In which I am branded a loose knitter

Published on Sunday January 27th, 2008


I finally brought about the trifecta of Mr. Garter’s Christmas slippers, Mr. Garter’s feet, and the camera in a decent pool of light. These are the Saturday Morning Slippers from Kristin Spurkland’s The Knitting Man(ual), and I’m proud to say that Mr. G has been wearing them regularly since the 25th of December. The yarn is Steadfast Fibers Wonderful Wool in driftwood and groovy green above, and the Wonderful Wool driftwood carried with Green Mountain Spinnery mystery wool on the sole. The Wonderful Wool is basically Lamb’s Pride’s plant-dyed cousin from a little company in Idaho – it’s an Aran-weight wool blended with 15% mohair, and it makes excellent mittens and slippers and wears like iron. I don’t even like to think about how long it’s been in the stash, but now it’s keeping my husband’s feet nice and toasty.

This project was more of a wrassle than a knit: two strands of worsted on size 8 needles in a twisted garter stitch is enough to make your hands beg for mercy. But I fought through them, and since I wasn’t sure there was anywhere in the house I could dry a dense woolen garment in two days without the recipient finding it, I got a little creative with a toolbox and the dehumidifier in the stock room at Knit/Purl. I’m here to tell you there’s no faster way to dry your handknits than to suspend them over the dehumidifier from the handles of two hammers balanced on the fuse box. They were bone dry the next morning and ready for wrapping. It’s nice to have an option for sturdy slippers that doesn’t involve felting. And Mr. G’s pleasure in wearing them means the pain was worthwhile.

While I may be devoted to my husband, my pal Patrick recently accused me of having knitterly commitment issues. Fair enough: from where I sit I can spy the basket containing my Gee’s Bend Log Cabin blanket, my Lily-of-the-Valley corset, my Lotus Blossom shawl, and my Frost Flowers sweater. It’s been at least six months since I’ve touched a single one of them. In the mean time, I’ve cast on roughly nineteen new projects (thanks, Ravelry!). Fourteen of those are finished, five are on the needles, and I’ve flirted (meaning I swatched, which doesn’t count as casting on – it’s like first base) with two more. Mr. G will kindly cover his eyes while I tell you I sassed Patrick that commitment is for poor souls who don’t have a different tasty morsel for every night of the week.

Seriously, do you believe in monogamous relations with your knitting projects? I clearly don’t, but I think the record will show that I finish the ones I start more often than not. I crave variety is all. Last weekend I realized I wasn’t actively working on anything with a needle larger than a US #2. There’s the Trøndelag mitten on #0s, an 80-stitch sock on #0s that I can’t show you yet, and the Ivy lace stole on #2s. A hankering to knit something instantly gratifying drove me to the stash after the bulky cinnabar Perendale wool, and in two days’ time I had a cardigan up to the armpits and a sleeve ready to join it. I busted out another half a sleeve this afternoon. If I don’t run out of wool, this will be my fastest sweater ever. I’m not a big-needle gal, but the #10.5 whoppers surely do crack along! Patrick will be lucky if I don’t call it the Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am cardigan.

But just to prove that I haven’t dropped the torch, I give you Ivy stole progress:


That’s about a third of its total length, not counting the edging I get to pick up and knit with a 47″ #0. Two chart repetitions per week should leave me the whole month of April to gnash my teeth over the edging and half of May to block it with seventeen porcupines’ worth of pins. Don’t begrudge me my other liaisons will I can still get them.

18 Comments to “In which I am branded a loose knitter”

  1. Eva Comment Says:

    Oh, Sarah!

    I actually laughed aloud (in an obnoxious, single-syllable “HA!” sort of way, too) when I read that. You *must* call it the “Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am” Cardigan. Please.

    I absolutely do not believe in project monogamy, though I do try to control the number of balls in the air for fear I’ll never finish anything. Different projects call to me at different times of day, in different situations, etc. I certainly have the patience and perseverance to work on one project from start to finish, but where’s the fun in that? Knitting should be fun! I think I’m mostly a process knitter, so I like to enjoy a small-gauge sock as a take-along, a worsted-weight sweater in front of the TV, a lickety-quick fingerless mitt over a weekend… you know, the spice of life.

    Working on one project at a time would be like… well, like eating chocolate or broccoli all the time: delicious at first, but after a while….

  2. emily Comment Says:

    I for one am looking forward to the Wham-Bam-Thank-you-ma’am sweater! Ivy is looking lovely.

    I try not to have too my WIPs at once or I get overwhelmed…usually about three (ideally something complicated, something mindless, and something portable though of course these categories overlap and shift as projects progress.) during term not much gets knit that isn’t do-able in front of a movie, while reading, or on transit!

  3. stacey Comment Says:

    I try to be monogamous if I can. If I have more than 2 projects on the needles (something small like a sock or mittens, and a sweater) I freak a little. But I’m weird like that….

  4. Lisa Comment Says:

    Great slippers!! I’m sure Mr. G’s toes are toasty in those!

  5. Jodi Comment Says:

    Great slippers! It’s hard to find a decent-looking slipper pattern.

    I tend to finish the projects I like the most. If I stop enjoying it, the project just sits around, waiting for me to get up the gumption to frog it.

    BTW, I hereby award you with the “You Make My Day” award that’s circulating knitblogville.

  6. gleek Comment Says:

    those slippers certainly are nice! and yes, i very good alternative to felted ones which i don’t think many men go for. wow, i’m so jealous of all your knitting! it’s hard to keep anything on the needles at chez gleek these days.

  7. Elizabeth Comment Says:

    I so hear you on the multiple projects and I swear Ravelry is like knitter’s crack–you go up there and find a thousand and one more things you want to knit–NOW!. I’ve got four or five projects I am knitting on right now–just depending on the mood, and countless others in various stages of neglect. Glad to know I am not the only one.

    Love the slippers and have a feeling the husband would love a pair, so here I go again–another project to knit. 🙂 Thanks for sharing them. No, I really mean it.

  8. Katie Comment Says:

    I tend to get around as well, although I usually settle into a serial monogamy after starting up a few interesting projects. Variety is the spice of life, after all. I look forward to seeing the cardigan.

  9. Veronique Comment Says:

    I certainly do not believe in project monogamy. I mean, really, sometimes you just need to live a little and not feel guilty about it. 😉

  10. Karma Comment Says:

    You said “wrassle”! I love reading your posts and I know I say that every single time. I’m glad Mr. Garter loves to wear his slippers; I foresee many more projects finishing up on your MacGuyered drying rack. 🙂

  11. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    I don’t believe in project monogamy, but I do try to replace small projects with small projects (in number of balls of yarn more than anything else) and to not buy a sweater’s worth of yarn until I have used about a sweater’s worth of yarn up. But that is mostly a space issue rather than a lack of desire for hundreds of projects littering the landscape.

  12. merete Comment Says:

    i am afraid i always end up with project monogamy. may a new year resolution should be not to. i think it is because i always knit for people who are eagerly antipating….

  13. Daphne Comment Says:

    Hm. That stole reminds me of a pretty wrap I started “for myself” that I had to set aside while I met some obligations… and makes me think perhaps I shouldn’t cast on the bulky sweater until the moth issue is resolved (since the wrap is, after all, in bamboo–and these creatures really like mohair and wool).

    I feel like swatching is maybe more than just stranger-flirting, and more like a first date–kiss or no, you’re spending some time together, even if it doesn’t go any further.

  14. tiennie Comment Says:

    Such nice projects! I’ve left you a little something on my blog. 🙂

  15. Jessica Comment Says:

    OK, you make me feel way better! I think we’ve got about the same number of projects on the needles. And no, I don’t believe in project monogamy (obviously)! You’ve got to have a knitting project to suit every mood and social/antisocial situation, right? One for public transportation, one for knitting with friends, one for TV, one you can’t even watch TV with, etc…. 😉

  16. Laura Comment Says:

    Mmmm comfy! And worth the struggle. My hub has requested slippers so thanks for the pattern info.
    I am only monogamous with knitting when there is a deadline. Otherwise it’s whatever strikes my fancy.

  17. Debby Comment Says:

    I stick to no more than three projects as well, otherwise I would rarely finish anything in a reasonable amount of time. And as it is, I’d love to get down to two — one easy portable thing, and one for TV knitting that’s a little more complicated.

    The stole is gorgeous, but when you’re doing that kind of project, you definitely need to have something on a #10!

  18. craptina Comment Says:

    Love the slippers! I have been eyeing to make some myself, will have to check out the book.

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to flirt with other knitting, there’s no reason for monogomy. There reaches a point where a sweater or blanket is not transportable, or the lace pattern is about to stab you in the eye. Who can put a hold on so much creativity out there?