My sister Jane and I traveled to Vancouver last weekend to take part in Knit City, a gathering of knitting enthusiasts, teachers and yarn merchants. We decided to take some classes: Yarn Substitution, Beginner Socks, Gilding the Lilly with Lucy Neatby and a Yarn Shopping Bootcamp. We also took in the Friday night gathering with Ysolda Teagues.
So, what did we learn and come away with? It really came down to a couple of words: measure and swatch. If you want to create beautiful knitted pieces of clothing that fit and look good, this was everyone’s advise.
Ultimately to make a sweater fit, one has to take measurement of oneself. I don’t know about you, but measuring myself is difficult for I would then have to really look at the reality of my physical body. What happened to the waist that once measured in the 20’s but now inches closer to 40? The arms, the thighs, hips and bust all now have numbers that I’m not sure I want to hear.
Getting to the right fit though is really what our life journey is about. Creating alignment between the body, mind and soul is the opportunity to bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves. As I step up to take measure, so that I can wear a sweater I make and not only hope it will fit, but ensure that it fits, I engage my courageous and rational self.
From measurements to understanding and creating a coherent pattern, is the next opportunity. Choosing the yarn, understanding the nature of the yarn you want to knit with and then knitting the swatch.
Kate Atherley talked about swatching as the preheat of the oven before you put the cake in the oven to cook. Without the preheat the cake is not likely to turn out how you want it to. This part takes being engaged in the process of creating not only emotionally but rationally. You’ve taken measure, chosen your yarn and needles, the swatch is 6” square and it has been washed and pinned. Its calculation time for getting your gauge.
By now with my personality I am just wanting to pick a number of stitches to cast on and get going. I learned this weekend though that taking a slower more complete look at the sweater you are going to create, reading the whole pattern through and contemplating how the yarn you have chosen may affect everything you are creating is important.
Basically what seems to be important in the process of getting to a sweater or other beautiful knitted piece is to slow down and take measure. Be in the process of creating something you truly enjoy.