Masculine Knitting

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Project Baby Love is in full swing but I’ve encountered a problem. The other day I found out that friends of mine only want masculine clothes for their wee baby boy. I didn’t think much of it until last night when I was planning the next Project Baby Love sweater. All of a sudden I felt limited in my knitting.

I mean sure, Agnieszka and I rarely agree on anything when it comes to knitting but usually we discuss it and we compromise and we come up with something that we are both satisfied with, a pattern, yarn and a color, and although we might have different opinions of what color that is, we can usually agree on it even if I call it yellow and she calls it orange (had it been orange I might not have wanted to knit it and had it been yellow she might not have wanted to wear it but since it’s yellow to me and orange to her it works fine). I knit a lot for Agnieszka and each and every project is thoroughly discussed and looked at from every possible angle. We have spent hours and hours coming up with plans that we both like and we have pretty fun while we’re doing it.

But, this is just two friends having different opinions on things that concerns only them, nothing is political about it, because it’s much harder to compromise about your political believes, and there is no one else involved, like a baby. But as much as I hope that people will respect my decision to dress any future kids in all the colors of the rainbow, I must respect other’s decision on not doing that. That’s when the compromise comes in, if someone wants to respect, say, a decision on not putting pink and frilly dresses on a little girl, but but they themselves don’t feel like black is a suitable color for a baby, maybe the compromise can be other colors like green, red, yellow, white, orange, purple?

There are so many colors and so many nuances of each colors that this shouldn’t be a problem. And yet it is. Because I now know that my friends want their son to wear masculine clothes and since I want the baby in question to actually wear my knits, I need to follow and respect their wish (and hope they will do the same for me should a child come my way one day).

I’ve never thought much of baby sweaters I’ve knit being feminine or masculine, I’ve always knit what my heart desire in an interesting pattern and a color I like. I rarely knit with a specific baby in mind, I know that there are a certain number of babies being born that year I have knit that many baby sweaters (or more) and then I send them off in different directions depending on which sweater I think will suit the baby and the parents. Parents that love a certain color might get a baby sweater in that color, babies who look good in warm colors get sweaters in warm colors and so on. Of course, when I’ve met a baby and realize what he/she likes and/or needs I cast on something specifically for that baby, but that’s after I’ve met her/him.

This time though, I have the word masculine stuck in my brain and all of a sudden I’m at loss. What is masculine? It’s not like the parents in question have said “no cables, no lace, no pink, no whatever”, that might have been helpful (if somewhat a bit boring without any lace or cables or so to keep up my interest, but books make good gifts too). But the word masculine. That means different things to different people. All of a sudden I’ve started to question everything I knit. Are cables masculine? Could this little row of yarn overs count as masculine if the color is blue? Is a circular yoke and a textured pattern masculine enough? Sure, I could knit a blue, plain sweater (I’m really not sure whether a cardigan is masculine enough at this point) in only stockinette stitch but, I don’t want to. I’ve knit six projects in blue so far this year, I’m ready for other colors, and frankly, a simple stockinette stitch sweater won’t hold my interest long enough for me to finish it, and then there will be no sweater at all.

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Baby sweaters that are considered masculine in my pattern books are most often either boring or have some intricate intarsia and that doesn’t thrill me at all (I would at some point start to curse the intarsia and that would be bad karma knit into the wee innocent sweater). Also, most pattern books have knit the “boy sweaters” in a color so dark it’s hard to even see how the sweater looks and frankly, the color of the project in the pattern book have such influence on me that I usually just skip that page altogether without bothering to look deeper, my brain only registers “dark color, I don’t care for dark colors, move on”.

Eventually I’ll get some kind of epiphany or I just make a decision of some kind. hopefully that epiphany will come soon though, before the wee baby isn’t so wee anymore, they have a tendency to grow like weed, those babies.

I’ll figure something out. If nothing else, as I said, books make pretty good gifts too.