Thorny Knits

I've got a husband, twin toddlers, a cat who I probably forgot to feed this morning, and never, ever enough time to knit.


Scout's Meme

So, kickin' gal Scout put up this meme today, and because I can't seem to organize myself enough to take pics of recent knitting stuff, and because I'm in a major introspective space anyway, I figure I'll go for it:

1. How and when did you learn how to knit/crochet? Who taught you?

The first time I learned to knit was when I was probably 10 or so, from my grandmother. I'd been going to Girl Scout camp and coming home doing all this wacky finger-knitting and friendship bracelet-ing and stuff, plus come to think of it, I was doing a bit of plastic canvas cross-stitch and making those potholders out of loops as well. Anyway, I knew she and my aunt both knitted, so I asked her and she showed me. She didn't show me how to cast on, instead she cast on for me and then taught me how to do the knit stitch. And I remember getting to the end of whatever I was trying to do (probably another potholder, honestly) and sort of making up a way to get it off the needles which would keep it together (which, come to find out, is actually the real cast-off), and then not knowing how to cast on so I could start something new, I wound up setting it aside and by the time I saw Grandma again I'd lost interest.

Then, in the spring of 2004, when I was on the cusp of going from "hugely pregnant" to "colossally pregnant" with the twins, Meg came up to help us dung-out the apartment and while she was here, she taught me how to knit. We sat and watched Finding Nemo and I worked on a scarf out of some Lion Cotton and she worked on a sock on dpns.

I fiddled with it on and off for a while, until I was coming to realize that I'd made it much wider than I really liked and by then the kids were born, so I didn't have much time for knitting.

That is, until the kids were a few months old and had reached this stage where they would either nap crappily in the afternoons if I put them in their crib or in bouncy chairs or whatever, or they would nap really well if I kept them on pillows on my lap on the couch. (I actually talked about this recently, come to think of it.) Most afternoons I'd just go to sleep right there with them, and Caz would come home to find me and the kids all passed out in this disheveled puppy-pile. But after a while things started to kind of come together better, and so I'd find myself sitting on the couch, unable to move, with nothing but day-time television to keep me company. (And not even cable TV - when I left work we dropped cable as too $$$ - so you know it was bad.)

I got Hip to Knit from the library, along with a few other knitting books, and some really awful yellow plastic dpns and cast on this skein of Fantasy Naturale I'd picked up at an LYS during one of Meg's visits, intending to make a hat for me. Admittedly, instead of making a hat for me I wound up making a hat so huge that it perches easily atop Caz's head without disturbing his mass of curly hair in any way. But he likes it even if it does make him look like a total stoner (heck, that might be why he likes it, for all I know), and the rest, as they say, is history.

My first really real fer realz FOs that I felt really proud of were hats I made for the kids. Here's one of them, the other was the same, but "spearmint":

2. How has this craft impacted your life? (besides financially!)

It's 'mine'. Caz and I have been together for like, 13 years now, and for a long time we were both really into role-playing games (RPGs). And then we moved and left our old gaming group behind, and while Caz has always been so very into RPGs, for me it was something that was fun to do, but I didn't feel any big ties to it. For me it was a fun thing to do while hanging out with friends. We could just as easily have watched movies and eaten pizza, and I'd have been just as happy.

For a bunch of reasons, once we moved here, when Caz was gaming with various groups trying to find a good fit, I wasn't especially interested. I played along a few times, but for me the friendships have to exist before I really feel comfortable gaming with people. And everyone was always so busy that just finding times to game was hard enough, much less finding other times to hang out and all.

So by the time I got pregnant, I'd pretty much given up on gaming almost entirely. It just wasn't my thing anymore. And that was really hard, because I couldn't find anything that was my thing, which did rather a number on my headspace for a while.

And then knitting came along, and while it took a little while before it clicked, once it did? Man oh man. It clicked hard.

Which has been great. Not only has knitting given me a chance to kind of figure out who I am again, and what's important to me in a lot of ways, but it's also been a way for me to claim various little bits of time for myself, in the midst of all this full-time parenting of twins.

And not just time. Bits of mind that are all my own too. Like, when I made up my little plan for the candy-striped hats - I think that was one of the first truly creative things I'd done in a long time, and it felt so good to remember that I was more than just a milk-making diapering machine. In a way it was a relief, to discover that I still had that in me.

So, you know, you could kinda say that knitting saved my sanity. And I'm not sure that's all that exaggerated. grin.

3. Pick at least one person to talk about who you have met through the knit-world and why you are thankful to have met them. Feel free to get all mushy.

Dude. I would so get my own wing in the Bad Friend Hall of Fame if I don't just say straight out - as much as I love reading all the fab knit-blogs out there, getting ideas, learning about the differences between yarns, learning about spinning, seeing all the gorgeous things people knit and imagine and do... ain't nobody can top Meg.

Okay, I've known her for like, 20-ish years now (oof!), so obviously we didn't meet through the knit world. But I think knitting has been really great for our friendship.

Caz and I are one of the first couples in our circles of friends to have kids, and while a lot of those friends are still around, some aren't. It's never been anything intentional or anything, we've just drifted apart from some of our old friends, because our lives are in such radically different places, because my and Caz's outlooks have changed so much. It's not like anybody slammed down a phone after saying, "Yeah well, screw you too!" and that was the end of it or anything like that. It's more just been a lot of drifting apart. And even the friendships we still have are changed. Friends we used to get together with pretty often we hardly see anymore, whereas new friends who are also parents we see more often. It's nothing intentional, but our friends without kids tend to be busier, whereas the friends with kids are busy, but at home. And it can be really nice, to take the kids someplace where we know all the priceless artifacts have been safely stowed away until college. grin.

Anyway, I think that without knitting, there's a chance Meg and I would have drifted apart some as well. And that would have sucked. A lot. For several years now we've been at the point where we email each other just about every day, and talk on the phone about once a week, and so if she and I had drifted apart, even a little, after I got sucked into the loony world of parenting... I think that would have been terrible. Just awful. Like, I'm all misty in the eyes and hot in the face just imagining it.

When I'm up a tree, Meg helps me back down. When I'm down in the dumps, Meg helps me climb out.

But it's more than that.

Those of us whose families aren't quite... there... often wind up having to patch together families of our own making. It's a bumpy process, and just when you think you've got a nice made-family sewn together, something tears and you have to go back to Square One for a bit. That's never been the case with Meg. She's my family.

Besides... she took me to RHINEBECK!!


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