Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tangled Path to Tangled Yoke

Like many of you, I signed up for the January Knit-along -- the Tangled Yoke Cardigan from the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. It's always fun to see what yarns in what colors people choose. I felt the need for some companionship in my knitting right about then. I was suffering from post-holiday malaise and knitting someone didn't seem high on my agenda. That happens sometimes; knitting just doesn't seem to hold my interest and I put the needles aside for awhile.

But this cardigan looked interesting, especially the cabled yoke. So I signed up, picked a Rowan Felted Tweed in a forest green and went to the first meeting.

It was a tangled path to the completed sweater. I had go down a needle size. I had to blow up the cable chart to poster girth and then color code the cable key. Actually that was kind of fun and certainly was pretty.

The interesting thing is that while the sweater required a lot of plain knitting, a smidgen of difficult knitting (the 18 rows of cable required absolute quiet, solitude and no interruptions by man nor beast) and a willingness to commit to hours of knittings on row count that numbered in the hundreds of stitches, this project was one of the most involved yet best I've ever tackled. I enjoyed having to read the pattern closely. I enjoyed the small needle. I enjoyed the challenge of the cable. I enjoyed everything about it, even the hours of endless stockinette.

Indeed this project brought me as close to the joy of knitting I felt when I first began some 13 years ago. The sense of challenge and accomplishment. The joy of figuring out that five-into-one decrease. The pride in changing the pattern when I thought I had a better method. This was a knitting pleasure on all counts. I put the sweater on and rarely take it off. My husband asked if I plan to sleep in it. (Hmmm, not a bad idea.)

The best thing is that it ended my knitting drought. I was back, full of pep and ready for new challenges. And for the first time in quite a while, I was actually knitting for myself.

And now the warm weather is upon us and lots of people are putting down their needles. I encourage you all to find a project that will keep you interested even as the temperature rises.

My summer project is a cotton top made in an overall lace pattern (it's only a four-row repeat and two of the rows are purl). It's simple compared to the Tangled Yoke. But it is so much fun and should be done in a week. I am using yellow cotton -- my declared new favorite color for the season.

And with the prospect of a new location (see the website for more information) -- more space, more options, more cozy knitting chairs -- now is the best time to get those needles and crochet hooks flying.

On another knitting note: there still are seats available on the Maryland Sheep and Wood Festival bus on Saturday, May 3. The bus pickup is at 6:45 a.m. at the ACME parking lot at Sedgwick and Germantown Avenue in Mount Airy, and at 7:45 a.m. at the Welsh Road Library, Welsh Road and Roosevelt Boulevard. It should be a great day with lots of yarn, yarn and yarn. You'll also receive a coupon good for 20 percent off at the Tangled Web on Friday, May 2. Stop in the shop today and purchase a ticket. It'll be the best $40 you can spend!

Lucia Herndon

No comments: