Monday, July 31, 2006
The Japanese Sweater as a metaphor
So it's a pretentious post title. As you can see, I've finally started Am Kamin! And this weekend, I found myself several times telling friends about how life, or some part of it, is like knitting this Japanese sweater.
I'm trying to do my homework at the Crossed in Translation web site. I've learned quite a bit about understanding the graphs for this pattern.
One of the neatest things about these Japanese patterns is that the diagram shows how many centimeters wide EACH pattern in the sweater should be. So, I knit a swatch of the center pattern on size 6 needles. It was less than a half a centimeter too wide. Since I liked the look of it, and since I needed to make the sweater a bit bigger anyway, I decided it would be OK like this. I also knit a seed stitch swatch, because I think I'll need add some extra stitches as well, and the seed stitch panels would be the easiest place to do this. I still have to figure out what effect this might have on my raglan shaping, since I'm not changing the sleeves at all.
I've made copies of the stitch pattern graphs, and then added to it, both by adding copies of more pattern repeats (since the various patterns have different numbers of rows, this should help me keep track of where I am), AND also by making a mirror image of the graphs so my sweater will be symmetrical.
I think I understand what I need to know to make this sweater. And it's not brain surgery (or heart surgery, for that matter), so if I'm wrong, I've only wasted some time and some yarn. Nobody will die. But this is how this sweater is like life. There's information on this page, and in this book that I don't understand. And not only do I not understand it, I don't actually know what information I'm missing. It could be the secret of life, or of making this sweater perfectly, or it could be some artistic or commercial fluff about the yarn or the pattern. I can't tell. Life's like that sometimes. It would be nice to have all the answers, or even just to know where one is ignorant or wrong. But I'm not God, and I'm not a Japanese knitting designer. I'm just a humble knitter trying to follow along, and make something nice if I can.