Silver Threads

a knitting blog with occasional side trips


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Something to aspire to

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Of course they mean something besides coming up with blog posts day after day after day. Although I think that’s a worthy goal too.

Day six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to. Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.

 Tips: If you think you have learned all you ever want to in your craft then say so. Maybe you have been knitting for nearly 30 years and yet never learned to purl (many may think this is impossible, but I met a woman on the bus who told me exactly this once… Maybe she was following the E. Zimmerman school of thought too closely?).

Oh, I know what I want to knit when I grow up. I even alluded to it in Day 4. I want to knit a Fair Isle sweater. Not the simplified style of the 1970s, but an Alice Starmore sweater or its equivalent from another designer. Yes, this would be one of those sweaters that I think of as a watercolor painting in wool.

This will be a test of patience and my attention to detail. I figure, at a certain point, stranded knitting is stranded knitting. Indeed, unlike the sweater I made way back when, I know how to knit with yarn in each hand now, so that part should actually be easier than it was the first time. And since Fair Isle sweaters use only two colors in any one round, the sweater could have twenty-something different colors in it, but I’ll only have to worry about two of them at any one time.

But patience really is a sticking point for me. These sweaters are often knitted on fine needles with fine yarn. I’ve tried knitting an Alice Starmore sweater before, years ago. I actually was doing all right on the knitting itself: no major screwups in the colorwork and I was on gauge. In the end, what defeated me was that the sweater was simply way the heck too large for me (I chose the wrong size) and I gave up. But before I reached that point, I knit quite a lot of sweater, enough to know that any one round on the body would take me about an hour to do. I tell myself that if I knit a smaller sweater, the rounds will be shorter and won’t take so long, but I’m having trouble believing me. And these sweaters, with their intricate patterning, aren’t something I can just take along to Knit Nights, Knitters’ Guild meetings, conferences, webinars, or anywhere else where I might be distracted. These are sweaters to be knit alone. So knitting one might take a while.

Well, that’s hardly a can-do attitude. Okay, to review: I know how to do stranded knitting. I find these sweaters to be exquisitely beautiful. The advantage of knitting colorwork is that there’s always the temptation to knit just one more row to see the pattern developing. That would suggest that inevitably the sweater will be finished. So all I have to do is start one. Charge!

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