I would be remiss if I did not mention the cold weather we are having this weekend. A few weeks ago, on a chilly therapy morning, the AT commented that it was “explicative cold outside.” I think it was in the single digits that morning…maybe 9ish? (Fahrenheit scale here ) BTW, he did not actually use an explicative. I cautioned him that if we started using explicatives to describe the cold at that temp, what would we do if it was really, really cold?
Well folks, it is fucking cold this morning. -23. Nasty, painful, dangerous cold. Last night it was snot-freeze-in-your-nose cold…this morning it is it-hurts-to-inhale cold. Gotta love life in the snowy and ultra-cold hinterlands.
The furnace is running like crazy, the woodstove in the basement is fired up, the dogs are in pajamas and I have multiple layers on…We will stay warm today. I cannot imagine what nights and days like this are like for the homeless people in the City. <brrrr>
And I just googled it….-23F is -30.5C. Again, I say….fucking cold!
About The Knitting
I recently told the Art Therapist that I think my parents hated me. He commented, “You have said that before.” I let his comment slide…I didn’t want to go there and I had another thing I was talking about…Knitting.
I realize that all my history stories have featured my mother interacting with me. There is a reason for this. My father was pretty much totally emotionally absent from my world. It’s not to say he didn’t participate at all…I don’t want to be unfair…And he did do things that were kind. But I always felt like I was a burden to him. Anyway, he had a volatile temper and scared the crap out of me, so I usually tried to stay out of his way. And he wasn’t warm and fuzzy and he would say mean things that would just stick to my heart and eat away at me. Basically, I learned his anger cues pretty quickly (and even now as an adult when I see him start to get mad, I get a feeling of dread in my stomach) so that I would avoid the wrath. I was always on edge around him and carry some of that edginess still today…My dad used to hit us with his belt and to this day, when dh takes of his belt, the sound of it slipping through the loops sends me right into terror/freeze mode.
But I digress…This post is about my mom and knitting.
My mom is a prolific knitter. She loves to knit, has always loved to knit and she knits quickly and nicely. When I was a kid and teen, I always wanted her to teach me to knit. But she wouldn’t. She always seemed put out by the idea. It was yet another disappointment for me, though you would think at some point I would have learned to expect that.
When ds was a baby, we cloth diapered.
We were so poor, we couldn’t afford disposables…When you have to choose disposable diapers vs. groceries….Well….you find another way to diaper your baby. Back then, prefold diapers, pins and pants, were still the traditional method of diapering. The new-fangled covers and all-in-one diapers were pretty much brand-new on the market and sooo, sooo expensive. Wool soakers (an older, more traditional diaper cover) were all hand knit and super expensive too…Way beyond my budget. And of course, I didn’t know how to knit.
I had a book with a super simple knitted soaker pattern. It was straight knitting, nothing fancy, to produce a simple piece of knitting which would then be folded and seamed into little pants. Ultra-basic. Heck…I could have even done the sewing part. I asked my mom to make me some for ds. And she wouldn’t. She said she didn’t know how (Look, mom…I have a pattern!) which was BS because she could knit all sorts of complicated things. She just didn’t want to. I was never able to convince her to make me wool soakers. But we would go visit and I could watch her knit sweaters and vests for herself.
My only conclusion at the time was that my mother didn’t care enough about me or ds to knit some soakers. Kind of like my conclusion about her not teaching me to knit was that she hated me. I suppose the second one is sort of a dire conclusion, but I was a kid and pretty sensitive and pretty black and white with my thinking. And the knitting was just one thing on a continuum of reasons that I figured she didn’t like me.
So, about ten years ago, I bought a skein of yarn, some “candy cane” knitting needles and a little booklet on how to knit…And I sat and I taught myself to knit. I stuck with it, I am stubborn like that, until I could make things. Here is one of my first projects, a gift for a friend.
As I kept knitting, I kept upping the challenge and learning new and different techniques. I loved it. I also taught ds to knit. (Sometime, I will blog about how I did not repeat the parenting patterns that I grew up with.) Ds is not really a knitter…At some point, I also taught him crochet and he prefers crocheting to knitting. I don’t care, I am just glad he has something he enjoys.
Since learning to knit, I have knit a zillion baby sweaters and booties and hats. I used to donate them to a woman who gave them to immigrants just coming to the City from Africa…not prepared for the cold that we have here. (I can only image the climate shock for these immigrants!) I have also knit blankets and soakers and mittens and ornaments and scarves and slippers and, and, and….You get the idea.
I stopped knitting when I stopped doing anything that I cared about, when my depression was so bad that I had no initiative and other than going to work and coming home, was not able to be very productive. Ugh…that was such a dark and painful time for me. I am sooo glad to have moved past that part of my depression. (Though I worry it could happen again.)
As you know, now I am knitting again. And it I like it. And I have decided that even if my initiative wavers, I will still knit, even if it is just a little bit. Because I think knitting is good for me.
And though they are not my preferred needles, I still have my “candy cane” knitting needles…I will keep them forever as they symbolize an important beginning in my life….A moment when I chose to empower myself, to say “fuck you” to my mom and her self-absorption (at least in terms of the knitting) and teach myself what she would not teach me.
And here’s my progress on the first knit-along (KAL) blanket square. It is about halfway to being a square now.
And…here’s the ultra-simple soaker pattern. I just needed her to knit that Z shape for me. I don’t know why she couldn’t be bothered to just knit me up a few. (And I don’t know why it still hurts my feelings.)
BTW, the pattern is from an awesome book called, The Children’s Year by S. Cooper, C. Fynes-Clinton and M, Rowling. It is full of simple crafts and old-timey toys and games and knitting and sewing patterns…I love the book!