It’s a conspiracy I tell you!

 

Has anyone else noticed a rift in the time-space continuum? How is it that almost two weeks have passed since my last post? Anyway here I am again posting deep thoughts about world-shattering yarn related events. To wit:

There’s a very funny video put out recently by Staples High School senior Nick Ribolla called “Welcome to Westport”. In it Nick pokes fun at some of Westport’s, um,  inconsistencies. One of the things he snarks about is that despite Westport’s  presentation of itself as a suburban oasis with an artistic history, every other new business is either a bank or a nail salon. Given that I work at one of the last surviving, non-chain businesses in the area this subject is a personal bete noir of mine and the more I thought about it the more I started to believe that perhaps this all isn’t as innocent as it seems.

I used to think that these nail salons were just a front for money laundering and human trafficking but maybe their presence is actually more nefarious. A conspiracy even?? A conspiracy against using your hands to do anything productive! It’s another reason to put off learning or bettering knitting! (“My nails are wet” “‘l’ll ruin my manicure” “I need to get a manicure” “I’m thinking about getting a manicure so I can’t because my nails will be wet and knitting will ruin them”)

Personally, my nails send most manicurists screaming into the back room. Tails of the state of my nails have made it around the world to Korea where they are told to small children as a threat as to what would happen to them if they are not good. (“And your cuticles will be picked and chewed until they bleed…Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!”) And to add to my nails’ mythical nature I actually don’t care about them enough to get a manicure. There’s a word for people like me. I would like to think that that word is confident. Or assured. But really the word is: cheap.

But I digress.

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Danni’s beautiful nails

I will admit that there are knitters out there (Danni) who can balance beautiful nails with lots and lots (and lots) of knitting and crochet. But Danni knits and crochets so fast that the yarn and needles don’t really come in contact with her nails so she’s really not a fair example.

So friends, in summary, stop paying so much attention to how your hands LOOK and start paying more attention to what your hands can DO.

Postscript: as I was composing this post my 16 year old daughter said to me “I was trying to decide whether to go for a run or do my nails. I decided to do my nails”. I kid you not.

 

Frankenbunny

Today, friends, I am going to melt your hearts.

Saturday morning a father walked in with his young son. Upon seeing them my first thought is that they were buying a gift for the wife/mother. A gift certificate perhaps.

And then I saw him.

Frankenbunny.

 

 

 

 

The little boy, Augie, was clutching his beloved knit bunny to his chest. You could tell how loved this bunny was by the number of times it had been sewn together. imageThe bunny was wrapped in bandages like a battered soldier coming back from war and the father had reached the limit of his abilities to patch this beloved rabbit. And so, they came to us, with large, beseeching puppy eyes, to ask for our advice and help. (“Help us Obi-yarn, you’re our only hope.”)

Pam immediately saw the urgency of the situation and promised to take on the repair of the bunny. Augie wasn’t entirely convinced about leaving Frankenbunny with us, and his father looked a little frightened by the idea of a bedtime without bunny but eventually they left the store with our promise to work quickly to return Frankenbunny to Augie.

Like a surgeon in an ER, Pam sprang into action. The wounds were extensive. (warning: these pictures are graphic and not for the stuffing sensitive).imageimageimage

Pam was up for the task. She set to work.image

The results were immediate. Now we knew Frankenbunny would make it.imageimageimagePam continued to work on mending Frankenbunny even after she had gone home for the night so that a little boy will be able to have his lovey back as soon as possible, and because that is how Pam rolls. She was able to finish the mending in time to return Frankenbunny to Augie Sunday afternoon. image

Needless to say Augie was thrilled. His dad was floored when Pam told him there would be no charge. She claimed it was a mission of mercy.imageimageDon’t ever let anyone tell you that knitting is not a valuable and necessary skill. As long as there are beloved stuffed animals out there, knitters will be standing by to repair them.image

Stopping the Madness

Okay, okay, okay, everyone who knows me knows that I have ADKD: Attention Deficit Knitting Disorder. Every time my knitting friends see me I am off on another project, seduced once again by the lure of another gorgeous yarn, another fabulous project. I am a great proponent of having multiple projects going at the same time. It’s my belief that having multiple projects going keeps you fresh and interested.

But, I am here today, my friends, to admit that I have reached the tipping point. Or maybe the flipping out point is a better description.

So the first step is to admit that I have a problem. Check. Let’s take a tally of said problem shall we? On the needles I have: 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of Scandinavian slipper socks, 1 fair isle cowl, 1 regular cowl, 2 tank tops, 1 massive cabled sweater, 3 scarves, 2 hats, 1 pair of mittens and 1 stuffed animal. That’s 18 projects that I can think of OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. Who knows what else lurks at the bottom of my knitting baskets (yes, that’s baskets – plural – I have 4 by my designated knitting area). And this certainly doesn’t take into account all the things in my queue that I am dying to start or the things that I have to knit for the store. Oh yeah, and did I forget to mentions that 24 square Great American Aran Afghan KAL. (insert elevated heart rate, short, panicked breaths) Is it any wonder that I have dozens, maybe hundreds of needles?

While I will not stop buying yarn and dreaming of new projects (that is a given), I have reached the point with so many projects that I feel pulled in too many directions to be able to focus on any one thing. So it’s time for some discipline! (Just typing that sent a frisson of fear down my spine).

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Look Ma, I finished it!

 

 

To this end I have finished one large project (color block v-neck sweater in Seedling )

 

 

 

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The 5-year tank.

 

and a tank top of my own design which I started (mumble, mumble) years ago in a sport weight cotton yarn we no longer carry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Given that imageold habits die hard, I did start a new project, the “sunny Day Tank” by C2Knits in Cascade Ultra Pima.. I couldn’t stop myself I tell you!

 

 

 

 

 

To atone for falling off the finishing wagon I have frogged one project, tossed another (yes, tossed), and am turning my newly found steely resolve on some others. Yes, I do feel better.

And what , pray tell, has me so motivated to free up all these needles?

More new projects, of course!

 

Talk to the hand(s)

When people (and by people I mean friends as well as strangers) see me knitting I sometimes get this: “Oh, I could never do that.”

Generally I try to be nice and non-commital and mumble something to the tune of  “of course you can”, “well, it’s not for everyone”. But the more I come across this response the more I think about the “unsaid” element of this statement.

The truth is, anyone can knit with the right application of time and attention. They may not become expert knitters and perhaps they would never get past a basic scarf but they could learn. So what are they really telling us when they say “I could never do that”?

“I could never do that (because I am too busy)”. Okay, we all have busy lives. We have doctors and lawyers and teachers and investment gurus come through the store who knit up a storm. Many have husbands and children and dogs and/or cats and households to run and lives to balance and meals to prepare and yet they manage to knit. So if these people are trying to insinuate that they are don’t have time to learn to knit I say piffle.

“I could never do that (because it’s such an old lady thing to do)”. There are many young and vibrant knitters who come into the store eager to get their hands on some yarn and a project. They sit around in their knitting groups drinking wine and discussing blogs and  podcasts, as well as the newest restaurants, the hottest bars, the best plays. They are decidely not talking about canning for the winter or their lumbago.

“I could never do that (because there’s nothing I would ever wear)”. Really? These people have to take a look at the runways in New York, Paris and Milan and see the kind of knitwear there is out there. This is not just a world of antimacassars and granny squares and endless garter stitch scarves. Do they exist? Yes. Do people still knit/crochet such things? Yes. But the world of handknits goes way beyond such things. I literally had someone offer me $400 at a cocktail party for a handknit off my back. (no, I didn’t sell it but it was flattering).

“I could never do that (because it looks so boring)”. These people need to go on Google and search all the recent articles proving how good knitting is for your brain and how excellent it is for young children developing fine motor skills. And, let’s face it, there is nothing more boring than sitting in front of a TV with nothing to do with your hands. I will admit that it is sedentary unless you’re this guy:knitting marathon

So, basically, the next time someone tries to tell me that they “could never knit” I’m going to say, “yes you can but you choose not to for a variety of worthless reasons”. Okay, maybe not. But I’m going to think it.

Oh, that Jane!

Complete this sentence: Jane Elliott is a a) genius, b) a knitting savant c) a crazed, sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled, obsessive knitting machine d) all of the above. The answer is, of course, (d). And as proof of this I offer the following.

I am currently shepherding along the Great American Aran Afghan KAL.
Once a month, this valiant group meets to work on a square of said afghan, to compare notes, show off, complain and generally chat our way through two hours of companionable knitting.

Early on in the project, it became evident that some of the knitters were confused and bedeviled by the charts and other instructions provided. So, SOMEONE (you know who you are J.P.) familiar with Jane’s love of writing out knitting instructions line by line approached Jane to request that she find, in the kindness of her heart, the time to write out the instructions for each square of the afghan. Let me state at this point that there are 24 squares, all about 12″x12″, as well as a knit cabled border.

The fact that Jane agreed, without demanding a fee that would rival the gold deposit in Fort Knox or the promise of several bodily organs as needed is amazing enough. The fact that she knit the ENTIRE afghan WHILE writing the patterns out in TWO WEEKS is freaking mind-blowing. TWO WEEKS. 4000 yards of yarn. For you unbelievers out there here is photographic proof:

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Please note the size of the afghan. It would fit a queen-size bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Jane, on behalf of all the aran afghan knitters using your line-by-line patterns, a giant thank you. On behalf of all the other knitters wow-ed by your prowess, we salute you!