Once you have found a hobby you really enjoy, you don´t want to let anything get in between you and your favorite pasttime. It is the same with knitting, but sometimes even a knitters road can be bumpy. Five challenges which can dampen any knitters spirits – and how to overcome them.

1. An UGH-Project

The sweater that will never fit rigt, the lace pattern your trying to memorize but keep messing up, the yarn that is splitting like no tomorrow, the pattern that does not lend itself to understanding. We´ve all been there. And it can actually take all the joy out of knitting, no matter how much we crave the finished object.

What to do:
LET GO. Some things just are not meant to be, and some projects never get finished. You should be glad yours is “only” a piece of knitting. Do not beat yourself up about it. Life is all about trial and error, and well, at last you´ve tried.

2. Snarky comments

Have you ever worn your finished object proudly in public only to have its possible shortcomings pointed out by others? Now that can ruin your day. Sometimes all it takes for somebody to say nothing at all when it would be socially adequate to say something nice, like in: “Oh, you´ve got a new haircut. NICE.”
I wore my acer cardigan proudly to a trade fair in Berlin, and a colleague (who knew I had knitted this cardi myself) mentioned that fact to someone we were talking to. The woman looked at me, went “U-hu” and changed the subject. It took all my inner strength to not kick her shin.

What to do:
Not everybody will love your finished object the way you do. However, that is completely ok and will help build your self-confidence (some day, eventually). Until then, remind yourself that you don´t always appreciate other peoples clothing choices either. Often enough, people wear hilariously ugly outfits they did not even knit themselves but bought from companies who have them sewn by child workers in Bangladesh.

3. Bad material

So you´ve finished your sweater and it fits, the colour is becoming, and even your boyfriend likes it. However, it starts to pill/shed/itch the minute you put it on …

What to do
Curse, if you must. Sometimes that´s all you can do. Then post a warning comment on the yarn on ravelry to keep others from making the same mistake, so at least SOME good comes of the whole mess.

4. The quest for perfection

Trying to “get it to look just like in the picture” is great if you´re looking for a shortcut to becoming completely and utterly insane. Nuff said.

New photo!

A top-down sweater I knitted during christmas holidays and have not yet posted but worn several times… even to work! Really   warm, really ligh OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAt, but: the yarn (alpaca/merino) sheds really badly. However, I like the rustic and casual look of this and am really proud of my first top-down sweater.
I did not have an actual pattern for this, but followed the numbers and raglan instructions given in Winter Rose Sweater on ravelry.

Now that I have

– successfully knitted one garment following a pattern (Acer cardigan)
– knitted a second garment following a basic design and modifying it (popcorn sweater),

what is the logical next step? Starting making up my own designs, of course!
I may be overestimating my skills just a little, but hey! That´s the beauty of knitting: If you f*ck it up royally, you can always rip it out and start anew.

So here it goes: My first attempt at garment knitting design, working title:

The Corn cardigan.

I bought three cones of colourmart´s fingering weight yarn in electric blue recently. I fell in love with the colour and, in my rush to win the ebay auction for this yarn, did not read the description properly. I thought it was one of their extra fine merino yarns, but it is a cotton/linen/silk combination…. which means it comes with mental tags normally not part of my knitting program:
DRAPE. SUMMER KNITWEAR. DRAAAAAAPE!
Corn cardigan back bottom-upHowever, now it is in my stash and I am going to knit it!
The plan is for a longish summer cardigan with a subtle lace pattern and little to no waist shaping. I have yet to decide between long sleeves and 1/2 sleeves with sleeve tabs (love those!) I took a simple lace pattern I saw on a sweater pattern and tried to reproduce it from the picture on the ravelry project site. Then, using the yarn doubled, I cast on 80 stitches for the bottom of the back, knit 12 rows in 1×1 ribbing and figured out the way I wanted to space out the small lace elements.

So far, I rather like it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
First ever knitted garment project is finished and quite faboulous! It took me only four months ;-).

I am happy with the outcome, but knitting it was a learning process and there are things I´d do differently next time.

Pros:

  • Nice colour
  • yarn was great to knit with, endured frogging back several times very well, keeps its shape, no growing wider or longer with repeated wearing
  • pattern is really pretty
  • arms were crocheted in without too much cursing in the process
  • Very warm
  • almost no pilling.

Cons:

  • Rather snug fit, especially around the shoulders. Can only be worn over thin longsleeves because otherwise it would be too tight.
    acer cardigan front viewHowever, this is not the patterns fault … I was just to lazy to knit a gauge swatch.
  • Buttons are too small, still have to find the perfect ones… I think domed tin buttons in tarnished silver would be nice.
  • Cardigan turned out a little shorter than I aimed for, but is now a good length to be worn with high-waisted skirts or pants.
  • Upper buttons cannot be closed without buttonband gaping. However, I did not intend to wear this fully buttoned up
  • Added 1 inch to sleeves, but they´re still more 3/4 length than full length.

Here I am, knitting happily away at my Acer cardi. I´m part nervous and part astonished at my own fabulousness, as this is my first real garment knitting project. So far, it is going quite well, although a first washing and blocking of the body showed that this is turning out rather narrow…I guess the yarn is rather thin for this pattern ( colourmarts 100% extra fine merino super dk in absinthe) and I am a tight knitter. Of course I could not be bothered to do a gauge swatch, so I am quite happy this is anywhere near my body measurements…well, I can always wear it open if it really turns out too tight. Photos to come! Promise.

EDIT: Just bought the last cone of absinthe available…Whew! Now here´s to hoping the dyelots are not too different!

After spending more time discussing in my mind IF I should start writing a blog than it could ever take me to actually write one, here it is. I call it laces in places because I constantly think there should be more. Laces. In more. Places. During the last years,  more and more people have again taken interest in DIY and thus also  in old textile making and manipulating techniques (like knitting, embroidery, crochet, even lacemaking). The ornate and feminine fabrics resulting from such work have also found their way back into everyday fashion. What amazes me most is the fact that very talented designers – from Dolce & Gabbana to those who sell their knitting patterns at ravelry.com – have managed to make lace part of our lives again. Teaching us in the process that wearing lace, you need not look like you´re wearing your grandma´s tablecloth.

For example:

(I know. That woman is a genius AND photogenic. Sigh.)

Or those small masterpieces.  Well, you get the idea.

berrocodesign.wordpress.com/

a blog hosted by Amy Christoffers and Amy Palmer

TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan!

Personal blog, interracial relationships, dating, author, BWWM,

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