Thursday, March 10, 2011


Way back in January, I mentioned that I had a new knitting goal for this year. You might think that it’d be the same as the knitting goals I come up with every year, which are to knit more, knit faster, and not buy yarn to replace the yarn I’ve used. Yes, I still have those goals, but I’ve added another one, one which I think is going to complement the first three. My main goal this year is to wear what I’ve made, and do something with it if I think that it isn’t currently wearable.

This was prompted by a big closet clean-out that I did right after Christmas. I took everything out and threw it on the bed, then tried it on before putting it back in the closet. If it didn’t fit, it didn’t go back. If I didn’t like how it hung on me, it didn’t go back. If I never wore it, even though there was nothing obviously wrong with it, which meant that there was something about it that just wasn’t right for me, and it didn’t go back. What I was left with was a much less crowded closet containing only clothes that fit and flatter me right now, a dozen skirts and pairs of trousers folded into a pile on my bed, and several sweaters that I never wore wadded up next to them. I boxed up the too-small clothes and stored them, because there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to wear them in a few months. Then, I dealt with the sweater collection.

Some of the sweaters were store-bought and just faded enough that they didn’t look sharp enough for work. If they looked decent enough to donate, they went into a bag and went to Goodwill. Some of them were just slightly too small, which is more an issue with me than with the garment. Those got folded up and stored in the cedar drawer under my bed. My beloved chick-gym went out of business a few weeks ago, and I bought one of the treadmills from the liquidator. Freed from the “I can’t drive to the gym in the dark” problem, I’ve been running three times a week. It’s only a matter of time before the smaller clothes rejoin the rotation.

A few of the sweaters were simply bad designs for me. Even at my very fittest, I don’t look good with garments that cover my bust and end at mid-ribcage. This style of cardigan makes me look like a post-op augmentation patient, and I ought to know that look, because I was once a data entry clerk at an implant manufacturer. Fun fact. I also gain weight around the middle and don’t have a strongly defined waist. I look good in things with empire waists, or that tuck in at that point and then flow back out to mid-hip, but not things where either the color or the entire garment abruptly stops right there.

So what was I thinking making cropped sweaters? The only one that doesn’t make me cringe when I come across it is the (not)Two-Tone Shrug, which avoids all of the worst shape offenses by not having much of a front profile. It also creates the illusion of a more slender back, because it curves in where my waist should narrow. (not)Two-Tone is safe, then, just waiting for me to tone up and wear it. The others, though, need some help.

I’ve had Cobweb shifting around on the shelf for almost four years. I wore it to Kitten’s wedding but, although I love the color and the feel of it, and I said that I could see myself wearing it all the time, I’ve never worn it again. Not once. I love how soft it is. I love the lace. I love the beading. It’s a great shade on me, especially when my hair is darker, like it is now. It’s a shame that it has been demoted to “nice thing to brush my hand against while I’m hanging up my shirts”. I feel sad when I see it in there, and when I occasionally pull it out so that I can lovingly refold it.

My plan for it is simple. I’m going to make it a full-length cardigan. I’m going to pick up along the bottom and knit down in the lace pattern. I haven’t decided if I want to pull out the crochet scallops. I might have it tie at one side. I still have a bunch of the beads, so there are all sorts of possibilities for beaded closures and ties.

Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet is another story entirely. I didn’t like it as I was knitting it, I didn’t like it when I finished it and laid it flat to photograph it, and I’ve never worn it. It’s too stripy for my taste, and there’s nothing that can save the style of it for me. I’d thought about pulling out the bind-off and continuing down to hip length with a coordinating solid yarn, but then I’ve still got all of that busy variegation up at my widest point. I can’t add a solid border around it to make an additional yarn color look intentional, because the seed border at the neckline is part of the body. When I come across this one, I get angry. I do not stare at it lovingly as I hold it up in front of me. My most common response is to grunt, “Ugh! Stupid f&%king mistake!” and shove it roughly to the back of the closet. This yarn made me much happier in the skein than it does knit up.

So there’s no hope for it in its current state. I haven’t decided if I want to reuse it for socks, or as an accent stripe or faux-Fair Isle in a solid sweater. I have decided that it’s not going to sit in my closet anymore, so that’s a start.

My final two reworks-in-progress are Pas de Valse, which desperately needs me to work a crochet border around its edges, and a lacy tie-front sweater from Banana Republic that I’ve been meaning to recreate and improve upon for several years.

PdV should take all of about two hours to finish once I commit to it. I had a lot of problems with that pattern and it shows, especially up around the collar. I need the crochet edge to flatten everything out and cover the evidence of my crimes. It’s the main reason I haven’t done an FO write-up about it yet. Even though I’ve been wearing it since January – with decreasing frequency and increasing displeasure – I don’t consider it done.

The Banana sweater is still in my closet simply because I keep thinking that I can use it as a template and whip up a better one. I mean, look at it. It’s three rectangles of great big lace knitting, with ties in awkward places. I got it off of the clearance rack, probably because it didn’t look good on anybody, even the models. Here’s how I think the photo shoot must have gone down. “It’s meant to hang straight, tie directly over the crotch, but not very tightly, and slip off your shoulders if you turn your head more than a centimeter in either direction. I need you to lean forward and slouch your shoulders. Annabella! SLOUCH, damn you! You are having a good time on your beach vacation, and so much fun that you are unconcerned that your flimsy cover-up is neither flattering nor conforming to the shape or your body as you listen to your sandy-haired boyfriend in the cargo capris play the ukulele by the campfire. Slouch and laugh whimsically!”

I have to guess that’s how it went, because I never saw a photo of it, which means that it slipped into the stores under the radar, and slipped back out without being featured in any catalog. Nevertheless, there’s something about it that appeals to me, because I’ve had it for six years and I keep trying to wear it, even though the ties are too long and the shape is so weird. I have cotton in my stash that would work for it. In fact, that’s probably a good use for cotton yarn, because it’d be lacy enough to remain lightweight.

This, then, is my main goal for this year. If something isn’t working, don’t let it sit around and continue to not work. If I have a dozen skirts and pairs of trousers that don’t fit, they shouldn’t confront me and make me feel ashamed of myself every time I open the closet door. If I took the time to knit something, that time was wasted if the thing sits in my closet for five years. I should wrest back control of these things. Gotta get with the moving forward.


turtlegirl76 said...

I read my comment on that yarn for the caprice and wow. Guess I was wrong! Instead of smiling when you see it you growl! I still like it. Hope you can turn it into something that does make you smile!

SuzannaBanana said...

I think it'll happen, Cristi. It's just not supposed to be this cardigan for me. I still love the colors, and I liked working with it. Maybe a textured stitch would help with the striated effect. It was a case of me trying to convince myself that I liked it more than I did. And I LOVE the AIC on other people, your sister being a prime example, which explains why I keep trying to make them for myself. The one you knit for her is gorgeous, and it looks great on her.

I need another go-to variegated yarn project, because, God help me, I am not going to make yet another Clapotis.