This weather is just depressing. It is somewhat sunny right now outside, and I have been jonesing to go for a run at lunch, but when I checked the weather, it said right now (an hour before I lace up my trainers) it is all of 29 degrees, with a windchill of 23. Too. Damn. Cold. We will see if I am feeling up to it in an hour.

In the meantime, a knitting pattern landed in my inbox overnight via Knitting Daily that instantly entranced me. It is called the Aquitaine Pullover.
I just love it. I love the lace pattern. I like the rib details and the faux seams. I like the wide shoulders and the fact that it is intended to be layered. I love the name. I even liked the color; I could almost envision myself wearing pink to wear that sweater.

My first step after identifying a pattern I think I cannot live without knitting is checking it out on Ravelry. I want to see how other knitters succeeded or failed at the pattern and how it looks on different bodies. A perfect example of why this is important was the pattern Spoke. I loved it when I saw it, and when I looked at it on everyone who knit it on Ravelry, I hated almost every version of it I saw. Then I looked back at the Knitty model and realized that the sweater looked kind of awkward on her too, like it had been pinned in places and stretched in others. Glad I checked.

So when I checked Aquitaine on Rav, I was disheartened immediately to find it had only been knit by less than 40 people in the 18 months it has been out and available. Not a good sign. A good pattern is contagious like the flu. All of the sudden, everyone will be knitting it. Then I saw just how many people had frogged the sweater. Quite a few. There were quite a few who mentioned having frogged it multiple times before making modifications to get it to stay on their shoulders. There were a few gorgeous examples and quite a few not so gorgeous examples. And there were lots of forum posts about how to modify it to stay on your shoulders.

Oh dear.

Then I went to price the suggested yarn, Classic Elite Kumara. I was not expecting a cheap yarn given it is 15% baby camel down, but even knitting a Small or Medium size, depending on how much negative ease I want, it would be a $100-$120 sweater.

Oh dear. Time to find a yarn substitute. As much as I would love to wear a baby camel sweater (and I would have to go around telling people “I am a wearing baby camel. Please pet me.”), I am but a lowly state worker who hasn’t seen a raise since 2007. No go on the baby camel.

So, I checked Knitpicks and if I still wanted to knit it in a luxe sort of yarn, I could probably do it in their Gloss DK yarn and it would be okay, and then it would only be a $45-$50 sweater. Or I could knit it on the cheap, I could do it in Merino Style, and then it is $30 sweater.

But I guess the end result is that as fast and hard as I fell for Aquitaine, I quickly slid out of love. Too many people reported too many problems, too many modifications, too many frogs.

Does this happen to you? Do you fall at light speed in and out of love for a knitted project? What projects have done it to you?

And speaking of love, I think it is time for me to get on my Valentine’s Day soapbox.

I am not into “Hallmark Holidays” to begin with; holidays that exist specifically to stimulate the economy. Valentine’s day is chief among these. I don’t know how Valentine’s day became “Gimme Day” but there seems to be an expectation among many of the women I work with that their men better come up with something and it better be good! There seems to be some competition about who will get the best flowers, whose will arrive first, who will get balloons, who will get nice jewelry, who will go to the best restaurant. I wouldn’t be anti-valentine’s day if it wasn’t for this entitled expectation and the underlying threat that the men will be in the “dog house” if he doesn’t come up with the perfect gift/flowers/words/card/underwear/moment/whatever. We set ourselves up for failure and inevitable disappointment when real life doesn’t come off like a Kay Jewelers commercial that had 8 hours of outtakes to show a perfect 30 second spot.

As a result of my apathy, bordering on disdain, for Valentine’s Day, Byram and I made a solemn pact many years ago to simply let the day go by unnoticed. It hasn’t changed whether we love each other or not. It hasn’t changed my lifelong commitment to him, made me less interested in him, or left me feeling under-appreciated in any way. We have no pressure to perform or to come up with the perfect anything for one particular day of the year. This turned out to be a tremendous relief to us both! No stress! No pressure! No “Well, everything that could go wrong did go wrong this particular Valentine’s Day.” I find it very freeing and I know Byram does too.

So I wish you a Happy V-Day and I hope it is everything you wish it to be, but if it isn’t, I hope you will rethink what perfect is supposed to be. Me? I will be watching several co-workers’ joys and disappointments play out like little mini-soap operas all day long next Monday, wishing for them that maybe a little less emphasis was placed on one Perfectly Commercial Day.

PS: It is an hour later, 11:41, and I should be lacing my shoes up in 5 minutes, but it is all of 30 degrees outside. I am thinking maybe not so much with the running today. Bleh.

PPS: First Valentine’s Day flowers have already landed, T minus 5 days. First prize has been awarded…


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bdb on February 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I’m sorry but I have a VERY hard time ever seeing you asking random people to pet you. ;-)


  2. Posted by laruse on February 9, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    I dunno…we are talking about baby camel here. If I was dropping that kind of money on a sweater, I think the only way to get my money’s worth would be to have other people feel it. :-D


  3. Posted by Emma on February 9, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    V-Day is a silly day. I have sent Henry a card or a little note each month since we have been together. I send cards because I want to, not because I’ve been told I have to.


  4. I loved the way you walked readers though your thought processes with the sweater — excellent post.

    It IS a beautiful sweater. I can see why you fell in love with it so quickly.

    I did a quick search on Ravelry, too, and I agree, between the camel and the frogs, that’s more of a zoo than I’m ready for right now! : )


  5. Posted by Carol New on February 9, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    I too loved that Spoke sweater until I started thinking how it would look on me. Sweaters tend to make me look like a football player, which is why scarves, shawls, and socks are so much more interesting for personal knitting.

    Never checked Ravelry for that kind of input. Ding! New idea! Thanks. :-)


  6. See, I’ve been drooling over the Syrup sweater on the facing page to Aquitaine. The only thing holding me back is the cost of the yarn.


  7. What’s frogging? As a confirmed Spinster, V-Day is a non-issue now but I didn’t enjoy it much way back when either. I had enough false romance without seeking commercially-false romance!!!


    • Posted by laruse on February 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      The term frogging refers to ripping back your knitting. I don’t know if it is really true, but supposedly it is because a frog says “rip-it, rip-it.” explains in more detail.
      It seems far fetched to me for “rip-it” to become “frogging” and makes me wonder if there is more to the development of the term, but I guess it is possible.

      Another fantastic little bit of knitting-speak is the term “tink.” If you are “tinking” stitches, it means you are unknitting stitches, one at a time. Tink is Knit spelled backwards. Very cutesy but very accurate. :-)

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