Knitstant Gratification

The crafting adventures of a knitter, music lover, and hockey fan.

Archive for April, 2007

When real life cuts into my knitting time

Posted by Andi on April 29, 2007

I haven’t updated in a while, moreover, I haven’t knit in a while either. Other aspects of my life have cut into my knitting time. These include:

–Spending as much time as possible collecting data for my dissertation, and using the rest of my available time to go to work and make some money

–A dear friend came to visit for a week, and when I wasn’t collecing data or working I was hanging out with him

–I’ve been sick for almost a week, and with my energy zapped, I only did necessary actions, and yes, I deemed knitting unnecessary

–I’m still not motivated to work on Poinsettia.

So, there you go. But onto some actual knitting content. Our cable and internet connection was out for a few days this week, which gave me some time to listen to my ever growing backlog of downloaded podcasts. I was listening to episode 17 of Cast On (I know it’s over a year old, but when I discovered the podcast I liked it so much that I downloaded all of them and am desperately trying to catch up). The second essay was about the essayist’s grandmother, and how she used to knit sweaters for the grandchildren. This essay got me thinking about my own grandmother.

My grandmother didn’t know how to knit, but she was very excited when I learned how to knit. She couldn’t believe how well I caught on, and how much I loved it and kept up with it. She wanted to see everything I made, and fawned over all of my finished objects. She started asking me to make her things, mainly hats or head coverings for winter. I had the intention to make her something, but there were so many other projects in the pipeline, many that I had to finish within a certain time frame, that I never got around to it.

In February of 2006 my grandmother, who already had emphysema, was diagnosed with lung cancer. If I were going to knit her something, I had to start on it right away. I was visiting her shortly after her diagnosis, and I asked her what her favorite colors were. Red, white, and black. I went home and looked for blanket patterns using three colors. I found one, and bought skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, and started working on the blanket. My grandmother spent a week in the hospital, and when I visited her I brought the blanket to show her my progress. She thought it was very pretty and soft, and I could tell she was excited by it. I toyed with not showing it to her until it was finished, but I decided against it. It’s a good thing, too, because my grandmother passed away before I could finish the blanket.

I still regret the fact that I was unable to give a finished object to the one person who was the most proud of my new hobby. After she died I decided to finish the blanket and give it to charity, but I just couldn’t pick up the needles and work on it. This may be selfish, but I just couldn’t give my grandma’s blanket to someone else. I couldn’t even bring myself to work on it. It was her’s, not someone else’s. So it sits there in the bag that I used as my knitting tote, half finished. A couple of months ago I took the unused skeins from her blanket out of the tote and into my stash armoire. I think my grandma wouldn’t want the yarn to go to waste. But I still have the unfinished blanket. I don’t know what I will ever do with it.

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I can do short sleeves now

Posted by Andi on April 13, 2007

I subscribe to Berroco’s KnitBits newsletter, which loyally shows up in my inbox every Friday morning. The subject line of today’s KnitBits e-mail stopped me in my tracks.

“Slip into a spring tee or two”

*blink*

I slowly started moving the mouse to the left, clicked on the little box, and started moving the pointer downward toward the “delete” button. Knitted tees – I don’t like them. I like knitted garments with long sleves, or no sleeves, but with short sleeves. I have yet to find a pattern for a short-sleeved garment that I would make for myself, and I didn’t expect that to change today. I unchecked the little box and opened the e-mail.

Oh, how wrong I was.

The e-mail featured two patterns. The first was Britannia:

How cute would that be over a blouse or tank top? And, not only is it cute, but I may have enough stash yarn to make it!!! This garment doesn’t really strike me as a tee, more of a half-sleeved sweater. The next pattern, Valpuri, is a tee:

How cute is that?! Finally, a short-sleeved garment I’d be willing to knit and wear for myself!!! Thanks, Berroco!

Now, it’s time to start toning my arms.

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In which my boyfriend reviews knitting patterns

Posted by Andi on April 10, 2007

It’s difficult for me to look at a men’s knitting pattern and know whether or not my boyfriend would like it.  Over the years it has gotten a bit easier because, after showing him many, many patterns, I’ve been able to pinpoint some of the things he likes and some of the things he hates.  That said, sometimes he deviates.  I think he will hate a sweater because of the neck line, and it turns out he loves it.  

While his taste is pretty plain when it comes to knitted items, sometimes he likes things that are a bit more funky.  While he likes plain sweaters and Aran sweaters, he did like the Jesse Flames sweater from Stitch n’ Bitch Nation.  I decided to make it for him, and he told me in no uncertain terms to remove the red stripe from across the chest.  The flames were okay, but the thin red stripe was just too much.  It’s funny, because when I originally showed him the sweater I thought the stripe would be okay and that he’d be hesitant about the flames.  See what I mean?

I was at Borders a couple of weeks ago and found a book entitled Never Knit Your Man a Sweater (Unless You Have the Ring) by Judith Durant.  I was hoping this would be a book with tons of things I could make for my boyfriend, things he would be happy to wear and use.  As I was flipping through the book, however, I wasn’t so sure. He is very picky about necklines, the number of colors used, etc.  At this point I don’t feel comfortable altering sweater patterns to change the neckline or really anything else on it (though I hope to be able to do that one day), and I wasn’t sure what he would think about the other patterns, so I was wary of buying the book.

There is a beautiful pair of winter gloves in the book, which I thought I could make my boyfriend for next winter. He tends to wear really cheap, unattracitve gloves, and maybe it would be nice for him to have a nice pair of gloves.  Additionally, gloves make the perfect summer knitting project when someone, like myself, lives in a non-air conditioned apartment and doesn’t want a heavy wool sweater or blanket on their lap in the middle of August.

I told Tim about the book, and how I wanted to make the gloves for him. I found this site which had a few pictures of the patterns from the book. I showed it to Tim, and he seemed happy with what he saw, so I ordered the book. It arrived a few days ago.  We immediately we sat down together to look at the patterns, and Tim told me what he thought of each pattern.  His comments will be posted here, and perhaps they will be helpful to any of you who have a man in your life with similar taste as my boyfriend.  As I said, he mostly likes plain sweaters, but he sometimes he likes things that are a bit more funky.  He is not preppy AT ALL, so if the man in your life is a preppy guy, perhaps you should keep in mind the opposite of what Tim says.

 1. Coasters.  Some of them look alright, but I generally don’t care about coasters as a general principle. It would be one thing if you are going out with him or living with him because you will use them more, but most single bachelor guys aren’t concerned about marks on tables. I like the checkered coaster, that’s kind of fun. They could be nice

2. Scarf. [This is a basketweave scarf with Noro yarn.]  I think it’s kind of nice. I’d wear it. I also like the colorway used.

3. Scarf with (horizontal) stripes. No. It looks way too preppy. Either a jock or prep would enjoy it. Jocks especially because you can make it in team colors.

4. Diamond scarf. Not a bad pattern in it, but it looks fatherly. Maybe a color change could help. I don’t think it looks all that bad, but I think changing colors would be more interesting. It could work for somebody older (my boyfriend is 28). I wouldn’t be adverse to it, but in using the red color much of the work and detail in it seems to be lost, which is why I’m saying using two different colors could help.

5. Laptop cover. I find no need. I don’t think most guys would have a need for it because the majority of them are going to buy a halfway decent laptop bag. At least most of the guys I know (my boyfriend is working on a master’s degree in computer science so he knows many computer geeks). Or their laptops are so crappy they don’t care. If it had skulls and crossbones, Mario, something like that on it, most guys I know would then enjoy the hell out of it. As it is, I think a businessman might use it, like an MBA type person. Again, maybe a preppy person would use it, not a geek. A geek would know that this isn’t really going to help to protect the laptop.

6. iPod cover. See laptop cover. I think some guys would take it and enjoy it, but most of the guys I know would want an iPod cover with an opening. They would want to see what is going on, not drag it out to skip to the next song. The colors on it aren’t horrid.

7. Watch cap. I like it. It looks to be a good hat. I’d wear this because it’s just a plain hat. It looks like something that should be able to keep my head warm, which is what it says. It’s just a plain, basic cap. It’s not any oddball cap, so I think most guys would enjoy it.

8. Mod beanie. I’m kind of torn on it. I like the shape of the hat, but I’m not as big about the swirl pattern up top. I’m torn on the stripes. They aren’t bad. I think your standard prep wouldn’t like it, and jocks would go 50/50. But that’s my geek point of view. It’s a little too funky for most preps. Most guys over 30 probably wouldn’t want it. There might be some, exceptions to every rule, but it’s more of a youthful type hat.

9. Diamond headband. I would not care for this because I don’t like headbands. I don’t mind the diamond pattern, though. Guys who like to wear these kinds of headbands would like it. I’m just not a headband person.

10. Ski hat. I don’t like it. I’m not big on the pattern, and I really don’t like how it comes together at the top. If it’s going that far, I say just make a jester hat. A ski person or a hippy might like it. Look at what type of hat the person has to determine if they would like it. The main turnoff is how it comes together at the top, and that throws the rest of it off. I wouldn’t mind a regular hat with a row of the fair isle, a plain row, then another fair isle row, and the rest just plain. Or just two rows in a row of the fair isle pattern, and the rest plain.

11. Plain old ragg socks. Those are okay. I like that they look warm. I like the top of it. The heel looks well put together.

12. Don’t put them in the dryer socks. The cabling is alright. They look like dress socks, and I don’t need to wear dress socks. I don’t know how well they’d fit in dress shoes. Outside of adult guys, don’t give them something they can’t put into a dryer.

13. Diamond (argyle) socks. No. Again, it’s dress socks, which I don’t wear. I’d accept them, but it’s something where I would hope I have actual use for them. The gray one vs. the green one, that looks like of pretty. Good color choice. I’m sorry, you hand me a green and pink sock and I’m probably going to throw it out or burn it. I hope it’s nicely fitting and will fit into dress shoes. Indie boys and preppy boys would wear them. Jocks might. Goth people… no. Geeks, maybe. If there are any special washing instructions, be careful.

14. Mittens. They look alright. I wouldn’t really want them, but a lot of it depends on the person. Don’t give them to a smoker (my boyfriend smokes). Anyone who would wear mittens would probably wear those.

15. Gloves. I like these. (Yay!  These are the ones I wanted to make for him!)  Has a nice pattern. I think most people would wear them if they are glove people. You might be careful when giving them to a smoker because he might fray or burn them. Palm area l(seed stitch) looks interesting. Cable (on back of hand) is nice. The cuff part is nice, especially the length of it because most gloves for men stop lower, so it’s nice to see something that will actually go into the coat.

16. Diamond mittens. Great style, especially for smokers. The diamond pattern itself is alright. It needs something like velcro or a snap to try to keep the mitten part up when it’s not in use. Anyone who likes that style of glove would like these.

17. I met his friends vest. I met his friends, and now I want his friends to hate him. It’s old, it would be fine for a parent or grandparent. There may be some other guys who would like it, but it just looks old and like you want to keep him away from his friends. It’s something you’d want him to wear when he meets your friends or your parents.

18. Houndstooth vest. I like this one. The pattern is nice, I really like the neck. I think that’s one of the major detractions from the previous one. It’s a decent vest. I would enjoy it.

19. Zippy diamond vest. Like the scarf, I think the borders of the diamonds should be in a different color. I like the fact that it zips. Again, looks somewhat old, like for a parent or grandparent.

20. Cotton classic sweater. That’s not bad. I think most guys would probably be fine with it.

21. Half-zip pullover. Not bad. Ribbing is kind of nice. The neck is nice. It’s a decent sweater.

22. Diamond classic cardigan. I kind of like it because I like the pattern and cable work. Unfortunately there isn’t a good picture of it. I’d wear it, but it still looks like something a middle-aged person would wear.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of all of the patterns, but that gives you a reason to check out the book!  Even though Tim doesn’t like all of the patterns, I know other people who might like them. 

I absolutely love how the pattern instructions are laid out in this book.  There are lines separating sections of the pattern.  Instead of the instructions for a whole sleeve being in one paragraph, they are broken down in this book.  I think it makes the instructions much more clear and easy to follow.

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It worked!

Posted by Andi on April 3, 2007

I held true to myself after my last post.  I decided I was going to use my time watching 24 to work on Poinsettia, and I did.  It took me a minute to figure out where I left off, but soon I was back in the swing of it.  It might even be possible to finish that last sleeve tonight!  Yay!  Although I was dreading this project for weeks, just doing a few rows on a sleeve has raised my level of enthusiasm for this project.  If I knit no other times this week, my goal is to work on Poinsettia while watching The Shield tonight and Lost tomorrow night.

 I tried taking some pictures of what I have done so far, but they didn’t turn out very well.  The combination of poor lighting in my apartment, a bad camera, and black yarn led to very crappy pictures.  You will have to wait until it is complete to see some proper pictures, which is okay.  If it looks good on, you might even get a picture of me!

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I’ve lost my motivation

Posted by Andi on April 2, 2007

I haven’t worked on Poinsettia in weeks. I put it down to work on the iPod cozy (which I don’t use) and haven’t picked it up since. Before that I wasn’t very keen on it, and working on it was a chore.

I wonder why this is. So far I like the way the sweater is turning out. I think it will look funky, and I am looking forward to wearing it. If I don’t finish it soon, however, I won’t be able to wear it until next fall.

I’m much more excited about starting some socks or *finally* starting Lys. And I know what anyone who may be reading this must be thinking: “So, Andi, why don’t you put Poinsettia down and start a project you are more excited about?” The answer is, “Because I won’t ever pick it back up.”

I know this to be true. There are two other incomplete projects sitting around my apartment. One I started probably two years ago, the other I worked on last year. Neither is finished, and I have no plans to pick either of them back up any time soon. One I think I will get around to eventually, but I think I am just going to frog the other. If I don’t finish Poinsettia soon, it will suffer the same fate as these other projects. This would be a shame, because as I said before, I’m looking forward to wearing this sweater, unlike the sweater I plan to frog.

So tonight I’m going to make myself work on Poinsettia. I’m a good way through the second sleeve, and once I’m done with that, the knitting of major pieces will be complete! All that will be left is knitting the trim, the ties, and sewing seams. It’s not much. If it’s good maybe I can even wear it for Easter! (Yeah, I’m the sort of girl who would wear a black and fuschia sweater on Easter.) Then I can feel good about moving onto other projects.

In other news, I believe I’m going to start a knitting journal. A real journal. A paper journal. I’m still pondering that.

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