Thanks to a variety of life challenges, I’ve been in need of mindless knitting lately and struggling to find it. I love to knit. It’s relaxing and gives me something to show for the time I spend watching movies on TV or just vegging on the sofa. But when I’m tired, only very simple projects work. If the knitting is too complicated, it’s frustrating instead of fun.
Usually, when I’m tired, I knit socks. I have my favorite pattern memorized, and big sections of it are just straight knitting. However, when I went digging through my yarn stash to find an easy project, I realized I am out of sock yarn. I’m even out of sock yarn leftovers, so unless I buy or make some fingering weight yarn, socks are out.
Buried in my stash, I found an unfinished sweater and realized this was a great way to do a lot of mindless knitting. Sweaters have their tricky moments, but thanks to their size, there’s plenty of opportunities to just knit. Seven years ago, I made a sweater from this same pattern. I thought this would make everything easier, but in fact, it’s where the trouble started.
The pattern is already marked for the size I need to make, but I had the bright idea of getting out the first sweater I made and measuring it to double-check the dimensions. I noticed that my first sweater has shrunk from washing. I’m using completely different yarn this time, doubling it up to get it close to the right weight. The yarn I’m using is left over from was a color-work bag that has never been washed, so I have no idea if or how much this yarn might shrink. If I want the new sweater to fit after I wash it, I need to make a test swatch and run it through my handwash routine first.
This seemed like a good reason to abandon this project. Just looking at the first sweater had made me do way more thinking than I’d planned on, and once I had a test swatch to work with, there would probably be a lot of math involved. (I like math, but not when I’m tired.) It’s even possible I’ll have to undo the work that I’ve already done* (and as you can see from the picture, that’s rather a lot of knitting to unravel).
Fortunately, knitting a test swatch totally qualifies as mindless. It’s just a little square. It wouldn’t keep me busy for all that long, but it would be easy to do, so I went for it.
My test swatch is still drying, so I don’t know yet if I will need to adjust the pattern to get the sweater to turn out right, but I’ve decided that even if I have to unravel the body, I will. That way my final project will be a success AND I will have plenty mindless knitting to do. But I’m really hoping I won’t have to. It will mean fussing with lots of little bits of yarn, and that is a little more complicated than I would like.
How do you select your needlework projects? Does fatigue factor into your decisions?
*No, I don’t ordinarily make test swatches. Most of the time I’m making socks from known yarns, and can just start knitting. From the looks of this sweater, I was looking for mindless knitting and dove in, then realized I was in trouble as I got close to the next stage and set it aside. Silly me.