Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Time has Come, Grasshopper 


New Year's Day, new sweater! That's right, after some diligent work and a crapload of seaming, I finally finished my Grasshopper! Truly, it is my favorite garment I've made so far - it's exceedingly comfortable, fits like it should, and doesn't have any annoying side effects (although I've been very careful about pulling the sleeves back when I've gotten them near food, they could accidentally get dipped in something very easily).


No, I didn't put up this shot because I look kinda stoned in it. If you look at that line from the sunlight, you see a difference in the color of the top portion. This disparity is true to life: in dull or fluorescent lighting, the yarn is just seafoam green. But when it's brought out to some bright sunlight, its sheen is dazzling and it has an almost palpable glow. Looking closely, the color shifts between a springy green, white and almost blueish hints. Although some people balk at using 100% cotton, the Tahki Cotton Classic was lovely to knit with and had great stitch definition. It did not hurt my hands, as can happen with cottons. As a fabric, it drapes nicely, is very soft to the touch and is even fairly warm as a light sweater.

Unlike some people who have made this, I did not make any modifications for easy finishing such as knitting the sleeves in the round or picking up the collar. While this made all of the seaming long and arduous, it did force me to learn some more of the invisible seam techniques that I had not used previously. I also made a very important discovery: yarn needles come in different sizes! And the one that I was using was huge or as my friend Meagan said when she saw it, "it's bigger than my life." Switching to a smaller needle literally doubled my seaming speed.

As far as knitting techniques goes, I didn't really gain much from this piece as it was a very easy knit (although it might have suited me better in the end if I paid more attention to the slants of my decreases on the fronts). Ultimately, however, the knitting process tested my patience and helped me build up my perserverance. When I realized how long it was taking me to finish just one round on that double seed stitch sash, I knew I had gotten myself into a long slog. There were definitely times when I just wanted to rush through the work, just get to that finished product. As the end eventually was in sight, I gained a calmness and just realized that, with time and some bad TV, my hands would make every stitch in place. One day while at an SNB session, one of the women commented that the needles were so small and she'd never be able to finish a garment made with them. I had not even thought about that, wasn't daunted by it and found that after briefly straying with some quickie projects, my hands were happy to get back into the rhythm with those size 6's. Gaining this Zen-like feeling with the process and seeing a big project through is an accomplishment for this gal, who's been a pro a starting and never finishing craft projects for her whole life. This only affirms that getting to knitting has really been about finding my creative niche.

A glowing yarn shot
An action shot
A back shot

An Interesting Connection: At Thanksgiving dinner this year, our fellow guests included a Japanese family. From them, we learned that New Year's is the most important holiday in Japan and it has a large feast consisting of foods particular to that meal, similar to American paean to gluttony we were celebrating that day. It seems that by breaking out my new kimono-style garment, going to hang out with Cobra's family and eating a tasty meal, I was commemorating the turn of the year in a way very similar to the Japanese. In an additional sweater-New Year connection, the traditional pounded rice cakes eating during the holiday can be made in different style, including a Kyoto style. You can read more about Japanese New Year here and here.

Finally, I should note that this will be my last real post to this blog before I head out to India. I have, however, set up a travel blog that I will post the address to tomorrow and that I hope some of you will check out. I hope that all of you have a great New Year and get through the winter safe and sound. I'll look forward to checking back in with you when I return and hope that you'll do the same for me. Cheers!