Friday, June 02, 2006

Critters and Other Things

Reader Joelle’s comment about her contemplation of starting a baby blanket for her wee one got me to thinking about knitting for oneself versus knitting for someone else. Before I dive into that subject, let me first say that it is well worth the time and effort to make that baby blanket!

I made a blanket for my sister’s first child, almost 18 years ago. I had long since forgotten about this blanket (a simple blanket of lavender and eggshell variegated cotton, knit in a straightforward checkerboard pattern of squares that alternated between seed stitch and stockinet). When I visited my sister and her family a couple of years ago, her second to youngest daughter - who at the time was around 12 years old - was sitting in front of the TV with that ancient blanket wrapped around her shoulders. I couldn’t believe it! I asked me sister about it and she said that indeed her first four children (she has five) had all used the blanket but that it stopped being passed down with the fourth child because she had become attached to it in a classic “Linus” fashion, taking it with her everywhere she toddled. And there she sat, at age 12, with shoulders warmed by her favorite blanket after all of those years. Nothing could have made me happier!

And so on to the question of whether to knit for oneself or to knit for someone else … I’ve met knitters over the years who knit almost exclusively for others, while other knitters seem to knit almost exclusively for themselves. Is this some indication of whether one is a giving person or a selfish person? Perhaps, but I hope not, because I must admit that I am not the most giving knitter! I, personally, knit for others mostly out of guilt. Everyone I know is certainly aware of my knitting addiction and so never knitting gifts for any of them would not go unnoticed. And for those close to me, I really am happy to do it. But my oh my, how I hate it when people I barely know learn that I knit and casually say, “Oh, you knit?! My daughter would love a shrug. Would you make one for her?” I just gently decline, explaining how long my list of projects is (lie). Inside I shout, “NO, I won’t!! Do you have any idea of the time and effort that goes into a handknit garment. Idiot!!” (OK. I’m not the most tolerant person.)

Now on to some actual knit talk …

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been focusing mostly on small projects, since I’ve been very busy with yarn dying and don’t have as much time as I would like for knitting. I also mentioned a pair of mittens I just finished and something strange I had in mind for them. Well, I decided to pursue that strange vision. Here are the mittens when first completed:

I made them of my Fearless Fibers Two Tone Twist Merino. I LOVE this yarn! It’s a four ply merino, where one ply is treated to drink in the dye differently, creating a two-tone effect. It knits with a “tweed” look. It’s a great option when you want more than a solid but not so much variation as most handpainted yarns. It’s also an awesome yarn because it’s super-light and springy. It has wonderful memory and also, because it is so light and airy, the yardage is unexpectedly great for a yarn that knits at a worsted gauge (but you get a full 265 yards to 4-ounces!). It can also easily be knit at a tighter gauge with smaller needles, as I did with these mittens to give them that nice, sturdy quality one wants in a mitten.

But then … something itched in the back of my brain … a mad desire to animate these simple mittens. I dug deep into my yarn stash and came up with some wonderfully soft, plush black velvet yarn (Touch Me, if I recall correctly), some black Eyelash yarn and a bit of variegated blue wool/tencel blend … and Voila! The mittens are alive!

Well, ain’t that just the silliest thing you ever saw? I love them completely and with abandon! I can't really see myself wearing them though, so I've listed them in my hubby's tiny little Etsy store.

As to the yarn dying, I continue as always. I’ve mostly been replenishing low stock these days rather than creating anything new. Lots of items have now been re-stocked in my eBay store. One of my favorites is back in 4-ply cashmere. It’s the colorway called Mountain. Yum, yum!

Alright. Enough chattering for today. There’s still time for a bite to eat and a moment’s rest before my hubby’s softball game tonight. I’ll continue working on the cashmere lace scarf from my prior post during the game. It’s not too far from finished now. Yippee!


Brenda the Knitter said...

OMG, I love those mittens! I may just have to try something like that.

anne said...

personally, i an't resist knitting for my brother's kids; they get SO excited over handknits! and then there is my husband; i love to knit for him! in fact, i prefer to knit gifts any time as opposed to shopping. at christmas, it is my secret joy and relief not o be out in the crowds, but to be home, cozily kitting gifts instead!

aww, beautiful yarn; i am going ovee rto the shop now to gaze . . .

and we got a HILARIOUS contest entry today!

übercherry said...

i know *exactly* what you mean about non-knitters having NO concept of just how much effort a handknit piece requires. i knit small things for close friends, bigger things for my mom, a few things for me (not nearly as much as i'd like) and most of my other knits go into my shop. i love to knit, but i honestly don't want to waste my precious little knitting time making something for someone that won't appreciate it, lol. is that wrong??? ;) great job on the mittens, and welcome to the etsy bloggers ring! :)