Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lillehammer Cardigan, all done, and some Deep Thoughts

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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. 

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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:

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(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?) 

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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…

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.