Thursday, July 12, 2007

First, let me apologize . . .

Okay, I said I was going to try not to bore ya'll with afghan updates. But it is hard to stop the course of random thoughts that run through my head as I knit endless rows. Since there are less than 24 rows left, I decided to go ahead and post a few of the opinions that have been floating around my head about this project. That way, when the FO Photo is posted, there won't be any distractions from it's obvious visual charms.

First of all, I am not a fan of intermediate projects. What I mean is, there are some stitch patterns that become very boring after a few repetitions. However, they require just enough counting and close attention at times to move it out of the "mindless knitting" category. The combination of a fuzzy, no-stitch-definition yarn and a pattern is just fiddly enough to keep one from enjoying conversation or listening to anything requiring a modicum of mental concentration makes this a frustrating knit. As a "knit-along to a familiar old movie" project, it works. To do anything else while knitting this pattern was a waste. Give me utterly mindless or incredibly intricate patterns any day. Bah!

Secondly, I am not a fan of acrylic yarn. I honestly try not to be a yarn snob. After all, I am on a tight knitting budget and purchasing luxury yarns for everything I end up knitting would land the family in bankruptcy. Synthetic fibers have a legitimate place in the knitting universe. For instance, I would never had made Bubba's mermaid costume out of anything but inexpensive, washable synthetic yarn. It's a dress up costume that is meant to be used without an anxious knitter hovering around to make sure the costly yarn isn't snagged or stained. Given my considerable FO output and legitimate budget constraints, using acrylic occasionally is a given.

Afghans, obviously require a significant amount of yarn. And, this is a gift for a non-knitter (i.e. Daddy) so easy care is a must. Thus, the choice to use a reasonably priced synthetic was unavoidable. And, frankly, the yarn for this project is very pretty to look at and the finished fabric has a nice, soft hand. But knitting with it just plain sucks. For me, handling polyester just gives me the willies, especially when it's wet. It affects me like fingernails on a chalkboard. And this yarn actually squeaks as I knit with it. In order to stand it, I need to avoid knitting when it's hot and humid, to keep the sweat from compounding the goose-pimply effect the yarn has on me, and I need some kind of noise to cover the squeaking sound. Thus, the t.v. has been on way more than I like this past few weeks. For a homeschooling mom who is trying to wean children off of t.v. for the summer, this creates somewhat of a conundrum. Children, can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e? Meh!

Third, I don't like non-symmetry. Wait, I like some non-symmetry. But it has to be deliberate, well-balanced, artistic non-symmetry. For the most part, though, I prefer ordered repetition and perfect symmetry.

As the end of this afghan approaches, it has been a niggling frustration at the back of my mind that this afghan pattern ends in a non-symmetrical way. Let's see if I can explain my dilemma. The row pattern starts with 5 rows of garter stitch, then 7 rows of chevron stockinette stitch. The bottom of the afghan starts with the garter stitch section. But as you reach the top, the pattern ends with the chevron stockinette section. Well, as you probably know, stockinette fabric will roll, so the blanket just can't end this way. So the pattern writer added 4 rows of garter stitch to the end of the blanket.

I know, I'm being knit-picky about this but it's going to make the last stripe an inch thicker than any of the other stripes. It bugs me. Logically, since this is a gift to an uncritical, non-knitting Daddy who is not the type of person who will notice such a discrepancy, I should be able to let this go. If it were for my DH, I would expect him to get out his calipers and compare stripe depth, since he is an engineer who also likes symmetry and precision (my soul mate), but my Daddy is not at all like that. So why am I worrying about this? It's just neurotic of me but I can't help it, it bugs me. Pfthththt!

There, I've purged myself of all the negative little bugaboos that have been floating through my head. Hopefully, the next post will show a lovely FO photo with an appropriate joyful, positive post.


Guinifer said...

Goofy gal! What are you apologizing for - sounds like you've had plenty of talking back from your material!!

I hope you pick a really fun project to pick up when afghan is done.

trek said...

To get around the stripe symmetry issue, why not have the first and last stripes be narrower than the rest? Do the garter stitch ends both in the same color but not have them be either the color that is the first stripe or the last stripe. That way, the symmetry is maintained (the ends match) and all of the interior stripes are identical in width, and the blanket doesn't roll.

Since you've already started, you could still easily snip the yarn where the pattern stripes and the initial garter border meet and re-knit the border downwards to match the far end. A bit of re-work, but not so much in the grand scheme, really.

That's how I'd do it, anyway.

Sheepish Annie said...

Symmetry is one of my favorite things. Which is tragic since I can't seem to really achieve it all that often. But your dad will love it and will never even notice.

I often knit with acrylics for many of the reasons you mentioned. There are some decent, reasonably priced acrylic yarns out there that knit up well and are both durable and washable.

But that "squeak!" Ack!!!!

Guinifer said...

Hey Lorraine - I bought my sock blockers on ebay here:

But I also think that ScoutJ carries them in her store.

livnletlrn said...

I feel the same way about intermediate concentration level projects. That's why my socks are all 2x2 rib. They fill the totally mindless knitting need. I've tried more interesting socks, but I figure if something's going to require my concentration, it's going to be a sweater or a hat or something that will be seen.

As a kid, I crocheted exclusively with acrylic. I didn't know there was anything else...and in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, there may NOT have been anything else. ;-) I used to get a kick out of the squeakiness. I suspect I would not have the same reaction now.

Rani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rani said...

I keep staring at my stitch markers. They are smiling up at me next to my Brady Bunch yarn (a place of great honor).

I think they should call Afghans "Afghaaahs". You are a saint to be making on and you'll be a saint when you finish it. Acrylics and all!