Thursday, January 3, 2013

Another Idea

Every once in a while I'm struck by a brilliant idea that almost instantly becomes too ambitious for my means and before long I'm bogged down in the details and nothing ever comes of it.  Too many ideas, not enough focus.  I need an editor.

I was reading a "Piecework" article about Rose Wilder Lane yesterday.  It touched upon the needlework that pervaded the books that her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, wrote about growing up in the 19th century.  You might know them as "the Little House books."  Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, Little Town on the Prairie, and others.  They were some of my favorite books as a child and I still enjoy them now as an adult.  I've always loved pioneer tales, and these are especially attentive to detail - once you've read them you feel like you know exactly how to build a log cabin, if only you knew how to handle an axe like Pa did.

The books are full of sewing, knitting, and other handcrafts, some of it for pure necessity, and some of it for pleasure.  Laura hated to sew, but as her family didn't have the kind of wealth that would have been necessary back then to buy clothes ready-made, so sew she must.  She did enjoy knitting, though.  She knit mittens for her sister Carrie, a scarf for her Pa, and over one particularly long winter, six yards of lace to trim a petticoat.  Her mother Caroline is frequently mentioned to be knitting: socks, mittens, and wristlets are all mentioned throughout the books.

So I thought to myself, why isn't there a book of Little House Knitting?  Obviously, it is because no one has written it yet.  So I thought, why couldn't I write it?  There are all kinds of vintage patterns available for free online, I could use some of those as inspiration for patterns for the specific projects in the books, and I could mix in my own designs for other patterns, either inspired by the books, the time period, or I could go way out on a limb and just try to capture an essence of the characters in a completely modern project, as so many people have done with Jane Austen's work.

It's a thought, anyway.  Right now my time is rather consumed with work, baby, and moving.  And posting this on the interwebs may lead to someone borrowing it and writing their own book, and then my work will be done for me, and I can just reap the rewards (and patterns), for an undoubtedly atrocious price.

Meanwhile, here is a baby, wearing mittens that I knitted for him.

The reason that he's wearing a slightly too-small hat, mittens, and two sleepers while indoors is because on the day the pic was snapped, our heater had been out for over 24 hours and the house was freezing cold.  I myself was wearing long underwear, the world's thickest socks, jeans, a sweater, gloves, and a hat, and I was still shivering.  Fortunately my husband was able to get the heater running just long enough to heat the house up to "tolerable," before the whole thing died again and we called the landlord.

It's so charming to think that now that we're going to be homeowners, we'll have to deal with this kind of thing on our own.

Closeup of the mittens:

  They are Teresa Murphy's Nordic Baby Mittens.  Delightful little pattern.  I added some length to the cuff in the hopes that it would help them stay on (nope).  My floats weren't as loose as would have been ideal, so they're not as roomy as they ought to be, but they're darn cute.  I used Steinbach Wolle Sockenwolle, which is a nice acrylic/wool/nylon blend.  I'm finding more and more that I really like working with fingering-weight yarn.  It's very rewarding.

In other news, I finally finished my Hermione mittens.  I'm not sure if my gauge changed over the last year, or if I managed to sneak in a few extra rows before I decreased, but the second mitten is a good inch longer than the first.  It makes for a very distracting and frustrating floppy bit at the end of my fingers, which is very disappointing in an otherwise delicious pair or mittens.

Also pictured was my dinner that day, Betty Crocker's Barley-Vegetable Skillet, or Vegetable-Barley Saute, or something along those lines.  It was very colorful and filling, but it turns out that I don't really care for lima beans.  Or barley.  At least not at 9pm after an evening-long battle with Mr. Crankypants.

Stay tuned for more knitting from 2012.

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