Friday, June 30, 2006

Mom says I gotta make hats...

Have you seen this wonderful Yarn Harlot post about breastfeeding? A snip:
Jeanne, who reads the blog and is a knitter, has an idea. She works to promote breastfeeding with low-income families, and is trying to get together gifts to give to families at an event in early August to inspire interest in what the WIC program has to say about breastfeeding. She has had the wonderful idea to give them each a baby/toddler hat (especially a fruit or vegetable hat, since the program is about nutrition) and would love to enlist a few knitters to help her get enough hats.

Most of you know by know that I'm an IBCLC (Lactation Consultant) and can imagine that this means that I'm extremely pro-breastfeeding. I'm interested in everything to do with breastfeeding, but I have a special passion for initiatives that serve low income families. In Canada and the US breastfeeding initiation and duration (if you start and how long you stay with it) has a very great deal to do with your income and education. (This effect is very pronounced in the US, likely because of issues surrounding maternity leave, access to health care, and public information) The more money you make and the more education you have, the more likely it is that you will be breastfeeding.

I immediately sent this wonderful post to my mother, who was a La Leche League leader in Japan in the early 1970's. She was so very frustrated with the lack of information back then that she went out and learned all she could, and has been a vocal proponent of breastfeeding ever since. I told her she was a "lactivist" before they ever called it that.

My mother responded to my email thus:
As a totally breastfed baby/child which is obviously why you are "smarter than the average bear," you owe this lady a (some) hat(s).
Love, Mom

Yes, Ma'am! I shall immediately add them to the list! (Hehehe: Mommy thinks I is smart!)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bereft...Lacking...And tense about it

Nothing on the needles.
You heard me.
Remember when I decided to have more than one project going at a time to avoid this horrid, empty, lack-of-knitting feeling? I just finished the BF socks, and last night I finished the Lotus Blossom Tank. Although it is desperate for blocking and therefore not done, it still qualifies as a finished object: Knitting is complete and ends are woven in. All it needs as a wash and a lay-flat...With perhaps some steam iron manipulation.
In the basket I have several ziplocks and patterns awaiting me:
* 2 skeins of beautiful variegated sock yarns which cry out for lace socks or chevron patterns.
* A bag of gorgeous celedon silks and mohairs which I have envisioned, yet not yet swatched, as fingerless gloves.
* A bag of black cotton for my dear friend's Kyoto sweater that I have been procrastinating from.
* The Interweave Knits opened to the Icarus shawl, and not quite enough Rowan haze to complete it.

I am thinking I should start all four of these projects. Obviously, two projects at once is not enough to fend off the finished-object-blues. I see my error: I was too excited to finish both of the projects. I completed the socks in a flurry of excitement to get them on the feet of my beloved. Left with only the stockinette top of the tank and a bunch of Netflix, I quickly slid that one into home as well.
The above projects offer enough variation in difficulty, materials, portability and pattern to offer enough distraction for a bit, and even if I rush through two of them, I will still have two more!
Is UFO-guilt better than empty-needle-blues?
Is this how people end up with a closet full of UFO's? As emotional insurance?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You know you knit too much when...

I work as an accountant.
Today, when answering a question about Inventory, I called it Stash.

Curses! Foiled Again!

Update on the BF socks:
He loves them!
I gave them to him last night, and he exploded with thanks and a million hugs, saying they were great, and no one had ever made anything for him before. He listened to and repeated the Superwash Wool washing instructions, and the fit is a tiny bit too large, but passable. Being Irish, he loves the green. I feel relieved and appreciated, and can't wait to find more green yarn and make him some more!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Finished the BF socks!

I finished the socks for my BF last night, even washed and dried them (superwash wool is neat).
They are masculine grey wool with forest green heels, toes and ribbed tops. They are probably just tall enough, but might be too long in the foot. I haven't yet seen him to place them on his feet. One was done on dp bamboos, the other on metal circulars. I made no choices about if I liked working with bamboo/metal or dp/circs, but I did notice that the sock done on circs is about one inch tighter than the dps, and much neater. That is pretty drastic.
In the meantime:
I hope he likes them.
I hope he wears them.
I hope he finds them easy to care for.
(and here is where the curse sets in:)
I hope he knows how I thought of him while I made these, I worried about if he would like them, if we would be cursed by them, and if I was showing my love in wool while he would rather me show my love in other ways. Perhaps I was working on the knitting and ignoring the work on the relationship.
I hope I don't read too much into his reaction, or place too much symbolism into if he wears/likes/washes them, or if they fit correctly.
I find knitting to be a safe, controllable, mathematical escape. Maybe the "curse" is just the escape of the knitter into something she can control, something she has concrete proof of growth and progress with, something that is an act of creation and love in a place where nothing else is working. Perhaps the exact time frame of a project matches the irritation level of her recipient. Perhaps the overwhelming gravity of a knitted piece, and the expectation of an understood meaning is the last straw, the last misunderstanding of a failing relationship. Sure, many have said that the curse is just a retrospective view of an existing problem.
Perhaps I worry about the "curse" because I already feel powerless to deal with our existing problems.
I'm hoping he likes them; I'm hoping they fit.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lotus Blossom Tank

I began the Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Knits summer 2006 last weekend, and I am going to run out of yarn. I have already begun scoping out areas on the pattern that I can complete with a different color (band at the waist, tank straps...). This is the first time I have ever knitted a lace pattern, and I have made a few mistakes so far: I will end a row and realize I am missing a stitch. Sometimes I have been able to work back and find it, other times I have not. Oh well! (Don't look too closely!)
I am using Zara Merino in Green and Grey.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sock Count

Along with knitting in public today, I also completed some laundry (re-blocking, to knitters!), and counted my socks. Missing from the count are 3 pair of gift socks, one for Mom, one purple merino for a friend, and one beige merino for...well, let's just say they were my first example of "curse" socks!

Thank Goodness For Ziplocks!

While awake late at night, I organized the stash. Current system? Fiber content. Tool? Ziplock bags. The idea was to get the yarn out of my living space and into my closet, except for a few ziplocks for current projects and pettables.
Speaking of current project, BF's socks are coming along nicely, with enough heel and calf left for a bit of knitting in public tomorrow! (World Wide Knit in Public Day!)
Besides wrapping my BF in knitted love, these socks are also an experiment in comparative technique: You may have noticed that in the beginning photo, the circulars seemed to be gaining. But in this photo, the bamboos have completed their sock while the circulars are lagging. This is probably more about comfort and speed, as I am used to the bamboos. However, I find the circulars fast, neat, easy to transport, and more likely to yield a tighter gauge. Jury still out on this.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dishcloths for Mom

My mother's birthday is today, and I have just completed three dishcloths in blues to match her new kitchen. The pattern is from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, and many, many examples can be found on their website, or at the Knit-Along.
These dishcloths have proven to be prolific, and addicting. I didn't think I would enjoy them as much as I did, and I am not the first to say that. Some reasons why I think this pattern is obsessing knitters everywhere:
1) It is a fast. I am not the fastest knitter, but I have finished three between Thursday and Sunday. That is fast.
2) As patterns go, this one uses several techniques to keep it interesting: Both knit and purl, the slipped stitch, carrying colors up the side or weaving them in, adding new colors... But the pattern is simple enough to memorize, and easy enough to keep the hands busy while TV watching.
3) The pattern uses at least two colors in a simple way that is not so scary as Intarsia or Fair Isle. Variations are endless, and the pattern is small enough to urge the creatively timid into experimentation. The yarn called for in the pattern is apparently widely available (except for here), cheap, and in a multitude of colors.
4) Handknitting a small household item is so mundane. It allows us to use handknits. It allows us to be excused from fiber-snobbery or the challenge of complex patterns. It opens the possibilities of making handknit tools and mundane household items, reminding us that our work can surround us in more ways than clothing.

I hope she likes them, and I hope she uses them. This simple, fast, cheap to knit item is a daily reminder of a knitters craft, and a knitters love.