I must admit that there have always been three main issues that have put me off learning to knit. The first is an impression formed by watching my mum battle with knitting projects in the past: it seems that you often spend days on end knitting then trying on a sleeve or even get as far as having stitched fronts and backs together, and if there is a bad fit, masses of unravelling commences followed by many more days or re-knitting whole pieces. One of the things I like about sewing garments is that you can have mid-way fittings which you can respond to if necessary by performing small nips in here or letting out there or realigning this or that, before you get too far, thus preventing an unwearable garment or MASSES of unpicking and remaking. Maybe this concern is just a prejudice born out of a lack of knowledge, and perhaps fitting knitwear is something that needn't be such a headache?
My second concern is that is seems incredibly expensive if you want to use any wool that isn't a cheap synthetic ball of hideousness. It would be awesome to find old jumpers that can be unravelled and the wool re-used, but don't the original jumpers also have to have been hand-knitted to be able to do this? Sadly there appears to be some obvious limitations to this practice.
My third issue was that I rarely saw any styles of hand-produced knitwear that particularly appealed, since those hand-knitted cute 1940's cardigans that I like to imagine overflowed from the wardrobes of our grans and greatnans. I'm a massive fan of hand-knitted hats, scarves, gloves and mittens, but the examples of actual hand-knitted garments that I see in wool shops are rarely anything I would actually like to be seen in. Would I have to hunt down precious vintage knitting patterns if I took up knitting? Keen to be proved wrong and shown some current knitting patterns that I would be happy to wear it was time to do some research. It didn't take me long to discover some whilst checking out the fabulous Drop Stitches Not Bombs blog. The talented author is a true inspiration and her beautiful, and most importantly, wearable Audrey cardigan post led me to this company. It would appear that they have some seriously desirable options available, the pictures in this post hold testament to that (click on each image to be linked).
Now don't get me wrong. I don't want any knitters reading this to be under the illusion that I think knitting is a piece of piss and I'll be whipping up fabulous cardi's like it ain't no thang. I know that learning to knit is going to be a long, difficult and very much on-going task, even though I did a bit of knitting whilst at university (I recall making some not too terrible stripey mittens). So I guess I'm a false-beginner, as language teachers might say (i.e, you once had a bit under you belt but have since forgotten it all). I know that it's going to take a long time to acquire the skills to produce these garment patterns, but my discovery of their existence is certainly extra motivation.