Friday, March 24, 2006

I was a knitter long before I was a quilter, but living in the tropics for 20 years means that I don't have much use for warm clothing. Just lately though, I've been knitting as a way of winding down at the end of the night. It's even better than patchwork . I can obsess and worry and fuzz-buzz even when I'm sewing. But if I'm trying to follow a lace pattern then there's no room for anything else in my tiny brain, and I'm forced to relax. I've finished a shawl and several pairs of socks, and there are plans for many more projects.

I had a huge clean-out about 5 years ago, and ruthlessly threw out nearly all my knitting stash and half-finished projects. (Dusts hands off grimly.) So imagine my surprise when I opened a trunk today, and found a lot of the things that I was convinced I had binned. How can this be??? Maybe I'm not as ruthless as I think I am. Maybe I just lie to myself all the time....

One of my favourite UFOs is this Fair Isle jumper, that I knitted one winter when I lived in Victor Harbour with Mereth. We were working on her husband's property, raising beef calves and looking after the lambs. It was a time of early mornings spent walking the lambing paddocks, checking that the ewes were alright, helping those in trouble and taking home the orphan lambs. It was bitterly cold; there is nothing between Victor and the South Pole except ocean, and the winds were like ice. One night we all camped out in a haybale shelter, so that we could ambush a family of foxes that were attacking the lambs. Oh the things you do when you're young! My bones hurt just thinking about it now.

I spun various fleeces on a borrowed wheel, and knitted windproof jumpers and hats from the raw wool. Mereth knitted cobweb lace shawls; one extreme to the other. And I knitted this jumper, happily working through the complexities, learning to knit with a strand of wool in each hand, and how to knit backwards so that I didn't have to turn the work at the end of the row.

Why on earth didn't I finish it?? There are three bands of pattern left to knit on one sleeve, and I packed it away. 25 years later I still love it, so I'm going to finish it. There's one night of knitting left to do. It will never fit anyone; I must have been the size of a child when I started it. But I'll never throw it away, so I may as well have it completed.

I have to respect the person I was when I was 22. Nothing daunted me. I would have serious doubts about my ability to knit something like this now, but back then I was fearless. And that was a good thing.

1 comments:

mereth 6:52 PM  

Oh, it's so good to see that jumper again, I loved it too but knew I'd never be able to complete one.But now I think I might be able to stick with it,and the lace tablecloths I did seem overwhelming; size 60 or 80 crochet cotton and hundreds and hundreds of stitches in each round. I feel faint at the thought!
I could still make a lace shawl though, there's some gorgeous patterns around.

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