What Do You Mean It Takes That Long To Make?
Knitting Things For Other People, No Matter The Reason
(Just a quick note to let you know I am using American knitting terminology in this newsletter.)
I was asked to knit up a quick hat as a gift for someone by an acquaintance. They needed the hat in a few hours’ time. I said if they wanted something made from thick heavy yarn on big needles, I might be able to make it. That’s not what they wanted. They handed me a thin yarn and expected me to knit something with a firm fabric just that quick.
That ain’t gonna happen.
There are several weights of yarn. For example, super-bulky and bulky yarn are both thick, like rope, only softer, and lighter, depending on what they are made out of. You can use big needles and big yarn to whip up a very simple hat in a limited amount of time. I tend to make this sort of simple hat around the holidays because I already have so many other things going on and my family knows every year I make them a hat for the December holidays. It’s something quick and easy. Plus, it turns out cute every time.
I also normally knit a new round of hats for the family at the beginning or right before Winter strikes. For this, I normally use worsted weight yarn. I work with worsted weight yarn a lot. It’s thick but not too thick. I can work with what I call the average-sized needles, a US 8 or US 9-sized needles. It can take me a few days to knit up a worsted weight hat. To make a colorwork hat, with an intricate pattern all over the hat, that might take me a couple of days longer.
If I am using DK weight yarn, it is thinner than worsted weight and finer. It requires, usually, even smaller needles. When making a hat using DK yarn, I might use anywhere from a US 4 to a US 7, depending upon the pattern. This hat may take me a week or more to make. Detailed patterning will extend that time, as it would with the worsted weight yarn.
There is also a lace weight yarn, which is very fine and thin. To knit a hat with lace weight yarn, I typically use anywhere from a US 1 to a US 3. I might use a US 4 or 5 if I am making an airy hat. With lace weight yarn, there is typically a decorative pattern being worked. This hat might take me a week and a half, perhaps two weeks to complete.
Do you want a scarf? A Dr. Who scarf? That is an eighteen feet long scarf, even if I knit it in worsted weight yarn, on a US 8 or US 9 needle, that may take me a month or longer to make. Yes, really. And so that I am clear here, the Dr. Who scarf is a very simple knitting project. The color changes aren’t in the middle of rows, but at the ends, where changing colors is easier. It is also knit if I am not mistaken, all in garter stitch, which is simply the knit stitch repeated for every row. There is no fancy pattern or anything with this scarf. If I am lucky and work dogmatically and hard at completing this scarf will take me a month, or more.
What about knitting you a sweater? In a worsted weight or a DK weight yarn, without a lot of fanfare or anything, you will need to give me a month, at least. If, after I complete the knitting portion of the sweater, I need to sew it up, give me two or three days to do this properly. Normally I do my best to knit as seamlessly as possible, as sewing up a sweater can be a terrifying process for me, especially if I am making the sweater for someone else.
If you want me to knit you a blanket, I am just going to say forget about it. Knitting a huge blanket, even if I am using bulky or super-bulky yarn, might be more than I want to handle. If it is a throw or a baby’s blanket, that isn’t as difficult nor as time-consuming as, say, a king-sized or queen-sized blanket for your bed. Even if I am crocheting a blanket, because crocheting is so much faster than knitting when it comes to blankets for me, give me a month, if not two. Knitting a blanket, a simple blanket, gives me two to four months.
Yes, there are people out there who can knit a lot faster than I can. There are also people who knit more slowly than do I. When you ask for something from someone, don’t get upset when you are told the person doing the making needs far more time than you thought they did. Also, if I am knitting something lacy and fine, for example, a shawl, don’t think handing me twenty bucks is going to cover anything, even if I got my yarn on the cheap. That requires a lot of effort and more work than I care to explain. Lacework is detail-oriented. The level of difficulty depends on the pattern. Can you read a knitting chart? I can, but it takes me a long time because I am darn near blind most of the time, but following a chart, is even harder for me.
I hope this little chat helps you think about things when you go to ask someone to knit something either for you or as a gift for someone else. Make sure you give them enough time, as well as enough credit.
Come follow along at my blog above for more of my journey.