I have finished a sweater that is not a sample! It’s just for ME, which makes a change from nearly all the projects I’ve worked on in the past TEN YEARS. First, about this sweater, then more about MUST MAKE projects.
This little gem of a sweater is made with Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in color Stormborn. I bought it during my LYS’s Holiday Party this year. I fell in love at first sight. The pattern is Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fetig, which has been in my queue list for years. I’m wearing it with a fantastic dress from Uniqlo, my favorite clothing shop. My gauge was different from the pattern so I made the 42″ pattern size to end up with a sweater of 40″ around. I also did a 1-1 rib for the collar instead of just stockinette stitch because I didn’t want it to roll. Lastly, I used needles 1 size smaller for the last 1″ if the sleeve ribbing, which just seemed neater. It’s really the perfect summer sweater. I could use another one in a less warm yarn, like a wool/cotton blend or cotton/silk blend.
I made this sweater to go specifically with this dress to wear specifically to a wedding at the end of June. While it is not a sample for my shop, it WAS deadline knitting, and had a purpose and date stamp on it. So, while it is just for ME, it did have a bit of stress built in to the project just because of the deadline.
In the past week I’ve been thinking about my next knitting project, with a particular KAL in mind (the Yarniacs Colors of Fall KAL) and I realized that here again I’m getting ready to sign up for a deadline project. But what struck me most is that I have been so focused on making projects to use for shop samples, and event deadlines, that I no longer know how to pick something JUST FOR FUN. I have a house full of beautiful yarn and still I just kept turning things over in my head and couldn’t get excited about anything.
Looking back, since opening my first web shop in April 2010 (which I closed due to work changes) and then starting to dye fiber and selling it in November 2015, nearly everything I’ve made has been for a sample of some sort. And that doesn’t count the patterns that I started writing in 2008 and needed samples for. Or projects for gifts.
Since July 2008, when I wrote my first little pattern, I’ve finished 145 knitted items and 15 official spinning projects (as opposed to small spinning samples – again with the samples!). Out of all those projects, the ones that were not for samples, or gifts, but were just FOR FUN FOR ME number 36. That’s 22.5% of projects, for myself without strings attached.
And like the nerd that I am, it’s probably seeing this in black and white, as a hard number, that makes me say “oh that explains why I feel the need to stop with the web shop and dyeing business”. It’s also that I don’t have the energy to work full time AND try to keep up a dyeing business, but when I see this written out I realize too that it’s because I’ve spent YEARS doing what I love for reasons other than love. I need to find the love again.
It’s no wonder I don’t know how to get excited about a project just for me, just for fun, just for the love. In fact, the project I’ve chosen to start for the KAL that begins on June 21 is actually a SAMPLE for a shop I’m going to CLOSE. But I am still going to finish spinning the yarn and knit the shawl that my talented friend Christopher designed for Ply magazine (Briarcrest Shawl), because it’s lovely, because I’m almost finished spinning the yarn, and because I said I would. And it won’t be because it was supposed to be a shop sample, but because I love the colors and really want to make it.
And after that I want to spin some yarn for gifts for friends, which is also for love and all the best reasons.
And I will cast on a new knitting project just for me, just for fun, without a deadline or obligation. I wonder what that will be like!