Not as hard as it seams

worsted131209aWhen 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.

worsted131209eThe 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):

Processed with VSCOcam with se1 presetBelieve 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?


7 thoughts on “Not as hard as it seams

  1. I love this post (just discovered your blog !) . Mmm nice , getting past knitting principles…. obstacles ! Funny thing is, I was totally in the same thinking that I’ll never knit socks ! Never knit cutesy things… uhg. I mean at that time I was a die-hard spinner who fancied myself not much of a knitter, and could not care less about gauge. Seriously (though still learning a lot about gauge) I have learned so much in recent years (yes, about socks, and now about gloves !) and I feel that the more tricky & complicated (omg… gloves will kill you only to have you begging for more !) knitting is, the more I like it. Of course, I’m trying to learn to write patterns too, and so I need to pay attention to what is in trend. (okay, slap me now, I NEVER thought I would say that, but it’s either try to learn to design knitwear, or get a job at Starbux) . Love your post, I’ll be reading more. 🙂

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