When I started teaching myself to knit, I decided early on to stick to a few principles. One of them was that I would not bother knitting things that required substantial amounts of seaming. Another one was that I would not knit baby items. (Yet another one was that I would not knit socks. We’ll have to talk about that some other time.)
The reasoning behind the first choice had a lot to do, in retrospect, with the way Elizabeth Zimmermann’s aversion to seaming had insidiously crept inside my brain, and convinced me that seaming was a tedious, tearful, life-draining activity, better left to stupid knitters who had yet to discover the freedom of going seamless. Obviously, EZ (bless her soul!) was not the only culprit here, since praise for seamless knitting was almost all over the Internet (I’m looking at you, seamless top-down raglan sweaters!), and seaming appeared at best as a necessary hassle you sometimes just couldn’t avoid, but had otherwise better keep well away from.
The motivation behind the second principle was that, as a male knitter, I probably wanted to keep aloof from what I perceived as the most traditional, feminine form of knitting practice. I mean: a woman gets pregnant, picks up needles, and starts making overcutesy baby booties, hats and sweaters. Or suddenly, all around her, people go into a knitting frenzy and produce aforementioned overcutesy items. Me? I wanted none of that. I wanted to make a statement by knitting manly things mainly for myself.
The combination of these two choices mean that I’ve been quite content to knit scarves, mittens, seamless sweaters and throws, as well as the occasional lace shawl. But it seems that all (silly) resolutions must die someday. And as far as these two are concerned, they died the day Alexandra was born.
Alexandra is my godson’s sister, she is seven months old now, and for her (and her mother) I was willing to knit this overcutesy cardigan as a Christmas gift. The pattern (garter bottom cardigan) is part of Petite Purls’ clever (and free) Back to Basics series.
The different pieces of the cardigan were knit quite leisurely over a week, using 1.5 skeins of Malabrigo’s wonderful Rios superwash worsted merino in the Glazed Carrot colorway. Blocking, seaming and finishing were done during the week-end. How’s that for undelayed gratification? While working on this project, I greatly benefited from:
- this Ravelry post on cardboard cutting boards, that had me buy one of these handy boards for blocking purposes;
- this tutorial by Cheryl Brunette, which covers almost all the skills needed for making a sweater (that are also quite useful in many other situations):
Believe it or not, before this first cardigan project I had not really put into practice the following skills, which I only had a theoretical understanding of:
- seaming in different varieties of mattress stitch (which I now know to be a pleasurable activity in its own right);
- making i-cord, attaching it and using it as a button-loop;
- making a shank for a flat button, and sewing it on knitted fabric.
What about you? What are the silly knitting principles you’ve got rid of lately?