The idea of knitting something new creeps up on me. I’ll be watching a film with a character wearing a chunky scarf on a winter trip to the beach and I’ll start thinking “How was that made, would it be better in a different colour, do I already have yarn that I could use?”
I’ve never worn this hat outside
I’ll see the grey blanket I made years ago folded on a chair and remember how it felt, heavy in my lap when I was knitting it. I think “I know I’ve already got an Aran blanket but I could give the new one to a friend. Jack’s always claiming the grey one belongs to him when we end up watching movies at mine after a winter’s day Sunday roast.”
Old fashioned chain craft stores and yarn shops used to have ring binders full of patterns and magazines in which you could bury yourself for hours trying to find pattern that matched your vision or being distracted into a different idea. Now, the internet, in general, and Ravelry in particular, allow infinite dreamy “research” into possible knitting projects. In the past, I made commitments to months of work on a pattern that I had only just seen. Now I agonise for hours over pages and pages of Ravelry projects, searching for pictures that fit with my idea. I scrutinise the charts and patterns trying to see if they hit that sweet spot. Not so boring that it won’t hold my attention and not so difficult that I won’t hold my nerve.
Even without any specific inspiration I’ll suddenly just get the urge to knit something. When that happens I have to go to the yarn shop as soon as possible. I have insisted on travelling immediately across the city whatever the original plan for the day had been.
The extra internet planning often goes completely out of the window once I’m in a yarn shop. Sometimes I’m saved from garish or impossible dreams by wise counsel. Sometimes I’m just distracted by the newest, deepest, palest, softest, squishiest beauty.
Once I’ve decided on the yarn and bought whatever tempting accessories, needles, markers etc. that I can’t do without (but probably already have) I rush home and cast on immediately.
My immediate, impulsive determination to start has often got me into trouble. I mis-read the pattern, I mis-count the stitches. I have to start again, three or four times.
Sometimes, although I try to persevere, I start to see that it isn’t working, or it isn’t what I was hoping. I realise that the pattern isn’t harmonious or that I don’t have enough skill to pull it off.
All these pieces were supposed to be 12″ square
Sometimes I’m drawn into what I’m knitting, but some contingent thing happens to distract me and I just lose interest. It might be a sudden rush of work travel which leaves the project put away out of sight. It might be a broken needle or a mis-calculation in the amount of yarn needed that stops the flow of the work and leads me back to the yarn shop with its tempting novelties.
I went to replace this, came back with 19 new balls of yarn
Sometimes after a few false starts, the pattern takes hold and I can see it working the way I want it to or in a way that completely surprises and delights me. Then I’m drawn into the work and find joy in the repetition.
The beginnings of my boysenberry Arctic Wrap.
I used to feel terribly guilty about these “intermittences of the heart” as Proust would say. All those reminders of lost loves and wasted time tucked away in the back corners of cupboards. But a wise friend told me not to be so hard on myself and my enthusiasms. I enjoyed these beginnings and I always learned something from them.