Sunday, June 29, 2014

Work In Progress

I'm knitting a sweater for myself. Usually when I knit I knit blankets and toys, gifts for my child and the children of my friends. These are fun projects; they move along quickly, they make me feel clever, and at the end they make other people smile. Recently when I was in a stressful situation I knit stress balls for the people around me; the knitting relieved my stress as I hope the squishy, springy balls relieved theirs. But I don't knit for myself very often. It's just not as motivating.

Sweaters aren't my favorite thing to knit, either. I've made a few but they haven't come out quite right. I have one I can wear to work but the others ended up being too large and too ill fitting for anything other than goofing around, which is a shame for something I spent so much effort to make. The problem is, sweaters have to be done correctly in order to fit. You have to count stitches per inch and rows per inch and pattern rows. There is a lot of measuring and checking involved at each step of shaping the garment and it's easy to get the details wrong. Small mistakes can have big consequences. Handknitting sweaters also take a very long time. It usually takes me months and sometimes a year to finish a sweater. The knitting process gets pretty dull in sections when you are just turning out row after row of basic stitches to form the fabric. Which probably explains why they take me so long to finish; I get bored and start doing something else.

I really love this yarn I found, though. It's a soft wool and nylon blend which I know will feel good when the weather gets cold again. The yarn is fine and even which I hope will give the sweater a smooth and polished appearance when I'm done. The colors shift from deep red wine to purple to lavender to a rich, bright pink. Growing up I thought I couldn't wear colors like pink and red because I have red hair, but I've learned they actually look quite flattering on me. I want a sweater made out of this yarn, and the only way I'm going to get it is to knit it myself. I found a simple pattern that lets me knit the entire sweater in the round, which is a faster (although dull) way to knit because you aren't constantly turning the garment back and forth. I am not sure that the ease of knitting will balance out the tedium of the pattern but I'll see how it goes and how long it takes.

When I'm feeling very ambitious I think I would like to make enough sweaters that I could wear a handmade sweater to work every day without repeating my clothes more than once every couple weeks. At my current pace it would take me until past the time I could retire to accomplish this. Then again, each stitch is one stitch closer. I suppose that what I'm hoping is that if I keep knitting sweaters it will get easier. Like anything else I've done, with practice my skill will improve and the sweaters I make will look better and I'll get them done faster. In knitting people talk about their WIP; their work in progress (knitters also KIP - knit in public). I like to think my knitting, like so much in my life, is a WIP.