I'm trying to take a more meditative approach to my knitting. If I find I have to knit by feel (like on that horrid bus ride...) I just keep repeating over and over again "It can always be fixed. If it cannot be fixed, it can be frogged. It's only yarn..." and lots of deep breathing.
Lion Brand has a yarn called "Fisherman's Wool", it's about $8 US for a big old skein of it that can make just about an entire sweater for a small person. It's also easily accessible in most craft stores, and I've even seen it in Wal-Mart occasionally. It's a nice, natural color of wool.
For the pattern, if it involves cables (which I'm assuming it does, if I have the right definition of an Aran sweater), you can always just do more repeats of the pattern to make it longer, and add stockinette (or another decorative stitch that won't take away too much from the focus of the cables, maybe seed/moss stitch?) panels to the sides.
As far as keeping things a secret -be creative. Call it a blanket, and he won't be wiser for a while. Tell him its a gift for another male in your life (fathers are great scapegoats for this!), or just say "I want to try out a new stitch pattern and see how it works". The classic but ambiguous "I don't know" as an answer may also suffice.
Sweaters can also be disguised as handbags while they're in creation very easily. There's a new trend around here to have a bag that looks like someone's torso, so a sweater-looking bag wouldn't be too far off.
I found a nifty pattern for felted skull patches, and those are great for using up wool scraps. I'll find the link when I get home. It's a pretty simple process, but the link makes the process a little more "user-friendly"
With my acrylic I make whatever I have enough for - armwarmers and wristies are always a good one, and they make cool gifts. Neckties, hair ties, and headbands are also worthy candidates. I'm super fond of making soda can cozies, too. They always come in handy, as do coasters to set down on the table under cold drinks.
I still haven't found a very worthy use for my cotton scraps, though.
When you're knitting, do you primarily knit by sight, feel, or a combination of both?
It makes me curious because I was just on a verrrrrry long (16 hour) bus ride, and none of the overhead lights on the bus worked. My music player was out of batteries, so I couldn't listen to music. The lights didn't work, so I couldn't read. I was hasty to begin knitting in the dark, but I was pretty sure I could do it by feel.
My results, while they could be deemed successful, were not exactly quality. I've determined that I cannot knit well without being able to see what I'm doing.
But at the same time, I also know a lot of people can knit by feeling the needles and the yarn only, and never have to look at their work.
So, which sense do you guys use more - sight, or feeling? Or are you one of the lucky folks who can do either?
Oh this is so pretty. When you design, do you start off with something in mind? Or do you just go for it and figure it out as you go? I'm always curious when something gorgeous someone on here has designed.
Is the cotton glace cool enough to wear in fairly warm weather? I'd love to try it out...I just hope I'd be able to make something even half as gorgeous as this.
Off topic, but...I was a dendrology TA for the past two years. And if you think Parthenocissus quinquefolium is hard to spell, how about Metasequoia glyptostroboides (did you have to learn that one?).
Very creative needle-holder design- I would make one, only I'm leaning in the direction of only ever using circular needles.
Thanks very much guys. I never had to deal with most of the Metasequoias, thankfully. The class was only covering foliage from my area of Southeastern Ohio. Obviously I didn't pass - with my horrid spelling. Ergh.
And chamaecyparis - I admire you for leaning towards circ's only....Circ's are the bane of my existance, and I only use them if absolutely necessary. You're a brave soul. hehe.