Sunday, April 15, 2007

Favorite (and not!) Patterns

Robyn, my Secret Pal 10 hostess, likes to post blog projects for her group. This time around we're supposed to post pictures of our favorite and most-hated patterns.

Both are hard. I haven't knit a lot of things for other people, and I doubt I'd finish something I really hated for myself. But I've also been pretty happy with most of the things I've knit, so it's hard to pick a favorite.

If I had to pick one, it would be Nautie. I've knitted two of these guys now, but I don't have one for myself yet. This one was a gift for my SP8 Pal, while the other was a Christmas present for my younger adorable niece. Every girl needs a stuffed sea monster, right? Which means I have to get busy and knit one for myself.

And while I wouldn't say I hate them, these Fiber Trends Felted Boot Slippers are probably my least favorite project, and the one I'd be most likely to call a waste of time.

Making them wasn't a very pleasant process. The knitting was easy enough, but the felting was a bear. I don't have a washing machine, so I did the felting by hand - and had to stop midway through because I'd rubbed my fingertips raw. And I suspect the blue yarn is indigo-dyed, judging from the lovely smell I got when the slippers hit the hot water.

The really bad part is that I never wear slippers. I don't even like wearing shoes. So I don't know what I was thinking. Three skeins of Manos Del Uruguay and all that trouble for something I never wear.

I could - and perhaps should, as a public service - add that I've never had good luck with any of Nancy Bush's patterns. "Uinta Cabin" doesn't seem to be designed for real feet, since she modifies the shape of the sock to fit the colorwork rather than the other way around. The socks are tight at the top, then get baggier as they go down to your ankle. "Trust the designer" is not a good rule to follow here. This is really weird because for "Conwy", in the same book, she includes all sorts of finicky shaping when it doesn't seem necessary. But that pattern, with all the calf shaping, has a star toe, so the socks spiral off my feet when I wear them. I still wear them, though, so they don't get a spot as my least-liked pattern.

My real reservations about Nancy Bush's work are more creative. Knitting on the Road doesn't really make an effort to offer patterns that are easy to do when traveling, nor are the socks authentic examples of what a traveler might find. They're just vaguely inspired by places she's been. The same is true of Folk Socks and Knitting Vintage Socks - you don't learn anything about the traditional sock patterns; you just get to knit a vaguely related modern sock. She didn't even do the Mamluke Socks as a toe-up design, when that's a pretty distinctive feature of eastern knitting, and not any harder to do. Some of the socks may be perfectly lovely patterns (in spite of my troubles noted above), but none of them are really what the book titles might suggest.

The real problem with knitting is that it doesn't make a very satisfying sound when you throw it against a wall. So I it's good that I haven't had any projects I really hated.

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