I’ve been on a bit of a treasure hunt this week. I started looking for a sweater pattern to knit for my 12-year-old daughter, Jennifer. I just finished a baby sweater I have been working on and I’m eager to get started on another project. If I sit down to watch “Kung Fu Panda,” I’m much happier if I feel like I’m making productive use of the time. Plus, I find in my advancing years that knitting helps keep me awake in front of the TV.

The sweater that Jennifer would like me to knit is really quite basic, a cozy v-neck pullover, but perhaps with a little bit of style to it. She definitely doesn’t want to wear a sweater that’s a showpiece of knitting techniques ““ nothing with cables that looks like it was knit by the deranged wife of an Irish fisherman or a Nordic ski sweater with reindeer and snowflakes prancing across the front. That’s not her style. And that’s a good thing if there is any hope of me finishing it while it’s still sweater weather in 2009.

So I started searching dozens of online sources for free patterns. I subscribe to a couple of online knitting newsletters but when I started searching beyond the websites I already knew, I was once again amazed at the depth of knitting information available online. There is a huge community of people out there tending to their knitting and sharing information.

However, one difficulty I encountered in my searching is that when I typed “teen knitting patterns” into Google, I found websites for things like scarves and purses that teens could easily knit, but not websites with patterns sized for teens. The internet can be so imprecise.

Anyway”¦what I did discover is that there is a dearth of patterns ““ cute or not ““ for young girls. Apparently the crafting world is a lot like the retail world because in both, this is an age group that is overlooked. I found lots of adorable but boxy sweaters to knit for babies or kids but that’s not what I’m looking for. So I moved onto women’s patterns. I felt confident that if I found an adult pattern that suited Jennifer’s taste that I could adapt it to her size, but so many adult patterns seem over-designed. I didn’t find anything that even remotely resembled the sweaters in the Limited Too catalogue that Jennifer has been admiring.

But give up? Never! Not being able to easily find what I’m looking for online just brings out the competitor in me. Now it’s me against the internet. I know the perfect item ““ in this case the perfect pattern ““ exists someplace online and I just have to track it down.

Am I getting compulsive about this? Probably, because I find myself doing a few more searches when I should be doing something else, like writing my blog. “I’ll just go back to this website one more time; maybe there’s a pattern that I overlooked.” I start clicking on the links to look at the photos of the sweaters. “That one’s yucky, what were they thinking, that one looks like it’s from the 1970’s, that one’s cute for me but not for Jennifer, that sweater gives handmade a bad name, too asymmetrical,” and so forth.

Just so you know that I don’t entirely ignore local retailers in favor of shopping on the internet, Jennifer and I spent an hour or so looking for patterns at the local yarn store. We didn’t find any good pattern options but Jennifer doesn’t consider the trip a waste of time; she found a super kyuto Japanese felting book to add to her Christmas list.

After a few more searches into the double digit pages of my Google search, I found a pattern. It’s not the ideal one that I hoped I could find with  my determined searching, but with some size modifications, it will work. We went back to the yarn store, Jennifer picked out some beautiful plum yarn and we were out in 15 minutes.

So tonight when we hit “play” on the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” DVD, I’m ready.

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