Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Knitting ROI

As I was doing an impromptu sweater inventory in my closet last night, it occurred to me that while the number of handknit items in my collection has surpassed 10, I actually wear only a few on a regular basis. My favorites are Give the People What They Want cardigan, the Einstein jacket, the warm and girly Marilyn pullover and the Side-to-Side Ribbon Pullover.

It could be that the seasons dictate which sweaters I would wear, but even so there are certain ones that I gravitate towards more often than others. It could also be argued that these are the best fitting but that's not really true either. And then there are people who knit for knitting's sake and not use the garments or give them away altogether, but that's not my MO.

So why then? Well, after a moment's thought...I think it simply boils down to the best combination of function and comfort. Comfort is fit, softness and the degree to which the yarn does not irritate my skin. Fit is VERY important because if it doesn't fit, it isn't comfortable. Function is convenience, versatility and ease of care. If I'm going to worry that the sweater will get wet, must be dry-cleaned if it gets a speck of dirt on it or can only be worn in specific situations, it will probably spend most of its time in the closet rather than on my person. Versatility is a huge plus - I will wear something a lot if I can wear it on the weekends, at work or on a casual evening out. Given all of this, it won't surprise you to know that I wear the 2 cardigans the most often. Both of them are simple knits and I'm happy to say they've held up well so far.

Although I unofficially select each project based on the sweater's function, comfort, technique/stitch, style and yarn it seems I get the biggest bang for my knitting buck with the projects based on the first 2 criteria. This may change which projects I knit up in the next few months. The tweedy cardigan I'm working on now is a good choice - I'll most likely use it right away.

(By the way, the number 10 isn't random. Fran from the Knitter's Review forums once said you could consider yourself an intermediate knitter if you've knit at least 10 sweaters.)

Thanks for letting me ramble on. Which sweaters - or scarves, handbags, blankets, socks - have you knit that you use the most often and why?

Until the next day in the life...


Agnes said...

I am still a beginner knitter ... I haven't knitted 10 sweaters yet, even if I include the sleeveless summer tops! ;)

Stephanie said...

I tend to wear the basics more than the unique pieces. Tivoli is my #1 b/c I can wear it with so many things and under a jacket in the winter. But Frieda might be the new favorite, and then there's Butterfly. I love them all for different reasons.

LoriO said...

Hmmm. I'm currently knitting my 10th sweater, and that's if you count the two baby sweaters, the sweater that was knitted into "Bob" then unravelled and knitted into "SitcomChic", and my very first sweater, which I had to knit twice because I made it too small the first time.

The sweaters I wear the most are Sitcom Chic, and that generic top-down raglan t-shirt, both of them cotton. I think that's a biggie for me, that they are washable, and not too hot. Fit is also important. The sweater that I worked the hardest on, a lacy leaf sweater, just doesn't fit right, and so I almost never wear it. It's also a wool/silk blend and it gets too hot. I've long considered ripping it all out and knitting a more basic cardigan.

kittensmittens said...

I haven't worn any of my scarves or hats, because we have no winter!!. yet I just liked making them and I didn't want to part with them. (I'm only talking about 2)
Sweaters... same deal, but I have only finished 1 so far (2 more on the needles, 3 more planned...) But soon the temperature will drop. Which, when I finally finished the shrug I was so happy, I figured the weather is just perfect. Nope, santa ana winds came up, it's too hot for the bolero!!!
Sigh, soon though, soon....