Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Knitters' Long-Term Effects

As you can see, I am moving along on Mr. Greenjeans in Red. What appears to be a big blob there is actually the top of the cardigan, heading to the armholes. It's got a very wide top, and that's because a) it has a wider neck than a lot of cardigans and b) there is a pretty wide band of ribbing that goes along the front edge--12 rows.

I just love this Cascade 220 handpaint yarn. It's normal Cascade 220, so it's nice worsted weight wool, but the colors are so pretty. They are more subtle in person than in the photo, I think. It will go so well with much of what I wear!

The title to this post is "Knitters' Long-Term Effects," and I came to that last night while sitting on the couch with Lee, knitting calmly and watching Monday Night Football after my community chorus rehearsal, winding the day down. I was thinking, "This is what I always looked forward to doing when I grew up." Then I remembered how that vision of the future came to be!

It's the influence of someone I don't think about often, but who really had an impact on me as a "slightly troubled teen." Lila Brunell was the lady across the street from us when I was young and lived in Gainesville, Florida. She was a nurse and her husband was the head dietitian at the local VA hospital. They had met in the Navy and had a pretty interesting life--my favorite part was when the lived in Iceland--I loved those stories (which included yarn!). They settled down in Gainesville with their incredibly hyper Basenji dogs at the end of their working careers.

They were really nice to me, and I spent a lot of time over at their house the last couple of years I lived in Gainesville. She was a knitter and helped me with knitting, though mostly at that time I crocheted endless granny squares and embroidering on my jeans (I mean, I was 11-13, OK?). We moved away to horrible (to me) south Florida when I started 8th grade. I was totally miserable. My parents took pity on me and let me go back "home" for two weeks the next summer. They were especially kind to let me visit the Brunells and NOT my grandmother (one mean ole woman). So, I stayed at their house, visited old friends, rode a borrowed bike through all my old haunts, and reveled in being "home" for a while. During the days they were at work, and I read their books (including The Joy of Sex--how convenient it was that they left that out in plain sight). In the evenings, we'd eat, then sit around while Lila knitted and Ralph watched TV. I crocheted along. I remember asking if she ever finished a sweater--she was about at the point I am now with Mr. Greenjeans, and going back and forth on very long rows. She laughed and said she would, but the idea was more to enjoy the making of the sweater.

They were so happy together. Comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. It seemed so warm and pleasant to sit and knit and have nice conversation about current events (with no pesky little brother to bother me). That is when I put it into my mind that when I was grown up, I wanted a nice, warm room where I could sit and knit with someone I loved, feeling relaxed, safe and comfortable--and enjoying the process of my craft.

And now I get to do that! No matter what is happening, I have my warm cozy room, my wonderful yarn and my supportive man at my side. I have arrived at last.

Ralph died when I was a senior in high school. My dad and I drove up to Gainesville for the funeral. It was important to me to be there. I wanted to show Lila that I was going to turn out well, and to thank her for being there for me. She moved away before I went to college, so I didn't get to see her when I returned. That's too bad--she'd have loved all the things I was knitting by then! And I hope her spirit is somewhere appreciating that she had a positive effect on a young girl.

(I had accidentally posted this to my personal blog, then realized it would work there, too, so I have two of the same post--if you read both, don't think you have started seeing double! And if you want to read the other one, ask me and I will give you the URL.)

1 comment:

  1. I've added Mr GreenJeans to my queue on ravelry after seeing from your link. It looks like a fun knit.

    I've been wanting to see the Cascade Handpainted yarns. Haven't found it at a yarn store up here in Seattle yet.

    The colorway you are using looks pretty!


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