Monday, January 28, 2008

Helmetliner is now a Balaclava

I was knitting with Ruthie when she pulled out some camo yarn and proceeded to cast on. Intrigued I asked what she was knitting and was told it was for a Helmetliner for our troops overseas.  I have trouble with waging war, the Armed Forces and their ideas but not with the soldiers who are stationed over there so thought this was a good idea as, usually, inbetweeen projects for me or someone else, I try to do a charity piece.  
I got the pattern for helmetliner and proceeded to find some heathered Cascade 220 color#9408 --  a beautiful rich reddish brown that had me, a non brown person, enjoying. I was pleased to be doing this and found my gauge correct so started the liner.  I wrote before, In Just One of Those Days about the rigidity of the instructions and the fact that it was not the designer but the Armed Forces who have made them so strict.  The design is very clever and easy to do.
I got all the way to 4 inches into the cap where the decreases start when I read this, "Be sure to check your gauge.  Even being off 1/2 stitch per inch will make the helmetliner useless, as it will NOT fit properly."
OK so I should have read the entire pattern beforehand.  OK OK.  I did check my gauge before starting and usually that is enough.  But to be told to check it again well into a project had me feeling a bit odd. This was not a fancy big item.  It's a one skein item.   I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that if I dared check my gauge and found it off I would need to frog the entire thing and start again.  How many hours had I already spent on this? That was not the point but I was paralyzed.  I could not knit another stitch.  Here I was, almost done and stuck.  I have nothing against frogging and have done my fair share of it periodically but with this piece it just felt wrong.
After sitting for a while I realized I felt threatened by the instructions.  I knit for relaxation, for meditation, for feeling good, for some challenges and for learning but I do not knit well under threats.  Well, I don't do well at most things under threats.  Certainly at Holiday time I knit under pressure but that is different as I make the rules.  Hmmmnnn, so I don't like someone else making rules for me on a project that I was thinking might feel nice on some soldier's head;  might be a softer substitute for some itchy wool thing he/she was issued.  Add to this my annoyance at the fact that the Army thinks all heads are the same size and I was getting disturbed. 
I carried the bag around but just could not get myself to knit even one more stitch.  I told anyone who would listen about this pattern and the Army's rigidity. Finally Jim asked if he could have the thing?  "Isn't it really a balaclava? I could wear it working outside."  Give the man a gold star for coming up with THE SOLUTION.  I tried it on him and sure enough the neck part fit fine.  Now I could knit on it again.  It didn't take long and the whole piece was enjoyably finished.  See, just loosen up the atmosphere and all is well.
Beautiful rich reddish brown.  I might have to dye something that color and play with it.

1 comment:

Breezy said...

Gauge is the reason I don't knit much - only things that don't require gauge! But it still looks great! And is a cool design!