On the horizon

In addition to the projects-in-progress and the finished/finishing projects I posted about last week, I’ve been thinking non-stop about potential projects that until very recently I had yet to start. One was a Christmas knit, which of course is on a timeline. It’s a pair of socks, so give me a couple days and maybe a road trip and they’ll be off and running (ha!). The other project is a cardigan for myself, which I’ve been meditating on for a few months now. At first I told myself I had to finish my dad’s sweater first- only one sweater at a time! Now that that’s not an excuse, it’s a question of finding just the right pattern. Maybe it’s startitis. Not the starting-more-projects-than-you-can-keep-up-with kind that so often plagues me, but the putting-it-off-for-no-reason-other-than-nerves kind. That’s why my dad’s sweater took so long, and that’s why it took me so many years before I knit any socks. So if those two glorious things were able to happen after I put aside the fear and just tried it, maybe a cardigan is just, like, totally not a big deal, man. A knitterly friend has been tagging colorwork sweaters on Instagram for me, and I’ve been printing out patterns and charts left and right, every time something jumps out as a possibility.

So finally, last week, I went for it. I started with the inspiration of Karen’s Cowichan-style vest knitalong. The bones of the vest are gorgeous- I like that it’s a colorwork pattern, and I like the pattern being written out entirely as a chart with minimal instructions, and I like how it looks overall. Something just draws me in, even though I don’t love the chart itself, the collar, or the fact that it’s a vest (rather than a full-on cardigan). I cast on a different number of stitches and I’m planning to make it a smidge longer, in order to accommodate the chart I picked out. Which leaves… almost nothing that’s actually unique to the pattern. But I still give that pattern a big part of the credit for this project.

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What ended up being the thing that set me on fire (in a good way) was a sock pattern that I’ve been drooling over for at least a year. Water for the Elephants, a gorgeously intricate colorwork pattern that really beautifully combines round, swirly patterns with angular, geometric grids. The chart looks amazing in sock yarn, but so far I’ve been very impressed with how it looks in bulky yarn as well.

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I’m not used to knitting with bulky yarn, and I have to say that even with the complicated, concentration-demanding color chart (Have you ever purled in colorwork? It’s a bitch!!), it’s going quite quickly. The most time-consuming part is double checking the chart and making sure I’m still matching my stitches with the row before, but the more I knit the faster it goes and more intuitive it feels. Every other repeat of the diamonds will be the same, so it’s possible I’ll get to the point of having the squares committed to memory.

This project may be, as my projects so often are, a game of yarn chicken. This Reynolds brand Lopi was in the stash my friend is distributing, and while it’s very possible that she has more, it’s also very possible that this is it for these particular colors. I have a couple more skeins each of these colors, and one more in a deep brick red that I’m considering using for the button/zipper band, but the more I knit the more I’m weighing just how much I want a cardigan and how much I would be able to tolerate a vest. I never wear vests except when camping, but I’m warming up to the idea. I’ll let you know when I get closer.

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What do you think? Will I make it?

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4 thoughts on “On the horizon

  1. You could always make the sleeves a different color? I’m also a fan of changing to different secondary color in the middle of a colorwork pattern, especially if I’m worried about running out.

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    1. That’s a good idea. I’ll keep the brick color for the end, and use it for any leftover sleeve length along with the button/zipper placket. Plus, the woman with the stash said she might have some more rolling around somewhere, so I might be covered anyway.

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      1. Thanks! I’m making it up as I go, which means not only the yarn chicken thing but also the “Sleeves? Where do I put those?” thing… We’ll see. I think it’ll turn out fine with some sort of magical intervention.

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