I love to cook - the whole process - planning, shopping, and mostly eating, of course. After I'd learned my way around the kitchen and gained a little confidence, I wanted to try more and more complicated things. I wanted to learn techniques and make dishes I considered advanced and difficult. I figured that if I could master those skills, I'd be a great cook. Julia Child and all the fancy techniques. There's a great deal of satisfaction in mastering difficult techniques. It builds a base of experience and gives you the confidence to undertake any recipe. I soon found, however, that knowing fancy techniques does not make you a great cook. Experience does. Experience is what tells you when to use your fancy techniques and more importantly, when not to. Fortunately, great food doesn't have to be fancy food. For me, great food is more about simple treatment of spectacular ingredients. Fresh swordfish, perfectly grilled with a sprinkling of sea salt. Summer tomatoes drizzled with olive oil. Less is more, and when you've got beautiful fresh ingredients, you need to back off and let them shine.
Knitting is the same. I love knitting - finding the pattern and the yarn, swatching, (yes, I enjoy swatching), and knitting the fabric. Over the years, I have certainly done my share of cables, lace, intarsia, and Fair Isle. But honestly, most days my needles hold simple projects. In my early knitting days I hungered after challenging techniques to master. These days, I knit to relax, not to impress. I like to wear unfussy clothing and simple shapes. My idea of the perfect project is about working with an exquisite fiber and letting it steal the show. Because it is about the yarn. I have learned over the years that there's a time to use skillful stitchwork to elevate a humble fiber, and there's a time to let spectacular fibers be the star of the project. As with cooking, finding just the right way to showcase a particular fiber takes experience and skill. It's a different skill than working a complicated stitch pattern, but it's no less important.
I'll be featuring a number of simple projects that are fun to knit, easy to wear, and make the most of a fabulous fiber in upcoming blog posts this week. I think you'll enjoy both the fibers and the garments.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.