Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Final FO of 2005

I can't believe I haven't shown this already, regardless of it's buttonless status.

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Pattern: Cardigan in Alpaca with Glitter I think size S

Yarn: Cashsoft, 9 balls

Needles: Addi Turbo, size 4, 6 and 7,

Modifications: I made the sleeves a little longer, I love me a long sleeve that doubles as fingerless gloves. On the collar they tell you to knit 2cm then increase evenly along the row. No matter how carefully I worked the increases, or which increase I used, I still have a very visible bumpy row right where the collar curled. I eliminated that problem by switching to the size 6 needles instead of increasing at that point. I achieved the desired result the increases were meant to create without the bumpy row.

Review: Oh this yarn is so pretty. It might be a touch too drapey for this pattern but I love it anyways. I put this on right after I took pictures of the corset and the difference between the cloud-soft cashsoft, and the slightly-itchy alpaca is amazing. I never want to wear anything else.

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Can I once again publically declare my love of cables? I think they look so complicated and skilled while being such an easy stitch.

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Overall I thought the pattern was very simple despite appearing complicated at first. I've got a few other Garn Studios patterns I would like to try. And if given the chance I would love to work with Cashsoft in the future.

Happy New Year everyone! I've heard that what you do on New Year's Day is what you will do all year. I'll be knitting.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alpaca is a little itchy, who knew?

I've finally finished the much talked about corset.

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Meaty needed in the picture.

Pattern: Silk Ribbed Corset, size S

Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk in Cornflower, 9 balls

Needles: Addi Turbo, circular size 6

Modifications: I skipped the crochet edging. I seamed the front together instead of adding twenty million buttons, there was too much potential for gaping from all those buttons. I hope to someday find buttons I like and sew them where they should go, but in the meantime I have a perfectly wearable sweater. I added an extra repeat of chart D to lengthen the sweater. And I added sleeves. I'll give instructions for the sleeves at the end.

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Review: I really love this sweater. The Andean Silk is entirely too heavy a yarn to make a tank top as this is meant to be, but it is perfect for a long sleeved sweater. I was surprised when I put the sweater on and discover it is a bit itchy. There was no hint of itch potential when I was knitting this sweater. Hopefully a soak in some conditioner will help. The Andean silk did knit like a dream. I think it displayed the front ribbed detail nicely, as well as holding the lace pattern on the edges.

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Overall I am very happy with this sweater, I actually wore it out in public today (unlike Mariposa which has never seen the outside of my closet). It even looks good from the back.

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I will definitely be making a lighter sleeveless summer version at some point in my knitting career.

How I added Sleeves: I did this months ago, but this is what I remember. And I'm not a pattern writer, so bear with me. Instead of using the i-cord bind off I put those stitches on waste yarn. Then instead of using an i-cord cast for the bottom of the armscye I used a provisional cast on. Once I completed the body of the sweater I picked up those stitches. I also picked up three stitches between the upperhalf of the arm and the lower half. That part of the sweater had stretched from repeated trying on of the sweater and I thought it needed more stitches there so the arms would be comfortable.

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So on the needles I had 26 stitches (from the upper arm), 3 stitches (that I picked up just because), 25 stitches (from the provisional cast on, you always end up with one less stitch) and 3 stitches (again picked up just because) for a total of 57 stitches. I wanted to use Chart B for the arm keeping in pattern the ribbed pattern already established on the upper half of the arm (I figured it didn't matter if it didn't match up on the under half of the arm). I attached my yarn in the middle of the under arm. I had to knit a few stitches together to get the right number of stitches to remain in the rib pattern.

Round One: I figured out where to begin the rib pattern to it would match up with the upper half of the yarn and I knit one entire round.

Row Two: Keeping in pattern, I knit half the stitches plus 5. I then wrapped the next stitch and turned the work.

Row Three: I knit ten stitches, then I wrapped the next stitch and turned the work.

Row Four: I knit ten stitches, picked up the wrap and knit it with that stitch, I then wrapped the next stitch.

Row Five: I knit eleven stitches, picked up the wrap and knit it with that stitch, I then wrapped the next stitch.

I continued to build the sleeve cap in that manner, knitting the wrapped stitch and wrapping the next stitch. If you have any questions feel free to let me know. I learned this theory of sleeve crafting from the Hopeful pattern.

I wrapped and turn until there were ten un-knit stitches at the bottom of the armscye. I then in pattern knit the entire row and continued to knit in the round until the sleeve was the desired length. I then used the i-cord bind-off the finish the sleeve. The i-cord bind-off naturally pulls the ribbing apart and creates a bell sleeve at the end.

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Now you too can go forth and add sleeves to sweaters and feel very clever in your results.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Close enough

Hooray to Kimberly for recognizing the Corset. It is still damp, so today I'll present a different FO. Plus I've got the flu, I'm not modeling anything. I did manage to finish my two new red sleeves while I was laying around yesterday. But today isn't about red sleeves, it's about a pretty little cardigan.

Buttons be damned. I'm calling this puppy done.

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Pattern: Sirdar Double Knitting Cardigan #1518, purchased at a LYS. Size 1-2 years

Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly, 3 balls

Needles: US 6 straights and US 3 straights

Modifications: surprisingly none, I knit this as written

Review: I just loved this pattern. I knit it months ago and have been searching for buttons ever since. As you can see I still don't have buttons, but I'm crediting this as a 2005 knit. The yarn was acrylic, but very very soft. It was my first foray into dk yarn and I loved how it looked. I like the subtle flecks of purple on the white. Being acrylic there was no real blocking, but I think it turned out alright.

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This was my first big cabling project, and I found cables to be big fun, so much fun I went on to knit the blue afghan.

Upon initial completion Bird wasn't so sure about this sweater.

No, No, Nooooooo

I think she has since reconsidered her position concerning the wearability of this sweater.

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I'm toying with the idea of making a matching one for Pork Chop and then a solid blue that compliments the purple for Meaty. Then I can dress them all alike and parade them around town, and take their pictures and blackmail them with said pictures when they are older. I'm just doing what any good mother would do right?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Diverting my attention

All these half-finished projects are starting to bother my conscience. I wonder if they're lonely. I wonder if they feel sad and abandoned. I wonder if those phantom cries that wake me up in the middle of the night come from my knitting basket. I don't want my yarn to feel unloved. So yesterday I ignored all my new beautiful new yarns, despite the fact that they were calling my name all day long. I turned my attention to a long ignored project that was mere inches from completion. In just an hour it was knit, seamed, and ends were woven in. It is now blocking.

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Finished objects coming soon.

Although I think my new alpaca is lonely. And my blue yarn is feeling unloved.

Monday, December 26, 2005

My knitting basket runeth over

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We had a frenzied two days of opening presents. It was wonderful. I may have to throw out every toy they already own to make room for all of the new loot.

It actually all began on Thursday when my Mom came to visit. As she was putting her coat on she told Meaty that there are presents at her house for him. He was very excited and demanded that we immediately go to her house to get them. I told him that we could go on Sunday and open his presents. We argued for a few moments before he conceded defeat. He then demanded "Gammy, go get my peasants and bring them to me." She almost did it, only a person with a heart of stone can resist my son. Luckily my heart is granite. Much to his great disappointment there was no bringing of presents that day. But the idea of present was planted in his mind. All he could think about was "peasants."

On Saturday Prince Meaty was up at the crack of dawn ready to go get his peasants. We went to see my In-Laws that day. During the drive I re-cast on for the red sweater. I've decided to begin with my personal adversary: the sleeves.

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Once we arrived, we played with cousins
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We opened presents, fed ducks, and had a good time. Then we cleaned up and his extended family came over. There was food and laughter and more presents. Highlights from that day include my little pink drill, The Greatest's Michigan flag and this

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I got 10 ounces of alpaca. It came from an alpaca farm that is literally five minutes from my in-laws. It is un-dyed. That brown is the natural brown of the alpaca. We went to their website and we think we know which alpaca it came from. It is impossibly soft and wonderful. As you can see I've already balled one hank and begun knitting a test swatch. It knits beautifully and has a nice drape. I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet, it must be wonderful. I think it would be nice for a lacy shawl, or maybe a scarf. I'm kicking a few ideas around in my mind.

Then the next morning the children woke up to this.

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Pork Chop received her much coveted Cinderella Castle. Meaty's favorite gift was his huge fire engine. It really is fortunate that Santa brought him a fire engine, as the castle has caught fire four times. Bird was just happy ripping paper off packages, but she does seem to enjoy her new chair.

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Everytime the commercial for this chair came on she would watch and laugh. When she opened her present she seemed unimpressed with the colorful box. But then I put her chair together. She sat in it, put her hands in her lap and then just looked around for a moment. She then threw her head back and just laughed and laughed and laughed. I think she likes it.

There were even a few goodies under the tree for me.

I got these

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I've always wanted a pair of boots like this. They are so comfy and fit surprisingly well for shoes I didn't get to try on before buying. I just love them.

I also got this

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It is a beautiful shade of blue/gray, like the perfect summer sky before the storm. The Greatest did good didn't he.

But the fun wasn't over yet. We then went to my Parents house where there were more cousins, presents, and cookies strategically placed near the edge of the counter where little hands could grab them without adult intervention. (the ham was also near the edge of the counter, for some reason they didn't abuse their ham privileges the way they abused the chocolate.)

The "kids" (aka The Greatest) also got me a foot spa. Last night after the kids went to bed I sat on the couch with my foot spa and cast on for this

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I may or may not change the border lace, but for now I really like how the center panel is turning out.

Lest you think The Greatest went unloved. He received clothes, tools, a computer game, a curl bar, and (I think this was his favorite gift) a coffee grinder. He spent the evening laughing and playing Burnout Revenge (also new) while I was happily knitting. He is now busily brushing his teeth with his new Sonicare toothbrush. I think he had a nice time as well.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Spreading the Christmas Spirit

Oh, I know you thought I was gone, or drunk on eggnog (watch yourself candsmom I know where you knit). But I've been hiding here, plotting my next move.

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This tree is so blinding with literally a million lights they haven't noticed me here by the Santa Bell. (Seriously there are a million lights. I've counted every stinkin' light. How else do you think I've occupied myself sitting up here)

I've been working my special brand of evil in quiet ways. Taking apart her socks and re-casting them in a smaller size so they wouldn't fit. Manipulating button holes so no button on earth would pass through properly, they are all either too large or too small. She's now searching for that holy grail of buttons. Like the real chalice, it doesn't exist.

But my most beautiful display of treachery is the havoc I have visited upon her latest sweater. She should have realized it was knitting too beautifully. I was helping her knit, that's why it was knitting so quickly. But my version of helping greatly differs from the accepted definition. She finished the back, both of the sleeves and half the front. She laid them out this morning to take pictures. The body is looking good.

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But imagine her shock and horror as she laid out her sleeves and discovered this.

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There was much swearing about a faulty row counter. A few tears. Then some muttering about "fucking Boyd" as she frogged the sweater.

She is currently tearing the basement apart looking for me.

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*insert evil laugh here* It will be hours before she returns to her yarn. She never looks in the most obvious places.

Lest you think I am completely without a heart. Here is some Christmas Joy.

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Merry Christmas to you and your family.



Thursday, December 22, 2005

Our Anniversary

Today is our eight year wedding anniversary.

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Please forgive the photo of the photo but we were married in the dark ages before everyone had a digital camera, so a photo of an old photo is the best I've got this morning.

I fell in love with The Greatest the moment I met him. Who could resist this handsome face?

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I would have run away with him that night if he had but asked me. It took him two months to get around to asking me, and two more months to get around to actually marrying me. I wonder what took him so long.

It hasn't always been easy, ours is not a perfect marriage, but it is a perfect love. He is my best friend. He gets me, he really gets me. I'm free to be myself, all parts of myself, even the mean, ugly, or crazy parts of myself. I've felt this way since the moment I met him. And I hope he feels the same freedom. That's why we don't have a perfect marriage. All that freedom means we are also free to disagree. A freedom we sometimes abuse, but we work very hard to reach a compromise. I love this man in a way I can not imagine loving another human being.

Happy anniversary baby.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I must be doing something wrong.

This red sweater is coming together entirely too easily. This is just too effortless for something I'm not even sure I want to make. I finished the front, or was it the back, I can't tell which it is since they are both the same, anyways I finished it in a day. Yesterday I made this

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It's a sleeve, just in case you couldn't tell. Since the front and back are exactly the same, and the sleeves are exactly the same I now know roughly how much yarn I'll need to finish the sweater. I'm going to have enough to make this sweater if I want to.

If I keep this pace up I'll have the other sleeve done today, the other front/back done tomorrow and the collar done Friday. I could be blocked by Christmas.

But I'm not sure I want to. I'm not fully committed to this project. But this sweater is easy and mindless. I think I'm going to end up making this sweater because I don't have any better ideas right now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hiding from my knitting

Since my failure to find buttons, and my recent explosion of frogging I have felt rather un-motivated to knit.

I ought to find a new pattern for The Greatest's socks, or just knit him a simple rib sock. He was just saying this morning how much warmer the sock I knit him were compared to his other dress socks. But the love is gone for this project.

I've started knitting this

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I'm using my Merino Style formerly known as Hopeful. I've eliminated the cables, I think they merely make the sweater look lumpy. The endless stockingnette is actually comforting. It is rather nice to make something square and mindless. I've got the back done, or maybe its the front, they're the same either way.

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I'm not entirely motivated to do this sweater because
  • I'm not sure it's entirely what I want. Sure it's got the neck I want, and the bell sleeves, but otherwise I'm not sure about it.
  • I'm not sure I even have enough of this yarn to knit the sweater. I'm keeping my tails very short.

So this morning instead of knitting Bird and I made playdough.

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We were going along just fine until the kid radar kicked in. That internal monitor they all have that lets them know when one child is having more fun than the other children, thus requiring their immediate intervention. Subsequently the red playdough was a bit burnt. I'm not sure I'll ever get the smell out of the curtains, but otherwise it was all moldable fun.

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We used kool-aid to color the play dough. I think it came out beautifully.

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I'm very tempted to place an order at Knitpicks for some dye-your-own-something-or-other just to try my hand at kool-aid dyeing. It would occupy me while I'm avoiding my knitting.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Swimming in the frog pond

Come on in! The water's fine!

Sure I was at the gates of the promised land. Only a few buttons from Finished Objects. But my papers weren't in order, I was missing a stamp on my passport. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. Yet still they wouldn't let me in. I was turned away, alone and unloved, with my heart on my sleeve and my yarn in my hands. What I glimpsed through the bars looked wonderful. I'll have to try again next week.

So I turned my attention to a forlorn forgotten project, The Greatest's Jaywalker socks. They're brown, they're manly, and they're knit on an impossibly small gauge. I got this much done.

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Did you catch that? Seven inches. I was in the home stretch to the heel turn, where the sock becomes exciting, before the monotony of the foot body. I decided to have The Greatest try them on to see if the diagonal pattern caused the fabric to pull in a strange way, like a skirt cut on a bad bias. Just wanted to make sure the design was inherently wearable. He pulled it on his foot and loved how tight it felt, very fitted, then he was unable to get it around his heel. It is too small. Seven inches of too small. Fate can be so cruel sometimes. So now his Jaywalker sock look like this.

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Two crinkly brown balls, just reeking of wasted potential.

And since I was busy frogging and kinda reveling in its destructive nature, the awesome power of erasing things from existence I did this

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to this

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Yes, Hopeful is no more. May she rest in peace.

I'm sure Boyd is around here somewhere. Stupid little blue needle. He's probably giggling with glee. When things go this badly it is always the work of Boyd.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Why I will always be a ghetto knitter

I unpinned my cardigan today. It is so soft. Blocking has performed some sort of complex magic upon it. It has transformed my sweater in a way blocking has only done once before *cough Adams shawl* The purl stitches around the cables no longer pull in. The cables really pop. The stockinette at the top is flat and beautiful. I spent at least ten minutes hiding from the children just petting it. On my bed it was lovely. On me, it's another story.

I have decided that there are a few issues with this sweater. I'm not going to list them. If you can't see them then I'm not going to point them out. I'm just not as excited as I thought I'd be. Maybe I just need some buttons.

Here's my point. If I had done this with simply soft I would probably be thrilled with it. So what if it's not perfect. I knit the entire thing for eight dollars. It's close enough to perfect. But with this sweater, with this yarn, I want it perfect, not just close enough. The yarn is perfect, I want everything else to be worthy of the yarn, the pattern must be perfect, the knitting must be perfect, the finishing must be perfect, and the final results must be perfect. It's too much pressure.

So I guess it's back to the ghetto for me, where close enough is good enough.

We don't need no stinkin' crosswalks

With my cardigan safely blocking I have turned my attention to The Greatest's Jaywalker socks. I should bite the bullet and finish my corset, but hey, I've always like to live life on the edge. Plus the poor guy deserves something for all he does for me. And since we all know Evil is never going to surface from my pile of UFOs (unfinished objects), the very least I can do is knit him a pair of socks. I think they're coming along swimmingly.

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I like the stitch detail.

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I haven't tried them on, but I should because I'm wondering if the diagonal stitches will pull. We'll see. So far The Greatest loves them. Or he's lying and saying he loves them because he loves me. I'm cool with it either way.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ghetto Knittin'

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Why yes, yes it is. It's my Alpaca Cardigan with Glitter that contains neither alpaca nor glitter blocking on a garbage bag. Despite my lack of buttons I have bravely forged ahead and finished the neckline, seamed, and am currently blocking this puppy. Isn't she pretty? The quest for buttons continues.

On a different note: from time to time there are movements that sweep blogs like viruses. Certain patterns that everyone must knit, or yarn everyone must buy, or memes everyone is dying to answer. I'm joining one such movement.

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Candsmom and Olga have begun a moveoment of proud Ghetto Knitters. Come on. Most of us learned to knit of Boye needles with Red Heart. Admit it. It's nothing to be ashamed of. And although I am learning the beauty of other fibers Acrylic still has a valuable place in the world. Come out of the closet and proudly brandish those hot pink aluminum needles. I know, I know, my Alpaca Cardigan with Glitter had neither alpaca nor glitter, it had cashmere. But I'm blocking it on garbage bags, that should count for something. I still remember my roots and visit for the holidays. Everything I knit for my children is acrylic bought at Wal-Mart as a rule. If I've got high end yarn I got it in a huge ass cone on e-bay, or from Knitpicks, which barely counts as high end. Let's not forget the Cashsoft was a guilt gift for Greasefest 2005. I'm still Ghetto at heart. So Ghetto Knitters of the world unite. Can I get an "Amen"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Button, Button,

Who's got the button?

After two hours and four stores? Not freakin' me.

I'm almost done knitting the Alpaca Cardigan with Glitter, which as we all know I'm knitting in Cashsoft not Alpaca. I love it. It's wonderful. I've re-done the collar four times because I want it to be right, I'm that anal about this sweater. It's a cardigan which needs buttons.

I've finished knitting Bird's Cable Cardigan months ago. It's seamed, blocked, loose ends woven in. It should be done. But it's a cardigan which needs buttons.

I should be done with my silk corset, which is actually knit in alpaca not silk (technically it's an alpaca silk blend, but you get what I mean, I'm a subber). I only need two inches on one sleeve and I'm done knitting. But it's a cardigan which needs buttons. Twenty four freakin' buttons.

And no one in town has anything suitable. Either they're too purple, or too blue, or too tacky, or too sparkly, or not sparkly enough, or my favorite: perfect but too big to go in the button holes. I don't even know what I'm looking for, but I'll know it when I see it, and I didn't see it yesterday.

I know I could try to find some on-line, but I don't trust the color pictures on the monitor, and the color must be perfect. I worked too hard to have ugly buttons.

I must confess that I'm a little afraid that Bird will outgrow her cardigan before I get buttons.

I would switch to knitting pullovers only, but I prefer cardigan. Stupid button needing cardigans.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I think I'm on to something

Just look at this sweet baby.

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With such sweet little feet.

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How do you keep such a sweet baby from becoming spoiled?

Simply store her in the fridge when not in use.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

I spy with my little eye

What's this I see?

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Why it is a completed sleeve! No, wait...

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It's two completed sleeves. No wait...

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It's a sweater with sleeves.

I would like to personally thank Kimberly for being the scary I mean motivating drill sargent to keep me going when the going got tough. Just the neckline, blocking and buttons, and I'm gonna look fabulous (I've already woven in most of the ends, how's that for motivated?). Let's not mention Bird's sweater that has been done since mid-summer and is merely waiting for buttons, not to mention the corset that needs buttons. I'm gonna spend an entire weekend just sewing on buttons. Hey, there's my hold trinity of finished objects, the cardigan, the corset, and Bird's sweater! FO land, Here I Come!