Like spinning and weaving, knitting comes and goes in my life. I can do it every day for hours and hours or walk away and not pick up knitting needles for weeks. Recently, I've been doing a lot of knitting. I think, even more than weaving, knitting feels like putting the jigsaw puzzle together and that goal of putting something back together again is amazingly comforting in a time of social distancing, worry and fear.
I just recently finished my fifth Shetland Wool Week free hat pattern. These are Fair Isle design color work and always fun to do. Each one is different in color and design and pattern but they each make a wonderful and very wearable hat.
I'm not new to knitting sweaters but it has been decades. I have been thinking about jumping back in and doing a sweater again but couldn't decide on a pattern. I have gage problems and ending up with something the correct size is always a challenge for me. I knit very loosely so I drop down at least one needle size but somehow I can still end up with things that might only fit Hagrid. It's why I lean towards shawls and scarves like the blue/natural one I'm working on now. The Fair Isle hats mentioned above have convinced me I could do a sweater again. And why not a Fair Isle sweater?
Enter the wave cardigan by Toshiyuki Shimada and Grace Williamson. Denise Bell of Lost City Knits has talked about her experience knitting this sweater and she carries all the Shetland yarn from Jamieson & Smith that I would need. I ordered the sweater kit along with the book (Knit Real Shetland from Jamieson & Smith, Wool Brokers)that includes the pattern and I was off and running.
The only efficient way to knit Fair Isle patterns is to use both hands. While the pattern may contain many colors, there are only two colors per row. You can knit using only one hand but that means dropping and picking up yarn every few stitches. It takes forever that way. If you can learn to hold one color in your right hand and the other color in your left you can fly. Or at least go some faster.
My right hand is used to throwing the yarn but my left hand is used to just sitting there holding the knitting needles. I'm working on training my left hand to knit. It's going well but it gets tired and crampy and wants to take lots of breaks but we are getting there. I may never be able to knit as fast as the Shetland Island knitters but I'm definitely getting faster. I'll let you know how this sweater proceeds.