It has been a while since I have posted for Ta-Da! Tuesday but I am happy to be doing so now…
Back in December I was
wasting some knitting time browsing patterns on Ravelry and I ran across a group requesting test knitters for a male intended cowl. It was not, at first glance, a pattern that would blow you away or anything but it was arresting. I thought about it for a day or so and decided that I wanted to make it — and so I joined the group of test knitters for the pattern. (This is one of the reasons that I love Ravelry!) A day later I had the pattern and ordered the yarn. By the end of the week I had cast on. Now this pattern has changed my outlook on knitting…
The pattern was The Other Million by Brenda Burrell ( brendadada on Ravelry ).
As you can see the sample is very handsome, fun and simple. Through color choice it could be flashy or conservative…
Having only been knitting for about 4 years now, my progression in skill as a knitter has been about the “next” thing — progressing from simple knit stitches early on to cables, charts, fair isle, mosaic, double knitting, lace, etc…
Not until this pattern did I begin to see the appeal of simple colorwork. Simple colorwork can be beautiful, infinitely customizable, showy or conventional, the list goes on and on. I could not see that before because I was on a path to conquer knitting. Does that make sense? I wanted to attain the skill to do anything in knitting. Being a “good” knitter is not defined by being able to design and work your own Guernsey sweater. What I have come to realize is that I already have the confidence to do anything I want to do in knitting and so I should focus on making myself happy.
The thing with being a male knitter is that very little is designed successfully with men in mind. Men’s apparel generally has a limited set of color choices… This is not the result of societal pressures so much as personal taste. I mean if I wanted to wear pink, I would wear pink. In fact I have a pink shirt — but if you stand back from my closet and eye it you are going to see a lot of blue. Successful men’s knitted apparel is not only limited in color, however, it is also limited in the variety of stitches. Usually, this means little or no lace, no yarn overs, no bobbles, certain cables, and the list goes on and on…
Colorwork, therefore, can provide a refuge from most of these perils. It can be simple and interesting to knit. It can be successfully wearable for many men and add a bit of extra color to their wardrobe. Many people do not want to knit men’s socks because they are usually black, navy or brown and they consist of a lot of stockinette stitches — again I am not saying they have to be bland, just that most men prefer them that way. Colorwork will let you add variety in simple stitches.
I am probably singing to the choir or nobody at all… Most of you have probably already figured this out or knit for men who wear bright colors all the time… But for me, this changed the game in terms of my knitting goals.
Sorry for the rant. You are here, after all, for a Ta-Da! moment…
For my version of The Other Million I decided to work it in five colors rather than nine. It is originally designed to be worked in four blocks of two colors (eight stripes) with a random stripe somewhere between blocks. Something like the following:
However, I chose to work it as follows:
This meant that at any given time, if you saw two blocks together, they would share at least one color.
And here it is:
The Other Million by Brenda Burrell. The yarn is Cascade 220 Sport Wool in colors Ginger, Straw, Navy, Silver Grey, and Walnut Heather. It was knit in the round from a provisional cast on and once the knitting was done, the ends were folded and grafted together (so as to create an inner tube). Let me tell you, that is a long graft!
It was so much fun — I highly recommend the pattern…
Happy Knitting Everyone!