Making a cardigan

So this year, I set a series of crafting goals for myself to try and expand my crafting knowledge. Some of these were for crafts I’ve already tried, and some were to try out new crafts. On the list was The Big Goal:

Make a cardigan or jumper.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but have been terrified of for even longer. When I first started out with yarn, it was with knitting, and so many people would joke, “so when are you making me a jumper?”. All very amusing, except it scared me. I couldn’t manage that! And so I always felt like a very inadequate knitter from the beginning. When I began to crochet, I became aware of how it was much more versatile, and some of the things which had seemed impossible with knitting became accessible. And the idea of a jumper came and sat on the edge of my yarn and whistled at me occasionally to get my attention.

Some lovely yarnie friends bought me a book about making tops and jumpers earlier this year after I’d expressed this goal, and receiving this book did two things. Firstly, it gave me the tools to go about achieving this goal. Secondly, it gave me no way to back out it, so my natural deer-in-headlights feeling had to be quashed. This is most certainly a good thing, otherwise I would almost certainly convince myself I couldn’t do it, and it was a silly goal in the first place.

I devoured the book, as it was just so interesting, regardless of my goal, and it left me with an itching to get started. I decided to make a little cape / cardigan as practice for making the yoke if nothing else, but a few rows in a little voice whispered, “you could add arms into this…”, and I wondered – could I?

I knew I’d need to expand further than the pattern called for anyway, thanks to the size of the boobs I’ve been landed with, and have now changed the original pattern so much it more inspiration than basis. Last night I found the part in my book confirming I’d done the right thing for preparing for arms, today comes what feels like the big step – separating the yoke up for the front, arms and back. I am absolutely terrified of getting it wrong, but in reality, that’s the worst that happens. It goes wrong, I undo it, and try again.

I am a perfectionist by nature, and this works both for and against me depending on the situation. It may well work in both with this one.

I’m working in Caron Simply Soft again, as the pattern called for Aran weight, and I already had several skeins here. If it turns out well, I think I might adapt it again to make in DK weight, probably Stylecraft Special, as I’ll want to stick to acrylic and of course gorgeous colours are essential. I’m working on a Crochet Along in Stylecraft at the moment after a period of working mainly in other yarns and it is a reminder of how lovely it is to work with. I can picture this pattern working in DK for a better drape, should it turn out as I’m hoping.

There is something about making a proper item of clothing which feels like almost entering the grown up worth of crochet, and I think that’s why it scares me. I don’t feel talented or experienced enough to be doing it. I’ve made countless blankets, endless hats, scarves to drown in, numerous teddies, a granny square cardigan and a poncho, but none of that is persuading me to think that I am able to do this. How much of this is down to my PTSD leaving me not believing in myself, and how much of it is natural crafting anxiety, I’m unsure, but it needs to be hurdled nonetheless.

Tonight I suppose I’ll either feel accomplished or in need of gin. Possibly both. But maybe follow the age old wisdom of don’t yarn and drink at the same time!

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