I've written before about what I call comfort reading - the books I return to and reread because they offer a predictable reading experience. You enjoy the process of your engagement with the complications of the characters' lives. The ending is predictable, known, and all the ends are tied up neatly. Comfort reading for me is nineteenth century novels; Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Margaret Oliphant, and the master of comfort reading, Anthony Trollope.
As with reading, so with knitting. I've returned to some old favourites. Familiar stuff. Patterns I've knitted before; yarn I know and love; outcomes I can predict.
I'm off on a trip to China in a few weeks time. It will be late Autumn and I'm anticipating some cold days. So, of course I'll need a couple of warm hats. I'd given away the wonderfully architectural Zumthor hat I knitted last year and so I've re-knitted the pattern in Noro Silk Garden yarn in a combination of bronze, grey and fawn tones. I know from past experience that this Assemblage pattern is a delight to knit, and it was interesting to observe how the Silk Garden created a drapier, softer version of this reversible hat compared with the stiffer, structural outcome from my earlier version with Shelter yarn.
I'm travelling to China with an old friend who recently told me she had lost a hat I knitted for her ages ago - she said it had been a favourite as it fitted so well. So, I've tried to reproduce it using the same Noro yarn I've used for my Zumthor. The designer Amy King has called the pattern 'Fake Isle' as it uses the colour changes in the Noro yarn to resemble the subtle colour mixes of 'real' fair isle knitting. The thick yarn tends to emphasise the unevenness of my colour work technique but, nevertheless, I'm quite pleased by the outcome. I hope it fits my friend as well as the original did.
There's been knitting comfort in returning to this familiar stuff, though with re-knitting the ending is never quite as predictable as it is with re-reading. A change in the yarn used can subtly change the outcome - but fortunately in this case I'm happy with the combination of the familiar and slightly unexpected.