Thursday, August 7, 2008

Going for the Gusto*

I'm a knitting wussie. So much of it intimidates me, I wish I could just swan dive into like some other fanatics out there. You know the ones. Those that buy three hanks of Brown Sheep Cotton fleece and three days later whip out a lacy top or skirt. Or those that have at least three projects going at once, and rotate them according to their level of speed like so many pots on a stove. Those lacy knit gloves? Stuck. Put on the back burner. Moss stitch beret? Making progress, but I need someone to help me rip back a row. Sweater? Swatching and blocking that later this evening. It seems to me too that those with large stashes of yarn, in other words, those knitters who get buried by a snowfall of skeins when they open the closet, they're the ones always working their sticks (though not necessarily reducing the collection aka stash). Me? My yarn collection is so small, it scarcely merits closet space. Whereas I'm hasty to cut out fabric and patterns, knitting takes me so much time that if I were running the Chicago Marathon, I'd do best to start now. It doesn't matter that the starting line hasn't been set up yet. Then there's the budget. If I buy any yarn, by golly, I'm going to knit now, not wait until winter when it's suitably cold enough to be doing K2, P2 with 100 percent wool. I don't want my yarn to gather any dust, and I want my money's worth right away. What's more, I really think about what I'm going to do for the longest time. I've got more 100 projects tagged favorite on Ravelry, but nothing queued. I don't even know how to use that function. So it was quite amusing to read in the latest issue of Vogue Knitting, that there are users who actually watch what others are lining up in their list of projects. That would actually be an interesting function to add to Patternreview. Maybe it's already available there. I dunno.

I'm thinking that the knitters who learn the most are the ones who invest the most, whether it's time, money or both. They aren't content to just sit on the sidelines, cheering on players, they jump the pointy fence, stumble on the dirt knees first (ouch!) and play. If they fumble with the bumble, help the opponent score a point, it doesn't matter, they're learning. It's all about the journey, which clearly needs to be the topic of a t-shirt, if it's not already somewhere, somehow.

I think I have that hunger to just make lots of mistakes fast and quick with sewing. I've tossed out dozens of projects. I've gots lots of unfinished projects in shopping bags throughout my home. A closet collection collaborating and planning future growth. Pins dangerously poking about on the bedroom floor, rolling in laughter on the living hardwood floor.

Meanwhile, the knitting needles are lined up nice, prim and proper behind a glassed in bookshelf. Ditto the knitting needles. The yarns are sequestered in a beaten-up shopping bag on a hanger in the front closet. There's nothing remotely knitting-related on my to-do. No "go to Arcadia today," or "test out lace pattern this weekend" or even "stock up on Malabrigo for bolero jacket." There's a bit of lingering fear, a fear of commitment - like how long will it take to make the cute 1930s knit hat in Romantic Hand Knits? Or the pom pom peds - how quickly can I master the pattern to the point that I'm cranking out a pair lickety-split without thinking? I just want to get to the point where I'm done in the way I am with sewing. Materials? Check. Pattern? Cut, cut, and CUT. Stitch, stitch, stitch. A little pressing. Steam here, steam there. I'm done. I'm wearing the sewn garment hot off the iron in a matter of hours.

Knitting seems like it's a lot of pre-crafting plotting. Get enough of same color lot yarn. Swatch. Rewrite pattern that so that it fits you and not your sister. Start project in fits like you're hand-cranking a Ford Model T. Speed only comes after you add ethanol. If you're lucky, you'll have something in a matter of 48 to 72 hours. Nothing, nothing, not even Tinker Bell, comes overnight. A lot, from what I read, gets done within months. Some gets aside and finished a year later. Gosh, what a slow-cooker hobby. Where's the instant gratification - but not a straightforward knit-and-purl scarf - that can be accomplished without enlisting an army of experts in person or online? I just dunno. Hence my hesitation.

Then again, knitting is a portable project as I've mentioned many times before. I'm not quite ready to give it up just yet. But I'm not in love. I don't swoon over skeins of yarn. I'm not ready to buy a drop-spindle let alone a spinning wheel just so that I can say that I not only carded the fiber but I spun the yarn. That's too much, although it does appeal to me in a Tasha Tudor sort of way. I feel the same way about hairpin lace. I've got the tool, but I hem and haw at the edge of the pool. (A fitting analogy given that I'm always in the warm-water pool for aerobics thrice weekly). Will it be cold?

With that in mind, I'm ready to sign off the computer and do something crafty. Will it be Vogue Fabrics or Arcadia Knitting? Vogue is a cheaper fix, Arcadia feels more like I'm signing up for Pre-Cana classes and the pre-wedding jitters are already kicking in. What about you? What hobbies are you ready to try but not quite ready to carry out?

Enough on my knitterly anxieties. A little bit of this and that:
  • Pattern Poll Results. Forty percent of you love McCalls, 40 percent love all big four patterns (McCalls, Vogue, Butterick and Simplicity) ; 20 percent of you like Vogue. I'm the lone star in this crowd: I mostly love Simplicity, seemingly a small-shouldered girl's beeeeest friend.
* The swatch above is from a gauge-swatch cardigan started in Des Moines two years ago. I need more yarn to complete it.

1 comment:

turvid said...

Thank you so much for giving craftzine a tips about my felted balls. I've never had this much trafic on my site.... :D

Such fun!

What is your ravelry name?

best from turvid