Thursday, July 3, 2014

Neglected knits: picking up where you left off

Though often worth it, it's not easy to go on with a project you stopped a few years ago and set aside.

For one thing, it might very well smell like Basement.

Who wants to knit Basement?

For another, the instructions you left yourself (if any) may prove to be hopelessly inadequate.  It might only take fifteen or twenty minutes to pick through them and count stitches and inches to figure out exactly where you were when you stopped, but they are boring minutes.  And boring is so not what you're after, when you're making something from scratch.

Still, it's good to be able to turn what has become mere clutter into something so much more. 

I started this sweater after Trish let me know about a source of really inexpensive merino sock yarn that was apparently not so sturdy for socks.   I was able to buy so much for so little - $5/skein, I think - it seemed silly not to make a sweater with it.  Now, of course, I wish I'd done a poncho - no fitting, no thinking - but at the time I decided to design my own Fair Isle sweater.

(I could still do a poncho: pretty sure I'd have enough yarn left over.)

Conveniently - and when I say that, I know you understand this is a degree of convenience I could very much have done without - I started this sweater just as terrible health things were happening to people I loved.  It was the first time in my life I wasn't standing by to support the primary supporters, but functioning as a primary supporter myself, and there was so much to do I wasn't always sure which end was up.  You will recognize this scenario as the perfect conditions for losing yourself in endless rounds of plain knitting.

That's probably what stopped the sweater, now that I think of it.  I finished the arms and the body and it was time to join it all and design the pattern for the yoke, and I didn't have one creative brain cell left to devote to the colourwork.

Months later, with no attractive end even imaginable let alone achievable, I noticed I'd put on weight.  Stress, not sleeping, getting stuck with food I couldn't plan out ahead of time - more bleah.  Why put in time on a sweater that wasn't even going to fit when it was done?  So on top of stopping, I just didn't pick it up again.

Well, here we are four years on, at the start of a lovely summer after a horrible winter.  There's only one health issue left and though it's chronic, it's trending toward Very Manageable.  I'm getting used to the idea of having my life back, and because that includes renovating the house, I'm also getting used to the idea of shedding some of the gear that got me through that time.

But not this sweater.  I'm not emotionally attached to it - what few memories I have of working on it are sad - and it's brown, a colour I seldom wear and have pretty much nothing to match.  But it would be good I think to have something positive to show for all that disaster.  And oh gosh, it is soft.

Plus, I really like the idea of a grownup Fair Isle sweater, to replace the ones I made when I was still a teenager.  One with a nice flat edge on the bottom this time.

And best of all?  It's too small.

Which makes it serious motivation to take my old life back - as much as is still accessible.  Yay knitting!  Thank you for always making me feel I can have control over something.

I hope you get some time to appreciate the joy that is knitting today, even if you live in the U.S. and are super busy preparing for fun times on July 4!  See you then, if you're not out playing.

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