Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lillehammer Cardigan, all done, and some Deep Thoughts


Naturally, the minute I start mooning about winter, the sun comes out and it turns as balmy as May outside.  Well, I wore this sweater anyway.  It will be winter soon enough, and I will be skiing around town wearing this and other woolies, with snowflakes staying on my nose and eyelashes, so I am not complaining about a nice day, not a bit. 


The dressmaker’s dummy has much narrower shoulders than I do, although they are weirdly wide going front to back, which I don’t understand and can’t adjust, so she doesn’t show off the yoke to its best advantage.  She also lists to the side like a drunk, which makes me laugh a little every time.  But without her, you get this:


(This is the latest in a photographic series featuring my chest, all part of an effort to immortalize my impeccable collarbones, which is, of course, the first thing one notices.  Right?) 


When you are reduced to bragging about your collarbones, you know there’s not much left to brag about.  At least this one has my face in it, looking severe as a mean old auntie as usual, but it does not actually show you the sweater…


This pattern is The Charlemont Cardigan [Ravelry link] by Elizabeth Parker from the Fall 2011 issue of Knitscene.  I don’t know what “charlemont” means, so I’ll probably call it something else.  This was a speedy knit, and the result is very cozy.


I’m often asked how I manage to finish things so quickly, and I was as interested as you in knowing the answer, so I pondered it for awhile, and I think I’ve figured it out.  It was not always thus—back in the 1990’s when all I was knitting was men’s XXXL sweaters (for myself!  I know!) I hardly ever finished anything before I got bored and just gave up.  I once spent a whole year making a supremely hideous brown pullover that never even saw the light of day—the sleeves were something like two feet wide, and I just got so sick of working on it.  I don’t know what on earth moves a fashion trend toward something that insane, but it seemed at the time like you just couldn’t have a big enough sweater.  They seemed snuggly and cozy, and since wearing them was like walking around in a sleeping bag, they sure were cozy, you bet.  But not very practical, and also difficult to finish.  (I do sympathize with those of you out there who must knit for a very large husband.  My husband is nicely mid-sized, and he doesn’t actually want me to knit for him anyway, so that works out pretty well.)  Anyway, so part of the reason I get stuff done fast is that I almost always make the XS or Small size.  I like a sweater with very little ease, so there’s less knitting to do. 


Also, I have learned to knit without looking.  This only works with plain stockinette or garter stitch, but there is often quite a lot of that in a sweater or scarf (or blanket or sock) and it is probably the cleverest trick in my arsenal.  It was well worth the effort, let me tell you.  I can work on a project and do other things, too, like read or pay attention to a movie with subtitles or look someone in the eye while we talk.  That helps me get a lot done. 


The last reason, also the biggest, is that I am a very fast knitter.  I’ve been knitting for more than thirty years, and as I go, my hands are a blur.  That’s just me reaping the benefits of a LOT of practice, and the fact that I am always, always doing it.  (Hmmm, I also begin to wonder whether knitting has become a compulsive habit—must look into some therapy.)  Then there’s the fact that since I’ve made so many sweaters and socks and hats and stuff that I am pretty well acquainted at this point with how they go together, and so don’t have to spend too much time squinting at the pattern.  I just grab the needles and go.  It’s taken a lot of time spent with yarn to get to this point, but there you go.

So there’s that answered, and I’m glad you asked, since I wondered, too.