Dude, Where’s My Cardigan?: Husband’s 2012 Christmas Gift Progress Report

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
Making good on your promises to those you love
even when life gets weird.


We’ve got loads of reasons for leaving business unfinished. Like, there are some things that you don’t finish out of a crippling perfectionism — the kind that tells you that if a thing won’t be perfect, it isn’t worth finishing. Or there are some things you don’t do because you’re really busy and they’re not as high on your priority list. And then, of course, there are the things you leave unfinished out of sheer laziness. All can be shame-inducing.

But there’s a special kind of shame reserved for when you’ve promised to make something for a loved one for a special occasion that you had every intention of finishing on time for that occasion, but you don’t.

Such is the case with this cardigan I promised to my husband for Christmas. Christmas 2012.  It is now October 2017. Or, wait a minute — maybe I promised it to him for his birthday? Who knows, I can’t even remember. All I know is that I started making the thing five years ago and have promised to finish it every subsequent year, but life got weird. Weird how? Work stressed me me out. Work stressed him out. We were stressing each other out. Resentments festered. Etc.

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#FBF to that time in 2014 when I posted on Instagram about how I was making progress. Ha!

To make matters worse, this isn’t just any cardigan — it’s the “Dude” cardigan. Yep, the famed ’70s Pendleton worn by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski. An article of clothing I chose to DIY for my husband because he’s been a HUGE fan of the Coen brothers since he was a youth growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland with this crazy, far-fetched ambition to one day move to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry. Such was his love for the big screen. And the small screen. All the screens.

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#TBT to that time, in 2016, when I said I just might “actually be able to finish” it. Double ha!

With much hard work and persistence (on top of natural talent, of course), my amazing dude uprooted his life and moved halfway across the world to make his goal a reality. Even when life got weird.

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Image: The Big Lebowski | Gramercy Pictures

I, on the other hand, chickened out of my childhood career ambitions, moved a mere 30 miles from where I grew up, and I can’t even finish a lousy cardigan for the person I love most in the world.

Of course, I could continue using the “poetic” excuse of taking the same laissez-faire attitude while making this cardigan as the Dude himself took throughout the film. That is, “the Dude abides” unchanged as all hell breaks loose around him.

But, and I’m going to be super frank now, one of the biggest reasons I didn’t put in the time and effort to finish this cardigan for my husband was resentment. I was depressed and dissatisfied with my life. Consumed by a job that was only leading me farther away from where I wanted to be. He was busy with a career that was blowing up. And resentment manifests in all sorts of ways — like being unwilling to put in the extra effort at the end of a tiring day to make good on a promise years ago. And, in more ways than one, this cardigan seemed to epitomize his success and my (perceived) failure. Resentment makes us conjure up crazy symbolism like that.

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A month ago, it was two pieces of knit fabric. Now, it’s an actual vest! A wearable thing. Two sleeves and a collar away from done.

But no more. I hereby proclaim THIS to be the year. Not just for finally finishing this cardigan, but for making a greater commitment to finish what I start. To actively pursue and take responsibility for my own happiness. To love my loved ones like there is no tomorrow. Unconditionally. All of those things we know we should do but don’t — until tragic things happen in the world that remind us that tomorrow is never, and was never, guaranteed.

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The back.

So Los Angeles had better have a cold, cold winter this year, especially after the record-breaking heat we’ve had throughout the fall. Otherwise, my husband’s going to be sweating buckets wearing this thing on Christmas morning.

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This terrific knitting pattern can be found at andreaknits.com/dude.

Oh yeah, and I think it’s also fitting to announce that 10 years ago on this day, we got married inside a Toyota Prius in a drive-thru wedding ceremony in Vegas.

Here we are, driving down the aisle.

Love, American style.

And ordering. I think we had the dinner combo.

One wedding please, supersized.

Looking forward to 10 more years with my dude.

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Seamless Shawl Collar Cardigan With Faux Fair Isle (Duplicate Stitch)

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
grad school over (yay and boo), knitting instead of job searching,
duplicate stitch — the easiest knitting colorwork technique ever


After a long stretch of unbearable busy-ness with grad school, I’m relieved that it’s over (yay!) but now find myself with much more time on my hands (still yay!). However, I’m also in the midst of a stressful job search (boo) but truth be told, I’m hoping I don’t find one TOO soon as I’m really enjoying all of this newfound free time. And this seamless shawl collar cardigan is one of the fruits of my freedom.

Continue reading “Seamless Shawl Collar Cardigan With Faux Fair Isle (Duplicate Stitch)”

Seamless shawl collar cardigan

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After a long stretch of unbearable busy-ness with grad school, I now find myself with too much time on my hands. Currently in the midst of a job search, but truth be told, I enjoy my newfound freedom!

With so much time at my disposal, I knit this seamless raglan cardigan with very affordable (and surprisingly delightful) Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool. For the basic raglan pattern, I used Knitty’s Shapely Boyfriend, but with garter stitch edges and a shawl collar (instead of 2×2 rib). I didn’t taper the sleeves, as I wanted them to look slightly flared, ’70s style. I also wanted it to hang open, so I didn’t add buttons. I figured if I wanted a closed cardi look, a belt would do the trick. Since I was looking for a project with a load of brainless knitting that I could do while watching TV, all of the (self-designed) colorwork was embroidered on (using duplicate stitch) afterward. I had such great results with duplicate stitch in the past that I’ve planned a load of projects using it instead of stranded colorwork. If you haven’t done it yourself, give it a try. However, because you’re doubling up on yarn at the location of your colorwork, be aware that the area you embroider will be a bit stiffer than the rest of the piece, as well as raised — sort of like one of those old school iron on patches. I, for one, don’t mind this. I love the resulting cardigan and have been wearing it to death, as L.A. recently went through a bit of a cold spell. The wool pills quite bit, but I expected as much. Good news, though, is that it’s gotten softer with wear. The perfect cozy cardigan to wrap around myself while sipping creamy Mexican hot chocolate on a chilly evening.

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homebody buttoned mug cozy knitting pattern (plain and cabled)

Since I’ve gotten quite a few queries on how I made the Christmas gift mug cozies blogged about here, I’ve decided to post these quick patterns I threw together. Sorry in advance if you catch any errors as pattern writing isn’t really my forte. Any corrections are welcome. Enjoy!

Cabled mug cozy

BUTTONED MUG COZY (Cabled or Plain)

Any worsted weight yarn will do. US Size 8 needles.

Start with the buttonhole strap:

CO 4 and knit two rows.

3rd row: k 2, yo (to make buttonhole) k 2 (5 st total)

Knit about 4 more rows in garter stitch (i.e. all knit st) before increasing

Work an increase row:

K1fb in each stitch (10 stitches total)

Now, choose one of the following two options for the rest of your cozy — cabled or plain.

Body for a cabled cozy:

Add one more increase row: K1, (k1fb) 3 times, k2, (k1fb) 3 times, k1 (16 stitches total)

Start 6-stitch cable pattern: (right side) K3, p2, work cable twist pattern over next 6 stitches (slip 3 st onto cable needle and move to back of work, k3, knit stitches from cable needle. Twist the cable like this every 6 rows. When not on a twist row, knit the 6 stitches), p2, k3

Next row (and all wrong side rows): k5, p6, k5

Repeat these last 2 rows until your body is the desired length (ending on a twist row). Start on button strap.

Decrease for button strap:

Dec row 1: (k1, k2 tog) 5 times, k1 (11 st total)

Dec row 2: (k1, k2tog) 3 times, k2 (8 st total)

Dec row 3: k2tog all the way across (4 st total)

Knit 4 rows even.

Bind off.

Body for plain cozy:

Add one more increase row: K1, k1fb, k1, k1fb, k2, k1fb, k1, k1fb, k1 (14 stitches total)

All wrong sides: k3, p8, k3

Right sides: knit

Repeat these last 2 rows until your body is the desired length.

Decrease for button strap:

Dec row 1: (k1, k2tog) 4 times, k2 (10 st total)

Dec row 2: k2tog all the way across (5 st total)

Knit 5 rows even.

Bind off.

Add an embroidered design to your cozy, if so desired.

On my needles: the Sarah Lund Jumper

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I’m finally home (hurrah!) after a year spent in Northern Ireland working on an M.A. at Queen’s University Belfast. I’m supposed to be fully immersed in researching/writing my dissertation (due in a few months), so I swore up and down that I would not start a new craft project until I was finished with it. Then I promptly ignored myself and picked up my knitting needles. Continue reading “On my needles: the Sarah Lund Jumper”

On my needles: the “Sarah Lund” sweater

I’m finally home (hurrah!) after a year spent in Northern Ireland working on an M.A. at Queen’s University Belfast. I’m supposed to be fully immersed in researching/writing my dissertation (due in a few months), so I swore up and down that I would not start a new craft project until I was finished with it. Then I promptly ignored myself and picked up my knitting needles. I blame Danish television, for which I currently have a slight obsession. It started when my husband introduced me to Forbrydelsen (or The Killing — the US TV version of which pales in comparison), then we progressed to Bron/Broen (the Bridge — a Danish/Swedish production), and we’re now quickly making our way through Borgen. If you’re looking for addictive, pulpy-yet-smart television, then jump aboard the Nordic bandwagon! Alright, so what does this have to do with knitting? Well, if you know anything about The Killing, you’ve probably heard about the famous “Sarah Lund sweater/jumper” — an article of clothing that the detective heroine of the show wears so often it should receive co-star billing. Indeed, there is an entire website dedicated to it and a YouTube spoof inspired by it.

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So, after doing some research online (mostly on Ravelry where many have made terrific renditions of this sweater — just search projects using the keywords “Sarah Lund”) I got to work. Ravelry member sunshinewheels provides some great notes (albeit not a detailed pattern) on how she knit hers up.  The actual sweater is made by Gudrun & Gudrun and is available to purchase here, but if you’re not prepared to drop 280 euros (about $350) then you can buy the exact wool used for the sweater from the Faroe Islands (which I did) and make your own (which I am doing).

Here’s what I’ve got so far.

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The problem is, it fits very, VERY snug on me. Hopefully blocking will do the trick, but I fear I’ll have to give this one up to someone of more petite build. Still, it’s a fun project and a much needed diversion from the schoolwork. Too much of a diversion, though, I fear!