Sunday, October 10, 2010

Frejya at the Crossroads

Some projects just seem to drag on and on for no good reason. My Frejya sweater is one such. I've been working on it — or more to the point NOT working on it — for several years now. Whenever I have actually managed to devote some time to it, the progress has come quickly, but then weeks or even months go by between sessions. It keeps happening. First I stalled over weaving in all the loose ends left behind by the intarsia on the front. That took forever! Then it was the embroidery and embellishment on the front, and some more loose ends on the back. Blah blah blah.

But today, knowing that with Stornoway finished I really have no excuse anymore, I finally put my foot down and made myself get through what needed to be done on the front. Or so I thought...

I was using eyelash yarn with duplicate stitch to give the cat "long hair". It is supposed to be a Maine Coon, after all. My plan was to add orange hairs to the body of the cat and ivory ones to the pale segments at the underside and extremities (chest, abdomen, paws). The *face* posed a real problem, though, because I soon realized that the dangling bits got in the way of the intarsia design and gave the whole thing a muddled appearance. So I had stopped short with the body basically done, while a debate raged internally (literally for months) over what to do next.

Last week I finally filled in the lower part of the abdomen with the ivory, but then on Friday and Saturday, when I tried to do the same with the upper chest, the result looked more like an old man's beard than a fluffy cat's neck ruff. *Ick*. So I took the embellishment away from the chest area. BIG improvement. And today, looking at the whole thing with the cold eye of reason, I came to the same conclusion about the paws, face, abdomen, and entire lower edge. After all that time spend trying to *add* stuff to the sweater in order to get it finished, in other words, today I took a whole bunch of stuff AWAY again. Go figure...

Here is what the "new & improved" front looks like (click for a larger view). Believe it or not, there is actually LESS embellishment on it now than there was a year ago. But at least you can see the adorable pussycat underneath it all, and the effect is more authentically Maine Coon-ish than before too, since the long hair is confined to the places where it would appear on a real cat. I could grumble all day and all night about why in the world it took me so @#$^!! long to decide that less is more, but the observation would be moot. Clearly I needed time, and a string of failed experiments, to reach this point. I will probably still use embroidery floss to outline the face and pick out certain details of the features (eyes, nose, ears, whiskers, claws, etc.). Or not, I suppose, depending on how it looks. But that final experiment means another trip to the craft store, and meanwhile I am done with the eyelash yarn. Huzzah!

Moreover, I am also done with the intarsia on the back of the sweater: a whimsical goldfish bowl motif for which I used some interesting textures (ribbon yarn held double for the fish scales, and a wonderful nubbly green yarn for the aquatic plant) in addition to the blue of the water (a different color of the same Wool of the Andes that is providing the black background) and the silver gray that represents the glass of the fishbowl (a bit of wool/rayon blend from my stash). As of this evening, the ends are all woven in too.

Which means that aside from the little bits of embellishment remaining to be added, which will have to wait for a shopping trip to purchase appropriate colors of embroidery floss (i.e. orange, rust, white, black, and ivory), and the cat's fluffy tail, which is a separate little knitting project all on its own, to be set aside for some afternoon/evening in the not-too-distant future, whenever I feel like it, it is now OFFICIALLY a matter of plain black stockinette knitting to finish the upper portion of the back and then the sleeves.

So we've really turned a crucial corner here. I feel totally confident now that this baby is going to be done done D-U-N DONE by Hallowe'en!!! :-)


  1. I totally agree that Less is More. I find myself doing the same in my own work!!! Your sweater is really cute and very clever.

  2. Thanks so much for that endorsement!! I think I needed to hear it. :-)