Sunday, October 29, 2006

Knitting Evangelism

I have a deep and incurable character flaw. I think that not only is it possible for everyone to knit, but that they would be happier if they did, and I do everything in my power to bring the power of knitting to every man, woman, child and genetically modified animal with opposable thumbs that I encounter. I have considered making up "learn to knit" kits with cheap needles and little balls of yarn so that when people come up to me and say "I wish I could do that," I can whip them out and say "Well now you can!" In fact the only thing that has prevented me from going through with it is that I can't stand the idea of someone learning how to knit on crappy needles and I can't afford better. Maybe I should write to Scacel and tell them that I could supply them with an endless supply of new knitters if they would supply me with several dozen pairs of 16" #8 better not, they might take me up on it.

Anyway, I have a friend...let's call her the terminal non-knitter, who blurted out within 10 minutes of meeting me (in a bar...where I was knitting a baby sweater for the viking nephew) that she was "not a fiber arts kind of person." She then went on to describe all of her fiber arts mishaps, how she's only used a sewing machine twice but has managed to sew through her finger, and break a needle which hit her in the cheek an inch below her eye. And about the repeated attempts that her mother has made to bring her over into the ranks of the knit-enabled, and how she finally gave up saying "maybe you're just not cut out for this..." So I of course thought to myself..."we'll see, we'll see...I give you 2 months before you're begging for it."

She held out though 5 months into our friendship she still hadn't so much as picked up a ball of yarn. It wasn't until I got her really drunk and let her wear the dreadlock hat that she finally broke down and said: "so how hard is it to make one of these things." Before she could sober up/change her mind I whisked her over to the LYS and loaded her up with yarn and needles and started her on her first swatch.

It's been three weeks now, and she has three inches of ribbing on a circular needle that is going to start sprouting little i-cords at any moment. I don't have to tell you how proud I am, I'm sure you can see the sparkle in my eye. There is only one problem.

She's having so much knitting related stress that I'm worried about her health. I think she suffers from the notion that if she doesn't hold on to her needles as hard as possible that the whole thing will unravel into a tangled mess of yarn that looks like something the cat chucked-up, and so she gets hand cramps. She's having dreams about being chased by giant knitting needles that "keep doing the wrong thing." I told her to take her ribbing off the needles and try it on the other day and she nearly had a heart attack...two heart attacks really, one after I made a throw away comment about how I thought the work she'd done so far "looked a little big," and one as she was slipping the needles out seeing all the loose stitches hanging out looking oh-so-frightening and unravelable. I'm torn basically. It makes me all gooey to see someone working on their first project, but at the same time I'm questioning a basically held belief...that being that everyone's life would be improved with the addition of some wool and a pair of needles.

I'm giving her another month and if she doesn't relax, I'm taking the needles away.

Ragnar...knitting cult recruiter

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Snakes on a hat...actual knitting, with pictures!!

So, I think I may have mentioned these hats that I've been making for a couple of years now...the neigh upon unwearable dreadlock hats? I think my obsession with dreadlocks stems from the fact that I could never actually commit to such a lifestyle changing hairdo..but they look so damn cool! So instead I wear strange hats. Like this..see? Oooo...Ragnar what long eyelashes you have....are you wearing mascara? The better to look in the photoshoot my dear. What photoshoot is that Ragnar? Well you see, I get so many comments (some of them even positive) when I wear the medusa/ravergrrl/dreadtastic hats that I decided I would write up the damn pattern and submit it for publication in an online knitting magazine...which will not be named here. It will not be named because in spite of the fact that I even wore make-up for the photoshoot (thanks very much to hippy-Jen for the fabulous photos) I received a very gracious "thanks but no-thanks" from the editor yesterday, and this is not a slam on knitty (oops!) post, 'cause they can pubish what they like, right? But the fact remains that I have now written a pattern for this neigh upon unwearable hat, and have to decide what to do with it.

This first thing that I realized is that since I don't follow patterns I have no idea how to write patterns, so I have no idea if this hat is actually knitable, or if I just have made so many of them at this point that I could make them in my sleep. So....anybody want to be a pattern tester? I've taught several people how to knit with this as their first project, so I don't think it's that hard, basically I just want to know if my instructions make sense, and if all the decreases line up in the right spot, etc.
And if you have any plane trips coming up soon you can knit it on the plane, and then you'll have snakes on a hat on a plane.....ooooooooo. yet unpublished.