Wednesday, January 19, 2011

[Not so] Instant Gratification

Before Christmas I had to urge to knit myself a cardigan. I didn't want it to take forever, ideally just a couple of days. I wanted instant gratification. This is not a feeling I usually get for handknit items, I don't mind if things take forever as long as I'm enjoying the process.

I settled on a pattern, Veera's Modern Garden. A beautiful pattern, which I think is one of the best chunky knits I've seen. I had a lovely image in my head of what it was going to be like, chunky, woolly and light grey with large white buttons. Perfect for layering during the winter and wrapping up warm on chilly days. It was going to be the best cardigan ever. 

My lovely local yarn shop didn't have the shade of Rowan Big Wool I fancied. I decided spending so much money on a shade I wasn't too keen on probably wasn't such a good idea and that's when I spotted Stylecraft's chunky acrylic yarn. It felt soft to touch, you could machine wash it and  there was a colour called charcoal, it seemed ideal. Better still it was about the 1/3 of the price of my original. woolly choice. I was seduced, that had to be my yarn. In my head this all made perfect sense, but my heart was saying why don't you wait and order the colour you want, in the fibre you love. My impatience won through; I had to knit this cardigan as soon as was physically possible.

So, I bought the yarn.

It was only as I started knitting I felt guilty. The thing is, I love natural fibres. They are fantastic. I don't think many fibres can top the amazing properties of wool. Not to mention the fact wool is a sustainable, renewable resource, which with proper care will last a lifetime. I want more of this fantastic fibre in my life! The colour of my yarn was a constant reminder I was knitting with a yarn produced from oil, the more I knitted the more the wool felt plasticky and ropey. Yuck. Not the pleasurable knitting experience I was after.  Another thing about acrylic is that it's hard to block. I found this highly frustrating! It's so springy and without heat setting it just goes back to shape it was before. I think knitting this cardigan has really made me realise how I much I enjoy making garments for myself and also how much I enjoy the process of looking after the items too.

In the end, I have a lovely cardigan made in a fibre I dislike a lot. I can't fault Veera's design, it's fantastic.

As soon as I can afford to I'm going to order some lovely wool, in the right colour and re-use the amazing coconut shell buttons I currently have to make myself the cardigan I originally wanted.

[Note to self: Lindsay, please don't buy synthetic fibres again. You don't like them, they only frustrate you.]

Saturday, January 15, 2011


The first two weeks of January have gone like a flash. Somewhere in the aftermath of the festive period and amongst the stress of job and University applications, I managed to lose all interest in knitting and creating. Now things have started to slow down again, my creativity is returning. 

I have grand plans for this year: I would like to make myself a dress. I've been told I should knit a pair of socks. Most of all, I would like to get over my fear of seaming handknits.

Seaming is something I've never really mastered, I always thought my seams were bulky and not very pretty to look at. Because of this, I've always prefered to knit in the round. This needs to change! 

I have a lovely collection of knitting books. I own four Kim Hargreaves books. Four! And out of these books I've made one garment. One! It was a chunky cropped cardigan about three or four years ago. I've never worn it.

Kim's books contain so many beautiful patterns, but these are beautiful patterns that require seaming. I've plumped up the courage and cast on for Skylark from the most recent book, Cherished. It's going well so far. Fingers crossed the seaming will go well too!