Saturday, May 10, 2008

so freaking close

I am so annoyed. More than annoyed. Pissed off.

Y'all know that I love to knit. Knitting involves other things besides actually "knitting"; that is, the actual wrapping of yarn around a needle to produce a fabric. "Knitting" has an evil twin that is called "finishing" (also called "making up") which is all the tedious crap. Sewing seams, weaving loose ends of yarn, sewing on buttons, etc. That stuff.

Seams are my nemesis.

I was up all night last night finishing the baby sweater I'm making for a colleague. I'd finished all the knitting, and I planned to sew the seams of the sleeves and sides before going to bed. It's a baby sweater sized for a newborn. Neonatal infants aren't very big (although I can imagine all of my friends who are mothers thinking "not as small as you think"), and I didn't think that the seams would take very long.

Hah. It took me two.and.a.half.hours to sew those damn seams together. And I know how long it took because I was listening to audio lectures, and I went through two discs worth (70 minutes per disc). Approximately 140 minutes for a total 24 inches (60cm) of seam. By the time I'd finished, it was about 3:30 a.m. and I was so pissed off that I couldn't sleep so I stayed up to finished the bottom edge and buttonband which had to be done after the seams were sewn. The good thing is that the sweater is pretty much completed; the bad thing is that it was almost 6am by the time I crawled into bed this morning. But I've washed the sweater and blocked it and it's drying right now. All that's left is weaving in ends and attaching the button.

I've been making this sweater for myself and it's taken awhile. I started in January and it's lain in the knitting basket for awhile because I hadn't steeled myself for the dreaded finishing. I figured it was time to sew those damn seams.

The logical part of my brain knows that the reason that I hate seaming is that I'm not very skilled at it. Most of the objects I've made don't require seams of any sort. I've only made a few sweaters and only one had seams. There are different kinds of seaming techniques depending on what kind of stitch is present in the fabric, what kind of seam it is (e.g. shoulder or side seam along the body), which direction the stitch is oriented (i.e. if the seams were a row of toy soldiers, are they being lined up shoulder to shoulder or head to foot?) And I suck at just about each and every one of those techniques.

But I figured that after last night's warm up on the baby sweater (in which I experimented with about five different techniques to produce a seam that didn't suck), I figured I could complete my sweater. All I had to do was sew in the sleeves and that requires the backstitch technique, which is actually pretty easy.

Of course, when sewing together pieces in which the fabric looks exactly the same on both sides, extra care must be taken at the start to ensure that one is actually not sewing the sleeve inside out. While the fabric may look the same, the item itself has a definite shape, and it's frustrating; nay, curse-inducing, to sew in half the sleeve and realize that one has sewn the top of the sleeve to armpit.

Two hours later (more lectures to help measure time), and I've finished sewing all the seams and all that is left is to sew on the two buttons. Kat and I went up to Seattle a few weeks ago and I bought lots of cool buttons for this sweater as well as future projects.

And I can't find them. Any of them. $75 worth of buttons en casa incognita.

Now excuse me while I leave this blog and go sulk in a corner.

EDIT: found them. They were right were I thought I'd stored them, but I just didn't see them the first 18 times I looked.

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