Well, you guys voted, so here they are: all the ends I have woven in and cut off of Venezia. I haven't done anything yet with the ends that will be in the steeks, as I plan to take care of those after the armholes are seamed.
I forgot to put anything in the picture for scale, but each of the squares on that mat are 1/2" square. Those ends fill a space about 6.5" by 7".
Yall, that is like 300 bits of yarn.
So, I've been thinking about Venezia, and I've been thinking about what it means for me as a knitter to have knit something like this. Six months ago, when people said that I was a really good knitter or an advanced knitter, I didn't think it was true. I'd never knit a sweater, I'd never done a real lace project, and there were a million other things I'd never mastered either. I had a long way to go, and I knew it.
Now I'm nearly done with my third sweater, and this third one really isn't just any sweater. It's a completely patterned fair isle on size 2 needles, with cap sleeves and steeks and shaping, and it's taken me over four months. I seem to have gotten a big head about my knitting. I don't protest as much when people call me an advanced knitter. I mean, maybe I am. I'm no Yarn Harlot and I'm no Eunny, but among us mortals I'm probably somewhere above average.
And then, because I'm a history dork, I started thinking about guilds. Not your local knitting guild where you meet up to talk about finished objects and lace and what charity needs what item. Medieval craft guilds. Mastercraftsmen formed the membership of these guilds, and they had an exclusive monopoly to practice their craft in their city. Some of these guilds were incredibly powerful. The wool guild in Florence basically funded the construction of the famous cathedral, and then they got this street named after them (via of the art of wool).
Families who wanted their sons to learn a craft sent them to work for masters at a fairly young age, and the boys spent several years learning the basics and then the finer points of the craft. When the master deemed them ready, they were promoted to journeyman after completing a piece that demonstrated that they had mastered all the necessary skills.
Journeymen are called that both because they traveled around, learning new tricks and skills from other masters, and because they were essentially day laborers (day=journée). When they had learned as much as they could, and the local guild decided they were ready, the journeyman would complete a new piece, the master piece. Upon its completion he became, not just a master of his craft and a full member of the guild, but legally an adult. He could finally marry and own property.
(Of course, by the time I start studying European history them this last bit, promotion to master, wasn't working so well as masters tried to protect their economic positions. Journeymen got really bitter, and they make up most of the mobs in any major revolution of the 18th and early 19th centuries.)
But back to me. Venezia is not my masterpiece. There are mistakes in it. I still have a lot to learn before I might feel like I've mastered this craft. Entrelac. Intarsia. Provisional cast-ons. Purling in continental style. How to shape a cap sleeve, without a pattern. How to write a really good pattern. How to weave in an end on a scarf so it never shows up again.
But for all the skills I'm lacking, there is a lot that I know now that I didn't know a year ago. And really, I have gotten pretty good at a few things. I have started thinking of Venezia as my journeyman piece. It's a symbol that even though I still have a long ways to go, I do have a grasp of most of the important knitting skills. I have completed my apprenticeship.
Labels: Venezia pullover