Thursday, June 11, 2009

Craft Nerd (emphasis on nerd)

It's been 13 years since I've picked up a pair of knitting needles and you can add a few more since if we're talking about having actually completed a project. But this week I hit a milestone.

A few weekends ago we hung out with my sister in Los Angeles and walked around her neighborhood. We went into an uber hip craft store, I saw a skein of yarn, thought of the 7 hour drive ahead of us, and got a major urge to knit a sweater for Xochitl.

I tracked down an employee and we started talking craft, at which point, as Aaron pointed out later, I out-crafted her. It's not that I am just that cool, it's that when I was young, I was just that nerdy. I didn't have any friends, hung out mostly with my sister and my goats, and I'd do all sorts of projects. I knew how to knit by the age of 7 or so, and was working a sewing machine at 9. I was not particularly great or gifted at any of these things, I just don't have the super meticulous mindset it takes to iron at every stage or follow a pattern perfectly, but I could totally make something that wouldn't fall apart.

When I picked up spinning (yarn, that is) in high school, I found my niche. Like a fish to water, I spun perfect yarn my first time out. There was something so rewarding about taking a raw material, like wool, silk, or cotton, and taming it. Each medium demanded a different approach, so I adjusted accordingly. There were even differences between the fleeces of the same breed of sheep, and my joy was finding the quirks and working with them.

Though my spinning wheels are long gone, I still find joy in working with materials that you have to persuade rather than force. In college it was wood and metal, now it's leather.

As I stood in that Los Angeles shop, staring at the skein of homespun, I was struck with the desire to feel the yarn in my hands again. The constraints of the car limited my choices of craft, so I asked if they had any knitting needles. They didn't really, nor did they have yarn that was less than $30/skein, but they did give me a free pair of circular needles someone had abandoned there many months back.

We tracked down a Joanne Fabric (which is a feat since all the ones up here are out of business), brought Xdog in the store to pick the perfect color, and left with all the fixins to make a dog sweater.

The process wasn't pretty. It involved a lot of re-learning, cursing, and unraveling. But even as I undid 8 hours worth of work, I was determined to finish the piece since I hadn't actually finished any knitting project since that watermelon hat I made in high school.

It took over two weeks, but I finally made a sweater fit for an 18 lb dog (with a little growing room to spare).


I'm not getting up unless you have food

nice ears

modeling the sweater mom made

It's a good thing she's lying down so you can't see the weird ball-sack-esque pouch between her legs, the result of a miscalculation.


lucky kachina dancer said...

Ball sack not included, it looks great! And The Roach seems pretty pleased with it.

Danielle Dews said...

i love it! wish i could see the ball sack part but whatev..