chapeaux et cadeaux

February 8, 2010

i have this pet peeve.
i hate it when people point out a problem in the world, going on and on, and never propose a solution. it drives me nuts and i seem to encounter the phenomenon on a regular basis.

and yet, i kinda did that in my last post

sorry. it was a bitch ass move on my part.

so i propose my real tangible solution to startitis/knitting sluttery


let me explain . . .

finishing a given knitted object is the best way to curb startitis because it reminds one of such joys as, choosing a bind off or contemplating the best method for blocking. if nothing else, it gives the illusions to those non-knitters in your life that you actually do make things, and can create a good level of envy in your fellow knitters who have been toiling away on their tomten for six months.

so why hats?
first because i get to indulge my startitis by casting on something new but i can usually whip one out in a day thereby reminding myself that finishing something feels deeply better than the fleeting sugar buzz high of casting on. they’re also perfect for a forgotten birthdays or the pushy non-knitter aquaintence who wants you to make something for them. And luckily, i have my own basic recipe gleaned from many sources if i can’t find a pattern i like.

this fix of mine does of course presents its own set of problems.

the first, and most obvious, is fit.
(self explanatory i think but just in case: what if the hat doesn’t fit the person? i might do a gauge swatch for a sweater, i’ll even wash and dry it. but i’ll be damned if i’ll do one for a hat. besides, most of the hats i knit are for people i can’t measure anyway.)

the second, and most emotionally trying, is appreciation.
(will the non-knitter understand how much of you got put into this and how crazy fast you knitted it up for them? and if for a knitter, will they only see that twisted stitch and bad color jog, or will they see the love in each spiraling decrease?)

the third and most important, is whether or not the person you are sending your gift/hat to (often a non-knitter god bless ’em) understands how important it is that they take a photo of themselves wearing the hat so you don’t have a white square on your ravelry project page. (i call it the white square of death, but perhaps i’m more anal than most about their ravelry)

for example,
i knit this turn a square hat as a thank you/birthday gift:

Travis is a knitter and therefore photos promptly arrived in my inbox

(note the happy smile of knitterly appreciation)

and i knit this simple beanie (my recipe) for my good friend Kevin:

he does love his hat, and has worn it regularly for months now. however, he is not a knitter (the dear), and after months of begging, it was only when he came for a visit that i was able get the shot. (my ravelry page is that much more complete >maniacal laughter<)

note, not the glee of a knitter, but the toleration of a good friend willing to stand in the snow without a coat so the crazy knitter friend can put a photo on the internet and possibly blog about it.

my solution to these hat problems . . . prayer? that bottle in freezer?

i suppose any solution can be a problem in sheeps clothing and the only real answer is distraction.

so here loves, look at this pretty shiney handspun pghrachell made me on her brand new wheel.

7 Responses to “chapeaux et cadeaux”

  1. V. Says:

    As a non-knitter, I live in awe.

  2. Yvonne Says:

    As a knitter, and a coworker, and a friend, I like how you mention someone’s TOMTEN (snicker)…yet fail to mention the Shetland Tea Shawl. 😉

    Seriously, I think hats are a great solution. So are dishcloths, but there’s only so much kitchen cotton anyone can take.

  3. Rainy Daisy Says:

    yarn = pritty. Daisy like.

    I agree. Complaining has reached new heights – possibly to an art form. Fortunately, there are crafty problem-solver-types like us to fix everything. Or at least to knit until the problem goes away.


  4. RobinH Says:

    Here via your comment on the YH blog, and had to chuckle…I’m having a severe attack of children’s mittens right now for exactly this reason…need to finish things!

    (And my solution for sizing hats- I knit ribbed hats for people I’m really guessing on for size. And to knit a hat for myself, I first knitted a trial hat in the same yarn…tried it on (too small), checked the gauge and then cast on the one for me with more stitches…)

    Regarding fair isle- Stephanie uses two-handed technique- she talks about it in her post here:

    I’m not the kind of expert that Stephanie is, however: I find that colorwork does tend to cinch in, but there are a couple of things one can do. Turning the work inside out helps, especially with smaller diameter projects, as the strands are forced to be looser. The other thing is to make sure you spread out your stitches on the needle each time you carry the yarn behind. Then every few floats check that it’s staying loose and unstretched, and work a bit more yarn through if it’s tight. This is irritating at first but you quickly fall into the habit of keeping tension loose. My gauge in stranded knitting is still always tighter than plain stockinette in the same yarn though.

    Hope it helps!

  5. Marea Says:

    I slipped over from the Yarn Harlot blog to suggest putting the stranded side out while knitting with lots of colors. Then the strands are a little longer and can be tensioned more easily and you’ll have fewer tangles.

  6. bitchesgetstitches Says:

    i’m definitely going to knit it inside out now. thanks for the advice!

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