Raising the knitting bar.

There is a time in everybody’s life where they do something, step back, look at it, and go “damn, how did I manage that?” (in a good way). I’ve had a few. And they are so few and far between that I can remember them clearly. The competition piece of That Scottish Play I directed, oh 10 years ago now, comes to mind. My cast pulled off a flawless performance, and it was just as I had imagined it should be, and it was both exhilarating and emotionally exhausting. It took so much from me, yet for all the stress it was one of those shining moments of “wow”. Another variation of this feeling is when you go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or do something you’ve always wanted to do – and again, it’s perfect. It’s even better than you expected. Like the British Museum, or Oxford, or your first flying lesson, or actually standing up on the surfboard for the first time. The joy of accomplishment.

In knitting, you get that feeling several times as you Grow As A Knitter. Your first non-wonky piece of work. Your first cables, your first heel turn, your first sock/lace piece/scarf. As you get better, your raise the bar higher and higher. I’ve upped my bar several times in the last 5 years. The first was my first big lace piece – the madness of a giant circular blanket cast on during the Prologue of the 2008 Tour de France, and cast off (and blocked) before the parade down the Champs Élyées 20-odd days later. My knitting has come leaps and bound since then. But that was where I really got my first taste of grand accomplishment. The second was with my beautiful Avalonnë, which is being worn and loved, and I still marvel at it every time I put it on. I really need to do something about making another one. I bought the yarn for it, I just need to do it. Black… with pewter buttons this time. I have it all planned.

But I have never, till this point, stood back and looked at a piece like I did when I unpinned Henry after a good steam-block, and gone damn, that is a fine piece of knitting, and I made it. I came close with Tar Miriel, very close. It is possibly the perfect shawl. (Well, she and Rosie, anyway). But somewhere between my Tomas socks, half a Skellig, one and a half berets and this scarf, I upped my knitting game again. Henry is my new benchmark, and I’m going to have to do some serious work to beat it. It was too dark when I got home to take any good photos of it, all done and finished, so I’ll do that tomorrow before I wrap it and pack it, all ready to go, and I’ll have at least one hat to show too (although I may wait for Jay to model it before I post any more about it).

I finished Jay’s wager today, and it’s busy blocking as I type. I may have also gone slightly WiP crazy in the wake of what has been project monogamy for the past month or so… I cast on (and knitted to the cuff turn, oh what the hell, I’ll knit to spec) of my first Nutkin (aptly named Vampire Squirrels), the turn-a-square, and a quest (which I’ve already finished the initial increase rounds for). I’m using the Bendi Luxury 10ply this time. It is as impressive as the 4ply. I like it. I haven’t had time to yarn cake my VP acquisitions of the past few weeks, but that will happen tomorrow, and I will be as happy as Larry.

But all in all, this seems like it is going to be a great year for projects on the needles. Here’s hoping I can keep pushing that bar further, and by the time I find and buy the perfect yarn for a Lady Eleanor, she will be my greatest masterpiece (until the next time).



  1. I used to get that feeling when I found a box of college papers. I thought “damn, I was smart!” when I read through them.

    Your Henry is so beautiful. It will be a hard act to follow but it’s always fun to try.

  2. Henry remains one of my alltime favourite knitting patterns. It’s completely gorgeous, restrained, and that herringbone pattern is deceptively tricky – you gotta concentrate on it. And a test of stamina. I’d be proud too.

    Don’t tell me you gave it away??!

    1. Yes, I gave it away. I’ve been planning that particular Henry as a present for months.

      But never fear! I am *going* to make myself one (longer, and with tassels). I may even make that my WWKIP project. I have the yarn for it and all.

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