statutory break...

i was awoken one morning, some few weeks ago, by a noise that i was convinced at the time to be the start of the apocalypse. turns out it was a crew of construction workers operating heavy machinery just outside our building. it should be noted that i was wearing earplugs at the time, so this was one impressive racket. still recovering from the shock, i turned to the other side of the bed, expecting to be met by an equally astonished expression. he was snoring away happily, oblivious to any disturbance in the immediate vicinity. that was the moment i realized that the only thing more maddening than the sound of construction machinery is living with someone who is not bothered by the sound of construction machinery. between the jackhammer and the masonry saw, i could feel the pressure building inside my skull. starting off the morning with a headache is a sure sign that you are going to have a miserable day. i stumbled to the kitchen, hit the switch on the kettle, and just stood there, trapped in the sensory tidal wave. it was at this point that i made the mistake of looking out a window, which was when i realized that they were erecting scaffolding around the neighboring building (a scant driveway's distance from ours). they were settling in for the long haul.

fast-forward a couple (or so) weeks, and i wake up one day, remove my earplugs, and wait for... nothing. you could hear the proverbial pin drop. i actually pinched myself a few times to make sure i was awake, then walked from window to window looking for signs (visual or auditory) of the workers. there was none, neither that day, nor the next, or even the whole week after that one. the scaffolding still covered the exterior of the building, but, like a sugar cube tossed into a bathtub full of water, the workers had disappeared without a trace... but only for a couple of weeks.

getting used to life in Canada is one thing, but the province of Quebec is a world unto itself. as the old joke goes, "there are two seasons in [name any Canadian city]... Winter and Construction". turns out that in Quebec—and only in Quebec—Construction season comes with a statutory two-week break. i am not talking about a situation where an employee is entitled to a two-week vacation to be taken when they please. regardless of what they may be working on, the entire industry grinds to a halt for a set two-week period every Summer... and it is the law!!! it is as if the rapture came, but only for the people wearing hard hats and tool belts. at any cost, i thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet of the past two weeks, because i know the commotion will be back come Monday morning.

speaking of breaks... well, sort of... i sprained my wrist about a month ago. it was a very slight injury, and only really hurt when i carried anything, or rotated my wrist, or tried to engage in any activity that required actually using the affected hand. naturally, i was banned from my favorite pastime until it healed. i (usually) laugh at such suggestions, however this one came with the threat of tossing a ball of yarn off the balcony for every violation, so i was forced to capitulate. once the mandated rest period ended, i knit my little fingers off and finished the orange sherbet cardigan.

it is equally cute from the back, a fact that annoys me to no end, as i am still coming to terms with the color.

as i mentioned in the original post, i was working from a minimalist set of instructions for the actual construction of the garment, which is common with Japanese knitting patterns. on the up side, the fabric consisted of a simple lace repeat that even a novice knitter could memorize after a few rows, making for an ideal knit-while-you-watch-stuff project.

on the down side, the cardi was knitted flat (i.e., each piece was knitted separately), which meant that it had to be seamed together. in my humble opinion, the most not-fun aspects of knitting are seaming and weaving in all the ends that result from each ball of yarn. not gonna lie... it took a couple days to put this one together, and there may have been alcohol involved. i was making some quick (very bad) sketches to illustrate how it was assembled, when it dawned on me that i have my very own artist (who happens to be on an extended break from work) just a room or two away. he looked thoroughly puzzled by my step-by-step instructions (which, to be fair, bordered on interpretive dance), but the end result does a far better job than the original pattern at explaining the process. [note, the pockets were knitted after the cardi was assembled, so they are not included in the drawings... or, if i am being completely honest, i forgot about the pockets until after he sent me the sketches].

me: oh [minor expletive]! i forgot about the pockets.
him: do you need me to do another drawing to show how you added them?
me: not necessary. i'm already over it.

first you gather the knitted pieces ...

...and create the shoulder seams (sewing "A" from each front to the corresponding "A" on the back piece).

then you open the piece, lay it flat, and attach the sleeves.

sew up both sides (starting at the bottom hem, turning at the armpit, and continuing on to the sleeve cuff... or, if you prefer, start at the cuff and end at the lower hem), and sew the short ends of the back collar together...

...then attach the collar to the back of the cardigan.

the collar seams should look something like this when done.

the back of the collar was the second most stressful part of the finished piece. i as still not completely pleased with the vertical seam in the center, but that horizontal line makes me smile.

as stated, sewing seams was the second most stressful bit, but the top honor goes to... drum roll please... adding the pockets!!! seriously, i knitted the two pockets as instructed (ripping them out and restarting at least twice because i kept changing my mind about how large they should be), then i could not figure a way to attach them to the garment that would satisfy my obsessive-compulsive need for absolute evenness. so, i knitted a new set of pockets directly onto the finished cardi. this step may have involved multiple rulers and half a box of pins... and more alcohol. the pockets may look a bit wonky due to the way the garment relaxes on the hanger, but i assure you that they are in perfect sync with the background and (far more importantly) with each other.

as for the abandoned pockets (mach III), they will likely end up under a couch, covered in cat hair. a fitting end after the pain they caused.

i fell asleep that first night in my new cardi. it was such a joy to actually be able to wear something i made for more than a few minutes. however, as the feels-like temperature is currently hovering around "surface of the sun", the cardi and all its sherbety (or, should it be sherbetish?) goodness will remain draped artistically across the back of a chair for the foreseeable future.

i did make two solemn vows after completing this project: 1) i will take a break, and 2) i will never ever ever knit another cardigan in such thin yarn... EVER! i kept that promise for less than a day before i began to work on a pair of socks (in stupid-thin yarn) to repay the artist-in-residence for the five whole minutes he spent working on the sketches. after that, i will likely start working on a Pomme de pin Cardigan in—you guessed it—even more thin yarn.  clearly, i have not learned my lesson.


  1. this is a beautiful sweater. I hope you have the exact right temperatures to wear it, come fall. I love the color, and I know it looks good on you. YES IT DOES. And the architectural construction drawings are just lovely. if you had a small bell to wrap gently in a small ball of tinfoil, and wrap the offending pockets around that with a string, you could turn those other pockets into playtoys.
    Im sure the cats would enjoy them too.

    1. thank you, mittens. it goes from summer to snow here pretty early, so it may end up being worn around the house during the winter more than out of doors. i was looking for the spare pockets to consider options for making them into toys, but they seem to have already disappeared. and, yes, i have to agree that the construction drawings are pretty awesome. considering the number of times i have found myself reading a set of instructions then trying to figure out what on earth they want me to do, i may have to start hiring him out to illustrate knitting patterns for indie designers.