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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Knitting Mojo

It has been a long time since I have been inspired by knitting - or artistic creativity at all. I had an epiphany in the fall of 2012 and realized I owned Too Much Crap - most especially clothes - but also knitting supplies (yes you can have too much yarn) and art supplies. But it was the clothing that caused the revulsion - when I brought the winter clothes out of the attic and realized I owned 10 cream colored turtlenecks. Ugh. And sweaters? Oh la! There will never be enough cold days in Virginia to wear all the sweaters I'd made. I needed a break - a break from all things crafty - especially fiberishly crafty.

And so I shut the door on the spare bedroom/storage room/junk room upstairs and except for Christmas socks - which I know will go out the door almost as soon as they are off the needles - I haven't knit in over a year.

But that did not mean I was never going to knit again. I just needed a break. My yarns and needles and books and that little corner of my right artsy brain and my left mathematical brain knew this. They weren't worried. Especially that box of oatmeal tweed yarn by Cleckheaton. The yarn intended for an Aran Sweater. The one I swatched in October 2012.

And so.

And so - the urge began, as a soft prickling at my temples (where all my urges seem to begin). The frontal lobe just frowned and said "Forget it. Too complicated" and the little urge began to tickle the back of my head where it could get at the lizard brain. Everybody knows that the poor bossy frontal lobe is no match for the lizard brain stem.

Not that the frontal lobe didn't put up some good arguments.

"I can't remember how to do the set-in sleeves"

"I don't think I can figure out a top down version with a crew neck and central panel"

"I really don't want to do the sleeve math"

But that little urge just sat at the back of my brain and whispered "Oaaaatmeal tweeeeeed" "Aaaaaaaran Cables" When the first chilly days of autumn hit I was practically salivating with desire for an oatmeal tweed aran sweater. After a particularly stubborn sounding "NO" from the front of the brain the urge said "It doesn't have to be hard. It can be easy. Use the design you worked out for your favorite hat - easy math. Knit from the bottom up and worry about the sleeves when you get to them"

That toppled all resistance. I really love this combination of cables, seed stitch and garter striped panels of plain stockinette. I actually knit this hat twice I liked it so much. It's an easy cluster of repeats. It feels rich and delicious and it's almost - but not quite - mindless knitting. It has just enough variety in the knitting action to keep it interesting.

So, once I got the Christmas socks far enough along to know I'll finish them in time - I pulled out the the yarn and needles and began knitting.

Of course - I didn't knit a gauge swatch. I didn't want to knit that. I wanted to knit an Aran sweater. So of course - you can guess what happened:

The seed stitch panel is supposed to be the center focal point and it's too  narrow. Also, the flanking cables disappear on the outer edges. They are also crossed too soon - making them bunchy and also bringing the tricky round around too frequently. Here they are crossing every 6 rows.

I redid the knitting math

And then did the only thing I could do - Ouch!

See?  Much better. I'm doing the crosses and the garter stripe every 8 rounds. The cables are flanked on both sides with a PKbP divider. I also combined the two outer garter stripe rounds into a single one and made the seed stitch panel 2 stitches wider. I love this all over textured pattern. When I imagine putting on a scrunchy cozy Aran sweater some chilly winter day I see this fabric in my mind's eye. Yep. I've got this one.


So. It looks like I've got my Knitting Mojo again and it looks like there will be some knitting blog posts in December. 


  1. hope you post a finished picture on your SP account

  2. Hooray! So glad your KM is working again. Oh -- and so lovely! I'm blessed to be making a gift this year that has a cabled cuff (knit sideways) -- gotta love those cables. :-)