Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hats and hats

It never occurred to me that flowers could go in and out of style like clothes or hairstyles, but then I witnessed the rise of the Gerbera daisy.  When my husband casually mentioned that it was his sister Lisa's favorite flower, I thought, "The what daisy?  Did they just invent that?  Can you invent flowers?" and dismissed it.  Then it started cropping up everywhere - at work, on banners, in pots, in bouquets, on the covers of Sarah Dessen novels . . .

And then I remembered the Calla lily.  Three years ago my friend Carlin asked what I thought of Calla lilies, because his girlfriend of the moment liked them, and I said, "What lilies?"   Suddenly they were in all the Easter bouquets and wedding bouquets and on magazines and in knitting patterns and as knitting patterns, and then just as suddenly they faded out.  I thought it had all been rather overblown for a dumb flower, but I've never been very good at trends.  Or at flowers, for that matter.  I haven't had a favorite flower since I discovered tulips in grade school, and when my wedding rolled around and they asked what kind of flowers I wanted I chose irises because just in case we decided that real flowers weren't in the budget, I had a nice origami pattern for irises.

The point being, I made a hat.

I was going to give it to Lisa for her birthday, hence the big pink daisy, but instead of the jaunty little cloche the pattern teased me with, it turned out to be huge and grannyish, and entirely unsuited to a trendy 21 year old.  For a trend-bucking 23 year old, the water's just fine.

The daisy is my own pattern, and one of these days I'll sit down and write it out for the internet's pleasure, just as soon as I remember how I did it.

Lisa did get a scarf that I made from The Happy Hooker; the One Skein Scarf, in the same yarn as the daisy - Knit Picks Swish in Bubblegum, and a cabled newsboy hat from SnB Nation, neither of which did I take any pictures of.  The hat was done holding two strands of wool yarn together, one turquoise and one medium blue, in the hopes that the turquoise would brighten the blue and the blue would mellow the turquoise.  I don't know if it did, but the result was a cute speckled effect anyway.  In retrospect, I wish I had tried blocking it over a plate to see if it would turn out more slouchy, but there isn't much I can do about that now, since it would come across a little odd to ask for the hat back "because I just thought of something that would make it more awesome!"

On that note, here is a whale earbud holder that I made for her two Christmases ago.

It may be the very definition of 'ugly cute.'  I'm not sure that it does Roman Sock's pattern justice, but Lisa liked it.  It was my first Christmas with Ryan's family and I wanted to make something unique for everyone.  Since I didn't know them very well yet, handmade gifts would show that I wanted to put effort and thought into their presents, at least more effort than just giving them cash or gift cards.  Not that I'm knocking gift cards - they make nice gifts, especially for hard-to-buy-for friends and long-distance exchanges.  But for that first Christmas I wanted to make and impression.

For his parents I made this beaded ornament:

I also made the box - hooray for origami, fabric scraps, and glitter!

For Ryan I knitted the rooster hat from Scribblenauts, as we were fawning over the game at the time.  Until that inspiration came to me I had been at a loss as to what to make for him.  The expressions on everyone's faces when he opened it were indescribable and fully worth every stitch.  I cobbled the pattern together from elements from several different sources, and managed to make it all up in under a week - record time!

 Actually, record time goes to the three-day knitting frenzy that produced the Jayne Cobb hat for my friend Alan, seen here with the earflaps tied up out of the way, which is a shame because you miss some of the glory.  Someone told him it looked like a parrot had died on his head, which is the sort of original insult that pleases me.  It means that I have truly created a hat that only a man who isn't afraid of anyone would wear.

It was pure joy to knit and there is nothing to compare to the satisfaction of making a gargantuan pompom, even if it does garner some odd looks when you're making it during a Legal Ethics lecture.

One of these days I'd like to make one for myself.  I think Ryan and I would look pretty cunning in our gigantic crazy hats. . .

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tidying Up

My yarn collection is slowly being untangled and sorted into its new home - a set of plastic drawers from Wal-Mart.

Ryan assures me this will make it so much easier to move.  My response was, "We're moving?"  True, our lease ends this month, but I had assumed we would renew it; the main reason we were planning on looking for a new place was because there isn't really room here for a growing family.  When it turned out that Gabriel wasn't to be, we came back to square one, and that square happens to contain a two-bedroom house with incredibly low rent, a blessing straight from God for a young couple with a lot of stuff and sketchy budgeting skills.

However, my premarital counseling class instructed me to take the passage, "Wives, obey your husbands" seriously, so if this is Ryan's plan, then I will trust it to be God's plan as well.  Whatever the end result, at least my yarn is getting untangled and sorted.

I still have too many projects going at once, but I did finish my mystery yarn hat!  My math and my gauge swatch are laughing at me - despite careful calculations the hat is enormous.  I have a larger-than-average head, but this might have been overkill.  Combined with the strange colorway, the overall impression is that my head exploded.  It has been thus christened The Zombie Hat.

Also finished, the Triangular Shawl, another free Red Heart pattern.  I did most of it on my breaks at work while I was pregnant, and there it stayed until I returned from my maternity leave.  I didn't have the heart to continue it in the same context that I had started it, so I brought it home and finished it on the way to my parents.  I tried to give it to my mom for an early Mother's Day gift, but she decided it was too big for her.  I wore it out for my wedding anniversary last weekend, and it was lovely and warm while allowing me to show off my outfit instead of covering it up with a less elegant coat.  Shawls are wonderful inventions.

I worked several more rounds than the pattern called for because my gauge (surprise!) was off.  Other than that, the only modification I made was using burgundy yarn instead of blue, and omitting the tassel.  A single tassel at the point as the pattern called for put me in mind of a tail, and I am not a raccoon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feeling lost

The knitting progresses sporadically and there are as yet no pictures.  I have started half a dozen new projects and neglected the old ones most shamefully.  The only work getting consistent attention is the Red Heart pattern I'm crocheting on my breaks at work, the Scandinavian Snowflake Throw.  It caught my eye because it was free.  As usual my too-tight crochet gauge has resulted in squares that are a few inches too small, even having gone up two needle sizes, so I'm going to do a six-square-by-six-square throw instead of the five-by-five.  How do they get such big squares out of such a tiny hook???  Also, why the smiling model with the tortured eyes?

My capricious approach to projects seems to be the natural behavior of a wanton heart.  I'm beginning to realize that the faith I have professed for so long is wanting, and I don't really know what I believe.  To put it more accurately, I know WHAT I claim to believe, and I do believe it, but I don't really know much about it, and I don't know how to put it into practice.  All of my attempts feel half-hearted.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father, Creator of the Universe and Mankind.  I believe that it is appointed to Man to die once and after this the judgement, and only through Christ and baptism in water and fire can we be saved.  I believe that I am repeating this like a good schoolgirl, but when it comes down to it I don't know if my life reflects my belief.  I witnessed to a few people, but I've never been much of a spokesperson on anything.  Everything is so personal to me, and I have a hard time relating it to other people, especially when I'm put on the spot.

I want to know more, I want to get involved, but I don't know where to start.  I want to live a life of faith, and I don't know what that means.

I feel like the whole world is falling apart around me, and I need to stand my ground and overcome, but it would be so much easier to lie down and stop trying.  What does it take to be like David, Esther, Mary, and Paul?