Interlude

You know how sometimes, you’ve got these friends, and they totally love that you’re a knitter, and they really think that it’s terrific that you knit, but they’re kinda fuzzy on the details?  This is a story like that.  I know this guy, Barrett, and a while ago (I am unclear how this happened, truth be told) Barrett came into possession of a bag of yarn. He was thrilled. Delighted really, because he knows me, and I know what to do with yarn, and he presented me with this bag of yarn – all smiles, and asked if I would make him a scarf.

For reasons that I can’t even begin to explain, I agreed. (Actually, the way I remember it, I only sorta agreed, but then he agreed to be a Team Lead for the Bike Rally and I said it was for sure then.) The problem, other than that knitting a scarf is actually tons of work, was this.

I don’t know if it’s clear from that picture, but there are two problems.  One is obvious. Those colours don’t really “go”.  The second problem, and I this is the one I think you can’t spot… it’s dishcloth cotton. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how I was going to make Barrett a scarf that was a) remotely good looking b) not so heavy that it didn’t threaten to break his clavicles.  I thought about it for a while, and by a while, I mean months. Maybe a year.  (Okay, it was a year for sure.)

A few weeks ago, I got this idea. I’d pretty much firmly established that I had no interest in knitting this yarn, but I still kept it around in the canopy of the stash, right at the top, where I had to feel guilty about it. I’d told Barrett it would be a scarf and I didn’t want to tell him it wouldn’t be, and frankly, part of me didn’t want to give up. I decided that if I couldn’t/wouldn’t knit it, then maybe there was another way to make it into a scarf?  I started playing around with it, making different piles, wondering how it could go together… then I got my little loom.

I made the yarn into two piles, in the end and did a bit of math to make sure my plan was going to work.

Then I wove,

then I warped it again.

When all was said and done, I felt like I’d done a magic trick.

It has occurred to me, while I think I’ve pulled off quite the charm, that I’ve likely done very little to teach Barrett about good yarn, about what can be a scarf and what can’t be and he remains a person walking the earth thinking that you can just bring a textile person anything and have them turn it into something pretty good.  I wondered, as I handed him the scarves, if I should have said something. Something like “You know, this is actually very impressive” or “You know, this was practically alchemy dude, that was dishcloth cotton”. Instead I just forked them over, and he looked pleased, and said he loved them.

I didn’t say a word, but we’ll all know.  Magic, I tell you.  Magic.

Garden Party

It’s Victoria Day, a holiday in here in Canada.  Victoria was the first Queen of Canada,  and the day was originally to honour her, but over time it’s become the day that Canadians celebrate the current Sovereign’s Birthday – even though the Queen’s birthday is in April. (Don’t look at us like that. The weather in April is dodgy, this makes way more sense, and you can’t have a federal holiday moving around every time you get a new King or Queen. How on earth would you plan anything, and besides, the Brits assigned her a birthday in June. We’re not alone in this.)  Here in Canada we like to further complicate this holiday by referring to it as the weekend of the 24th –  as in “What are you doing for the May 24th weekend?” even though the weekend doesn’t always fall on the 24th.  Technically, it falls on the weekend attached to the Monday before the 24th, and as complicated as that seems when we try to explain it outside of Canada, it makes total sense here.  (As does calling it “the May long” or “May two-four” – to get that last one you need to know that in much of Canada a case of beer has twenty four bottles in it, and thus is called “a two-four”.)  It’s a traditional start to the summer, a day for (most) Canadians to put in the garden, open cottages, crank up the barbecue for the first time of the year – generally enjoy being outside after the long winter.  I say most, because it’s still snowing in Nunavut, and the warmest place in the whole country today is in Grand Rapids, Manitoba where it is only a balmy 20 degrees. (That’s 68F for our American friends.)  In many cities, tonight there will be fireworks.  (Edited to add that the forecast I looked at was clearly wrong! It’s much warmer than that in lots of places, including here.)

Here in Toronto it’s just sixteen degrees (edit: it’s twenty now!)  but that’s not stopping me. I’m feeling a bit better, shingles and all (or maybe I’ve just got better drugs, who knows or cares) and before we visit Joe’s mum in the hospital today, Joe’s headed to the Marina to paint the bottom of the boat (this is, apparently, a yearly thing) and I’m going to our tiny back garden to try and make sense of it.  Last fall my Mum had just died when it was time to prune everything and put the garden to bed, and it didn’t get done at all. That’s a shame, considering how much mum Mum loved to garden. If she were here she’d have had words with me already about the state of the thing, and as a matter of fact, I think this might be the first time I prune the rose in the back myself. My mother’s always done it for me. Lucky for me, it was always accompanied by a lecture, so I feel sure I know how.

Not much is in bloom in the garden just now, a trillium or two are blooming under the tree, the snakeshead fritilaria is finally out (every year it’s late enough that I worry it has died) violets are everywhere, but the real star is the Bleeding Hearts. They love it in my garden, and have spread everywhere, and this week of the spring is the reason I don’t pull any of the volunteers out.

Pictured with the glorious things, a fetching pair of socks. They’re hot off the needles (well, last week) and are a pair for Carol, who was complaining of cold feet in hospital.

Yarn: Paton’s Kroy 4ply sock in Dad’s Jacquard #55714. Pattern: my own plain vanilla pattern from Knitting Rules.

Also on the needles, a spur of the moment sweater. It’s version C from Seasonal Droplets Trio, knit out of Hemp for Knitting’s Allhemp3.  I snagged this at Knit City last year, and while it doesn’t look like much on the needles, the sample had that whole post-apocolyptic-my-clothes-are-all-rags-but-I-look-great Matrix vibe going for it.

I thought it was going to take about 10 minutes to knit, but so far it’s a shocking three days. I sort of regret starting it now, because as delighted as I’ll be to have a summer sweater – there’s a fleece in my office singing my name, and I can’t wait to get to it. (It’s a little Jacob. Very exciting.)  Also on the needles:

More socks – one pair off the needles, one pair on.  I’m loving this yarn, it’s Ridley Sock Yarn from Sea Turtle Fiber Arts (I think the colourway was called “Imagine”) and I thought I liked it, but as I’m knitting with it, I’m coming to love it. It’s a cabled yarn – four plies each made up of a two-ply, and that’s a structure I really love.  Complex constructions like that are such a great way to give yarns made from softer fibres (like merino) more durability.

Rather slow going on these socks at present, just because I’m trying to make good time on the sweater, poor little things have been in the bottom of my bag for a few days. I found out about Sea Turtle Fiber Arts, by the way, because Sarah’s very generously sent along skeins for the Strung Along Retreats a few times.

This upcoming retreat is our Knit, Play, Cook retreat, and if you’ve got a business and would like to get the neat thing you make in front of our retreaters we’d love to talk to you about it.  We do it a little differently than most other retreats, so shoot us an email and we can talk about it.  (Info@strungalong.ca)

PS. We’ve got a single cancellation for the June Retreat – the only one this year that’s for knitters only. (The rest are for knitters who are also spinners.)  There’s some more info here, and you can email if you’d like to talk about that too.  info@Strungalong.ca

Impeccable Timing

Last Monday, in the middle of all the things going on here, rolling up to a tricky Mother’s Day and with Joe’s mum still in hospital, I started not to feel so well. There was a pain in my leg up at the top, and I iced it, thought that maybe I should be going to yoga and tried to get on with everything I had to do. Tuesday morning, without wanting to be dramatic about the whole thing, the pain had spread from my inner thigh up and around to my back, and I was pretty sure something had gone wrong. It was swollen, it hurt, and at 5am I could no longer tolerate the pain and I was pretty sure I was dying of something, and me – the sort of person who thinks that if you don’t feel well you probably need some kale, a bath and to buck up in general – I went to the ER.  Once I was there they confirmed that it was super inflamed and swollen (got that, hot shots) ran some tests, and said the redness was likely cellulitis. They praised me for coming in and not just having a bath and some kale, and sent me home with some high powered antibiotics. Two days later I was back – telling them that their antibiotics were completely full of it, and that I was worse, not better, and the lot of them did more tests, and sent me home with a prescription anti-inflammatory, urging patience. I limped home, and cried. By Saturday I was a mess. I had a rash, I couldn’t sleep or eat for the pain, I was absolutely unable to say the word “groin” even one more time to anybody, and I managed somehow to stick it out until Monday, when my family Doctor took one look at me and said “No wonder you’re miserable. That’s shingles.”

From there, things got better – appropriate drugs for the pain, some antivirals, and the situation came down to a dull roar. There was the day where I took the suggested dose of the pain stuff and accidentally wound up as high as &#$%&$, but I’ve got a grip on the level now.. enough to keep me moving, but not so much that I don’t dare leave the house. (I gotta tell you though, I see why somebody might abuse this stuff. I felt terrific. Really tall.) I’m still not feeling good, and we’re still at the hospital all the time, but it’s clear I’m going to live, and now I’m leaning on distraction from the discomfort.

Wanna see a sweater? Great.

It’s Elliot’s finished Birthday sweater –

Pattern: Hearst

Yarn: Alpha B Yarn “Kiwi B”, an Australian Polworth that she dyed just for one of the Strung Along retreats a few years ago. The colourway’s named for the co-ordinates of Port Ludlow.

I think it looks great on him, and he seems to love it. We gave it a trial run in the park, over by the cherry blossoms.

It’s a little big, because it’s finally warming up here, and I wanted him to have a sweater he could wear this fall, I love it.

And that’s not just because I’m kinda high.*

*I think

A Glimpse Through a Window

I know for a solid fact that I have written here before, likely with an excess of emotion and too many words, about the relationship I have with Mother’s Day.  I’ve written about how so often when the girls were little it failed to live up to expectations – mostly because children were in charge of the execution, and I was in charge of expectations,  and  I always put too much weight on it. It always seemed to me that Mother’s Day should be the one day a year that motherhood came off like it was supposed to, and it never did. Instead it always ended up with someone crying because it wasn’t working out the way they had imagined, and that person was often me. Sometimes that was a seven year old trying to make banana pancakes (it is worth noting that I really hate banana pancakes) or a ten year old who didn’t get a turn holding the cake, but the point is that so often the day got away from us, and it took me about 20 years of mothering to come to understand that the biggest problem with Mother’s Day was that it was coming off the way it was supposed to was in fact inevitable, because Motherhood is a mess.  I’ve made a tenuous peace with the day, especially as the girls have gotten old enough to fight about cake quietly.

This year, I’ve been dreading it. Take the regular mixed feelings I have about the day, throw in a dead mother and I am a wreck. Emotionally speaking, it’s been like standing on the tracks and watching a train come. I’ve been worrying about it and trying to figure out what I can do to distract myself, and feeling sort of resentful about people who still have mothers and trying to remember that I am a mother, not just a motherless child, and that my kids have expectations of that day that I should think about. (I feel like that last bit makes me super mature.)

This is pretty much where my head was at on May 1st, not coincidentally the last time I wrote to you. That evening I went to a Bike Rally Meeting, sat down in my chair and got a call from Joe. He was calling to say that his Mum had had what looked like a big stroke, and she was in an ambulance and he was in traffic and… I stood up, walked out of the meeting, and 30 minutes later the whole clan was in a nearby hospital. Carol had indeed had a pretty big stroke, and it was scary.  Lucky for us, everything went right. She was home when it happened, Old Joe was home when it happened, she got to the Stroke Centre in amazing time, and she was given absolutely the most cutting edge treatment you’ve ever heard of.  It’s been 11 days and while she has a ways to go, things look bright. Joe still has a mum. A funny, loving, clever mum, who’s still all of those things, and we didn’t lose her.

Eleven days ago, if you had told me that there was any upside at all to Nana Carol’s stroke, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have said that this family has had about enough, and that we are too fragile and too hurt to manage any of this, and I would have been wrong, because as crappy as a stroke is (and don’t get me started, it’s plenty unfair, and lousy and Pollyanna has definitely not taken up residence here with an unlimited supply of unicorn sparkles and rainbows) there’s been a few things that have been amazing. The strength of this family has been outrageous. Maybe it took a few losses to really get us trained up, but we have got this down like you wouldn’t believe. We’ve been taking it in shifts, everyone showing up and sitting with her, talking with her, being with her, and not resenting a moment of it.  Carol hasn’t been alone, she’s had her favourite foods, her own clothes and linens, and yesterday she trounced Old Joe at Hearts three times, so clearly on the path to recovery. It’s so wonderful to see a mother so loved, and a family so generous. I am so proud of them, and her, and that feeling is going around. They’re a fantastic team.

From where I sit, it was a small gift of another sort. I thought I was about to have the worse Mother’s Day of my life, and couldn’t see past the sadness, the loss, the things I didn’t have and can’t get back… all the Mother’s Day celebrations with my own mum that I’ll never have again.

I’d been looking at this picture a lot. It’s my mum and her daughters, and Carol and hers, just a few years ago. The lot of us had gone out for a Mother’s Day dinner together. Just the Mums. I’ve been caught up in how I couldn’t have that again… I was so happy that day. I’ve been looking at this one too, from just last year.

I posted it for our family at the time, and the caption read “No shortage of Mothers to celebrate this Mother’s Day!” I look at that first one, and feel overwhelming loss. I look at the second, and realize that there was a few days last week, a few days where I looked through a window to a family with no grandmothers in it, where both Joe and I have no mum, and where everyone in the first picture is broken-hearted about everyone in the second, and I managed to find a little gratitude for what we’ve still got, which is an amazing mum, who’s so fabulous that she makes me miss my own so very much, every day.

Also, it turns out that if you’re hanging out in a hospital waiting for someone to get better, instead of the alternative… you can get a hell of a lot of knitting done.

 

 

Block Party

Back from a whirlwind trip to Oregon and the Knot Another Fiber Festival, and not only did I have a very good time working there, I inexplicably got a ton of knitting done. Maybe it was just the flight there and the flight back, but I finished almost everything I was hoping I would. Elliot’s sweater pieces are all finished, and blocking. (I block before I do the making up.  I know that’s not at all in vogue, but it really gives me the best results. I’ll block it again after the sewing is done and the buttonband and collar are on. I’ve conducted an experiment or ten and really, all the knitting books weren’t lying when they said this is the order of operations. It’s a really great little sweater, I’m not going to give in to laziness now.)

I got all the ends (finally, I know) woven in on Russell Street, and that’s had a bath too..

I even managed to bang out a pair of socks… Although those aren’t blocked. They’ll do fine when I find the feet they fit.

(Pattern: I made it up on a plane. Yarn: Must Stash Yarns, colourway:  Not all who wander are lost.)

I even got to start a new pair of socks, but…

That will teach me to cast on late at night on a plane, in the dark.  I’d feel worse about it if I didn’t know the truth, which is that knitting destroys your ability to count reliably, even to small numbers.  I’ll concentrate really hard today, and see if I can make it to sixty-six.

Happy May Day.

Maybe Cloning

Home again, home again. I wonder how many times I’ve typed that over the years.  It’s a miracle I’ve never followed it with jiggity-jig, which is absolutely what I’m thinking. (This is the exact moment when one of you scans the archives and comes up with sixty-three times I’ve followed it with exactly that, not a one of them I’ll recall.) These last few weeks, I’m bucking the feeling that as I do all the right things, I’m in all the wrong places. This feeling was summed up on Wednesday morning as I missed the Bainbridge Ferry by about 20 seconds – despite careful planning and what should have been a foolproof plan.

I stood there on the dock, watching it sail off, and thought to myself “Well, that’s about right” and sat down to knit until the next one came, mostly content. I was on my way back from Port Ludlow.  After realizing that Susan’s funeral was going to be held during the retreat we just had there, I’d decided to go anyway. Actually, I hadn’t as much decided as I’d realized that there was just no way I could be anywhere else. The retreats we host are pretty tiny, and there’s only three a year, and there’s just no way to change when they are only a few weeks out.  It was difficult to see the family load up and head for Ottawa while I got on a plane for Seattle, we all felt bad about it, but every time I felt like I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, I reminded myself that I was of service to Susan when she was alive, and that meant a lot more to her than my attendance at a service.  (It has been my experience thus far that other than in your imagination, dead people really don’t hold you to account much.)  It turns out that it’s not as much that I’m in the wrong spots – it’s more that I can’t seem to be in two places at once.

The rest of the week passed in a blur. The retreat was super busy, with Debbi welcoming a grandchild just days before we gathered there, and then it turning out that she actually was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and having to go home a little early.  (I know she wished she could be in two places as well.) I did conference calls for the Bike Rally on my lunch breaks, I answered email between class and evening events. I caught a break when a crazy winter storm whirled through Toronto on the weekend, cancelling the first training ride of the year – and relieving the feeling of being in the wrong place when I couldn’t attend it. Thursday exploded in a jet lagged blur- trying to get all caught up, and yesterday… technically I don’t remember anything about yesterday except I ran out of time to do everything on my do-do list and dinner was a salad with mint. That’s all I’ve got.

Little Elliot’s first birthday party is here tomorrow. I was in Texas two weeks back on his actual first birthday. I sort of felt like I was in the wrong place that time, but it was really the right thing to go to the fabulous DFW Fiber Fest and make up deserting the year before, though I did feel a little pang when the pictures of the birthday boy arrived on my phone.  Thankfully, our little guy is blithely unaware of the calendar, so we shifted it so I could be here for the big celebration. I’ve been pushing hard all week to get his birthday sweater finished, and I can admit today that I’m not going to make it. This hasn’t stopped me from trying, inexplicably.

Pretty, isn’t it? It’s Hearst, and the yarn is Alpha B Yarn “Kiwi B”, an Australian Polworth that she dyed just for one of the Strung Along retreats a few years ago. The colourway’s named for the co-ordinates of Port Ludlow. (If anyone’s coming out to Knot Another Fiber Festival next weekend, she’ll be there I think.  I also think there’s a few spots in one of my classes, the lecture one – Knit Smart. Fun and useful, I promise.)

Today, I should have been at the rescheduled first training ride, but I woke up with tons to do, a birthday cake to bake, a backache, and the absolute inability (emotionally speaking) to push my road bike over the snow piled up by the garden gate. Maybe if I did have a clone I’d be willing to send her out into the cold to ride, but as long as it’s me there’s just no way.  I’ll wait for the temperatures to at least be double digits before I get out there.

If you need me, I’ll be here, more or less, baking cake, answering email, looking wistfully at my bike and my knitting, thinking that this would all go a lot better if there was two of me. Peace out.

At the End(s)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After Years of Failure, Knitter Proves That She Can Be Taught

PORT LUDLOW, Washington, April 13th, 2018

In a Stunning reversal absolutely nobody was expecting, this morning Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, upon finishing her Russell Street shawl-scarf thing, had only fourteen ends to weave in, out of a total of about fifty-eight (58) for this project.

“I can’t even explain it” the knitter said, while looking visibly pleased with herself. “Everybody talks about how they’re going weave in the ends as they go along, but I actually did!”

As told to this reporter, at the outset, Stephanie looked at this project and realising that there were so many ends, was able to look into the future and see that (as she so eloquently put it) “this was going to be a total %^%$#-show.”  At regular intervals throughout the knitting of this accessory, she then stopped several times and worked on a bunch of the ends so that it wouldn’t all face her at the conclusion.  “I could just tell” she exclaimed, shaking her head incredulously “that if I left them, if all of those ends from all of those mini’s were staring me in the face when I was done, that I’d put it off until later.” (Here, this writer did not ask if the “later” that she was speaking of was actually that thing Stephanie does where she shoves mostly finished knitted stuff into closets for seven years rather than do a little bit of finishing work.)

“I just told myself that I wasn’t going to be that kind of knitter this time…” she said, while blithely ignoring that she has yet to weave in the remaining fourteen ends. “I can’t believe this happened. I made a commitment, and I followed through.  Do you see this? I actually wove in ends as I went along. This doesn’t really happen. I’m like a unicorn.”

When last seen, she was entirely smug, an emotion she scarcely deserves, since she’s really only just done what she was supposed to all along, and fourteen ends remain.

-###-

Fine it was tofu

Yesterday I left the snow and general crap scene of weather in Toronto, and made my way here to Texas, where I’m at the DFW Fiber Fest, an event that I really adore.  It’s got a great vibe, and they’re such nice people, and I thought that even before last year when they were so sweet when I bailed on them to go home for Elliot’s birth. I like them so much, and am actually so grateful for that gift that I am here again, even though it means missing his birthday. They let me be there for the most important one, I can miss this for them, and I got to see him for Easter before I came, and it’s only a day, and you get it.

Truthfully, I was feeling sort of bummed about Easter. It’s usually such a nice holiday for us, low pressure, and all the Spring birthdays get rolled into it, and we have a great dinner at my mum’s and this year I felt like it wouldn’t come together, no matter what I did.  In the end (and I know you’re probably tired of hearing this, but it’s still a problem over here) I realized that I was trying to make it just like the Easters at my Mum’s, which obviously can’t happen because she’s not here and we can’t go there, and I gave up. You’d have thought that I would have figured this out at Christmas, but I didn’t. I accepted that it wasn’t going to be the same, that I couldn’t force it (though I tried for a bit) and I made some new traditions, as many as I could think of – though tried to keep them rooted in the way we do things.  My mother wasn’t there to make a ham, and we don’t eat ham anyway, so I made a vegan ham.

(Fine. It’s tofu. Whatever. My brother eats ham and he said there was “nothing wrong with it” which isn’t a completely ringing endorsement, but is a pretty ecstatic reaction for a carnivore to have to a vegan ham, if you ask me.)

Every year my mum asks me to make this braided bread, but this year I somehow couldn’t so I did bunny buns that I thought Elliot would think were funny. (He did not, but Samantha loved them) and every year I decorate one egg really beautifully as a gift for my mum (she had a whole bowl of them) and so this year I did a bunch.

I figured the girls are all adults, old enough to appreciate them.  I did make the same cake my mother always made, and though not everyone with a spring birthday could be there to celebrate (another stumbling block stumbled upon) Sam and Alex blew out their candles, and Elliot had a practice run. (So far, not his jam.)

We saw Joe’s  family, and we had an egg hunt with the littles, and I knit Elliot some lamb shoes so that he matched the other wee ones.

Pattern: Lamb Shoes, Yarn: Random handspun I found in the closet.

They are charming, and fun and fast to knit, and they come in adult sizes which is something I am really, really resisting out of some sense of decorum that only I feel.  (Everyone else in the family wants me to let go of that sense, and make them all lamb shoes. I think I might have established some unreasonable expectations over Christmas.)

Overall, it was okay – good even, if you try really, really hard not to compare it to other Easters, and just let it be it’s own thing, which is what I am doing, mostly.  Everyone assures me that this odd sense that nothing is right and I’m screwing it all up will pass with time, and I hope so.  There can only be one first of everything without my mum, and we are getting through it.

I mean really, what can be wrong as long as you can look at those little feet?

No Really

I have a pretty big stash, and the most amazing thing about it is really that with the exception of some weird stuff in there that I can’t really explain (moments of weakness when confronted with a yarn sale, usually) I can tell you that all of it… just about every skein, I believed with my whole heart when I bought it, that it was going to be the very next thing I knit. Usually, I buy it, and I bring it home and for a while, I still think it’s going to be next so I keep it somewhere handy.  Top of the knitting basket, kitchen counter. You know, I put it right where I can get it because I am going to start knitting it really soon, possibly in minutes.  After a few weeks of that I start to think that maybe I should take it off the kitchen counter, but I still know it’s going to be next-ish, and I move it to the canopy of the stash. At that point it’s technically in the stash, but it’s still going to be next, just after the other thing that’s sprung up.  Then I buy something else, and put it on the kitchen counter/knitting basket/ in my bag, and wait a while before admitting the truth about that, and then move that to the top of the stash, which naturally pushes the thing from before down a layer and… you see. You know. You probably do it too. My feeling is that it’s pretty normal, if you’re talking about knitters and we are.

I am completely and totally aware that I do this, that I do it almost every time, and somehow, every time I buy something, I still think it’s going to be next, even though the odds that’s what I’m going to do are about the same as the odds that any day now, Joe is going to turn to me and say “You know what, I think I’m going to throw away the 35 year old copies of High Times in the basement. You’re right dear – I’m never going to look at them again and they actually are just taking up space. I see that now.” This is to say that there’s about zero chance. So you could have knocked me over with a feather when the following transpired.

I was at a fibre festival and I was walking around, minding my own business, when whammo. I saw this gorgeous shawl/scarf thing, and there was a kit to go with the sample, and then I thought “Oh isn’t that pretty, I should make that next.”

It was this… Fall Rainbow mini set from Canon Hand Dyes (in Bruce, their sock yarn with a little yak in it) and the pattern was Russell Street. I came unhinged.  I loved it. I gave her my money, and trotted off with this little prize in my hands… and it sat there on the desk in my hotel room while I looked fondly at it and thought “That’s totally going to be next.” Then I brought it home and put it on my desk there, because that’s where you put things that are going to be next… and then…

GUYS THEN IT WAS NEXT. I am not even kidding you.  I finished something, then picked up that yarn, and started knitting it. Just like that, just like I said I would. Just like I have intended to do a thousand times, but this time it just happened.

More than that, I kept knitting it.  No, I’m serious. I didn’t start and then ram it into a corner, or replace it with something better, or be tempted off by the next thing that’s going to be next.

(I did knit a pair of socks but that’s just normal.) Knitters, I think I’m going to finish it.

It’s like a miracle.

Joe hasn’t gone to the basement yet though, so as shocking as this is, we’re probably not in a parallel universe or anything.  I’ll let you know.

 

Bounceback

One time I was listening to the radio (CBC, because I am some sort of dinosaur who still listens to the radio in my house) and I heard a piece (which I spent a long time searching for, trying to prove that it actually happened but maybe it didn’t) where a panel of really clever people were discussing the traits of super successful people, and they all agreed that resilience was absolutely the thing.

That’s the definition right there, and I realized that I’ve been talking about “resilience” without really using that word, when I teach classes where I talk about gauge.  I say that you can tell that a swatch is a good one – that you’ve got it right, when the work bounces back, when it isn’t easily deformed, and when it keeps it’s shape, even when you subject it to stress.  Things knit too loosely – it’s not just a gauge problem, it’s a quality problem… they don’t last as long, or hold up as well, and I realized for the 23476th time in my life that living and knitting are the same. I prize resilience (in knitting and living) very highly.  The ability to hold up, to soldier on… I’m not saying that you deny your feelings, or that you don’t deal with your sadness or challenges, but that you look them all square in the eye and think “Well hell, and I guess now I have to do Wednesday anyway” and then you do… even if you make a real mess of it. So much of being a good human is just showing up, I think.

I was thinking that this week… and thank you so much for all your kind words about Susan, it helps a lot. I feel like a generation is slipping past me, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about that – except for… and I recommend this technique very highly…

KNIT MONSTER PANTS

There was a moment two days ago where I thought about knitting, and I pulled out the big, fine gauge thing I’m working on, and all I could think was that I was so sad, and supposed to be so sad and that really I should be ironing black clothes, and then something came over me, and I thought that maybe could there be a moment where I didn’t reflect on my losses and metaphorically walk sadly on the beach in the mist,  and maybe HOLY CATS maybe I could just… I could knit Monster Pants (!!!) and in the moment I felt it,  I knew it was right. Behold.

Lo, it is the antidote to all sadness. It is the opposite of sad exits from the universe, it is a countermeasure, a remedy, proper medicine and a bloody reason to go on. (It was also fast and easy, which is never a problem.)

It is my grandson in Monster Pants, and it is pretty much the whole reason that there has been joy and light in my life for the last few days, and if you know me I am not even sorry that I texted you the picture of him wearing these, because they are the light and the joy and…

Seriously. Didn’t that just help your day? Don’t you feel better? Aren’t you jealous that Meg gets to look at that bummie all day? Of course you are, because you’re normal. Look at that and c’mon.  Resiliency, the ability to bounce back, to regain shape… elasticity.  I’m on it.

(Maybe he needs two pairs.)