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The Sweater Project

December 22, 2011

So, it’s been four months since I posted on my blog.  I got pregnant again, and chasing my fast-growing toddler is getting harder and harder.  She’s pretty stinking cute though!!

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I’ve gotten back into knitting, which, let’s face it, is more relaxing and certainly easier to just pick up and work on, than composing a sensible blog post.  So I’ve decided to ignore the whole “sensible” aspect and just resume my cathartic verbal diarrhea.

Since getting into my late twenties, I’ve noticed I have a lot more patience for things than I did even when I was in college, which is what got me back into knitting; suddenly I can puzzle out a pattern that I wouldn’t have bothered looking at, and I can read books and watch video tutorials to learn new skills.  Good thing too, because the world only needs so many crappy acrylic garter stitch scarves.

Like everything else, knitting (and crocheting) has it’s own culture.  The upper crust of that culture, which was once totally unknown to me, is also part of the allure now.  I used to think that knitting needles only came in hollow, clacky aluminum and yarn came in cheap acrylic or slightly less cheap itchy wool, and you bought it all from mega-craft-mart.  But now I have discovered the Yarn Store.  It is a magical place where they sell nothing but supplies for knitting, crocheting and other closely related fiber arts.  The needles are made of warm, silky, silent wood.  The yarns come in luscious fibers like baby alpaca, bamboo and silk (among a dozen others), in delicious colorways.

So now that the instructions make sense and the supplies are a delight to use, knitting has become my new zen activity.  And unlike a lot of other relaxing activities, you have something totally awesome to show for your “relaxation” when you are done.  I’m trying to start slow, though, because all those quality materials cost $$.  And the yarn takes up space.  I have made a pledge to myself to keep my yarn stash at a reasonable size, and to use up what I have before buying more…

In college, I did go through a brief knitting phase, which resulted in the acquisition of over a dozen skeins of (cheap) yarn that have since followed me through about six moves.  Each time, the cheap wicker laundry basket where I stored them would get stuffed into a hefty bag, moved to the new place of residence, and stuck in a closet or shed.  When I got serious about knitting earlier in the autumn, I decided I was going to clear out some of that yarn and then only buy small quantities of nice quality yarns, with specific projects in mind for them.  I managed to pawn off 6 big skeins of Red Heart acrylic to a friend who knits blankets for animal shelters, leaving me with a few balls of cotton yarn in primary colors, a ball of grey knobby acrylic that I made into a much appreciated scarf (garter stitch, haha) for DH, and four skeins of a nubby nylon/acrylic blend that were intended to be made into a sweater, following a pattern on the back of the yarn label.

The primary colored cotton yarn can be made into baby/toddler clothes, but how to de-stash the weird nubby synthetic blend??  MAKE THE SWEATER.  Duh, you say.  But the pattern is pretty outdated, and I’m not super keen on a fully synthetic sweater.  It has become a matter of principal in my mind though, to knit something that ten years ago (yes, I’ve been carrying this yarn around that long and I’m not even 30 yet) that I wanted my mom to knit for me because it was too complicated.  And I want the yarn out of my stash; It would be a ridiculous waste to just throw it away, and none of my serious knitting friends would be interested in taking it.  SO here we are: The Sweater Project.

Step one was to untangle the godly mess of the one skein that had the wrapper pulled off it shortly after purchase…and has been rolling around in a wicker basket ever since.  HOLY CRAP! NEVER store yarn in anything made of wicker.  Lesson learned.

Step two was to “convert” the pattern to knitting in the round up to where it splits for the sleeves, which pretty much consists of casting on double the number of stitches for each side onto a circular needle.  I’ve knit about an inch or so of the bottom ribbing and it actually feels nicer knit up than I expected.

While the pattern itself is out of style, I am still happy with the colors I picked out a decade ago: Dark Thyme green in place of the Celery Green, Navy Blue in place of the Rose, and the same Vanilla color called for in the pattern.  Since this is the most ambitious knitting project I’ve taken on thus far, I’m sure I’ll have problems along the way and will enjoy blogging about them.  At least it will be warm, and the yarn will be out of my stash, so I can buy more, better yarn!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 22, 2011 5:50 pm

    If it makes you feel better I’m wearing an acrylic sweater right now, the first one I ever knit for myself. Acrylic yarn isn’t awful, some if it is actually really nice. When I knit a lot (read several hours a day) before I had kids I would use a lot of acrylic. Now, however, I have so little time to knit that I prefer to stick with yarns that I love (read good wool, alpaca, silk, etc) because I don’t have time for yarns that I just “like”. If the yarn or project brings you joy then it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks of the yarn you use. Also, if you need help figuring stuff out let me know.

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