The Curiousity of Joyless Knitting

February 24, 2015

I just finished this.

20150222_182544_medium2It is a design called Skrupsak by Signe Stromgaard. It fits perfectly and Our Dear Boy thinks it is pretty good. And yet, I have to admit this was a very joyless knit for me.

20150222_182643_medium2It wasn’t boring. I decided to just use the design as a picture reference and worked up my own stitch counts to my gauge. The pattern calls for a fingering weight and I knit mine in a sportsweight. I had to rip back from the shoulders because I forgot that garter stitch is wider than stockinette and had to change the amount and rate of decreases for the armholes. It is such a clever, simple design. The 1 x 1 stripes just fly as they are knit in the round for the body. The garter stripes beginning at the point when you knit back and forth for the armholes, mean that the yarn is carried invisibly at the sides. The solid colour at the shoulders means that any slight differences in rows when you work the reverse shoulder shapings, are invisible.

20150222_182616_medium2The yarn didn’t sing to me but I was using up stash as part of Summer of the Single Skein KAL, so that felt worthy and useful. The yarn is from deep stash, possibly decade old 5ply Classic by Bendigo Woollen Mills, machine washable, chain plyed, millspun Australian wool.

It wasn’t a millstone. It seemed to get knitted pretty effortlessly over a month in odd moments of waiting, car trips and some evenings.

So why it was joyless, I cannot tell. Normally knitting is such a source of pleasure and solace for me. It is very curious. Perhaps, despite all my intellectual understandings of what makes a stimulating project, it just underwhelmed me. Or perhaps, like those Guatemalan Worry Dolls, it absorbed all the miscellaneous ambivalence from the rest of my life.

What ever it was, I trust it will pass as I just cast on a version for Our Dear Girl!















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  1. Interesting post. The knitting has all the right elements and yet… could it be the colour speaking subconsciously evoking a sadness? I think you are right that sometimes a project absorbs the wearinesses and worries around us. And maybe it is time to knit a little something for yourself or sew a fun summer frock! Frivolity aside, Rebecca, I hope the joyless feeling disappears quickly.

  2. I think we’ve all been afflicted by unjoyous knitting, just as there is unjoyous spinning and unjoyous weaving. We’re so used to our work -usually- going smoothly and when it doesn’t the gnashing of teeth and hair pulling begin!! It’s so nice to get over the unjoyous part and on to the good stuff!! Knit on!!

  3. I had to read your post to understand the “joyless” statement. It reminded me of what I have been learning in meditation….neither good, nor bad…learning to view my life with equanimity. Easy to say, hard to practice. I think you experienced just what you wrote and were willing to now repeat the project for your daughter. You did not give aversion any power! Wonderful! The vest is brilliant and it looks wonderful on your son. Can’t wait to see your daughter’s! Joanie

  4. I always like that you provide technical information about what you did. The vest honestly looks great. Always tough to say why joyless. I’m also trying to knit from stash but sometimes that doesn’t offer the joy that one would like? Hopefully you’ll enjoy making the one for your daughter. 🙂

  5. Well, I DO like it, but then I didn’t’ have to knit it! Will be interested to see what colours you use for the Sister. Has she made any comments re it? Also like how the white row ‘hits’ the crew neck. cheers.

  6. That is a clever-looking design, I love the stripes! Sometimes when I feel that way, it’s because I’m knitting out of obligation. If I’m knitting something for someone else or I’m knitting part of a project that feels like ‘work’ or just not what I want to be doing right then, it can be a slog. So I start something new, something just for me, something lace or cables or intricate or simple, whatever I happen to be craving… and then I have a million WIPs. 🙂

  7. Oh I know all about joyless knitting lol. I am doing a fairly boring jacket for eldest daughter who will probably never wear it but said yeah you can knit me that when she was shown a pattern by my mother. I love what you have knitted for your son and I love the colours together. When there is a large amount of boring knitting going on I do try to break it up with occasional moments of complicated knits. My pet hate is black and guess what colour the said jacket is lol but at least it is 12 ply and she might just rediscover the warming effects of wool way down in Geelong over winter! Looking forward to seeing your next project Rebecca

  8. It is such a great knit – so sorry that you’ve found knitting it so joyless. Fingers crossed that some magic sparks when you knit the next one.

  9. I get that with sewing sometimes, for no reason some projects just aren’t as joyful as others, even though all the elements for a good time are there. I guess thats just part of the creative process. I love the combination of stripes and the deep earthy colour, and the name Skrupsak is great! Wishing you a good time with the version for Dear Girl.

  10. It sounds like your knitting life is in balance, Rebecca, meaning in this case that you are not a dumb machine, but a thinking person engaged in a pursuit with all its dips and rises.

    Perhaps the knitting was engaged with itself and had no time for entertaining. Some projects work themselves, but like you I’d rather be feeling that project glow.

  11. I love it that you’re speaking about the lows as well as the highs of a loved activity. Doesn’t all honest love have to contain a myriad of contradictory feelings?

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