Thursday, 24 October 2019

About knitting

For the last few months I have been spending most of my spare time knitting. Who knows, maybe my move to the mountains with breathtaking landscapes opened a new channel of inspiration for this craft. Maybe it’s incoming winter. But I can’t put my needles down. It reminds me of another time of my life when I knitted a lot, my student years, during which every single time before exams I suddenly felt an urge to knit. While others were revising, I was engrossed in knitting and I did not stop until my garment was finished. As a result, each year I ended up with two knitted items for both winter and summer terms. My university friends, with whom I am still in touch, still joke about this injudicious habit of mine. 

But it was yet another reason for the uplift of my knitting mojo: I became curious about writing knitting patterns. Checking my Instagram roll I noticed a big trend in the knitting community: uncomplicated sweaters in stockinette or reverse stockinette stitch. Some designers add extra volume to the sleeve cap, others intricate bobbles or ribbing. And mohair, is huge this winter too. If I could create a simple pattern according to my own measurements, I would then be able to modify it and make a lot of variations. Without further ado, I challenged myself with the task of learning how to write knitting patterns

As you can imagine, the Internet offers countless free online resources on the subject. After reading a few blogs and watching a lot of YouTube knitting tutorials (mainly in Russian language due to abondance of tutorials), I was able to knit a raglan sweater that fits into my idea of a perfect basic sweater. Nothing fancy, just knit and purl. The exercise taught me how to  swatch and calculate the amount of yarn, to grade a pattern and to write my own charts. At this stage I am at the “design”stage of another sweater and the only obstacle to start knitting is… a sweater that I have to finish for a friend.

I’ll write more about this process in the next post, as well as include pictures of the sweater, but I cannot leave without showing some of my older knitting projects. A couple of weeks ago, I posted some photos of the mentioned above finished knitted garments on my Instagram, so this is pretty much a duplication of the same content.

The Ranga sweater was born in Iceland. When I visited this country in May 2015, I immediately fell in love with lopapeysa. Everybody wore it: young, old, men, women, and believe me it was not just for marketing. With so much inspiration around I decided to knit one myself. At that time tourism to Iceland was only emerging and if bloggers extensively wrote about travel destinations in general, it was not so easy to find info about craft stores in Reykjavik. Somebody suggested to check out A4: office-supply, school stuff, gifts and arts shop, which I did on my second day in Iceland. A sales assistant in the craft section helped me pick both the yarn and the patterns. She was so enthusiastic about this project that instead of making me buy the whole knitting magazine, she photocopied and gave me the pattern, which also exists on Ravelry.

I knitted the cardigan from bottom up. Then I cut in the centre and had the zipper inserted. The yarn feels quite rough to the skin but I like wearing the cardigan, although I never put it with a short-sleeved garments.

Knitted in the end of 2016, the Rowe cardigan by Michel Wang became my favourite winter home wear. This softest merino roving yarn was purchased at Avril Kyoto a few years earlier, when I still lived in Japan. Sadly this yarn stretches too much and with time the elbows became baggy and lost their original shape. In spite of that I wear the cardigan a lot: the yarn is so soft that it’s like wearing a cloud!

Lastly, the Bright Sweater by Junko Okamoto. Since I finished it last year, it became a staple garment thanks to its beautiful design and the colour. Even though the pattern calls for the sport weight I decided to use Einband (the lace weight yarn) due to its lightness and interesting structure. If you are curious to know more details about needle size and yarn, you can find this on my Ravelry page.

What about you? Have you started knitting you winter wear? And what do you think about all these current  knitting trends? Do you like them? Have you ever tried to design your own knitwear?