"Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.” Jon Postel

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Knitting blog: Gifts Without Occasions

Two projects are off the needles this fall and in use. In both cases, they were gifts to people I love, just for the heck of it. In one case, I finished the gift on a happy night, so it turned out to be a gift that coincided with an occasion.

First: the Jacki scarf, designed by Nancy Marchant.

This scarf is knit in the brioche stitch, and Ms. Marchant is the world’s leading authority on this stitch. I knit a mohair sweater in brioche stitch years ago, so I’m no stranger to the cushy, double-faced rib-like fabric. Brioche also creates a reversible fabric, an attribute that appeals to me. I signed up for Ms. Marchant’s class at Craftsy.com, because I got a deal and because I like the class projects. After I was a few inches into knitting the Jacki scarf, I knew it was a gift. An inch or two more, and I knew it was a gift for my sister.

She loves quality clothes with good lines, and she always looks fantastic. Years ago I sewed her a kimono style jacket for Christmas, and she still has that jacket and wears it proudly. I realized that I’ve never given her anything I knit. It was past time to make up for that omission! It was especially appropriate because of she loves scarves madly, and loves a warm scarf best of all.

I gave her the scarf on the weekend I went down to Rochester to take a knitting course from superstar Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Julia was the person who encouraged me to put my name into the lottery for the course, so it seemed fitting to give her the scarf the day after the knitting class. We had a wonderful visit, and she loved the scarf, and I drove away realizing “DAMN! I forgot to take a picture!”

She sent me this picture that evening:

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Gift number two was a pair of socks for my husband. He loves my handknit socks, and was hinting for another pair. The same night I bought yarn for my sister’s scarf, I bought sock yarn in gray for him. The pattern chose itself: the one knitting pattern I can say that I have designed myself. The first time I knit the pattern in bright red, which meant I never got a good picture of the finished socks. There’s something about bright red yarn that screams at the camera, obliterating all detail. I’ve long wanted to reknit the socks in a color that could be more successfully photographed. With a good picture, I could create a nice PDF of the pattern and make it available to other knitters. Not only does gray photograph well, it’s also a color more suited to R.’s sensibilities.

I finished these socks on election night, soon after we knew that he had won re-election to his post as Town Supervisor with 71% of the vote. So maybe instead of calling these Dragonskin Socks (after the stitch pattern I used), I should call them Victory Socks. It was a fitting night to give him the socks, and I think that they fit him very well.

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I’m knitting another pair of socks as fast as I can for my stepmother. In fact, I’m picking up the needles again as soon as I post thjs entry. There is little that I can give her for Christmas, but I am seeing her next week, and maybe, just maybe, I will have a third gift to give this fall.

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