Saturday, November 28, 2015

How the Grinch stole Knitmas

It's not uncommon for people to say to a knitter, "oh that's sooo cute, I would love it if you made one for me!"

The truth of the matter is pure and simple. Some people are knitworthy, and some people are not. 

Every knitter can share scads of stories about spending insane amounts of time finding the perfect pattern, the perfect yarn, and the mind blowing numbers of hours putting your love in every single stitch (as in thousands upon thousands of stitches in socks and sweaters, for example) only to find the item cast aside by the recipient. 

Before you bust my chops and give the lecture about once a gift is given, it is the recipient's right to do with as they please, listen for a second. Intuitively I know this. But, in reality, the crafter is intimately tied to the project, unlike items you run out and buy from a big box. 

Over the years, my list of those deemed knitworthy has changed. There have been some HUGE learning curves to the development of said list. Early on, if someone said please, then I was Ado Annie fast to accommodate. Not so much anymore. 

A specific learning lesson came a few years ago. As a knitter that also spins, I have the distinct privilege of not only crafting an item, but also being able to create the yarn itself.  One year, I took the time to ask a group of knitting friends what their absolute favorite colors were. Then I spent hours searching for the perfect fiber blend in the perfect colorways for each person, then spent what seemed like every waking hour painstakingly hand spinning beautiful 4 oz blobs of gorgeous fiber into one of a kind skeins matched for each person. Then, I went a step further and found a couple of patterns they might like that matched up to the gauge and yardage of each skein. Sounds like a project full of love doesn't it?  It certainly started that way. Until two of the recipients sullied the whole thing by making unkind comments. 

We were on a group outing at a craft store when my first clue came, not only about how my gift might be received, but also about the true nature of their "friendship".  I had only recently quizzed them about color preferences, responding to questions about why I needed to know with just because I need to know (we were already in the habit of giving gifts and this was asked during the early planning phase of our Christmas party).  While looking at amigurumi knitting books, they began bantering back and forth comments along the lines of " what's your favorite animal and what's your favorite color???  I'll knit your favorite for you" and so on.  At face value, it would seem to be silly conversation, but the truth ran deeper.  Call me hypersensitive if you will, but true colors were shown in those comments. I learned. 

Since that time there have only been a few more incidents that have taken me aback.  There was a "friend" that came into possession of a fair amount of yarn. She is not a crafter, so she asked if I might like to have it. She sent it to me, and then the phone calls/texts started coming. "My niece is having a baby, would you use some of it to make a baby sweater?"  So I did...and a hat...and booties...and mittens. (There was a lot of one perfect yarn). Mailed it off and have not heard a single peep from her since. No acknowledgement that it was even received-it was, I checked the signature line on UPS tracking. Lesson learned, again. 

The moral of the story is that some people in your life are knitworthy and some are not. Even among those that ARE knitworthy, powers of discernment must be used when choosing yarn. I freely admit to being a yarn snob and prefer the quality and performance of higher end yarns. But there is a place for more budget friendly workhorse yarns...primarily for the silly/funny "oooooh please make it for me" projects my adult sons come up with. I know going in, it is a novelty item request and will be cast aside quickly. And that's okay.  As for others in my circle of knitworthy family and friends, know that much love goes in every single stitch. The time required to complete a project is precious, hard to find spare time that has been devoted solely to you. 

The overall moral of this story, is please be gentle with your fiber loving family/friends.  We love what we do and the love put into a project stays with it, so to speak. You can't buy love, which, of course, makes handmade gifts priceless. 

So, don't be the Grinch that ruins Knitmas (any time of the year). 

(Just because these two girls of mine have beautiful fleeces that may wind up as someone's gift next year. Bonnie and Latte say you are advance.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Yesterday morning as I was trudging across the pasture, thoughts of winter knitting projects were swirling through my mind.

Yes, I could finish the Peerie Flooers mittens that I started pretty close to two years ago. It would be ever so lovely to wear the gorgeous mittens with the matching hat that IS done!

Or I could pick up where I left off with the Modern Quilt Wrap.

Or for the sake of being honest, I could work on any of the other multiple projects that have been started, but not finished.  Every crafter knows that some days you feel like working in one craft medium and other days something else sparks your creativity.  It is a rarity for me to not finish something eventually (the exceptions being the Bee Keeper's Quilt...the stash of hexipuffs have been converted to cat toys...the pattern having been purged along with another project that I am so done with it went into the trash... yes I said trash).

But anywho...back to my mental ramblings.  As I was breaking through the ice in the buckets and the trough to make sure all the animals had accessible water and carrying a bucket with an icy cold handle, I had an epiphany.  I NEEEEEEEED new mittens. The multitude of mitts in my dresser would not suffice.

A couple of weeks ago, I had downloaded a copy of Lambing Mitts, because let's be real:  a)  when you like cats, people assume you are a crazy cat lady and want everything cat related, b) when you have chickens, people assume you are a crazy chicken lady and want everything chicken related, c) when you have sheep, people assume you are a crazy sheep lady and want everything sheep related, d) when you knit/spin, people assume you are a crazy OLD knitting/spinning lady and want everything knitting/spinning related.  You get the picture.  There's a whole lotta assuming going on and you know the saying about what happens when you assume. Confession, it is entirely possible that besides the fact that this pattern has everything I wanted in a fingerless mitt, I may have been sold by the name alone.

What is so great about these mitts?  Everything.  I prefer mittens over gloves because they keep my hands warmer, but let's face it, finger dexterity is critically hampered by them.  You can get the type of mitt known as a glitten...the top sort of folds back and hooks onto the top of the hand, but that makes for a big blob on your hand.  Totally fingerless mitts often stop at the middle knuckle and unless you extend the pattern, it is awkward to curl your fingers back in to stay warm.  This pattern has the best parts of both of those.  The garter rows at the finger area can be left unfolded to allow full finger coverage, yet still be able to stick fingers out, or they can be folded back to the middle knuckle area for more finger exposure but without the giant double layer of mitten top stuck onto the back of your hand!

Sold!  But wait, there's more!  My plan was to cast on during my Monday night Knit Night with some leftover Noro yarn.  This plan was very nearly foiled by the discovery that somehow in my rabid collecting spree of all the needles, I did not have any US7 circular needles that were 9-inches long.  Double point...yes...hate them...won't use them.  This potential crisis was averted by a quick trip to a LYS for some needles.  Did I get out of there without yarn also??? Why would you even bother asking?  Sitting on a shelf tucked out of sight, I spotted a skein of Casablanca yarn in neutral colors that mimic all of the fleece colors in my flock.  Must.have.  Wool, silk, and mohair?  Yes, please.  Single ply?  Not really a fan, but I will make an exception.

Nearly completed the first one during Knit Night.  The pair should be finished in short order.

...said every A.D.D. Crafter.


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