I participated in my first knitting swap this past fall (a cowl swap! woot!) with some girls I met through Flickr, and seeing as how I’ve gotten to know myself pretty well over the years, I am actually kinda surprised I participated. Because… me? Well, I like to over analyze and freak out about stuff. (This is the same reason I stopped shopping for the family we adopt at work around Christmas time. I’ll totally help raise all the money and get volunteers, but then we go shopping for the items and I panic – I start obsessing about every little detail (“Will a 4yo like pink? Will it even fit? Will it be too small? Will she already have one? What if she hates ponies?”) and I end up so flustered and stressed I just end up hating the whole experience.)
And this started out like it wasn’t going to be any different.
First I couldn’t decide on a yarn – I wanted something with cotton or a merino wool that wasn’t too scratchy, then I wasn’t sure about density (worsted? or DK? bulky? or DK held double?), then I couldn’t decide on a color (even though we all specified color preferences, there are a TON of ranges within each color, and all the colors vary among yarn lines), and finally I couldn’t decide on a pattern (what was everyone else knitting? would mind look elementary compared to theirs? what if she didn’t love it? or even like it?). I eventually stopped freaking out and picked out some Rowan CashCotton in DK weight (held double) in Treacle and decided on the Birthday Cowl I’d seen all over the interwebs (there is safety in numbers, after all).
Once I got rolling, I was done waaaaaay before the deadline and was feeling pretty good about myself, but then I just started HATING it. The color was pukey, the fabric was too fuzzy (must’ve been the angora), and I just didn’t think it would hold up well over time. I didn’t have the heart to rip it out, though, so it just sat there. For months.
And then I got my cowl in the mail. And then I really started freaking out. I’d missed the first deadline (although in fairness, we all did), then the extension, and then I started wondering whether I’d even have one made by the end of the year?!
Luckily, though, my cowl partner was awesome and totally understood my dillemma (which further supports my rule to ONLY KNIT FOR KNITTERS). She told me to take my time and even said I could send it in the new year. I really didn’t want to wait that long, though! A few days later inspiration struck and I woke up with the vision of the perfect cowl in my head. (Does this happen to you?) It would be pumpkin colored, have big cables, and and buttons…. and it would be perfect. I first tried to design my own (unsuccessfully) before I found Promenade on Ravelry (and later TwistedKnitter pointed me to Pidge, which is almost exactly what I had originally in mind). And because my gauge was bigger than the pattern called for, I had to knit it twice to figure out how many cable repeats to use (I added 2). But it’s a testament to the pattern that I knit it up TWICE and loved every second of it.
I almost didn’t want to give this one away. But I had to. It was a swap!
(I also gave her the Birthday Cowl, but I stand by my original assessment… I think the yarn was too floppy for this pattern and I don’t think it will hold up well. Next time I’ll use Mmmmmmalabrigo.)
Final verdict? I am a head case (but this we already knew). I am really happy I did this swap, but even happier that it’s done! And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some stuff I need to freak out about. 🙂