Before getting much further into project descriptions, I thought it was worth explaining that I mostly want to make sweaters these days. There are a bunch of weirdly contrarian reasons for this.
First, it’s hot in the desert (or at least in my part of it).
That probably doesn’t make any sense – why am I knitting sweaters if it’s hot? – but you can wear many kinds of sweaters throughout the year, while lots knitted accessories are useful only in cold weather. Mittens and gloves – even fingerless mitts – are really cold-weather things. Many scarves and hats are designed to keep you warm as well – admittedly, not all of them, but enough that the average person around here wouldn’t make much use of of them. Second, I’m not the biggest fan of certain knit garments on me.
I know, I know, this is kind of ridiculous given how much time I spend knitting, but here’s why: my 9-5 job is the kind that requires suits a bunch of the time. Even warm-weather versions of hats and mitts aren’t work-appropriate items for me, and I spend enough time at work that I prefer to invest in items I have a shot of wearing at work (at least occasionally). Leaving aside work, my casual style isn’t really one that involves hats or mitts, either. Scarves are a little more complicated, because there are so many gorgeous patterns out there, and such a huge diversity of styles. But I’ll confess that I still mostly like handknit scarves as adjuncts to outerwear. I prefer fairly tailored and streamlined clothing, so while there are some laceweight scarves I would enjoy, anything much thicker than that still reads “outerwear” to me. I also have a fairly short neck, so bundling handknits around it can make me look like a turtle.
And that takes me to shawls, and lace, and my most shameful confession: I don’t really have any interest in wearing lace shawls. I just don’t see them as fitting most occasions these days besides maybe going out to the opera or a wedding; in my head they fit into the broader category “dressy wraps,” and, well, I never go anywhere where a dressy wrap would be fitting.
Which brings us to perhaps the final reason I knit sweaters, which underlies all the above: so far I am a selfish knitter, and a product knitter rather than a process knitter. As bad as it sounds put baldly like this, I knit so I can have more nice things, and they have to be things I can believe I will wear. I don’t get the chance to wear mittens or gloves or warm hats and scarves or dressy wraps very much, so I see no need to make them very often.
But sweaters… you can wear sweaters year-round. Sure, there are heavy warm winter sweaters I’m not going to make; I’m intrigued by fair isle/color work, but apart from not having a clue how it works, I know that carrying the colors along the back of the work makes the fabric even thicker and warmer, so most colorwork patterns aren’t going to be a great choice for me. Like I think I said once before, I’m not going to start churning out traditional Aran fisherman sweaters. But an elbow-sleeved open front cardigan can be worn much of the year, especially in air-conditioned office buildings, and depending on the yarn used.
So: I’m a warm-weather knitter knitting warm-ish weather sweaters.
I can’t say this is the last word, though; as I get more intrigued with the craft of knitting (and not just getting to an end result), I’m more drawn toward knitting smaller items to experiment with different techniques, and matching them with different kinds of yarn. I start to see the appeal of making a lace shawl just for the sake of having done it, of having learned new techniques and created something beautiful in its own right, even if I’ll probably never wear it. I can’t say I’m there just yet – I have little enough time for knitting that I still mostly want to spend it on things I want to wear – but I’m starting to see the appeal.
(It wasn’t till I was reading this over for the last time before sending it into the publishing queue that I realized I hadn’t once mentioned socks. That should make clear how frequently I make them. Oops.)
What about you? What do you knit, and why? Do you like the process, or the pretty product at the end?