Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Cowls And An Observation

Back in November I cast on for a Gaptastic Cowl for my friend for Christmas. You know you can probably trust a pattern when over 8000 projects have already been posted on Ravelry! My friend isn't a knitter, so I decided a superwash wool would be my best bet. I chose Cascade 128 Superwash in a dark blue colour. This yarn was so lovely and soft to knit with, and the colour was so deep and rich, as I was knitting away on the cowl I found myself tempted to order some more for a sweater. Then I thought about my stash, which pretty much nipped that in the bud. Here is Alexandra modelling the cowl before it got mailed off to its intended recipient.


Gaptastic #1

Of course, since I had ordered this yarn from Webs I needed to add enough to the order to get me to the $60 discount mark. I decided I would like my own Gaptastic, so added some Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky in a a neutral brown colour. I loved knitting the first Gaptastic so much, the minute I cast off #1 I cast on for #2. And that's when the love affair went sour.

I love rustic, sheepy yarns. I especially love them for sweaters. They wear well, and I know the sweaters will last me for many years. So I'm not sure what happened when I cast on with this one. I liked the neutral colour. I liked the sheepy smell of the wool. But I hated knitting this pattern with it. It was one of my strangest knitting experiences ever, knitting the same pattern twice in a row and having each time be a completely opposite experience. And that got me to thinking.

If I had knit my first Gaptastic with the Rowan yarn I know I would never have knit another one, nor would I have recommended the pattern to any of my knitting friends. (Which I enthusiastically did, since my first experience was a good one, and they went on to knit their own Gaptastics.) I would have gone through life wondering what was wrong with those 8000+ knitters who had gone before me.

That started me wondering if I had ever done this before - deciding I don't like something for all the wrong reasons. Two things immediately came to mind. Whipped cream and Shirley MacLaine. Since I have already blogged about whipped cream I'll get right to the Shirley MacLaine bit. I have avoided Shirley MacLaine in the same way most people try to avoid infectious disease ever since I saw her in that horrid movie Terms of Endearment. Please note the lack of a link. If you haven't ever been subjected to this movie consider yourself lucky.

So you can imagine how conflicted I was when I heard she was going to be making an appearance in Downton Abbey. I had successfully avoided her for almost three decades, but was now faced with having to watch her once again. Well, it was the Gaptastic experience in reverse. I have to admit I quite liked her the second time around. Enough that if a movie comes out that has her in it I would now consider watching it, which would have been unthinkable before my Downton Abbey experience.

Now I am left wondering how many other potential good things in life I have missed out on. I can say I have given liver a second chance and it remains on my hate list. Ditto with lima beans. But still, I am left with this nagging feeling that I might be missing out on something. Anyway, I did eventually finish Gaptastic #2.


Gaptastic #2

Alexandra liked the one she modelled so much she asked me to order the same yarn so she could knit herself one. The thing about that is she hates knitting the way I always thought I hated whipped cream and Shirley MacLaine. Which makes me think there might be a Gaptastic #3 in my future.

28 comments:

  1. First, Gaptastic #2 is gorgeous and looks great on you, so good on ya for sticking it out. And second, I've recently had the same experience and wondered the same thing! I thought I hated (well, that's a strong word...) Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway only to learn that boy-oh-boy was I wrong. Boy. Wrong.

    Of course, there's also the issue of our growing in between our experiences, like acquiring a taste for coffee when you hated it as a kid. But then again, sometimes we're just wrong. :)

    (and I thought Terms of Endearment was so treacly I'd get diabetes. I didn't think Shirley was any worse than the rest, but it was a horrible movie, I agree. And I most love young Shirley movies, like The Apartment, which I could watch over and over. And Sweet Charity.)

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    1. That's interesting you have just had the same experience. And yes, it is not the same thing as growing in between our experiences. My love of asparagus falls into that category. :-)

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  2. HAHA! You crack me up. If liver and lima beans are indicative of the remaining items on your 'hate' list, I don't think you're missing all that much.
    Both versions of your Gaptastic cowl look gorgeous, even if the second wasn't as much fun as the first.

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    1. But my worry is there could be something as good as whipped cream that I am missing. :-)

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  3. both look fantastic ..so much so that i am going to look it up myself!

    i though that about oysters after trying to "swallow" one whole and almost choked which put me off but was then encouraged by a friend to try again and to chew this time and they are delicious.

    i didnt like Shirley in downton , she seemed to be plonked in there by the writer and didn't seem to fit at all

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    1. It really is a great pattern! My recommendation would be to use a soft yarn though. It's a quick knit, which adds to its appeal.

      I have to admit I'm glad she doesn't seem to be making another appearance (although I could be wrong about that since we are only on episode three over here). It wasn't that she was brilliant on the show, she just wasn't horrific, which had been my fear. :-)

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  4. Your cowls are fantastic, sure. But I'm not sure we can be friends anymore after reading your disapproval of Ms. MacLaine. Funny that I was the opposite...I thought it was great that she was going to be on Downton and looked forward to the interaction of her and Maggie Smith. But oh the disappointment (I've only watched the first episode so far)...I don't think they used her well at all in the show.

    With the kidding about being friends aside (kinda)... ;)

    I do like the direction this post went. It made me wonder...food is the easiest example, but I *do* say I don't like something even though I've never actually eaten it (oysters) or can't remember eating it but knowing I hated it as a kid (liver)...when I was a super-picky eater. Now, liver, I won't eat on principle just because I know what that organ does in the body but the point of your post is still well taken.

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    1. I guess we now have a much more tentative friendship. :-)

      I am laughing at your oyster comment. I don't like them either, nor have I ever tried one.

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  5. Love the gaptastic cowl, I've been tempted to make one myself but apparently people will make fun of you for making oh, three cowls in a row all for yourself before moving onto something new. Oh well. I'm making a shawl now and yes, its for myself too ;)

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    1. It's perfectly acceptable to make three cowls in a row. If you are feeling sheepish (pun intended) about them all being for you, knit one for your mom. We both know the minute she puts it on she will react to the wool and then you can have it back.

      What shawl pattern are you knitting?

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  6. Both cowls are beautiful! I think I'll add it to my queue. Your post has inspired me to keep an open mind when it comes to things I've disliked in the past(like DPNs). There are two exceptions: Oddly enough I also hate liver and lima beans and they will not be getting a second chance from me any time soon. :)

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    1. I hope knitting with DPNs gives you the same kind of surprise I had when I tried whipped cream. Too funny that you hate liver and lima beans too! :-)

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  7. Perhaps knitting the Gaptastic Cowl will cause Alexandra to have an "aha" realization of her own. If not, you'll have a better sample size to assess how you feel about knitting the pattern. The first two are beautiful.

    I watched The Sound of Music as a kid and hated it. My wife tried to get me to watch it again, I avoided it (she got me to watch plenty of other movies--like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). A few years ago she found me watching The Sound of Music (I liked it) and was very annoyed--that I was watching it without her.

    I've been toying with the idea of doing a post that involves a scene from a Shirley Maclaine movie---I reference it to tease my wife when she's on the verge of getting...um...let's say bossy. :)

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    1. I hope you're right about Alexandra and the "aha" moment. However, I'm not holding my breath. I'm trying to understand how you couldn't have liked The Sound of Music the first time you watched it. :-)

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    2. It's just a sign that I had farther to to evolve than most. But how could the whipped cream lady ask me that? :D

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  8. I made the Gaptastic last year, but it didn't turn out as well as yours did. I think that is because I used the wrong kind of yarn...I knit the way I cook: a bit recklessly, and with mixed results.

    I was reading some of the comments and had to laugh- last year I realized I actually liked the Sound of Music after a lifetime of declaring I couldn't stand it, and this year I watched the latest Batman movie despite the fact that Anne Hathaway had been cast as the "cat woman", and I was convinced she would ruin it. Turns out, my opinion of her as an actress have changed, and I even enjoyed her in Les Mis too! My opinions are not as firm as I once thought :)

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    1. Maybe you should give the Gaptastic another try. What yarn did you use?

      I'm glad you discovered you like The Sound of Music. It is the ultimate comfort movie. Your experience with Anne Hathaway sounds just like mine with Shirley MacLaine!

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  9. I love both your cowls and that polar bear hat is simply fantastic, did you knit it? I too dislike liver and I have never eaten a Lima bean.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I knit the polar bear hat. It was my Knitting Olympics project during the 2010 Winter Games. It was a great pattern and I was really happy with how it came out. I had the colours in it in mind when I picked the yarn for the Gaptastic. Here's the Ravelry link:

      http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kristieinbc/polar-chullo

      My advice would be to keep your "never eaten a lima bean" status intact. :-)

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  10. They both look lovely, and you're both adorable! :)

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  11. You MADE the polar bear hat? Oh my word. It's amazing!

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    1. It was my Knitting Olympics entry for 2010. It ended up being sort of a bad pick for a project because I had to keep my eyes on the chart, so missed lots of the Olympic action. I was really happy with how it came out though, so it was worth it.

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  12. Whipped cream?? My favourite, I'm glad you discovered it! I love your cowls!

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    1. It was definitely a great discovery. :-)

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  13. Terms of Endearment was written about my mother and I, you know . . . Can't you just picture me as the Deborah Winger character with the toe socks in the hospital? The relationship between the two characters is so similar to ours (including the one between the Mother-in-law and son-in-law) and, yet, my mother would so be up in the faces of the nurses to get my medication! The one movie I cry over every time. Sigh.

    Love the cowls and the adorable hat!

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    1. It is so interesting that a movie could have such extreme reactions - you at one end of the spectrum and me at the other. :-)

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