Maybe this truck is the mail

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here, and while I’m looking forward to days of family and food, there’s no Saturday mail service here, and Monday is an official holiday so that means that if the yarn doesn’t come today it can’t possibly come until Tuesday, and the thought of that makes me want to weep a little. I know it’s no failure that matters if the blanket isn’t done and the baby comes, but right now I’m thinking about this baby arriving any minute, and not having a blanket, some part of me is screaming  "YOU HAD ONE JOB" and I’m apologizing over and over.  This is, I know, because my heart is leading my brain around like I’m a well trained pony at a county fair. I just like things to be so right, not because I’m an obsessive freak (okay, fine… I might be that too) but because effort and energy are how me make people feel loved, and I want this baby to feel loved, and I want his or her parents to feel loved and really, I’m me, so it’s REALLY HARD TO DO THAT WITHOUT YARN. 

I’m going to take a deep breath, and acknowledge that babies who are loved half to death are born with so much less than this baby will already have, and that in the grand scheme of things this blanket is totally irrelevant…
and then I’m going to go check the mailbox again because I can’t believe this is happening.

Needless to say I’ve been knitting like a wild thing while I pace frantically around the house. These socks are the latest fruit of that hysteria.  Started months ago, they’ve kicked around my purse for a while.

A round here, a round there… (pattern is my basic one from Knitting Rules)

Then yesterday whammo.  I was turning the heel on the second one when I picked them up yesterday, and before I went to bed there it was. A finished pair. (As an aside, have we ever talked about how hard it is to take pictures of your own feet?)

I went this morning to look up what the yarn was, and had a little laugh.  (I take pictures of the ball bands now so that I can’t forget.)  It’s Super Sweet Sock in "Knit City 2012" and that’s pretty funny, because in two weeks I’ll be at Knit City 2013.  Crazy, right? I didn’t even think of that while I was knitting them.  It’s going to be a fun thing, wearing these at that.  Sock yarn harmony, if ever there was some. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go knit the baby a hat. Or a sweater.
Or maybe another blanket – one I have enough yarn for.
C’mon yarn.

Like a House of Cards

Well. There you have it.  It turns out that my title of the meanest mum in the world might have been trumped by my own love of all things matching (and yes, Presbytera is right, like she always is, and I do sort of have a thing.)

Sam is now the proud owner of a delightfully matchy pair of fingerless mitts.

Pattern Sakura Fingerless Mitts. Yarn: Sakura Cotton.

…and I didn’t stop there. I’m not just a person who likes matchy stuff, I’m also a person who’s pretty decidedly cheap thrifty. The idea of having knit whole mitt for no damn reason just rankled too much, so when I was done knitting the third…

Yup.  One skein, two pairs.  Done like dinner, and now I’m a gift ahead on Christmas. That’s right, I said it.  (75 days knitters. Start thinking it over.) 

PS. No yarn, although it’s been transferred to Canada Post, which is a very good sign.  It might be as far away from here as it can be (Vancouver) but that’s only 4 hours away by plane… right? There’s no baby either, although I’m walking a fine line, so far, so good.

PPS. The cool sippy cup top to Sam’s jar is a Cuppow. (Props to Soulemama for the hook-up. I’m not a "drinking out of jars" type myself.)

PPPS. To answer the question, Sam’s nail polish is Sinful Colors "Easy Going" Or as Sam said. "Something cheap. I’m a teenager."

PPPPS. Because someone will ask, Sam kept the pink pair.

Miss Matchy

So here’s the thing.  I am pretty good about making things for people when they ask me to, assuming that they do not fall into any of the following categories.

a) Strangers.
b) Practically strangers.
c) Individuals who have been inappropriate about my knitting in the past. (This determination is completely up to me, and changes like the wind, but if you’ve ever suggested to me that the things I make are the same as the things in the store, and enquired that I might be able to save my self a ton of time, then don’t be looking under the tree this Christmas for a little woolly love. You don’t get it.)
d) Are known knit offenders. (Crimes include felting more than one thing, losing too many hats, or never ever wearing anything I’ve given you.  Also suspicious, saying  everything is itchy when it’s not – even cotton or silk, because I  know you’re lying and you should just tell me you don’t like knitted stuff.
e) Are asking for something too horrible to contemplate knitting, even if you really, really love someone.  (Yes Erin. I’m talking about you. Buy a hammock.) 

Other than that, if a family member (who does not fall into categories c, d or e above) asks me for something, I’m probably going to make it. I’m especially vulnerable to requests from children, and from my daughters.   When the girls ask me for knitted stuff, I feel like they’re apologizing for all the times they thought I was a dorky knitter and asked me not to knit where their friends could see me.  This is a long way to saying that Sam asked me to make her some handwarmers. She’s taken to carrying a jar of tea or coffee to school, and the jar gets too hot. (I know, I know. USE A MUG. She can’t though, because she’s really cool, and being really cool limits your choices a lot.) I got the cutest little kit from Knit East, and Sam saw it and said they would be perfect and so voila.

The Pattern is for Sakura Fingerless Gloves (designed by Kate Atherley and free at that  first link) and it came with a skein of Sakura Cotton in 52801. (I love it when the colour names are sexy.)

Maybe because the girl in the picture is holding a mug – who knows but Sam saw this as solving her jar problem straightaway.

Totally cool… right?  You would be wrong.  Not that Sam want’s to be ungrateful (she definitely doesn’t want that) and she did stress that she’s going to wear them anyway, but didn’t I agree, she asked… that they were super not-matchy?

Longtime readers of the blog will recall that Sam has issues around matching. She thinks you can spot knitters by their mismatched stuff – and she’s largely right. (I’ve been guilty of that. My favourite hat, my nicest mittens, the scarf I just finished… they might match colour-wise, sort of, but they definitely aren’t a "set.") and Sam loves things that match, Enough that I wondered if she would have a problem with these mitts.  I told myself that she’s a smart girl, and had seen the pattern picture (where the mittens are clearly mismatched) and reminded her of this when sure enough, she was not thrilled that they didn’t match. 

"They’re really, really different." She exclaimed.

"You knew they would be!" I said, not at all shrilly. "The cute girl on the pattern has mismatched mitts and she’s still cute."

"Mum. Obviously she has the hat to pull them together."

Sam feels, I can tell, that I should do one of two things.  Knit her the hat, or knit her another mitt. One that matches better.  I definitely haven’t got enough yarn to knit the former, but I absolutely have enough for the latter, and truthfully, I think the hat thing wouldn’t cut it for Sam. She’s going to keep looking at those mitts, and it’s going to keep bugging her. I’m thinking I’ll just knit her another mitt,  but do I want to set a precedent like this? Is this un-appreciating knits? Am I spoiling her if I knit a third one? Do they match well enough and she saw how it was going to be and there of lots of other girls in the world who are going to sleep tonight with no fingerless mitts at all, never mind matching ones and…

I think maybe they really don’t match enough. 

(And no. The yarn is not here yet.)

I checked the Mailbox Anway

According to the tracking info (thanks Loopy Ewe, that’s super handy for obsessive types) the yarn I’m waiting for is currently in Los Angeles.  I think this means that I can stop checking the mailbox every five minutes, and start being amazed that it’s made it this far, this fast.  The blanket and I are eagerly awaiting it’s arrival.

There you have the thing, with all but one little bit of the border done.
(For those of you who are the type who want to know, it’s measuring about 120 cm across. That’s about 4 feet – so I have no idea where all this yarn is going. It’s really not a massive blanket.  Ken was over looking at it the other night, and he posited that it’s all going to surface when I block it.  Maybe – but I just think this pattern is more dense than the last few.)

Yesterday when I finished all the yarn I had, I took a deep breath, did my best to accept The Way Things Are, and folded it up, and put it on the table.  Then I opened a knitting bag to find something else to work on until the new yarn arrives, and a miracle happened.  Snuggled amongst the socks and such that got set aside when I took up with the blanket was one little half skein of this yarn.  I just about cried from happiness.  It wasn’t enough to finish, and I knew that when I saw it, but it was enough that I could pare down what’s left to do when the yarn arrives – make it so that there’s only a few hours of work when the yarn comes through the door, and that matters.

Robyn is close enough to the end that any minute now she’s going to start looking around for the reason for why she’s still pregnant, and dudes. I don’t want it to be me. I know it’s a little unreasonable to be thinking that an unfinished blanket could be what’s holding the whole thing up, but I remember being this pregnant, and it’s a pretty unreasonable state. I could say something to her like "babies come when they’re ready" but if there’s ever been a reason to punch someone in the kidney, that would be it.  Hell hath no fury like a woman with an entire human being jammed between their lungs and bladder, and if there’s a way to send that rage in another direction, then I’m going to do it. (Hold on. I’m just going to check the mailbox again. Maybe the website is wrong.)

Once it arrives (and no, it wasn’t there, dammit) I have only about 3 hours of knitting to do. Then there’s a rather ridiculous blocking mission, for which Joe and I have to give up our bed, since it’s the only place big enough to do it. (I think that if it takes more than a day to dry, Joe won’t care if we have to camp in the living room. (If he’s smart – and he is, then he’s as afraid of Robyn as I am.)

Meanwhile, I’m knitting some handwarmers out of Sakura Cotton. The weather has just now started to change, and Sam’s complaining of cold hands. 

Let’s hope that I don’t have time to finish them. I’m just going to go check the mailbox again.

(PS. The pattern for the handwarmers came with the yarn as a set. How funny to see that non-other than Kate Atherley is the designer. Didn’t notice until I’d started.  Hi Kate!)

The Meanest Mother in the World

My friend is laughing.  I’ve just told her something that I believe about parenting and being a mum and what it does to you if you do it long enough, and I’m laughing too, but her kids are little and mine are big and I don’t know if she knows I really, really mean it.

We were talking about a kid we know, and how they really didn’t want to do something that the mum really wanted her to do… and how the mum was all upset about the kid being upset and was going to have to tell her "no" even though it was going to hurt the kid’s feelings.  "It’s hard…" my friend said. "That’s a hard place for a mother" and I shrugged at the phone and took a swig of coffee, and I almost didn’t say anything, but then I did.

"How hard is it?" I finally asked. "You just say No" and when I heard that she was a little taken aback, I said "Don’t listen to me. I’ve been a mother a long time. I don’t really care about children’s feelings anymore."

She killed herself laughing and I laughed too, and I tried to explain because it sounded so bad. When I say I don’t care about kid’s feelings, I simply mean that how a kid feels about whatever we’re considering, isn’t my prime directive.  I care what a kid feels, but when push comes to shove, my job is to do what I think is best for them, not what they feel is best for them.  I mean, c’mon.  I’ve had at least one teenager who had some pretty strong "feelings" about their privacy and how I shouldn’t be all up in their business, and you know what? I didn’t care. Until your frontal lobe is developed all the way, you get privacy in your room and privacy in the bathroom, but I get to know where you’re going and what you’re doing, and if you want to keep a secret about where you’re at from me, you’re going to have to work hard at it, and it doesn’t really bother me if you’re upset about that.

Do I care if a kid is sad? Sure I do. I care a lot about their emotional state and how they’re doing, but that’s different than caring about their individual feelings on every point – isn’t it? I mean, I’m feeling right now like I don’t want to go to the grocery store because it’s raining, and I’m feeling super sad that I’m going to get wet,  but I’m still going, because feelings don’t matter if you’re a grown up and you’re out of toilet paper, and someday my kid is going to have to do stuff way harder than shopping or homework or showing up on time and I want them to have practice.

I’ve had these conversations so many times, and every time I end up sure I’m the meanest mother in the world. (This is an idea I may have gotten from a kid who was yelling it at me when I didn’t care about their feelings about vacuuming.)  Someone will ask how I got the kids to eat brown bread and vegetables and homemade yogurt and all I can think is that kids don’t have any money and they don’t do the grocery shopping and they don’t cook and they aren’t in charge and really, doesn’t that mean that they’re going to eat what I make? Or people ask how I limited TV as much as I did, and I can’t figure out how they think it would be that I would make a rule (no TV if it’s daylight, for starters) and then a kid would say that they didn’t like it, and that then… what? We would have another rule? One they made?  There were times that I responded to a kids needs by changing a rule, like… the "you have to go to school" rule got trashed because a kid really needed home-schooling for a term.  We’re all about responding to a kids actual needs, but you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that one of my kids needed me to make them a separate dinner because what I’d made them wasn’t what they wanted. (To quote my own mother, this is a family, not a restaurant.)

I can’t tell you the number of times one of the kids tried to turn on the tv, and I went and turned it off again. A few times the tv got taken away entirely, put in a closet and locked up because they broke the rules, and I’m not fighting with you if you do something untrustworthy, and really, I am a mean and horrible mother who doesn’t care at all if that makes you cry. AT. ALL.  Television is a privilege, not a right, and you want to scream about it, that’s cool man. Let those feelings out, but they won’t change my mind. Age, maturity, independence, your skills, your actual needs,  that stuff changes my mind.  Your feelings? No ma’am. 

I can hear somewhere, someone’s heart breaking for all of this. They’re thinking that I am actually a mean mum, and that it’s wrong not to consider the feelings of children and thinking how hard it must have been to be raised by someone who does what she thinks is best and steamrolls all over the tender little hearts of her babies.  They’re wiping a tear away from their eye right now, and they’re the kind of mum who’s going to turn to me later and say "But how did you turn the TV off? My kids would be so upset if I did that. They would freak out. I could never, ever take away the TV" and I’m going to explain that the difference between me and them is that they think they need their kid’s buy in or permission, and I think it’s my TV and I can do whatever  I want with it, because I care more about limiting TV than I do about crying children and that makes it easier. Louder, but easier.

I get that parents perspective. I really do, and let me tell you, I care a lot about what my kids needed – and I will still go as far as a kid needs me to if we’re talking about their physical, spiritual and emotional well being.  I want to talk to kids about how they feel, and what their preferences are, and I have always, always tried to listen carefully to what they want – because they’re part of the family and we’re on the same team but dudes, that team has  Captains and it’s the parents and we’re looking at the big picture, and it’s their needs that matter to us – not what they want, and I’m totally cool with that, because there’s a reason that society doesn’t let these people vote until they’re 18, and it’s because they lack experience, and wisdom, and a lot of the things that keep you safe and make you go to the store in the rain when you don’t want to, and I have my eye on the prize.
I’m making grownups.

I love my children desperately. I just don’t care about their feelings. 
If you know what I mean.

Planning in Colour

Madness. I’ve been knitting on the blanket like it’s a job, and still, there’s no perceptible difference.  The ball of yarn keeps getting smaller, even though the blanket doesn’t seem to change much –  later today I’ll join the last skein on (and I got an email last night letting me know that the rest of the yarn has already shipped out of The Loopy Ewe – damn they’re fast) and if I’m lucky it will arrive just as I run out. 

This morning I got a bit of a reprieve, learning that I’d been right about Robyn’s EDC all along, and 48 hours got added to the ridiculous deadline that the baby doesn’t care about. This shouldn’t make me feel better, since whomever is in there has no access to a calendar, but somehow it did. (It turned out I’d taken Joe’s word on the thing. That’s like taking advice from him on how to organize your kitchen, so I have no idea why I believed him.)

The blanket is lovely (and, I suspect, extremely large) but I think I’m close to snapping. This morning I looked around and saw little mountains of yarn everywhere. Bright piles of yarn – in combinations that are thrilling and delightful, like bowls of candy, or piles of leaves or all the laundry thrown on a teenaged daughters floor.  All this white is starting to affect me.  Check this out.

See those two skeins of yarn?   Suddenly, I think they go together PERFECTLY. A week ago I would have thought that was bold as brass, but now? Oh lovely. Just lovely.
This morning I wondered why I don’t own any red shirts. I washed Sam’s green pants in the fond hope that she’d wear them. I think having a black cat is lame.  I left out a rainbow roving,  just for ornament.

All this white is getting to me, but I know what Denny would say. "At least you’re not knitting it in January."

PS. I know. You need to know what yarn that is. It’s String Theory Casper Sock in melon and winterberry.

PPS. Yes Presbytera.  The links for events in WEBS and Maine are right here.  

PPPS: for everyone wondering how I kept warm in New Brunswick after I forgot my woolies? I didn’t need ’em.  It’s October in Canada and it was warm and lovely. That’s either fabulous or scary.

I Know When to Cringe

I had the loveliest weekend.  The nicest students, the prettiest venue, the satisfaction of teaching at home, in a province I adore, the smell of the sea…

It was KnitEast,  hosted by Cricket Cove in the beautiful town of Saint Andrews by the Sea, and my fellow teachers and I made the most of it.  The days were busy and full – and had a Canadian feel that you just couldn’t ignore. The Algonquin hotel was the intended location, and when they didn’t finish construction in time, Cricket Cove did their level best to make it all work – and there ended up being  a certain unique charm to it… where else could you find the marketplace in the local curling rink?

One of the evening events was at a local aquarium, and we got to touch all sorts of yucky but interesting things

(One in every two million lobsters is blue. I learned that there.)
and we walked to and from the town for supper at night, and really, it was truly lovely. 

That’s Deb Barnhill, Susan B Anderson and Ann Budd

That’s just Deb Barnhill and Ann Budd, and no. I don’t know how I got them to do that. They were pretty tired.  Maybe their resistance was low. (I think there’s a picture out there of me doing the same thing, so maybe I should be careful what I post.) Deb and I had a ton of fun being tour guides to Passamaquoddy Bay. (If each of us had a dime for every time we explained about the highest tides in the world…)

It really was lovely, and I owe a round of thanks to my students, who were charming though a few rough spots.  (I’m thinking from now on, maybe I’ll pack an extension cord? )

Maybe it’s how pretty it was and how nice my students were or who knows, but all weekend long I knit on the blanket, on and off, and didn’t freak out about it.  Much. A few comments were made about how it was sort of largish, but it is a blanket, and it is near the end, and so I ignored that. 

I also sort of ignored it when I couldn’t really ram it into my bag any more, and I just vowed to finish, so I could stop dragging it around – but I was on the edging, so I’m wasn’t super worried.  Fast forward to last night when I realize three things.

1. I have been doing the edging for a while. It is not getting done very fast. That’s weird.
2. I have been wrong all along about Robyn’s EDC.  She’s expecting her baby sooner than I thought, but only by two days, but still. That’s not good news when combined with #1.

I was sitting there worrying about all of this and doing a little math (there are more than 1000 stitches on the needle. Each repeat of the edging finishes 6, plus the extras to get around the corners so how many repeats of the edging do I have to do?) when I picked up my ball of yarn to move it, and it felt a little light. You know the feeling – the ball is squishier than you were expecting, and you think something like "Where the hell is all that yarn gone?"  I wasn’t that worried or upset. I knew I had ordered TONS.  More yarn than you could ever use for a baby blanket, even if you have a propensity to make them a little larger than babies (or University students) typically need – so I went to get one of the other skeins and that’s when I realized #3.

3. I don’t have enough yarn.  Not even close.  I’m short by at least 200m, maybe way more.  Again.

I handled it straight away, ordering it from The Loopy Ewe at daybreak (looks like they have enough in stock)  and I’ll just have to cross my fingers that it gets here before a baby does – preferably with enough time to knit it up.  I’ve got 1.5 skeins left, and the baby will be here anytime.  I’m just sitting here chanting "first babies come at 41 weeks. First babies come at 41 weeks.  First babies come at 41 weeks" but I don’t really believe myself. Robyn’s not the type to be late for anything.
This is going to be a close one. I’ve got to go knit.

PS. Anybody up for a little pre-Rhinebeck amuse-bouche? I’ll be at WEBS for a great sock thing and a  Knit Smart lecture thing.  It will be a fun start to the holiday. (We all agree Rhinebeck is a holiday – right?)

PPS. Anybody want to hang out with me in Maine? I’ll be at Over the Rainbow Yarn.

PPPS. I know. I should do the tour page.  It has a technical issue I’m working on.