It occurs to me that there are countless possible notions of what makes for a peak knitting experience. Maybe it’s pulling off something you didn’t think you were capable of. Maybe it’s the anticipation of a gift recipient’s response. Or maybe it’s making a thing that proves to be endlessly comforting or useful to you or a loved one. For me, it’s this hat, which is what got me thinking about the question.
There’s no doubt it’s a spectacularly beautiful hat — am I right? But more to the point, this was a case of all of the parts working in perfect harmony. The cable chart was fun, simple and easily absorbed, but with magnificent results. My beloved Dreamz needles — hard and pointy but still with the warmth of wood — were never better suited to the job. And I think it’s safe to say this undyed Worsted Twist (sent to me by Purl Soho) is the single most spectacular skein of yarn I have had the pleasure of knitting with. I’m not such a fan of what I think of as “the marshmallow yarns”; I prefer my yarn to retain some of its original sheepiness. But this yarn is, for me, right at the sweet spot on the continuum between soft and structured. I called it “well-behaved” before and I can’t come up with a better description than that — especially after having cabled with it. I feared it would be too soft to hold a cable well — and certainly these are not as crisply sculpted as they would be with a crunchier yarn, like the Shelter the pattern was written for — but the plumpness of the yarn and uniformity of the plies make it surprisingly great for cables. These look like frosting. (Or as Eva Kolenko noted on Instagram, ramen.) For the sake of learning something new, I also knitted this without a cable needle — using Grumperina’s tutorial — and again, the needles and yarn couldn’t have performed better: I wouldn’t have wanted to be doing that with blunter needles or a more slippery or splitty yarn. And it doesn’t hurt that, in this color and yarn, this is basically the aran sweater I’ve always dreamed of, but without all the pesky sweater-making business. (I kid!) Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did I enjoy fixing them? Yes! Truly, the whole thing was just bliss from start to finish.
So here’s my Q for You: What’s your peak knitting experience? I’d like to know how you would define that, and also to hear the details of your all-time best experiences.
p.s. I should note that I haven’t blocked the hat yet. I finished it Wednesday night and wanted to take a pre-blocking photo, so held off on soaking it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
p.p.s. The pattern is Gentian from Brooklyn Tweed and I highly recommend it. The attention to detail with regard to the placement of the ribbing and increases, such that everything flows perfectly into the cables, is commendable. But I feel bad for anyone who reads “Begin 2×2 ribbing (See Stitch Patterns)” and doesn’t turn the page to see that you need to begin with p2, not k2. Also, the pattern calls for 1 skein — 160 yards — of Shelter. The Worsted Twist is 164 yards, and I knitted the last stitch with literally an inch and a half of yarn left. I had to splice on another undyed worsted to cinch it closed. So even if you’re using the pattern yarn, be prepared that you might need 8 inches more than 1 skein. Or you could knit one less round of ribbing to be safe.
p.p.p.s. Added to Ravelry.
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