In the past couple weeks I've had several friends ask me to knit for them, their children and grandchildren. I've been knitting as long as I've known all these people and these people have all known that I knit since they've known me. Still, for some reason, I have an ever growing queue of requested projects now. Good thing my dear mom is knitting my requests (the dress is almost finished, I can't wait!).
Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not complaining. I love it. For a knitting-addict on a budget, it's really an awesomely cool deal. I suppose it's the knitting equivalent of becoming a drug dealer - enough action to support the habit and free junk (in the parlance of drugs I say "junk"...I would never refer to yarn as "junk") .
But, even so, knitting for others is a completely different thing than, well, just knitting. You have to measure, and count, and do the bloody swatches and make the guage. You have to check references for exactly what size a 3 year old kid is, how much sizes change with different bust measurements. An extra 4 inches in the sleeves of a sweater knit for, say your husband's birthday gift, can be over looked. Of course I mean, I, the knitter, can overlook it. Unfortunately my husband couldn't see the extra 4 inches as 4 inches of extra birthday love from his wife, as I tried to explain to him but that's another story and, frankly, his problem (actually 8 extra inches of love. Come on! I may guestimate lengths for sleeves but I do make the two sleeves the same length, usually). But I digress...Iwas talking here from my perspective, the perspective of the knitter - knitting for others is another cup of tea. Sleeves should be the proper length, decreases should be done well, the collar should lie properly and the ... well, everything should be done well.
So yesterday, having completed the back, the front and one of the sleeves of a sweater for a friend, I decided to frog it. In Knitliano or Knitlish or whatever knitlingo you parla, that means I gave up on it. Quit. Surrendered. Actually it means that I, like Dr. Frankenstein, looked in horror at what I had created and, disgusted with myself, decided to kill it.
First I swore at the sweater, then I swore at the yarn, then I swore at the needles, then at myself, then I killed it. And then I cried. Poor little sweater, it was shit. Really shit. Bad knitting. Wrong yarn. Wrong needle size. All my fault.
From the beginning it was a chore to knit this thing - not fun at all. Well, this happens sometimes when knitting for others...they choose the pattern, they choose the color. These two things seriously affect the knitter's pleasure. But this one, is MY pattern - I designed it, I chose the colors! And still I found that I had to bribe myself to work on it. "Two more rows and you can weave a little." "Finish the decreasing and you can start those socks you want." Should have been a clue to abort, no?
A bigger clue would have been that I SAW the thing as I was making it. I saw it was ugly in the first 6 rows. It's not really like you need to finish a whole sweater to realize that it's ugly. That's the beauty of knitting, when you see that it's not going well, you can always rip back and start again (Right, Mette?!). This differs from creating, say, a person, in which ripping it back to it's raw materials to start over is a bit, well, problematic.
And still I finished the back. And the front. AND a sleeve.
Today I started the thing again. The whole thing from the beginning. No bribes needed. It's coming along quickly and turning out beautifully...as it had in my mind when I designed it.
If you you'll excuse me now, I have another sleeve to finish. Thank God it's a baby sweater. Photos tomorrow.
PS. I'd decided not to do birthday posts this year. It being my 3rd blogging year, you readers have probably heard enough about my how cool my friends and family are. And, well, I'm kind of out of nice things to say about them. BUT I want tomake an exception and give a big freakin' happy birthday to nephew Max who is 18 today. Max, welcome to the wonderful world of adulthood. Two questions for you, Dude: 1. Have you done your draft registration? 2. Who are going to vote for?