Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday Knitting Revealed

We've reached the part of the show where the veil is removed and I bring forth the knitting I've been secretly working on the past few weeks. Ta-da!
And again, Ta-da!:

To be fair, this picture was taken pre-blocking, which improved its appearance quite a bit. And despite ample preparation time, I was only able to wrap one mitten for my mom this year. In my defense, I was using a very bad pattern written by someone with hands the size of Sasquatch. In the end, I nearly had a mitten completed when I decided that, no, my mother was not able to hide coconuts in her hands and that the mitten would not fit her. Even after blocking. So I nobly ripped it out, all of it, and started over with a mitten in the child's size. I was tempted to just knit the mittens and pass it off as a Christmas present, but I knew that they would simply sit in the hall closet, waiting for the day when a seven foot lumberjack came by looking for outerwear. Colorful Nordic outerwear. With artfully knitted snowflakes.

I'm about a quarter of the way done on the second mitten. I'll confess that I find it difficult to knit these mittens, not because it's hard technically, but because I find following a chart to be tedious work. I like a lot of repetition with my knitting. I like to be able to memorize what I'm doing and to just do it. I like a little detail to pay attention to, but at the end of the day when I'm coasting on the last fumes of energy, I don't want to spend it on following something with a lot of detail.

Sometimes I look at the knitting put out by the likes of the Yarn Harlot and I think, "Really? Is that FUN for you? Because I would be eating my hair after the second row." I wonder if it's a function of having small children. Maybe I'll be able to concentrate better when they're older and need less of my attention. I want to ask Stephanie if her knitting has changed since her children were small. Is she able to tackle more complicated projects now? Is she better able to follow a chart?

I bought a Dale of Norway shawl to knit for myself last summer. I got through a few rows (which I had to reknit, seriously, four times before I got it moving along) and I gave up. It was not technically too difficult. After I quit I even figured out a way to make it a little easier to follow, should I pick it up again. But the thought of following the chart and slogging through the whole pattern makes me want to sit on the floor and bang my head against the coffee table. I wonder if it will ever be better. I want to love the charts, but part of me wonders if my ability to focus on something will ever come back. I guess I'd better start taking fish oil more regularly. And maybe start working on finishing that mitten! My goal is to finish it before the end of winter. We'll see if I make it!


Stephanie said...

Yes. My knitting has changed a lot since the girls were little. Back then, I got a lot done, but it was simple stuff. I knit while they were in the bath (well. You just have to sit there) and while I waited for them to fall asleep and at the park...

Admittedly, I was still churning out some reasonably intricate stuff, but only after bedtime.

(It's worth mentioning too, that I have been knitting since I was 4. Let's see what's easier for you when you've got three decades of practice.)

Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to discover another person who also finds chart work tedious! I made my first foray into the Land of Lace Knitting last summer (thinking I'd knit a lacey table runner as a wedding gift for two friends) but it was an unmitigated disaster (those two friends ended up getting handknit hats--which they loved, fortunately!). I do most of my knitting while watching DVDs, tending to a toddler, or hanging out with friends, so anything that requires, um, paying attention is usually out of my league!

CJ said...

Like those socks? Those crazy insane utter madness leaf socks, the kit for which costs $38??? And the finished product is more weird-looking than attractive?

I like her writing and admire her knitting skill, but those socks are beyond the pale.