Swatching and Wishing

Stockinette stitch knitting (detail of Image:5...

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Once upon a time I used to never swatch before beginning a project.  I would pick my yarn and my needles and charge forward like the light brigade!  Damn the torpedoes!  Full speed ahead.  There would be a lot of frogging along the way and a lot of frustration in the middle because things wouldn’t work out like I had hoped. Sometimes I would wonder if I was a knitter at all. Finally I gave up and began swatching before beginning projects, especially if the person I was giving the project to was someone I considered extra special and I wanted to impress them or it was a project I considered important as a reflection upon me. Yeah, I guess I am a selfish knitter. Scarves and hats just seemed to fall into a totally different category, unless lace was involved or a lace stitch. 

Then, one day, I made a small little pair of fingerless mitts for a child and suddenly size mattered and I wanted the things to fit and be beautiful and it didn’t matter exactly that I didn’t know the person.  What mattered was that the mitts were right.  Since then I have been swatching, and I have begun to notice a subtle difference in how my knitting has changed.

It hasn’t changed in the fact that my knitting is better or “more professional” as a friend of mine claimed, but it is better in the sense that each piece done really does look better and it does fit better.  Catching mistakes is easier when I make a swatch now than when I barrel ahead in a pattern. 

I believe my Mamma would say I’ve finally grown up some.  This makes me happy.


Thank God for Yarn

A little dexterity is helpful in working with ...

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Maybe it is because the weather has turned off cool (downright cold now) and it has begun to rain now, or maybe it is because it is November and I am thinking of Christmas and Christmas presents and planning, but knitting is in the works. As usual, the knitting is beginning slowly. There is a pair of fingerless mitts being worked on now because Sniffles has a birthday bash that is just around the corner and as part of said birthday bash – OK, maybe it isn’t going to be a bash exactly, but it is going to be a celebration – she is wanting to see the next Harry Potter movie installment. This absolutely requires a knitted item or three. It is almost law!

Yesterday I was knitting on the mitts, the second one of the pair, and admiring how the stitches were going well for me and everything was looking so good, I knew it was at last time to cast on for the sweater for Kolbar and to make certain it was completed this time. It was important it was finished before his birthday because of a couple of reasons, one very important one I cannot divulge here yet, and because I need something to help me fight the deep, dark winter blues that is already threatening.

The winter blues was very bad yesterday because it was cold and rainy. The sky was dark and overcast. It looked like a winter sky and encouraged all sorts of dark thoughts and sad memories to come drifting out of the deepest recesses of my mind. The bright-colored yarn and click of the knitting needles helped to keep them at bay somewhat. Chewie, my golden lab, helped even more, as did a video game and some things I had recorded on the DVR. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get myself to write and push the grayness further away. So, I relied upon the yarn, knitting needles, and the project upon them. It helped.

Today it was cold, but the sun was shining brightly and the winter blues wasn’t quite so soul-sucking. It is still there, but so is the yarn. Today I made it to write and I made it to do other productive things as well as exercise. Thank God for yarn and dye and the skill to make things with string, especially in the winter! Amen.