I’m hosting another knit-along in the new year. One that encourages us to use our skills with a little less guidance from patterns. Remember how I said, in my last post, that I was starting to feel the itch to design garments for myself? Since I only uploaded it moments ago, you may not. (Look this Blogmas thing is killing me. I was out of commission for a week, now I’m scrambling to catch up while dealing with a screwy platform.) Fie on you, Blogger!!!
Anyway, knitting has gone from a hobby I only get to work on in furtive moments between practices and homework to something I can really indulge in for long stretches of time. In the years since my children were small, I have made all sorts of knits: fitted, super cabled, extreme allover colorwork, the super bulky craze, cardigans, fuzzy novelty scarves, zippered fronts, summer tees, turtlenecks, socks!, lace, etc and have learned so much.
The mess of reference books I am constantly flipping through attests to these lessons. So why am I not using my abilities more creatively?
It seems a shame to have maybe 16 years of experience doing all of this, plus a couple of reads through Knitting Without Tears, and not be creating my own sweaters and such. I know I can do it because I have already done it once. My Bus Stop Pullover was my first attempt with only Elizabeth Zimmerman’s percentage recipe to guide me. (Don’t mock my Ghibli-inspired pullover. It’s sweet and nostalgic and it used stash.) I loved doing it and it prepared me for an apocalypse where there was no clothing, but plenty of sticks and yarn.
It turned out really easy. In fact, if I weren’t trying to fit something as odd as totoros onto the yoke, it would’ve been a snap. But I haven’t tried anything like that since, and I’ve knitted a lot. I counted 103 sweaters of all sorts on my Ravelry page. Keep in mind, I’m not especially talented, just consistent. And obsessive.
So again I ask myself- why have I not used my abilities more in a way that challenges my mind? I love knitting other people’s patterns. It’s like having a conversation and seeing things through their eyes for a moment. It’s also a relief, at times, to start something and know it will be finished quickly with little to no trial and error. On top of that, I succumb to instagram bandwagons like everyone else. That aforementioned Ravelry page contains at least one fade, indie-dyed colorwork sweaters, an Icelandic yoke, and several hats with giant, faux fur poms on top. I am a only human.
Let’s face it. The last 3, no 5, years were intense for me. I needed something easy that soothed me. I needed one thing that I could do and know I did well, every day. If it felt like the whole world was mad at me, I wanted to escape in something that had a tangible result. So many of those projects provided that release and rhythmic lull I needed. My knitting was mocked a bit because it was in my hands every chance I got, but it helped me relax and that was worth the remarks and rolled eyes.
Lately, though, I’ve been wanting to try some of the things I read about: different construction, unusual shapes. I don’t mind if I knit for days and it flops big time. I think it will help my hormone induced forgetfulness to go through the trial and error of different processes myself to get the methods ingrained in my mind. We all know that trying new things creates neural pathways. I’m actually not sure about that, but it sounds correct.
(more on Ravelry, Instagram, flickr, and starting with Episodes 21 & 22)
Besides all of that, I like to collect images of tv-inspired knits that I’d like to recreate. Like I said, sometimes it just boils down to, “Ooooh, pretty.”
Would you like to join me in the #WingItKAL ? You only have to innovate as much as you want to. It could be a different cast on than the pattern describes, or a lengthening of the sleeves. Or, like me, you can cast on with a ball of yarn and just start something all your own from start to finish. Trying a new stitch by knitting a square that you use as a dishcloth totally counts!
I will have a Ravelry group up by the end of this week. It would’ve happened sooner but Blogger is driving me insane!! so It’s not quite ready.
Be thinking of what you’d like to change in an existing pattern or invent for yourself and we will cast on in January! Hope to see you there.