Knitting for a friend

I have a friend who loves yarn but has yet to master the skill of knits and purls. She likes to go to The Stitch House, one of our favorite shops, and buys vast quantities of yarn. I view this actitivy with trepidation, because I know I will soon be starring in the the role of the woman who spun straw into gold for Rumplestiltskin, knitting these bags of yummy yarn into gifts or clothing items for my friend.

What's in it for me??? Why would I give up knitting on my own things for a friend? Well, first, I get to work with top rate yarns and this is good because I am getting more and more addicted to using just the good stuff. Second, I will be reimbursed in yarn by my friend for my efforts. She takes me with her and says, "Pick out some project yarns for yourself". So I am sucked in and usually happy to oblige.

Today I am working on a vest called Pike using Talinay, a soft variegated wool yarn in an array of soft pink, taupe and grey. I needed to go down to a size 8 needle from the recommended 10 in order to get gauge. For those of you who might be new to knitting, gauge is so important and I try always to knit my gauge swatch before beginning a sweater or anything I expect to fit well. If I don't, I end up spending lots and lots of time knitting and then the fit is all wrong. So listen to the directions when they say to swatch first or be prepared to suffer the consequences!

I recently joined a group on Ravelry that is really helping me to get the unfinished projects (aka UFOs) out of storage. Last month I finished a number of hats and scarves, and this month my main focus is to get this Pike vest done. The group works over the course of a two week period on any of their UFOs and posts their successes (or near successes) and photos of their FOs (finished objects).

Many of us are quick to get a project OTN (on the needles) but because we have so many things going at once, completion is a challenge. As a knitter, it is ok and often preferable to have a few different things going because then you can have a mindless easy-to-follow pattern for TV watching or commuting, a more challenging one where focus is required for solitary knitting, or one that you do with friends as a KAL (knit along). I haven't done a KAL yet, but I understand that it is helpful because when you hit a problem or challenge, your friends can relate and guide you.

So, even though it is Saturday and I should be cleaning or exercising, I will sit and work on the back of this vest. (I like to have an end point goal that I aim to get to before I put down my needles and get to business). I will need to do 6" of moss stitch (k1, p1 front, p1,k1, back-knit one, purl one in front; purl one, knit one in back) before I will get up and get moving on things. Plans for a trip to Windsor Button and Haymarket for fresh produce are my motivators!

I plan to go get asparagus and leeks for a great soup recipe I found. More later!


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