Archive for May, 2010

Are You A Knitter?

When people see or hear about me knitting, I generally get one of three questions:

  1. What are you making?
  2. You knit?
  3. You’re a knitter?

Today’s post revolves around the nuance that separates the latter two questions. See, in my mind there’s a fairly large distinction though there’s such a small difference in the phrasing. It takes a knitter to really catch the difference.

Saying that I knit is simply a statement that I have certain skills that I put to use. This could imply anything from the rare usage to occasional, and even encompassing the frequent and obsessive utilization of knitting needles and yarn. It covers the whole spectrum. I know some people who knit Christmas gifts some years but that is about the extent of their knitting. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, but it doesn’t quite cover what is implied by the third question above.

When somebody asks me if I’m a knitter, I am quite proud to answer, “Yes, I am.” To say that I’m a knitter goes deeper than just using certain skills. It implies something at the core of the fabric of my being. I am a knitter. It is part of what defines me as a human being. Knitting is meshed into my character and personality.

So I define myself with a CRAFT? Well, yes, but there’s more to it than that. If you ever hang out with knitters you will find more than just craft. You find community. Knitters very often possess a generosity of spirit that isn’t always associated with hobbies. Within a group of knitters you will find people who love to knit for charity, who share ideas and help with other knitters, and who are often willing to even give from their yarn stash if they feel that a particular yarn is a really good match for one of their friends. To be friends with knitters is to never have a cold baby or a raw, exposed neck in the winter time. Knitters are givers.

To knit is to do. To be a knitter is to be a part of something bigger.

Are you a knitter?


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Much Better

Yesterday afternoon, once I’d finished the blog post, I went and took a nap. This is one of the beautiful things about your kids getting old enough to pretty much fend for themselves. It was only a short nap, about 30 min., but it was enough.

After decidedly NOT cooking supper (I love leftovers!) we sent the kids off to bed and I pulled out the knitting while watching the wonderfully bizarre Lady Gaga episode of Glee. I still just don’t get Lady Gaga. Some of her music is good, though not really my style. She seems like quite the strange character.

Anyway, after a short nap, some knitting, and a cold homebrew, I’m doing much better. Today is the beautiful Friday before a long weekend and I’m about as happy as a dude can get.

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…for several reasons:

  1. I haven’t felt up to knitting for the past couple of days because it’s been so damned hot. Yeah, like I’m gonna work on a baby blanket that’s over 2/3 finished when it’s 90+ degrees outside.
  2. I received news today that I didn’t get a part that I auditioned for in a local community theatre production. I am sad because I wanted to do this show so badly.
  3. Post-concert ick. We had our 8th grade concert at school last night and it went well, but I’m drained.
  4. Pre-concert ick. I had to cut a song from a concert program for next week because there’s not a chance in hell that the kids will be ready. It was a popular song, so some kids are very upset, but they just couldn’t get it together.
  5. Spring fever.
  6. The LOST finale sucked. It just sucked. The culminating Kumbaya moment made me want to barf.
  7. My daughter’s pubescent mood swings.
  8. I miss my knitting group. I’ve missed two weeks in a row and will have to miss next week too.

So now I’d better go pick up the needles before I strangle somebody. It’s the cheapest therapy I’m likely to find.

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Annoying Delay

This is a quick, heartfelt plea to all my wonderful blog readers: Please don’t post LOST spoilers on your facebook, blog, twitter, or other social networking tool that I may be inclined to read, hear, or in any other way ingest.

You see, I don’t have TV (mine is only a vessel for DVDs) which means I watch LOST online, which means that I won’t see it until tomorrow…that would be Monday. Everyone I work with knows this, and generally walks on eggshells around me the day after a LOST episode. But after the series finale that may be tough. It is a little bit annoying always being a day late.

As it turns out, it was a good thing. I had an audition for a local community theatre production at 9:00 tonight (wouldn’t THAT have been annoying if I’d been watching?) and tomorrow night the calendar is clear. It all works out in the end.

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I have made a systematic mistake in the pattern on my baby blanket, and I LOVE it.

You see, I overlooked one little letter when I was reading the pattern and it changed a bit. It was written as a feather and fan lace with one garter ridge each cycle and a seed stitch edge. As such, the four-row pattern reads:

Row 1: Seed st 5, p90, seed st 5

Row 2: Seed st 5, *(k2tog)3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times, rep from *

Row 3: Seed st 5, k90, seed st 5

Row 4: Seed st 5, k90, seed st 5

But I didn’t read the p90 quite accurately. After a couple of start-up rows that were nothing but knit, as prescribed by the pattern, I had kinda’ kicked into auto pilot and for that first pattern row read it as k90. And because this is such an easily-memorized pattern, I didn’t give it another look.

A few days into this project, my wife was looking for some easy Glee-knitting and started on one of these baby blankets (Though we don’t know anyone else having a baby right now. Don’t ask.). It was only at this time, 11 inches into my own project, that she noticed and pointed out that pesky little overlooked “p” in the first row of the pattern. Damn. Shit. And numerous other more heinous expletives that I won’t utter because I’m told at least one of my students reads this. Of course, now that I’ve been doing it wrong for so long, and I have NO intention of ripping the whole damned thing out, it has become a design element.

Now the whole idea of a mistake being jokingly called a “design element” was introduced to me back in January at Fiber Camp. I heard several people blurt out “design element” whenever they made a mistake. I like this. It fits my style, and in the case of this project, is just about perfect. You see, as it turns out, I like my ¬†project better than my wife’s which, true to her form, follows the pattern to the letter. She even used the “sticky-yicky” size 13 needles, and doesn’t mind them. Mine doesn’t have that occasional garter ridge, but is more of a full-on garter-based feather and fan. It’s got a nice, consistent texture, and not such a noticeable wrong side. ‘Course, my yarn is prettier, too.

So I’m sticking to my new design element. I’d gotten compliments on it before I knew it was a “mistake”, and I still love it. Besides, I really don’t like purl rows.

Bottom: His on size 10s with garter. Top: Hers on size 13s as written.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve become a Gleek. For those uninitiated, this is a hybrid of the terms “Glee” and “Geek” and is used to describe those who are proudly addicted to the newest TV sensation, Glee. And their numbers are legion, especially among the age range I teach: Middle School.

As a middle school choral director, I have been hounded by students (and their parents) telling me that I just have GOT to watch Glee. How can the chorus teacher NOT watch Glee? It’s about a frickin’ High School show choir, for cryin’ out loud! See, I don’t have cable or one of those digital antennae, so I get nothing. Well, not nothing. I get Netflix. And the movies I check out at the library. My ideal night is to pick up a semi-mindless project like the baby blanket I’m currently working on, and pop in a semi-mindless movie (anything involving Harold and Kumar or Jay and Silent Bob will work). Many of my students know I don’t watch TV, and wonder how I can possibly survive. The weekly episode of LOST that I watch online is like giving a crouton to a starving man: not enough, in their minds, to satisfy anything.

So after the no fewer than 3 conversations revolving around Glee that I found myself embroiled in at our school district’s recent Arts Fest, one thoughtful student gave me DVDs of the entire first half of season 1, the only season thus far, as homework. So I got out my semi-mindless knitting project and popped it in.

First off, I have to say that no high school choral program could possibly work as depicted in this show. For that matter, no school would be run like this one. The principal is an idiotic weasel who, in the real world, would have been sued by parents or staff, or both, 10 minutes into the first episode. And the Glee Club doesn’t rehearse! Ever! They get together, come up with a topic to sing about, and songs just spew out of their mouths perfectly. The backup band, mostly depicted as students, ¬†never misses a note despite rarely being given more than 2 seconds notice before they have to play a song. The concept of working your ass off to rehearse a song until it’s ready to perform is gone. This is something that greatly bothers me. And really, in what school do the cheerleaders wear their uniforms ALL DAY, EVERY DAY?

Having said that, I can’t help but enjoy the show. It’s fun, semi-mindless TV with just a bit more edge than the High School Musical movies. It’s not really for kids, more of a grown-up version of HSM. The music is fun and infectious, and the characters, though often a bit stereotypical, do have a bit of depth to them. The writing is often witty and the storylines are engaging. My favorite characters are mostly teachers: Will Schuster, the Spanish teacher who wants to revive the Glee Club; Sue Sylvester, the hilariously abrasive cheerleading coach; and Emma Pilsbury, the sheepish guidance counselor who is dealing with a mountain of her own issues. Of the students, my favorite has got to be Kurt, the gay stereotype of the show. Seeing him teach the entire football team a dance to “Single Ladies” so they could confuse the other team was utter brilliance.

So yes, despite its flaws, I am definitely addicted to this show. It’s not the most thought-provoking show on TV, but it is good, silly fun and great background for a knitting project.

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Thanks, Mom!

First off, I would like to thank all moms. Nobody really knows just what it is that they’re getting into when they do that whole “Mom” thing. Prospective parents are filled with visions of cute little babies…not so much thinking about the pain of the teenage years and such. Besides, squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon is just stinking miraculous. Moms are amazing, and you are all to be commended.

To my own beloved mom, I am forever grateful. She raised me fairly well, and somehow even avoided wringing my neck no matter how completely obnoxious I was (and still am) to her. She also taught me that there are more important things than getting straight As in school (though she would’ve liked me to get a few more As) and gave me an appreciation for needle arts. All my life she has been a seamstress and crocheter (is that a word?) and in a single-parent home I had no macho adult males around telling me that needlepoint is for sissies. Believe me, if my father had stayed around he would have said just that.

And to the mother of my own two adorable girls, I am also grateful. Yes, also for not wringing my neck, as I am possibly more obnoxious toward her than to my own mother. She also appreciates people for who they are, and doesn’t try to shape me or our girls into something that fits inside any kind of box.

Today was a good day. First off, we had church obligations including leading music during the children’s worship during both morning services. In case you don’t quite understand what that means, two services equals double the knitting time. I have made good progress on the baby blanket that I started on Friday night and am already up to 7 inches.

This was a particularly windy day, so the motherly-one decided she wanted to go out to Lake Quannapowitt to fly kites. Of course, this got us all singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” at the top of our lungs much of the day. It was a beautiful day for the kite-flying festivities, but a bit chilly. It didn’t last very long, but it was nice while it lasted.

We finished things out by eating one of Mom’s favorite meals (cooked by Dad, of course, but what else is new?): Knockwurst, noodles, and cabbage. We even sat down at the table (which we had to find) all together as a family. My wonderful wife was happy.

Happy Mother’s day.

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