Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why I Didn't, but Now Do, Wear Hand Knit Sweaters

You've seen me shopping with Sue in yarn store after yarn store. I'm an avid knitter but, until this week, I seldom wore hand knit sweaters. After all, there are only so many ways to seamlessly knit a sweater before your whole wardrobe looks sort of identical.

Oh sure, I knit LOTS of sweaters. The completed pieces have piled up for years in neat stacks, with the instructions, buttons, etc. all neat and tidy. Many are so old they have cedar cubes in the middle to keep away the moths! But, they hadn't been sewn together.
And here's the problem, the yarn stores have dozens of classes telling us how to knit, purl, do cables, intarsia, etc., etc., but they then offer one class every year (limited to 5 people) for finishing. I've read the books, watched the videos, I can mattress stitch with the best of them, but I needed a neutral third party (sorry Sue, I know you offered) to instruct me and correct my human failings on sleeves. So the pieces sat in neat piles awaiting some sleeve-sewing fairy.
After being rejected for yet another finishing class (sold out before advertised, really) I decided it would be worth my money to hire a tutor to do an individual session. I really didn't want an individual thing, I like the give and take of a class setting, but… This idea had been percolating for a few months so when Shannon from Cultured Purls in Issaquah spoke at the Eastside Knitting Guild last month I asked about individual lessons. Well - they have Project Central where you get four two-hour sessions of help. You share that time with a bunch of other people working on various projects, but no more people than would be in a regular class setting. I knew shops had such groups, but they never seemed to fit into my schedule before.

The part I knew would be hard was putting away my preconceived ideas of how to do the sleeve seam. I'm a good knitter I should know how to do this and I should have opinions. It was difficult to shut up and listen, but I managed, sort of, and came out with lovely sleeve seams.

The sweater is now complete and I have enough confidence to work on sleeves in another sweater.

Now that I've tackled sleeve seams maybe Shannon can help with that lace shawl disaster.

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