The first full garment sample that I knit for Ilga Leja was the Summer in the City poncho. I had done swatches for her before, getting to try out different yarns and colourways was inspiring, but ultimately, the challenge of knitting for someone else was exactly what I needed when the opportunity presented itself.
I am a practical person for the most part. When I knit, if I run into a snag, forget a stitch or a row, I evaluate the situation, and decide whether it is worth worrying about, if anyone will notice, will it impact on the rest of the project? Quite often there is a simple solution that doesn’t involve frogging the whole darned thing.
The Summer in the City poncho was actually knit in the dead of winter 2008, much of it on my rather “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” style trip to the NETA Spa Knit & Spin in Freeport, Maine.
My husband drove me the hour from Wolfville, NS to Halifax, NS, I took the train as far as it would go, from Halifax to Moncton, NB, bus from Moncton to Saint John, NB, my mother drove me from Saint John to St.Stephen, NB, then my friend Joanne drove us from St.Stephen to Freeport, ME. Then pretty much the same trip in reverse on the way back. Ample time for knitting the full sample poncho, or so I thought.
Knitting often acts as an icebreaker. I had already knit quite a bit by the time I hit the train, so was feeling good and kept on knitting and chatting. Suddenly I realized something was wrong. In my excitement I had skipped an entire section of the pattern. If this was my project, I would have looked at it and said no worries, and kept going. Since this was a sample being knit for display from a pattern that had already been published, for a designer, by whom I was to be paid, this was not an option. With hours of travel in front of me, I began the sad task of frogging 1460 stitches, and then re-knitting 350 before my day on the train was complete. At least I was moving forward both in yardage and geographically.
The trip was amazing, the poncho was completed before the return train reached Halifax, and was delivered to Ilga intact and with all the correct sections in the correct order. (I did call and leave a message for Ilga before I started to frog, and when she did call back she very graciously told me not to worry about it, but by that time I had already re-winded and hit play, so all was good)
The knitting has continued since that first garment, I always enjoy the challenge, and the inspiration, for some reason as soon as Ilga gives me a project to knit, I suddenly start another five of my own. Sample projects I’ve completed for her to date in the slideshow include Summer in the City poncho, Distant Hills bag, Firelight 2 shawl, Lake of the Woods capelet, The Marschallin capelet, Morocco scarf and the Sahara scarf, images courtesy of Ilga Leja.Julie Rosvall Wolfville, NS (where I got the blankets for my press trimmed today, and straightened up what will be my temporary shop, but beyond that, no progress, damn migraines)