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


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.

#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.

#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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Image


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

On my needles: the Sarah Lund Jumper

The Killing Denmark Sarah Lund

Sara Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) — the crimefighter who made comfy knitwear kickass.

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

navajo-inspired cardigan

And here’s another project I finished a while ago but neglected to blog. Inspiration came from Free People’s Navajo Cardigan (currently unavailable). Alright, it was a bit more than inspiration, it was downright thievery as I closely copied the stunning design, even down to the colorway. Continue reading

Handmade Christmas Gifts & Some Big News

Little Bailey in her teddy bear hat, courtesy of Auntie Homebody.

The jury is in and I’m guilty of being the world’s laziest blogger. I’ve been happily unemployed and crafting…and not updating my blog. Without an excuse in the world. Anyway, I’ve got a few handmade Christmas gifts to report, which I shall do. Continue reading

cloche crazy

As I couldn’t stop wearing the previously blogged cloche — the Sideways Grande Hat from Boutique Knits by Laura Irwin — I decided to make more. I’ve also decided that hats are my favorite short-term knitting project.

Another sideways grande hat adorned with a crochet applique instead of a cable…

…and also from Boutique Knits, the Side Slip Cloche…


feelin’ “grande”

Whew. It’s been one crazy year. I won’t go into the whys, but simply say I’m breathing a sigh of relief to see it come to a close. The good news is that my time has freed up the last month, allowing me to grind away at holiday gift making. I’m nearly through (hurrah!) so thought that I’d knit myself something as a reward for being ahead of schedule.

I’m currently a fan of ’20s and ’30s fashions, due in no small part to HBO’s terrific new series Boardwalk Empire, so pulled out my knitting books to see what retro-esque patterns I had at my disposal. I decided on the Sideways Grande Hat from Laura Irwin’s Boutique Knits. It’s a chic cloche knit side to side on straights embellished with an afterthought twisted cabled. The yarn was donated to me from my sister’s stash and it came with no label, so I don’t even know what it is. Anyway, it was the right color and weight, but I’ll have to do a burn test to figure out what this mystery yarn is comprised of.

Although the book referred to this as an “oversize” hat, it didn’t look quite that big in the photo…but oversized it truly is. Next time I make this lovely pattern, I intend to take it down a notch by using lighter weight yarn and smaller needles — or by simply decreasing the number of stitches. Nevertheless, it was an overall success! Now back to finishing off the rest of my gift list.

my cables n’ lace kimono wrap

I’ve been working on this little woolen “friend” of mine off and on for about two years, so imagine my delight when I finally cast off my last stitch. I used the Cables and Lace Kimono Wrap Cardigan pattern from Sweaterbabe.com (isn’t her stuff great?), but chose to leave the neckline unfinished rather than to pick up and knit the 3×3 ribbing the pattern calls for. I really love that raw, rolled over look — and it’ll show a little bit more of whatever I’ll be wearing underneath.

Shortly after beginning, I thought I’d made a horrible mistake with my choice of yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes) as it created a springy fabric with chunkier cables and very ripply lace panels — as well as a stiffer drape overall. Nevertheless, I plugged away, and though it turned out quite different-looking than Sweaterbabe’s example, I do like it! It was extremely fun to knit as well, and now that I’ve cracked the code of this pattern, I’m eager to make another one with a drapier yarn, which would be more fitting for spring/summer.