Friday, October 19, 2007

Lost My Ability to Knit

I have three WIPs right now and I hate them all. Gauge is wrong on the Cromarty. Tilted Duster has huge batwings in the armpits. Fed up with these two, I cast on with some recently stashed Tofutsie yarn, planning to make some easy socks. I used pretty #2 Sox Stix from Lantern Moon that I had recently purchased on vacation.

They were huge. I ripped them, and wondered about how long it had been since I knit a sock with DPNs instead of 2 circulars. Do you think that made a difference? I used the same yarn again and started Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion Socks from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006 using #6's. I thought I was pretty good at socks by now, but they are also huge. Last night I threw the knitting. And I'm not talking Throwing vs. Picking: I threw the sock across the room. Then I threw the yarn: Both Skeins, one following the other. Then I threw the magazine. Followed by the tape measure. DBF cleaned them up this morning because I couldn't stand to see them.

I have never thrown knitting before. Cakes: Yes. I had a wonderful pastry mentor who taught me that sometimes, no matter how long you struggle with a cake, sometimes the more you mess with it the worse it gets. At those times, it is often better to cut your losses and start again. At that point, nothing is more satisfying than taking that cake, and all it's frustrations and hours of work and just hurling the sweet, sticky f**ker across a room (preferably into the trash can). In knitting I guess we call that "frogging", but somehow the creative-destruction of frogging isn't quite as satisfying as the violent hurling of a squish of cake and frosting.
See, I guess I thought I was pretty good at this knitting thing. Hubris! I felt it was a satisfying use of time. You use your mind and your hands, and something pretty happens. And I think maybe I was happy with how I was getting the socks to fit on my feet. I felt like I knew the size and curves of my feet pretty well, and when I was frustrated with being unable to fit the Tilted Duster to my body I turned back to the comfort of socks. "I can DO socks", I thought. It was like when I feel too fat to go clothes shopping, but shoes and bags are fair game?
And the Hubris of thinking I know what I am doing: When you get those polls or Memes that ask, "Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced knitter?" What do you answer? I would like to think I am beyond beginner: But I have had to take a step down recently, and come to terms with a few truths that land me smack in the beginner's camp:

  • I don't know how to fit my body. In fact, I don't truthfully even see my body correctly. Recently I learned what "long-waist", "short rise", and "rounded shoulders" mean. I hear that short-row-shaping will help me, but I have never done short-rows on my body (just like...sock heels and toes?) I also suspect raglan shaping won't look good on rounded shoulders + big bust. (Can anyone confirm that?)
  • The fit successes I have had are luck. My gauge swatch almost never translates to a large object, I have never even measured my foot or calculated my magic sock numbers or anything. In fact, the only place I ever really have measured is my bust, and since it is disproportionate, that almost always assures a mis-fit.
  • I have made myself only 3 sweaters, and they are all too big.

Does anyone have recommendations for books that deal with shaping and fitting and what shapes look good on what bodies? I plan on going back and reading all those sections in all the books I have. That is, after I frog this sock AGAIN.


Kim said...

I'm pretty far removed from my knitting at the moment. I know what you mean about wanting to throw it.

I have and have read the Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters. It helps with the construction of the sweaters they have in their book, but I haven't knit from it yet. They have a "knitter fitter" system to figure out fit.

Stilaholic Nartian knits said...

If you can get a copy, may be Maggie Rhighetti's (sp?) sweater design book. If not, maybe Big Girl Knits by Amy Singer even though you're technically not big all over, just busty? There's some basic fashion discussion in there as well as a discussion on short row shaping. Considering the Tilted Duster, maybe any reference book that discusses darts instead since Knitting Daily is taking awhile to publish their free tutorial on the subject.

Tofutsies is kinda a funky yarn. Even though my swatch on size 2 needles came out okay, it's probably better on size 1's. Also, Cat Bordhi said Vogue messed up her Flow in Motion sock so it may be better to use her directions on her website.

Otherwise, sending good thoughts that your knitting mojo will be back.