Making

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.

Stash Less Challenge #5 – Make it work

The ongoing Stash Less Challenge on the Craft Sessions blog has inspired me to rethink my approach to crafting. The challenge invites us, as makers, to be mindful of how and why we accumulate the materials – fabric, yarn, fibre, books and supplies – that feed our crafting.

You can find my previous posts in this series here.


The Stash Less Challenge continues. Felicia writes of those clothes in your wardrobe that are just not quite right: “Things I would wear if only they were a bit more X or a bit less Y or if they had shorter Z.”

I know the feeling. 

So, the challenge this time is to pick three items from your wardrobe and make them work. Right, I’m in!

 

Super simple wardrobe fixes


Pilling knitwear

Pilling knitwear is actually ridiculously easy to fix if you have a little patience and a lint remover. In the photo above, I have gone over the right side of the cardigan but not the left.

You want to make sure the garment lies flat. Then, simply run the lint remover over the pilling area. I use one of these things.

Toe holes in tights

This is a quick and easy way to fix toe holes in tights – no darning required! It takes a little off the length, but I find that isn't a problem.

With the tights turned inside out sew a seam a little further in from the hole, following the curve of the original seam. Use a zig-zag stitch with a short stitch length. It is also worth using a sewing machine needle for knits and reducing the pressure of the sewing machine foot. Then, cut off the end bit.

 

Make it work – starting again

Now, this jumper.

The pattern is the Imago pullover from Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People 9, knit in Lofoten Wool’s 3-ply un-dyed Norwegian wool. I love the pattern. I love the wool. I don’t like the fit.

It has been lying around for months, all done apart from a few loose ends that need weaving in. I had the feeling it was a little too tight around the hips – and it is. While it technically fits, it does not have enough ease around the hips to hang in the intended A-line shape. It catches on the clothes underneath and rides up in baggy curves at the back.

Good thing I just had a practice run cutting into my knits and re-assembling the bottom part, because now I have to do that again. On a large scale this time. This jumper needs reshaping.

It will take some time. It means doing the same thing over. It means admitting a mistake. But it also means not letting it get the better of me.

I am a knitter, after all, I am used to slow-growing garments. Let the unravelling begin!

 

Previous posts in the Stash Less Challenge series:

 

Making use of your scraps: 14 project ideas

If you sew or knit, or do anything textile or fibre related, I’m sure you’ve faced this question: What to do with yarn leftovers, fabric remnants and scraps?

Part of my aim for the Stash Less Challenge has been to simply make use of what I’ve got. It has challenged me to look at my fabric and yarn with fresh eyes. And now I see exciting possibilities.

 

Here are some ideas I'd love to try:

 

Of course, the list could go on.

What do you do with your leftover yarn or fabric?