Coming out of my knitting funk

Sometimes I wonder whether new readers of the blog make a funny WTF face when they see the blog title. I know some of my knitting buddies still read here but I also worry sometimes that they might not care so much about all the homeschooling stuff. I’ve been in a knitting funk. I did those stranded hats when I was in Europe and some mittens. (I’d link to those blog posts but I know the photos got lost in the move from Typepad.)

I have an almost finished sweater (this one; there are other posts after that one, in the knitting category, that give some of the backstory; I like the fact that the year doesn’t show up in the date of the post but it is at least 2 years ago) in the basket in the living room that brings up all kinds of negative feelings when I even think about picking it up again. I had such great dreams for that sweater and then the sleeves were too long (waaaaay too long) and I took out the sleeves and then I tried it on and it seemed to big and I took back a bit at the shoulder and restarted the sleeves (top down, picking up from around the armhole) and … well it still sits there. Beautiful cushy yarn. I think maybe I overthought it and should have just knit something straight from the pattern.

Hanami was great. It reminded me that I love knitting lace. And I got lots of compliments on it when I wore it to church a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve done some socks. For my dad and for a friend. They were both very appreciative. And looking through some of the photos I realize I’ve also done that wrap sweater for myself, a baby sweater for a friend, and the little vest for Tigger. But I haven’t been inspired.

And then Twist Collective came out. I bought two patterns. And then didn’t do anything about either of them. The whole idea of starting a project that might go horribly wrong like the unfinished sweater in the basket seems to have been holding me back. But the other day I went to the LYS to look for yarn. I took some patterns with me that I thought I might like to knit and looked at all the yarn in the shop several times. Picked it up and felt it. Considered it.

The only thing that really spoke to me was some Lang Merino Superwash. I wasn’t sure if the gauge was right for Jaali but it looked close. And then I had a total freeze about colour. But I looked and felt and considered. And walked out empty-handed.

Emily is also starting Jaali and posted about her yarn decisions the other day. That prompted me to look up the ball band gauge on the recommended yarn and realize it is the same as that on the Lang. I considered colour a bit more and was still stuck, but realized that if I really want to make it purple, I just need to go get some grey wool fabric and make another pair of the wonder-pants (I have a pattern that fits great and looks great and I even modified it to put decent pockets in it.). I have been thinking about making grey wool pants anyway.

So today I went back to the LYS and stared at the Lang and squeezed it and contemplated colour. There was a great red (only 3 balls) but I already have a lot of red tops and even a great red Manos de Uraguay sweater that I wear a lot in the winter. I seriously considered a couple of shades of orange. I bought an orange t-shirt this summer and I think it looks okay on me but I don’t think I’m ready to dive into orange for a sweater. And there was a really nice plum/eggplant colour (ha, I notice it is officially called “aubergine”). I knit a sweater in some Jo Sharp cotton in that colour a few years ago and wore it lots. I still do sometimes. It’s a great colour for me. And I don’t really have that many purple tops (partly because I can only wear them with my jeans these days; my grey pants are all too big or too dressy).

I bought purple. They only had 10 balls and I need 15, but the other store had 5 more and I can probably pick them up tomorrow or Monday.

desk-with-swatch.jpg

And I knit a swatch. A good big swatch. I decided on 3.5mm needles because the pattern gauge is a bit tighter than the ball band guage. I cast-on what should be enough for a 6 inch swatch if I get gauge (plus a couple of stitches each side for a garter stitch border) and knit what should be enough for a 6 inch swatch (plus garter borders). I just measured it and it is 15.5 cm by 16 cm inside the borders. That’s pretty darn close. Now I’m going to wash it and see what happens.

… several days later …

It grew. So I knit another swatch on 3.25 mm needles. This on is 23 stitches and 32 rows to 4″. I’m calling that close enough. Not least because I don’t have a 3 mm circular. And because the really crucial thing is going to be the row gauge on the cables. I’m still undecided on how much ease but will probably err on the side of too little since my stitch gauge is going to make it come out a tiny bit larger and because I have learned from experience that that is the way to err. Fitted is good.

Maybe I’ll go cast on now…

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7 thoughts on “Coming out of my knitting funk

  1. OK, that stimulates me – I’m going to finish my Fifififi top (I’m somewhat over knitting it, but can’t wait to wear it) and get the orange yarn balled up – and do Jaali next!

    (I’m at a risky ‘cast-on, cast-on!’ moment today, so this is very helpful!)

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  2. I wish I knit well enough to tackle sweaters and other fun stuff. I’m mainly doing socks, socks, more socks, and the occasional hat. I just love to collect yarn though (and fabric too).

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  3. I just stopped by to say thanks for the comment on my last blog post… I do yearn for the day when diversity is accepted, and my children and others like them are valued for their strengths…not labeled by their challenges.

    I’m a knitter too.. (kind of, sort of).. and also have a guilt producing unfinished sweater sitting in a basket. I really should go pick that back up. Right now I’m doing a knit-along of afghan squares. Some of them are really pretty(and they are quick and easy!). Good luck with your new project…

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  4. I’ve been in a knitting funk too. But with the weather cooling off, I beginning to get the itch. I knit Peter a scarf before he moved, and that was fun. Now I feel like going through my stash and picking out a pattern. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  5. It is nice to know that even experienced knitters go through this sort of funk. After teaching the beginner class to that group of teenagers at co-op, I lost my enthusiasm. Packed all the yarn up for the summer. Just last week, I picked up crochet hooks to make HoneyGirl a cell phone neck pouch, and realized I missed it. The invitation to Rhinebeck is just the thing to get me back on teh needles again!

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