As I mentioned last post, one problem with my 2010 knitting was that I didn’t fall instantly in love with any of the garments that I produced. To some extent this is a problem that can’t really be helped; it happens to the most proficient of knitters from time to time (or so I’ve heard, since I definitely don’t consider myself to belong to that category). Unfortunately, the truth is that you never really know for sure whether you’ll love an item until you actually finish it, block it and put it on. Even then it’s not always apparent. Sometimes it takes time and a few wears to realise that you really love something you’ve made.
Still, even though the specifics of making wearable items can be elusive, there are definitely measures that you can take to increase the probability of your end results being everything you hoped. The unfortunate truth, however, is that I don’t always take these measures and I honestly think that this is the reason why I was a little dissatisfied with several of the items I produced in 2010. Blogging about failure is not the most enjoyable thing, but perhaps it will teach me a lesson or two, so here come a couple of examples:
Example One: In Which Anna Fails To Capitalise On The Awesome Power Of Mathematics And Waste Yarn.
Raglans are easy to knit: the internet and all who sail on it say that this is the case, and I concur. That said, in 2010 I learned the hard way that the fact that raglans are easy does not absolve me of responsibility to use the contents of my knitwear adorned skull. I knitted two different raglans this year: one was a shrug-like creation and another was a vaguely wrap-style cardigan with ties to close it. I have worn them a few times, but I’m distinctly not in love with them for one main reason: the arm holes and upper sleeves are far too wide.
I have always liked a wider armhole because I find overly tight sleeves and shoulders uncomfortable to the point of being unwearable, but the sleeves on these raglans went past the point of positive ease and headed straight into awkwardly large territory. If I had just taken the comparatively negligible amount of time and effort required to do more maths, take more measurements and actually try these garments on more often as I worked their yokes, they might have come out as garments I wanted to wear all of the time.
Behold, a giant sleeve of doom.
I swear, I am going to knit at least one raglan garment this year just to prove to myself that I can in fact knit a non-ridiculously proportioned yoke.
Example Two: In Which Anna, For No Good Reason, Completely Fails To Consider Her Personal Taste In Knitwear.
Given that Ravelry and the knit-blogosphere involve large numbers of people undertaking an activity and talking extensively about it, it’s completely unsurprising that trends in yarns and patterns arise. I don’t really know how closely pattern trends resemble what’s currently in vogue in the broader fashion universe, since my knowledge of what is currently fashionable is pretty patchy. But trends definitely exist in the world of knitting; you don’t have to have been particularly tuned in over the last few years to notice the prevalence of triangle shawls, leaf motifs and swingy cardigans that fasten only at the top.
I knitted my Tea Leaf cardigan mid-year and I was happy enough with it when it was done. After all, it’s a gorgeous design and the pattern was very well written. But I’ve only worn it twice since then, and I know why: it’s because the style is just not my thing. I knew this perfectly well before I started. I was heard to lament the trend for these patterns because I knew then what I know now: that these cardigans don’t suit me, or rather, that they don’t really do anything for me. As far as I’m concerned, they hide all of the parts of my body that I like and prefer to emphasise – such as my small waist – and leave me looking shapeless. But, dazzled by the beautiful versions I saw online, I made one anyway, and what happened? Surprise: I don’t wear it. It’s not that it doesn’t fit. But I don’t like the way it looks. So I hardly wear it. Not an ideal outcome.
Perhaps I’ll eventually frog these cardigans and recycle the yarn. We’ll see. But in the mean-time, I’m going to try and find the lessons in these projects: next time around I will take the time and effort to fit things properly, and I’ll think long and hard about whether I’ll actually wear that cardigan, should I knit it.
A few other things I learned in 2010:
- My head is large and I like my hats low and slouchy. I need to bear this in mind and stop knitting too-tight hats. Even though it makes me look ridiculous, I still wear the hats that come out too large. Not the case with their overly-small counterparts.
- If I’m debating with myself over whether I should rip back and rework part of a project, it’s usually a pretty good indication that I should just bite the bullet and do it.
- Short row toes are magical and the good kind of crazy.
- I dawdle to a truly abysmal extent when I’m working on my own designs. Tsk!
- Not buying yarn is actually quite easy.
That’s about it for my thoughts on 2010’s knitterly endeavours. Soon I hope to write a little about some of the things I want to knit this year. You know, hopefully before we get too far into it! Alas, I’m already behind schedule with my blogging. I’ve been away in NSW for the past three weeks and while I had every intention to blog (to the point where I had even written some drafts) my internet had other ideas; it died halfway through the trip. So apologies for the silence – I’ll do my best to make up for it!