The Things We Do For Love

Like knitting with acrylic.


alaska mitts 1a

Friends shouldn’t let friends knit with crappy yarn…….


It’s hard to believe that at some point acrylic was the newest and best thing on the handknitter’s radar; a full-blown miracle fiber in its convenience and cost effectiveness. I like to think that I’m not really a yarn snob, having begun my stitching odyssey crocheting afghans in miles of acrylic, but knitting with this stuff is a little like huffing a dream gone sour.  I imagine some over-enthusiastic spinner somewhere exhausted their pile of wool roving and thought to themselves: Hmmmm. What to spin next? Well, here’s a nice little pile of steel wool. Let’s try that! And though it’s been killing my hands, trying to cable with the stuff, I did it anyway. Why? Oh, because of this little conversation:


Mom: Do you think you’ll have time to knit a pair of those gloves for B. before she leaves for Alaska? It’s in a couple weeks. Remember. Make them man sized.

Me: Well, I thought we were going to go out and get some nice yarn for her first.

Mom: Oh just use that stuff we got at the garage sale. She says the colors match the interior of her truck.

Me: Oooookaaaaay…… Except that’s acrylic and I think an animal fiber would keep her much, much warmer. I mean, she’s going to Alaska!

Mom: Yeah, but that stuff I gave you is machine-washable [this is like the holy grail for my Mom; things aren’t worth much if you can’t put them in the washing machine]. And it’s soft too [I find that debatable actually; seems scratchy as hell to me].

Me: (Refraining from complicating things by trying to explain that there is such a thing as superwash wool now) Sure Mom, I’ll get those finished up for you as soon as I can.


alaska mitts 2a


Pattern: Fetching from Knitty Summer 2006

Yarn: Caron Dazzle Sports in Onyx Black (CC) & Red Heart Super Saver Multis/Ombres in Grey Heather (MC); about 1/2 skein of the MC and small amount of the CC

Needles: Size 6 Susan Bates dpn’s

Mods: Quite a few actually.  I cast on with the CC and worked 4 rnds in 4×1 rib, did the cable round and then switched to the MC.  I worked one extra 4×1 rib and cable repeat before knitting the 18 rounds to the thumb.  After putting the thumb on waste yarn, I knit 5 rnds in 4×1 rib, did the cable round, then repeated those 6 rnds for a total of 3 times.  At that point I joined the CC and knit 7 rnds in 4×1 rib before casting off with the picot edge.  These are really really looooooong.  But they’re not for me so that should be fine.  The recipient has the longest skinniest hands on the planet so I’m hoping they’re perfect for her.   

Comments: I have made so many of these now that I’m actually getting really bored with the pattern. I still enjoy the finished product though and despite being made in acrylic, these don’t look half bad.  It’s the feel I don’t like.  But then again, I don’t have to like them.  They’re not for me. 


Remember kids: Life’s too short to knit with crappy yarn!


13 thoughts on “The Things We Do For Love

  1. I saw this project in your ravelry folder. I was baffled that you would knit with something like this. I do agree that it is not the nicest thing with which to knit. Of course we always do things that are uncomfortable for those we love. The big green monster would have never been finished if it had been for myself. But I had already told my 17 year old sister in law that I was knitting it for her.

    Have a good rest of your week and I look forward to hearing from you.

  2. They look good, despite their content! I’m with you too though – your knitting time is worth more than that. But you tailored it to the recipient’s desire for machine washing, which is a true gift (making things the way the recipient wants instead of the way you do.) How dirty are fingerless gloves going to get though anyway?

  3. I’m hoping that she’s going to Alaska during the summer! There’s no way I’d be able to feel warm with fingerless gloves during winter! Even now, it’s a bit early for these lovely things over here, unfortunately…

  4. The things we do…..they do look great, though! I fully agree with you and I have these three things that I quite often say to family members..or anyone else in earshot.

    ‘Life is too short to’

    ….eat crappy tomatoes(to my husband who complains about the price of ‘good’ tomatoes)
    ….wear cheap shoes (to my grandmother, who crams her feet in shoes far too small and made of plastic, while complaining about her bunions and corns)
    ….knit with crappy yarn (to anyone who scoffs at my yarn price and content)

  5. Oh boy, don’t you love those lovely Mom-Daughter chats?! I have similar with my Mom… anyhow, the yarn might be crappy but they look lovely!

  6. HAHAHA your transcribed conversation with your mom made me crack up. It’s sooo true. Thankfully the requested item was a pair of hand warmers, and not a whole sweater! Some acrylic is aight, but Red Heart really does feel to me like steel wool. Then again, (no offense meant of course) but someone who would appreciate their mittens matching the interior of their car is probably perfectly happy with acrylic yarn.

    PS – My blog post today is devoted entirely to something you mentioned in your last post :) Check it out hehe.

  7. They came out nicely! I like how your mix of yarns/colors looks and it’s nifty that you strayed from the pattern to make your own version :) I’ve heard that at least acrylic softens well from washings and I think it’s really durable too!

  8. “Just Say No!” I can only imagine how your hands feel after cabling with that crap. :) Oh well, they are done and you can move on. I may have watched “Meet the Robinsons” a few too many times but, “Keep Moving Forward.”

  9. Even though they were made with Red Heart, they’re still gorgeous. Now you should treat yourself to some really yummy expensive yarn to help you get over the acrylic torture!

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