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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Just Can't Let Go

A few months ago, I had a skein of heather grey yarn in my stash. I liked the way it felt, the way it smelled, the way it looked...and I had many ideas for what I could do with it. A hat? No, I had a stash of fingering weight yarn in several colors that I was planning to make hats with. I got out my purple binder that my husband affectionately calls the knitting bible. In it are all the patterns I have accumulated over the years of knitting I have enjoyed, and I leafed through the pages waiting for a pattern to jump out at me and proclaim that it would look wonderful in this soft, heather grey yarn. Finally I found it. Knitting Pure and Simple #982. It's a neck down cardigan with an optional hood. I had made it once before with three skeins of Plymouth Jelly Beanz yarn and the little girl I made it for wears it regularly and looks adorable to boot. My vision for this sweater was a simple one, yet it made me really excited. I wanted a simple cardigan to throw on Daniel on those days where he doesn't need his big winter coat, but still needs something to keep him warm. Yeah, I know, he has more hooded sweatshirts than most kids would know what to do with, but I don't know for a fact that there is mommy love in each of those stitches. In this grey cardigan that was born on my knitting needles and worked with love and care by my hands, there is a lot of love adding warmth to the inches of fabric. I debated if I wanted to knit in the round for a faster knit and cut a steek, or go back and forth. I opted to go back and forth, and for those of you who know the knitter in me, you know that for some reason I can't explain, I don't like to purl. So this was an interesting choice, but I'm happy I made it. Once I got through the cast on and about 2 inches and the increases, I put it away for awhile and didn't give it that much thought for a few weeks. When I would be in between projects I would pick it up and the quick silver needles that I bought to make my first sweater long ago would again click as stitch by stitch the sweater continued to grow. About a week ago I realized that I was probably pretty close to being ready to start the ribbing for the bottom, and then the sleeves would come....then the button band...and the neck band...and then I would be done. For some reason that made me sad. I worked the right sleeve and decided to break up the sleeve knitting by doing the button band next, and then the collar. I decided to leave the hood off because the last sweater made with this pattern had a hood and I really thought it looked super cute without it as well. So I got through the button band on both sides. The holes and button markers matched, and then I did the neck band. I looked at the neck band for a few days and suddenly ripped the whole thing out because of one row of rib that I had messed up. It was un necessary to do that but then I realized that I was enjoying this sweater so much, my sub- conscience had taken over and I realized that I was relishing in this knitting project and only then did I realize my very real love of this craft. Normally I am so excited to come to a bind off row and wash and block whatever I am making, but for some reason this was different. I had experimented with different types of needles and learned a lot about myself as a knitter through this project. The collar is so good now and I just need to finish the sleeve and sew in loose ends. Then I will wash and block it and my beautiful son will wear it with pride, I hope, but I have a feeling it will be too hot for a sweater by the time I finally let go of this project and bind it off for real this time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Cranky Day

Each month between the Tuesday and Saturday of the last week, I have one day where it is next to impossible to be anywhere near me. Everything irritates me and I am better left by myself. I don't always have a prelude or an inkling to when this mood is going to strike, but when it does, watch out. Hold on to your hat. Or better yet, get out of the way. I was doing okay in the morning until my husband suggested we go to Menards to get a few things that we needed for around the house. Yes, ladies, he was finally going to get started on my seemingly never ending "honey do" list, and here I was snipping about hating Menards. "There is nothing interesting to me there. We go there all the time. I hate it. It's boring. You always wander away from me and I can't find you." And so on and so forth. He suggested going by himself but how would I make him miserable from home? No, I must come along, I insisted. By the look on his face, I knew that he knew he was in for an interesting day that would be trying on his patience. And I didn't fail to deliver. We got the few things we needed and I of course complained about the prices, I complained that the selection was meager, I complained about the lighting in the store causing me a headache, and then finally, I complained that there were not nearly enough check out lanes open when it was time to go. My complaining was quiet and mostly between me and my husband, but the man behind us was quite vocal about what irked him, and his constant whining did nothing good for my already temperamental mood so I said quite loudly to my husband, "Hey, you wanna grab a tampon for this guy?" And the color first drained from his face and then turned beet red which was a result from either embarrassment or anger. I'm not sure which, but as he was dragging me from the store I wasn't as worried about his emotions as I was about the lecture I would likely get in the car. It didn't come. He just asked me what I wanted for lunch, and then said that if I needed some time on my own to knit for awhile he would keep Daniel busy. My wonderful, loving, understanding husband. He knows how to put a bad mood in reverse. Or so he thought. He suggested Taco Johns for lunch. Normally I love tacos from Taco Johns with sour cream and nacho cheese on the side. Well, the last time I was there, they charged me for the nacho cheese and forgot to put it in the bag. About a block away from the restaurant is when I remembered that and I became upset. No, Taco Johns would not do. These weasels were not getting any of my hard earned money after jipping me out of my cheese last time. No, I wanted curly fries. The only place that serves them around here is Hardees so we decided to just swing through there. Easy peasy, no problem. We got our food and went home. No sooner had I poured a little dollop of ketchup to dip my fries in, and I noticed another problem. My husband had gotten the curlier order of curly fries. I mean, mine were curly, but they weren't the awesome, perfect curly ques that he had. I pointed it out to him and he just sort of stared at me as if he was debating whether or not this was really causing me angst. It wasn't until the foot tapping started that he realized that I wanted to trade curly fries with him. He refused. I cried. This is not a joke. Today we can laugh, but yesterday my marriage was in serious trouble in my mind. His refusal to trade fries with me was proof that he didn't care about me, or love me nearly as much as I love him. He said it was all nonsense, but I was stuck with my less than curly-curly fries. We ate in silence.

The only thing that could pull me immediately out of this little mood was a cuddle from my son, and alpaca. It didn't have to be 100% alpaca, just enough of an alpaca blend to feel wonderful running through my fingers and sliding across my needles. I got a few rows worked on some knitting; not even a project, but just some good process knitting that I could enjoy without having to worry about patterns or charts or shaping. Just a relaxing hour with my feet up. After I had defused with knitting therapy, I was good as new, and everyone I came in contact with was much happier.

This morning, we were all up and at 'em early, eager to worship together at the 10am service. The sermon was amazing as always. Thought provoking and real. They are always so applicable to real life. It was about loving the unlovable, and Pastor Dave said something that really struck me. It was about being afraid to know people who are on opposite sides of us whether it's politically, or in any other avenue of life because if we know them, we will love them, and that would challenge all that we believe. With all of the political uproar here in Wisconsin lately, it really did make sense to me and reminded me that we just need to love each other and be good to each other. And if you play with the words enough, I am certain that Pastor Dave was saying that the husband should always give the wife the curlier of the curly fries.

Anyways, after church we went to the Onalaska Omni Center and walked through the family fun fair. The Coulee Region Child Abuse Prevention Task Force has been a very important part of my life for the last 3 years, but I had yet to meet the other members face to face. I was so happy to finally do that, and happier still to see that many of the knitted items that have been made by myself and the other women in the knitting guild were on display. It is so amazing to me that something that I love to do and brings me so much joy is going to help a scared child in a foster home get a portable hug whenever he or she needs it. I can't wrap my mind around it, but what I do fully understand is that there are endless prayers and well wishes in each stitch, and many more where those came from.

After the fun fair, we went to my mom and dad's to visit my Aunt Gail who was in town for the weekend. We had a nice visit and pretty soon Daniel was rubbing his gorgeous little Daniel eyes, and we headed for home so he could take a nap, and I could knit some more, and Julie had homework to get done. We just got home again from having dinner with Mom and Dad. The weekend was relaxing, productive, and just all around wonderful. Now the groceries are all put away, Doogie Howser is on TV, my beautiful kids are bathed and ready for bed and my heart is full.

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