My family frequently pokes fun at me because I spent a lot of time knitting, reading knitting magazines, browsing Ravelry etc. but I don’t have many knitted garments to show for it.
I’ve become a knitter and crocheter with excellent technique. I’m can execute five different short row methods. I’ve got every knitting implement one’s heart could desire, needles of all shapes and sizes. I’m proficient at lace, brioche, broomstick crochet, tunisian crochet. I have a museum quality stash that fills my heart with joy.
All this and yet I have beautiful knitted accessories (mostly shawls and hats) and very few garments.
Why is that? It’s not for lack of will. I have several bags containing nearly completed garment projects.
Two reasons, time and pattern. The time needed to work out and adapt the pattern and the chunk of time to orchestrate and coordinate the diverse aspects of a larger knitting project. A project that includes arm + body, + yoke + shoulder + neckline + cuffs etc takes exponentially more time and effort than something small and flat where there is only one kind of shaping taking place at any one moment.
The majority of knitting patterns are written for somebody with the same shape at the front and back. Below I show a typical example, taken from vol 7 of Wool People. I could knit this this no problem, I’d really enjoy the process and it would be be a thing of beauty.
But . . . . I would never wear it, not least because I’m not the type of person who wants to show her bra straps to the world. If I invest in beautiful yarn and effort, I want to be rewarded with something that fits anda garment I feel proud and comfortable wearing out and about.
Most patterns for garments have some variation of these issues. Essentially when you purchase the pattern you purchase a concept, an outline, a guideline, a fashion inspiration and perhaps a technique. It is not straightforward to translate the fantasy of the pattern into something that is wearable.
If you don’t have much time for knitting and do it in occasional short bursts like most hobbyists, you get much more completed project satisfaction with something like a hat.
It is no surprise that the majority of bloggers who churn out complete sweater projects are individuals with minimal body shape and standard length shoulders. They may have to recalculate a stitch gauge here and there but a complete pattern redraft is typically not necessary for these folks. My short, stumpy, middle aged crooked body is not in this category. Plus I like the back nape of my neck to be covered without the front choking me. My preference and yours may differ.
I want this year to be the year where I work through my issue with sweaters. My stash has several yarns where I have sufficient for an entire sweater. I don’t want to fritter away my sweater quantities of yarn on small projects.
I’m committed to calculate, knit and reknit until I GET IT DONE. I also want to document to see if what I learn in one situation applies to other situations.