Sometimes knitting is my crutch. I use it to zone out, to shift my focus, to deal with loss and pain. My father died in March and knitting helped me cope in ways I never imaged. The day after my father was placed in hospice care I went online and ordered myself several skeins of Madeline Tosh DK in neon peach. I splurged. I needed a distraction project and the Union Station cardigan was it.
In the last weeks of my father’s life, knitting this cardigan was sometimes the only thing that kept me together. It calmed me when my heart ached overwhelming. It distracted me when friends came over to give their condolences. Instead of asking me how I was holding up (horribly), they’d ask what I was making or how and when I started knitting. It gave me an out when I didn’t want to talk at all. Even wearing it brings me comfort. It’s so weird but it does.
I’ve been having a hard time dealing with Father’s Day coming up. Everyone tells you that the first year after someone you love dies is the hardest. All the firsts hit you. Honestly, every day hits me. Every email about Father’s Day gifts, every Facebook post, tweet…they all make me miss my Dad so much. So I’ve been digging through my stash of yarn and am trying to cope the best way I know how – knitting. My Dad thought it was cool that I knit and loved my hats and blanket I made for him, so I’m just going to focus on doing something that makes it hurt a little less when I think of him. And maybe I’ll go to Ben’s Chili Bowl and have a half smoke in his honor on Father’s Day.
I said I would use my new blog to talk about the things that bring me joy and my dog Cher is at the top of that list. Allow me to introduce you to Cher, a 10 (almost 11) year old chihuahua pug mix that my husband and I adopted in 2013 the day before Thanksgiving. I figure I should write about her because she’s probably going to be featured heavily here since she brings such great joy to my life and she’s always tangled up in my knitting.
At the ripe old age of 9 1/2 I saw her face on the Hart Animal Rescue site and I knew she was my dog. I have never had a dog before and I do not know if I will ever love another dog as much but man this little 15 pound ball of fur has stolen my heart. A lot of people talk about wanting a dog, especially a puppy and I love to tell them the joys of adopting a senior. Although Cher is almost 11, she is still full of great energy, spunk and just a touch of sass. Every evening when I come home she runs like a mad woman with her tailing spinning in circles, waiting for me to give her a belly rub and a baby carrot (her favorite treat). And because Cher was older she wasn’t in the horrible puppy phase. She’s never chewed up anything, was house broken and crate trained – although at this age we just let her roam free during the day. Which means she sits in the window most of the day waiting for us to come home.
I don’t know a great deal about her history, other than she was in 3 different shelters over 3 years until the rescue group picked her up. Three months later I found her.
If I am knitting she is either in my lap or very close by. My husband laughs when he comes downstairs and sees me knitting on the couch and Cher is on the back of the couch propped up against my back taking a nap. We soothe each other. And she has made me appreciate the outdoors and taking long walks – she loves a long walk in my neighborhood. She’s a pretty great companion.
So this is my Cher. If you want to see more of her I always feature her on my Instagram account and you can find her with the hashtag #Cherstagrams.
I told myself I needed to buckle down and finish this and I did! I needed a summer white short sleeved cardigan to wear with sleeveless dresses and the Go to Market cardigan was on my list but I didn’t want to do the peplum in a garter stitch pattern. So I didn’t!
That’s one of the things I love about knitting, once you get a few of the basics down you can modify a pattern to your liking. I don’t do a lot of modifications but I liked the top construction of this cardigan and wanted a nice long simple cardigan. I keep referring to it as clean (even though I know my dog’s hair is woven all through this fabric) but that’s really the best description. I also liked the little bit of short row shaping on the sleeves to give it a cap. I’ve never done short row shaping on a sleeve but I like it! Sweater knitting has truly become an obsession with me over the last year.
I also kept it clean and simple but using clear buttons, they have a touch of glitter on them but otherwise they disappear into the sweater. I’ve got some gorgeous blown glass buttons that I will use on something special one day but this really called for nice and simple with this bright white. I also highly recommend this yarn, Valley Yarns Goshen. It’s a cotton, modal and silk blend that drapes so nicely and has a nice light weight to it. Absolutely perfect for summer items or an all year sweater when wool gets too hot. I already cast on something new (another cardigan) but for someone special. I’ll share that once it has been completed and gifted.
Anyone reading have a favorite sweater pattern? Please share, I’m always looking for more to add to my library!