…with my latest knitting project, that is. I wouldn’t actually say I was in a slump lately, but I was becoming increasing frustrated with my knitting, and not really having any fun. Well, all it took to change that was to read a few blogs! This one in particular. It got me to thinking (always a good thing). I have, in the past, designed a sweater or two. And a few pairs of socks, and hats, mittens, etc. I’ve learned plenty of technique at Knitting Camp, and Stitches, and Midwest Masters. But lately, I haven’t been applying much of it. I needed a new stimulus, a challenge, to learn, and think, and be creative again.
So I took the plunge, and started designing a new sweater for myself. From scratch. I started with creating a stitch pattern that pleased me. Then I thought about it. What did I want to create? Usually I plunge headlong into a project, telling myself I’ll figure out the details later. I didn’t want to do that this time around. I wanted to have a plan. I worked on the development of the sweater long before I cast on, even for the swatch. While I was knitting the swatch, I read Barbara Walker’s “Knitting From the Top”, because I decided I wanted to make a top down v-neck. Now, I made one once before, following a vintage Spinnerin pattern. But this time I wanted to work completely on my own. So I read. And thought. And read some more. Barbara’s book is great, but wordy. Not a bad thing, but how many knitting books do you see that are almost all text these days? Not too many. Usually there are plenty of photos, diagrams, and charts. Not this book. I started thinking about it as a college textbook. Dry, but not really, because there is a wealth of information there. Just not very snazzy.
But I read, and I thought, and I knit. I used my swatch to make changes in the stitch pattern, the needle size, and type. When I was satisfied, I cast off, washed the swatch, smoothed it into shape, and measured. And observed. And thought some more. When I finally cast on for the actual sweater, it was amazing. I felt like I was soaring, because all that prep work had freed me to just run with it. Although, I will say, the initially set-up of the stitch pattern had me a little baffled at first, and I spent about an hour so deep in concentration that I actually shut out any other distractions. I haven’t done that in a long time! But it worked, and now I’m off and knitting away, fast approaching the spot where I join the v-neck and start working in the round. I realize that I could have steeked the v-neck, but I didn’t like the idea of cutting and sewing a steek on yarn with this much halo. That’s also the reason why this will be a pullover, and not a cardigan. This project has gotten me out of whatever kind of knitting doldrums I was in, and I’ve already been thinking ahead to other projects, both original designs and a few patterns I’ve been studying. It’s a great feeling to have the knitting brain in gear again!