February 9, 2009

Some of you are going to read this post and think "um, what?". To you, I give this video link. Go watch it and be amused and happy that I suggested it to you.

Apologies for the absence. I shall once again lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of work. Work and my new baby niece, for whom I am knitting a blanket.

Yes, for those that do not know of my crafty hobby, I knit. It is something that I do when I sit and watch TV. If you've ever watched TV with me for more than five minutes, you know that I have a tendency to move my legs. Back and forth, up and down, kind of a roundabout motion... they all make an appearance. Sometimes it's only one, sometimes it's both. Either way, it's easy to see that it would get on anyone's nerves. Knitting keeps my legs still. Or at least more at rest than otherwise.

It started when I was a kid. I don't remember exactly why I wanted to learn how to knit, but I did. Maybe it was my neighbour, Mrs. Casey, who sat on her front porch and knitted all day while watching the street. If we were out playing and needed a rest or were between games, we'd go over and sit and say hello and watch her knit and talk. It was nice.

But she didn't teach me how to knit. I think, in some ways, I was a little scared of Mrs. Casey. First, when she got mad, she would slip into French, which I hadn't started learning in school yet (and never would learn to the degree I'd be able to understand what she was saying). Normally, when I don't understand the language (which happened pretty much all the time with Dad and the relatives on his side), I'd smile and wait to hear my name. But this was different because I wasn't related to her and I wasn't used to the sound of French. So if I was walking by her house and heard French coming out, I just turned around and got out of dodge. French sounded angry to me.

Second, she had a habit of referring to herself in the third person. What's that all about anyway? "Come and help Mrs. Casey move this chair," or "You tell Mrs. Casey if you'd like something to drink." I had only been using pronouns for a few years, but I was pretty sure I had the rules straight. She was breaking the rules.

Anyway, there was a nice lady at church who offered to teach me how to knit. I don't know if Mom asked her or if I did, but either way I ended up at her house eating McDonald's and learning to knit. For those of you that my have missed that: I was eating McDonald's and learning to knit. She could have been teaching me how to paint by numbers and as long as there was McDonald's I would have kept coming back.

I learned how to knit a scarf. Mostly. Then I put it away because I discovered girls and dancing. That's another story.

I stopped knitting for several years. Like maybe almost two decades. I don't remember when or why I started again, but I just had an urge and bought some needles and some yarn and tried to make a scarf again. It took a while to relearn how to do it by myself, but I did. Mostly. Then I put it away again because I had better things to do like play video games and go to the movies.

Then a few years later, I started again. Again, don't remember the reasons why, maybe I just found my old needles and yarn and decided I had to use it up. Whatever the reason, I've been knitting ever since.

My typical position for knitting, as you remember, is in front of the TV. This means that I have made a choice about what I knit because I must divide my attention between yarn manipulation and the entertainment being piped into my head. One of these things I enjoy more than the other. Therefore, I knit scarves.

Scarves are easy because I only have to go back and forth until I figure it's long enough. Then I stop. I make simple scarves, because the total amount of attention that I am willing to give to my knitting and take away from TV can be summed up as habitual movement. If it's got a pattern, forget it. Who can read those things anyways?

Okay, a couple of years ago, I got a baby niece and decided I wanted to do something different for her. I decided I would learn to knit a blanket. Blankets, I reasoned, are just great big scarves. You go back and forth, and when it's long enough you stop. I chose some yarn and what I thought would be an easy pattern to work with and ta-da! It sucked! It was the hardest thing I had ever done and I missed a lot of good TV.

But I did learn that some patterns can be repetitive. And repetitive was what I wanted. So after I finished that blanket, I started messing around with other kinds of patterns, and they weren't as hard as I thought they'd be. I knitted another baby blanket for the newborn of some friends. Then I knitted a giant blanket for my wife, which was really easy because it was just three big scarves that I stitched together afterward.

So now I'm knitting another baby blanket for my newest niece, Holly. I should have started it a lot earlier than I did (two weeks before the baby is due is not the time to start knitting a blanket, in case you were trying to work out the logistics on your own). Now Holly has arrived, but the blanket isn't finished yet. I can't let her go too long without it, that would be cruel. It's a baby blanket, not a toddler blanket. Therefore, I have to watch a lot of TV when I'm not at work.

And that's why there hasn't been a post in a while.