The day I started my Sunset Highway sweater
The day I decided to start my Sunset Highway sweater was a shit day. Or it started that way.
Bummed, out-of-it, down, bristly--whatever phrase you use when you’re not-quite-yourself-and-you-don’t-know-why, I was that. On that Thursday, I just felt blue.
I’d also been meaning to check out The Black Squirrel yarn shop in Berkeley. I’m a twenty-something living in the suburbs, so I escape to Berkeley or San Francisco as much as I can on weekends, but it’s hard to get out there after work with the traffic. But as fate has it, the store stays open late on Thursdays.
I’d planned to go home and mope, but as my workday neared 5:00 pm, I had the idea to drive out to the store and get yarn to make a sweater. I wanted to check out this female-owned store that I’d heard so many wonderful things about. I needed to feel a part of a creative community. Sitting in my office, I looked through my saved Instagram pictures that I keep for inspiration. The one I’d saved again and again, with many color variations and fits and iterations, was the Sunset Highway sweater. It couldn’t be ignored.
I’d never done colorwork before but I’ve been knitting for 20 years and figured I could figure it out. And despite my mood, the thought of the challenge excited me. I felt charged as I printed the pattern and headed off to Berkeley, still in my work clothes and heels.
On the drive over, the sky was really just reinforcing my decision. The petal-soft pink closest to the horizon melted in a cool teal and then eventually to black. As I drove there, my chest seemed to release a bit. I parked and entered the glass-encased glow of the shop and felt a warmth trickle through me. I'd made the right decision going there.
I spoke to kind knitters there for a knitting circle, one of whom had knit the same sweater I was about to attempt and passed on a few tips. I was encouraged by many. I pet a dog. I spent the better part of two hours picking out my colors from a wall of drool-worthy fingering weight hand-dyed skeins.
And I left smiling.
I’m not writing this for any other reason than so I remember the change that came across me that evening. I'm writing this so that I remember my excitement to create. I'm writing this so that I remember how important and essential a supportive community can be for those that find joy in making.
That evening, I came home and snuggled my new skeins. I felt silly, yes, that material things could bring me such joy, but I also felt empowered with the knowledge that I knew how to cheer myself up. I knew what I needed.
I need to create and to challenge myself. When I listened to those two things, my mood stabilized.
I really love the intelligent design of this sweater. It’s elegant, but in fun and non-stuffy way. It’s challenging, but in a gratifying I-can’t-believe-I-did-that way. And it's addicting. As the petals on the neckline blossomed, it was hard to put down.
Yes, I had to rip out a good 3 inches of colorwork that I’ll chalk up to “practice” (see previous post), but I'm glad I did and now I'm in love with how I'm progressing. I’m in love with what I’m capable of.
Thanks, knitting, for getting me through a hard day. Thank you for being something I can always turn to.