Now, this is the just post anniversary. A year ago there was the first social justice roundtable where before there had been nothing. In fact, that social wedding was the reason that I found this particular corner of the blogosphere. De wrote about that wedding, she posted a picture of her own wedding day and the lyrics to “One”, and that moved me to seek out Mad and Jen who came up with this idea. And I promised to write something about social justice once a month at least. A promise that I kept, mostly, with the exception of March. (And this month you won’t find my post on the list because I forgot to nominate it. But that’s the beauty of being one of the hosts, I can point you towards it now: “Healing the World“.)
Since it has been a year of talking and writing about social justice, we decided to go a little further, to have a baby and to ask people to volunteer. I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant at first. I’m always reluctant to commit my time or energy to something new. But then I did want to do something. And I realized that it didn’t have to be something really big. Just small and doable would be enough.
My first thought was forcing my students to do regular performances at the local retirement home. But my heart wasn’t really in it. Also, the students wouldn’t have liked it. But then I allowed myself to think even smaller. And I found something totally unspectacular. Something I already have started doing, actually. I’m committing to knitting a pair of socks or a hat, preferably both each month for “Frühchenstricken“, that’s a German project to knit for preemies.
Just last week I found a similar American project for those who, like me, might be interested in doing a bit of social volunteer work while sitting on their own sofas watching TV. And then there’s “project snuggle“:
Project Snuggle- A project of knitted bears for police to take to child victims of domestic violence. Simple, really yet so very absent in the world of charitable knitting.
I would totally support this if it weren’t crazy to ship hand-knit stuffed animals half-way around the world.
Knitting for preemies warms my heart. At first I thought it was all about the fun of knitting doll-sized tiny socks. They are so cute! And almost instant gratification. But then I found that I also liked it because I was born too early myself. And at a time when my mother wasn’t even allowed to touch me for weeks. Now that I am a mother myself it rips my heart to hear her tale of how she stood in front of the window, looking at me every day for four weeks until she was allowed to take me home.
When I posted about this project the first time, thinking that it wasn’t really making a difference if I knit six pairs of socks or not, Sofia wrote a comment saying that her own daughter had been a preemie and how it warmed her heart to see that someone, a total stranger had taken the time to knit something for her daughter. And I thought back to the time my son was born, and though he wasn’t premature, I also wondered who had knit the horribly striped booties that he wore in the hospital. And while they were indeed very ugly I also knew that they were made out of love. Not for a child or grandchild but for some baby that person had never seen.
And that sentiment, love for human beings that we have never seen, is what brought forth the just posts and now the baby shower.
So, without further ado here is this month’s list. I’m really humbled by all the people who have committed to do volunteer work, and if you have too and your post is not on this list, please leave it in the comments.
Laura at Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference
Lawyer Mama with Christmas in Omaha
Magpie with 13 Ways to Help
Painted Maypole with God loves Fags
Reluctant Memsahib with it’s the corruption that’s the problem
Victoria with Give
The Chick with AIDS facts you should know
Jeff with Bless the invisible children
Mir on blogher with Dutch Diplomats, a Korean Adoptee, and the Unthinkable
Suzanne Reisman on Blogher with Dec. 17 is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and When Will We See Some Female Geeks?
Chatoyance with Books will fly through the air for children
Jenn with full circle
Sin with 28
Frieda with What I would pray for, if I prayed
Hearts in SanFran with Only the good die young
HearthTalks with Putting it in perspective
Liz with AIDS: No longer your friendly neighborhood appetite suppressant
Chani with Sanuk is not a four letter word
Veronica with Give
Jen with it’s coming on christmas, two little girls, two little girls, pt 2
Lost White Kenyan Chick with Electioneering and corruption
Laloca with Joseph Heller couldn’t’ve come up with this
City Girl with thinking out loud
Ida with Gay and Homeless: The numbers to back it up
Quaker Dave with There are no words
Denguy with Everyone should eat
Jangari with Intervening into the intervention
Emily with Lazy mother’s guide to saving the planet
The Individual Voice with Christmas in Iraq and Afganistan
Babylune with it’s series of posts culminating with the generous december group writing project
MauiGirl with No more death penalty in New Jersey
Reya with What’s important
The Psycho Therapist with If you can’t find money to kill people
Baby Shower Gifts
Jenn with Let’s change the world, shall we?
Omaha Mama with Giving more and Teaching to Give Back
Andrea with Enough, again.
CCE with A words: Altruism and Asceticism
De with Oh baby,I can help
Sage with Birthing in chains
Karen with Baby shower treats
Alejna with Gifts and thanks
Jennifer with New Year’s resolving
Reality Testing with Project Snuggle in conjunction with Flutter’s original idea in 2006 there once was a girl
Aliki with Newton’s third law
Painted Maypole with Unto us a child is born
Sin with Win-win
The Psycho Therapist with On giving to organizations
As you probably have noticed I didn’t feel much like blogging these past, ahem, weeks. While I do have half a dozen or so posts in my head, unfortunately I didn’t sit down and actually wrote them. So I plan to slowly write them one after the other. This one is about all the things I knit since September or so. I wanted to show you all the things that I made, and then I never did, and now it almost feels ridiculous. Also I’m still waiting for me to embroider the eyes on Carlos Santana, the elephant. If I ever do it it probably will take all of ten minutes, including finding a suitable yarn for it (the biggest obstacle). My son loves it even without eyes but I was reluctant to show you a blind elephant as finished. But then …
So here are my finished “objects” in chronological order:
Jaywalker socks for my husband. I started them on our train ride to Paris. I had to knit about three and a half of them to get them right. (No, my husband only has the usual two feet.) They’re still a bit too big…
Vinnland socks, again for my husband. Those on the other hand are too tight. I love this pattern. I made my usual short row toe and heel, though, because I can’t get the hang of wrap stitches. I have learned a different way to do short rows which I like better. (Of course I found that out only after I had knitted the toe the first time and it was full of holes. What can I say, I’m an expert at ripping things, obviously.)
Then I made a pair of dashing, fingerless mittens for my mother which I forgot to photograph. That was no fun, again, I made about six of them until I was left with a pair that seemed right. Oh, and she says, she doesn’t like them, and so I will have to frog them and re-make them. But she only told me after I had given her a matching hat (Le Slouch by Wendy Bernhard) for Christmas. And she loves it. Phew.
(That’s me wearing the hat, not my mother.)
Finally I made something for me, my first lace stole (It’s the hanami stole. When I saw it I knew I wanted to make it and now I’m hooked on lace stoles. I’m planning two more already.):
And a hat for me to go with my crocheted scarf:
(I’m not very happy with this picture but I’m pressed for time here, sorry.)
And finally, Carlos Santana, the elephant who still has to get his eyes:
What I’m knitting right now (but not all at once of course) is: a pair of mittens for my husband, a pair of socks for myself, still the brown cardigan (sigh!), a scarf for my husband (with sock yarn, a true labor of love), and I made a swatch for the secret of the stole II- knit-along (the button is in my left sidebar). And a scarf with the Vinnland-pattern for myself.
Originally I wanted to write a “what I did this summer”-post but yesterday held a big knitting disappointment for me. Which made me realize that this only was the last straw on top of a dozen or so other disappointments. None of them major and all together enough to make me feel very – meh.
My husband has already written about our not so joyful summer break. I didn’t know that you could get almost depressed because your computer is broken, but there you are, this is modern life. In fact it was his computer that broke, and got fixed, and was still broken, and got fixed, and was still broken. I’m about to bring it home again tonight, so keep your fingers crossed. Maybe it will be really fixed this time. (And thank God for extra apple care security plan. Hurray!)
So back to the knitting. Some of you may recall the brown cardigan I have been knitting for a while. In fact I ordered the yarn on Valentine’s day (this year that is) and since then I have been knitting away, unraveling whole pieces of it from time to time, but steadily making progress. This is how the cardigan looked yesterday at noon:
Only half a sleeve left to knit. This is how the cardigan looks now:
See, even the camera has a blurry eye… And then I remembered why I haven’t knit anything besides scarfs and socks for years. The problem is that for about twenty years knitting my gauge was always way too lose. Every thing I knitted ended up to be too big. Then I had enough of this and I taught myself to knit more tight. Since then every single thing I knitted ended up too small. I forgot all about this when I started knitting that cardigan. I thought if I did everything right there wouldn’t be a problem. Until about two months ago I held one of the finished sleeves to my arm out of sheer curiosity. It was, well, about three sizes too small, but we all know that you can block it and then it will turn out right, won’t it? Right?
It was about that time that my sister asked me for leftover yarn. She wanted to knit for charity. I didn’t know there was such a thing in Germany. I had heard about such things in the US but never here. Then, on the other hand, it isn’t as if I were knowing vast amounts of people who like to knit. There’s my mother, my sister and my aunt and that’s that. Of course I immediately started knitting for that on my own. Knitting for preemies. Stricken für Frühchen. For hospitals.
So I laid my cardigan aside and made these:
Yes, those are three socks. I still have to knit another one because then I started reading knitting blogs like this one and then I had to start knitting jaywalker socks for my husband immediately. I knitted the first sock on our way to Paris and back, finished it only to find that the fit was terrible, revisited the pattern, found out that it was a very bad idea to knit the heel differently on a whim because it left me with a foot that was much too wide. Then I unraveled it. And since there was another mistake early on I had to unravel the whole thing and start over again. I just finished it for the second time.
You know I thought I was a quite experienced knitter. I can do all the techniques. Only now I am feeling a little low. I would be a nice change to knit something that would go right the first time and then actually fit.
I won’t give up though. I took me about four months to almost finish that cardigan the first time around. Well, January is a nice cold month. No problem. But first I’ll knit the second of my husband’s socks. And the second teeny tiny baby sock.
I still have a huge stash that begs to be turned into baby socks, hats, and blankets. And three sewing patterns. And fabric for a dress. (Since I have just gained about 2 kilos (4,5 lbs) and it’s a summer dress I’ll leave that and the matching bag for next spring. I’ll probably finish my husband’s bag first and then buy some new fabric to make myself a bagpack tote following Liesl’s pattern.)
So I made. a. plan: First I’ll knit the second of my husband’s socks. Then the second baby sock. Then I’ll start knitting the cardigan again. (Which size? Which needle size? Do I do a sample piece before to see the gauge if it never turns out that way anyway? Do I just start somewhere and then measure once I’m a few inches in? AARGH!)