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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cabin Fever?

I think I may have it just a little bit which makes no sense since we don't have snow on the ground or record low temps keeping me indoors. Yes, we do have the usual wind that makes dog walks not so much fun but it doesn't stop me and more importantly doesn't stop the four legged members of the family. Never the less, I seem to have a touch of the cabin fever. I noticed it coming on the other day right after I started feeling better. I tried to ignore it, then I just plain denied it, and all of you from cold climes that have suffered this particular late winter early spring ailment know how well that works. So yesterday I gave into it. We got an unexpected day off when the hood over the grill at work went out and we had to close the restaurant until it got fixed this morning. I decided with a day off i should get the kids out, and make something wonderful for dinner for Bob.

So I went to the store and ended up as I often do wondering the aisles trying to come up with dinner ideas, spending way too much money before hitting the gas station and getting home. The cabin fever aching part of my mind shoved me into the flower section and produce section unmercifully until I had so many greens and flower I couldn't stand it. Then it lured me to the easter candy, but enough about that.

So I have these lovelies on the dining room table.

I love iris's and I just couldn't pass them by, they were to pretty. It's funny that I  don't like others to buy me flowers typically, but I often have to buy them for myself.

And I made this for dinner. It was wonderful. I had something like it in mind and between my opened; half drank Cabernet Sauvignon, and what I picked up while I was out I had all the ingredients plus an extra side of sautéed broccoli, carrots and yellow squash. It was a lovely dinner and we had dishes wrapped up before I curled into the chair to work on the homespun shawl.
Now, the other day I had the shawl out and working on it and someone mentioned that my decreases didn't match the pictures of the shawl in the pattern. The pattern is from Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed and is the Autumn Leaves Stole, which I would be happy to link to except his site seems to be down at the moment. She failed to notice the extra repeats of the pattern I made to mine to boot, but that's not my point. I nodded and replied that yes my decreases were in fact different where she then kind of gasped and said in a slightly horrified voice, "You didn't follow the pattern?"

I was kind of shocked by this reaction as I said, "No..."

I didn't think much more on is until today when I was reading the yarn harlot discuss deviations from what people think a pattern should be and include on her own blog that you can read here. I myself kind of think of patterns as I do recipes in the fact that I kind of associate them to general guidelines. You know, like the pirate code. They give me ideas that I often run with in directions the pattern writer never intended.

So, back to point regarding this particular pattern. It is in fact a lovely pattern. Wonderful charts and easy to read and commit to memory so I don't have to have the pattern around (we won't discuss my screw up last night. I was too busy laughing at Doc Martin dammit, which by no means implicated the perfectly clear and correct instructions in the pattern for my error) with me at all times.Jared once again made an impeccable pattern that I just can't force myself to knit to the exact pattern.

Mainly, it's an aesthetic thing on my part. I am doing a different decrease across the body of the shawl that I like better for my yarn, and I know the recipient will appreciate. It gives it a sharper look, that's all. If this were for me or someone I knew appreciated a more hand knit look to their finished item I would happily do the called for decrease. It gives it a bit of a "granola" look that although is sloppier in a way, it is very chic in said sloppiness and for some people would be a perfect compliment to their tastes and style of dress. However; it is not to the person I am knitting it for. I'm pretty sure the designer would appreciate that. Maybe more so, the fact that I bought the pattern, but none the less I hope most designers understand that some of us just can't follow directions very well. Ask my Mom, she's been frustrated for years by that issue of mine.

This is something that I try to get students to play with. I've taught you to knit, I've taught you to purl, and I've thrown some variations in there to show you what these stitches can do when paired up in different ways. We've hammered out gauge and it's importance and the fact that just when you nail it down that little swatch is going to lie through it proverbial teeth and bring you to tears over what was supposed to be a fitted cardigan that can only be used as an elephant leg warmer. Heck, I've discussed the differences in types of cast on's, bind off's and now I want you to go play. You don't have to follow the patterns I've even written for you. You want to see what happens if you change where the decreases fall, or better yet take that cowl, sew some seams into the bottom and add purse straps, try it out. If it fails, maybe you learned something about what you're doing. GREAT! Patterns are just somebody's ideas written down, if they inspire you to play with their piece and grow as a knitter, then have at is.

I guess that was why I was a little taken aback the other day by the other knitter who I think of as a pretty good knitter. I was stunned that she was so shocked that I would stray from the pattern (and it was even a really minor wandering too, she would hate to see some of the other things I've done) when I had a different way to do something as piddly as a decrease. I am going to have to pay close attention to her knitting from here on out to see if she's a "By the pattern" knitter who doesn't wander out into the gray areas of creation. It would explain some of the issues she's brought to me before, and I'm going to have to shover her out there away from a pattern here and there just to challenge her. Or not, she does have big pointy sticks in her hands after all.

All right, off to bed with me. You all have a wonderful night.

1 comment:

  1. not surprised you wander off of a pattern. i would expect nothing less. each artist puts their own spin on things, whether it be music or knitting or cooking.
    i tend to get cabin fever in november/december and then get over it. this is best time of the year in many ways. loved the pretty!! i may have to get myself some too!!