Legwarmers kicking my ass

I’m a pretty adventurous knitter but my brother Noah always manages to challenge me, unknowingly. First it was the viking-esque hat with detachable face mask. He was excited, made drawings, touched yarn, talked colors. I was enthusiastic. This was a challenge but not outside the realm of possibility. Except that nothing I tried satisfied me and eventually the project became a burr that was buried in a basket of unloved false-starts, tying up at least two Denise cables with needles. Ugh. Together we acknowledge the failure and my needles were rescued from the dusty basket.

This time it was legwarmers. (If the project described above was not an indication, my brother is not the typical male recipient of knitted goodies. He’s an Artist.) My darling bro and his lovely girlfriend helped my husband paint the bedroom since I am to refrain from such activities for the next four months and so grateful was I that I offered to knit his legwarmers for his birthday (Nov 5) even though I had privately agreed with myself to not knit birthday gifts this year since I am trying to get other things knit and many of my family birthdays happen in the next two months.

How does one complicate legwarmers? Noah wanted vertical stripes and preferred that they did not match. Sure, no problem, I blithely assured him. The next day, my son and I troupe off to the yarn store for the appropriate colors and returned home for lunch. I spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out how to knit ribbed vertical stripes. Let me make this short, fast forward a few hours: it’s not possible. I worked out that I could double-knit in vertical stripes but a couple inches of that assured me that it was not stretchy enough. Other possibilities include intarsia and corrugated ribbing but they would also not stretch due to the stranding across the back. Helical knitting, a la Grumperina? But that would take…20 different balls of yarn, if it even worked. I was done.

I took a giant step backwards, realized that I was making myself crazy over something that was not, in the end, that important. Vertical ribbed stripes, that is. The man was willing to buy handknit legwarmers at the fair trade shop, knit by a stranger, so I’m sure these will more than satisfy.

Check back for the results (I am about half done with #1, not counting finishing work) next Thursday. I don’t want to give away the design now since Noah reads this site, newborn though it is. He’s my blog tech support and is helping me to get everything up and running. Actually, that was originally what I was trading the viking face mask hat for. What did we change it to? Do I still owe you something, Noah?

In the meantime, I have at least six active projects to talk about so there won’t be any lack of fiber around here.

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  3 comments for “Legwarmers kicking my ass

  1. November 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Vertical ribbed stripes. Yikes. that’s a tough one, definitely. I’m looking forward to seeing how you solved that!

  2. November 4, 2008 at 12:54 am

    “Solve” might be a strong word to describe my choices…

  3. Aunt Margie
    November 12, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I love reading your knitting blog! What a beautiful look, fun to read, and inspiring. This entry really captures the essence of the joys and challenges of knitting for someone who is an artist – creative, particular and appreciative. I can so picture Noah making drawings, touching yarns, and talking colors. Looking forward to seeing your finished projects and benefiting from your knitting expertise.

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