Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Monday, August 1, 2016

Poncho and Baseball

Okay-- first of all, we went to a baseball game tonight. Mate lucked into some box seats from work--and I have to admit-- the view was SWEET!

The RiverCats won definitively-- 15-1-- and I got to see two professional baseball players from the Salt Lake City Bees actually run into each other while the ball dropped between them, I shit you not.

And since the weather was warm and happy instead of kill-you-dead-with-malice, being outside wasn't a hardship either.

By the way-- the following two things actually happened while we were there.

A.  ZoomBoy said, "Give me those things, they'll help me catch balls!"  And then he posed like that.  I did not ask what kind of balls, neither did I want to know.

B. During the dance cam I stood up to dance with the kids, forgetting that we were sitting outside of BOX SEATS. Which means that three drunk old farts got to watch me shake my ass.  I realized what I'd done and sat down--completely mortified--until it hit me. I'd heard them talking politics: they were Trump supporters. I almost stood up again and told them to kiss it while they were there.

But it was overall family fun-- whee!

And second of all--

I finished this project for a friend's kid.

Now knitters and crocheters often get asked to make things--and if you've asked me for this, please don't feel bad.  The thing is, people usually offer money, or say, "You could make money on that!"  and although they mean well, I don't think they understand exactly what they're asking for, especially from people who don't want to do this for a living.

This poncho is made of worsted weight yarn--that's a 4 in thickness on a scale of 0-6, so it's sort of your average thick yarn. (These people live where it gets cold--seriously.)  It is of medium difficulty--I used a couple of expert's tricks to make it go faster, and I did something whip-spiffy on the bottom edging, because they didn't want fringe, and it just needed that extra something.  I designed it myself, using knowledge accrued of over 18 years teaching myself to knit and crochet, studying patterns and while not making everything I loved, figuring out how to make it if I wanted to. If I'd used a finer yarn, or a more difficult square, I could have increased the difficulty--and the time to finish--by about 250%. I didn't want to do this--I wanted her to have it for the fall, when it starts to get cold.

I started it in early May.

It's been my solid go-to project for three months, and I've worked on it--sometimes intensely, sometimes desultorily, probably 5-7 nights a week, because that's how often I get to sit in front of the television when I'm home. When I'm not home I work on smaller projects like hats and socks--you've all seen me at cons, I'm sure.

All told, this is the equivalent of a blanket--especially with the hood--and it took approximately 14 skeins of yarn at 3 1/2 ounces a skein. (That's over 3 lbs. of yarn.)  I used a moderately priced wool/acrylic blend with pretty nylon accents (why it looks like confetti) that washes easy and runs about $8 a skein-- so this cost me $112 to make.

Most people making something like that charge double or triple the material cost if they're charging, so that's anywhere from $225-$340 if you're buying it off ETSY.

But I wouldn't make it to sell. I spent 3 months of my very limited leisure time to make this, because I love my friend and I love her kid--and some people can sit and knit and crochet for hours at a time for money, but I can't. If I'm not using yarn to control my mental squirrel, I have to love the yarn, love the feel, love the color, love the pattern, and be happy that it's going to someone I care about.  I once made a friend a blanket as a going away present (it was a super quick pattern--two strands of yarn, big hook, easy ripple) and she asked me if I could make her another one. She'd pay me.

I cannot TELL you how much I hated that second blanket. It practically burned my hands.

But I loved making this--it makes me really happy. I hope my friend's daughter likes it as much as Squish does.

So there you go-- some things to know about handcrafted items that people who don't make them don't often know.  Just remember that when you say things like, "Oh, you could do that for money!" it's not always the compliment you think it is. (I don't take offense--but I usually do tell the blanket story.)  And remember when you're looking things up on ETSY that "Oh my God, that cost so much!" is really not as much as you think it does when you're counting materials and labor.

And remember that if someone makes you something and gives it to you, they did it out of love, and for no other reason, and if it doesn't fit entirely, or it's not quite your color?  Well, you may want to think very carefully about how you explain that to your knitter or crocheter. All of those funny movies and TV shows about, "Be sure to wear that for your Aunt Mabel!" do make us laugh-- but they're also very human. We know Aunt Mabel worked her ass off to make that damned ugly sweater--it needs to be frickin' seen!

Or at least loved, the way Aunt Mabel loved you when she made it.

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