I am a knitter. I knit sweaters. I kept my kids and grand kids in sweaters. As long as I liked what I knit, I kept on knitting. Of course, I also bought yarn. I looked for yarn everywhere I went. I looked in yarn stores when we travelled, especially in Norway and Sweden. My dear husband has dragged me out of yarn stores so I won’t miss the tour bus to the next destination. I am a quilter too but yarn stores were easier to find than fabric stores. So I often came home with yarn. Lots of yarn.
Now, I am almost 77 years old. One daughter tells me you are not old until you are eighty, but 77 is getting up there. So I have a house full of hand knit sweaters, which I wear on occasion. Mostly I wear the cotton sweaters which aren’t scratchy and can be tossed in the washing machine.
Last fall, I learned a knitting technique from a book called “Knit one knit one under”. It was a new idea. I knit a sweater from yarn in my stash, my very large stash. It looked pretty neat so I had to try the multi colored sock yarn with it. Of course I had to buy more sock yarn. (Give me some credit. I used yarn from my stash for the other part.) Wow, that was pretty neat too.
But even after knitting another four sweaters, I realized — DUH —that I could not live long enough to use up all the yarn in my stash, and a lot of it is wool, and as I said, I find myself avoiding wool. I gave some wool to my daughter. She took some to a friend. I gave some to the volunteer center… five times. Not exactly small quantities. The garbage bags were full to the top. Once I took a huge amount on a Thursday and when I came back on Monday to give them more, the supply was gone! They had a sign that said, “Do not knit with double yarn, we are running out.” I felt sorry for them so I took in some more. The pile in the basement looked like I hadn’t even touched it.
I’ve slowly been sorting out the wool in the basement. I’ve found half knit sweaters and I’m retrieving needles and winding balls from the half knit garments. One day at lunch with my preschool teacher daughter, I told her about taking yarn to the volunteer center and their goal of 800 adult hats. “Oh,” says she, “We get hats for the Head Start kids. But what we really need is mittens.” EUREKA!!! Something new for me to do.
I dragged out my volumes of knitting patterns and found the two-needle mitten book. I dug out a kid color yarn and made a pair, and another pair and another. The young grand children ages 5 and 7 tried them on so I had a pretty good idea of how to fit them for a preschooler I kept on knitting… and knitting. I was turning out one mitten in an hour and half without even looking at the pattern. I knew just how many stitches and rows to complete a mitten. TV watching and knitting became my evening occupation. Then it spread to morning and afternoon. Of course my two young grand children told me they wanted a pair as well, and they informed me about “boy colors and girl colors.” Pink and purple for the girls, red, green and blue for the boys. Teal, yellow, gold, well.. they said it depends. What do I know? I dug out more yarn and kept going alternating between boy colors and girl colors. Soon there were 30 pairs in the box to give my daughter. Plus a maroon pair for the 7-year-old and pink for five-year-old. (The 7-year-old said she had out grown pink and maroon was OK.)
I bragged about this idiocy at the exercise pool and was greeted with a plea. “I have a friend who teachers kindergarten…” Well, what’s thirty more pair, just a couple of rows longer. I dragged out more yarn: wool, alpaca, orlon, whatever, and kept on knitting. The gleam on the face of the person I gave them to was worth every stitch. I look forward to learning how they were received. She was going to wait ’til the cold weather . I know she won’t.
My daughter plans on waiting for the cold weather when she will read them Jan Brett’s book, The Mitten, and other versions by other authors. I will take my daughter to lunch or read her blog about teaching and love it all.
Tomorrow… well I just may knit some more mittens. If the volunteer center needs 800 adult hats, they must need kid’s mittens. If they don’t, my daughter’s classes the following year will need mittens. It is the middle of the summer and I am at 62 and counting. And the yarn in the basement doesn’t even look as though it has gotten any smaller.
Then there is my fabric.. but that’s another story.
(see other Slice of Life stories at Two Writing Teacher’s Link)