Well, I did it! I finally finished my first knitting project here in my new home! It kind of feels like how I felt when I finished my first anatomy exam, except that I didn’t stuff myself with Chipotle and binge watch CW shows afterward (i had a rough start). But it’s a milestone nonetheless, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out, considering that it’s my very first origiknally designed cardigan.
So some background on this cardigan. A few months ago, a friend from college asked me to knit something for her (what else is new, amirite?). And since I never really liked charging friends money for stuff (let’s be real, though, she couldn’t afford me), we decided to do more of a barter than a sale. As it turns out, my friend is sort of kind of an amazing graphic designer (christine you owe me for this free publicity), so in return for one knitted item of her choice, I was given one graphically designed item of my choice. Well, actually, her choice, because I can never decide on what I want (seriously, my old roommate offered to 3D print me anything and it was the worst). So Christine, never one to ask for too much, sent me this picture from ASOS and told me she wanted a cardigan. And then for the next three months (interrupted by a bout of hand-foot-mouth disease, food poisoning, and moving halfway across the country) it was off to the races as I figured out how the heck I was going to make a freakin cardigan just from a picture.
Okay, so to be completely honest, I didn’t design this sweater entirely from scratch. I did have somewhat of a template. After scraping the bottom of my creative juices, I took out an old knitting book someone gave me when I was in middle school (it was sandwiched between my Golden Sun strategy guide and my other Golden Sun strategy guide) and found this unfortunate sweater:
I know. Yikes. But once I got over the initial shock, I found that it had the same neckline as the ASOS sweater, and the actual pattern wasn’t too bad. So after finding the right yarn (Berroco Vintage ftw), knitting up a swatch, and calculating the dimensions based on Christine’s measurements (by this point, i’m pretty much whatever about asking girls for their bust sizes), I adapted this book’s pattern into something (hopefully) a little more modern.
Also, this cardigan gave me the chance to try buttons, button holes, and pockets for the very first time! Well, I did pockets once before for my grandma’s last vest, but never from scratch. For those of you tickling the idea of adding buttons to your latest project, I recommend this tutorial accompanied by this youtube video (start at 9:53).
On a side note, I was hesitant about using the above picture because it looks like someone was lying on my couch wearing the cardigan, and then just disappeared.But wait, there’s more! After accidentally knitting two right sides of the cardigan instead of a right and a left, I got really frustrated and decided to work on something else for a bit. So, I hopped onto the L and picked up some superwash merino that I had heard about and always wanted to try (the brand is called ‘Three Irish Girls’ and a single skein gives you a honkin 270 yards!). Coincidentally, a female classmate of mine announced that she was going to shave her head just months before winter in the polar vortex capital of the country, so I thought it would be a good idea to graciously knit myself a nice, warm beanie (yay me). The pattern is 100% daknielknit and, as per my usual money mongering ways, can be purchased for $1 (chipping away at those med school loans) on either my etsy or Ravelry store.
As you can tell, I have not yet found someone willing to model my stuff, so I’ve been forced to take on the role myself. I forgot to hide my skeletor hands, but I’m hoping my overall hipster ensemble will distract from them.
With all this knitting, you may be wondering if I’m actually in medical school at all, or if I just moved to Chicago to knit in a place that’s not my parents’ living room. Well, believe it or not, I actually have not been knitting as much as I normally do because, much to my surprise, med school is sort of time consuming. For the better part of 7 hours a day, I sit (or stand) in a room learning about human anatomy. And while I could spend the next paragraph talking about the two heads of my sternocleidomastoid made so evident in the photograph above, it’s what I’ve learned about my 89 classmates that’s worth discussing.
Over the past 2 months, I’ve gotten to meet some pretty interesting people. For instance, I now know a girl who owns a cow. And there’s also a guy who’s hipster enough to make me nostalgic for home (he wears a beet pin. need i say more?). I have classmates who were in the armed forces and there are others who are poets and bankers and there is an alarming number of people who have never heard of pad see-ew before. I even met a bald man. He is my roommate.
Of course, they know me as well. They know about my knitting and my ignorance of all things Midwest. They know about my (less than) secret agenda to make The West Wing the most quoted television series among our class and they even know about this blog (shoutout to Connie who read through my blog instead of studying for Head & Neck #priorities). But one thing I did not tell my class–something which only became an issue last week at our celebratory ‘we’re 71% done with anatomy’ boat cruise–is that I cannot and do not dance.
It is widely known among my friends and family in California that I am not the most kinesthetically kreative kid in the klass. I have never been to a club or a rave, and there is not a beat of EDM or hip-hop or dub step on my iPod (though I Knew You Were Trouble could be considered somewhat of an homage to dubstep). I have consistently been the party pooper at weddings and proms, and I’ve successfully avoided all things dance since the 8th grade through strategic bathroom breaks and enthusiastic head bobbing. Until last week. When I joined my class on the dance floor and (gasp) actually had a very very good time.
There’s a degree of shamelessness that goes into dancing, which makes my aversion to it quite ironic when you consider that I spent a good portion of my high school years crocheting afghans and watching Everybody Loves Raymond. But as I experienced last week, there’s something about shamelessness that supersedes the tiny factoids that go into knowing a person, transcending the rehearsed one-liners that goes into every small talk conversation. It turns acquaintances into friends and experiences into memories. It transforms ‘my hipster classmate’ into just Sam and ‘my bald roommate’ into Chester (and ‘the class spaz’ into Leslie).
Having mistaken a Washington Nationals cap for Walgreens swag, knocked my friend’s glasses into an open cadaver, and danced horribly in public on a boat, I have a lot of things to be shameless of, and I’m certainly not the only one.
***St. Baldrick’s Foundation was founded in 2000 and has raised over $118 million for pediatric cancer research. You can donate here.