I’ve challenged myself to knit a sweater a month this year and so far I’ve knit fourteen. While some have exercised my creative muscle, most of them have been just a way to fill time and keep my hands busy. Unfortunately my boredom with the project had spilled into my posts, especially my last one. The photos were awful and I droned on. What I presented was embarrassing.
Shame on me.
Let’s try it again, shall we?
We’re seven months into a worldwide pandemic and I’m nine months into my Sweater-a-Month challenge. Technically I’ve fulfilled the challenge as I’ve completed 14 sweaters so far.
I’ve found myself in a bit of a wasteland this quarter. I’ve settled into a monotonous routine, which has seriously stifled my creativity. I feel like I’m living in a real life version of Groundhog’s Day. But then again, with all that is going on in this country, our collective emotional well-being has been tested.
Even as an introvert who has more than enough interests to fill her time, looking at the same four walls is taking it’s toll. I know change (which we desperately need) doesn’t happen without disruption. Living in the middle of it though is mighty uncomfortable.
Fortunately I have my knitting. Knitting is like meditation. It keeps my hands moving, the steady rhythm of the clicking needles acting like a metronome which lulls the constant chatter of my mind, allowing me to drift off into dreams of when we can enjoy the mundane pleasures of life – like going to a coffee shop to write.
This cardigan, knit with a bulky weight weight yarn, is comfort personified. It’s a warm, squishy yarn and I knit it extra long so I would feel like I was in a cocoon. The perfect antidote to a cold, rainy day when all you feel like doing is sitting by a fire, wrapped up in a blanket drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book.
Color is another way to chase away the melancholy of these days. I happen to have a lot of turquoise-y colored yarns in my stash and had enough of this boucle to knit up a sweater.
Boucle yarns have a loopy or curly ply, giving them a bit of texture. It’s a yarn best used plain because that curl would make lace or cable stitches less distinctive than if you use a smooth yarn. Another concern I had was running out of yarn. I knew I had enough to make a sweater but fancy stitches usually eat up more yarn than a plain stockinette. I chose a top down design because the sleeves are knit last. How much yarn I had leftover would determine the length of my sleeves.
Picking which project I do next is based on a feeling. I have to be inspired. I have to love everything about it so much that I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I had my eye on two yarns – a variegated blue yarn (which was lovely to knit) and self-striping yarn I bought in Ireland. As with the boucle, it’s hard to do pattern work with multi-colored yarn because it gets lost, so, again, I choose a simple top down style for both but I changed up the neckline.
And maybe I wasn’t ready to tackle anything more complicated. I described being in a “wasteland” but maybe that’s the wrong word. I think I just needed a break from the chaos of this world. I needed something quick and easy – that I didn’t have to put much thought into. Instant gratification in a time when so much is at stake and the outcome is unclear.
With some much needed mental rest, I felt ready to take on something a bit more complicated. Still top down but I added a lace panel to it. It’s based off of a Sweater Babe pattern that I own.
The piece de resistance was this lace sweater. I made two previous attempts with this yarn only to rip them out. I finally paired it up with another yarn (this is called marling in the knitting world). Neither yarn would have been fun to knit on their own because they’re too thin but together they are perfect.
I had to knit the sleeves THREE times to get them right. The pattern is from Rebecca (“The young knitting magazine with the big pattern section”) No. 29 January-September. This is #13 “Yellow Sweater”. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what I would have done if the third set of sleeves didn’t work because by that time I was OVER this sweater. In the end it did win me over because it is so beautiful.
This sweater helped me get out of my rut (or whatever stage of grief/change/pandemic I was in). Down time, rest and familiar routines are all comforting when everything around you feels like it’s spinning out of control. I feel recharged now and ready to take on new challenges. My output for the rest of the year may not be as much but I bet I end up growing more.