What a time to start a crafting blog, but then, maybe it’s the perfect time. These days I’m drawn to knitting as a way to calm my nerves, to ground myself in something tangible when I can’t grasp the numbers… the mounting death toll, the lengthening stay-at-home orders. The endlessness of it all.
I was thinking that I’d love for this space to be a collection of my favorite resources, a diary of sorts, and a place to write reviews of yarns and patterns My own little space. This crisis is reminding me of the value of a hobby. It’s not just nice to have. It’s a lifeline, a mental health necessity.
Stoic Leading Men + Stoic yarn?
I’m drawn these days to simple beauty right now, and ruggedness. At night I settle in with my knitting and a movie – classic Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, or Keanu Reeves in the Matrix saga.
I need to watch characters face down ridiculous challenges: Nazis, or a computer virus in a suit. I hope to absorb their courage, I think, and just bask in their steady gaze. I need to see Keanu don the sunglasses and assume the fighting stance. I need to see Indiana put on his hat.
I fussed around with starting a new shawl, or some socks, but I didn’t get farther than an inch before I set it down again. I realized I needed a stoic yarn, built to last, one that would stand up for years to come. But what’s a stoic yarn, and did my stash have some?
I excavated deep stash, untouched sweater quantities that, through no fault of their own, had outlived my love of the patterns I’d bought them for. Two years ago I bought some Rockwell, a DK yarn by Jill Draper, in a blue/black twist, at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I gazed at it, held it up to the light. Yes, maybe.
The yarn is a cormo-merino crossbred yarn, and it’s springy and wooly, but not scratchy. Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting calls it “sproingy,” the Tigger of yarns. That sounded about right. I needed some bounce these days.
Of course, I needed the perfect pattern. I turned to Andrea Mowry, as I often do when thinking about a new sweater. She’s been hosting a pandemic knitalong, so why not join. I checked her patterns. I needed something simple.
I chose the Weekender, knit inside out. Fitting, since I felt like my world was inside out. I’ve realized I liked that in a pattern. Also fitting because I barely recognize my weekends anymore. My days have taken on a sameness that terrifies me.
Inside out has been a theme lately. I just finished a scrappy scarf knit inside out, by Purl Soho. It had a “ta-da” factor at the end. You have to turn it inside out, leaving stray ends to dangle out of sight. I loved the idea of another ta-da. Another big reveal.
I cast on for the Weekender and immediately cruised ahead. It supports me in the best way possible right now. I can pick it up and put it down while supervising my kids, who are suddenly home with me 24-7. I can peek at how it’s going, and it’s amazing how that one slipped stitch is such a thrill, each time. Just a little hiccup in otherwise smooth stockinette.
I’m almost to the divide for the sleeves, and I love how this blue is working up. If I don’t have quite enough of this color, I may take this bright greenish yellow and work it in somehow. Or not.
I have no doubt that this sweater will last for years. It’s so solid, and the colorway is perfect, with the mix dark and light. It’s just what I need right now – knitting a simple sweater, in times that are anything but.