Defeated Entirely

I have a secret.  I have been trying to resist something for a long time, and it turns out that I can’t.  I give up.  Uncle.

I am obsessed with SpillyJane and her mittens. I can’t stop thinking about them and it’s been going on for months.

There.  I’ve just said it. I am so obsessed that I actually think of her name in all caps, because it’s that exciting to me. I don’t know what hold this woman has over me, but I’ve been fighting for some sort of emotional upper hand for months.  I thought it might go away when I met her back when I went to Detroit, but it turned out she seemed nice and that only made it worse. If she’d have been a raving, bitchy lunatic I might have gotten though this. 

For a good long time now, she’s been putting up mitten patterns that charm the snot out of me, and I can’t stop thinking about them.  It’s like thinking about SpillyJane mittens has become a bizarre hiccough.  I go up to the stash and think "What should I make?" and some tiny Pro-Jane voice in the back of my mind squeals SPILLYJANEMITTENS! and then I sigh and think "Shut up.  You always say that.  Branch out, and stop putting an exclamation mark on her name."  Then the next time I’m up there pondering, my mind says "How about Ribbon Mittens. No? Maybe Cupcake Mittens. Or Strawberry Mittens. Or Gnome Mittens.

Every time this happens, I politely remind my inner SPILLYJANE! fan club that I was going to make socks, or a sweater, or a hat or something other than a pair of SPILLYJANEMITTENS! and then I tear myself away from the idea (because SPILLYJANE! is not the boss of me) and I knit what I was planning before I saw her damnable mittens.  It’s become a habit. First I resist SPILLYJANE!  and then I knit what I was considering before. I was starting to take some sort of odd pride in my ability to resist. (I have no idea what sort of moral high ground I though I was achieving. It’s not like it matters what I knit.)

This has been going on for some time, and I have had the self control it has required to knit other things, although I have been buying a lot of mitten yarn to take the edge off.  Then, SPILLYJANE!  did something so completely underhanded that I knew it was over.  Just over.  I admitted I was helpless. I understood that she was a power greater than myself, and I gave up.

The woman designed beer mittens. 

Mittens With Pints On.
  

Well played, SpillyJane.  Well played.

Random Wednesday

For some reason it’s usually Mondays that are random, but it turns out that this week it’s Wednesday that has that all over it, and that’s pretty random, so I’m sticking with it.

1. I frequently wish I had a photocopier.

2. I think that if I wasn’t a knitter, I wouldn’t wish for a photocopier.

3. I only ever use a photocopier to copy patterns out of my knitting books, because I don’t like hauling around/spilling coffee on/writing in/crumpling my patterns.  (While photocopying patterns/books is sometimes a copyright infringement, the law allows you to make a copy of a pattern you own for personal use.)

4. Even though I’ve chosen all the patterns and yarns, I don’t have my Self-Imposed-Sock-Of-The-Month-Club set up yet because I have to go to the corner store and use their photocopier to do it, and somehow that seems too complicated this week. 

5. I have a lot of fennel in my fridge, and for the life of me I can’t remember what I was so enthusiastic about that demanded this much.

6. I’m working on a new sweater.

7. A while ago, Andrea and I started a little knit-a-long  (just the two of us) that totally landed in the dumper.  We both turned out to dislike our first choice, and after we admitted it, we chose another one. 

8. It took several hours and a lot of coffee, but we picked The Acer Cardigan.

9. We are just knitting it at the same time sort of casually … not racing.

10. If we were racing though, I would be winning. 

11. We’re not though.

New Year

Happy 2011, lovely knitters. 

This family was happy to see the back end of 2010, which was a year we’re trying to affectionately call "challenging" as long as you understand that the word challenging is being used here to mean that the year took repeated and vicious swipes at us from every angle at every opportunity. It was like the year was a nasty cat with sharp claws that liked to hide around corners.  We spent more time in hospitals and doctors offices than ever before, made more appointments than ever before, worried about more family than ever before, went to the bank more… 2010 was remarkably novel in it’s butt-kicking of this clan – stooping so low as to burn my sister’s restaurant in a nasty kitchen fire. (She’s back up and running now, but you wouldn’t believe what 3 months closed did to her life and the lives of her staff. She even had a fancy fire suppression system that failed.  Nice trick, 2010.) This year was so bad that we have family members who are actually missing parts of their bodies.

To tell you the truth I’m astonished that we’re out the other side of it (more or less) whole.  As we toasted the new year on Friday night (both Joe and I with nasty colds, and me with a UTI, just to make it festive) the only thing we could think was "Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, 2010."

I was so freaked by how craptastic this last year was that I decided to take no chances.  None. Joe and I implemented every single superstition and ritual we could think of to make sure that we stood a chance this year.  We paid all the bills. We cleaned the house, then swept and threw the dust out the back door. (I even locked it, as per a suggestion from Clara.) I made sure every wallet in the house had money in it, I lit candles to bridge the years and carry light into the new one, and I made sure that the first footer into my home in the new year was a tall, dark haired man.  (That means that Joe left at 11:59, and came back in at 12:01 carrying salt for luck, just to be sure.)  We put silver (quarters and dimes and such, which I know aren’t really silver, but it’s the spirit of the thing) outside before midnight, so the light of the old and new moons could shine on them, and we didn’t collect them until daybreak.  Just to be sure, I didn’t do any laundry on New Years Day, just to be sure that nobody in the family is "washed away" in this year.
We usually do some of these for fun, but this year I did them all.  I know it can’t possibly make a difference, but I didn’t want to be sitting in a hospital later this year thinking "Crap.  I shouldn’t have done the laundry."  (As an aside, last year I put the silver coins outside, and in the morning they were stolen. Should have been a sign.)

I even finished all of the years knitting before the year was up, which isn’t a superstition and I don’t think matters, but couldn’t have been a bad idea, and that brings me to the hope I have for this year.  There’s so much wonderful scheduled for 2011, that I’m just about bursting with the possibility of it all.  Joe’s long awaited studio will finally open, a new book comes out for me, Sock Summit rides again, and best of all the size of this family is going to start moving in the right direction- and without me becoming a grandmother, which is spectacular.

2011 is bringing us two new babies, and I’m so looking forward to both of them that I’ve already started their knitting, and you can expect beautiful wee things to drip from my needles for the whole year.  The last thing I knit in 2010 was this tiny jacket. 

It knit up out of just two little skeins of Ultra Alpaca Light – grabbed one evening at Lettuce Knit when I fondly recalled a tiny baby sweater I’ve been obsessed with for years.  It was in a vintage knitting magazine, and it was so perfect, plain and beautiful that I adored it.  Sadly, that pattern was in a gauge that didn’t work, and had a few flaws that I think I’ve fixed with this version.

Tiny little two row garter stripes, plain pearly grey and white, worked from the top-down, with a little garter button band and three vintage buttons from my bin. Seamless, but for two little seams along the bottom of the arms, and even those aren’t necessary if you like knitting garter in the round, which I’m not wild about.  Nearly seamless, just like I hope the next year will be. 

There’s nothing like a little hope to start out with.
Happy New Year.