And this is why i knit (for other people)

Since I got to the UK and have been able to show off my skill with needles and hook to a whole new batch of friends, I’ve heard the following comment a lot…

“oooh, you could sell those”

or a variation on the theme…

“Have you ever thought about selling things?”

To which I sometimes smile and just say no, or sometimes explain i tried that and it was hard, or for my closer, more patient, actually want a response friends, I explain that actually, what people would pay versus the time and money I invest would make it a pointless exercise.

But the real reason is this.

I am a selfish knitter. I knit for pleasure, so I can take pride in showing off something I created with my own hands, so I can have something that is exactly how I want it (most of the time) and to pass hours that I would otherwise feel are wasted (or my excuse to watch television).

And because of this, when I do knit for other people, it is for one reason and one reason only. Because I care.

The wonderful Yarn Harlot posted today about the love that goes into a knitted present and how it stays with it. How wrapping oneself up in a handknitted gift really is like a woolly hug. And this is exactly how I think about knitting for other people. For both family and friends, and for new little people who don’t even realise that the thing that is keeping them warm is doing so in more ways than one. Even when I take requests, I accept them because I know that the finished object will not only be valued, but will be a reminder of my love and affection. (seriously, my most recent request I argued against receiving any kind of payment, but the recipient objected!)

I have only been in England a year, but I have made 3 gifts for people here and a few for little people back home. You’ve seen Kylie’s hat and I told you about John’s winter set and now here’s the third…

Fade Fingerless Gloves
or “Proper Thug Mitts” as Sam put it

After knitting Kylie’s hat, I offered to knit something for Sam for his christmas/birthday present (as the two events bookend the coldest part of the year). He asked for some mitts in purple and black and I immediately thought of this pattern* (as I have done it before for another male friend* of mine with great success)

It took me a while to find the right shade of purple in the right kind of yarn, but i finally did just after christmas and in less than a week I whipped up a pair of mitts for my dearest, dearest Sam.

I was worried they might be a bit snug, but he loves them!

And I love him.

See how this works?

 

 

*ravelry link

A Present (and some other FOs)

I decided this year to take on a great undertaking. I decided around easter that i would knit my father a garment. His birthday is in December which is a) close to christmas and so a present of this type would interfere with xmas knitting and b) the middle of summer and not condusive to a great reception of a knitted item. So I decided to do something for Father’s Day instead.

One knitted garment i remember my dad wearing (that my mother made) was a maroon and blue striped zip up cardigan. It was in a chunkyish yarn with wide stripes and he wore it ALL THE TIME! so I decided to do something similar… I chose Avast from Knitty, a lovely raglan sleeve zip up jackety cardigan with a simple cable along the bottom. I splurged and bought Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran for the project (no one tell dad how much  it cost!!) in a gorgeous denimy dusty grey blue which i knew would work with Dad’s blue eyes – since they’re the same as mine!

The hardest part was choosing a size. I couldn’t measure him, since he lives in a different state, and I wanted it to be more or less a surprise so didn’t ask mum to measure him. (he’d seen the colour, but that was it). eventually i did ask him to measure one of his favourite loose fitting jumpers (relaxed) to get a size idea. At first he said 22″ across. Then he measured under the armpits (cos i asked ‘was that across the chest?’) and said 24″. This of course gave me 44″ and 48″ chest sizes. The L and XL sizes. bugger. Which to choose. I decided to err on the size of caution and knit the larger one, freaking out the WHOLE time about it being too big because men, are, well, BIG, and i’ve never knitted for a man before!

So the whole thing knitted up in less than 5 weeks (with time off because of my stupid sore wrist and a funeral – not related events) and then i blocked it, seamed and hemmed it and finally sewed in the zip (eep!) with a week left before i would see Dad in NZ (the perfect place to give someone a warm knitted gift!) I highly recommend it as a knit and the yarn was super super soft!

And then I got to give it to him. The reaction was, as i expected, somewhat reserved. It’s one of the reasons i haven’t knitted a garment for him before now – i know he’s not a gusher and i like gushing when i make gifts! lots and lots of praise! but, he put it on and said it was very soft and warm and while i voiced my fears that it might be too large, he said if it was meant to be more of a jacket than a cardigan (which it is) it was fine.

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I do think it’s too big – not a lot, but enough to notice, and mum agrees (I think dad said to her that it might be bit too big). SO! what to do! Mum has suggested putting in false seams down the sides to take it in a little. The length is actually fine, but dad slumps, so it looks too long at the front but fine at the back. The sleeves there are two choices – either pop a bit of elastic in the hem so that they stay loose, but don’t sit over the hands, or rip back and reknit the hem shorter. It’s stockinette so that would work fine and the hemming is surprisingly easy (and neat)

Anyway, he didn’t show mum until he had sufficient time to ‘show her properly’ (he worked pretty much ALL day the 2 days after he got back from NZ) which means he thinks it’s important enough to warrant full attention. That’s a good sign. And if nothing else he will DEFINITELY wear it for walking the dog on cold mornings. lol. But I’m going to Adelaide for a wedding weekend after next so i will take the left over yarn and mum and i will analyze! I would only have to do the sleeves – mum would do the seams!

But enough about knitting for other people! what am i? a generous, unselfish knitter! nope! I am a (mostly) selfish knitter and there are a few other FOs for me!

I finished the Knitalong Project the Richmond Knitter’s decided on for June – the Clapotis.  I worked it in some handdyed sock yarn, a blend of angora, bamboo and silk from the incomparable Charly of Ixchel. ( I do heart her!). The colourway was called Timeless Clock from her Alice in Wonderland themed batch and I had two skeins totalling about 750- 800m. I ripped back once, deciding i’d made it too wide (and thus too short) and in the end I’m glad i did, because it’s just about perfect. The whole time I worried it would be too short, but after a block (which has given the bamboo such LOVELY drape) it sits beautifully. It’s definitely more a scarf than a shawl but it will be perfect for spring!

I can’t get the richness of the colours in a photo – they blend together much better than they seem to here.

The other major project I’ve finished is the Mary Jane from Twist Collective. It’s designed by the girls from Zephyr Style and it’s the second pattern of theirs i’ve knit, the other being my Ms Marigold. I used our new Adorn Cotton Cashmere DK from work in a lovely musky pink. It’s turned out a little larger than i’d like, but it goes through the dryer like a dream and that just tightens up all the stitches and makes it sit beautifully! I kinda love it (although am very jealous because it looks even better on penelope_waits!) I don’t have a FO photo, and none of it on, but here’s the beautiful stitch definition!

I am now working on the Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf from Interweave Knits in the delicious buttery Malabrigo. mmmmmmmm. sooooo soft and smooooooshy. I LOVE it! It’s almost finished, I’m about halfway through the hood and then i think i might be starting Christmas presents, starting with the snapdragon flip top mitts for my cousin.