Thursday, September 17, 2015

Improv: a cardigan DIY



All it takes is for me to feel chilly for one second, or for a cloud to appear in the sky, or for me to be reminded again about walking in leaves or in one of those early, decorative snowfalls where there's no wind and the flakes are sparse and friendly, and your cheeks get a little rosy, you know what I mean, and bam, a cardigan goes on the needles. Usually gray.

It's not like I don't have a bunch of gray cardigans already. But this is what we do, isn't it?

There's no pattern for this cardigan, and I didn't even write down what I did, but I made it my new favorite way, which is to just cast on some stitches at the neck, increase for awhile at the raglan seams, then knit the body until I'm happy with how long/big it is. Sleeves follow in much the same way, where I just decrease occasionally until they are the right length. Button bands are added last, and I don't even want to worry about button holes, so I just crochet a couple loops on at the very end and then scrounge up some buttons from the stash. Honestly, this is such a great way to do things. Try it, really. Working improvisationally, whatever your chosen medium, is the best way I know to grow creatively, or as an artist, and also, it is really unbeatable for getting what you want out of your efforts. I wanted this cardigan, and nobody had designed it yet--always there is a shawl collar or a hood, or the cables are honking, or it hugs the derriere a little more than I can handle, and yes, you can always modify these designs, but then I wonder, why don't I just dispense with the modifying altogether and do what I want?

For years and years, I cut my own hair (I know, my hair is all over the place. Don't hold it against Morgan, who does her best now, but she has her work cut out for her) because otherwise there was all kinds of explaining what I wanted and trying to find somebody who understood me and who I was/wanted to be, and then they would give me a haircut and it would be kind of too good, if you know what I mean. Too neat, and I am not neat, and I didn't feel like myself, so I always hacked at it a little with the nail scissors after I got home, and then I thought, why the heck am I paying for this at all? I already know what I want and I'll just do it myself. So I did, and it was just fine. Actually, I'd still be doing that now if I didn't hate cleaning up the bathroom afterwards, and besides, I love having somebody else wash my hair. It's worth it just for that. Anyway, the Fall 2015 Cardigan is done, worked in Paton's Classic (probably close to 1800 yards) Grey Mix on US 6 needles. It--of course--fits me perfectly, and is just exactly what I imagined when I drew this:


The cardigan is done, but the hair is a work in progress. I feel armed against the cold now, in a way I somehow didn't before. Ridiculous, but there you have it.