Tuesday, February 15, 2011
One of the things that I appreciate about handmade items is that they are not always perfect. They are beautiful but not necessarily without faults. It`s just the nature of handmade and I have embraced that philosophy when it comes to my knitting.
One example I can think of is the blanket I knit for Mike as a Christmas gift two years ago. It was my first and only blanket, so far anyways. You see, Mike has what I call a man cave in the basement. Once the boys are in bed, he disappears downstairs to the basement. I join him later in the evening. Before two years ago, I would find him wrapped in any old ratty blanket he could find, complaining of the cold. Well, it is a basement. So being a knitter, I saw my chance to make something for him that I thought he would actually use. I chose manly colours and I began to knit. (For those knitters out there, I knit it entirely in seed stitch. Great looking stitch but a pain in the arse to knit.) Since it was going to be a surprise, I only worked on it when I didn`t think he would see it. I stayed up late some nights, probably not late for some but late for me. And well, I may have fallen asleep once while knitting. The strange thing though is that I kept on knitting and for a 3 inch by 1 inch section in the middle of the blanket, I knit when I should have purled and purled when I should have knit. Oops. Even funnier is that I didn`t notice my goof until a couple of nights later. Well, I wasn`t about to frog the several inches that I had added to the length of the blanket since then. Somehow I had fixed my mistake, again probably in my sleep, so I left it as is and kept knitting. I embraced the mis-stitches and they became part of the story behind the blanket.
The rest of the story behind the blanket is that Mike was completely surprised even though he had caught me working on it a couple of times close to the end. When asked if he had any idea, his response is that he thought I was knitting a sweater for myself. Apparently, people, I am the size of a small beluga whale. He was actually doubly surprised. This part of the story is a little bit mean but I`ll tell you anyways because it`s also kind of funny. The blanket was huge. My mother and I put the blanket in a old cardboard box that a DVD player had come in. We giggled as we did this because we both knew Mike wanted a new DVD player and he just might think he was getting one when he saw the box. Yes, I admit it, this went through our heads and we giggled in anticipation. And yes, judging by the look on his face as I pushed the box towards him, he was thinking exactly that. Oh, the poor man. I think we laughed. Okay, we laughed. In our defense, we had been drinking champagne and orange juice and the look on his face as he opened the box and pulled out this huge knitted blanket was pretty funny. Confusion, sheer confusion. Anyways, in the end, he loves his blanket and I can find him wrapped up in it every cold winter night, sometimes even in spring and fall.
Once I began selling my hand knit items on Etsy, I had to stop embracing the mis-stitches. I could not with a clear conscience sell an item in which I had made a mistake. The item was as near to perfect as I could make it. I balanced this by sometimes making socks in which the stripes didn`t match. So much in life already has to match, sometimes you just need to rebel vicariously through your socks.
Since taking a step back from my Etsy shop, I have begun embracing the mis-stitches again. It began Friday night while I was knitting a pair of socks for myself. I was tired. (Note to self: Perhaps I shouldn`t knit when tired.) I noticed that I had messed up the pattern. I fixed my mistake to the point that I could continue but I left a little mistake, a little gaff. Just a little reminder of the night when I decided to start knitting for the fun of it again.
If you have made it to the end of this post, thanks for bearing with me. I really had not meant for it to be this long. I think it`s the glass of red wine talking.