In Which I Discover That Some Stories about Artistic Inspiration are Universal — SYTYCD Yarn Along

Earlier today I was catching up on some saved video of the So You Think You Can Dance Los Angeles and Atlanta Auditions. And knitting, of course.

I’ve assigned myself a rather large project to start off this Yarn Along that I hope will last me at least part way through the season. It’s the Rocky Coast Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I seem to know scads of people who are salivating over this cardigan right now. Mom knew exactly which pattern I was talking about when I mentioned it to her yesterday.

Rocky Coast Cardigan, as seen on Ravelry.

My version of the cardigan doesn’t look like this. At least not yet. It looks more like this:

Rocky Coast on the needles, momentarily dropped into my lap as I watched the Ninja Twins and their goofy antics. Too bad they’re too old for the show. Still, I think they got some really beneficial exposure, which was the idea, I’m sure.

I’m knitting Rocky Coast in a different yarn than was called for in the pattern. I was visiting Borealis in the Twin Cities and one of the yarn shop ladies talked me into trying this Shetland Aran weight yarn. I had to go down a couple of needle sizes to get gauge, as this yarn is a bit heavier than the yarn that the pattern calls for. Still, I like the way it’s turning out. This heathered gray wool really makes the cables pop. It will be a sturdier, thicker cardigan than the orignal Rocky Coast, but I think I will still like it a lot.

I had this shot all set up and Orion decided he had to take a look-see.

The hills and dales popping out in the cables of this cardigan remind me just a little bit of the gorgeous landscape shots at the beginning of Prometheus, which we went to see last night. The whole movie was breathtaking and very detailed. I would expect nothing less from Ridley Scott.

So anyway, back to So You Think You Can Dance.

My favorite moments from the LA and Atlanta tryouts were the following:

Alexa, who was cut from the top 20 last year, for showing growth and…interestingness. I loved that her tryout dance was not all about pretty developes and sexy moves.
Johnny Wacks, for making Nigel blush. We was choking. He just could not get the word “Wacking” out of his mouth. It was evident that his brain wanted to add another word after it. And thank you for innocently going on to talk about how you got started by “training by yourself.”
Eliana the aerialist, pole-dancing ballerina. I can see exactly why you belong in Cirque du Soleil and I really hope you make it into the top 10 this year. It’s a treat to watch you move.

One thing that struck me as I watched the tryouts was how often the dancers looked to their families as their major influence and inspiration. It made me think back to the “My Knitting/Crochet Hero” blog topic during the recent Third Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week. Many of us crafty types also chose to honor parents or grandparents. And it makes sense. A famous knitwear designer, yarn maker, or LYS owner may inspire you every once in a while. But for pure emotional impact and influence, you just can’t match the patient family member who:

  • Teaches you how to cast on for the first time. Then teaches you seven or eight more times until you get it down.
  • Gives you your first set of needles and a ball of yarn. Or even (gasp) give you permission to knit with yarn from their own stash.
  • Advises you to put your yarn away so that cats won’t drag it around the house. Then laughs at you when you forget and helps you clean up the mess.
  • Appreciates you first creations and wears them with pride, even they are full of holes or knitted from ugly scratchy yarn.
  • Demonstrates their own joy with fiber craft.
  • Gracefully points out your fiber craft blind spots (we’ve all got them)

The same sorts of things can be said about dance parents. I danced all the way through high school and I feel I should now thank my parents for:

  • Spending your week day evenings chauffeuring me to dance class.
  • Buying scads of new dance shoes, tights and leotards for a growing child.
  • Plunking down cash for recital costumes with a minimum amount of grumbling.
  • Faithfully laundering the above mentioned tights and leotards each week so that I would always have clean things to wear to class.
  • Saving dinner for me when I could not be home to eat with the family.
  • Tolerating and ignoring my requests to build a ballet barre in the basement. You and I both knew I would never really use it.
  • Being my biggest fans, even though I was honestly never going to be SYTYCD material.


  1. The yarn you chose is perfect for the pattern! Reminds me of the pictures I’ve seen of fog on a Scottish loch. Oh, to snuggle up in the sweater when you’re done!

    • Aww thanks. Im looking forward to wearing it too. Although it might end up being a gift. We’ll see when it’s done. There a scads of family birthdays coming up.

    • I’ll need to travel somewhere chilly to wear it. It’s about 90 here today and it’s hard to imagine wearing a heavy wool sweater. Intellectually I know that winter will come again, but right now it doesn’t seem real.

      I’m glad you like the pattern. So far it’s an easy knit. I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

  2. I’ve had that cardigan in my Ravelry queue since the book came out. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

    • So far I have really enjoyed working on it. With this yarn it’s going to be very warm. I guess I’m doing the knitting for the opposite season thing.

      • Anything that will make the coming of winter less distressing is a good thing. I’m going to start something wintry in August, just so the cooling weather doesn’t make me want to cry.

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