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Experiential Knitting Projects

It’s a knitting weekend for me!  Melissa Leapman is here, at my local knitting guild, to teach workshops all weekend, and I’m so excited.  I love taking knitting classes.  Seriously, I think I could take knitting classes for my whole life and still not cover every topic.

This weekend, I’ll be learning to do two-colour double knitting, which should come in really hand for a hat pattern I’ve been wanting to make.  That’s right, I already have a design in mind featuring a technique I’ve never tried before.  I’m excited to see if I can make it work.

I’m also going to be learning about necklines.  I don’t really know what to expect, but since my knowledge of necklines is so small right now, I can’t see how this *won’t* come in handy.

In other knitting news, I’m currently involved in a knitting project I’m lovingly calling, “Let’s see how quickly I can knit and block a shawl.”  I cast on the evening of April 16th, and my goal is to have it ready for the guild’s Shawl Challenge on Monday, April 22nd.  I’ve been encouraging the members all year long to submit their shawls, and here I am, at the last minute, trying to get ready.  I do have one other shawl to enter, but I came across this gorgeous pattern three days ago and thought, “Why not?”

East Gable Shawl by Judy Marples in progress.

It’s the East Gable Shawl by Judy Marples, and, quite simply, I was drawn in by the rippling, yet leaf-like, flow of the stitch pattern.  I also love that it’s textural, yet simple.  When I knit a shawl, I want it to be challenging (but not too challenging), and I also want it to be wearable (according to my own style, that is).  This one has a lovely simplicity to it, which I think comes from having the one chart pattern repeated all over it.  The pattern itself flows nicely and is easy to memorize, which also makes it a lovely project to knit.

Knitting isn’t just about the product, for me — it’s also about the experience.  This shawl is a lovely experience.

Another project on my needles right now is a pair of socks I’ve been working on.  I was immediately attracted by the stitch patterns, but you know what?  These socks have four lace charts, worked simultaneously.  Two of them flow logically, and two of them don’t.  (Of course, it’s the two that are harder to memorize that are the most beautiful.)  The socks are lovely, and I’m halfway through the second sock, but they really require my concentration.  Not to mention the four charts that I have to spread out around me.  Those socks are not quite as lovely of an experience.

I try to keep all this in mind when I’m designing.  Sure, it might look nice, but will it be nice to knit?  Some of my ideas get scrapped just because they’re too annoying to work on.

And some of them never see the light of day just because homeschooling takes up a lot of my time.  Ah, the life of a mother who’s obsessed with knitting.  We need to choose our time spending wisely.

How do you choose your next project?  With a finite amount of knitting hours, what is it about a pattern that makes the cut?