Monday, 8 July 2013

What a knit!

I have to confess, knitting is not one of my greatest loves. I'm too impatient! Give me a sewing machine and fabric and I'm in heaven - I can have an outfit by the end of the day! But give me needles and wool and it feels like anything I make will be out of style by the time I complete it.

When I was learning to knit as a child, I got frustrated by the slowness of the process. The first things I learned to knit were a simple patterned scarf and a teddy-bear. The teddy worked well for me, as I could run one off in about a week - I had a little production line going for a while. But the scarf... true confession time - I never finished it! It got to about eight inches long, and suddenly seemed to be an unending task. Somewhere in my parents loft there is probably still a pair of knitting needles with the world's shortest scarf (in turquoise), waiting to have the stitches cast off. Guilt!

I went through occasional revisits to the craft, but they were always short-lived. And then, about six years ago, I had a revelation. I quite enjoy the process of knitting. I find it quite relaxing. It's the expectation of the finished garment that frustrates me. So, I stopped thinking about the jumper that I wanted, and just got on with it.

It worked! By just enjoying the process, I discovered that I ended up with the bonus of a nice garment. Space-dyed wool helps, for those moments when a repetitive pattern starts to get a bit mind-numbing. I get a certain enthusiasm for seeing how the pattern develops. And fancy wools can make it interesting, too. Finally, it helps not to choose high-fashion designs that will go out of style before I finish them.

This piece is a relatively simple design, using only double rib and stocking stitch, and not even needing too much shaping. The interest comes from using a textured wool in a contrasting colour to cast on and off. (I wanted something easy to knit, since my last project was a lacy long jumper which nearly drove me to distraction!)  As usual, I have completed it just in time for the weather to warm up (!), but I know it will be in the wardrobe ready for autumn.


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