Hospital knitting

Yesterday’s visit to the hospital was a real ordeal. I was told on Monday to arrive at 7:30 am for 9:30 surgery. On Thursday, too late to adjust my rides, I was told 11:15. So there I was, showing up at the hospital at 7:30, but not sure about when my surgery really was, and nothing was ever clear until I finally went up to surgery at about 6:00 pm. I got home last night after 10:00.

But, I did get two hours of knitting done in the waiting room. I took the shawl out of Green Mountain Spinnery yarn, which as a mill end is still unwashed and therefore rather dirty to knit with. I decided not to knit once I went into the prep area so I could put my foot up on a bed. In two hours I did two pattern rows and 2 3/4 rows of plain knitting. I finished the third repeat of the wings of the swan pattern. There are now 111 stitches on each side. Now I’ll just have to dig around in my boxes and find the lace book, the Manos yarn I’ll probably continue with, and my knitting notebook, so I can decide what to do next.

Some knitting questions

A few days ago on the knitlist, Ray Whiting helped turn the posts away from whining about a newspaper essay towards some positive sharing about knitting. Here are his questions and my answers:

> What sparked your interest in knitting? Did you leave it and come back years later? Why?

I wanted to be able to make a sweater. I have/had crocheted for years, but couldn’t imagine getting the kind of drape I wanted in a sweater by crocheting. So with the help of a local yarn store (Sophie’s in Philadelphia) and a couple of friends, I taught myself to knit. Years ago someone had given me a lesson (before I started crochet) but it didn’t go well.

> What inspires you to begin a project? (a magazine pattern? news of a new baby/marriage? wanting what’s at the glamour shops but not willing to pay those prices?)

I rarely just follow a pattern, so beginning a project is more of having an idea of an object or an image that I want and then figuring out how I’m going to do it. I own many knitting books, which I use for inspiration. Sometimes they suggest an item I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of knitting, sometimes they suggest colors or textures or construction techniques, other times they serve as the solution books for how to knit what I’ve decided to make.

> Have you ever converted a crochet, cross-stitch or quilting design into a knitted piece? Describe it–what was the original design, how did you change it, were you happy with the result, etc.

I’ve used charted celtic interlacing from a Dover book to do stranded colorwork. The only thing I needed to do in order to use it was to figure out the repeat for the braids I was considering (I was putting it around a hat) to find one that would connect correctly. I liked the result.

> NOT counting famous/published designers, who is your PERSONAL knitting ‘hero’ (i.e., someone you actually know, whose work you’ve viewed and/or handled)? Why? How did their mentoring help your own knitting?

Ellen Helmuth, one of the women who helped me learn how to knit, is one of those people who has internalized garment construction, yarn weight, and needle size. She knits just regular garments out of her head: sweaters, socks, mittens. She can visualize how many stitches she needs to cast on, what needles to try, and what to do for shaping. She can also read knitting very well, locate mistakes, and figure out how to fix it.

I’d like to some day have that kind of command of the craft.

> What is your “specialty”? (i.e., what do your friends and family know you can be counted on to make?)

I guess mittens are one of the things I’ve done the most of.

> If you could teach one technique, what would it be? (special way to ball the yarn? a new cast-on or cast-off method? a special stitch pattern? a way to organize your supplies?)

I’m not sure I really want to teach knitting.

> What is the most recent special technique you learned? Where did you learn it?

Knitting a square in the round. I learned it from a book, which I don’t have handy, but I think it’s *Traditional Lace Knitting*.

> What technique has been your worst bug-a-boo or met with the most resistance?

Weaving in loose ends!

> What technique would you dearly LOVE to learn next?

Knitting backwards. Since I’m working on a shawl and considering a lace border, I may get my wish.

> Who was the last stranger you met because you (or they) were knitting in public?

I met my friend Valarie’s mother while knitting at the Sunday-night international folk dance at MIT. She had never seen anyone knitting in the round before. I may have even been using DPs, I don’t remember.

crutches and the size of Boston Common

I am so pooped! And a little sore from yesterday, but not as bad as I feared. A whole day at work was a bit too ambitious, but it was great to get out of the house and to do some work with the proper tools.

I spent the last hour before commuting back home sitting on a park bench in the Common. Lovely, clear blue sky, lots of birds and squirrels, and a comfortable temperature. It was heavenly watching all those people, of every shape and size.

To the office!

I’m going to try going to the office for the first time in seven weeks. A neighbor is going to drive me to the T and go with me (she’s also a co-worker). The weather is sunny and moderate today, so I hope it will be a good experience along the way. It will definitely be exhausting, and I’m a little concerned about getting home. But hey, there are always taxis, right?

Art and War

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Academy Awards last night with a group of friends from work. I’m glad that viewers got to see a whole range of antiwar statements–from the almost too subtle dove pins and Susan Sarandon’s classy peace sign to Michael Moore’s over-the-top screed. The cute young actor who introduced the clips from Frida and Adrian Brody were both charming.

Friday Five

1. If you had the chance to meet someone you’ve never met, from the past or present, who would it be?

Jesus. What was he like? I can think of few people who have had such a pervasive influence on our world–and the close runners-up would also be religious figures: Moses, David, Solomon, Mohammed–not to mention the unique claim of divinity.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?

Well, it’s hard to guess if one should wish to live in the future, but I’d likely gamble that the future will turn out OK. So I’d probably pick two or three hundred years in the future. In the past, I’d likely pick the 19th century, which for Quakers contained both very high and very low points. And on a totally different tack, the 19th century saw the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement and the Pre-Raphaelites.

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?


4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?

Hmmm. Elizabeth Bennet? Witty, well-matched in love, comfortably off.

On a more fictional note, Regis Hastur: powerful, complicated and conflicted, living at a turning point.

5. If you had to live with having someone else’s face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?

Daniel Day-Lewis.