Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So Now What?

That's always the question when I finish a project. Once I had put away the pattern & needles I used on the pink sweater, what next? Do I start something new (there's some really nice Alpaca Silk wanting to be mittens for me) or do I finish something I've set aside previously?

Well, for now, I've decided to get back to Am Kamin (see the link in the sidebar for more information). When I last worked on this, I'd just about run out of chart. Also, I'd done the math to recalculate the raglan decreases, since I'd added some width to this sweater, and my row gauge seems to be more compact than the gauge in the pattern. The other relevant fact is that knitting this sweater hadn't been much fun lately.
I'm not saying I don't LOVE this sweater. Even my unfinished back is one of the most beautiful pieces of knitting I've ever seen. There's something about those rows of twisted, traveling stitches, like a sort of knitted drill team, marching across in formation, that pleases me immensely. But I was really tired of how fiddly the work of it was.

So, what to do next? On the Crossed in Translation KAL site, there seemed to be lots of people who'd carefully charted out the whole sweater. (The Japanese pattern doesn't do that -- there are great charts, but they let the knitter extrapolate.) So, I looked into some knitting symbol fonts, so I could do the same (maybe on an excel spreadsheet). I found two pretty good ones, here and here. But looking closer, I realized neither had the "fish" symbols the original pattern used so much. So I'd have to improvise. And somehow, late on Saturday night, that seemed a bigger obstacle than I wanted to tackle.

Then I happened to re-read Theresa's post from when she finished the sweater. Theresa (newly married Theresa, but that's another great story) didn't make charts. She just knit from the pattern. Granted, Theresa is younger than I am, and has a brain freshly exercised from med school. Mine on the other hand, feels mildly damaged by chemo. Still, I was inspired. Why not make Am Kamin my own personal Brain Age and learn to knit it, rather than be a slave to its charts?

So, that's what I'm doing. It's tough. The traveling stitches need manipulating on both sides of the knitting (usually cables crosses are performed on front-side rows). And practically every pattern has a different number of rows in each repeat. But I'm learning -- though I don't think I'll ever be able to toss the charts completely. And, I'm finding some pleasure knitting this sweater again. Will I keep at it till it's finished? Only time will tell.

But in the meantime, I'm also busy here. It's a project with a deadline -- I need to finish by Friday, and I'll have pictures then, I hope.

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