Friday, December 11, 2009

The Practicality of Knitted Items

Today's blog entry is about practicality versus beauty of knitted garments.....

Some time ago, I knit myself a variation of the Cigar Gloves (ravelry link). I added 'removable' fingers to the thumb, index, and middle fingers. (They attach on the top of the hand, and I can slip my fingers out of them). I wanted to make them for use on my photography outings, when hands can get cold, but mittens are highly impractical; camera controls *need* to have the deftness of ungloved fingers.

Photographer Gloves

But, I've find myself wearing them on a regular basis despite how "dorky" they look with the dangling fingers because of the practicality of using them.

The other day, I walked into a store to buy part of a birthday gift, and slipped off the fingers in order to pick up a box. The store was part of an enclosed open mall so it was cold in the store, so I didn't want to take my gloves off.

The store clerk looked at my gloves and said, "OMG, those are so practical!".

Now, she didn't say, "Those are lovely!" or "That must have been a lot of work" or "Wow, that's some fancy stitch work!" or "That's beautiful yarn"

I've heard those things about my other knitted projects. This was a brand new compliment indeed, and it took me slightly aback. I thanked her, and admitted that they were quite practical indeed.

Now, granted, I didn't do a lot of fancy cabling or stitching on the the gloves, but the yarn (Socks that Rock Heavyweight) is pretty darn colorful and it's superwash. An important thing when gloves can get dirty when working in the field with a camera.

Admittedly, the dangling extra fingerrs can be rather weird at times, but I've been glad of them on many many many occasions as I slip them over my very cold fingers. Yet, I still hadn't quite expected to hear someone gush about the practicality of my knits.

But, then, I thought about it briefly, especially given the cold weather we've been having lately. What was the purpose of original purpose of knitting? --

The purpose of knitting was to provide someone with something warm, practical, and function to use day to day in a time when commercially available clothing was too expensive or not available. The knitted item might or might not have been 'pretty'. The yarn used to make said item might or might not have been colorful. Practicality & functionality were the primary purpose.

Today, with the advent of so many types of yarn (from luxury wools and silks) and so many colors, we can now choose to make our knitted items works of art.

But many knitted items still serve a practical purpose, especially in cold weather environments. And herein is where the strength of knitted items lie. Imagine going out into the cold blustery day without your scarf or hat or gloves, and only a jacket. How much warmer would you be with these items? I, for one, have been immensely glad that I made my own scarf, hat, and gloves now that the weather has turned. I've made them with nice warm wool and they've been instrumental in my not turning into a popsicle on those particularly cold days.

So, in that sense, noting the practicality of an item is a wonderful compliment.

No, my gloves aren't exactly wonderful work of art compared to some of my other knitted items, BUT, they keep me warm during this cold season and are immensely practical.