|From the Egg Friends|
Then, inevitably, on the edge of every Spring, I lose it. Airports or bars or warm days where I simply forget it.
So this year, I was setting about buying a new knit hat. But thinking of going to the shops filled me with dread. Dealing with parking, people-shopping-crazy and overpriced, poorly made goods is not my idea of a good time. An idea percolated: I could make it. After all, I just needed ONE basic, neutral hat.
|Gorgeous cloche hand-knitted by Jessica of A Yen for Craft for participating in her Challenge: Ridiculous. Seriously the best quality hat I've ever had, totally inspiring. Everyone asks me about it.|
Still, perhaps this was proof that my Fashion on the Ration challenge was changing me. As cliche as yearlong personal challenges have become, I still think they can do a great service into “tricking” you into the habits that will serve you long-term. What begins as a scheme becomes a lifestyle. For me, that’s considering quality (of time spent and the finished object) over quantity.
So I learned to knit in early November. A mess of knits and purls. Here’s my first two hats!
#1: Occupy Hat
I’d been messing around with acrylic yarn to learn the basic stitches and was ready for a project when I read on Yarn-A-Go-Go about the Knit-In at Occupy Oakland. I’ve already talked about both my proximity and and passion for what’s been happening in my city, and here knitters were gathering to make handmade, warm items to help campers get through winter. Read Rachael’s great post about it here.
Much has changed in our city since then, but it was wonderful to begin this way—by making something for someone else. Knitting seems to enable that, a bit o’ selflessness. There’s no fitting issues, it’s totally portable, and I can’t think of anyone who lives in seasons who can’t use warm knits.
I didn’t finish my hat that day but here it is. Ugly, yes, but made with the best of intentions:
I used the Chunky Slouch Cap pattern on Ravelry. Though highly rated, it was over the head of this beginner. I wasn’t ready for all those yarn overs and SSKs.
#2: Ali’s Basic Hat
I was ready to make myself one and bought a skein of Berroco Peruvia Quick in a charcoal gray. Seeking an easier project, I turned to the Monk Hat pattern of Ravelry.
What I learned: Garter stitch and stockinette are different on straight needles vs. in the round. So, unlike the pattern, the brim is stockinette and the rest is garter. Sigh. Also, I was knitting in a bout of sleeplessness and accidentally knit two rows, leaving a crevice. Live and learn.
But guess what? I love wearing this. Not perfect, but I love that I made it myself and it’s already received lots of wear. I may lose it in the Spring, or, next year, I may tear it apart and make it the way it’s supposed to be made. And it’s wool!!
I’m in love. I’m sure there will be more on knitting soon, but in the meantime, it’s Thanksgiving and I want to give thanks. I once kept a “Gratitude Journal,” listing five things I was grateful for at the end of each day and that seems like a fitting exercise today.
I’m grateful for:
1. Being a beginner again, with a new craft. More excitement, less stress.
2. The incredible crafters in my life. Jessica and my mother-in-law helped me immensely these last weeks.
3. My family: My two sisters who let me prattle on about sewing; my mother and father who both admire and are mystified by my desire to live with less; my stepfather, who taught me the joy of giving to others; my nieces and nephew whose laughter goes straight to my heart; and to my late grandmother, who showed me that everything worth having is worth working for. I miss them immensely today, but they’re across the ocean. If they didn’t live in the tropics, they’d be getting hats this Christmas too!
4. The boy, whose humor and kindness is often the antidote to my frazzled nerves. Poor thing, he’s been hanging about his crafty mother and I asking for something handmade. The Colette Patterns Negroni, perhaps? How about a T-shirt? We’ve been too busy selfishly making, but his time has finally come: I just cast on—can you guess?—a hat.
5. You, readers. With all the brouhaha in the blogosphere of late, I feel incredibly grateful that I have a space where I can share my obsessions and journey with you and I’ve been met with incredible encouragement and kindness.