I’ve been knitting lately – A LOT. It occurred to me that having a blog about knitting and works in progress is tough because, well, all my knitting is for other people. Probably the same people who read this blog, or at least, know of its existence.
Why do I only knit for other people? I honestly don’t know – I’ve been trying to rectify it (I started a summer sweater for myself, stopped it, started it again when I was all done with my gift knitting, thought of another gift project, stopped it again, started it again when I told myself it was stupid to start another project). Guilt is probably a big factor – yarn costs money after all, and hey, if its for a gift that I would need to spend money on anyway, and y’know, Mom LOVES silk, so this yarn is totally worth it…
I realize this perceived altruism on my part is really hiding a purely selfish and possibly dangerous addiction to yarn. I don’t expect most people to understand, but there is something about the stuff that’s like heroin. I once combed the not-so-vast yarn resources of Rochester to find one skein – just one skein, man, that’s all I need – to finish BG’s Sweater That Shall Not Be Named. Long story short, it is now the sweater that shall not be finished (turns out that buying an extra skein for a project IS a good idea), but I was scary efficient as I expanded my desperate search to include the entire Finger Lakes Region, parts of Pennsylvania, and Canada. I even look it up on eBay every so often.
I know I’m not alone in this particular affliction – yarn stores (none here) have “yarn tastings” where you come in and knit with a variety of yarns you’ve been coveting, and some very subversive (read: hip) sites have something called “yarn porn” (its not what you think – its close-up pictures of yarn, usually taken off of flatbed scanners, so you can see every color and variation). OK, I found this last thing a little disturbing, but at least it tells me there are others out there.
I suppose as addictions go, its not so bad (I tell myself): its not fattening, it’s a terribly productive way to watch TV, and of the senses, I think touch always gets the short shrift. Knitting with a nice, soft yarn is as comforting as petting an incredibly soft, warm, multicolored cute thing – and making a sweater out of it. And haven’t you heard? Knitting is the new yoga. I have to admit, it feels a little weird and not altogether good to be involved in an activity that is considered hip or hot, but I’m willing to bet its not going to elevate me into either category.
Since I DO want to show and tell a little bit here, I’ll start with a warning: If you are my friends and family, have a major life event/holiday coming up, one of these objects may be for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you – GIFT SPOILERS AHEAD:
This baby kimono was done from Mason-Dixon Knitting for friends who had their uber-cute little boy a few weeks ago:
Yarn: Peaches & Cream
Needle: No idea – maybe a three?
Knitting baby things is fabulous. They’re quick, super cute, and you could just eat up the result even if you did a terrible job. Case in point – for this sweater to fit, the baby needs to be shaped like Jabba the Hut. But its too cute for me to care. Eat up, little Ryan!
This next one is for a great friend who is leaving for Chicago, who has amazing fashion sense and an absolutely incredible ability to wear things that no one should be able to wear (a wood grain skirt, I tell you! And she looked FABULOUS.) Anyhow, making her something that would live up to her eye for color and pattern, I made this – “Roxy Lady” (I figured the name was appropriate too):
Pre-Felted: Note the almost hypnotizing (?nauseating) pattern. The bubbliness evens out. I hope.
Post-Felted and Done! The brown suede handles aren’t exactly Chicago-friendly, but her books and papers will be nice and warm.
Yarn: Cascade Pastaza, 1.5 skeins orange, 1.5 purple
Needle: sz 10 circulars, knit picks
In this project, I tried my hand at mosaic knitting, which, suffice it to say, involves lots of counting. Those that know me know this doesn’t bode well. Lucky for me, felting hides a multitude of sins, including an inability to K12, (sl 1, k1) 6 times, K4 (or variations thereof) times twenty-eight rows for the pattern. Times 4 pattern repeats. This was WAY outside my comfort zone, but I like the result so much that I got some yarn to make myself one in green and purple. (I know – a project for myself! Ask me how that’s going in a couple of months. I think I might be giving that to someone too.) The brown suede straps were ordered on-line, and only took me three tries each to attach. Did I mention I’m not much of a hand sewer? By the way, I finished this in about week and a half. That’s a new record for me, but I’m still suffering the consequences (must…slip…next…stitch…)
And finally, last but not least:
Pattern: Simple Baby Knits – Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Debbie Bliss wool/cotton (machine washable – yay!)
Needle: sz 2 straight, sz 1 circular
All together now: AWWWW!
What human can resist a knitted baby dress? With ribbon? In purple? Not I. I’m not sure I’ll be able to give this away, in fact. I’ve become quite attached – for all the reasons above, as well as the fact that I did the most kick-butt seams I’ve ever done, if I do say so myself.
(This coming from a woman who had to make a little sweater for a teddy she knitted to cover her handiwork – the front seam on the poor guy was so bad it looked like he had had an autopsy. The sweater turned out cute – I only hope the recipient never took it off. In retrospect, I would’ve sewn it on. I can just hear it now – “Mommy, what happened to Teddy?”)
Never knowing quite when to quit, note the matching shoes…
Okay, not quite matching. But I direct your attention to the ribbon, picking up colors from both and tying them together, and drawing your attention away from the fact that I was afraid I would run out of purple (the Sweater That Shall Not Be Finished haunts me still).
I did the shoes before the dress, because they’re small, and cute and easy – right? Well, this pair represents the sixth and seventh attempts. Apparently, I’m a little bit of an inconsistent knitter, and should be firmly reminded of this fact before I attempt to knit anything again that’s supposed to match in size. These two were the closest ones, but I have to admit I still rationalized that no one has the same sized feet…Sock knitting is just a pie in the sky, at this point.
They also took many iterations because, apparently, I am also a “loose” knitter (keep it clean – it means that my stitches are looser than they should be), resulting in baby shoes of sasquatchean proportions. To put it in perspective, the first one I made almost fit my two year old (who is currently wearing a size 10 shoe) – and I made it to newborn size in the pattern. Yikes. Darn seed stitch! When you’re knitting is loose you need to go down in needle size – and before I knew it – I was at needle size 1, preparing to drop down to zero (the existence of which makes no sense to me – it should be -1 or something). Knitting with a size 1 needle is like, literally, knitting with a needle (and just as painful), instead of a blunt stick that needles usually are. It also makes time pass very slowly.
The dress is for my almost-ready-to-be-born niece. I love boys, truly I do, but nothing compares to making things for a little girl. There just aren’t enough cute sweaters with trucks on them to compare with a empire waist knitted purple dress, my friends.
I am now buckling down and working on green gable (for me!). I’m giving myself a week to finish before I need to start holiday/birthday knitting. Do you see what I’m dealing with? I wonder if there’s a twelve step program with my name on it.