Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Ambitions

Something has come over me. I cannot stop knitting. And it feels really good.

I was on a walk with then boys, a time that alternately requires loud singing and pointing, and then lapses into silence as they get comfortable. I had a few minutes to reflect. I started thinking about all the houses we were passing, all the houses I know so well. I was thinking about when we would see this one put up its awesome Halloween scenes, when that one would take out their Nightmare Before Christmas craziness. It led me to think about last year at this time, the desperate walks I took just to get out and have time when the babies were not in my arms, did not have to be. It made me think about how sad I was, how I wanted to escape and leave and get out. And how just about this time last year knitting came back into my life and helped save me.

Sounds dramatic, huh? But knitting is my meditation. And I need it. There is a book by Coelho where a character cannot formally meditate so she knits. I have learned to calm myself when I am not knitting, it is not like I carry yarn and needles all the time, (um, yeah, I do, but I am not always knitting. Okay?). But I am a different me when I am involved in this simple act of fiber-wrap-pull-drop.

I have to admit to sitting in their room at nap time last year, shushing rustling babies, knitting in the dark. I have to confess to dreaming about it, and thinking about it when falling asleep. And I am okay with that. Because it saves me.

I am not a calm person by nature. I have battled panic disorder, I have never felt settled, I contemplate some fairly dark and twisty things at times. I have always yearned for something. But when I knit, I feel centered. And so I have to knit. And knit. And knit. And I have found it wonderful. It sure as hell beats hard drugs or therapy.

I have two discrete projects to share. The wedding shawl (Rav) came together nicely.
I loved the feel of the yarn and the pattern was simple with stretches of st-st, easily memorized lace panels and just big enough needles to get this thing finished in a few days. I have a few issues with myself on this one. Some of my decreases paired with an adjacent YO look wonky.
wonky but loved
I shall block it more aggressively a second time as this is for my lovely Kate. Not a knitter but a bride. And that deserves a little more attention to detail. So it will be gently folded and await a second warm day when I can wash and shape it a bit better.

I recommend this pattern whole heartedly. It is so pretty. I felt lovely during my self styled photo shoot. Even though I had to wrestle with the 20 pound Manfrotto tripod and try to keep the boys from pulling it onto their heads. I still felt pretty. A special someone will be getting a second one of these for Xmas. More on that later.

The second one took itself off the needles in a knitting nanosecond. I love the Turn a Square hat (Rav) by Brooklyntweed.
Every man in my life is getting one for Xmas. It uses stash yarn and looks just right. It takes a few hours and requires almost no attention once you establish the rows. I am not kidding, I have 4 or 5 more planned. So go and use your stash yarn. But make sure you check gauge. Because if you assume gauge then realize you are knitting at 4.5st=inch and try on the hat after 5 inches of knitting...well, you realize you just made a hat to fit a Sasquatch and have to frog it all.
in profile
And I loved this hat so much I did the math and immediately cast on again. That Jared is wonderful. When is he getting his book deal, I ask?

Which brings me back to knitting and my love for it. I started to get back to my knitting about this time last year. And then I started my Christmas knits and I actually made many more gifts than I thought possible. And so this year the list has been started and it looks like this...
Christmas Knitting

And I could not be happier. And that is just the first page. There is another. We are quite committed to non-commercial holidays, but quite obsessed with giving in this huge family. So, there it is. I am ready and willing to give myself over to it. With a few sewn projects here and there. When I glance at the list I feel excited, not intimidated. Not yet, anyway. I am going to try to be better about Rav'ing everything because I am finally realizing what a great resource it is and I want to add to it. So feel free to click on my Rav link to find out more about each project.

Anyway, here is to knitting. My saving grace, my current obsession (current...past and hopefully future). And my holiday gifting strategy. Wish me luck. I think I just embarked on my real Olympic knitting experience.


gleek said...

i hear ya. knitting really is a savior! that's a long list of christmas knitting! i bet you'll get it done in no time :)

Katie said...

ooh, we're on the same page - I was just going through my stash and planning my list of knitted gifts for the holiday season. It put a big smile on my face (as I'm sure it did yours) to think of all of that knitting and giving! ps the package is finally in the mail (sorry for the delay!)

Anonymous said...

Hehehe... I use Rav for pattern searches and also if I need/want to use a certain yarn, I first check out the yarn's page and see if there's someone wanting to sell some out of their stash. Great prices and you can just get a (partial) ball of something you need for a small project.

That shawl's absolutely gorgeous!!!

Cheers Eva
PS: Glad O is okay after the bee sting!