No Lack of Personality

Before we got married, Marc and I got some premarital counseling in which we took a test to determine our personality types. Now, it has been awhile, and the details are a bit fuzzy, but I remember that we were likened to certain animals – golden retriever, otter, etc. I don’t really remember what I was or what it meant, but I was reminded of this the other night when we all sat down to read our bedtime story. You see, every night for the last seven years or so, we have read a chapter of a book together before bed. Up ’till recently, the kids just sat quietly while I read, but that is changing. Ever since Beka learned to knit, we have been having a needlework revolution in our house. So, now, as I read the chapter, each kid sits busily knitting or crocheting (or trying to knit or crochet) while they listen. This reminded me of that personality test, because each kid goes about this very differently.

Abby learned to make a chain with yarn and hook a few years ago. She tried to learn single crochet, but it was hard and she couldn’t do it perfectly. So, instead, she worked at her chain until she had it down pat. She turned almost an entire ball of Red Heart into a long chain before she was ready to try another stitch. Once she perfected it, she moved on to a baby blanket, entirely stitched in single crochet. Every single stitch is perfect. Perfect. Better than even I could do. Her tension is constant and her joins (she is doing stripes) almost invisible. Amazing. But, then again, that is how she approaches life. She won’t even start something that she isn’t sure she can ace. And, everything that she starts, she aces.

Noah is our only boy. He lives most of his life in an imaginary world of robots, rockets and random explosions. He sat down to learn how to crochet, choosing a very masculine brown tweed. I taught him to chain, and he does it well enough. But, for him, it is not about the act of crocheting, rather, it is about having a really cool rope. No, it’s a chain. No, it’s a wrap for a sword hilt, or maybe a sling for a broken arm. Whatever. He is so imaginative and creative, a simple chain of yarn opens the door to myriad adventures. That is why this kid doesn’t need toys. He can take anything and turn it into fun. He is endlessly creative and amazingly inventive.

Beka is my girly girl. She learned to knit and crochet expressly for the purpose of spending time with me, doing what I do. She is all about the knitting bag, the pretty needles or hook and the colorful yarn. She churns out necklaces, bracelets, rings, and an occasionally a scarf. Her skills are being used to make herself and those around her pretty. She sits and chats as if she were my peer as she stitches away on some new accessory. Once again, this is her personality to a tee. Do you see what I mean?

Lastly, there is Emma. She is three, and so far the skills required to join the rest of us in our crafting have evaded her. But that doesn’t stop her at all. She sits and listens to the story with hook and yarn. She is busy, and intent, her little hands constantly moving. She wraps the yarn around the hook and pulls, and twists and lets it fall and starts again. She only asks for help occasionally, and rarely gets frustrated. She has yet to produce anything but knots, yet she continues diligently and happily. And that is who she is. Since she could toddle around behind me, she has been a good helper. Cleaning, contributing, working hard with a smile on her face. She may not have the skills or the knowledge, but that girl has the right attitude.

So, to be fair, I guess I should reveal my personality type, right? Okay, here goes – I get bored easily. I never have less than four projects going at the same time, and usually it is more. I want to be challenged, but I occasionally fall back on simple quick knits to boost my self-esteem. I get obsessive about certain projects, but if I neglect a project for too long, it will never get finished. I am a starter, and must force myself to finish. Yep. This is an accurate description of me in general….

Tonight, after every tubby has been taken, every tooth is brushed, and pajamas are donned, the kids will once again reach for their yarn as I get out “The Last Battle” by CS Lewis. I will read the next chapter to them and as they listen yarn will flow through their fingers. Once again I will marvel at the variety in our family, and how blessed I am to have each one of them.

New Knitters are Adorable (and Weird Sleeve Issues)

A beginning knitter is an adorable thing, especially when said knitter is five years old. Eager to begin her second knitting project, Beka asked if she could use some of my yarn. After a moment of panic (not the Malabrigo!!!!) I said yes (of course. Get her hooked, keep her hooked). We approached the stash together, she with eyes aglow and I with my heart in my throat. Would she take the Dream in Color Classy (for which I have no plans, but it is so beautiful!) or the Madelintosh Eyre (same as before, only more beautiful). She looked it all over and declared she wanted blue. “Which blue?” I asked. “What are you going to make?” “A scarf for Stone (her cousin),” she said. And then she reached in, past the Louisa Harding Grace (which I do have plans for), past the Schafer Yarns Miss Priss (I know I bought this for something. Now, what was it?) and she grabbed this:

“Stone will love these colors!” She declared happily. I cast on twenty stitches and she has been knitting ever since. That is fine. The last thing this house needs is another yarn snob. I will teach her about yarn selection when she can buy her own stash! 🙂

Now, about my knitting. I thought I was so smart, didn’t I? I even bragged about how I was “guaranteeing” a set of sleeves for Abby’s sweater. Well, second sleeve knit and blocked looked like this :

Now, before any one asks, Abby has two extremely similar arms, possibly identical. And, yes, I took copious notes while knitting the first sleeve. Copious. So, what went wrong? I spent all day wondering that. I counted the rows on each sleeve. Identical. I checked my gauge on each sleeve. Identical. This is just too weird. Finally, I decided that I would knit a third sleeve and hope to get a pair. It was a painful decision. If the sweater had been for me, it would have been frogged and forgotten. But, Abby’s sweet blue eyes asking me, “When, Mama? When will my sweater be done? Oh, I can’t wait to see it!” were enough to keep me going.

Strangely enough, when I went in to unpin it, I found that while drying, it shrank back down to the size I had intended! (I had only pinned the cuff) Amazing! Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I have started the body of the sweater and I’m not looking back! Yeehaw! This is fun, after all!

That’s My Girl!

A while back, I blogged about my five year old who learned to knit [here]. She has worked on and off since then on her first project, a scarf. I had my doubts as to whether she would finish it…

Beka learned to bind off yesterday.

She is so proud. I am so proud.

Then, she said something wonderful. “Mama! I still have yarn leftover! I can make another one!”

That’s my girl!

Yes, That is My Daughter

I have to brag on my daughter, Beka, yet again. The child who learned to knit the other day is making wonderful progress on her scarf.

Garter stitch scarf in Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky Pink Candy (I know, cheap and nasty acrylic. What can I say? The pretty colors are all that matters to my girl. We’ll get her some good yarn for her next project… ) I have knit maybe 25% of this and she has only lost one stitch, so far. (I don’t know where it went. We cast on 12 and now there are only 11. Hmmmm)

I, on the other hand, got a terrible case of startitis and have started this

Aeolian Shawl in Madelintosh Prairie Nutmeg (I hear you saying,”You barely made any progress on that”. But if you count all the stitches I frogged before I remembered to place a lifeline, you’d see that I have accomplished quite a lot!)

and this

Swatching for a new shawl design. I call it Hug. It is a new design I am working on in Dream in Color Classy Wisterious

and this

A sweater for “Jo-jo” in Knit Picks Cadena Cranberry (Emma picked out the button).

Fortunately, I also happened to finish that last one. Doll clothes are fun to design and fast to knit!