I don't like to think of myself as narrow-minded. I appear from the outside to be a typical middle-class gal in a traditional family arrangement: I'm of European descent (white), I'm a little over-educated, I married fairly young, I currently stay home to take care of my child, and I've never dyed my hair or pierced anything but my earlobes. However, I consider myself accepting of and open to many ideas, kinds of people, ways of life. I won't judge you because you're gay or mentally ill or smoke pot or listen to Céline Dion (though I will wonder why) or live in a bus or dropped out of high school...you get the picture. I do get my knickers in a twist over certain grammatical errors, but we'll leave that for now.
It's a little different when it comes to knitting. I mean, I don't begrudge anyone their fun fur ponchos (though I think that trend has largely come to an end, thank goodness), but I have my own definite preferences. I knit with wool, occasionally acrylic blends (though I hate to admit it), and rarely cotton. I like stripes, but I don't get excited about color knitting. I won't do fair isle unless it's a small item like a hat. I love cables and textured knitting. I don't like yarn that is bulky, thick-n-thin, or self-striping, and I'm very picky about variegated. In other words, give me plain-jane wool in a solid color and a pattern for aran anything, and I'll be happy for weeks.
This is not to say these are rules etched in stone. You may remember the sbarf. I also recently made another scarf that violates every one of those principles, and I totally love it.
Bulky yarn? Check. (3.25 stitches = 1" on size 11 needles). Contains acrylic? Check. (About 50%) Self-striping? Check. Thick and thin yarn? Check. The thing is, I wanted a scarf with pockets out of soft, pretty yarn, and 3 skeins of Berocco Foliage and 3 days later, I got it. Let's hear it for instant gratification, shall we?
Now, about the "hardly ever knitting with plant fibers because it makes my hands tired" thing. There's this baby I've been wanting to knit something for for several months now. She's due in March, and her expectant mother is a woman I barely know, though she's a very close friend of a dear relative of mine. This woman - we'll call her "B" - has not had an easy life by any stretch of the imagination. She's also preparing to be a single mother, which I think is very, very brave. For all the complaining I do about how hard it is to be a parent, I ought to just shut up because I know a lot of incredible women out there who have done it or are doing it on their own (like this one, for example) and it's amazing to me that they manage at all, much less do it well. There are a lot of unusual circumstances in B's situation; a lesser person would not have survived the kinds of things she's been through. So I'm knitting her daughter-to-be a little pink cotton dress because she's the kind of person that deserves it.
The pattern is Debbie Bliss (of course) and the yarn is Paton's Grace, 100% mercerized cotton in "ruby." Why cotton? Because B lives in a place with warm springs and hot summers and I wanted to make something her baby girl can wear soon. This yarn feels like string coming off the skein, so I thought knitting would feel like a chore. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it knits up. Sure, it's a little slippery, but it's soft and never splits. For once in my life I did a proper swatch and test-washed it and everything and wouldn't you know, it came out of the washer dryer with the exact same gauge as when it went in, despite the admonition on the label to "hand wash and lay flat to dry." (It's important to test these things for baby clothes, you know. Not everyone's willing to hand wash something every time it gets spit up on.)
If you've been paying attention the last several days, you may recall that I also have some of this yarn in pale pink:
(There's some sock yarn there, too. Don't ask why. I just got it.) I guess I just thought "why stop with one?" Stuart's cousin is expecting a baby girl in May, so I figure I'll make her one, too.
One last thing. Steph asked in comments what I would do with a small amount of Grace. Depends on how much there is. Debbie Bliss has a baby tank top pattern you could probably make with a 1.5-2 skeins if you made a small size; I think it's in the Baby Knits Book (sorry, tired of links by now). Otherwise, I might do a lacy hat - not for warmth, but for cuteness - or perhaps a useless-but-adorable little bag to hold a sachet or pacis or something. Anyone have other ideas?
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