Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Out of my comfort zone


I think that one of the reasons that the appeal of knitting has endured with me is that it is endlessly adaptable to meet the different aspects of my personality. The design side has allowed me to express my creativity, to experiment and play with colour and texture. The infinity of techniques and styles has allowed me to continue to learn something new about pulling loops of yarn through each other with sticks every day.

However, it is another role that knitting plays in my life that I wanted to briefly touch on today. Whilst I love the challenge of designing and tackling complex patterns and techniques, the simple meditative act of repeating the same action over and over again to slowly produce something of beauty and use is something that I really value in an increasingly fast paced world.  This is why I derive as much enjoyment from knitting a plain sock in beautiful yarn as I did when I first learnt the alchemy of sock knitting.

Likewise, when I discover a yarn and pattern combination that produces a garment that I love, even though it may involve many hours of simple stocking stitch I find myself quite happy to knit it a second and even a third time as my collection of Vitamin D cardigans in Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool clearly demonstrates.


The style perfectly suits my shape and the fabric is warm enough to add a useful layer in all seasons in our mild but changeable climate.


I have written before about my endless stash of mill ends of Silky Wool and continue to work my way through it. While exploring my stash I came across this rather beautiful cone in a deep mahogany. It was very tempting to just settle down and cast on another Vitamin D but, after an interesting Twitter conversation about all the lovely cardigan patterns that are around at the moment I thought it was time to tiptoe out of my comfort zone.


The pattern I finally chose was the Old Town cardigan by Carol Sunday which is a lovely drapey, edge to edge garment with a wide lace collar and front edging knit from the top down which is my favourite way of knitting so I settled down and cast on, looking forward to a relaxing, predictable knit. I may have been a little misled....

First came a provisional cast on.


Then stitches left on a string for later.


Soon I was picking up and knitting stitches down the side of a lace panel.


And putting in a line of matched decreases.


 I have produced a piece of knitting that, if I am totally honest I have no real idea where on my body it might end up when the cardigan is finished. Rather than a relaxing knit with lots of stocking stitch where I can let my mind wander and unravel the events of the day it is a magical mystery tour which I am totally gripped by as I can't wait to see what happens next.


I may have to cast on a plain sock for when I want to vegetate....