Yeah, that’s done too

The theme for today is “finished” – or at least I’m trying really hard to make that be the theme.  I’m just now finished with today – my bags are packed and tomorrow I’ll take them to packing day – that’s when we put all our stuff on the trucks, and then go home and have a big sleep before departure the next morning.  I’m almost finished with the bit of work that’s still on my desk, I have to take a run by Erin’s house tomorrow to finish something there, and I have a skein of yarn finished, this weeks little bit of spinning effort.  I’m almost finished organizing my bit of knitting for the ride, I’m finished the laundry, I’m almost finished getting Sam set up for a solo stint in the house while I’m away. (Joe’s away too.) We’re finished emailing the teams, I’m finished the checklist that Cameron and I had set up to tidy all our ends… and also finished? Look at this.

camsweaterdone 2016-07-22

Yup, that’s Cameron’s second finished thing.  His first was a hat for his nephew, and this one is a very nearly almost perfect Baby Surprise Jacket for his brand new niece.

camniece 2016-07-22

I’ll pause here for the collective gasp of impressed knitter breath. That’s right-  his second (well, technically third – there’s an abandoned hat kicking around his house somewhere) project was a Baby Surprise – and he knit it all by himself. (There were a few do-overs I helped him with, but I never gave him bonus rows.) Cameron can now knit, purl  – and switch between them, almost at will. He can tink back to a mistake, and pick up a dropped stitch.  He can cast on, he can bind off. He can follow a pattern,  increase and decrease, he can count his rows and he can make a buttonhole. To finish it off, he learned how to bind-off purlwise, and how to weave in (many) ends – those stripes!

sweaterfrontwhole 2016-07-22

He learned how to sew on buttons properly (this is a baby sweater, those things need to be on there really well – and he washed and blocked the little thing.

sweaterwash 2016-07-22

I’m not sure why I’m as chuffed with it as I am – I think we were tied in the pride  department when he finally finished. Both of us smoothing and patting it with our hands, and admiring how all those hours turned into an actual sweater.  A bunch of my knitter friends have been rather impressed at how quickly he’s come along, and it’s true. That sweater’s a steep learning curve, but I’ve got a theory about new knitters – I think hard things are good for them (as long as it’s doable in the end) and I think that making sure it’s interesting enough, and difficult enough only hooks them in deeper.  With that sweater, every time Cameron got bored with it, something else happened, he had to learn something more. We’d sit down after a meeting and he’d pull out the knitting, ask questions, see how it was done, and be off flying until the next roadblock.  There was the occasional worried text – usually accompanied by a picture of something perplexing happening on the needles, but mostly he just sent pictures of him happily knitting, everywhere he went.

The best part though, and I guess this is part of why I like him as a knitter so much, is that Cameron didn’t let it be a joke. People tried, I mean, there would be moments where he’d whip it out in a pub, at a game,

camgame  2016-07-22

or after a meeting, on a plane,

camplane 2016-07-22

and people would say “You knit now?” And there would be a moment, where it was clear that they were thinking about poking fun, or making a comment, or something that diminished him or the act, and Cameron would say “Yes. I do!”

There was something, something in the way he said it.  Something that revealed a distinct pleasure and pride in the act of transformation he was engaging in, that he was proud of it, something that would shut the whole thing down, and in that moment, he wasn’t just not letting them treat him like knitting was silly, he was – like all of us, saying something about handwork by not contributing to the idea that it was inane, or a waste of time, or a funny way for someone to spend their time.  He didn’t buy in to what they were selling.

It was, when he behaved that way, as though he was Properly a Knitter. This week, when he finished his sweater, we went to Romni Wool, and Cameron went up and down the aisle, and he picked yarn, and he picked needles, and he made yarn choices, and he left with his Rally knitting. It’s mittens.

He’s finished too. He’s one of us. He’s definitely not stopping. Like most of us, I’m not sure he can.

camonthego 2016-07-22

More tomorrow. There’ll be time for a post before I get on my bike, and we’ll do a big round of Karmic Balancing gifts. I want to thank all of you for all you’ve done to move us to (and past!) our goals this year. The Rally is smaller than usual this year, and there’s a real risk that we aren’t going to meet the fundraising goal for the organization, and that means that choices will have to be made about services next year. If that happens, it’s not going to be because of knitters. You’re amazing. Our links, should you be so moved, are below.






Knitters all.

55 thoughts on “Yeah, that’s done too

  1. Those are beautiful children and a beautiful sweater. You done good, Cameron! When the dust settles after the rally, Stephanie, please give a photo tutorial on how to properly sew on buttons. I struggle with it every time, and now that my granddaughter is 10 months old and putting everything in her mouth, I’d like to ensure they don’t come off easily. Tutorials I’ve found haven’t quite done the trick.

  2. A beautiful sweater! That Baby Surprise sweater is tricky so he should absolutely be proud of himself!! I’ll so be thinking of you over the course of the ride. Take care, be safe and know how proud we all are of you and your effort.

  3. Ditto all of what MNSusan said…hoping to get you all to 100% of your fundraising goals and will be cheering you on!

  4. Wow! A proud moment…
    Steph is barely freaking out. (The Rally got here really quick it seems…or were we distracted by the wedding?)
    Cameron’s 2ND finished knit was a EZBSJ! AND he was sent a 2ND wee person to knit for!
    Rooting for all of you and Erin- Rally on!

  5. Congratulations to Cameron on the newest little human in his life, and on the adorable sweater!

    Best to all the riders! Thank you for doing what you do.

  6. Well Done Cameron!
    I have a case of new knitter envy. The sweater is awesome! The wee one is pretty cute too. Thanks to all the riders for what you do. I wish I could give you what you are worth, but I can only give from what I have. Cheers and thank you once again.

  7. great work cameron!
    i wish the team a lovely ride. clouds to hide the beaming sun, helpful tailwinds, no flat tires, and love to speed you along.

  8. Why do men think it is unacceptable to knit I used to work night’s with a male nurse that knitted complicated picture jumpers for his 3sons . Well done Cameron and good luck to all of you on the bike ride .

  9. Congratulations to both Cameron and you! I am madly in love with Hudson Bay blankets and see them evoked in this sweater. Good luck to both of you in rally.

  10. Well done Cameron! I have been knitting for a few years and still tend to not have the confidence to go beyond the standard square or rectangle items. I expect you may get some ribbing from my husband on the ride – I tried to get him to pack a little project, but no go. Maybe you and Stephanie can get him converted by the time you hit Montreal. Safe ride everyone! An awesome thing to do, a great challenge, and I hope you alll enjoy the experience.

  11. Best wishes for a great ride, cool breezes and low humidity. Stephanie, be careful of your knitting needles in the vicinity of your air mattress. And Cameron, the BSJ is lovely.

  12. Congratulations to Cameron on the amazing knitting; and to you on your preparedness and general aura of calm. It’s thrilling to watch a new knitter make strides like that. I work in a residential treatment facility and have taught many of our residents to knit. It’s amazingly rewarding.

  13. You go Cameron! That is a gorgeous little sweater. I especially love the photo of you knitting at the ball game, very sexy! All of you have all of us sending you positive vibes for a terrific ride with a minimum of drama this year. With a combination like that, you will all do great!

  14. From one enthusiastic knitter to another… I say well done, sir! I read that whole post with a giant, giddy, misty-eyed grin on my face.
    From the little time I’ve spent with you, Stephanie, I can absolutely imagine how proud and validated you made Cameron feel with the cooing you did over this wonderful wee sweater. It’s always encouraging to be sincerely praised by an expert (and friend)!

  15. Love the BSJ (my fave baby sweater). Congrats on making a new knitter, Steph, and I’m impressed with your calm in the face of the race.

    Best of luck to all of you! Wishing you cool tailwinds and no rain.

  16. Bravo to Cameron – I especially love the BSJ myself. Brava to Stephanie for your passion for the Rally, for knitting and especially for your teaching skills and patience. Proud to be a donor to the cause!

  17. I taught myself to knit a sock….well, me and you tube. You are right, it was the challenge that kept me going forward. It turned out pretty good for the first sock.

  18. Congratulations, Cameron on your lovely, finished baby surprise sweater. Hope you and the team will have a safe and successful ride to Montreal (my hometown where we made the Montreal/Toronto including two weeks at Georgian Bay trip twice a year).
    Stephanie, I hope you will have a safe and successful trip to Montreal. Stay safe, everyone.

  19. Bravo Cameron! What a lesson! I am always to shy to knit in public but seeing how proud he is makes me want to go out and just be proud of how I spend my time. Thank you!

  20. Nicely done Cam!!! I put in a 25.00$ donation in for you and in an effort to make the world a better place for you niece. Ride safe!!!

  21. Cameron has the BEST smile! Him in his Blue Jays gear and a tiny baby sweater with that smile is about as good as it gets! Congratulations on being fully converted.

  22. Way to go Cameron! Your BSJ is very lovely with its stripy sleeves. I have yet to make one, but it is one of my goals to try. Beautiful new baby! I’m glad you are not a shy knitter. We need more men who knit. I know a few who are amazingly skilled knitters. I’m seeing that you are on your way to that group too.
    Ride well and safely Stephanie, and team members. I’ll be rooting for you here in the a/c. :/ As my grandmother used to say, “Safe home.”.

  23. Tell Cameron we are so proud of him for finishing such a sweet sweater! He doesn’t yet appreciate how fearless he is when it comes to knitting. I hope the ride goes well! We’ll be cheering for you and the whole team! Ride on!

  24. This has to be one of my favorite blog posts. May the wind be at your backs this week. Best of luck to you all and Congrats to Cameron on his niece and the Baby Surprise Jacket!

  25. LOVE the little sweater! And great job, Cameron, getting in done in time for her to actually wear it (I think my niece barely fit in the BSJ I made her once – for photos). Keep on knitting, Cameron, and keep on spinning (those bike pedals) to support PWA, all of you!

  26. I was sitting at the farmers market yesterday, amongst my things I’m selling are some gorgeous, big cedar baskets made by a friend of mine.
    A lady comes by and is admiring them and I say “Yup. I keep seeing that big one at the end of my couch with a quilt in it.” She said “Or yarn”.
    My ears perked up. I said “Do you knit? Crochet?” She said “No. I just like yarn.” I looked her right in the eyes and said “Do you want to knit?”
    She looked at me for a second, looked at the sock in my hands and said “Will you be here next week?”

    I teach a lot of the kids… but I love it when I get to teach people my age. And I have, thanks to my friend Jean’s mom’s estate, a large bundle of knitting needles to give away to newbies. It’s going to be fun.

  27. Not sure why this blog post made me tear up. Pride. Joy. Never ceases to amaze me that people I have never met can make such an impact on my heart. Thank you.

  28. My 7 year old grandson asked me if boys knitted too. He has his own needles, a small ball of green yarn and a bowl he declares is his yarn bowl. He is trying to learn knitting and he keeps it at granny’s house so I can help him. I will show him Cameron’s picture and read the post to him.

  29. “I’ve got a theory about new knitters – I think hard things are good for them (as long as it’s doable in the end) and I think that making sure it’s interesting enough, and difficult enough only hooks them in deeper.”

    I teach beginners to knit in the round first, on a 16″ circular needle.

    Another thing about beginners — they don’t know when something like knitting in the round is considered “hard”, and often that means they are not afraid to try it.

    (I don’t think it’s hard, just different. And it means I don’t have to teach them how to knit *and* purl at the same time.)

  30. Great work. Men should be proud of their knitting ability and no one should question them. When I was learning to knit, I would ask questions/help from one of the animation professors I worked with at a college because knitting was a mandatory skill when HE was in school.

  31. Aww, Steph, you made a knitter! We like him very much. 😉 I mean, we liked Cameron before, for being awesome and riding in the Rally, but now he knits, too! Cameron, congratulations on a gorgeous BSJ. That thing is a hoot and a half to knit. I almost hated sewing together my first one, because it was so fun to show people an amoeba then fold it into a sweater tah-dah! (I saw the BSJ knitting process described once as 1) knit an amoeba 2) fold 3) sweater!).

    I wish you all safe and easy (as easy as possible) travels. And I hope all your phones ding a lot along the way, to give encouragement. You guys are a miracle. I’m so moved by what you’re doing. Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to help people. It helps balance a lot of the hard stuff going on. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  32. Somehow I missed this post. Congratulations, Cameron. The jacket is lovely. And now you’re on to mittens? Well done. Congratulations on the completion of the rally, as well. It’s an amazing thing. Thank you.

  33. Way to go, Cameron! That sweater looks awesome, and you should be proud of it. I made one many years ago and my spatially challenged brain could not figure out how to manipulate the manta ray-looking thing to do the seams. It took my mom playing with it to get it to work.

    Stephanie, I agree with you about setting new knitters to something difficult, or at least moderate in difficulty. The shop where I learned to knit used a top-down sweater in the beginner class, so I learned increases, decreases, how to use stitch markers, etc. I’ve never looked back.

  34. When I saw that photo of Cameron holding the finished sweater, I involuntarily went “Awwww”, you know, like you do when you see a really cute bunny, or kitten. But he’s not just cute, he’s amazing. Knitters rule, and Cameron has already figured it out.

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