How I Got My Knit-Groove Back

Has it been two weeks already? Wow, I didn’t anticipate how long it would take to write my next post after St. Brigid, but in a lot of ways I needed the break.
In my last post, I mentioned that knitting St. Brigid taught me a lot about my knitting. It’s taken me a couple weeks to really gather my thoughts. What I’m outlining here is what I’m thinking for myself — and may or may not apply to yourself.

  1. Quest for Perfection – Finishing the sweater has been bittersweet for me. With over 3 years of dreaming and planning about it, in my mind the sweater was going to be perfect. But it’s not. In particular, I would narrow the shoulders another inch per shoulder (the weight of the sleeves pull at the shoulders), I would deepen the V neck by another full repeat, and I would taper the neckline more. It’s still a very wearable sweater, but if I could do it all over again, I’d make those adjustments.
  2. Sweater Bulk – All those cables are heavy and add to the bulk. While I expected this to be the case, seeing it in person made a much bigger impact. I’ve been looking toward finer gauges and less cabling to manage the bulk.
  3. Fashion versus Art – As beautiful as St. Brigid is, I find myself obsessed with more wearable designs lately. I’m unclear whether that’s a current obsession or more of a permanent thing. Either way, I’ve been focused on finding sweaters that are fun enough to knit, functional enough to use, and fashionable enough to wear. That’s a lot of requirements but when I look back on my FOs versus UFOs, in most cases it’s those three items that separate the two.
  4. Mindful Colors – While knitting with all kinds of color sounds intriguing, I know I’ll make something more useful if I stick to my core colors — black, reds, greens/blues, pinks and grays. If it’s a color I wouldn’t buy RTW, then I’m not buying yarn to make a sweater in it either. Accessories don’t count though, so socks, scarves, and wraps are safe for all colors. Oh, and I’m currently test driving purple — until last week I didn’t own a single thing in purple but I think I might like it. I bought an inexpensive sweater to see how I feel when wearing it.
  5. Mindful Stash Usage – I’ve spent a lot of time photographing and inputting my stash into ravelry. In the process I frogged several partially-knit projects that I had no interest knitting, and even made 4 trades with other ravelers! Cataloging my stash renewed my interest in many of the yarns I already have, and stash trading satisfied my desire to shop without spending a dime.
  6. Project Focus – I’m still not sure where I stand on this one. On one hand, I knit a huge sweater in under 10 weeks. But on the other hand, I was dead tired by the end of it, and my hands ached. I like project variety but there also comes a point when too many projects is just plain too many. I still don’t know what that number is though — is it only one sweater on the needles at a time? Only one pair of socks? Max quantity of WIPs that I can’t go above? I’m torn by this one because a hobby should be fun, but I also want to be able to wear and use what I knit. There’s got to be a good way to balance the two.

So where does all this leave me? For the past couple weeks I haven’t knit much. The only thing I’ve worked on is the dragon scarf. I spent a lot of time with my stash though, and my Ravelry queue grew quite a bit. Seeing all that yarn again, and having some time to contemplate has really sparked my interest again. If I could cast on for all of these today I would. And this pic is only a sampling of what’s enticing me right now. I haven’t been so excited about knitting in a long time.

Knitspiration: Nov 2007
click for more info on each design

Some of you may notice that a couple of these designs don’t look exactly like the originals. That’s because I’ve been playing with color a bit.
Playing with color
left: original; right: color corrected for me

I’ve noticed that the color something is featured in plays a bigger role in my interest level than I would have expected. Seeing other people’s FOs in colors that I like a lot more was really eye opening. I’m going to try to pay more attention to this. Coral is probably my least favorite color, and yellow-neutrals are right behind that. So it’s no wonder I passed right by these two. But as knitted items, in the color of my choice, I love them.
So what do you all think? Do you have the same problem when something is knit up in a color you don’t like? Or do you just instinctively know?
And as for Bianca’s Jacket — if anyone has any Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in color 19 please let me know. I’m so obsessed with this cardi that if I had enough in my stash (I only have 2 hanks) I would cast on right now. right. now.
This getting my groove back…damn, it’s a good thing.

31 thoughts on “How I Got My Knit-Groove Back

  1. I don’t have much trouble visualizing knitted items in other colors. I’m used to ignoring the color to some extent, and seeing the project as a blank canvas for my mind to paint.
    But my husband doesn’t have that ability. Whenever he and I are planning a new project for me, I show him pattern ideas, assuming that we can pick whatever color he chooses. Still, he first comment is usually something like: “I don’t like that green.”
    I need to learn how to change the color on photos like that, so I can help him visualize that way!

  2. Color isn’t a problem for me as much as fit. I didn’t look twice at the Phyllo Yoked Pullover until I saw a more closely fitted version.
    I have almost two balls of Silky Wool leftover from my Bloom, is that the same color? Also, Pins and Needles had some at 25% off, but I’m not sure what colors.

  3. I have some yarn I got that isn’t the color I was expecting it to be. I keep debating as to whether I should knit it up or sell it. I mean, life is too short to spend it knitting up yarn I like in ugly colors. After reading this post, I’m even more inclined to sell it. Hmmmm….

  4. I was just thinking to myself that I don’t think I’ve ever knitted something that I’ve been 100% completely totally happy with. Even the things I really like have one small thing I’d probably tweak or change or lengthen or shorten or something. I keep wondering if I’ll ever get to the point where everything I finish will be perfect? Or maybe that’s not the point of knitting. Heh.
    In any case I think St. Brigid is a fantastic accomplishment and I bet it taught you a lot!

  5. Thanks for the thought-provoking blog. St. Brigid is an amazing accomplishment! One thing that might help with the weight issue is to reinforce the shoulder seams by crocheting a chain stitch across both shoulders and the back neck. I learned this from the book simply Beautiful Sweaters and it works like a charm.

  6. Good thoughts! Glad you’re getting your mojo back…it is winter after all. And I totally agree about the color thing. that’s why i like ravelry so much, if something is in a color, or even a yarn, that i don’t like very much, I won’t think it’s a good pattern. But if someone else knits it in a color and yarn I like, it looks completely different! Do you use Photoshop to play with the colors, or…? I would like to try that.

  7. what taking pictures of my stash has told me is that despite the 100s of skeins of yarn that i’m hoarding, i still have nothing to knit šŸ˜‰
    by the way, your st. brigid is beautiful. and i love the color

  8. Number 3 on your list is getting to be a real challenge for me. I’m moving a bit more towards Art, as I really have enough handknit-weight sweaters that have usefulness.

  9. These are all great points to consider! I personally struggle with the interesting to knit vs wearable issue all the time. One sweater I’ve made in particular (basalt tank) was a blast to knit, but three seconds of forethought would have been enough for me to realize that I’d never wear the finished product!
    I’ve had my eye on the Phyllo Yoked pullover for a while, too. Bubblegum pink doesn’t scare me, although mine will likely be purple. I’ve also always loved the Glasgow pullover – a bit of reshaping would make it into a beautiful sweater.

  10. Hi, I have been reading your blog for a while now and really enjoy it. I totally agree with you on the color thing. How did you change the colors on those pictures? I would really love to know how. Happy knitting!

  11. I totally agree with you on the color a sample is knit in influencing my interest in the design. Usually if it’s knit in orange (I am especially weak towards orange), green, or a tweedy neutral I will be in love with it and if it’s pink I will hate it.
    I couldn’t get into the Phyllo Yoke Sweater until I saw a good picture of one in a different color on Ravelry. I have a bunch of hemp yarn in a green that’s just a little brighter than yours to make it!
    I think it’s a lot of fun considering the merits function/fun/fashion of different designs and choosing which to make, and I always enjoy reading other people’s thoughts on the subject too!

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