Archive for February 2010

I am carrying a slip of paper

February 28, 2010


Pattern: The Gurumi Family by Knit Picks
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport (60% pima cotton, 40% modal), various colorways
Needles: U.S. 3 32″ nickel fixed Options circulars and double-pointed needles
Ravelympic Event: Skelegurumi

For my Ravelympics 2010 projects, I decided to dig out a few projects I had planned for Cady Gray and make them before she grew too old to enjoy them. But I had no idea how much of a challenge these four toys would turn out to be.


I didn’t start them until five days into the Olympic fortnight, after making substantial progress on what I had thought to be the larger of my two projects, a felted backpack. Such minor items, I thought, even with the finicky finishing involved, would grow quickly under my needles.


Little did I know. I slogged my way through one body, then another. It took a week to get all four of the basic bodies done and stuffed. I would have to make four limbs a night to have a couple of nights left for all the other little details (like the tails). No problem, though — the limbs were miniscule. I could probably knock out eight a night, no problem.


They don’t call it the Ravelympics for nothing. It was all I could do to get four limbs made and attached in each long evening of work. This was a marathon, not a sprint. And when it came time for all the last items — muzzles, tails, hair, features — each night I thought I’d get to the end, and each night I left what seemed like more and more undone.  I made the dog out of black yarn instead of dark brown, then added brown limbs when I could tell I was going to run out of black yarn.  I did run out of tan yarn while making the dog’s ears; one is smaller than the other as a result.  I got really good at the circular cast-on; not so good at the grafting.


On the last day, as the cross country skiers poured out their last measure of strength in the final race of the Games, I stitched the final eyes and smiles. Just like that, the four were done. They had turned into a true challenge, one that I thought might get the best of me more than once since I began. But I carried them across the finish line proudly. And their new owner was waiting with open arms to receive them. I can almost hear the anthem playing now.


You’re every song I ever sing

February 15, 2010

Pattern: Flying Flag by Lucinda Guy (from Kids Learn To Knit
Needles: U.S. 8 bamboo straights
Yarn: Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend (56% wool, 22% polyester, 22% PTT), colorway Pale Aqua

Knitter: Cady Gray

I’m not the most patient teacher. But when Cady Gray asked to learn to knit, I promised myself I would not turn her off the hobby by pushing or being perfectionist. I let her end our knitting sessions when she wanted. I asked her frequently if she would knit with me, but didn’t get upset if she said no … just asked again the next day.

And as much my reward as hers: her first finished project. This garter stitch square has 25 rows and 16 stitches. Every few days, she picked it up and knit a row, marking it off on her photocopied chart. Once she got within 10 of the end, she started knitting in longer stretches, five and six rows at a clip. I helped with the bind-off; the passing-stitches-over involved is a part that still frustrates her and she’s happy to hand off. But every bit of the knitting, from casting on to the last row, is pure five-year-old girl.

Once the knitting was done, we made a trip to the fabric store to pick up felt, a button, and thread for the embellishment. Waiting in line for the checkout, Cady Gray hugged me and said (using the phrasing I taught her in the car) “My first FO!” The two ladies ahead of us chuckled, and Cady Gray proudly showed them her knitted square.

Oh, the feeling of accomplishment. I have spoken all along as if initiating Cady Gray into a secret club. I’ve praised her even rows and her ability to spot when she makes a mistake, telling her that she now speaks the language of knitting. I’ve celebrated when she agrees to knit with me, letting her know that I find our time together special. And I’m honestly astounded by how quickly she picked it up and how confident she’s become.

This afternoon when we finished our sewing and had taken our pictures, Cady Gray ran to get the knitting book and find out what her next project was. She whisked it away to her room, and when her dad unwittingly walked in, she shooed him away. “Knitters only!” she proclaimed.

Yes, my love. You are a knitter.