Guess where I’ll be in just three short days?
The most wonderful place in the world! Yup, it’s that time of the year again: NY Sheep & Wool Festival aka Rhinebeck Weekend!
I am looking forward to so many things: spending time with some of my favorite people, maple cotton candy, the lovely yarn, the Ravelry party, the many, many opportunities to drink local beer, the sheepdog agility displays, the Taconic State Parkway, being surrounded by so many fiber folks *sigh*
This will be my fourth Rhinebeck weekend and I think I am going to do something new and challenge myself as a knitter – I think I am going to buy the yarn to make my first sweater.
For some reason, sweaters have always seemed outside of the realm of my knitting ability – they are big, they take a long time, they involve seaming, and, worst of all, they a require paying attention to gauge. There’s also the problem that most of the sweaters I would like to wear (think miles of stockinette stitch) would be so mind-numbingly dull to knit that the thought of it puts me to sleep. So I have stuck with knitting just about everything else, learning some things about myself in the process.
I’ve learned that I love to knit lace shawls even though they can be horribly frustrating when I mess up. I’ve also learned that I don’t necessarily care about wearing my lace shawls – the process of making them is enough for me. I’ve learned that I don’t really like to make two of anything which is why I don’t often make socks, mittens, gloves, or wristers. I’ve learned that I prefer garter stitch to stockinette and that I like to knit way more than I like to purl. I’ve learned that I hate ribbing and seed stitch (although I think seed stitch is absolutely lovely) because I hate to move my yarn back and forth and back and forth. I’ve learned that hats are a fun place to experiment with new techniques – hats are how I learned to do stranded colorwork, bobbles, lace, cables, and double-knitting. I’ve also learned that the yardage involved in knitting a lace shawl is awfully similar to the yardage that is required to knit a sweater or a vest.
This “I can make a sweater, yes I can!” train of thought was set off by the wonderful and talented designer and Lowell knitter, Cecily Glowik MacDonald. Early last week, I received a surprise in my Ravelry inbox, a gift of Coveside (Ravelry link) from Cecily.
See, she designed the vest after spending time knitting in Lowell and watching Katy, Yovani and me knit everything but sweaters as a way to encourage us to take that leap and maybe start out with a vest.
Coveside is a gorgeous pattern, my favorite part is the neck, and after looking it over I thought, “Yes, Marianne, you *could* actually make that!” and I thought about where I would get the yarn, and what color it would be, and how much fun it would be, and how I could probably ask Cecily for pattern support because she’s my friend…
But then I realized something: Coveside has an awful lot of 1×1 ribbing and I really hate ribbing. Then I felt a bit discouraged. Then I got over my stupid self and decided to just find a sweater I wanted to knit, could knit, and would wear and just go for it.
The first place I turned was Cecily and Melissa’s lovely book, New England Knits, and I found just what I wanted in the very first pattern: Hampton Cardigan (Ravelry link.) Check it out, it’s gorgeous:
It is also mostly lace, knit in one piece, and edged with garter stitch – three of my very favorite things. It calls for a worsted-weight yarn to be knit on size 7 needles – for the non-knitters out there, that means that neither the yarn nor the needle is super thin/tiny so I have a hope of finishing it in the next decade! I’m thinking of maybe using a nice charcoal grey yarn, that way it would go with everything.
So there you have it. I am officially (and publicly!) challenging myself to just go ahead and knit a sweater already. To help inspire and motivate myself, I am going to be on the lookout for the yarn at Rhinebeck and I would like to have the sweater finished in time to wear to my other annual yarn event, SPA Knit and Spin in February. What do you think, can I do it?