Friday, 11 October 2013
Thursday, 22 August 2013
"The Knitter's Curse" is a catchy and all-too-true little ditty by The Savoy Ballroom. Unfortunately a number of the examples of "knitting" that appear in the video are actually crochet, but perhaps that's just The Savoy Ballroom going the extra mile to portray a knitter's life as realistically as possible.
Monday, 1 April 2013
When it came time to write a post for April Fool's Day, I cast around for some kind of knitted shenanigans. I googled for knitted jokes or knitted practical jokes to no avail; all I came up with some painfully unfunny knitting-themed cartoons and a lot of horrible projects that were probably designed and knitted in all seriousness. So I decided that today I'd feature some knitted items that look like an April Fool's jokes along with some accompanying tips to help you keep your projects from turning out like them. I got all these photos from the now defunct You Knit What??, which was operational between April 21, 2005 and August 3, 2006, and which was one of my sources of inspiration for the concept of this blog. I realized one night last November that it had been the only knitting blog I ever followed and that I still missed it more than six years after its last update.
The above picture is, of course, the first of my cautionary tales rendered in yarn. Knitting can't solve all your problems. If you suffer from self-hatred this abject, it's time to get some therapy.
One's sweater should not house more than three people.
These rainbow flag hotpants may be perfect for the Gay Pride parade, but if you're thinking of wearing them in everyday life... just remember, there are better ways to show gay pride and support for gay marriage, such as by knitting the Rainbow Pride Scarf I posted about two days ago, or by signing petitions, writing to your elected officials, and donating your money or your time to gay rights organizations. I think we can all agree that these will be more constructive and becoming actions than donning rainbow hot pants.
If you're making a sweater, make a sweater. Don't get too lazy to make the whole thing and think no one will notice.
If you're a male knitter, know that you don't have to prove your masculinity to anyone. You are armed with two pointed pieces of metal, and you can make a cashmere sweater for anyone you're dating, which will get you thanked in kind. You're not only a man, you're the man. Put away those phallic size 50mm knitting needles.
One's knitted outfit should not land one on the endangered species list.
One's knitted dress should not look like it was knitted out of bathmat.
One's knitted hat should not give anyone retina burn.
Don't think you're immune to Christmas sweaters because you're not Christian. Ugly holiday sweaters are equal opportunity.
Don't knit for your pets. Or at least not for your cat. It'll all be fun and games until you wake up in the night and find Malibu Tabby here is eating your face.
Don't let your fingerless gloves migrate to any other part of your body.
Don't get so anxious to use up your stash that you put it all into the same garment, willy nilly.
Felting is not some magical process that turns a horrible knitting project into a good one.
Sewing buttons randomly all over a badly shaped and fitted item won't turn it into a cute, smart item.
Porn stars don't have to knit their own costumes. If your director is telling you otherwise, it's time to get a new agent.
If the model has to adopt some tortured pose to keep her top from falling off, so will anyone you make this for.
Some things should never be made from yarn. Like jewelry. And hair.
If you're a female knitter, I am sure you've heard of the Sweater Curse. Well, it's nothing compared to the Poncho Curse. Knit your man any poncho, let alone one that matches yours, and suddenly he'll move to a new country because he "needs some space", then he'll change his name, join some sort of right-wing militia, and claim your two children aren't his because he's never met you before in his life and besides, that he's gay.
Adding a furry bra to a sheer sweater isn't going to make it look more modest, but rather less so. Just wear a cami tank under that bad girl.
Don't use your knitting to discipline your children. It will mean you'll have to start a therapy fund for each of them as well as a college/university fund. And you've got yarn to buy.
I hope we've all learned a little something today.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Lo these many years ago, or in the fall of 1993 and of my second year in college to be exact, I had a boyfriend who was a composer and a piano player. He asked me to knit him a piano scarf. I thought piano scarves were terribly tacky, but I dutifully drafted a pattern and began knitting the scarf with the idea that it would be his Christmas present. Then we broke up in early December.
I finished the piano scarf shortly after the break up (it looked almost exactly like the one depicted above, though the one I made didn't have the colour reversal on the second side), and then had to decide what to do with the scarf. I sure as hell didn't want to wear it. Normally I'd have ravelled it out, but as a poor student, I'd used some cheap acrylic sport weight, and it just didn't seem worthwhile to spend a couple of hours ripping the whole thing out in order to salvage that yarn. I knew none of my friends would want it, even if I could bring myself to give it to them. I contemplated just giving it to my ex, but he hadn't behaved that well and we weren't really on speaking terms. I finally offered it to my sister, who plays the piano. She took it, but unenthusiastically. I think the scarf wound up in the dress-up box my parents kept at their place for when my nieces and nephews came over. It may still be there, though it would be much the worse for the wear by now.
After the piano scarf fiasco I resolved that I would never again make anything that I really didn't like myself, no matter how much someone else wanted it, that instead I would aim to make items that both the recipient and I would be happy with. I've not only kept that resolution, but enhanced it. I don't think I ever again knitted something with such poor quality yarn, and over the years the patterns I choose have gotten more complex and better designed. Somewhere along the way I arrived at the conviction that I'd rather make a handful of things that I can really be proud to wear or give away than dozens of items that are nothing special.
In late 2006, many years after that piano scarf project ended on such a sour note, my ex and I reconnected via the internet, and after a profuse apology from him, we soon got to be on the friendly terms we still enjoy six years later. In the spring of 2007, when I was shopping for a used piano on Craig's List, I asked him if he'd help me with my purchase by vetting pianos for me. He did, even spending one of his Saturday afternoons to go to South Etobicoke with me and assess the piano I eventually bought.
I promised him something knitted for a thank you present. My ex again asked for a piano scarf. I started laughing and told him about the piano scarf he'd never gotten or even known about, and he was disappointed, saying he wished I'd given it to him. However, he was very pleased with the scarf I did make: a reversible cabled design in a silvery gray yarn that went very well with the black wool pea coat he wore in winter, and that set off his prematurely silver hair.
Over the years there have been a few other occasions when I tried to knit something for a man for Christmas and the project had some farcical outcome. In the fall of 2004, I began to knit a intricately cabled scarf out of a beautiful gray blue wool for a man I was dating, but he called me one night in early December to tell me he didn't want to see me anymore. As soon as we hung up, I sat down on my kitchen bench and grimly ripped out what I'd got done of the scarf, and not long after used the yarn for something else.
In the fall of 2008 I knitted a pair of cashmere socks for a man I cared a lot about (we weren't going out, but had grown close and had what I believe are euphemistically called some "moments"), and sent them to him, along with some other things, as a surprise gift for Christmas. He wouldn't even open the box, and offered to return it, saying he felt it had "strings attached". He did later apologize for his reaction, and added belated, cursory thanks for the gift, but never told me whether he'd opened the box or what he thought of the contents. For all I know he is still staring at it in paranoid suspicion, or just threw it in the dumpster.
Knitters joke about the "sweater curse", which dictates that if a knitter begins a sweater for a partner, the relationship is doomed to end before the sweater is finished. This curse is not supposed to apply to scarves or socks, but then I seem to be especially luckless. Heaven knows what would have happened if I'd ever gotten so far ahead of myself as to knit a sweater for a man I was dating. However, at least I can say that over the years the lesson of the piano scarf has proved a good one, with far-reaching applications.
Knitting for others, like being in a relationship, requires an awareness of and a sensitivity to what the other person wants, but it's never a good idea to lose sight of what you want, to just do what the other person wants, or to put in too much effort and give too much of yourself to someone who won't even give you respect in return. Keeping these principles in mind won't guarantee that all my projects will turn out well or that I'll never get hurt, but it does mean I can count on feeling some pride and satisfaction in what I've done, and that I'll be able to salvage something from the situation. While I might very well get left alone and with an unfinished project anyway, at least I'll know I've done right and can put the experience and yarn gained to good use. And I won't be left holding a piano scarf.