Awhile back, a coworker of my wife’s asked her if I could make him some “manly” fingerless mitts. Why he asked this is still a bit of a mystery to me. My wife does like to brag about me sometimes, for whatever reason, and so this coworker/friend of hers knew I was capable of knitting almost anything I wanted, but it still strikes me as odd that he would ask. I suppose it’s true, though, that people who don’t knit don’t know what goes into knitting, so he probably didn’t quite know what he was asking. My wife does knit, however. In fact, she’s the reason I learned to knit.
I guess then that the true mystery isn’t why this person asked my wife this question but why, instead, my wife agreed. Yes, she did get him to say he would pay me, but though it was more than I could get for them at a craft fair it wasn’t nearly enough that had I actually been asked I would have said yes. I have done commissioned pieces before such as the head shawl that was full of Zelda motifs, but that was for one of my personal friends and when I was first starting out. It was also my own design so it allowed me to play with designing.
No, my wife’s friend chose a particular pattern, The Gladiator by Rhiannon McCulloch. It’s a $15 pattern, however, and she didn’t want him to have to pay that much. Despite my protests to the otherwise, she decided that I should just look at the pictures of the mitts and figure out the design from those. It was futile the argue and I knew it, so eventually I agreed to do just that.
So that’s exactly what I did, I looked at the pictures, I figured out what was going on, I charted out the designs, and I tested them out. I should add there was one more caveat: I couldn’t use any animal fibers in this project. The man is a vegan including yarn, which I can respect since I’m mostly a vegan but excluding yarn. I haven’t worked with many yarns that weren’t animal fiber based, however, so it was a little tough for me. I didn’t want to go with a plant based fiber, though, because I have trouble with my tensioning and gauge consistency in knitting. That left acrylic and other synthetics or synthetic blends.
In the end I settled on Berroco Comfort which is an acrylic/nylon blend. It’s a nice, stretchy yarn that feels nice to knit but doesn’t have great stitch definition. This meant that I had to change the design a little, mostly by tightening up the cables. With that worked out, though, I was able to finally get started.
In the end it wasn’t too bad. It took about a week of knitting once I got past the whole designing and yarn selection and testing phases. I also got something out of it besides the money: I proved that I can deconstruct a garment from a picture and knit something up that looks very similar. It’s a useful skill to have and an accomplishment that I can be proud of. I also got to work with a yarn I never would have considered working with otherwise. It was a new experience. So even though I’m still a little grumpy with my wife for putting me through this I can’t be too upset. After all I managed to get a good story out of it, and isn’t that what life is really about?