A knitting odyssey: The big knit of 2016

I cast on the Imago pullover at the beginning of last year, fresh with excitement and a bag full of sheepy, un-dyed Norwegian wool.

From there, I have knitted on it, considered it, unravelled it, re-knitted it, cut into it, stitched it together, huffed and puffed and plodded on. It has been on my knitting mind.

I did finish it, a little less than a year on, but not before tackling a number of knitterly trolls along the way.

The knitterly defeats

Ignoring the pattern instructions for knitting the pieces flat, I instead joined 200+ stitches in the round for the bottom hem. Then I unintentionally knitted a few centimeters worth of a möbius band. Twice.

Approaching a finished jumper, I began to fear it would be too snug around the hips. After a soak and blocking, my fears were confirmed: too tight. Now, if I had followed the instructions for knitting each piece flat, I could have addressed the sizing issue earlier on. But I hadn’t.

I snipped off the whole bottom part of the jumper, unravelled and re-knitted it in a size larger. I joined the bottom part to the top, and… No. Now the jumper was too long and it crunched up in unflattering wrinkles just below my stomach. Nope, no good. (Oh, if only I had read these ravelry notes before I started.)

Again, I snipped off the bottom part and unravelled. This time I cast on the number of stitches for the larger size, but left out the diagonal shapes of the original stitch pattern. That way it was easier to evaluate the length as I was going. I also avoided the whole issue of the diagonal stitch pattern behaving differently than the reverse stockinette.

Phew.

Somewhere along the way I embraced the slow. What a relief. I decided I would keep coming back to it till I was happy. I mean, I’m a knitter! Slow is part of the game.

Unravelling wisdom

It’s not that I enjoy making mistakes, who does? But with all the mistakes of the Imago pullover, at least I no longer fear unravelling. Plus, I’m now fairly comfortable with cutting into knits and re-assembling them without having to unravel a whole project.

It’s all about how you go about it. Yes, a lot of hours went into creating the stitches I pulled out (twice), but what good are all those hours if I’m not happy with the result? Unravelling is not necessarily a set-back. It is moving on, getting over it, and trying again.

There is a lesson of life in that. As my wise Mamma said one day, while we were talking about something completely different: it is easy to mistake ‘progress’ as meaning only moving ‘upwards’, up the hierarchy, but really progress is just as much moving onwards, moving forwards.

 

Norwegian wool

The yarn was one of my first hands-on experiences with local, known-origin wool. It is an un-dyed, 3-ply, woollen spun yarn from Lofoten Wool, from sheep grazing the rugged coastal landscape of Northern Norway. The yarn is sturdy, airy and springy, a little rough to knit up, but fairly soft after a wash. A warm, rustic, no-nonsense yarn that I imagine will wear well with time.

Its springy quality means it holds its shape really well, but it also means it doesn’t really drape. Perhaps that is why it so easily folds into creases? So, while I really like the yarn, it may not have been the best choice for this pattern.

As a perfectionist by heart, I can’t say the jumper is perfect. But that is alright. It is probably the slowest and most considered addition to my wardrobe ever. And I like it the better for it.