Almost Finished, or Why Buttons are the Hardest Part

Below the pictures is my writing about suicide and grief, above the second picture is all about knitting, just so you know which part you are looking for.

Buttons add so much character to your sweater. If I choose moose buttons my sweater looks like it came from Montana (or somewhere else with moose in my much geographically challenged mind). If I choose plain buttons then they need to match the beautiful red-burgundy of the sweater, the color of rich red roses rather than cheap boxes of Valentines candy. Going to the craft store involved combing through a whole aisle of buttons, glass, plastic, polymer, metal, and many, many more plastic buttons. I looked at green ones, brass ones, pewter ones, wood ones. After much consideration and back and forth I chose these claddagh buttons, likely because I was feeling romantic and thinking about our summer plans to go to the United Kingdom.

Claddagh Buttons

I also am sewing ribbon onto the placket so that there is more stability in the button band. I haven’t done this before and now know that I should have bought the ribbon first so that it would be the same size as the button band. It is slightly thinner and as such may show a bit on top but now that I am basting it on much more loosely it looks much better. This will also help ensure that my buttons are secure. I read a tip on the Berroco site saying that the best thread for sewing on buttons is embroidery floss but I keep all mine at work (art teacher) and will just use red thread for now.

Button band

Today is a mental health day for me. I thought it was a vacation day and scheduled some appointments to meet with different mental health professionals today. Since it wasn’t actually a vacation day and I had appointments at the doctor and dental offices I chose to take a sick day rather than reschedule all three appointments. I’m telling you, dear reader, all this because I lost a brother to suicide 4 years ago and have finally decided to start dealing with all the grief and anxiety that comes with that. It is not easy to talk to people about this. Nor is it easy to find people who support people like myself. I don’t like to burden other people with my problems and so I tuck it away. The person i spoke with this morning says I need to talk to people about it and wanted to know if I have grieved properly.

What exactly is grieving properly? Can anyone do it? I have always felt like (and have even had people tell me) that I should be better by now and that it’s time to move on. No one can tell when it is time for anyone to be “finished” grieving and I think that when you lose someone to suicide that the grieving never really stops.  Attached to my grief is the loss of my stepmom and the guy I was engaged to leaving me, and all of it in 9 months. It makes me afraid that all that can happen again, at any time.

Now, I have a really great life. Or, to rephrase, I have a really great life now. But letting go of what’s happened in my past to my family has become a huge way of how I identify myself. It is beyond time I let that go. I’ve found a local group for people who have lost family to suicide and I even called and left a message and may go to a meeting because going to a regular grief or loss group they may not understand the tangled web that is loss to suicide.

It feels good to finally put my foot down and take steps to heal. I don’t know if anyone who ready my blog has ever been in this position but if so, I hope that you have already taken steps to heal or in reading this maybe I can encourage you to do what has taken me so long to begin to do.

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Year-End knitting

The end of 2010 was so busy that knitting time was limited. Bill’s sister-in-law’s sister-in law (I know, a convoluted explanation of someone not related to me) had a baby just after Thanksgiving and upon realizing I would be seeing them over Christmas I knew I had, absolutely had, to knit their new baby girl something.

With less than 48 hours and absolutely no trips to the yarn store or time for poring over patterns, I pulled out something I love. I made little ladybug booties.

These booties are designed by Lucie Sinkler and can be found here or on Ravelry as Mary Jane Booties.

After finishing these and discovering I didn’t have any ladybug buttons for them (I had super-cute ones last time) I went back to the same craft store to get more only to discover that, gasp, they didn’t carry them any more. Now, for any knitter trying to finish a project 2 days before Christmas, this is a tragedy. However, a helpful lady came along. She was scouring the button racks for fish and while looking for my ladybugs I started looking for fish buttons for her as well. Neither of us being successful in our hunt we went our separate ways when I heard her call “Miss?” She had found different ladybug buttons over in the tie-dye and puff paint section!

Now, Christmas wasn’t the magical sparkly time I expected it to be, but I did enjoy it. I got to see family I had not seen in a couple years, drove a couple hundred miles, learned more of my family history and even got a real live tree. I did not get to meet the new little baby who so needed lady bug booties but I am hoping to see her some time this year.

My first project of the new year is the same project I have been working on since fall break in early October. Originally designed by Wendy Bernard in her book “Fitted Knits”, my version is really a heavily modified Wicked made into a cardigan.  I love the MIssion Falls 1824 wool and am disappointed to learn it has been discontinued.

My concern at the moment is that the ball you see in the picture is the second to last one. I don’t ‘know if I will have enough for sleeves, also, without the placket the sweater is very tight. I know it is supposed to be very snug, but I’m slightly concerned. I suspect that my 4 month investment may take a turn into the frog pond and then be reknit into something on slightly larger needles so it’s a little more drapey. Actually purchasing Ms. Bernard’s book may be in order, she has really beautiful stuff. Also, then I won’t run out of wool before sleeves are made any more.

In order for the new year, I have a personal goal that I don’t want to share but really want to share. Anyway, I’ve been dating the same sweet fella for 2 years and after a year a girl my age starts thinking seriously about things. After a year and a half a girl my age starts looking in windows at white dresses. At two years I started looking seriously at the calendar. At two and half years maybe it’s time to start looking at shotguns. If that isn’t a hint I don’t know what is.  My other goal is to use up the fabulous bulky alpaca yarn my sister sent me. I have 880 yards of it and high hope that will be enough to make a sweater before all the cold weather leaves for the year. Another goal for the year (since I’m sharing) is to lose 10 more lbs. Last summer I (with dr. support) lost 25 lbs or so and am thrilled at my fab new physique. But I also have hips that pop and a teensy bit of arthritis creeping into my 31 year old bones, so my goal is to take more weight off my hips so I can keep them for as long as possible. I don’t yet know why my hips like to pop out of socket, they have done it for 10 years but I am doing exercises to help hold them in place and am looking in to why they do it.

Hopefully next time there will be more knitting content. I hope you all enjoy the link to the Mary Jane Booties, as they are a free pattern!