There are many life lessons contained in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Never stand too close to the fire in your petticoat. Christmas isn't Christmas without any presents. Young ladies must always have a fresh pair of gloves. Don't skate on a not so frozen pond. I could go on and on. But, perhaps the most important lesson, other than a girl's best friends are her sisters, is that you should always write what you know.
Is the same true for knitting - should you knit what you know, or at least what you have?
I ponder this question while I plot and compose my fall knitting lineup, always cognizant of Jo March's failed published stories (gothic/horror romances) compared to her one true success (a small, lovely bound book, about her dead sister, appropriately named, My Beth).
So, what I know, and what I have - I have a perfectly lovely bag of Kathmandu Aran (although why it's labeled as an Aran at 4.5 stitches to the inch, and not a worsted, I'm not sure) in Ivy for this oldie but goodie from Interweave Knits a couple of winters ago, the Norah Gaughan Nantucket Jacket. I've been searching for the perfect cabley project for my yummy Kathmandu (a wool, silk, cashmere tweed), and I'm not sure if this is it. Is it it? My hesitation has let my eye wonder to this: -
What I sort of know, and what I do not have. What don't I know about this project? The cabled pattern is in the yoke, it is a bit twisted, and it's a bit of uncharted territory, but I wouldn't be a complete stranger in a strange land. And, of course, I don't have the yarn. Eunny Jang's Twisted Yoke Cardigan from the new Interweave, calls for 8-9 balls of Rowan felted tweed - which of course, I would have to buy (as opposed to the Kathmandu which has been sitting patiently in my stash for almost a year now), and have quietly put aside at Rosies - in this color, avocado.
As you all know, I'm never opposed to buying yarn, but really - I was jonesing for that Kathmandu. At the end of the season last year, I had Courtney order up 2 bags for me, pronto. I bugged her, nagged her - is it here yet, is it here yet? And, then it was here, and I was like, eh. That old you just want it 'cause you can't have it thing, I guess. And, once I could have it, I threw it in the closet- and it has been languishing there ever since.
I should cast it on, shouldn't I? I should cast on the Nantucket Jacket, because it's smart, stylish, and a natural for this yarn. It's what I know, it should be where my heart is, right? Or at the very least, I should cast on the Twisted Yoke Cardigan -- I may have to buy the yarn, but I know that it's something I can finish, something I have all of the skills for - either one would be as warming to the cockles as My Beth.
But, my heart, apparently, is all about gothic romance, cloak and dagger, suicide for love, poison potions, witches, and evil sorcerors - because I can't get the idea of fair isling out of my head. But, it could be, like a Jo March production, that paid the rent, and Beth's medical bills, and Beth's trip to the ocean, but at the end of the day, was crap. I've never fair isled (well, except for the End Paper Mitts that I never finished, and a really really nasty looking snowflake hat) never steaked, NEVER CUT MY KNITTING . . . what the hell am I thinking.
I'm thinking that these two sweaters are fabulous, and I can't decide which one I like better.
Both Eunny Jang, the one on the left is Autumn Rose from Simply Shetland 4. The one on the right, the Venezia Pullover from the same Interweave as the above Nantucket Jacket.
Am I out of my mind? I've never worked with more than 2 colors. While I've knit with yarn in both hands, I'm not so hot at it, never been a strength. But, I'm thinkin', I've got the lace thing down, I can read a chart. If I can make holes, can't I make color?
And, maybe that's what all of this is about - a little color. It's true, some of the best fiction grows out of writing what you know - but sometimes, you need a bit of the nutty professor, a little Isaac Asimov, a dash of Star Wars - big dreams!
But, this big dream could be an expensive undertaking, and there's a high percentage that I will HATE knitting it, and in turn, a high percentage of potential failure.
So, everyone knows I'm going to do it, right?