Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fiber #37 :: Rockridge Blues

Speaking of the blues ...

This is something I knit up during the month of July. The month of July was certainly a Blues-y sort of month. I ran into a string of 3 weeks of consecutive wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night, unable-to-go-back-to-sleep insomnia. Which, for somebody who cannot drink coffee because it makes her jittery and headachey, is problematic indeed.

I also had a messy living situation that had to be resolved and got resolved in a messy fashion. It was resolved, thankfully, but involved many emails from my landlady that READ LIKE THIS (she was a drama queen throwing a tantrum), many weekends spent fruitlessly looking for housing, several weekends moving my stuff out of her place, and the resumption of 3.5 hour daily commute by public transportation. Yuck.

And work, though going swimmingly well on the surface, hit an emotional low for me ~ likely due to abovementioned factors but also due to feeling like I'd hit a wall and me having to mentally reconfigure what I thought I could contribute to the project I am leading. All this combined to make it really, really difficult for me to feel up for hanging out with friends, cooking, exercising, or doing much to maintain a sense of equilibrium.

A friend who has his MFT once kindly pointed out that sometimes when we're in a rut we avoid precisely the things that will help us out of the rut, thereby perpetuating the cycle - and it's funny, I can start to recognize these symptoms in myself of withdrawal and grumpiness which can eventually slide into depression if I am not careful, and yet sometimes it is hard for me to break from the cycle. Or rather, I try, but inconsistently, as though it wasn't important enough in life to invest sufficient effort. But isn't our mental sanity worth the effort?

Sometimes I think it is because there is some part of me that hates trying to be strong and forging ahead all of the time ... this sounds so non-feminist or non-post-feminist, but sometimes really I just want somebody else to come along and pick up the pieces for me. Sometimes. Intellectually, I know that I've made choices that stick me in this situation, but emotionally I feel like it would be nice if somebody else solved the problem for me. That yearning gets a lot louder when I'm tired and irritated and isolated and stressed and amidst that vortex of factors that will drag me down into The Cycle.

Sometimes, though, I'll remind myself that it's just because life is inconsistent. Our path through life is inconsistent, our path towards self-growth is inconsistent. What we want for ourselves is inconsistent.

Hm. This is so not how I thought I'd introduce this sweater.

This is my take on the popular Featherweight pattern. I used leftovers (and bought more of the blue) and knit up the Rowan Felted Tweed on size 6 needles to get gauge at 20 stitches/inch, which meant some math to reconfigure the pattern, but well worth the effort because let's be honest, who wants to knit up a cardigan in fingering weight yarn at 26 stitches/inch? Also, I love how floaty and lightweight yet warm the fabric is at this gauge.

Yikes, are my lats really that wide?

Aaa ... parently.

Anyhoo. I used 1 by 1 ribbing for the cuffs, bottom and front ribbing, and put in some subtle waist shaping via back darts. The yarn bloomed wonderfully and somehow, without even planning it, the length came out just perfect as well. The stripes are 12 rows wide and are exactly what I wanted. The whole thing is exactly what I wanted.

Even a slim side silhouette! "Rockridge" is the name of the neighborhood where I now live, where I've found a cute little house and two great roommates to live with. So ... although the making of this sweater saw me through one of the rougher months of 27, here's hoping the wearing of it will see happier times ahead!


Sigrid said...

So sorry you have had such a rough go of it lately. I know just what you mean about self-limiting cycles. I do think there is a certain need to retreat when trying to make sense of things, but if course, it can also make everything worse. And as much as we want others to pick up the pieces--no matter what, you are really on your own. Whatever the case, you have a new pretty sweater.

Stephanie Ivy said...

Lovely sweater! Sorry to hear you've had a rough time lately, but glad it seems to be resolving.

Also, I'm just a random blog reader who found your blog, but noted, hey, Rockridge! I'm over in Adams Point! Cool to find knitters in the area.

Violet said...

I'm glad you found a better place to live and I hope you're sleeping better now. I get phases where for a week or more at a time I wake up at 3am or so and have to get up to pee, and the resulting broken sleep makes me feel like I only had a coupla hours.
I love your cardigan too, I had it bookmarked on Ravelry but am so far too stingy to pay money for knitting patterns (not least because i have a stack of free patterns I haven't even started - plus two patterns as well).
Buy the way, your paper dolls sweater really gives you a "sweater girl" kinda look...

Roobeedoo said...

Ah yes - knitting as therapy! At least you have something fab and stripey to show for your unhappy times - something good has come out of them! I have hit a phase on feeling exhausted and sleeping like a log - which ought to be great but has caused me to stall on all knitting / sewing / crochet plans. I think it's the change of seasons. Ugh. Happy new home!

Alessa said...

I'm glad you've been able to leave the drama queen landlady behind and hopefully the bad sleep and rocky times that went with it. Yay for new, better living quarters, and yay for extra knitting time (which is just what a commute is, right?)! ;)

That's a lovely sweater, I love the stripes and the front!

Minnado said...

I love the striped cardigan, great colours. I hope the new house is working out better. It can be so demoralising if you are in an unhappy living situation. x

Zonnah said...

Someone once said to me that life goes in seven year cycles. In each cycle you work on something in your life. So maybe your life is concluding in an area and is starting to open up to a new challenge.

Zoe said...

Ah Jessica, I'm sorry you've been having a tough time of late. I can totally relate to that cycle of not helping yourself out when you most need it. We really are our own worst enemies aren't we?! But having an unsettled home situation, or unsettled work situation, can affect so much of the rest of our lives and mental well-being, and you had BOTH those things on your plate, so don't get pissy with yourself for getting dragged down. Plus insomia?! Damn, that's really tough for anyone. You are a totally awesome lady with more self-awareness than ten average people put together, take all the time you need to get back on track without being hard on yourself please. Oh, and your cardigan is frikkin' awesome, by way of consolation!

Wish I could jet over to SF for a (decaf) coffee with you. Glad to see you've been so creative of late.

Zoe xxx