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.
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.
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!
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.
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,
or after a meeting, on a plane,
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.
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.