I’ve had a few valentines days over the years. I’ve spent far too much money, I’ve planned in exacting detail, I’ve left things until the last minute, and I’ve spent a fair few alone. This year, I wanted something special.

Just after Christmas Allison was kind enough to give me a hand knit sweater she’d been working on for over a year. It’s fantastic. Around the same time she’d commented that she was jealous of my neck warmer. An idea stuck! I’d knit her a neck warmer!

Small problem: I’ve never knit a thing in my life.

I’ve never let not knowing how to do something stop me before, and this didn’t seem like the time to start. I headed up to Ewe Knit, where Caroline was able to administer a private lesson. First I had to use a swift to turn my skien of yarn into a ball. They appear to sell yarn in a useless format to necessitate the purchase of swifts, a good gig if you can get it.

Once I had my nice ball of yarn I “casted on” a process I promptly forgot how to accomplish. The process mostly consisted of looping things around one of my knitting needles the prescribed number of times. That number was 17 according to the pattern. Once I’d casted on the regular knitting started, each row involved an arcane process where I attached a new loop to the loop on the previous row. The first few rows were quite terrifying, but eventually I slipped into a rhythm, and was quite happy with my progress by the time I’d made it to the picture shown below.

Just a few rows later I made a terrifying discovery: I’d invented a new form of knitting. Rather than knitting a boring rectangle, I was knitting a trapezoid, and there was a hole in it. My 17 stitch pattern was now more like 27. There was nothing for it but to pull it out and basically start over.

Several hours, and many episodes of The Office later, I’d slipped into a great rhythm, and developed a mild compulsion to count after every row to ensure I had 15 stitches. The neck warmer was looking great! Just another season of The Office, and some serious “help” from the cat, and I’d be finishing up.

I headed back to Ewe Knit for instructions on casting off, where I tied off the loops I’d been hooking into with each row. Then I sewed the ends together, and wove in my lose ends. A neck warmer was born!

This felt like a success before I’d even wrapped it. I’d spent a lot of time working on something she’d value, I’d learned more about one of her hobbies, and gained new appreciation for the sweater she’d knit for me. She just needed to unwrap it.

She loved it.

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Home made gifts are always the best.
#1 Shannon on 2014-02-19 18:03 (Reply)

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Hi, I’m Paul Reinheimer, a developer working on the web.

I co-founded WonderProxy which provides access to over 200 proxies around the world to enable testing of geoip sensitive applications. We've since expanded to offer more granular tooling through Where's it Up

My hobbies are cycling, photography, travel, and engaging Allison Moore in intelligent discourse. I frequently write about PHP and other related technologies.