21 March 2010

zen mind/knitter's mind

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
Shunryo Suzuki-Roshi

The more I knit, the more I think I know about knitting.

An interesting occurrence happened on my last knitting project. Before I cast on for this baby sweater I merely glanced over the pattern, checking yarn weight and needle size. It looked simple enough, all garter stitch, knit in pieces and sewn together.

I just assumed the daintily rolled edges at the cuffs and hem would occur naturally as I knit the sweater up. I mean, rolled edges had happened before, when I didn't want them - so they would happen now, easy enough.

It's pretty common for me to start and stop at the beginning of a project. Tear out stitches and maybe switch needles for a better gauge.

With this pattern I knew there was something wonky with the hem from the get-go, but I kept on knitting.

This pattern calls for the use of two different needle sizes over the entire course of the pattern, smaller for the hem and cuffs, larger for the body. I assumed that since I was going through the motions that everything would turn out.

I assumed that I knew what I was doing, after all, the pieces were coming together nicely, but the hems and the cuffs were not forming dainty little rolls. And, after looking more closely at the picture that went along with this particular pattern, I decided that the dainty little rolls were vital to the final outcome.

So, dear reader, I sat down, got a little humble and reread the pattern like I did when I first began knitting, with a close eye and an open mind and a bit of a stomachache, actually.

And you know what I discovered: purl stitch. I was purling that darn stitch on the wrong side of the pattern. Purl it one way and you get a dumb, bland cuff like a board, purl it another way and you get a decadent little curl.

Don't worry, I didn't have to go back to the beginning and rip everything out. I merely knit the pattern the right way to finish the pieces and added a purled fringe to the hem at the very end when I had the entire sweater sewn together.

I think I'll keep the curiosity and the openness of a beginning knitter close to heart from now on.

I found these copper buttons in my grandmother's button jar. Some of them are starting to turn blue-green, a perfect complement for the hues in this sweater.

P.S. This colorway is called Underfoot, from Crosby Hill Farm's own hand dyed CVM romeldale top, and this pattern comes from Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting : Baby's Pure and Simple Cardigan by Lana Hames. (Make sure to read the pattern carefully.)

1 comment:

  1. I love the sweater! It turned out great and the colors are beautiful!


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