I haven't been writing or blogging much in the past few months, but I definitely have been knitting a bunch. Things have been busy and overwhelming, in totally unexceptional ways, and my knitting has been a near constant companion in providing balance and focus in various ways.
I embarked in the late spring in a kind of epic project: I bought a kilo of a lovely gray fingering weight Silk/Yak/Merino blend, and promptly started a cabled sweater based on Alice Starmore's Na Cragga sweater (the cover of Aran Knitting). I changed a lot: the gauge (ran weight to fingering) and the construction (knit flat with pieces to in the round) and the shape (tapered body, short rows across the back, set-in sleeves and saddles,) and monkeyed with the pattern (added two repeats of the center panel, dropped one of the patterns, extended the ribbing pattern into the body of the sweater,) and made a v-neck. I kind of stalled out on the project, at roughly the underarms, in June and took a few months off of regular knitting.
In the late summer, as delta began to spike here, I started knitting socks again. I've always loved socks, and have gotten really into knitting really plain cuff-down socks with medium length ribbed cuffs. I've knit maybe 20 pairs of these socks, and while I've taken a bit of a sock-knitting break in the last couple of months--I guess during the depths of winter and the omicron spike--I definitely hope to knit a bunch more socks.
In the mean time I've been working on two sweaters:
- a second sweater that I just finished knit out of the second half of the aforementioned kilo of Silk/Yak/Merino. I ran out of yarn on the collar which of course necessitated ordering more of this yarn, which is just utterly delightful. It's a bottom-up raglan sweater with a v-neck. Nothing else special, and it's so comfy and soft in every way. I'm not sure I'm sold on Raglan shaping, but I'd forgotten how much fun this construction is.
- I started a two-color pull-over using some of my favorite color patterns from Norwegian and Turkish patterns. I'm almost to the shoulder, and the plan is to knit set in shoulders and sleeve caps (short rows!) with a v-neck. This is the first color work sweater I've made in years, and it's been really fun and engaging to knit this sweater. I'd also given away almost all of my previous colorwork sweaters and they are very much my thing, and while I don't know that it's the kind of thing I want to focus on, making one of these every so often seems good.
There have been a few things that I've learned about myself as a knitter recently:
- I don't really enjoy knitting cables: the dense fabric rarely appeals to me as a sweater wearer, anything that isn't really simple ends up breaking up the rhythm in a way that I find distracting and the result is that knitting feels like a chore.
- I'm no longer afraid of grafting as I once was. I seem to only be able to really do it effectively if I hold the "right" sides together and graft from the "inside" of the garment (sock, sweater/etc,) but this seems to actually be fine in practice. This makes seamless bottom up sweater (as well as socks) much more approachable. In the past I struggled through it or tricked someone into doing it for me (or used 3 needle bind-offs.)
- I did a lot of sweaters with open-henly-style collars for years, because I often find that crew neck sweaters are too warm and otherwise overwhelming. Since I started on this path, I've begun making sweaters out of fingering weight yarn, and have switched to the v-neck as a solution for the "more open" neck problem. I think this demands more investigation.
In an upcoming post, I'd like to explore some upcoming knitting projects and the design questions that I've been contemplating.