Last weekend the weather was gorgeous here in the UK. The skies were clear and sunny, the weather was warm (about 20C where I live which is pretty good for March), and both Saturday and Sunday were completely lovely. This does not happen here all too often, and when it does, we take advantage of it. My way of taking advantage was to spend the weekend sitting in my back garden in the sunshine knitting.
I am now working on the very end of the Brick pullover for Doug. Since it is knit in one piece, and I have only a few inches of the second sleeve still to knit, and since it is a man’s pullover and thus not insubstantial, this means that I had a whopping big pile of wool in my lap while sitting out on this lovely spring day. And plenty of time to ponder about the injustice of seasonal knitting disorder.
Here are the symptoms. As the fall starts and the weather turns cold, the humble knitter starts to dream of warm wooly jumpers, fireplaces, hot chocolate, snow days when work just happens to get cancelled so you must sit and knit…. (As an aside, have you every noticed that the American term “sweater” can substitute for the British “jumper” in most places, but not in the term “warm wooly jumpers”?) You search for the perfect, toasty warm, winter pattern, buy lots of lovely pure wool, cast on and start to knit. This is exactly how I started my Brick pullover, in November. And what happens? Now it is spring, the weather is gorgeous, and in a few days I will have finished knitting Doug a sweater which he won’t be able to wear for six months because of a seasonal mismatch.
Never fear, I think. I shall have this wool off the needles this week, and will cast on for a cardigan or such, in some fingering weight linen or silk blend, and will be able to knit out in the garden or sitting at the beach, with just a light spill of breezy, summery yarn on my lap. And what will happen then? I’ll tell you what will happen: In November, just in time for winter, I will have a beautiful fingering weight summer cardigan all finished and ready to wear!
Of course, the obvious solution to this dilemma is to knit faster. When I began knitting Brick I clearly intended that Doug would be able to wear it all winter. I am always very unrealistic when starting a project, thinking that it will just fly off the needles, and forgetting that life tends to get in the way of knitting. If I were to be more practical, I could take two alternative approaches. First, I could knit summer things in the winter, and winter things in the summer, so that I could wear my lovely knits straight off the needles. But that would mean that huge pile of wool on my lap while knitting at the beach, a very silly concept. Worse, it would mean curling up in front of the fire in the winter with a little bit of silk nothingness on the needles. This misses the point that wool is like winter comfort food. Second, I could just accept that I am always knitting for the following season. I could knit a beautiful coat, knowing that when I finished, I would wrap it up in tissue paper and put it away for a season before wearing it. This approach has few downsides, except the rather big one of not letting me indulge in instant gratification.
Knowing me, I think I will continue to follow the optimist’s route. I will keep imagining that I can whip my current sweater out in no time and be wearing it before you can say Seasonal Knitting Disorder. And as Doug has wisely pointed out to me, there is another solution to this dilemma: the holiday. Travel to a tropical clime in the middle of winter, or go hiking in the Alps in the summer, and you can wear that project right off the needles!
PS – Nikol Lohr, the designer of the Carnaby skirt, put up a post yesterday here in which she discusses Emma’s styling of the skirt as both skirt and cape (or capelet as she puts it). For those of you who have come to this site from Nikol’s blog, welcome! For the rest of you, you should check out her blog, The Thrifty Knitter. Nikol blogs about knitting, spinning, designing, sheep and other assorted animals, and life at the Harveyville Project – a rural workshop, creative residence & retreat.