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Turn it around

Do y’all remember Knitty’s pattern Cheesylove? It was published in 2002, which tells you all you need to know about my ability to react to inspiration.

Anyway, after having it on my to-knit list for some fifteen years, last year I finally cast it on and dedicated myself to it with an impressive degree of monogamy (socks don’t count, I think we can all agree). I even used some of the deep stash: the black Merino Supreme that Cleckheaton discontinued a long long time ago.

The fact that this isn’t an FO report post should hint at something. Yep, the whole thing was a bit of a dud. As I knit, I was struck with how heavy it was. Well, I thought, at least the yarn is nice and soft: I can wear it with just a t-shirt underneath and it’ll be fine. I noted how long the sleeves were becoming. Well, I thought, they’ll shorten as they stretch around the arm. It’ll be fine. Of course, it wasn’t fine.

The jumper was small enough that I was encouraged to try it on, but large enough that it made me look like a loaf of bread with a teeny weeny head. “Are you going to unravel it and redo it?” Asked M, after the weeping and stomping had subsided. No. Absolutely not. I thought about it, but in the end decided I no longer wanted a Cheesylove.

Here’s what we learned:

  1. A pattern does not age, but a knitter does. What I loved when I first put Cheesylove on my to-knit list is no longer my jam. It’s to be expected when you take fifteen years to act on something: my tastes, knitting skills, and wardrobe have all changed.
  2. Bulky is as bulky does, and even if a ball band suggests it’s Aran-weight, if knitting at Aran gauge takes aching hands and bent needles then you’re forcing a bulky yarn to act as an Aran. And bulky yarns make bulky fabric. Bulky fabric does not flatter me.
  3. Sometimes companies discontinue yarns for a good reasons, not just blatant perversity. Merino Supreme has long been my darling, but I see now that it’s bulky, you only get like 3 metres of yarn per ball, and it pills like a mofo. Farewell, Merino Supreme, and don’t let the yarn cupboard door hit you on the way out.

Here’s how we responded to the whole situation:

  1. I will resolve to turn patterns around faster. When I see a pattern I want to knit, I’ll try to do so ASAP. This means less languishing in the queue, less putting things off, and more importantly, dedicating myself to knitting a thing instead of just doing more socks. (There will always be socks.)
  2. I will turn yarn around faster. When I see yarns I badly want to make something with, I’ll do it, instead of saving them for some as-yet uninvented perfect pattern. The sheep are always growing more wool, and the yarn companies are always coming up with new things, so there’s not much risk that I’ll never have anything so lovely again. Get it out there!
  3. I will stop dismissing things just because they’re hot right now, and acknowledge that I want to knit them immediately: this is to safeguard against the trap of only deciding to make something about five years after it’s fashionable and then wondering why it doesn’t look as cool on me as it did on everyone else. Current case: fades, speckles.
  4. Oh, and I’m going to stop knitting garments that are heavier than DK weight. I’m small, and I don’t have the curves to flesh out a heavy-weight jumper, so when I wear something heavy-weight, my head looks weirdly small and my body strangely mountainlike. Nothing quenches the creative ardour faster than realising you’ve laboured for two months on something that makes you look like mashed potatoes with a pea on top.

I am not, by nature, a spontaneous person. Those of you who think you’ve seen me do something spontaneous, trust me: whatever it was, I’ve mulled it over as a possibility for some time. Probably months, possibly years. I’m working to improve this. I’m also chronically indecisive, which doesn’t help matters. These aren’t necessarily bad traits, but they do come with trade-offs: you miss out on stuff while you’re dithering!

In light of all this, I bought a LOT of yarn and three new patterns. It only took me three days to choose the colours, too. It’s going to be amazing.




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