Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the year of the sweater

looking back over my 2007 knitting year, there's been a distinct lack of sweaters. oh, there's been a few sweaters, but it's mainly been shawls, wraps, and socks, socks, socks. and more socks. and even more socks.
not that there's anything wrong with knitting socks & shawls, but it seems as though that's all i knit! i love hand-knitted sweaters (as does the RSA), and i want more of them. so here's my knitting challenge for the year:

this year, i will knit one sweater every month.

& to answer your first question, yes, i may well be off my head. but there is a method to my madness!!
after my yarn-buying spree at fankle's closing-down sale, my stash literally overfloweth. it's climbed out of the trunk i normally keep it in, and is gradually making its yarny way across my bedroom floor - if something isn't done soon, i won't be able to sleep for fear of being suffocated by piles of wool. most of this is yarn that i own in sweater-sized quantities - without a serious delve through the stash (which i'll be doing later today, to take stock of how grave the problem actually is) i'd estimate that i have enough yarn for at least eight sweaters in there. there's also a big queue of future projects in my mind that i'd "love to knit someday", and about 80% of this queue is sweaters.
so why haven't i been knitting sweaters? in my knitting career to date, i've made a total of six sweaters. two of them were for the RSA, and they were roaring successes - simple designs in lush tweedy yarns, with no fancy tricks or complicated patterning. the other four were for me - and of these four, one is being used & loved. and one has been unravelled, to be knitted again into something else; one has been traded to a member of my knitting group for a posh yarns gift voucher; and one has been given to a charity shop. these last three all had something in common - i chose the pattern because i liked the design, not because i'd put any thought into whether or not it would look good on me - would it suit my body shape? did i need to make any modifications to the design to make it fit better? was the sweater something i would get any wear out of? was it even my style? and, was i even getting gauge with the yarn & needles i was using? and after all the knitting work was put in, unsurprisingly, i was left with something that didn't fit properly, wasn't flattering, and wasn't (in one case) even something i would ever wear.
so, i'm determined to make 2008 the year of the sweater. i will knit boldly on, and i will knit mindfully - i will put thought & care into choosing patterns that look good on me, and that i will wear; i will not be afraid to step outside the restrictions of the pattern if i think my way will work better, but i will do this with careful planning; i will swatch and measure, and measure again, and then modify the pattern if i need to in order to make it a good fit.
i've given myself a head start - a sweater a month is a lot of work, and i want to ease myself into it! my january sweater is not only knitted in a chunky yarn, but i cast on for it a little early (27th december 2007), and i've already finished both sleeves (hurray for 8mm needles!). and my february sweater will be the tangled yoke cardi, which was my "at-work" project while i worked at fankle, and is already about 35% finished.
there are no hard & fast rules to this challenge - i'm not going to spontaneously combust if i don't finish a sweater each month, and equally, if i finish a sweater before the month is up, i may well cast on for the next month's sweater a few days early. but i'll try to stick to the "one sweater per month" guideline as much as i can - i want it to be a challenge, after all! i'll be keeping track of my progress as i go, so keep checking back - and anyone who wants to join in with the challenge is more than welcome!!


Midsummer night's knitter said...

YOu sound so organised - been chatting to Elaine recently? ;0)

roro said...

Wow! I can't wait to see all the gorgeous sweater fun!

I will totally join in the challenge, except I will be knitting "one sweater a year". The one my best friend has been waiting for since last September. Poor guy.

Happy New Year to you and the RSA!

TangledFrog said...

You've even put it in writing on your blog! Now THAT's commitment!

Flavaknits said...

One sweater a month - will you be coming up to breathe now and again! lol Its a great resolution , and I look forward to seeing the results,
my resolution is to knit more socks!

Heather said...

oh I'm sorely tempted to join in - if only to begin clawing my out from under the massive mountain of stashed yarns currently threatening to suffocate me ..... but I just don't know if I could manage a sweater a month .... maybe if I focused on finishing of the WIP ones already underway it might be possible .... this needs some serious thought !

Liz said...

Good luck with your challenge! I'm also trying to knit more sweaters for 2008. I'm not committing to one a month (because I know I'll crack and start manically knitting socks eventually) but I'll kepp you company for a bit anyway.

monica said...

Good luck with your challenge! You're inspiring me to do the same but I'm not sure if I can finish 1 sweater each month. It will be fun keeping up with you though!