Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Knitting and other stuff...

So, we're settled in for a really cold streak.

And nothing suits a really cold streak better than a little knitting.

Back in October, I treated myself to some hand dyed yarn and a pattern.
This is a shot of the beautiful yarn on my magnificent ball-winder.

And I've enjoyed the resulting knitting more than anything that I have knit in a long, long time.
I'll post about the project  in full at a later date, today is actually when I expect to get around to blocking.

I'm also in the process of a fun knitting project that I simply can't post about yet.  The recipients of my most recent knitting spree read this blog.  But there's been a flurry of small fun projects and a short deadline.
Each evening, after dinner, I settle into my chair, which is flanked on both sides by the necessities of knitting life.  If I have companions for the evening, I enjoy the conversation and if I am alone, I turn on the television and knit my way through miles of wool.

I'm certain that my Aunt Jo, who taught me to knit on the day I turned 8, had no idea what pleasure it would bring me over my lifetime.  Her specialty was a little ribbed cap that she made in cashmere and as little girls in the family, we all had one.  I know that she knitted a sweater or two, but other than that, I believe she only knitted the little caps and a single pattern of house slippers.

Her gift to me, on that birthday, 42 years ago, was a pair of vintage needles of the nylon variety.  They were size 6 circulars.  I also got a skein of peach colored pure wool.  In retrospect, it was a lovely way to start.  She sat me down and taught me to knit and purl, cast on and bind off, and then had me write down the pattern for the little slippers.  I recall a few frustrated restarts, but by the end of the second day, I had a wearable pair of slippers... and I've enjoyed quite a lot of knitting since that time.

Fast forwarding a bit to my wedding... I had another 'aunt' whose name was Josephine.  Josephine was a true inspiration, in that she married during the depression and moved away to Florida, far from the safety net of her family and with her husband, built her own home from scratch.  She was an amazing woman who never failed to inspire.  For my wedding, she brought me a 'dishcloth' made with kitchen string and a 3 by 5 card that had the handwritten pattern on it.  It's the standard old cloth pattern knit from corner to corner with the yarn over holes along the sides.  Her admonition to me was for me not to lose the pattern and to learn it and commit it to memory and then I would always have a way to make a dishcloth, which was one of life's most essential tools.
While I've never knit a dishcloth from actual string, I've made hundreds of them in cotton and use this pattern as a learning tool in all of the knitting classes that I've taught and for gifts and for personal use in my own home.

I will say that knitting brings me great joy in several ways.

I enjoy knitting for others, especially those that I love.  While I knit for those I love, it is quite normal for me to offer up prayer on their behalf.  I did this long, long before the advent of the prayer shawl ministries, so I understand and support that effort.  I love that the work of my hands, completed can be used to keep someone warm... sort of like love wrapped around them, on days that I can't be there in person.
To ask for Divine blessings for the recipient is quite natural.

With caps, especially, I love trying out a new pattern, choosing something to fit the person's personality and yarn in colors that I think will suit.

I've knit for those that I do not know... I've sent a lot of caps and booties to ships at sea for our armed services.  There is no better way to stash bust when the yarn overflows your storage (also known as your hiding places).  I've  hoped and prayed that those who wear my caps safely do their mission and head home to their loved ones.

I've taught a lot of people to knit... the folks you'd expect me to teach, like my daughter...  but also many others...classes full of ladies who have taken my Knitting 101 class... students at school while I have substituted and sat at after school functions.  I once taught an awesome football player to knit well enough that he made his mother a purse for Christmas!  I've accommodated knitting instructions for left handers and for a student with a birth anomaly that affected her hands.

What I love most is the soothing, calming rhythm of knitting...
like rocking a baby in a rocking chair, or swaying to sooth a little one...
like the gentle rise and fall of waves on an incoming tide...
or the very rhythm of your heart...
to share that is a blessing.

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