I know I've been bad a blogger regularly, and it may be obvious from reading things here or talking to me that I've been knitting a lot. What is less obvious is that I've been writing a lot about knitting. While I'd like to do some meta posting about these projects, instead I'm going to just jump in with a bit.
I was getting my blood drawn last week--just routine--and the phlebotomist said "how are you doing with all the snow?" it had snowed almost five days ago, and while most of it had melted it was the first real snow of the year.
Most people didn't spend 3 years in Wisconsin, I guess. It didn't really register as that much snow.
We must rewind, because I didn't actually hear her correctly the first time and though she said "how are you doing with all this," and I just assumed that the "all this" was the omircon spike of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City.
I clarified, just because I'm not used to small talk about such enduring existential issues. After we chuckled, I said something like "oh, not much... Just knitting mostly."
She was intensely interested, she asked what I was knitting (sweaters) and she (a crocheter it turns out,) was interested in learning to knit. I did the only thing that was reasonable and said "there are a lot of good videos on youtube, and also there's this book called Knitting Without Tears by Elizbeth Zimmerman and you should read it, it's great." Good deed done.
In the course of this conversation she said "oh how many sweaters have you made?" I could tell that she was like "oh a couple," but the truth is somewhat alarming, and I also don't remember exactly.
"30 or 40, I think." This has the potential to be correct, though I'm not sure.
"Yeah, I dunno, I've been doing this for a while."
Also true. Lots of these sweaters were total rubbish, and since I knit my first sweater in 2003 or (or something,) and while I managed to make a number of sweaters that were really great, I also made a lot of sweaters that were really terrible in one way or another. The process of making sweaters better, in my experience is to knit one, and see what works and what doesn't work and then fix it in the next go round. While having nice sweaters to wear is a good side effect of knitting, the process is the important part.
This is one of the reasons why I buy yarn in larger lots (often by the kilo or more, so I can knit a few sweaters) and while I usually just cast on a for a new sweater (or pair of socks) as soon as I finish the preceding one. While this might be an extreme implementation of this idea, the general approach is perhaps more applicable.
I started writing this post a few days ago as a kind of introduction to what I hoped was going to be some kind of pithy instructions for knitting a sleeve, but I decided to split it out after it was clear that I'd gotten a bit carried away.
Then, last night, I came to a realization about a different sweater that I've been knitting for a couple of weeks. Basically I wanted to take the basic pattern for a sweater that I've knit a bunch of times before and update it to be more like the sweaters I've been knitting more recently: slim sizing, vnecks, set in sleeves for the shoulders.
I don't think it worked out: the sweater is a touch on the small side (but not unworkable), knitting the sleeve caps with short rows in two color patterns is frightfully difficult (and likely to look really messy in a part of the sweater where the eye is drawn to.)
I'm also not wild about the v-neck (as implemented) because I didn't account for the fact that in two-color knitting the stitches are more narrow (and therefore the row gauge is equal to the stitch gauge) and as a result the angle of the v-neck is shallower than I wanted.
Finally, and while this is tractable, I'm grumpy about the fact that I made the steeks a bit narrower than I should have and the've all been threatening to unravel in an unexpected way: there's some hubris here, as I did the "just cut, don't worry" method of steek preparation.
They don't all work out. 'I've put the sweater in a bag and I think I'm going to let it sit for a little while before I really cut my losses, but I think I'd rather knit something I'm far more excited about than slog through a sweater I'm unlikely to wear (and would be unable to give away given the sizing.)
To my mind, it's just as important to celebrate, learn from, and write about the sweaters that didn't turn out as it is the ones that did.