April 13, 2004
The Boring Cardie is done.
You will note that I have given up adding cats, flowers or handcrafted fleece eggs in an attempt to make the boring cardie anything more than what it is. As I looked at it now, I realized what purpose the cardie is here to fulfill. It is The Zen of a sweater. It exists as a sweater in it's pure form, with no distracting colour, style or varied stitch pattern. Just miles and miles of pure, unadulterated, mind-numbing, stocking stitch. The Boring cardie is an expression of the essence of a sweater, without the distracting design elements that stand between the knitter and the perfection of its simple sweaterness.
I gave in to the cardie and it's lesson for me, and became one with the sweater. I was given the opportunity to reflect on my act of knitting and enter a simple meditative state where I was capable of deep inner realization and reflection. In this trancelike state, one can reach deep introspective places, and ask complex questions of your inner self, and find answers that lead you to greater harmony with your spirit and an opportunity to become more fully centred as a human being.
To meet these lofty goals and yield gentle understanding I asked myself questions like this.
What am I, a masochist? What the *&^%$$#! was I thinking when I designed this thing? What's wrong with stripes? Who doesn't like stripes? Who does this to themselves? How long do people read your blog if you knit navy boring cardies? What kind of a knitter am I? Will this sweater ever *&^%$$!!!! end? Will I die before it ends? Will I be glad if I do? Will someone stop me if I ever try to knit another one? Are these arms long enough? Could they be?
As I embraced this opportunity to examine my own sensory and perceptual experiences while knitting the boring cardigan, I reached a level of true knitting and was rewarded with a virtually flawless sweater. (To tell you the truth, if it wasn't just about flawless I'd want to choke myself with dirty alpaca roving, but I'm sure it's all contributed to my personal growth) For those of you who care about these things (like Ken...who has what can only be called an unnatural interest in seams, picking up stitches and the reverse sides of knitting) I give you a detail shot.
This sweater is intended for an eight year old boy. Tomorrow, we embellish in a manner that would be agreeable to an eight year old boy. As the mother of three daughters I'm at a loss. Ideas? (Say "navy" and I find out where you live. Seriously...no more navy)
(And I'm still waiting on the snowdrop baby. While I am a gentle and loving woman who has a great deal of faith in nature's own timing, I'm about 3 days away from shaking the mother until the baby falls out. Sheesh)
Posted by Stephanie at April 13, 2004 11:55 AM
Is it just me, or is the button band bulging at the collar? It looks a bit bulgy, eh?
*wonders how many times the Harlot will look at it now* The raglan sleeves look good though.
What about a few well placed fish and undersea creatures? That is befitting of blue!
Patience is a virtue (don't shoot me!) and your cardi is proof. It's wonderful in its simplicity. You made your own everyday cardi for a special young man. You might have to check out what sports he likes and such. It looks great to me!
Re: the snowdrop baby. I'm sure, at this point, the mother-to-be wouldn't mind if you wanted to shake the infant out. She'd probably thank you, in fact.
My nephew likes the Incredible Hulk and Buzz Lightyear. He appreciates any and all attempts to incorporate either (or both!) into any gift he is given. If this lovely cardi were going to him, I would compromise and embroider large spaceman-worthy stars randomly or in a tidy border or something. If I were ridiculously ambitious (I try not to be) I would stick a real space-robot on there, a la www.sublimestitching.com
My 5 year old nephew is into dinosaurs, snakes and bugs - the creepier, the better, according to my sister-in-law. A duplicate stitch snake, head starting one one front side, body wrapping around the back and tail showing up on the other front side? Spiders around the neck and down the sleeves?
Erg - I'm creeping myself out here...
As the aunt of a 9 year old boy, cars are favorites -especially sports cars. Tools are also good. Dinosaurs are iffy; they tend to be out growing interest in dinosaurs at this age. If he is into sports, maybe something for his favorite sport. Or you coudl just leave it plain. Girls are much easier to knit for.
My advice, based on my memory of being an eight-year-old boy, is that if you must embellish, have it be one large item, not many small ones. But unless you know for sure that he would wear such a thing, it's probably better to leave it plain. While I could see a five-year-old wearing an embellished sweater, I suspect that an eight-year-old would consider such a thing to be either too little-boy or insufficiently manly.
I like the idea of fish or other creatures. I'm not an 8-year-old boy, though; he might prefer it plain. Perhaps his initials?
Looks like you're gonna have to find out what this lucky little boy is "in to" before deciding on embelleshment.
I know you're just thrilled by the prospect of all that duplicate stitch, so why not look instead for buttons in his theme of choice? If what you can find won't go through the buttonholes, stitch them on the front of the sweater as decorations.
BTW, I don't begrudge your two day break, but I am sure glad you're back. Had me worried there.
If you're going to knit a boring cardigan, at least it's a SMALL boring cardigan! Congrats, it looks great.
I just finished the second sleeve of a pretty boring sweater. It has a fun cable going up the center but other than that, all stockinette. Sometimes it feels like sleeves will never end --especially on raglans!!
Michael (Aubergine), you are a nice person.
Not like you to give Steph something to obsess over. But, heh.
Steph, gonzesse, the Boring Cardie is actually quite fine, and the raglan looks perfect.
Quite a feat, to my way of thinking.
Do not embellish the sweater, particularly with motifs of sports or animals, unless they were VERY specifically requested.
Boys over the age of about three will not look kindly on motif sweaters.
You may believe you're being kind and thoughtful.
He will think you are an elderly dork.
When I read the first part of your blog, I thought, Stephanie has found her zen, look what knitting a simple sweater has done for her. I was ready to rush out to buy navy yarn to achieve the same piece and harmony.
Then..... Alas, back to my multi-colored, many textured array of WIPs. No zen for me, today.
I love reading your blog.
Bwah ha ha! Kath, I'm sure you are right. Having invested as much as I have in the boring cardie, I'm partial to it plain myself. His mother wants the embellishment, and it's not like me to stand in the way of a mother looking for a way to torture a kid with clothing. I did my time. I was a child in the seventies. Can we say "pantsuit"?
For the record...there is nothing bulgy about that button band. Nothing.
As the mother of an eight yr old boy it would facinate me if the child would wear anything other than a T-shirt. Sorry I couldn't be of help I guess my kids only want to dress like street punks. I would have to sew money on it to get mine to even try it on.
(Decloaking.) My 9-year-old son would wear that cardigan...but only if it had a zipper and a hood and was embellished with flames and a lizard. (Clearly my son would have fun playing with Amanda's son.) It's a nice cardigan, though. Is it too late to add some daisies and find a little girl to wear it?
Duplicate stitch??? Are you insane!?!?!
Wait. You don't have to answer that.
Wait again. Is there a 5th Amendment sort of thing in Canada?
"I will not answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me...."
Put a truck on it... and patches on the elbows. Boys like that, right? Actually, it's a nice grape sweater. There is a zen quality to knitting boring stitches. You persevered. You should feel very much at peace. Sorry, I have two girls and I knit boring crap all the time.
I showed my 9yo son the cardie and asked him what an 8yo would like. After reminding me that he is a LOT closer to 10 than 8 (B-day in late Aug!), he said that he would only wear the sweater plain with plain buttons that matched it (read- blend in), and maybe his name embroidered small on the right side of the chest. He then asked "do you know that lady? 'cuz you could tell her she did a good job knitting that. It looks really good". Did I train him right or what? He also suggested that if the kid was on a team, maybe he would like his team name instead of his name.
Have you seen the book Here Be Wyverns? It has some cool graphics.
I cast my vote for leaving it plain, with plain buttons to match, as suggested by Tish's brilliant son. :) I have a younger brother, and two boy cousins who I've watched turn into Young Men, and man, I think he will get more mileage out of that sweater if it has as little kid-ness about it as possible.
But that's just my two cents.
I asked my 8 year old, and BTW he is EXACTLY 8 and a half today, what he would like on a sweater like this, and he agreed with Tish's son. Leave it alone, maximum, put his first initial somewhere on the front. Of course then he decided a HUGE first initial takng up the whole back would be cool too. So go figure...of course this is from a kid I have to surgically remove from his red hoodie once a week to wash it...it has 8 inch tall letters spelling GAP on it...but of course...plain is best..LOL. Gonna go feed my little consumer dinner now, enjoy!
Totally off topic....a while back I asked if anyone had used Wildefoot and people answered me with their experience. I wrote off to Brown Sheep and told them what I thought of it. I just received 2 replacement skeins in the mail, and they are nothing like the stuff I bought. Thanks to everyone who wrote me, it gave me the incentive to write them.
Um, I'm guessing that the "embellishment" in question was going to be duplicate stitch, right? I have had NO luck with duplicate stitch. It looks like crap. Am I alone in this? Being somewhat self-taught, maybe I'm missing an important piece of information, but my background color always shows through, and I hate it. My first venture into duplicate stitch was some holly leaves and berries on a cream colored Christmas stocking, and there aren't even words to describe how much it sucked. I've tried it a couple times since, and have sworn it off. If I'm missing out on something spectacular, please point me in a direction of enlightenment.
Good job on the cardi, Stephanie. I won't lie though, it hasn't been the most interesting project to follow. But I am proud of you for taking another project through to completion. You've been on a roll. Are you OK with this? I thought you were planning a revolt.
I love reading your blog and have made it a habit every day...about the embellishment for the cardie...was wondering if leatherlike patches at the elbows would be "too oldish" for an eight year old? If it becomes a favorite sweater, protection at the elbows would be essential.
Kath - I can't help myself.
How about numbers Steph? Like a sports-esque big number 6 or something. That's not so bad, right?
well, as someone who will never be more mature that an eight-year-old, I am leaning towards the no embellishment school of thought. UNLESS, you put the flames on it. Flames, like the kind on a hot rod, coming up from the waist. That would be SO COOL. However, his mother might find the image of her child on fire too disturbing. Have we tried ASKING the actual child what he might like?
To embellish for an 8-year-old boy, you have to remember the "cool" factor. The #1 embellishment at our house: pockets, large ones (for holding all manner of treasures).
Glad it's done! And, umm, it may have been boring, but it looks great!
Hope the baby comes soon.
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