Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Knucks for Dad

This past weekend Dad showed me a ratty pair of dark green fingerless mitts. He said nothing. I picked them up and said

“Dad I’m not a sewer. I can’t fix these holes. They are a lost cause.”

Pause and Dad is smiling at me.

“Wait, why don’t I let you tell me what you want.”

To which Dad says, “Can you make me a pair of these?”

I look more closely at the gloves. They are clearly a wool synthetic blend, machine knit on size 0s or 1s, very dense with two holes/tares but no wear to the yarn itself. The ribbing at the wrist is elasticized and the edges of the fingers are rolled because the fabric is stockinet.

I tell him it is possible and then we begin the color debate. He wants black. I hate black. He wants dark green or navy. I don’t have any of these colors in fingering weight yarn.

I advise him that they wont be as tight on his wrist as the originals, he says he don’t mind. He tells me he wants them for inside his regular gloves when he’s in the woods in the winter. I ask when he needs them, he says November. I am willing to take on the challenge but unsure that my hand knit creation will be as nice as the store bought ones he’s had for many years.

I’ve been dying to knit Knucks from Knitty for a while now and this is the perfect time. I remember a skein of army green superwash wool that could be knit on size 2s and will probably be just the thing. A wool nylon blend may be a better choice in terms of wear but it’s not like he’ll be walking on his hands. I hope the fabric wont get a halo from brushing against the other gloves as he wears them. Then I realize that I have a long list of concerns and if they don’t wear well, or they aren’t exactly what he wants, then I can make another pair. After all I am always looking for things to knit. So stop worrying.

The anxiety that comes with knitting for a request is an interesting thing. You would think the more specific the request the easier it is to craft exactly what the recipient wants, but that’s not the case. The more specific the more opportunity to fall short of their vision. If they were shopping in a store, they would try on the item, weigh its merits and choose to buy it or not. When I present the finished item, there is no return. It’s one shot to get it perfect.

But that’s just the neurotic in me creating a false ideal. It never has to be perfect, if they wanted perfect they would’ve bought it. They came to me because they want something the store can’t provide, something unique and hand made with flaws and love. Hopefully more love than flaws.

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