Friday, December 19, 2008

Knitting Sweatshop - Production Report

I had not planned to do any knitting for Christmas gifts, partly due to my ambivalence about celebrating Christmas as an atheist and partly due to my dislike of knitting on a schedule. However, a few days ago, I did decide to knit small gifts for my family in California. The late decision meant that in order to meet the goal of having the gifts arrive by December 25, I had to be very disciplined and could not afford to encounter any significant knitting problems. Needless to say, that's not what happened.

The fingerless gloves for my daughter-in-law Evelyne went smoothly. I had knitted this pattern, Fetching, about 5 or 6 times before, so there were no surprises. I then moved on to a hat for my granddaughter. The pattern I chose was Lifted Twill Helmet from the winter issue of Interweave Knits. Granted, I didn't do a gauge swatch. When the hat was nearly finished, with just the earflaps remaining to be done, it was clear that there was no way this hat would fit a 9-year-old child. It was way too small. I knew that re-sizing it would be time consuming, so I switched the recipient to my one and a half year old niece. If it doesn't fit her now, it will eventually. For granddaughter Essi, I bought new yarn and made an old reliable - three color Fair Isle hat.

I then moved on to the fingerless gloves for my son. My gauge moved down to 6 stitches per inch, so it was going to be a time eater. Plus, since these gloves have short fingers, I had to struggle with the finger gussets - another time eater. Wednesday I took the project to knit night and while doing the tubular bindoff I accidently Kitchener stitched a finger closed. I finally got the gloves done yesterday. Now all that was left was mittens for grandson Niepa. Fortunately, I was again using an old reliable pattern, so they were finished today. I'll try to get the gifts in the mail tomorrow if the post office is open Saturday morning. There's a slim possiblilty that they'll arrive in California by Christmas.

In spite of this knitting being done under near sweatshop conditions, no 12-year old Cambodians were involved in the production of these items.

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