Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fiber #29 // Seeing Double

So ... I knit my mom a sweater for Christmas.


When commuting 3.5 hours/day on public transportation, that translates to very little sewing and very much knitting. I had casually mentioned to my mom that I could knit her a sweater, and was, admittedly, a tad shocked when she took me up on the offer. Erg, really? OK. We cast about for a pattern for awhile, and then I brought my Trina into her room and asked her to try it on for fit, and it seemed like it would work well as a base pattern, with modifications.


First off, we lengthened it a good deal, so that it is no longer a cropped cardigan but a long-ish one. We also stranded two yarns together, a gray and a brown, to create a soft, marled, heathered look. The nice thing about doing this with two neutrals is that the finished product really does go with everything. Then, I did gads of short row shaping. Please don't ask me to recall what I did because I can't remember anymore. We tried it on as we went along, and I marked spots with safety pins to indicate what needed to dip more and where, and mentally crossed my fingers that I would remember how much and when to stop and try it on her again.

I am not going to lie, this was a beast of an undertaking. Even though I was knitting on large-ish needles (size 8's), this is much bigger than anything I've ever knitted before. And I wasn't even making it for me! Haha. Also, I had to reknit an entire sleeve that I somehow made 3 inches too narrow (I know, don't ask, I have no idea how that happened, either). And the thing about winging a patten is that you really can't go on autopilot, so there were nights where I was mentally too tired to pick this up and have a go at it. In fact, in the course of working on this, to give myself little "breaks" I started and completed one scarf, got 85% through another one, and dashed off a couple scarflets to boot. Don't judge me and my knitting obsession, I've been commuting 3.5 hours/day by public transportation.


Whereby I further my matching-but-not syndrome! (MBNS?) The button was a vintage one my mom bought for $0.49, maybe 35 years ago? I love that.

Oi, but I've told her that I love her very much, and will not knit her another sweater for two years. If only because my dad got really excited and put in a request for a vest. Aaaaaaaah ... actually, he asked for a sweater and I'm trying to talk him down to a vest. Well, if he's OK with holding off for next year, I might develop a bout of amnesia and agree to a sweater anyways. I can't help it, I need to do a certain amount of selfish crafting or else I tend to lose motivation. Isn't that horrible? But ... isn't it also ... honest?

10 comments:

poet said...

Same here! I need to selfishly craft for myself, with a piece for someone else in-between now and then, else it's no fun! The sweaters both look great!

Cheers,
poet

Violet said...

I much prefer to create for myself too - partly because I might be the only one who appreciates the effort required to make the thing, partly because even if it all goes horribly wrong I'll still wear it but someone else probably wouldn't.

willywagtail said...

Things that are spur of the moment are so easy and fun but specific requests can be really hard. Having said that, your Mum looks really warm in her jacket and I am sure sh should get heaps of wear out of it. Maybe you could use matching wool for your Dad's - you know - him and hers matching clothes. Great that you are not wasdting your commute time. Cherrie

Sigrid said...

Very sweet. I love how they are mother/daughter sweaters, but not matchy. And the idea of two neutrals is really quite beautiful in a way that knitting with one or the other would not be. Knitting for men? They are just too big and look so bad in bulky knits (I think). I won't make sweaters for my husband because I know it might be damaging to the relationship (he's picky and I can be resentful). Besides he adores the handmade socks. BUT, if my father were alive to knit for. . . I might change my tune.

Diary of a Short Girl said...

I can't believe you knit that!! It looks store bought! Great blog!

diaryofashortgirl.blogspot.com

Minnado said...

I like making things for myself. I have a friend who keeps saying she wants me to sew her clothes but doesn't want to pay for the fabric or notions. I am not mean but my money is tight and I just cannot afford to buy fabric for her. So is that horrid? I don't mind sewing for my kids though or my partner. And I am happy to do little knitting presents. The sewater are great, I like how they are similar but not identical. I like the button history too. BTW, your mum looks very pretty.

Zonnah said...

Your mom looks adorable in it! You are becoming quite the knitter :)

Amy said...

Oh, great sweater! Suits your beautiful mama perfectly.

(And Minnado: Your friend wants you to sew for her but won't buy the supplies? Um, no, it is most definitely *not* horrid of you not to buy them for her. In fact, if I were asking such a thing of a friend, I'd most likely offer to pay her/him for the labor, on top of buying the supplies. Sheesh.)

Stephanie N. said...

Oh, yes... if I didn't sew for myself now and then, it would take a lot of the joy out of it. The side-by-side shot of you and your mom in your sweaters is adorable.

P.S.: Minnado: This friend of yours doesn't sound like a very good friend. And she hasn't offered any kind of exchange, either? Maybe she could bake cookies or something for you as a thank-you, at least? I hope you are not being used in a one-sided friendship. I have found myself in such situations before (I'm a sucker, I admit it), and they have end in sadness and bitterness. :-( I hope your friend turns around and realizes that she is lucky to have a friend like you who would even consider using your skills and time to make something for her. The least she can do is pay for the supplies.

Jodi said...

Your mom's sweater looks great! I am very impressed that you can wing it like that(and still so jealous of your knitting skills).