Friday, August 08, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

Ah, summer! Time for the beach, time for reading murder mysteries (In the Woods, The Likeness, by Tana French - highly recommended beach/poolside reads), drinking white wine spritzers, and, um, not so much knitting, or blogging for that matter. I'm sure as we head into Labor Day, I'll return to my regularly scheduled programming (speaking of programming though - I've been catching up on last seasons Mad Men - watch it!).

So, first the beauty, my lace kick has continued. I finished the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, in a lovely summer shade of green Handmaiden Sea Silk.
I love this color for the melon stitch, because to me, the tiny bundles do look like little green melons, and that makes me smile. Ah summer - the simple things!
The six row repeat is super simple, easily memorized, and pretty hard to screw up. The version in the book is knit in Kid Silk Haze, a yarn that has never inspired me, and the one time I knit with it, drove me out of my mind for my complete inability to unknit it. So, I went with the silky Handmaiden, and I love it, and now I find myself rethinking all of the patterns in the book that are all fuzzed up with the dreaded Kid Silk. I'm even contemplating knitting that frou frou fluffy feather and fan cape in something smoother, more merino. Crazy.
On a bit of a sad note, I did spend about three hours knitting this scarf/stole in the emergency room of Jefferson Hospital. Mr. Tall was out riding his bike when a car side swiped him - AND KEPT ON GOING! Poor Mr. Tall, all 6'4" of him sprawled out on the sidewalk, at 19th and Lombard. Conveniently, I was at the pool (20th and Lombard), having the day off, and I went with him to the hospital. Luckily, he managed to walk away with a bunch of scraps, and a badly bruised butt - ouch! While we were hanging at the gurney in the hallway waiting for his tests to come back, I knit, he writhed in pain, and, wouldn't ya know it, every nurse who walked by - did they stop to ask him if he was comfortable? did he need some water? was he in pain? Oh, no - it was, what is that you're making?!? ooo, can I see that? Oh, is that crochet? Ah, can you show me how to do that? Priorities in the er - go figure.

Anyway, Mr. Tall is perfect again, and my melon scarf was a huge hit - especially with my mother, who has now put in her order for her very own, in an orangey red colorway. Uch. Now, I'm happy to knit for my mom, and I can hardly refuse to accomodate her request, it is her 70th birthday coming up after all. But, gosh I hate knitting the same thing twice. And, I'm getting jammed up with obligation knitting, uch. I'm doing some testing knitting for Manos, a gigantic sweater, that has to be done by the end of the month (which was very convenient for the Ravelympics, since I'm on a deadline anyway), and then there's this . . . the beast.

This creepy little man at the pool approached me last year about knitting a scarf for him - out of his cat's hair. He had been saving his cat's hair for 12 years, until he felt he had enough to send it to a mill to be spun. At the time, the hair wasn't spun yet, and I was like, yeah, sure, whatever. I figured, once he go the "yarn," that would be the end of his scarf idea.

Nope. Yes, my friends, that skein above is actually cat hair. First thing this summer, he approached me again about the project. I said I would have to see the yarn. A week later, there was the yarn - three shades of cat brown. It looked eh, I figured - fine, I'll do a garter stitch scarf, lengthwise, with brown gradations, no biggie. But, that's not what he had in mind. He came into Rosie's, plopped down, and went through every pattern book in the store, until he settled on a honeycomb stitch. He doesn't really have enough yarn for that, so I started to swatch a lattice stitch -

Don't adjust your monitor - those pictures are not blurry, or out of focus in anyway - THEY ARE JUST HIDEOUS AND DISGUSTING. The more I knit, the more it felts, the more matted it becomes, and the more it resembles a wet cat - now that's something you really want to wrap around your neck. And I have to knit it? The cat is still alive - he can just throw him out in the rain, and then cuddle up to him on the sofa.

Now the dilemna - continue on, and charge him beaucoup bucks, or for the sake of good taste, do I just give the whole revolting, sicko project back - so he, and the very much alive cat, can both snuggle up to the wound up skeins and be satisified with that.

I guess there comes a time in every knitters life when they have to decide where to draw the line, when to knit a project that has nothing to do with their own knitting needs. Some projects that I knit, I would prefer not to - baby gifts, reknits, finishing for my mom when she knits those heinous acrylic baby blankets for Hadassah. But, just because I don't want to, doesn't necessarily create any moral dilemna - gifts are a good thing, and there's a place in this world for acryllic. Then, there's the knits I do for money/store credit - the test knits. These knits, although not on my personally priority meter, are all well designed, and are adding to the modern knitting library. Easy enough. But, now, am I a K&A knitter (as in, cough, Kensington and Allegheny) if I sold my knit soul to the cat and knit it's hair?

Do I cross the cat hair line?


Sunset Knitter said...

Oh my! Return it, and tell him it's a no go. I love cats, and I a little freaked out by the whole request.

Knittah said...

Noooooo! Aren't you the one who said "life is too short to knit with crap yarn"? I say give it back with a very technical explanation of why the yarn doesn't work. Besides, it's gross.

Carol said...

Ok, I normally just read and pass on the comments but CAT HAIR?? That's a little creepy. Give it back and make something for charity if your conscience bothers you. But really, why would it? Or teach HIM to knit the stuff.

Bridget said...

First of all, the melon scarf is beautiful! Good job.

And give my condolences to Mr. Tall. I was hit by a car at the end of June at 10th and Lombard, and the resulting knee wasn't pretty! (It's much better now.)

The cat hair thing. Well, I wouldn't have my cats' fur spun (and I'm in danger of becoming one of those old cat ladies, honestly), and even if I did, I think if it wasn't going to work on a particular stitch, I'd just tuck it away as a memento or something. But since it looks crappy, it's not worth the aggravation and overall weirdness as far as I'm concerned. I'd just be honest and say it's not really that "knittable" or at least the kind of "yarn" you like to use.

If he's really determined, he'll find some other sucker to do it, and leave you alone since he'll probably be pissed. Win-win for you ...

Jennifer said...

Gorgeous Melon Shawl!

I say Nooooo!!!!!!!!! to the cat hair scarf. Tell him that the yarn isn't working out, and you can't in good conscience knit him something and charge him for it if it won't be a good FO.

I guess the thing to watch out for is him saying, "oh I don't care what it looks like, all that matters is that it's made from Binky's fur!"

Diane said...

The melon scarf is lovely!

The cat scarf is scary!

It really looks like a matted cat. So gross. Maybe offer to knit him (at a price) a scarf in a similar color from nice, normal, wool yarn? I never understood why people wanted yarn out of their pets fur. Blech.

meg said...

Oh. My. God. Well, can you tell him that it turns out you're allergic and can't continue with the project? If he's creepy enough to ask you to knit the scarf, he might be creepy enough to get extremely upset and do something even weirder when you reject the project.

I like the idea of teaching him to knit it for himself. Then it's really "his own" and you don't have to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Glad Mr. Tall is OK! The Melon Shawl is just beautiful. And the cat hair knitting? Oy. I had to spin some dog hair for a coworker and ended up being so allergic to it that I carded and spun one skein and promptly handed the whole mess back to her - breathing was a priority I wasn't will to give up. I think you have to show him how it's turning out and that you cannot in good conscience go through with it.

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

The cat hair is giving me a gag reaction. Cat hair should stay on cats.Just say no and offer to post a sign at the yarn store looking for a knitter who'd take it on.

Karin said...

Love the scarf and I really love the color. Green is my favorite, along with purple. I also love Mad Men. However, as for the cat scarf, you are really brave knitting that up. I would give it back.

Hope Mr. Tall is okay.


JoAnn, Wynnewood said...

That whole cat thing is gross. It looked like a skinned cat. Yuck pooey. I have no idea where one finds someone to spin it into yarn. I'm sooo grossed out the hair on my arms is standing straight up.
On the other hand, the green shawl is gorgeous.

Knitty Delicious said...

YUCK! and I am a pet person! That is CREEPY...

Love the Melon...I am totally un-inspired with knitting :-(

Glad Mr Tall is ok

Elysbeth said...

Glad Mr Tall is okay, even if you stole his limelight.

The melon shawl is lovely, don't forget baby alpaca for other things in the book, a soft halo but still rippable.

As for the cat hair, eh NO. Either that or inform him that just as you can't put a long block engine in a Yaris this yarn can't be shown to it's finest in anything other than a simple garter/rib. After all, there are alot of rules for Angora patterns, and the same applies here.

Ruth said...

Ugh!! Just say no to the cat hair. I actually saw a picture of a pair of socks with samoyed (pure white, very soft dog) hair that looked good. The entire socks weren't dog hair, just a vine-y pattern once around the cuff. (Sammy hair is a lot like angora.)Those were really pretty. But an entire scarf of mottled grey-brown cat hair? Maybe if he had one of those exeptionally fluffy white cats it'd work better? I think Sammys are probably the only dogs in the world whose hair would spin into somehing usable.

WandaWoman said...

Dang, cat hair yarn, disgusting! I'm glad you were able to get past the cat hair knitting. That would seriously gross me out.

Oh and the melon shawl is beautiful!