While I was knitting along on my January Aran for Little Buddha, I showed him the picture on the cover of Knitter’s Almanac and pointed out which one I was making for him. His response: “I want that one” – pointing at the Chainmail Sweater (March’s project). Honestly, I have never been all that enthused about that sweater, and I had no intentions of making it. [My knitter-friend Jamie argues that it is sexy. I did explain that this was for my 3 year-old.] Little Buddha was confident in his choice, though, and I have to admit the boy has a pretty good eye. “I want that one, in green.”
Here is a lesson I keep failing to learn: 3 year-olds may be certain, but they are also fickle. They like the idea of your making something for them, they may even put in an occasional request, but they always reserve the right never ever to wear it. Little Buddha proved this again recently, after I presented him with another recently finished object (yet to be blogged). So I am choosing not to feel bad about the fact that I will likely never present him with a finished version of the Chainmail Sweater. Because truth be told, I kind of hate it.
Okay, hate may be too strong a word. But I do not love it, not at all. I like the idea of it. I like the colors of it. I liked the anticipation of seeing how the first whole repeat would turn out (it’s what’s shown in the above pic). I liked the idea of contributing a Chainmail to the internet, because there are woefully few versions of them out there, and no child-size ones. But once I got the first repeat done, I just put it down and never looked back. It’s possible that part of the issue is that the medium and darks I chose were too close in value:
But I really don’t care all that much for the high contrast shown in the picture on the book cover. I wanted something subtler, and I though this would work – and sometimes when I look at it, I sort of think it does. I think I just don’t care so much for the chainmail pattern itself (if you want to see a really yummy redesign of this pattern, check out KittyCreates’ version – she’s doing Eunny Jang’s argyle vest but with this pattern – how cool is that? – and it is TOTALLY gorgeous).
In the end, though, the biggest problem for me was that my quirky knitting technique kept getting in the way of actually enjoying doing colorwork (this was my first real stranded project). One of these days I’ll take a picture or some video of how I knit because it’s hard to explain – it’s continental, but I really do all the work with my left hand and needle, rather than with my right (I don’t actually “pick,” I wrap the yarn with the first two fingers of my left hand, or, when I’m purling, with my left thumb). Anyway, with two strands in that hand, I kept getting slowed down by all the tangling that happened and untangling I had to do – and nothing I tried kept things straight. It seemed a direct result of how much I use the fingers I am holding the yarn with. So I tried knitting with one color in each hand. That worked fine – except that it completely whacked out my tension, and I also didn’t enjoy it.
So between my disillusionment with this project and my mortifying cable issues on the January project, I ended the season with no sweaters for Little Buddha. Sort of (because there is yet one more failed project to show you, and I don’t know yet if it’s salvageable). [Just so you know, my plans for the January Aran involve no ripping and no cutting, just what I hope will be a fairly straightforward isolation of each cable and dropping down to fix it – does that make sense? It makes sense in my head.]
When KnitPicks had a closeout on certain colors of Swish, I went ahead and stocked up, with the idea of making a Chainmail for each of the boys.
So yeah, a whole pile of blue for another sweater I have no intention of making. [I’ll take any and all suggestions for how I might use the greens from Little Buddha’s Chainmail and blues for Tiny Dancer’s!]