Sunday, 10 October 2010

Not an ideal weekend

This weekend did not go as planned in any way. We were going to see my parents and were in the last stages of preparation to depart when a voice from the bathroom alerted me to the end of those plans. Dave had been 'unwell' and was 'unwell' again 15 minutes later. The trip was cancelled. I tried not to show my disappointment as Dave said he felt he had let me down. Instead I busied about letting Dad know and helping the children see the positive side.

Saturday started well with Dave staying in bed until around 11am, I woke around 9.30am and sat in bed knitting happily. I went off to the supermarket with my eldest in the early afternoon and we arrived home with bags and bags of shopping to find a complete mess. Annie had been playing with my new paper cutter and the place looked like a ticker-tape parade had driven through. And Lexxy, who should have known better, had been playing with modelling clay and water. There were splatters of clay on the floor all round the dining room, into the front room, the taps in the kitchen were coated and the dining room table looked like a bakery. Nice. And Dave was back in bed watching TV and sweating out a fever.

I wasn't happy.

When I had cleared up the paper and the clay and put the shopping away I was totally cheesed off but it was all put into perspective by the news Dave gave me when I got back. My Aunt, who has had Alzheimer's for a decade or more and went into hospital the previous day with a lung infection, had died. I have only seen her once or twice in the last 10 years and the two families, (my father's brother and his wife), have never been close. But it hit me that this weekend I had missed seeing my Mum, and my cousins had lost theirs forever. Of course, with Alzheimer's, they may consider that they lost their Mum a long time ago but even so, it was a strong comparison and not a comfortable one. My Dad won't be able to go to the funeral as he isn't well enough to travel, my sister has other commitments and my brother is even less in contact with that side of the family than I, so I think I had better go. I really hate funerals and avoid them whenever I can. I don't think I'll be able to avoid this one.

So to more positive things: knitting. I am knitting a pair of hiking socks for Dave's brother for Xmas and I have finished the first one. It's a gorgeous creation in shades of reds, browns, oranges, a bit of pink and lilac and some fair isle effect too. Sounds a bit busy but it looks truly gorgeous. The trouble is the size. I have his foot measurements and the sock is smaller than his foot in both length and width, and yet when Dave wears it, (and Dave's feet are one size bigger than his brother's), it is just a tiny tad too big. As hiking socks, they can't afford to be too big or the ridges will rub and make blisters on his feet while he is walking.

So the brother lives in Milton Keynes and I don't know when I'm seeing him again to be able to try it on, and I don't want to ruin the surprise anyway. So what do I do? I am more than halfway through the second sock and as it's cuff down, I have the option to make the foot shorter. Eek, the decisions. I have decided to knit the other one to match the first and hope they fit. If they don't, I'll frog them both back and knit them shorter together. It will be fine...

I have picked up the crocheted bag for his wife tonight as well. It's in a tough, sturdy woolen yarn that will make a great hardwearing bag, but is horrible to work with. I have a line on my finger still where the yarn was tensioned, and I put it down nearly an hour ago. I will have to work on it in small chunks. I'm glad to be making progress on it, though, because I'm starting to be uncertain I will finish my presents in time. I gave no promises so it's not a big problem, but I really wanted to get them finished.

The shawl for my Mum is done and a Gecko bookmark for Dad won't take long. The socks for B-I-L are nearly finished and the bag for his wife is about 1/3 done. The house socks for my neice are ready to start when I have finished her Dad's hiking socks. Nothing for the nephew - it's not cool.

The lacey scarf for M-I-L is ready to start and I will enjoy knitting that. The ear-flap hat for her beau is also ready to start but I'm not looking forward to knitting in such a dreary colour. The bed socks for G-M-I-L are a stumbling block - I haven't decided on a pattern yet so a long way to go yet.

The entrelac scarf for S-I-L is more than half done and it's lovely, although I regret the choice of yarn. The camel for my bro is unlikely to make the Xmas cut TBH.

And I have started a pair of socks for me - it seems silly at this stage but I've been meaning to do them for months and some of the knit group wanted to knit it together, so I started. I'm really enjoying knitting it and trying to resist feelings of guilt whenever I do. I don't think I will knit Xmas presents for family again. I think it's something we all do..... but only once!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

A life lesson from knitting

I was down last night. Our trip to see my parents for the first time since June was cancelled at the last minute when my hubby threw up as we were finishing the packing. I had so much I wanted to show and give to my mum that I was devastated. I kept it from Dave as well as I could, as he was already feeling that he had let me down, but was so upset I couldn't even knit. That's not happened to me before.

So finally I came round a bit and decided to do the things I was expecting to do anyway - knit lots, drink Cava and stay up late. Dave went to bed but I stayed up until midnight on my own. This is what led to my life lesson from knitting.

I was knitting a hiking sock for my brother-in-law last night, the second of the pair so I had already done this part of the pattern. However, between Lord of the Rings on the TV and the Cava, I missed a vital part of the pattern when turning the heel. I noticed this a while later when I didn't have ther right number of stitches but couldn't work out why. My own rule with mistakes is that the circumstances which led to the mistake are likely to remove the ability to solve it so once a mistake is noticed, I put the thing down until the next day.

So this morning I picked it up and worked out where I had gone wrong. I took the needles out, ripped back the knitting to the place where I went wrong, picked up the stitches, wound the spare yarn around the ball and prepared to re-knit. At this point it occurred to me that I 'should' be frustrated with myself. In previous circumstances, like when I used to diet and had a target weight loss for each week, leading to a date when I would achieve the elusive target weight, taking a backwards step like this would be very upsetting. I would be thinking that if I hadn't done that, I would be at a different place by now and only so far from reaching the goal, but instead I'm back here. Well, that's all part of the negative cycle that dieting causes.

So what is different with knitting? Why didn't I think "all that effort last night has been wasted as I am back to where I was before I did all that"? Why did I think "making mistakes, noticing them, taking the knitting back and learning from the whole event is just part of the process of knitting"? I can't answer that but I think it has taught me a valuable life lesson. Making mistakes is part of the process, not a deviation from it. I learn from every mistake that I make and I learn again when I develop skills for rectifying the mistake. I am so much better at picking up stitches after undoing than I was when I started knitting again last year. When I made mistakes before as a teenager, my mum would sort them out for me so I had no skills of my own. And just noticing that the mistake had been made was quite a skill too. And now I have those skills, I can pass them on to anyone who needs them.

Not for the first time, Thank You Knitting!