One of the phrases that I’ve embraced and been amused by is “knit worthy.” I like it for several reasons. It strikes me as kind of silly, to have a phrase like that, but it’s also very true. I’m always bemused by the low value that most people place on handmade items, such as those that are knit. Many a stranger has suggested that I sell whatever I’m currently working on, as if it’s a magical way to gain extra income–totally ignoring the hours of work I’ve put into it or the cost of the materials used. Acquaintances of friends of girlfriends of cousins of coworkers say, “Could you make me one?” when they see a hat or mitten, as if it’s some kind of instant and free thing I conjure up when asked. Others consider something handmade to be lesser than its mass-produced counterpart–“Why KNIT a sweater,” they scoff, “when you can BUY a sweater?”
When I first learned to knit, I was obsessed with knitting gifts. Any occasion seemed like the perfect occasion and any recipient was just the right recipient! Every pattern I looked at was so enticing to me that obviously it must be enticing to anyone who would receive the gift! I was so sure that there was a pattern for everyone, a yarn for everyone, and a finished project for everyone! They’d be delighted to have something handmade; they’d value it as much as I did!
I learned that just isn’t true. Some people that I love very dearly just aren’t as excited about yarn as I am. I don’t really understand it, but I can live with it~ ♥ Others may express gratitude upon receiving something, but they don’t really need such an item and ultimately it will lie forgotten on the floor of their closet until they donate things with their spring cleaning. That’s okay.
The flip side of this is that some people in my life LOVE receiving handmade knit items! My husband adores everything I make for him; he shuns store-bought hats and scarves in favor of even the oldest, rattiest things I’ve made for him when I was an unskilled beginner. My best friend happily outfits her baby in little sweaters and hats from my needles, texting pictures to me.
At this point, however, my stepsister is owning the “knit worthy” trophy. Not only does she wear the knit items that I’ve made for her, but her university friends recognize her wearing them frequently enough that a friend of hers described one of the scarves I’ve made. Gold star!
At Christmas I was knitting a hat, and she commented that she wished she had a hat (translation: hat made by me) in her university’s colours (purple & white) that she could wear at events.
In January, I spotted a beautiful skein of dark purple Malabrigo Twist in a local yarn shop, and that became that yarn that would be the hat. I selected the pattern Molly by Erin Ruth, because it combines waffle stitch (oooh, so soft and squishy) with a huge cable (yeahhhhh, huge cable). It was a great pattern and a really enjoyable knit–my only problem being that I did not have enough yarn to complete it with one skein and had to buy another…so there was quite a bit of the second skein left over when the hat was finished.
Looking at the remainder of the second skein, I knew that I wanted it to still be something for my little sister. I bought the yarn with her in mind, so I didn’t want to repurpose it for something else for someone else. I feel like most people generally enjoy fingerless mitts, and they don’t need a whole lot of yarn to make, so I’ve started a pair of fingerless mitts.
I wanted mitts that would match the hat, so I’m improvising the pattern. In general I am not an improviser. I prefer following someone else’s pattern, not making my own; I guess I just don’t have that much faith that I’ll be able to create a pattern that will result in a knit item. I finished one mitt, but I’m hoping I can replicate it enough to do the other! I thought about making them asymmetrical, with the cable only on one hand, but I think I’d prefer them with a cable on each. I’m concerned otherwise they won’t be the same size, due to the way that the wide cable impacts stretch.