FINALLY, AND CHALLENGES/BEGINNINGS

51 days, and eight increasingly irate telephone calls later I finally am typing this on my base station machine using my replacement monitor from Samsung. UPS brought it yesterday morning.

Then they came back at 4:30 and brought another. Apparently one was shipped last week, but Samsung neglected to send it second-day air as agreed; and forgot to note that one had been shipped out at all. So when I called on Monday they sent another because they had no record of anything being sent since mid January, when they shipped two monitors sequentially to different wrong addresses. I refused Box #2.

The saga isn’t over yet. There is supposed to be special return paperwork and labels included in the replacement’s box. I need those to ship back the broken unit. Without those tracking numbers, I run the risk of my return not being logged in and my credit card being dunned for the full cost of the replacement unit. Call #9 looms….

On the knitting front, the socks progress. I may have to defer start on the hoodie for at least a week because of a very welcome business trip. Welcome because it’s always nice to earn income, and because it is to a much warmer part of the country. Somehow I don’t feel so bad leaving family home to freeze in Massachusetts if I bring back a paycheck from the sunny Southwest.

Favorite Patterns

Still, this starting off on another project and considering Rogue is making me think of my all-time favorite (boughten) patterns. I’m trying to distill what made them so much fun, as they range all over the spectrum, from stranded colorwork to fine lace. Some were easy, some were more challenging. Not every one was flawless, either in write-up or in my final excecution. And I can’t even say that I’d knit any of them again (been there, done that…).

I’ve mentioned the lace patterns before -? most notably Hazel Carter’s Spider Queen, and Fania Letoutchaia’s Forest Path Stole. I’ve also done the Tudor Rose pattern from Kinzel II, although it’s sitting on the needles in my Chest of Knitting Horrorstm, waiting for me to find enough of the right weight cotton to do a final round of leaves and an edging. All were scads of fun. Each inch was an accomplishment, and I loved seeing the complexity build.

Watching the complexity accumulate was also key to my enjoyment of Dale’s Lilliehammer pullover. (Here’s a link to Wendy’s fantastic implementation of that pattern. I’ll dig mine out for photos another day). I also had lots of fun with the mythology behind the figures on it. Not everyone can say they’ve knit a sweater with an eight-legged horse, a giant’s skull, and the apples of immortality on it. (If anyone’s interested, I’ll do a myth dissection of this piece on another day).

I’ve also written here about the Ridged Raglan from Knitters #54 (Spring, 1999). I’ve done three of them to date – one of the few patterns I’ve knit more than once. It wasn’t complexity this time that drew me in, but the clever construction method held my interest. I never used the color combos, yarns, gauge, or number of colors shown in the mag, so perhaps a bit of "let’s see how this turns out" was in my enjoyment mix.

Other sources of particularly noteworthy patterns in clude Penny Straker: Inverness and this Blackberry Jacket. I show this picture because I can’t find it anywhere else on the Web. It may well be discontinued. While I don’t have the sweater anymore, I do have lots of fond memories of it. Blackberry was my first knit project, and I did it in raspberry-color Germantown wool worsted (very much like Cascade 220), and finished it out with black leather knot style buttons. I picked this pattern because I thought that the bumpy texture of the trinity stitch would disguise any irregularity of my own knitting. It did.

That first project took about three months to complete. I was knitting solo, with occasional over the shoulder help from a friend. I figured out stuff like "make left side to match, reversing shaping", seaming the textured pieces, making/seaming the spread collar, and buttonhole formation/placement on my own, and the sense of accomplishment at having done so was so intense I can still feel it today. Alas, this particular piece is long gone. I think I might have lent it to a sister, years ago. Too bad.

My Blackberry Jacket’s biggest legacy is my belief that so long as you don’t tell? new knitters that something is difficult they will buzz away happily confident that it is within their ability. Yes, there are things that might take longer to work through than others, and materials that drive even experienced knitters stark raving mad,? but I think that a keen desire to make something specific trumps most challenges, especially for people as stubborn as I am.

I’ve wandered a bit away from the original premise of this entry – what makes a pattern fun, but not very far as I think about it.

What makes a pattern fun is the sense of accomplishment, of surmounting challenges, and watching something build under my fingers. The commercial patterns I’ve enjoyed the most have all been challenging, either through internal complexity or complexity imposed by making changes or taking side explorations in an unconventional piece. This has remained true throughout my knitting life, starting with the very first piece.

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