Sometimes knitting is hard…


I don’t mean the physical act. That part’s surprisingly simple. It’s just two stitches that make up all the gorgeous fabric I’ve spent years making and loving.  Sometimes you manipulate those stitches just so to change the fabric and give it depth. Sometimes you just keep doing the same thing over and over on a seemingly endless loop until BOOM. Sweater! The act of making these stitches is something I can almost literally do in my sleep.  Its not hard. But then sometimes it is.

Knitting is my happy place. Well, fiber play, in general, usually in the form of knitting, but spinning works to quiet my mind and chase away the demons of the day.  It is a rare day that passes without me picking up some form of fiber and doing something with it. And when several of those rare days string together, my husband takes note and worries a bit.  2019 saw many of those instances.

It was a challenging year. Tax season is always a little crazy at work, and it wasn’t long after that calming down that I found myself at my desk, booking a flight and driving straight to the airport to unexpectedly say goodbye to my Dad.  In several frantic phone calls, one of the questions my husband asked was “Do you have enough knitting?”. Because honestly, leaving the house for work that Wednesday morning, the last thing I expected was to return a week later. Luckily I had some, and I know where the yarn store is in Ft. Myers.  But the trip happened and very little knitting occurred.  And for some time after, my center was off and the knitting was hard.

Several more curve balls throughout the year and the knitting mojo ebbed and flowed.  I thought I had it pretty well on track as I wrapped up my Level 2 homework and saw the glorious beacon of free time ahead of me from early October through the end of the year! So excited was I, a new sweater went on the needles.  And failed miserably.  The pattern was gorgeous, but the yarn I chose wasn’t speaking to me. SO I picked a new pattern, cast on again and a short time later had spectacular progress to show for a short bit of effort.

And then the holidays hit. And knitting became hard. Not the pattern- it had long since been memorized and wasn’t much of a challenge. But physically picking it up and making the stitches escaped me.  Every so often a burst would hit and I’d knock out 10-12 rows, but I kept putting it down. Sometimes in favor of an instant-gratification hat or similar, but the sweater haunted me.  Nearly two and a half months for a straightforward knit without shaping or any complication of pattern is almost unheard of for me. But sometimes knitting is hard. That go to source of comfort wasn’t working it’s usual magic and I was not so sure if it was the sweater, or just life. But finally it got done. And it’s not bad, if I’m honest. Looking forward to pulling it out of the drying cabinet and taking it for a test wear later this week.  But I’m not sure the abiding love I usually feel when I finish a sweater is going to apply here. Somehow I suspect this sweater is going to remind me for some time to come, that sometimes knitting is hard.

Friday was my birthday.  It somehow became incredibly important to me that my Derwent sweater was finished before the close of my 45th year.  Somehow I just didn’t want this project following me into a new trip around the sun. I don’t normally place major significance on the start and end points of my knitting, especially with projects just intended for me because I love them. But this one was different. It has too much wrapped into it, challenges of the first holiday season without my Dad and a lot of other people I love who didn’t get to ring in the new roaring 20s. Too many days where I just couldn’t bring myself to pass fiber between needles and move forward. The project needed to be done. And it was. With less than an hour to spare before bedtime, the last of the ends was woven in and a new sweater is mine. But this sweater doesn’t feel like some of the others. And maybe this is good. Maybe sometimes I do need to remember that knitting is hard, and that’s OK. Because another day it will be easy and a freshly caked skein of handspun yarn will pop its way onto my needles and remind me that fiber is my happy place.  And the world feels right again.




I don’t admit defeat well, especially when it comes to knitting.  The nagging voice at the back of my head telling me something’s not quite right is one I am quite efficient at shoving into some recessed corner and ignoring for a very very long time.  But since my theme on the year is to progress, I am trying something new.

Yesterday after finishing a sweater, I cast on the new Knitting Season Hat from Kate Davies Designs.  If you know me, you know I’ve had a mad knitting crush on the designer for many years.  Her use of color and classic styling make me happy. Some of the modern updates have even caught my attention lately and I’ve tried new things. But this hat, it’s right in that wheel house of great color work that I can’t resist. So I cast on and knit to just past the half way point of the chart.

And knew there was no way this was going to fit.  I went to bed figuring I’d just finish a really great toddler hat.  And somewhere in the middle of the night I realized I’d forgotten to change needle sizes after the ribbing.  Which was only part of the problem, I admit, but it was enough to convince me I needed to progress past the stubbornness that usually grips me.  A great toddler hat it may be, but I do not have a toddler. And I really don’t want to repeat the same pattern twice in a row more often than not. So I progressed through regression…  In knitter vernacular, I frogged that hat. And I started over.

And in starting over I realized I can fix a problem that isn’t a problem but makes me a little OCD.  The first design element in the hat is corrugated rib which, by itself, is a technique I don’t adore, but love the look of so I do it.  Only I hate the way the first row of purls looks because of casting on with one color and purling with a different. I don’t like the two tone read. So in starting over I modified the first row to be knits so now the purls all read one color. And this makes me happy. So the backward leap is progress. I corrected something that I didn’t love and now I move forward again.

Of course I’m still too stubborn to swatch so, bets on successful guessing on needle sizes for this round?