Sometimes non-knitters ask me to knit them something particular and if a birthday or Christmas is coming up they usually receive that thing as a present. The difficulty though is to translate their expectations and visions into what can actually be made and was is a good idea or not.
The person who receives the most knits from me is without a doubt Agnieszka (and babies but they have no say in what they get). I have knit for her for many years and we have worked out a pretty good routine when it comes to knitting (not to mention that she lives two blocks away from the yarn store so we can usually go there together). She also knows most of the things I’ve knit for myself and others so we can usually understand each other very well. We might discuss size and I would say something like “bigger than the yellow Citron of 2012 but smaller than the Sonar of 2013?” and she might answer “yes, but the same yarn as the 2014 wrist warmers”. Once or twice we’ve gotten it wrong but we learn and we can, usually, laugh at the mistakes.
With other people it’s not as easy. They don’t know my knitting as well as Agnieszka and they don’t have that many hand knitted objects. It’s sometimes difficult to understand what they want and for them to understand what can be made or not. When Hanna wanted a shawl I narrowed it down in little pieces, different questions so try to understand what she was after. Questions with titles such as Size? Texture? Shape? Fiber? Color? Warmth/thickness of yarn? After all these were answered we had a pretty good idea what she was looking for and I went online to find patterns. I chose three that I thought interesting enough for me to knit and she picked the one she liked best. I made a few yarn suggestions and she picked her favorite. I knit and she was very happy with the result. (I sometimes still wonder where that shawl is and I hope it makes someone warm.)
Another time it might not be so easy. When my mother-in-law asked me for a cape of some sort to wear with a dress she had bought, she had a clear purpose in mind and the rest was pretty optional which actually made it harder. Since she didn’t have a clear vision of what she wanted, only what she wanted it for, it was harder for me to find a pattern. I knew what color she wanted, that it was for a certain summer dress and that she wanted it to cover her shoulders. The result was this capelet, something I hadn’t imagined at all before I saw some yarn in my stash that was the perfect color and then I just went from there. The result is pretty and worked wonderful with the dress and my mother-in-law was very pleased when she opened her Christmas gift. I don’t think either of us had this in mind when we first talked about it but it worked out just fine. And what could be better than that?
Pattern: The Galaxy Capelet by Cathy Briscoe. Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in color 108. Mods: No frill at the bottom, I just ended with some garter stitch to keep it in place. I cast on, established the pattern and then knit on for a million rows until the size was finally right. It fit like a glove.