plants little stands this week so that they can get more sun — here is the whole happy family:

See? I told you that you wouldn’t be able to see any flowers on these things in a longer shot. But soon, soon there ought to be more. I’m hoping that the creeping plant will creep up and over the edge of the balcony; I think that would be pretty cool.

2 thoughts on “Spring Resurrection

  1. Saw your wonderful COMPLETED Nadine on Ravely and followed you to your blog.

    I’m just finishing up the back panel now. I have been complaining about one thing or the other most of the way through. But you’re inspiring me to go forward in the face of frequent frustration.

    Now, about those wraps (or not) on the turning rows….

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