Focus

Today has been strange. Beyond strange, actually. I headed to the hospital this morning before work to get a minor lesion looked at, followed by heading off to work. I didn’t have time to ride, and it will likely be close to dark by the time I get home. I’m also dealing with a major upset in my life at the moment (of which I won’t go into detail here).

I threw my little nub of Hat-Heel Sock into my work bag this morning, and I’m so glad that I did. As I sat knitting on my break, I realized that knitting grounds me. It puts things into perspective.

I recall knitting when I was in grade 9, beside my grandmother’s bedside as she was in her last days. It was an incredibly difficult time period for my family, but the knitting was calming. It also provided something for my grandmother to latch onto. She had severe dementia, and she didn’t remember much in her last days. She had always been a knitter though, and she loved to hold the knitted fabric.

So today, as I sat on my break, completely overwhelmed by the events that have happened in the last 24 hours, I pulled out my knitting and began to work. My breathing slowed, and I was able to put everything into perspective. Usually, I think of riding as my escape. It takes me far away from my troubles; I have to focus so much that I can’t be distracted by other things. It all comes rushing back when I jump off though.

Knitting, on the other hand, helps me to focus. It allows me to think, while simultaneously making one stitch after another. I immediately gain a more positive outlook; if I can knit one stitch, over and over, and create something, then I can keep going past whatever it is that’s bothering me.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I’m knitting and I get so mad that I have to put the needles down or else I’m liable to poke someone’s eye out. There’s also times when I just knit because I feel like it; it doesn’t impact my overall mood.

But today, I needed my knitting. I still need my knitting, and I know now that when it comes to insurmountable obstacles, or big decisions that I need to think about, I just need to grab some knitting and make some stitches. Then my thoughts will go straight.

Hats

This morning I woke up extra early to ride Domino. We were working by 6:30, jumping and everything. She did very well today, and I was giving her a walk break when I saw commotion at the bird’s nest near my sand ring. We had some killdeers lay their eggs right beside my sand ring, amongst the gravel. After weeks of carefully avoiding the nest and being attacked by the mother bird, the eggs have finally hatched! I stopped Domino and watched as three chicks popped out from beneath Momma Bird. I went to the nest to check on the last egg when the babies were off running around… The fourth egg hatched, but I believe the baby died. None-the-less, the mother maintains her position, sitting on the baby, and squawking loudly when anyone gets too close.

What is this blog supposed to be about? Oh right. Knitting. About that…

Actually, I do have a few more photos for you today. I was cleaning out my grandmother’s sewing supplies and I found some cool stuff. First, a basket to hold all of my knitting that just needs the ends weaving in. It’s from Jamaica; very cool.

And inside the basket, a needle and a pair of her old sewing scissors (as well as a pair of socks for my sister… I used leftover yarn, there are so many ends to weave in!)

I also found something else that is rather curious…

This thing is tiny, about the size of a coin (but obviously much thicker). Guess what it is!

That’s right folks, its a tape measure! Cool, isn’t it?

Now, speaking earlier of babies… Did you know that you can never have enough baby hats? I knit them constantly out of my leftover bits of yarn, and donate them to my local women’s shelter! Its a great way to give back to your community and use up extra yarn in the process. Here they are, I have already donated lots, and there are always more on the needles…

As you can see, I have a wide variety. Some of my more creative ones have already left my possession, so this is just a taste.

I’m interested to know… What do you do with your leftover yarn?

From her hands

As I knitted on my SIPs the other night, I looked down at my needles. They are plain grey metal DPNs. They aren’t special, they aren’t expensive.

They are, however, something of a family heirloom. My grandmother was quite the knitter. If she could see me now, I’m sure she would be very proud. The needles have travelled with her since forever. I’m sure some of them even came from England, her birthplace.

Although she didn’t knit when she moved in with my family, her knitting needles somehow ended up in a closet in my house, where I found them. She only has tiny DPNs and a few straight plastic ones. While I am not particularly fond of plastic needles, I do prefer metal, and I love hers. They are all in a big box, jumbled, so it is difficult to find a set of four, but I would rather do that then buy new ones.

My mother also used to be a knitter. She taught me how to knit when I was a kid, and she knit all throughout her University days. She used to cast on and cast off for me, but let me do the middle stuff. My first projects were little scarves for my stuffed animals, and they were full of dropped stitches, but she patiently taught me to knit and purl.

My mother has quite the collection of needles as well, most of which are in permanent use by me, since they all seem to be the exact size I need. I have also added to our collection of needles, meaning that it now spans three generations. I hope that this will one day continue when I am old enough to start a family myself.

As for teaching me how to knit, it was on a whim. It was a snow day (in rural Canada, the snow gets so bad that they cancel school often during the winter months), and I was probably bored. We sat down on the couch and my mother asked me if I would like to learn to knit. Using some leftover yarn and two DPNs in place of straights, she taught me the basic knit stitch. I didn’t really have too much interest in it; I mean, I knitted, but not often. It didn’t take up a large portion of my brain space. I knit. I read books. I was your typical 8 year old kid.

Then one day at my local library, I found a book called “Teen Knitting Club”. Don’t ask – I don’t know who its by, or if it was even any good. But the pictures were alluring and the quotes from teenagers who knit were so positive that I knew I had to be part of this knitting craze. I got more books, and taught myself to cast on and off. I got more books, and learned to knit in the round. It was an exciting time.

My first sock was done in December, right before Christmas. I was attempting to knit my dad socks for Christmas. My mom read the instructions for turning my first heel. It was a magical experience. I didn’t finish those socks until the following August (major Second Sock Syndrome) but that experience was amazing. I was hooked.

This knitting craze has brought my family together and carried on through generations. It isn’t just a craft; it’s an experience. It’s nice to know that I am in at least the third generation of knitters in my family.

Thanks Granny. Thanks Mom.