Monday, December 10, 2007

When Knitting Magic Happens

As much as I love to knit, it seems rare that every element comes together perfectly to create knitting magic. There are so many variables with any project that there's bound to be something in a finished project that the knitter wishes were a bit different. Is the yarn the right choice? Was the pattern clear and an enjoyable knit? Did the yarn and pattern marry in the way you hoped? Does the finished item fit the way you imagined? Is the drape or firmness of the fabric just as you hoped? Do you still love the color after spending many hours looking at it as you worked the pattern?

I don't know about you, but I find myself so often just a tiny bit dissatisfied with my end products. I also find myself pointing out the flaws. This is a pet peeve of my friend Tess, the knitting instructor at my favorite LYS and the talent behind Polar Bear Patterns. Why, she asks, can't knitters accept a compliment on a project with a simple Thank You rather than immediately responding with something like, "Thank you, but if you look here at the seam of the sleeve you'll see where it's a little crooked and the stitch pattern doesn't match up just perfectly." Tess is right, I suppose, but it seems in our knitters' nature to always strive for perfection and always feel a small twinge of disappointment when we don't reach it.

For today's Monday project features, I am very pleased to share two projects that seem to have fully satisfied the knitters' visions and hopes. And well they should, because they are both just lovely!

First up are a pair of fingerless gloves by Cindy. The pattern is Little Gems from Interweave Knits 2007 Holiday Edition. Cindy used two colors of FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn: Sloth (from the Seven Deadly Sins Sock Club) and Midnight Blue.

Cindy reports that she is "110% satisfied" with this project. And I can see why! What a great little pair of fingerless gloves. Lovely work by Cindy! You can pop on over to Cindy's blog to see more of her fabulous knitting.

The next project I have to show you is Dharma's rendition of the Storm Shawl by Handmaiden. Dharma reviewed scores of patterns looking for just the right shawl to make as a gift. She found the Storm Shawl and knew it was the one, but also had a particular color in mind. Finding just the right color that she had in mind turned out to be a bit of a challenge, but she eventually found it in my FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Shades of Teal.

It's easy to see why Dharma was happy with this project! As she reports on her blog, this is one of her favorite projects so far, because the pattern, the yarn and the person that she knit it for all matched her vision perfectly. Who can ask for more than that?!

Here's a closeup of the detail:

You can visit Dharma's blog for a look at more of her gorgeous work.

That's all for today. Everyone have a wonderful start to the week!


Lynne E. said...

Now I want to knit both of those projects. Superb work, Cindy and Dharma!

Nice thoughts about perfection, Deb. The big lesson I learned from my brief foray into machine knitting, is that it's okay to rip if you're not 100% satisfied, and that if you decide not to rip, then your knitting is 100% correct!

~Tonia~ said...

Such beautiful work.

It is so hard not to pick apart your own work. Maybe it is because we know what we are capable of and sometimes we just don't feel we match up.

Some friends of ours have friends that are Amish. Did you know that they (the Amish) put a mistake in everything that they make? They do it because they feel that the only one that is perfect is God. Kind of humbling. I struggle with looking at my work and picking it apart and I try to remember that little thing that the only one who is perfect, even though it is hard.

thenchal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tess said...

(Isn't this funny - I have to redo my comment because I screwed THAT up! Hey everyone, look at this!)

Of course, as far as leaving it at "thank you" goes, that would be "do as I say, not as I do". I tell other people not to do it, but I also have a hard time not pointing out the "oops" in my work to other knitters!

That said, of course, I excuse it away by pretending I am "teaching" when I do it. :)

I believe the red line you see running off the edge of authentic Navajo rugs is called a "spirit line" and invokes some ideas similar to the Amish ones. One interpretation is, if a weaver were ever to weave a perfect rug, with no mistakes in the patterns, all the weaver's creativity would be trapped inside that rug forever in the perfect patterns.

So, just in case they did manage to make a perfect rug with no mistakes, they include the deliberate "mistake" of the spirit line as a "way out". Maybe mistakes aren't such a bad thing!