A is for Attitude

We’ve been trudging along, this blanket and I, for just a little while now, and I can honestly tell you that I’m bored to death. I didn’t want to say it, because really… I have so far to go and if I turn on it now it’s just going to get ridiculous. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. You get more of what you pay attention to, and so I’ve been trying not to pay attention to the part where every time I pick this blanket up to do another 79 miles of the knit stitch I am overcome with the urge to haul off and purl the snot out of a row, just to mix it up a little. I am instead trying to get Zen with the blanket. Me and the blanket. The blanket and I. Me, the blanket and 79 miles of garter stitch in neutral colours. Which I love. A lot. Enough that I don’t miss any other kind of knitting at all. Totally.

Blanket Size Check ’09


That’s Megan and Pato, who have a message for everyone.


They’re very, very grateful (and are starting to send thank you notes) to everyone who sponsored them for the Bike Rally. ( Meg’s hand is much better too.) They have until June 30th to meet their fund-raising goals (pledges will be accepted after that, but if they don’t make their goals by that date then Ken is the only one who’s wearing the gold “top fundraiser” jersey, and Meg and Pato feel like they can’t let him out-do them) and both of them are out all day today, beating the bushes, making phone calls, dropping off cards and doing their level best to get there. Considering that they are the youngest people in the Toronto-Montreal Ride this year – and six days riding a bike across a chunk of Canada to raise money for People With Aids isn’t the way most 17 year olds are spending their summer, I’m sure they’re going to have a lot of success. (Added, for those who were asking for a place to click… you can sponsor Megan here and Pato here, if you like. They’d be very appreciative.) One of the interesting things we’ve noted as the kids fund-raise for this goal is that on average (though there are many very generous exceptions) people donate less to kids than they do to adults. Ken riding his bike on the same trip has had a much higher average donation than Meg and Pato. Meg has a theory that this is because Ken’s friends are grownups with resources, and her friends are working for minimum wage at the local grocery… and she might have a point, but the truth is that even with the formidable help of knitters, Meg and Pato have worked really hard to raise this cash, train for the ride….and I’m really, really proud of both of them. Joe and I keep thinking of what we did the summer we were 17.

Without going into any details…the kids are sort of ahead of us in the philanthropy department.

99 thoughts on “A is for Attitude

  1. Stephanie,
    You’ve taught your daughters well. I wish I was that dedicated at that age. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  2. I was in band camp at the age of 17. Congrats to them. the blanket looks stunning keep up the good work. You are a rock star!!!

  3. and as for the blanket, can you just tell the recipient you thought they had lost a bunch of weight and that you thought the blanket would be big enough as it is now?

  4. Summer at 17? I think I’ll plead the Fifth Amendment. πŸ™‚ So you should be extra, extra proud of Megan and Pato. As Dawn said in the second comment, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so you can take at least part of the credit for what a great person Megan (and Amanda and Sam, too) is growing up to be.
    Maybe some of that medication they give you for surgery where you don’t remember anything that happened even though you were wide awake the whole time might be in order for the blanket? That way at least while you still have to spend the time knitting, it would pass in the blink of an eye!

  5. If you haven’t heard the soundtrack for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” before, Linus’s Blanket Song will probably give you a good laugh right about now.
    And nice job Megan & Pato!

  6. Dang, I am getting an ultrasound today….stupid co pays! I will donate after I find out how much that is. I just can’t resist their combined adorable-ness.

  7. That is so awesome that they’re doing this! It’s great to see kids these days taking action for something they believe in!

  8. Love the Twitter about Willie. I’ve seen him at Red Rocks in Colorado- I’d be fighting you for him!

  9. I too am working on a giant garter stitch blanket (although mine is for a baby) and I admire your courage!!!!! I only lasted 4 days before casting on a cable hat.

  10. rewards are great for those who stick to it!think of the reward Stephanie, i hope at least there is a reward…17 and so dedicated, amazing and inspiring, only makes me wish i was at that age for important causes, way to go mag and Pato! i love that fact that shes dating a Latino! being Latina my self, i know for sure, we are a lot of fun, and very spicy!! WEPA!!

  11. If the blanket is really boring, you could, just for fun, purl the next block instead of knitting it and then continue to alternate by purling one block then knitting the next.
    I can empathize: I’m making a garter stitch blanket for my child and the tedium would kill me if it was the only thing I was working on. (But please don’t tell him. My excuse is that in the summer it is way too hot to knit big heavy wool things.)

  12. Who sez you can’t purl a row if the urge strikes you? What the heck – Throw in a few at random intervals – entertain yourself!
    Glad Meg and Pato are doing so well.

  13. Meg and Pato are so cute I’d like to eat them up or at least borrow them for household chores. I would pay them. In other news, I am using your plain sock recipe for my first ever top down socks. Should I finish them I will have completed two pairs of socks. I should finish them. They are for my 5 year old so they are wee. Keep your fingers crossed.

  14. Wow! That’s awesome. I know how hard it is to raise funds for anything. They’re doing an awesome job.
    They’re so cute. πŸ™‚
    I just want to pinch Pato’s cheeks like my great-Aunt Tessie would. Am I the only one?

  15. 17? Hmmmm. I would have been in Honduras working on a vaccination program with Amigos de las Americas — one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I feel privileged to be able to support Megan and Pato — and delighted that I could contribute my SS refund because I hadn’t yet “squandered” it on more sock yarn πŸ˜‰ I hope their ride is as memorable for them as my 17th summer was for me.

  16. Done and done (the sponsorship that is). I wish them the best of luck on a fabulous trip no matter what the outcome.

  17. Could it be that people are being more generous to Ken because he’s done this before and they’ve heard of him, while Megan and Pato are new on the scene and less well known?

  18. I see Megan made the goal! Pato still needs some help, maybe donors can lean in his direction…
    Hope they have a fantastic trip. (^_^)

  19. I vote for purling a block just to spice things up.
    Way to go kids!
    (is 17 still kids? it seems so far away and also so close)

  20. Saw Megan had already passed her goal, so instead of splitting my donation, I gave it all to Pato so hopefully they can both meet their goal.
    You must be one very proud mama!

  21. couldn’t you pick up the next section and start from the wrong side, purling all the way? (might make you happy to get back to knitting on the following section)

  22. Why don’t you throw a little color into the blanket now and again, maybe some red. Did I miss the part where it has to be all neutral?

  23. Why not purl the snot out of some of it, do one block in purl. Purl every row = garter stitch, I know it will look different where you pick up the stitches, but I am sure you can work around that.

  24. I have a baby sized moderne log cabin in time out—-pink. I can soooo relate.

  25. You shoud be proud of your girl
    ! I am kind of the same way about knitted things – mainly I like very simple, plain garments (I cannot stand anything at all fussy.) And I do tend to like fairly bland colors (altho I do like pink & purple). I do however like Aran style knits (which save my sanity) & wildly colorful socks.

  26. I think that Willie has still got it going on, so yes, I can totally relate to sleeping with him! Me first!!!

  27. They are doing a great job with the fundraising. I’m horribly abyssmal at it, which is why I don’t do charity runs any more but donate to others who have a better flare for the really hard job of fundraising.

  28. Hey, sorry to Meg, but I noticed she’d met her goal and Pato hadn’t, so he got my donation. πŸ™‚ Best of luck and safe riding to both of them!!

  29. same here… sorry Meg, but figured Pato needed a shirt too…
    Come on folks we’ve nearly got a hat trick for knitters… three gold jerseys.

  30. “I am instead trying to get Zen with the blanket. Me and the blanket. The blanket and I. Me, the blanket and 79 miles of garter stitch in neutral colours. Which I love. A lot. Enough that I don’t miss any other kind of knitting at all. Totally.”
    Ummm, who are you trying to convince?
    If you say so, Garter-Harlot, if you say so…

  31. Good job to both Meg and Pato! Being around their age makes me feel like a slacker! And I thought you loved garter stitch. Has the relationship gone sour? Any amount of suffocation can encourage one half of a pair to stray. But just because there are so many other beautiful, lovely, new projects and yarn out there doesn’t mean you can’t stay faithful.

  32. If that’s a baby blanket, you can stop now.
    The kids are too cute. Sorry you mentioned this so late in the game – I made my donation to Claudia’s MS ride.

  33. Clicked on Pato’s page and got the skinny on his given name. I was intrigued–was that poor boy really named after a duck? But it’s a GREAT diminutive for Patricio. Best of luck to both of them–

  34. The summer I was 17 I got married. πŸ™‚
    My dd has one of those blankets in hibernation right now. I told her to make it a baby blanket and give the darn thing away! lol
    Great job to the kids! I hope they have a great time!

  35. 😎 I just don’t see the difference between the miles and miles of garter stitch scarfs?
    Okay, the Noro yarn was not neutral but it was also garter stitch allover.
    So why complain? 😎
    *just kidding* (I’m suffering on secondsocksyndrome – having 8(!) pirate socks around and can’t convince myself to make the second ones)
    So I’m awestruck about your consequence – if the blanket were mine it would be gone into the closet last wednesday…
    Love your blog. πŸ˜‰
    Have a nice day!

  36. I made a garter stitch blanket too (Jacob’s blankie). While I got to enjoy more frequent color changes, I still called it my “Albatross Blanket” and swore never to knit another…
    Hang in there. You will SO love it when it’s done.

  37. I’m catching up on your blog after being away from a computer for 10 days, so forgive me if this idea has already been shared: When I reach the point of bulkiness in a knitting project I reach for a large mixing bowl and put the item in that. I can then spin the bowl with each row, either in my lap or on a table. It really helps. I’m thinking a metal bowl might be cooler in your heat.
    The blanket is looking so very nice. And I’m glad to hear Meg’s hand is doing better. I, too, was stunned to read that people suggested BUTTER!!! That was a no-no in 1968 when I took my FIRST First Aid Class.
    I wish Meg and Pato every success with their fundraising……

  38. Before even reading any of that, you can tell those are cool teens because they’re prepared to be photographed for all the internet to see, holding a piece of knitting. You’re raising fine daughters with excellent values.

  39. When I got to the donation pages they were above goal but it’s a good cause so they got my $$ anyway :).
    As far as the blanket goes, no words of wisdom from this corner but admiration for your resolve. I’m looking at 7 … oops, make that 8 WIPs spread around my family room. I’ve got ADHTACI (attention deficit hey that’s a cool idea) disorder at the moment!

  40. Congratulations to Meg and Pato! I hope they have a great ride.
    Your refererence to 79 miles of garter stitch made me wonder how long the blanket actually is. The pattern calls for 19 balls @ 192 yards per ball. You’ll have some left over, but assuming you use a total of 18 balls, that’s almost exactly 2 MILES of yarn!
    If you were to knit it in one long straight row,the blanket has 264 ridges = 528 rows x 5 feet long = 2640 feet = just about half a mile of knitting!

  41. Clicked on the links and saw that they both met their goals. Congrats guys!!!
    Love the blanket so far, you’ve inspired me to knit one of my own. I’m only on my 3rd square (rectangle, whatever, i hated geometry) but so far i’m lovin it…may not be saying that soon though eh?

  42. I have made TWO, yes Two of the modern log cabin blankets as wedding gifts, so I completely understand the urge to throw down the needles and run screaming out of the room. The only saving grace is that when you are done, you have a very modern, very smart looking blanket that young, chic urban folks really love. I think it’s like childbirth, once you have deliverd the blanket, you forget the labor pains. That’s the only reason I can think of that allowed me to make the second blanket. Well, that and the fact that I really love my son (first blanket) and my nephew (second blanket). Keep on trucking!

  43. The summer I was 17? I think I was avoiding my parents as much as possible and listening to punk music really loud. And reading a lot.
    Maybe you could watch movies that are so good you can just let your hands knit on automatic and not even notice you’re knitting. A lot of movies.

  44. First, no it is not wrong about Willie. Substitute Sam Watterston, Sam Elliot and/or Tommy Lee Jones and you’ll get the same answer (well, from me, anyway.)
    About the balnket – block 9 makes it really, really hard to travel with. Especially if you are the driver & have a tendancy to knit at red lights…

  45. Hey! At 4:30 PDT, Megan has almost caught up with Ken, and Pato is right behind her!
    Way to go, team!

  46. I folded my family-size blanket into a 15″ square, and just re-folded when I had to. Having a packet of yarn on my lap didn’t seem nearly as warm as having it draped all over my legs.

  47. You know, I am unsure I have seem any progress on that blanket at all and I have been reading from the beginning. I think it started that big and remains that big and the people who model it are getting bigger and smaller proportionately. You should really think about why those models are doing this to you. They should be ashamed.

  48. I can think of a couple of reasons (besides Meg’s) that people pledge less for the kids. One of them is perceived conditioning. It should be no problem for a teenager to ride a bike for 6 days. We…more mature folks might poop out (mentally or physically) well before the 600km mark.

  49. Cheer up, you’re just about ready to start the first garter intarsia section!
    I actually just finished my Moderne Baby blanket, so I know how you feel. However, I got to take a break because there was no deadline. (I’m not trying to mock you, I swear. Just commiserate.)

  50. At 17 I was working summers, reading books, and helping with chores as both parents worked. My son at 15 has 2 part time jobs this summer and we are thrilled!
    But our high school also has a requirement of 50 hours of community service before graduation, so we’re doing Habitat for Humanity stuff as well. Teaching compassion is difficult, but incredibly rewarding when the youth move forward on their own to do something so thrilling as Megan and Pato, and Ken.

  51. How about a donation for ‘Pretty Thing’ Cowl??? Hint, hint……… I know many many ready to make a donation to the SirWashie/Stack/Megan&PatoToronto-MontrealRideFund. We could make them truly over the top in donations!

  52. Congratulations to both intrepid cyclists! Very impressive that they are thinking so philanthropically at their age. I hope they (and Ken) have a very safe ride.

  53. I got married the summer that I was 17.
    Sorry….was that a frightening thing to say to a mom of a 17 year old? My bad.
    The good news is, I’m still happily married, 32 years later.

  54. Kudos to Meg and Pato! I’m sure they’ll have a great time. My boyfriend is 22, and he’s biking from Vancouver to San Diego this summer. He’s having the time of his life.

  55. Blanket looks much larger with 2 teenagers holding it, rather than one beasty-sized husband.

  56. You know, if you purl each row of a whole block, no one will know its purl garter and not knit garter and you can change it up oh so secretly!

  57. What a splendid pair of teenagers – congratulations to both of them. You must be so proud, Stephanie.

  58. Knitters are Awesome! (I just checked totals and see that all 3 of them will be wearing the coveted gold jersey.) Woot!
    Congratulations to them (and to you!)

  59. The summer I was 17 I was working for minimum wage, chasing boys, bemoaning the fact that my mom wouldn’t loan me the car, and complaining about how often I had to babysit my younger siblings. I’d say Megs and Pato are light years ahead of me in the grown up department!
    Kudos to them…they are doing something very amazing for people their age. Fund raising is a tough gig — I’m doing it for a living now, and the economy is making it very difficult for folks to open their pocketbooks…especially if they want to donate to multiple charities. May Megs and Pato have tons of success, and a fabulous bike ride.

  60. I question the wisdom of the blanket’s designer — if a project is so BORING and BIG, is it worth taking on at all? Will many knitters want to make it?

  61. Well, since (taking both the baby and full sized versions together) over 1,500 people are doing it on Ravelry alone — over 600, if you want to be pure and count just the full sized one — I’d say many knitters want to make it, yes.

  62. Next time–IF there is a NEXT time–try the Rambling Rows afghan (from Cottage Creations). Although it is also garter stitch, each square/rectangle is smaller, more manageable, goes faster and then on to another color. It holds your interest more and thus goes faster. I have made MANY of these including great big (Queen size) ones for each grand child as they go off to college as well as the baby carriage size. NAYY……….

  63. Stephanie,
    I did a large (very large) Moderne Blanket for my son and had the same sense of boredom with the knit stitch. But I forced myself to keep going. Be prepared for it to get tougher as you have to do larger blocks across the outside areas. And yeah, mine was in neutral colors as well — off-white through a light brown.
    Congratulations to the kids on their project.

  64. I’ve made this blanket and love the miles of knitting. Try a road trip. It’s great for thousands of miles of sitting shot gun!

  65. I feel your Blanket Pain! I have been saying for years that when my Brother in Law finally decides to get married, I’d like to make them a quilt for a wedding gift. They got engaged a few months back, and finally set a date….. October 16! of THIS year! ugh. If I’m going to get the planned (fabric) log cabin done I might be in the same boat you are. They might be getting a toaster after all πŸ˜€

  66. You can purl every other row and still get garter stitch…….
    Instead of turning and knitting, don’t turn, and purl back left-handed!!!!
    I don’t know how it will affect your guage, but it would help reduce the monotony!

  67. Couldn’t you add a cable or something to the blanket???? I feel it is unnecessary to put yourself through this sort of monotony – life is too short and too sweet to dilute it with this sort of pap! No matter how cute the final product… Add a cable, add a detail, please please do something!!
    What are we here for if not to improve and embellish πŸ™‚

  68. Yay kids!
    Somehow the ladies over at MasonDixon has the garter zen thing going — maybe they have an insiders’ tip to pass along?
    Butter is much better on toast than on burns, by the way (in case anyone reading the blog STILL thinks butter is a first aid treatment…. *SHUDDER*)…

  69. “You get more of what you pay attention to…”
    Perhaps, that’s why you’ve got such amazing 17 year olds in your lives:-) (Yeah–my 17th summer wasn’t big on philanthropy either…)

  70. It’s looking very nice! Maybe you could…purl a section, seed stitch a section, moss stitch a section,…you know? Cycle through various ‘filler” stitches? Wouldn’t be as flexible I suppose. How big is this blanket going to be? You’ve been sort of mum about the deadline too…

  71. Is it okay if we post the links to sponsor Megan and Pato on a few other sites to help? I know a few people that would probably chip in and I think its a worthy cause! Let us know how we can help promote them!

  72. Glad it is you knitting the blanket. I hope the person that receives it appreciates the hours of boring knitting when you could be doing something fun or colorful or even a little bit interesting!
    Why did you start it?

  73. Keep in mind that I’m a crocheter and don’t know what I’m talking about, but… could you slide the stitches over onto the other needle and then purl for a while?

  74. How sad is it that I feel kinda bad the knitters didn’t take down another server? πŸ™‚ But on the plus side, Ken, Megan, and Pato all made their goals! And from what I can see, they raised over $21,000 between the three of them. Whew!
    And Sue, I totally want to pinch all their cheeks–they’re so cute! I’m so glad they’re using their cute for good and not for evil.
    Yay Ride for the Cure folks! Yay for those who donated for the ride!

  75. Stephanie, what about using this opportunity (being bored with your blanket) to learn a new skill? — How about learning how to knit Continental? Or Knitting backwards (from the right needle to the left)? Or knitting without looking (or can you do that already)?

  76. Oooh! Oooh! I just thought of another one — the next time you start a new colour, pick up in purl and *purl* every row.

  77. “Without going into any details…the kids are sort of ahead of us in the philanthropy department.”
    The gift of understatement – you haz it. My year of being 17 (perilously close to your year) wasn’t exactly whirlwind of humanitarianism, as I vaguely recall.
    Way to go, kids. And not too bad a reflection on a mum and dad to foster such selflessness.

  78. I’m happy to read that Megan and Pato are successful with their fundraising.
    When I did fundraising (for amnesty international) at the age of 16 here in Germany (ok, that’s some time ago) people often insuated (had to look this up in the dictionary) that I only try to increase my pocket money. That was really embarrassing and I didn’t do it again …

  79. I hate to point out a potential mistake in the miles of garter stitch knitting, but. . . .Assuming the design is based on a log cabin quilt, aren’t the strips supposed to be added in a circle around the starting block? Like a spiral? To my eye, the first four are correct, and # 5 should have been on the other side of the blanket. (And if you HAVE to rip out anyway, I think #5 and #6 are too close in color to be next to each other, at least that it how it looks to my computer screen.)
    If I am completely wrong, then the blanket looks lovely, and congrats to Meg and Pato!

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