There are times when I am very glad I learned to knit.
This week has been fantastic from a professional point of view, but teaching a week’s worth of all-day classes is exhausting. I don’t know how full time teachers pull it off and not burn out. That’s some high-energy stuff if you want to keep your students involved and engaged, and do a good job.
So, the knitting. Knitting is how I relax when I’m too brain-fried even to write a blog entry. It’s soothing with enough repetitive motion to calm me down while I watch Torchwood.
Last summer I sewed a series of garments in a plan called a SWAP. (Sewing with a Plan). Basically the idea is that everything is supposed to mix and match well with everything else. I had garments in black, burgundy and a floral/Japanese print. This winter I added a capsule to it in dark forest green. So, I have this great, basic interchangable wardrobe.
For the most part that’s fine. Between the fact I made shells and jackets, this means it carries me through a lot of seasons. What it doesn’t help a lot with is those cold months of a New England winter. Luckily, I knit. Getting good sweaters is no more difficult than following the Seamless Yoke pattern that Elizabeth Zimmerman explained in Knitting Without Tears and adding whatever colorway and yoke design takes my fancy. I’ve done pirates, Heathen symbols, abstract symbols and Autobots in the yoke and turned out some warm, unique garments.
What I don’t have (yet), are several sweaters in my SWAP color palette. Oh, I’ve got a gray, purple and burgundy one that goes okay with my black and burgundy pants and skirts. I have a gray and purple one that goes okay with the black, but nothing else. This sweater I just made will go with all the skirts and pants I’ve sewn quite well. I need to sit down and plan two or three more over the course of the winter.
The thing is, these babies are warm, warm, warm. Stranded knitting (that’s how you get the colorwork — strands of yarn carried behind the main fabric) of various sorts is definitely popular in the colder countries for a reason. You basically have two layers of yarn for a much warmer garment. Nordic sweaters look the way they do at least in part for practicality. If you’re lucky enough to own a real one, you know what I mean. So, they’re not something I wear year-round, but only when it gets really cold.