Saturday, 11 July 2015

The interminable Marion

Well, here it is - the cardigan that was 7 months in the making!

Looking smug, because I can - GUYS I KNITTED A CARDIGAN!!
My first ever cardigan is Andi Satterlund's Marion - a sweet cardigan with a cabled cable down the front. I was encouraged into knitting this by my flatmate Jenna - whose Marion is much, much nicer than mine... but then she's more experienced than me, so shuddup Juliet.

I'm not actually that slow at knitting. But what I am is anxious. I am an anxious person and it comes to me easily. So while I wanted to start knitting I had no idea what the hay I was doing. Things like gauge seemed as complex as calculus. Choosing a wool was a fraught activity, and then trying to pick needles was even harder. And even choosing a size was tough, because I had no idea about ease in knitting. I badgered my knitting oracles friends Joy and Jo, and then still didn't have a clue.

Eventually I decided to adapt my sewing motto to knitting - feel the fear and knit it anyway. I picked a size and just went with it. And so began my never-ending hellhole of knitting and ripping out and knitting and having unfortunate encounters with demonically unhelpful 'helpful' colleagues and dropping stitches and picking them up and tinking and knitting, and knitting again and tinkling some more and eventually, finally, finishing.

Case in point: the upper back was knitted four times. This was where I had my encounter with my demonically unhelpful 'helpful' colleague. She would take over and 'show' me by doing it herself, too fast for me to comprehend it, and at one point when I dropped a stitch, she insisted that I rip it all out, and then laughed (yes, truly) as she pulled my hours of tortured knitting apart. Somehow I still managed to say nice things when I left that job.

Each of those front sections (the upper parts before the underarms, at least) were knitted four times each as well. Multiple mistakes were made with the stitch increases, and after my third attempt came out with perfect increases, but with both increases swinging to the right... urgh. I'm amazed I didn't give up.

My messed up fronts. When you see it... 
Thankfully I didn't, and I went hammer and tongs at this cardigan until finally it was finished in April. Good lordy, it's July isn't out? I really need to pay attention to my blogging.  I've already finished my second cardigan, which was an infinitely less fraught affair...

And you know what? It's come out alright. And now I know this cardigan so entirely that I can see every flaw and yet still like it enough to wear it. I'm not entirely happy with the stitch definition (I dunno, it's more 'holey' than I'd have liked it), but the cardigan is warm beyond anything I could have bought or sewn, and people seem impressed by it. It's a skill not possessed by many in my generation now (although I am surrounded by these skilled people), but it's novel enough among my not-crafty friends that I get to look incredibly clever.

I love my cables, but I do hate how that top button pulls...
My third cardigan is already waiting to be started now, and for all the grief, luckily my anxiety paid off - I actually feel like I can do this now. Figuring out my gauge and needles and size isn't nearly as fraught, and I'm enjoying the process of slowly growing something with nothing more than sticks and string (to put it crudely). Note to self: ignore the anxiety and make it anyway. The worst that will happen is you'll learn something.

No fancy cuffs, because by this stage I just wanted to be DONE.