Knitting

When two tribes start to knit

In all things there are basically two tribes. One does things one particular way, the other does the exact opposite. There are actually three tribes, the third comprising the majority of the population who don’t fit into the particular two tribes you’re discussing, but they can safely be ignored.

I’m thinking today about the people who are in the “never go back” tribe versus the people who are in the “try, try, try again” tribe. I have always firmly believed you should never go back. If something didn’t work out the first time you tried, leave it well alone because it isn’t for you and it never will be. Even if something was good, you will never recreate the conditions that made it so. My motto for life is “no second chances”. Reminiscing is fine, I’d even say it’s vital, but going back is a naughty-naughty no-no, to coin a phrase used by Kojak.

This holds true for everything… except, clearly, the Lace Panel Sweater. By the time I ripped out that project in November 2020, I hated the pattern and I hated the wool and I never wanted to see either again. Last week I revealed that, of all the yarn currently in my possession, I chose the Heather wool from that previous failure to knit my Slope Rib Sweater. Not only that, but I’m here to divulge that the other thing on my needles is a different take on the Lace Panel Sweater! The second chances are falling over themselves with amusement at my u-turn.

I hope that using a different wool, a different sweater design, and a different lace stitch, will work together to produce a more satisfactory end result. The wool is this super-hank of Merino DK which I purchased from Woolyknit in January (unfortunately it didn’t come with chocolate, I had to add that myself).

The sweater design is one from Amanda Griffiths’ book “One Thousand Sweaters” which I’ve used successfully on previous occasions, most notably in my 2018 Maroon Sweater. I’m making this a crew-neck because it’s the middle of winter, we’re finally seeing some snow, and lower necklines are far from my mind.

I’m using a different lace stitch on this version for a very simple reason, namely that I can’t find the original pattern anywhere. I’m not sure what I did with it when I went off in a huff about the whole jumper not working out. What I didn’t do was put it back with all my other vintage patterns where it belongs. In the absence of the pattern, I dipped into the stitch dictionaries which I’ve owned since the early 1980s and which may well have been purchased through a book club because a lot of my really useful books were bought that way. That’s back when you got a monthly brochure sent to you by post and you could either buy the recommended book of the month or choose something else. I loved those book clubs. I also belonged to a music club where I built up my magnificent and much-lamented cassette collection. There was something very comforting about having a wide enough but still quite narrow choice rather than the way it is in the modern world with millions upon millions of options which somehow seem to result in me choosing nothing at all.

Anyway, searching through the stitch dictionaries I found a nice 4-row lace pattern which is worked across repeats of 7 stitches, and I’m doing a broad panel of that on the front of the jumper. This time, I’m going to work the back in plain stocking stitch, although I will do some lace on the sleeves. Whether that will be as a narrow column of lace climbing up the sleeve, or a single band just above the cuff remains to be seen.

I’ve made plenty of progress to date on this sweater, and I’m ready to start shaping the armhole. Has it been easy going? Yes and no. I’ve made some mistakes in the lace and had to go back a row or two to put them right. I also made a bad choice when deciding where to work the increase stitches coming out of the waist shaping. Luckily, I decided to change it quite quickly and so I only had to unpick three rows and re-do the first row with the shaping. Most importantly, though, I am enjoying working with this wool which encourages me to keep picking it up. This is definitely my favourite of the two jumper projects, until I turn to the Slope Rib Sweater at which point that becomes my firm favourite of the two! That way I’m managing to put in a bit of work on both most days.

3 thoughts on “When two tribes start to knit

  1. Oh, my. I do admire your bravery at having another go at the Lace Panel Sweater. I will give things a second (or third) chance if I know that my head wasn’t in the right place from the start. For the most part, I go with my gut on knits and rip if it really isn’t a joy.

    1. Perhaps it was the fact I had such a strong vision of how I’d wear the Lace Panel Sweater that I can’t quite abandon it. I like your comment about giving things another chance when you are in a better headspace.

    2. If you recall from my summer posts, I had a bad bout with Lyme disease that affected me cognitively. I had to give myself a lot of grace when I knit even the simplest of patterns.

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