Saturday, October 20, 2012

rigid beanie

I knitted this hat without a pattern.  Hats are my sanctuary.  They are so quick, and you can customize each one to make it different than the last.  I just wish you could wear them all year.  Then I would have a justification for all the hats I've been making lately.

Both yarns are a wool blend.  I love the colors in the contrast yarn.  I tried to showcase the multicolored yarn by alternating knit and purl rows in the round (which would be garter stitch if I had knit it flat) and I like the results.  From the right side, the ridges make the colors pop.  And I think that the gray blends into the background, leaving the fun colors in the contrasting yarn for the spotlight.

I used the same crown shaping as with this hat.  I really enjoy the look of this shaping, and it keeps me interested while I'm knitting.  I never get bored with it.

When I try this again, I will make it a little longer.  This hat is more of a beanie and that's not what I was going for.  It still looks nice and fits well, but I like my hats with a little more depth to be able to pull down further over my ears when it gets windy.  Probably another inch of stockinette after the contrasting garter ridges would be perfect!

Here is the general pattern guideline for worsted weight yarn:

Main color (MC): I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease worsted in gray.
Contrast color (CC): I used Sensations It's A Wrap bulky in purple/rose.

Cast on 80 stitches in CC for adult sized hat & join to work in the round.
Change to MC.
Knit 2x2 rib for 2 inches.
Knit stockinette in MC for 1 inch.
Change to CC.
Knit one round.
Purl one round.
Alternate knit and purl rounds for 3 inches.  Be sure to end with a purl row.
Change to MC.
Knit stockinette for 1 inch.
Shape crown as desired.

Next time, I might try these changes:
1/2 inch stockinette in main color before ridges instead of 1 inch
3 inches stockinette in main color after ridges before decreasing

yarn name: Lion Brand Wool-Ease (main), Sensations It's A Wrap (contrast)
yarn type: 80% acrylic, 20% wool (main);  75% nylon, 25% wool (contrast)
colorway: Gray (main); Purple/Rose (contrast)
yardage: ~100 yards (main); ~30 yards (contrast)
needle size: US 8 (5.0mm) circular and double-pointed

Friday, October 12, 2012

cozy new slippers

For some reason, I can't bring myself to knit for others; selfish knitting is all I can handle right now.  So to continue my knitting therapy, I wanted to make myself some slippers.

I found this pattern for Non-Felted Slippers on Ravelry with really good reviews, so I decided to try it.  The slippers are knit flat and then the sole and back heel are sewn together.  After the first the slipper, I decided to sew the bottom sole together before adding the green color on the second slipper.  Then I could knit in the round (which I prefer to knitting flat) for the rest of the slipper.

And you can't even see the seam that joins the two halves of the sole together, can you?

The slippers turned out great, but they are a little small.  The free pattern was written for size 8 feet and my feet are at least a size 9 (okay, a 10 if I'm being really honest).  I decided to try the pattern first before making modifications.  They turned out just like they were supposed to, a size 8.  So my mom happily found a new pair of slippers waiting for her when she visited last week, and I inadvertently completed some non-selfish knitting (hey, it counts).

I will try these again because they are quick and easy and really cute.  And I need new slippers since the bottom in these slippers is beginning to wear out.  I love this first pair of crocheted slippers, but next time I will have to double the yarn on the sole.

yarn name: sole & cuff: I Love This Wool, main: Bernat Roving
yarn type: sole & cuff: 100% wool, main: 80% wool, 10% acrylic
colorway: sole & cuff: Cocoa, main: Clover
yardage: sole & cuff: ~100 yards (held double), main: ~50 yards
needle size: US 8 (5.0mm)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

knitting therapy

After a loss like we've experienced, how do you get back to doing the things you loved doing before the loss?  One part of you wants to get back to the stuff you enjoy doing because it makes you happy and gives you something else to think about in the midst of tragedy.  Another part of you opposes that happy feeling because any feeling other than sadness is a betrayal to the one you lost.

But even though you are stuck in the mud and can't move anywhere, the rest of the world continues to move.  People return to their lives after a brief sympathetic encounter with you and you begin to wonder how others can possibly laugh with each other when there is enough grief in your heart to pass around the room a million times. 

But this is what people do.  We move forward.  The world keeps spinning and the time continues to tick along as if it's unaware of what just happened to you.

Eventually you make the decision to slowly move along with everything else.  And for me, slowly is the key.  I have to be careful not to throw myself into work, business or personal.  I want to give myself time to fully grieve and I'm afraid I won't have time for grief if I fill my time with too many projects.  I've read a small bit about some women finding comfort in knitting where the thoughts are able to gently float around and perhaps even organize themselves through the rhythmic motions of the needles.  So knitting has been my grief craft of choice because it's a quiet craft and I can bring it to any room in the house to be near my family.

This Kami Hat that I found on Ravelry was the perfect first project.  It's just a bunch of stockinette stitch with a few purls placed in there for good measure.  I didn't need to think much while knitting this so my mind was free to think about Timmy.

There were a few times during this project that I felt angry.  During those times my knitting was a little tighter and I even felt myself banging the needles together and throwing the yarn around the needle with a little more force.  Although I don't enjoy being angry, I welcomed all emotions and just let myself feel whatever came.
When the hat was complete, I had an unexpected reaction.  Usually I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish something as would most people.  But this time I cried.  I had no idea why at the time.  I just felt sad.  Although I'm sure my perception of those moments will improve over time, I think the tears had something to do with realizing that knitting the hat wasn't going to bring Timmy back.  It's not that I ever thought while knitting that if I could only finish the hat that things would be different.  Those thoughts didn't consciously occur to me.

I think the sense of accomplishment was missing because I realized that completing the project didn't change anything.  It didn't change how I felt about losing Timmy and it didn't change that Timmy was gone.  So what was the point?  Why did I spend so much time knitting if it really didn't matter?  It felt like a huge waste of time.  I had no idea what else I would have done with the time, but knitting seemed like a waste of it and I felt ashamed for wasting time on something that didn't matter.

My husband tries to tell me that Timmy would want me to do the things that I love doing.  I know this is true.  If it was me up there watching over the family, I would want them to do what brought them joy.  So I have no doubt that Timmy would want the same and might even enjoy watching me create things while thinking of him.

I hope the sadness at the end of a project will subside over time.  I certainly plan to face this feeling head on, and I hope that someday I can look up to Heaven and smile when I've completed a project knowing that doing what you love is never a waste of time and that Timmy would be proud of me.