Pattern: Rosa Reef from Rowan #31, size Large
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton DK
Needles: US size 3 and 5
Modifications: I knit the collar in the round instead of flat with a seam. I also made the collar skinnier because I didn't want to bother joining a new ball of yarn (and I thought that joining a new ball would look ugly)
Recipient: Mother in law
General thoughts: I hated knitting this sweater. I hated the yarn. I hated the pattern.
Need a cat photo? Need a modeling photo? The sweater is too big for me and would have been too small for Peter to model. (Not that he would agree to modeling it).
(If anyone can read that Chinese scroll in the background, let me know!)
Laura's Rules for Knitting for Other People
If you ever think about offering to knit a sweater for someone, please keep the following rules in mind.
1. Know your "customer." Everyone has his or her own taste in clothing. The person that you want to knit for may not like the kinds of clothes that you like. Look at the clothes that your customer owns. Does he or she have brightly colored and patterned clothing? If so, the customer will probably like a fair-isle or an intarsia sweater. Does the customer like simple, neutral-colored clothing? If so, he or she would probably ask for a beige, stockinette sweater. Consider the customer's taste in clothing before even offering to knit a sweater of his or her choosing. If you don't want to do intarsia, don't ask the person who always wears floral-patterned clothes if she wants a sweater.
2. Do not hand your customer a stack of knitting patterns and say, "Pick which ever one you like." If you do this, your customer will invaribly select the one sweater that you never, ever want to knit. Instead, hand-select patterns that you want to knit and only show those sweaters to your customer. However, be sure to consider the customer's tastes when selecting patterns. If you select a bunch of patterns the customer doesn't like, the customer may suddenly start browsing other patterns and find that one sweater that you never, ever want to knit.
3. After the customer has selected a pattern, do not immediately run the customer to a yarn shop to purchase yarn. If you do this you many end up knitting a sweater with yarn that you hate, and who wants to knit with icky yarn? Instead, study the pattern and research yarns. Identify 1-3 different yarns that you would like to work with and tell your customer that "these are the best yarns to use for your sweater." Your customer probably doesn't know anything about yarns. He or she probably doesn't know that there may be 50 other types of yarns appropriate for the sweater. He or she probably doesn't know what makes one yarn better than another. When a nonknitter is picking yarns, only two things are important: texture and color. Nonknitters don't care about the resiliency, feltability, loft, squishiness, etc of a yarn. Nonknitters just want a soft sweater in a color that they like.
4. Consider making a "gift sweater" instead of making a "made-to-order sweater." Dangerous? Possibly. But at least you will enjoy knitting the sweater!