Friday, January 24, 2014

Proud Mama

The day that I have been dreaming about ever since my precious baby girl as born, over 16 years ago, has finally arrived -- she has become a knitter! I have had a plan to entice her into this lifestyle for quite awhile. Of course, my motives were selfish since I dreamed of spending hours upon hours of quality time with her, sipping tea and stitching as we had some mother-daughter bonding time. 

I began to put my plan into action when she was only 4 1/2 years old. Being the avid reader of all things Elizabeth Zimmerman-related, I was very familiar with Meg Swansen's (E. Z.'s daughter) story of how she became a knitter. Elizabeth taught Meg early, but as Meg tells the story in her book, Meg Swansen's Knitting, she only knitted in fits and starts until she was a young adult. It was at that point that she became passionate about the craft, and this began a truly incredible collaboration between mother and daughter. Most of us know the rest of that delightful story, but if you don't, I highly recommend that you check out some of Elizabeth Zimmerman and/or Meg Swansen's writing and videos.

So, I envisioned my daughter and I developing a crafting relationship that emulated this famous mother/daughter pair. When she quickly got the hang of knitting at four and half, I thought, here is my knitter -- only to see her put down her needles the next day never to pick them up again for many years. Then at around eight years old, she picked them up again, showing enough enthusiasm for the craft to inspire me to buy her own little crafting bag with measuring tape, needle-sizer, a pair of scissors, a knitting instruction book for girls, needles and yarn. She began a simple garter-stitch scarf, knitted on it with zeal for a couple of days, and then quickly became bored. After that, her little bag sat in a corner of her bedroom for several years until one day in a flurry of spring cleaning, she decided that she would never again want to knit, and so she was going to get rid of all of her knitting "stuff." Of course, this saddened me, but in the back of my head, I thought, "She doesn't know what her future will hold. One day, she will still pick it up again." A little voice inside me did wonder if maybe knitting just wasn't her thing since I had noticed that as artistic and crafty as she is that she gravitated towards projects that could be planned and executed in a day, which led her to sewing and making other small crafty projects for a time. 

Alas, the day finally came in the last month when my patience seems to have paid off; she asked to pick up her needles once again to make a cute wool headband that she saw in an advertisement. She had originally asked me to find a pattern and to make the headband for her, but before I had the chance to begin it, she suddenly came to me and said, "Mom, do you think I could learn to knit the headband myself?" This was music to my ears, as you can imagine, so I replied, "Of course. Let's get started." The next day, I bought her some luxurious wool to get her properly hooked and to make sure she loved every minute of this experience, reviewed the knit stitch with her, taught her to purl and then to combine knit and purl to make seed stitch, and off she went! She picked it up like no time had passed since her last knitting session and even worked on training her hands to tension the yarn over and under her fingers in the way I have always done, so she could pick up speed. Before I knew it, she was knitting away every time I saw her with a spare moment. She even mastered it enough to knit while watching T.V.  

It is indescribable the joy a knitting mother feels when seeing her daughter with needles in hand and yarn flowing thought her fingers! I am in heaven. Not to mention, it is a blast to have someone right in my own house with whom I can talk "shop."  Here are the results of her glorious efforts! 

Pretty good for a newbie, I must say with a mother's proud heart.  My delight continues, since she is now asking to make herself some leg warmers! We are off to our LYS tomorrow.

In case any of you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I am working steadily on my husband's sweater and the Granny Stripes Afghan. However, in the meantime, I quickly knitted this wonderful hat for a co-worker to help him deal with this incredibly frigid weather we have been having. The pattern is a free download on Ravelry called Men's Ski Hat. I used Berroco Vintage yarn so that he could wash it easily. The stitch definition was great, yet the hat is very soft.  He loves the hat and wears it, which is the best a knitter can ask for, isn't it?

Unfortunately, I am also working on another hat for a friend of my sister's who is starting chemo today. I am so glad to be able to make these hats for those who need them, but I certainly wish I didn't have cause to make them. I will show you the hat and share which pattern I made when it is finished. It is looking really nice so far, but there aren't enough rounds to show it now.

Happy knitting and crocheting!

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