On his return from his last trip to the US, Husband brought back for us all the children’s book "Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always", by Tao Nueu. And it really is for 'us all': Beautifully illustrated with amusing and thought-provoking stories - the first of which features knitting AND tea and cake!
I don't think that it'll give too much away to tell you that "Squid" – one of the two lead characters – knits, and his repertoire includes socks and "cosies" (replacement shells for Hermit Crabs – it's a children's story so bear with me). There is a definite learning point though, particularly for those of us who knit socks: "Second sock" syndrome is nothing when you have to knit eight to complete a set! I once knit 14 socks to make a set – although these were baby socks for the daughter of a very dear friend of mine. (And, if the parents get their own way, she's also my future daughter-in-law – hee, hee!)
I currently have two socks on the go. Socks from two different pairs, obviously. One just needs to be grafted at the toe and the second, well, to be honest, the second needs to be ripped out and started anew: Oldest Son chose the yarn and the socks are for him but if I knit the leg length to balance the calf width, Son won’t need the socks for about a decade and I won't have enough yarn to complete the pair. But the whole ripping-out thing isn't particularly inspiring and, clearly, by putting-off the evil dead, it's going to make the actual act oh-so-much easier. Denial, it's the way to go.
That said, I do have a pair of baby shoes to knit in time for their recipient's first birthday. I promised the baby's grandmother – a good friend and adopted grandma for my own boys – that I'd help out with the knitting for the all important birthday outfit. She's knitted the most beautiful cardigan so I hope that the shoes will do justice to her and baby's other knit-wear. Best get on with them, then. Can’t let my friend down or deny baby her shoes – I'll just be grateful that she only has two feet.
It's been a great autumn, meeting new people, making new friends, refining knitting techniques and even learning new ones (yes, I can finally purl continental style!). And Saturday was my last workshop of the year, knitting Christmas decorations in Glasgow. I particularly love this workshop as each of the participants goes home with several finished items while potentially learning new techniques such as beading and knitting bobbles. It's a fun, low-pressure day – with plenty of opportunity for swapping stories and admiring each other's progress.
But before the day had even started, I was "out-ed" as a physicist. Turns out that I've worked – albeit very briefly – with the daughter of the mother and daughter pair who had joined us for the day. These days, it doesn't take too much to distract me and this had already been achieved as the mother had attended one of my previous workshops and had brought her beautifully finished project to show the group. To be honest, I'm not really sure how to handle such situations. I'm delighted, of course, as it's a real pleasure to see the finished item and genuinely admire the different colour ways and individual styles of embellishment. I think that I'm surprised too, surprised and pleased that the workshop was actually interesting / useful enough that they have taken the time to finish the knitting and put together, in this case, an accessories bag that seems to have found a home in their knitting bag. It's lovely, really lovely.
The family outing also reminded of the wonderful times that I've had at knitting workshops with my mother. We've attended two together, one for a whole weekend and the second for only a day. I enjoyed both – though for completely different reasons – and seeing mother and daughter together has inspired me to try to make time to do something similar again with my mum. (I'm pretty sure that neither of us would like it if she came to one of my workshops: Not only would I miss out on the informal chat but I'd probably spend the entire time worrying that I was doing it wrong and so seeking reassurance from her. How not to look professional.)
On top of this, there was another familiar face in the group and, for a while, we both struggled to place each other. I was pretty sure that it was in a workshop environment and it turns out that we'd both been students at Debbie Abrahams' workshop in the summer. Confession time followed as we both admitted to not completing the stash-busting projects we'd started. I consider it progress that my project is still out of the box, within easy reach should I have the time / inclination to pick up the needles. I'm not sure Husband is of the same opinion but until he puts his voltmeter away, he hasn't a leg to stand on. (Of course, I could tidy both but where's the fun in that?)
So amongst all the stories of people being taught to knit by their grandmothers, I was asked if I was a physicist (and in the present tense, which was very polite). And then the pieces started falling into place: Familiar face, shared colleagues... Later on, when the chat turned to jobs, we were both struck as to the overlap of some of Daughter's current role and my old one. It all sounded so familiar, so ordered, so organised. And I found it interesting that I should focus on those elements that are clearly absent in a life centred on young children. But that’s not to say that the knitting elements aren't organised – it's just fitting them into the rest of chaos that gets a bit tricky.
Speaking of chaos, I guess that I should do some prep before the "moving pixies" come to pack up all our worldly belongings – I’m not sure that their expertise extends to my yarn-related interests and I guess a Health and Safety case could be made with all the apparently random needles in apparently random bags. And now is probably a good time to rationalise all my workshop knitting. Then again, I could get back to that stash-busting hair-band….
All sewn up:
"Munro Socks" by Jo Storie.
Currently on the needles and making progress: