August 25, 2012

Addiction, Aliens and a Knitting Frenzy

My new project: the one I thought
I could never do
I have a knitting pattern addiction. There. I said it.

I, like Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame, love knitting patterns. At last count on my Ravelry page, there were a total of 1,707 patterns in my library. And that doesn't include the books I have yet to add there, the hard copy patterns I have printed from sites other than Ravelry, or the pattern leaflets I have picked up at local yarn shops, yarn labels, or my mother's old stash.

Patterns. I love to read them, download them, print them (and buy ink at at Costco to do so), buy books filled with them (I recently had to dedicate a bookcase to them) and read them, read them, read them.

Since knitting itself as an activity is slower than all this collecting and reading (I just did a bit of math and realized that is an arguable statement--I may have to change my ways. But for this blog post, let's just go with it.), it stands to reason that I have a lot more patterns than completed knitted pieces.

I did not follow the pattern's pick up
instructions for underneath the cabled yoke.
Instead, I picked up only
what was there and did my own M1 increases.
For details, see my ravelry project.
I was contemplating this the other day and I realized something: most of my patterns, no matter their source, were collected early on in my knitting life. Those of you who read the blog may remember some of my accounts of maniacal yarn buying, most of which occured 2-3 years ago when I was a new knitter. Those same stories apply to patterns. Oh, I still collect them, but not nearly as voraciously as in the past. Why?

I don't believe I was preparing for some sort of yarn-a-geddon, where a Y2K-like event would occur such as this: aliens would suddenly appear on earth and steal all the sheep, goats, musk ox, cotton plants and tencel in the world because their world is depleted and they are sucking our resources to continue knitting their own selfish, cozy socks, leaving us with none.

In this scenario, yarn would become a scarce commodity that people would be killing each other for, just to make one more lace twin set before knitting became extinct. Unlikely. And boy, howdy, would those aliens rue the day. Want to see a woman scorned? Take away her fiber. And I don't mean her Activia.

No, alien fiber abduction was just not it. The same goes for a pattern disappearance scenario: giant termites/purple paper eaters from space are probably not coming to eat all the books, leaflets and trees--unless you ask Giorgio A. Tsoukalos from Ancient Aliens, but let's not get off track too far.

The original design was a little to wide for me at the top,
so I added more picked up
stitches around the top of the yoke to create a ribbed crew neck.
Why did I buy patterns and yarn like they were going out of style? They certainly have not.

I pondered this at length recently, sitting looking through a few of my books.

I browsed the sweaters, the cowels, the socks. I do this all the time--often times to learn something about how a particular type of pattern works, or to find out how a fiber behaves and if I should use it, cross referencing different patterns. But that isn't the reason I formerly browsed my books.

 I used to do it to dream, to think of what I could make in the future once I was no longer feeling so intimidated by the patterns. As I looked through my books on this sunny afternoon by my favorite window, I slowly began to realize how many of the items I actually had the skills to knit now--and the yarn to do it with.

Then, one of the sweaters in a booklet, Bernat's Cold Front, caught my attention.  I had just been dying to make it a few years back. It was the Cable Yoke Sweater on page 11(the link is above). I had even saved several JoAnn's Fabric's and Michael's coupons over several weeks' time in order to buy the yarn on sale, then had stashed it away for that sweater--for that sweater in the future.  Back then, it had looked so complicated that I dared not try to knit it because I was sure I would ruin all the lovely yarn or have a wonky, unwearable sweater.

I read the pattern over and over. I saw that the pattern was nothing more than ribbing, a lot of picked up stitches and some great cables. By this time in my tiny place in knitting history, I had completed several socks. In fact, a lot of socks. How many times had I picked up stitches from a heel flap? More than I can count.

Energized, I got down to the business of trying out the sweater pattern.

I got out the needles--and one more 40% off coupon as I needed just one more circular pair--the previously purchased yarn from its Rubbermaid home, and got to work. I read other people's notes on Ravelry to check for errata, tips or tricks and found a few alterations that may have been needed.

Once I got going, the knitting really was pretty fast. The yarn was bulky and the pattern was pretty straight forward. I was able to make necessary fit alterations (if anyone is interested, they are here) and completed the project in about a week of knitting. Granted, it was a lot of knitting--I couldn't stop as I was too excited to finish--but it was still pretty quick.

Now I am planning to look at more of my patterns, and with new eyes. Not only are patterns great for learning new things going forward, but they are good for learning about where you have been, and where you are now, too.

Happy knitting and happy learning--alien free.


Jessie Johnson said...

You did an awesome job on your sweater; it's just gorgeous. Rest assured you're not alone in the pattern collecting obsession. I, too, have accumulated more patterns than I could ever attempt if I lived to be 300 years old and knit 24/7. But as long as creative and talented designers continue to present me with intriguing patterns/books, I guess I'll just have to keep buying bookcases!

The Knitting Muse said...

Amen, sister, amen : ) By the way, if they do think of a way to help us get to 300, all that money we spend at Ikea for the bookcases will definitely
have been worth it!

The Knitting Muse said...

PS, Jessie, thanks for the compliments on the sweater :) I wear it ALL the time!