Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Changing Perspective

I take classes for lots of reasons, but I suppose the most important one is to learn new skills and hone existing ones. Boy, did I get honed this weekend.

But more importantly, this past weekend at Madrona, I gained a new perspective and I think that is a far more valuable lesson than learning a new cast-on. (Which is always handy, don't get me wrong.)

This knit-altering moment came in Sally Melville's First Choices class on Thursday morning. You've heard of Sally, haven't you? Of The Knit Stitch, The Purl Stitch and Color fame. If Sally comes to your corner of the world, get thee to her class. She is awesome. This class wasn't so much about picking the right yarn or needles, but more about how to ensure that the garment you've decided to knit is going to be well worth every stitch. Having recently shelved my Manos Cardi that just was, well, horrible, I learned exactly why it sucks--at least why it sucks for me.

What Sally did was take us through a hands on workshop on how to measure your body and adapt any pattern (at least one that will look good on this 45 year old wreck) to fit you. No more sleeves dragging around my ankles, no more shoulder seams that begin at my elbows. No more sweaters that go on, only to show the world just how big my hips are.

Sally's no-nonsense, common sense talk was liberating. Life altering, if you can excuse the pun.

Now I've read Zimmerman and know all the formulas, but to have someone walk me through them, even as I'm measuring myself and understanding how "fit" works and why and when it doesn't. All of a sudden the lights went on, and this time someone was home.

I'll never look at yarn and a sweater pattern the same.

The funny thing is, I've always sewn--done tailoring, clothes, the whole works. I used to alter patterns without even blinking, but I've always felt sort of intimidated to tamper with a knitting pattern. Foolish, really, but we all have our personal sort of bugaboos, and that was one of mine. Not anymore. Watch out sweaters, here I come.

I went home Thursday night and pulled out my Top Down Raglan Cardi from Cosmicpluto Knits! and started measuring. The sleeves will need some altering, but the rest is a sure hit. Here it is about 4 inches shy of finishing the body. I should have that done by tonight. (Hopefully there is a new episode of House on tonight.)

Oh, the confidence of a new perspective. I spent the rest of the weekend planning sweaters. A cardigan out of the Toots Le Blanc wool, the red sweater, and the other varigated sweater. And not to mention, my CPH. As I was contemplating all this knitting on my daily trips back and forth to Madrona, I realized I'd stalled out on my CPH because I was afraid of it turning into Manos 2: The Horror Continues. I don't think so. Not now.

Besides, if all else fails, I can always frog the darn thing and make something else. The Manos Cardi should be afraid. Very afraid.

1 comment:

tiennie said...

Good to always get a new perpective. Your top down is looking really cool. How are you going to get the sleeves to match? I feel the same way about altering knitting stuff since I feel I'm still a beginner. Quilting, sewing - I don't even blink an eye when altering patterns and making up my own patterns.