Monday, July 28, 2008

Knitting Lessons

Last summer I was the lucky recipient of mountains of free yarn. Some of it went to the refugee knitters but much of it stayed with me as it was unsuitable for beginners and, frankly, too nice to part with. Included in this bonanza was a bag of soft yarn in the bright spring green I love. Enough yarn to make a sweater.

I might be the only knitter in he world who hasn't made herself a sweater but there you have it. Overheated hyperthyroid gal that I am, I never want to wear anything heavy. But this yarn was light and airy without being so fluffy as to invoke Muppets. I decided it was time to make my first sweater for me.

Off to a running start due to a number of days sitting beside my grandmother's hospital bed, that sweater came together in no time. And when I was within a few hours of finishing it, I realized something was Terribly Wrong. The V-necks seemed to start not at mid-chest but rather navel level. I'm sure there are women who could pull that look off but I am not one of them. I ripped and re-knit and ended up with exactly the same problem. Since I couldn't figure out how to keep from making the same mistake again, I put the sweater aside and moved on, sure that with a little time off things would begin to make sense.

But no...every time I picked it up and looked at the pattern I became entangled in the same mess. I put it aside more or less for good sometime last winter and had pretty well forgotten it until yesterday when something jogged my memory. This time when I hauled the almost-complete sweater from its bag it was perfectly clear to me what I needed to do. I'd like to say that the directions magically made sense but in fact what I needed to do was frog (rip-it, rip-it...get it? ) In less than 30 minutes, that sweater was reduced to a pile of tidily wrapped balls. And for the first time in months, I could think about that yarn without feeling guilty and stupid.

I don't know why that pattern didn't work for me but it took almost no time to look up a pattern for an almost identical sweater that's clear as day. The thing is, I enjoy knitting. The process is nearly always at least as valuable to me as the product. So even though I have a pile of yarn balls and nothing resembling a sweater, I feel like I just made a whole heap of progress.

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