You have, perhaps, heard of the process knitter and the product knitter. The former knits for the love of knitting, the latter for the purpose of acquiring the finished object. That’s a simplification, of course; most knitters fall somewhere between the two. I’m more towards the process end of the spectrum myself. I definitely need to like the project I’m working on, but I also need to like working on that project. It’s that last bit that delayed the Summer Sampler, nearly fatally.
I fall prey to process knitting every now and then, even though I should be able to recognize the danger signs. Every time it happens, I vow I have learned my lesson, namely how blasted long it will take me to finish the project (if ever). These projects never fail because they’re difficult to knit. Heck, if they were difficult, they’d be challenging, I’d be intrigued, and the project would turn into process knitting. But while the Summer Sampler was attractive enough to lure me in, it certainly wasn’t difficult to work on: no cables, no lace, no colorwork—just aesthetically pleasing knit-purl patterns.
Simple patterns notwithstanding, the Summer Sampler promised to be an uncommon addition to my sweater wardrobe. It was a short-sleeved summer sweater, not something I’d done a lot of. It was dressy enough to wear to work, but looked comfortable. And because it was short-sleeved, it looked like I might finish it more quickly than most sweaters I’d done. Obviously, not only do gauge swatches lie, sometimes pattern photos totally deceive you.
My choice of yarn was as atypical as the pattern I was going to use it for. Whatever yarn I chose needed to have great stitch definition, or else there’d be no point in making the Summer Sampler in the first place. Because I would be wearing it next to my skin, I needed a yarn that wouldn’t be scratchy and that could be machine-washed. I’ve never been fond of knitting cotton, so I investigated the manmade fibers. This is how I ended up getting Lion Brand Microspun, an acrylic six-ply sport weight yarn.
- Pros: Great stitch definition, soft to the touch, machine-washable.
- Cons: Wearing acrylic in summer heat is not pleasant. (Although “summer heat” is unknown in my office. Actually, all heat is unknown in my office.) Also, this yarn is infuriatingly splitty.
- Weirds: Lion Brand called this color “Lilac.” It’s blue. It’s not even a purplish-blue; it’s just blue. I have no idea what they were thinking.
So thirteen years ago, I queued the Summer Sampler (2007!). Eight years ago, I cast on for it. It then took me from 2012 to 2020 to finish it. I totally blame the seed stitch sections. Seed stitch is lovely to look at, but I find it excruciatingly monotonous to work. You have to pay more attention to seed stitch than to garter or stockinette stitch, so you can’t really get into that mindless knitting headspace. But while it requires some attention, it’s not interesting enough to reward it. So, according to my notes, after a strong start in 2012 and enough effort in 2013 to get myself just past the halfway point, I put it down and didn’t touch it again until 2018, all because of twenty rows of seed stitch that I didn’t want to do. And even after recommitting to it, it took me another two years to push my way to the end.
But I did, finally, make it to the end, despite little setbacks like, ah, sewing one of the sleeves on wrong side out. 😅 It fits. It’s comfortable. It’s gotten some compliments. I love the finished product. Which means I’m going to learn the wrong lesson from having done product knitting, and end up doing it again someday!
Pattern: Summer Sampler WS 114
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun
Needles: 3 (3.25 mm), 4 (3.5 mm)