Friday, September 11, 2009


No, I don’t mean politically – it’s always silly season in Politicsville.

No, what I mean is that we have officially entered the knitting silly season, which goes like this: Hi, Almost Fall! I’m going to pick out patterns for gloves, sweaters, hats, scarves, socks and so forth and then completely IGNORE or otherwise FUTZ WITH said patterns and then I will be all, “OH MY GAH, why isn’t this WORKING?!

It started with the black gloves I think I mentioned not long ago. They were one of those “um…” projects, something I cast on because I was between projects (we shall not discuss how many almost-finished projects are languishing all over the house right now, OK?) (fine. eight. there are eight almost-finished projects in bags, boxes, crates and baskets all over my house right now. there. are you happy now?).

I used what was left of the beautiful black superfine alpaca I got from Lisa Souza a few Stitches ago. The moths had done some pretty gnarly damage to the skein (sob-sob!), but I did manage to get a few semi-decent sized balls out of the mess.

And I have so learned my lesson on that. It doesn’t matter how sexy and lovely and touchable the yarn is – you shouldn’t leave it out so you can pet it at will.

ANYWAY. First, I picked a pattern – just a simple glove pattern for a basic pair of gloves.

But the pattern was knit flat and seamed. I mean, seriously…knit flat and seamed, are they kidding me? I’m not that good at seaming, it would totally show!

But that’s OK (I said to myself), I’ll just go ahead and knit it in the round.

You know, I’ll just…adjust as I go.

No thought, no sitting down to ponder out how this would impact the instructions, I’ll just figure it out as I go.

The problem is, it actually worked out for me. I used double pointed needles and joined (being careful not to twist) and then I knit a pair of Basic Black Gloves that are warm, fuzzy and fit perfectly (which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that I was compulsively trying them to on check the finger lengths as I went).

Basic Black Gloves
Fuzzy picture, anyway…

itsy-bitsy spider
The itsy-bitsy spiiiiider went up the…

hey! no pictures!!

Then I cast on another “…ummmm…” project. Because goodness knows, I wouldn’t want to finish one of the other projects still glaring at me accusingly from around the Den. I decided I’d make this cabled scarf I saw in one of the magazines.

Only I didn’t like the cable pattern or the border they picked so instead I sort of didn’t cast on anything like what they had pictured and instead I made this one.

cable scarf

This is a superwash called 7 Settembre, by Baruffa. I have to confess I was a little worried about it while on the needle because it didn’t feel the right grade of softness for something that would wrap around your neck, but am delighted to report that upon washing it softened right up into a lovely, soft-draping and neck-approved fabric.

cables on scarf

And, I totally like these cables more than the other ones. Which were less angular and then had that XOXO border thing next to them. Meh.

AND NOW, I am moving on to the annual Denizen Sweaters. It’s starting to be cool in the mornings and pretty soon we’ll be moving into that part of the year where we need to wear something in the morning but it won’t be cold enough for a jacket and furthermore it’s going to be considerably warmer later in the day so whatever is worn will need to be crammed down into a backpack.

Naturally, I start flipping through the magazines, pattern books and Internet looking for something I can make with the yarn I already have.

This is like putting up a sign on the door that says, “Welcome, Silly Season!!”

Already, I’ve done things like picked out the most impossible pattern imaginable done on fingering yarn and tried to tell myself that I could so totally do that in the worsted I’ve got on hand.

I’ve messed with the patterns so much they no longer remotely resemble the original. And they’re at a different gauge, and a different row/column count. (But I insist that I’m still using the pattern.)

And I’ve chosen about thirty-seven patterns that would be adorable on any one of the kids. BUT, I’ll of course have to buy five skeins of this and six of that and I don’t have anything in a DK weight around here? Seriously…? Wellllllll, maybe if I held two strands of this fingering together, it would…wait…do I want to use alpaca fingering on a child’s sweater, that will be dragged through the mud, crammed into backpacks, jammed under the benchseat in the minivan and there abandoned for weeks or months, loaned to a friend at recess, whose mother will toss it in the washer as a favor to me before returning it because her daughter dragged it through the mud on all the way home…?

Last year, I swore that this year I would be doing simple, quick sweaters in machine washable acrylic.

I swore it.

With many swear words, to boot.

But silly season is working its wiles on me. I look over my robust collection of acrylics and think, Yes, but, it’s the wrong gauge…and I don’t like this color for this project…and besides, wool is warmer…

I’m messing with patterns and then I’ll be upset that they don’t come out looking like the picture.

I really don’t think there’s any hope for me.

But, on the bright side, if I ever ran for public office, I would fit right in…


RobinH said...

See, I think it totally counts as following the pattern if you throw out the directions and just use the teensy little shapes with measurements and convert measurements into the number of stitches in the gauge of the yarn you're using. But then, I have a half-a-sweater-back in fingering weight yarn lying around the house myself.

Bullwinkle said...

RobinH is way nicer than I ;)

A pattern is a guide. A starting point (for some, a massive cliff dive, but nonetheless ...)

Except for the seamed gloves (which obviously is a doable, since you did) - a pattern is a way to say, 'here's how someone made gloves' and basically I want that shape and here's the yarn I have.

The only other thing that matters is gauge - which you can either calculate or wing. (Winging does require checking size on the appropriate body part.)

Sometimes its "I like that color combo (or stitch) (or motif)" and that is totally following a pattern too.

At least in my world.

Not following a pattern is the only one that matters - you start with a twinkling of an idea and cast on and make something out of your head.

You could do that too. For the sweaters I mean. Pick one of those lovely yarns in stash (or acryllic) and cast on. When you get bored, change colors, add a pattern block, switch stitches ...