Sunday, November 15, 2009

Barter for Garter

Recently, a relatively new friend-- someone whom I like very much, but haven't really had time to develop a strong emotional bond with-- asked me, "So what does it take to get a pair of handknit socks?" I actually don't knit for very many other people. My gift knitting is pretty much limited to my husband, some (but not all!) of my family of origin, my in-laws, and my band. Very rarely, I'll knit for an extremely close friend. The list of people for whom I will knit for free looks suspiciously like the list of people for whom I would donate a kidney.

I was thinking, though, that there is one way I would knit to order: in exchange for an equal amount of the recipient's time. If you're willing to labor at something you're good at for me, I'll do it for you. A pair of fine-gauge socks take about thirty hours, so start thinking. Here are a few ideas:

  • Like hanging out with cats? Take care of mine for a week, and I'll knit you a hat. There are seven of them (cats, not hats). If you'll come twice a day to supervise the one on a restricted diet and let the crazy outdoor-lover in and out, there's a matching scarf in it for you. House-sit and they'll be cashmere or silk.

  • Like landscape gardening? I've got at least a lace shawl's worth of that for you to do.

  • Like cabinet-making? There may be an entire intricately-cabled Aran pullover in your future. If you are an experienced kitchen or bath remodeler, we can talk fair isle.
  • Of course, if I simply don't like the pattern or the yarn you want knitted, all bets are off. So if you want a black acrylic cabled sweater, I don't care if we share DNA, exchange vows, or play rock 'n roll, you're still out of luck.