Knitting in the Wild

  
My sock has joined me in the library today, probably to flaunt its existence and attempt to persuade me to stop writing this essay and add some rows to it.

You remember that big essay I mentioned at the end of my last post? Well I’ve got 1220 words out of 5000. Chugging along. I’m trying out the pomodoro method of studying- 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of break (this is normally enough time to get a row or two in). Wish me luck.

Where has your knitting joined you, lately? 

 

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They say hindsight is 20/20

I’m inclined to agree. I did something stupid, which resulted in something that hasn’t happened since I was little and the extent of my knitting expertise was a spool.

I got soap in my eyes.

And it burned. And then it ached. And then my eyeballs felt raw. I was seriously contemplating the name of my future seeing eye dog whilst running cold water on my eyeballs. At the same time, I was making an internal vow to never again use my LUSH handsoap as even a temporary replacement for my makeup removal wipes (no matter how stubborn the leftover mascara). I went to bed a half hour later wondering how possible it would be to turn a heel with no sight?

But I can see properly again, which means I’m both relieved and still in a good position to turn heels, which is probably a good thing because I’m going to need to soon…


The pattern is Earl Grey, invented by the Yarn Harlot. Can’t say who they’re for, just in case the recipient reads this, so that’s top secret classified for now. It’s been an interesting variation on the vanilla sock pattern, that’s for sure. Not 100% convinced the cables turn up properly with this yarn, but I’m waiting it out.

The mittens are coming along nicely, I’m quite tickled with the first:


And the second is well on its way. (Sorry for the bad picture- the lighting was weird, and it’s actually incredibly hard to get a good picture of your own hand). Now, if I could feel as much dedication for my final term paper (40% of the class’s final grade, I feel the need to mention), then all would be tickety-boo.

This education thing really gets in the way of my knitting time.

An Attempt at Self-Medicating

My nasty case of Startitis hasn’t ceased. I no sooner cast off a pair of socks then I cast on another pair, another newborn cardigan, a CAL project, and a blanket. It’s like when Hercules cuts one of the hydra’s heads off and multiple more sprout.

Despite the pleasing squishiness of this blanket (Does green knitting count on St. Patrick’s Day?):

 

Knit on US 11 needles using Bernat Blanket super bulky yarn in ‘Plum Fields’ colorway

and the cuteness of tiny cardigans, something needs to be done. I can’t keep casting on every project that catches my fancy- if nothing else, my boyfriend would have to start moving knitting off the couch to sit down and we’ve had words about touching works in progess before. He wouldn’t be gentle about it.

 

So, I put the needles down and picked up my laptop. What I needed was a pattern that would be instantly satisyfing, but long in duration. Like whatever it was the dental surgeon gave me when he took all four of my wisdom teeth out in one day. I took the meds at 9:59 am, everything went a bit fuzzy at 10:00 am, and when I woke up it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Good stuff.

What I decided on was the insanely popular Beekeeper’s Quilt, by Tiny Owl Knits. Its been lingering in my ‘favourites’ folder on Ravelry for ages, but while I thought it was a charming idea there were three things standing in my way of casting on:

  1. I never thought I would have enough yarn ‘left overs’ in my stash in one weight (Wrong.)
  2. I didn’t think I could get used to the monotony of knitting the same thing literally 550-1000 times (Wrong again. Turns out I love to watch TV and vanilla knit at the same time)
  3. Where on earth would I store 550-1000 tiny, stuffed hexagons?? (Solution! I upgraded from a dorm to an apartment!)

So… hexipuffs. Hexipuffs are my attempt at self medicating my Startitis- anytime I feel like I need a new project, I’ll just choose yarn from what turns out to be my quite sumptuous stash of fingering weight yarn (Ooooh I just remembered another ball of fingering in my office Stash Bin)(Don’t judge me for having designated room Stash Bins- we all know how Stash multiplies.) and cast on.

Voila. I’m a Medicine Knit Woman.

P.S. Hexipuffs are pretty cute 😉 Current count: 7/600

The Implications of Warmth

I have started this post a few different ways. I thought about drawing in the debate crafters have about who ‘deserves’ their knits as gifts (in the Land of Knitting, we call these few the ‘Knitworthy’), or about just diving into the pictures and basically doing a media dump.

Instead, I want to talk about a hat.

This hat was a yellow-gold and burgundy hat, and it had three floppy points like a Jester’s hat. You know, those ones you see on every stereotypical rendition of a court jester, except I don’t think this one had bells. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. I don’t remember, because my grandmother made it for me when I was four. This was my first home-knit (at least that I can remember for myself). I had mittens from her when I was older, and probably countless other things in my life time, but this hat I remember first. I don’t know where it is now, I’ve moved house several times since I was four so it may be in storage somewhere or it may have gotten lost in the chaos at some point.

A lot of knitters will tell you the deep sting of disappointment when a gift recipient takes one look at a knit item and then doesn’t ever look at it again. Maybe the smile politely and put it out of sight, or they scoff and complain about how it must be itchy or something else. Either way, it isn’t truly appreciated. This has happened to me; it doesn’t feel nice. A knit item is more than just the ephemeral object you’re holding in your hands. Unfortunately, fibre fades, breaks down, and at some point just isn’t useable anymore… even the nicest alpaca will weaken even if it’s retired in desperation to the sturdiest cedar trunk with as much anti-moth protection possible. It might take generations but it’ll happen.

No, a knit item is time. It can easily take hours to knit a pair of new born baby booties, or a layette set. Weeks for anything bigger- babies aren’t actually as small as they want us to think they are. Don’t get me started on adults. And usually (not accounting for extenuating circumstances like knitters watching small children) the knitter will be thinking of the recipient as they knit. It’s a lot of time concentrating on one person, and how much they care about that one person (the other few moments are spent concentrating on not messing up the pattern). That one knit garment is not just a pile of wool the knitter waved their hand over, magically transformed into a garment and said “Oh! What a nice hat. Maybe so-and-so might like it”. It’s a pile of wool that has been painstakingly transformed into an object that is infused with hope, or love, or well-wishes for you.

(This is not a new statement, not unique to me, and in fact for some it might feel like I’m just re-hashing something. But it’s important.)

The jester hat is gone. So is my grandmother. But what’s left of them both is what was really important, and something that I’ll never be able to forget. That she loved me enough to spend hours and hours knitting for me, and for my brother.

I’d like to end with another hat. This one isn’t gold and burgundy, and it isn’t even jester shaped. It’s a regular toque: blue, with cables and a tiny pom pom on the top. It wasn’t knit for me. My grandmother knit for everyone she loved, and my grandfather wore this toque for years and years and years until he died. It kept his head warm. Now, I can feel that warmth still. It’s a good feeling.