Archive for June 12th, 2010

Today’s post (with relevant pictures) is about knitting. Because knitting is not just one of my favorite hobbies, but also one of my creative outlets and one of the reasons I don’t hurt stupid people. First, some pictures.

Casey told me to do a "Vanna White impression".

I think this one kind of looks like I'm accepting an award.

Close up of a bald doll wearing a half-finished sweater.

Sorry about the blurriness, my camera is six years old and attempting to die a slow and awkward death. At any rate, this is one of Casey’s dolls, Yasuo, who I am knitting a sweater for. This is in part to test knit so I can knit sweaters for other dolls (for profit), and in part because she asked nicely. This was to see if the first finished sleeve fit him properly, otherwise I would have had to rip it out and start over. Thankfully it worked fine, so now I can knit the second sleeve. It also ended up being too short, so once the second sleeve is done I have to rip out the bottom and knit it down a bit longer (which is no big deal). This doll normally isn’t bald, but it was easier to take his head off to put the sweater on, and Casey decided to leave his wig off because it would be funnier.

For those with knowledge of knitting, this is sock yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, to be exact, I got it for 75% off) knitted on size 2.5 mm needles. My next project is to knit doll-sized socks with ultra fine lace weight yarn on size 000 needles. Yes, I am crazy, and do enjoy making tiny things.

I started knitting in college, because I was bored one day and my friend Eva, who had just learned to knit a few months before from her mother, was knitting something, and I asked her to teach me. A few days later she took me to Walmart and we got some yarn and needles and off I went. I picked it up pretty quickly, I’ve always been good with crafty things (I used to do rudimentary beadwork, I probably could’ve gotten further with that but ended up giving it up, ditto with macrame). I spent the first eight months knitting five million simple scarves, because I was nervous about trying a new thing, but eventually I ended up trying a hat pattern (not an easy one, either, it involved cabling, grafting AND picking up stitches, which were all intermediate level skills to me at the time) and from there I was hooked on knitting in the round. I love cables, and lace patterns, but I also enjoy things that are fairly simple and/or lots of the same thing over and over, as they make good TV-watching knitting (some lace patterns are so complicated I can’t do anything but concentrate on them).

For those not familiar with knitting, knitting is the one that involves two needles, crocheting is a single hook. In knitting there are two main stitches, knit and purl, and every pattern and other kind of stitch is derived from them. Yarn comes in all shapes and thicknesses, ranging from almost as fine as thread to roughly as thick as a AA battery (that’s extra bulky yarn). The thickness of the yarn also determines what size (circumference) needles you use for it. Some knitters knit tightly, some knit loosely, and so needle size for any given yarn is a range, depending on the knitter. There are also several different basic knitting techniques, involving which direction you knit, how you hold the needles, and so on. No technique is “better” than another, as long as you end up with a knitted object at the end of the project.

Knitting a whole object is not something that someone can do in an afternoon, unless they’re using very large needles and bulky yarn. For instance, the sweater pictured above (which is still not finished) has taken me about three weeks so far. This is partly because I’m going slowly as I’m testing the pattern to make sure it works, and taking lots of notes as I go. I’ve also paused to try it on the recipient more than once. So while there’s definitely a factor of taking my time, I still don’t think I could complete it in any shorter period than perhaps two weeks. And that’s just for an item that size. How long do you think it would take me to knit a scarf? Or a human-sized sweater? Granted, different people knit at different speeds, and I’ve known a few people who could knit a bulky sweater in about three days (of constant knitting), but they aren’t typical.

Knitting is one of my main forms of stress relief. Many a time I’ve wished I could knit at a job just so I wouldn’t want to punch people in the face. I tend to knit slightly faster and tighter when I’m stressed as well, which means those who know me can generally figure out when to shut up and leave me alone. Plus there’s the fact that, even though I haven’t actually done it, I have threatened to jab people in sensitive places with my needles. Those buggers can be sharp. There are numerous icons and buttons out there that say “I knit so I do not kill people” and that’s definitely true for me, except I’d be more likely to maim them and then let them crawl away than outright kill them. Because killing is wrong. ;D

I get pissed off when people say things about knitting being for old people or “lonely women with lots of cats” or what have you. Have you ever googled “knitted banana hammock”? Go ahead, I dare you. Go on, I can wait.

Do those look like anything your grandma would knit? Even if it does, do you even want to THINK about your grandma knitting that? How about the Vlad the Impaler hat? Or knitted edible underwear? Or, for the geek in your life, a Mario Chain Chomp Hat?

I sure as hell wouldn’t want to think of anyone my grandmother’s age knitting any of those, for various reasons. Make a note: this is what happens when you stereotype. You get to watch your own brains melt out your ears at the thought of your grandmother knitting a vibrator cozy. Of course, you could always get Grams a copy of Domiknitrix for her birthday. I’m sure that wouldn’t be awkward at all. Or, y’know, just stop thinking anyone who knits has to be an old lady who lives alone with fifty cats.

Because I only have one cat, thank you, and I can do serious damage with these needles if I’m forced to. Now I think I’ll go knit a few rows while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Read Full Post »