I have been knitting for over five years, but have never finished a garment for myself. Shocking, I know! I have knit a cardigan for my husband, which took me over a year, as well as several children’s garments. However, my own garments are either half-finished, shoved into a project bag and hidden in the back of one of our cabinets, or only exist in my imagination. I have a fairly short attention span when it comes to my knitting, which means that I often quickly lose interest in my projects, and have always had more than a reasonable amount of projects on the needles in the past. Let me tell you, it certainly is not a good combination because you don’t make enough progress before losing interest. Recently, I’ve become more of a product knitter, who is quite utilitarian when it comes to the choice of projects. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the process, but I think very carefully about what is missing in my wardrobe and then work on only a small number of projects so the season the garment, for instance, is most suitable for, is not over before I am able to finish anything. The only exception, perhaps, is socks because I knit them all year round and almost never wear them. But that is a different story.
After several cold, dark and dreary days, the sun has finally made an appearance. Whenever the sun is shining, I feel extremely hopeful. I feel inspired and have the impression that anything is possible. It is a very distinct feeling that I nevertheless have a hard time describing. It is a very abstract answer to deep longings I have, a cozy warm feeling deep inside me that makes me see the world in a different light.
Even though temperatures are still sometimes slightly below freezing at night, I am currently happiest when I imagine sitting on our tiny balcony with my husband, enjoying warm summer evenings while sipping a glass of rum or a cocktail. As a person who does not feel comfortable in darkness, my favorite seasons are definitely spring and summer. Only since becoming a knitter have I started tolerating the colder and darker months of the year because lower temperatures certainly act as a catalyst for my knitting output. This year, fueled by my interest in designing, I have actually stated considering more consciously which projects are seasonally appropriate to knit, as well as wear. Perhaps it is merely an excuse for not picking up some languishing works in progress now that I would deem more appropriate for “summer knitting,” but I feel a lot more in charge of my creative process, as well as my making in general now.
At my work, days are either fairly relaxed or extremely stressful, certainly mostly the latter. There are very few moderately stressful days, which is quite interesting and cannot easily be explained. As I would describe myself as an introvert, although I am certainly among the more outgoing ones in this category, I get easily exhausted when dealing with crowds and have been prone to getting migraines regularly for the past five to ten years. I am fairly familiar with the warning signs and have developed strategies for preventing the migraine from causing me to collapse completely.
I recently found a single gray sock that my grandmother must have knit several years or even decades ago in my apartment. I inspected it very thoroughly, trying to figure out which techniques she had used. The sock was knit with thicker yarn (I would guess sport weight) and at a looser gauge than I usually do. I also didn’t recognize the type of heel flap and gusset construction. When I started knitting socks, my grandmother told me the story that when she was young, she was the family member responsible for knitting all socks. She would not only knit the socks, but also process, spin and dye the wool. As a child growing up on a farm in the Austrian countryside in the inter-war period and during World War II, she didn’t have many clothes and the ones she had were hand-made by one of her family members. I was very impressed by her story, especially that she was in charge of the whole process from sheep to finished sock, and asked her if she could write down her sock recipe for me. I asked her a few times and she always said she would do it as soon as she got a chance. However, I never actually got anything from her and thought it was probably because she couldn’t remember how she’d knit her socks. After all, she is turning 92 this year and had to stop knitting several years ago due to pain in her fingers.
Once I mentioned to my mother that I thought it was very unfortunate that my grandmother didn’t remember her sock recipe. My mother laughed and told me that my grandmother probably didn’t know how to write down instructions because back then, they simply knit socks without a “recipe.” Of course I knew that there weren’t any knitting patterns as we know them today when my grandmother was growing up, but I didn’t consider the possibility that knitting techniques and instructions were only passed down orally and items were “just knit”. Being someone who would be lost without patterns (especially when making garments), I am deeply impressed by people who just know how to knit specific items or modify them. But I guess it was normal back then. It is not like they had any other options.