> To Knit is Divine: Size matters

Monday, August 28, 2006

Size matters

As I've mentioned before, reading knitting blogs has opened up so many new knitting horizons for me. Most of my past knitting was done with worsted weight or thicker yarns, and generally acrylic. I especially loved doing cables - in the mid-nineties I made a boxy, drop-sleeved, heavily cabled tunic-length sweater out of chunky weight cotton. I loved making it - all those textury cables - but it was the most unflattering garment I've ever worn, not to mention the heaviest. Every time I wore it it felt like I was putting on a suit of armour. I never used thin yarns and small needles - it just seemed that everything would just take too long to make.

But all that has changed. It started with socks. It seemed everyone in blogworld was hooked on socks. But still, I couldn't imagine using such fine yarn. So the first pair I made were with worsted-weight acrylic. They were hideous. Absolutely hideous. But it taught me the structure of knitted socks, so I broked down and bought some sock yarn. Fingering weight sock yarn. And 2mm bamboo needles. At first it felt awkward. I felt like I was going to snap a needle with every stitch. But soon, magic happened. My fingers began to fly. I found myself knitting much faster on smaller needle. I started producing socks like a madwoman. Since February I've made 8 pairs of socks and have two more pairs on the needles.

I started off with top-down socks using various (free) patterns. Then I discovered Wendy's generic toe-up socks. That's all I've used since. I started carrying a sock-in-progress in my bag at all times. I started knitting socks on the bus on my way to work. Waiting in line somewhere? Out comes the sock. At the doctor's office? Out comes the sock. I will likely follow patterns again, but plain, stockinette toe-up socks (I normally do the figure-eight cast-on) with short-row heels are perfect for mindless knitting. I started coveting all of the beautiful sock yarns I would see on people's blogs - Socks that Rock, Opal, Lorna's Laces, the list goes on. I want to try them all.

And then, I needed to go smaller. Laceweight started to call me. I've now made two projects using laceweight, and I'm completely hooked. I love knitting with it. It feels so nice and soft. And it's so beautiful. And economical. For $10-$15 I can be knitting for weeks. And I swear, I knit faster with smaller yarns and needles. And I love executing lace patterns. All those yos and decreases that paint such a pretty picture.

Now that I've finished the two shawls I had on the go, I've gone back to the cabled worsted-weight wool sweater I started for my partner through the winter.

But cables no longer hold the same thrill that they used to. I'd rather be knitting lace. The yarn and needles just seem so..... big and clunky. But I promised to get this sweater finished before the weather turns cold. And I'm travelling in a couple of weeks - lace makes good plane projects... cabled sweaters, not so much.

Of course, I still have socks on the needles - I think that will be a constant for a while.


Anonymous Paula said...

I have had a similar experience. I love fingering weight yarn and have been wanting to try laceweight - even have some in my stash. It is lovely stuff and the yardage seems ludicrous for a given weight. Now if I can just get some other stuff out of the way first and decide what to make. So.Many.Choices.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leanne, now I understand why you don`t like big yarn (we always disagree about this at our work knitting club!). You speak so eloquently about the thin yarn, you almost have me convinced! (I'm not as skilled a knitter, so I think my patience with small needles needs to be developed.)

4:41 PM  

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