The beginning of March marked my second year of knitting, since taking it up again after an eleven-year hiatus caused by pregnancy loss. I have learned a lot about knitting during this last year, and the most important lesson was that when you invest time and materials into making something, patterns and yarn really matter.
A well-written pattern that contains and presents coherently all necessary information for a project often makes the difference between frustrating-knitting and happy-knitting. And who wants frustrating-knitting?! Knowing this, I've become a little bit more discerning when choosing a pattern, and instead of letting the pretty cover photo decide for me, I now peruse all the reviews and notes on Ravelry, and read how other knitters did with the pattern.
Yarn matters too. Color and texture, and especially how well it wears. Good wool will look as good as new for a very long time. Not-so-good wool . . . well, I know a little about that kind, too. For example, I was greatly disappointed by some yarn from one of my favorite brands, Quince and Co, which I praised so warmly earlier this winter. Although their finch yarn, wore beautifully, their aran weight osprey, which I used for Rebecca’s birthday Camilla sweater (#7 in the image above, taken when the sweater off the needles), started pilling badly almost immediately. So badly, in fact, that only a few months later, she can’t really wear the sweater anywhere except around the house and in our isolated village, where nobody minds a girl in a sweater with a serious case of the fluffs (huge fluffs). I contacted Quince and Co about this issue, assuming I'd received a bad batch of yarn. Instead, they said they knew that osprey could be pilly, but considered this a by-product of their limited use of chemicals and treatments in making the yarn. While I applaud Quince and Co for their commitment to making natural products, I was surprised to learn that they were aware of this objectively rather serious flaw in one of their yarns, and hadn’t put this crucial information in their product description. (In a follow-up email, I suggested they do this so their customers could make an informed purchase, but never received a reply).
Because yarn matters so much, during this second year of knitting I've also learned the best way to salvage it. When you have good yarn knitted into a garment that isn't getting any use - either because it doesn't fit well, or because the style isn't quite what you had in mind - don’t let it sit at the bottom of your wardrobe! Instead, the best solution is to unravel the whole thing without regret, and give it a new life as a better garment.
Here's to another exciting year of knitting, my third. Looking forward to sharing it with you here!
a year of knitting, 2014