I went to the knitting shop today, and Liz (my friend's aunt) told me emphatically that I cannot start to knit a sweater until I do a gauge.
That is, I have to determine if my yarn and needles will make the same size pattern that is called for. I have no other way to better describe it. You knitters know what I'm talking about.....
It's something I have avoided, and it speaks to an issue I have with myself that I'd like to overcome. Much like egg whites in a recipe, I am fearful of doing anything I don't already know how to do and that I am uncertain I will be able to do well. I know, for example, how to knit a baby blanket. So that's what I do. I knit baby blankets. But I'm fairly certain I'll mess up a sweater or socks or gloves, so I just avoid it and knit more baby blankets....or I cook egg-white-less cakes.....or I learn only Chinese (instead of a much more practical language), or I refuse to play any sports in public. Okay, you get the point. So, this sweater is more to me than a sweater. It's a chance to go further into a subject area I'm not particularly comfortable or confident with and to actually learn how to do something well instead of being a crafting dilettante.
Anyway, I'm doing the uber-popular Shalom cardigan. Over 4,000 people have knitted it on Ravelry, and everyone says it's simple and cute. I agree about the cute part. I think it looks cozy and not super complicated and a great project for the beginning knitter.
The woman who wrote the pattern has a blog, Involving the Senses, which I like. She makes me want to add pottery to my list of figs!
Anyway, I'm going to do the gauge tonight and take it back to the shop Saturday to see if I need different needles and/or yarn. At least I got to spend an hour today getting to know Liz, and I'm getting to work on my sweater!