Saturday, November 8, 2008

My First Sweater...

I started knitting about two years ago on the heels of REALLY NASTY breakup. I needed something to distract me and I wanted that something to be productive. Let's face it, getting sloppy drunk every night would certainly be a distraction, but productive it ain't. So, after seeing an old friend post pictures of her knitting, I decided knitting was exactly what I needed. I had no idea at that time that knitting would become an addiction/obsession. But it has.

I started, I think like many other knitters, with scarves. I knitted scarves for everyone I could think of. I eventually branched out into socks, but they were done flat and had to be sewn together. Noting fancy, but when done in a wool yarn, they sure were warm. My mother has worn her first pair out and I think I'll make her a second for Christmas.

It wasn't until I met Carrie that I really felt the urge to knit a real garment. Something I would wear proudly and tell the world, "I made that!" She had this gorgeous cardigan that I'm sure some of you may be familiar with. I'm talking about the Minimalist that was published in the Winter '08 Interweave Knits.

Carrie and I decided to take off to Birmingham to go shopping and hit up a small LYS and do some damage to our bank accounts. It was my birthday after all and I deserved to treat myself. After browsing a bit, I came across this wonderful thing called Malabrigo. I'd heard the word tossed about in various forums and on all three incarnations of Knit Knack, but it wasn't until I found 8 skeins of the most beautiful olive merino wool that I knew what the buzz was all about. My greedy little hands quickly snatched it up, lest some lesser knitter come along and think he/she could make a scarf out of MY yarn.

That was Feb. 25.

I took my yarn home (I also purchased some blue Malabrigo that was to be Carrie's birthday present and some red Blue Sky Alpacas for a Swallow Tail Shawl... but we'll get to that project when I actually cast on.) and cast on for my first ever sweater. That was just over 8 months ago.

Things happen and other projects came along offering more immediate gratification than a sweater can give. I've knit socks, a teddy bear, a couple of purses, some naughty items for my friend Cherry and dabbled in the not-as-scary-as-it-looks land of entrelac. But through it all, I knit away, row by row, inch by inch on the sweater.

And I've finally come to the home stretch. I finished knitting all of the pieces and have begun assembling the finished product (pictures are forthcoming, I promise). I have one sleeve to sew in and then the side and underarm seam and I will be able to wear it. The feeling of accomplishment that I know will accompany the first wearing of the sweater is just over the horizon. And I don't care what it looks like. I don't care what other people think. I've learned more from this sweater than I thought I would.

Truthfully, I've learned more from knitting than I thought I would. I have reserves of patience that were untapped before this little endeavor sent me over the crafting edge. I've learned that when things are going quite the way I want and I think that I should just give up, that I can keep going and work through whatever problem I am facing and find a solution. I've learned that there is a whole world of fellow fiber artists out there and they are the warmest, kindest, smartest, most giving group of women I have ever known. (This is where my Knit Knackers come in! And Carrie, you rock as well!)

And I think, in a way, that it is kind of fitting that a hobby I picked up 2 years ago has helped me through one of the darkest points in my life has culminated in a sweater that I can now wear as the weather turns colder. Something that will remind me, every time I put it on, of the hard work I've put into it. Of the tears I poured out when I just couldn't take it anymore and I needed something, anything, to keep my hands busy and my mind off other things. A sweater that will remind me that even when the path is dark, and things are easy, that there are people out there who have my back when I need them, people who I know I can turn to anytime, any place. And their warm thoughts are always with me.


Shanny said...

I feel the same way about knitting - I never knew just how much it could suck me in and what a wonderful world it would open up for me!

Carrie said...

I got shout outs! Woot Woot!

side not, completely unrelated, the last two post on the word verification I've gotten the giggles, last time it was juardian and this time it's nossyk. I don't know why I think that's funny, but I do!