Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And they're off!

The first round of hats was delivered today. For some reason that I haven't wholly figured out, it was important to me to deliver them in person, at least once. DS2 and I packed up and headed over. Getting there is a bit of a pain. We drove through Cambridge to the BU Bridge, around and over by BU, then down the Riverway. This was an error, as there was no left turn onto Longwood, but I managed to make my way back over. The Longwood Medical area is overwhelming! I can't even imagine the sheer numbers of post-BA education walking around there!

We found parking, though not in quite the correct lot. This lot had no pedestrian access to the street, so I had to walk down the ramp that we had just driven up. Normally this wouldn't bother me too much, but with DS2 in the stroller, it made me a tad nervous. We then walked down to Children's. The last time we were there was for DS2's hearing test, but the memories of his stay there kept coming up. The lobby was crowded, which I realized felt odd to me, as pretty much the only time I was there was to go from the NICU (7 North) to the crappy sleeping accommodations in a different building, that involved crossing the lobby at 2 in the morning. I only went to the sleeping room at night, and only for about 2-3 hour stretches, as I needed to be feeding DS2 every 3 hours. Fun times.

Anyway, we went up to the unit, and the Nurse Manager (C) came out. She was so pleasant and nice, and so very appreciative for the work I've done. She *loved* the hats, including the fun fur hat, which, while I loved it, I wasn't sure if it was appropriate or not, so that was reassuring. And she does want the dishcloths too, which is great, because I have a ton of variegated yarn to knit up and with at least two balls of it, I don't like how it knits up for the hats. I told her to let me know on the sizes, how these work, and what they might need more or less of.

One nice thing: when DS2 and I were in the elevator, there were two doctors with us. One said "Are those knitted hats?" (I had them in a ziplock and was just carrying them). I said yes. He said "Did you knit them yourself?" I said yes, I did. He said "Wow, that's so great!"

It's funny. I want them to be helpful and useful. When I knit, I try to think of projecting love and strength and hope onto them (yeah, I know, sort of weird, but I believe in intentions and energy). I've had a couple of times where things just haven't gone well, and I've put it away rather than knit in a crabby mood, since I don't want that energy on these little hats. It's nice to be appreciated, but honestly, I'm taking so much pleasure in the making of them, that it almost feels selfish. Like, I'm getting credit for doing a nice thing, but really, I'm just doing something that allows ME to not only have a great time, but feel like I'm doing a tiny bit of good as well. I'd be knitting either way, and it's MUCH more fun to knit, well, with a purpose.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Here Goes!

I spoke with CT, the Nurse Manager at the NICU (who is so nice, at least on the phone!), and I'm taking the first batch in tomorrow! I'm nervous. I feel like it's my first time knitting for non-friends/family-members, and what if my work is lacking? What if I've totally screwed up the sizes? Made too many small hats? Not enough small hats? What if they hate them? I honestly don't think they will, but that's my fear.

But, here's what I'm taking them!

The Fruit Hats

The Acorn Hat
(This one was knit using Sugar'n Cream rather than the Tahki cotton, so it's a bit heavier, but I think it works.)

The Blueberry Hat
(This is the Tahki cotton, and the blue REALLY pops!)

The Pumpkin Hat (there's two of these)
(The Tahki cotton)

The Strawberry Hat

(I could also see doing the seeds in black.)

The Watermelon Hat
(This is my own design, and I quite like how it came out!)

The Other Hats

The Blue Fuzzy Hat
(This is an acrylic yarn that is SO super-soft, and HORRIBLE to work with! I kept dropping stitches and having to frog it and start over. Which is too bad, because the hat knits up in an hour or so.)

The Pink Fuzzy Hat

(Ditto on this one.)

The Sherbet Hat

The Purple Fun Fur Hat
(This is a microspun yarn with fun fur, my own design. Next time I'll do the fur a bit higher up.)


The DW Dishcloth

(I used this pattern.)

Monday, October 23, 2006


[Note - I hope I can get this to post, as Blogger seems to be having massive ills lately.]

I started this blog to talk about knitting, of course, but also to have a place to think some more about things in my life beyond just the mundane of my day-to-day existance. I love my life and my family, but I'm longing for a bit more, something for ME. The knitting for the NICU is one thing for me. I'm having so much fun with it. I hope the items are useful for them, but really, I just love the knitting.

The other thing I'm planning to do is become a Certified Childbirth Educator. Yikes! To actually state it "out loud" is a bit scary. I want to do this. I feel like it's a good fit for me, it's a subject I'm passionate about, I love teaching, it's manageable. I've been stalling on moving forward, but a couple of things have happened to make me feel more sure that it's the right path. The small thing is that someone is sending me a coupon for $100 off the class! A random stranger, just doing something nice. The bigger thing is that when I posted on this ALACE group, I got an email from the woman who was my doula for DS2's birth. She's an amazing woman, just so gentle and calm and centered, and was so great during his birth. Well, she's the leader for this program and will be mentoring me through it! That was the CLICK I needed to move forward. So, I have to polish off the essay, and send it in. I can do this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Change is good, right?

I'm definitely in a period of transition. I had an interesting dream the other night. I dreamed I was at some weekend thing at Kripalu, though for some reason I was camping out. I was supposed to meet up with some people but they didn't show, so I missed the whole event, sitting around feeling twisted up and sad and angry and rejected. As I thought about this dream, it seems very interesting and relevant to where I'm at right now. Kripalu symbolizes self-focused healing and spiritual growth for me. So, in my dream, I was missing this opportunity to do something healing and nurturing for myself, because I was not just waiting around for my friends, but being stood up by them!

I have two friends that I met when our children were all very young (like, weeks). We were all intensely connected. We spent a huge amount of time together, often seeing each other twice a day, every day during the week. One of these women, S, dumped me over the summer. It's been very painful, but I'm definitely moving on. It's very hard because DS1 loved her son, and still often asks about him, even though we haven't seen them in months. The other woman, B, and I have tried to remain friends, but it's clear to me that it's ending as well. For one, her daughter really doesn't play well with my boys, and how she chooses to handle it is quite different from how I would handle it. I think that when we met, we were all very much in the same place with how we parented, but things have changed. For one, I've had second child (20 months younger than my first), and having two so close together changes everything. S, as far as I know, doesn't want another, and B is struggling with secondary infertility. We are just in different places, B and I, and I don't think the friendship is going to survive it, certainly not in the form that it had. I feel both sad, and relieved about this.

I tend to be extremely loyal, to the point where I struggle tremendously with change and with letting go. But this is an okay letting go. I feel like I can let her go with love. Maybe some day we can be friends again, but it doesn't work now. The fact that I can accept that fairly easily is huge.

I am not religious, but I am spiritual, at least, I am spiritually seeking. I don't know if I believe in God (god), but I do believe in what I call the universe. I believe that when I am moving in the right direction, my path is easier. Not without work, I'm not sure there's anything valuable without work, but rather, things fall into place. I feel like the message I'm getting from the universe right now is Clean Your House. Clear out the clutter, let go of the old, stale things that no longer work, sweep out the corners, and make room for the new!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pondering the Possibilities

I am having so much fun with this knitting project. I don't anticipate I'll keep at it with the same intensity, because I have my own projects to do as well, and I don't want to overload them with 4,000 hats! But, I am thinking about a way to keep doing this over the longer term (the next couple of years, anyway) as opposed to this being a one-time thing. One thing I am thinking about is how possibly to fund my yarn purchases!

I am thinking about possibly trying to *gulp* sell some of my creations on-line, maybe at etsy? I have no idea if they would sell at all, but others are certainly selling them (and not crediting Ann Norling at all, or claiming that they designed the hat). I have written a letter that I will send off to her tomorrow, requesting permission to sell a few hats, and we'll see where it goes from there! If I sold one hat a month, that would probably more than cover any yarn expenses, and I would donate anything left over at the end of the year to a children's cause. We'll see what, if anything, she says! I am not particularly hopeful that she'll say yes, but really, even if that happens, it only means that the money comes out of a different budget, you know? It feels sort of overwhelming to think about *selling* my things. I have no idea how to run a business!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Home again, home again.

I spent about 30 hours away from my family this weekend, for the first time since DS2 was born. It was lovely, though I admit that I had a bit of trouble figuring out what to do with myself at first! I was back at my college for Homecoming. I haven't been to this in many years - the last time I was there, I believe I was single, and still drinking. It was lovely to be there sober, but a bit emotional as well. Suprisingly so. I did get to spend time with old friends, which was also lovely. It's so nice to be so happy in my life now.

Hat update - I finished another one! This is a worsted cotton (maybe Sugar'n Cream?), in yellows/pinks/greens - very sherbety colors. I don't actually love the color scheme myself, but someone may! This is just a plain little hat, but I made the point extra long so it's looks sort of Dr. Seussian. This cotton is heavier weight that the cotton I'm using for the fruit hats, and I just kind of winged the gauge, but it came out nicely, and a good size, I think.

I've cast on a slightly larger pumpkin hat. I figure they'll need some bigger hats too, as not all their admits are preemies (my own son being full-term, for example!).

I've also gotten into the dish cloth thing. I am wondering if they can use them at the NICU, and I'm also contemplating switching from sponges to these clothes myself. My sponges seem to get funky really quickly, and these could be washed (and bleached?) every day. If they can't use them on the unit, I may still keep knitting them.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Why I Like Knitting, Part II

I had a couple more thoughts on why I like knitting.

I like counting and numbers. I like thinking along as I knit, oh I'm x% done with this row. I like using my brain in this small little way. Perhaps it's a tad obsessive, who knows? But I definitely enjoy it!

Also, each project is, for me, a leap of faith. Each project, at the very beginning, I think "Wow, I don't know if I can do this" or "this doesn't look right at all" or some such perfectionistic nonesense. With each bit of progress, I get more and more confident. Sometimes I *do* make mistakes and have to start over (I'm really not good at ripping out up to a point and then starting over, I haven't mastered that skill yet), but each time I start something, it's with the faith that I am able to do this, that I am competant, that I can.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why I Like Knitting

I had one of those frustrating starts to a project today (blueberry hat). I cast on, and realized after the first round that I hadn't cast on enough stitches (my head-math was off). So, I pulled it off. Then I thought, hey, I haven't used the long-tail c/o in a while, why don't I do that? I did, and it was so twisty! I am knitting these hats using the Magic Loop technique, and I've never had trouble joining the round, and this one was all twisted. So, I pulled that out, cast on my usual way, and joined and started knitting.

I love knitting for many reasons. I love using my hands to create. I love seeing the progress as I chug along. I love making useful things, some of which are beautiful, or at least, not bad. I've always loved crafts, and I used to cross-stitch, but this is better for me right now. Also, knitting challenges me, in some really wonderful ways. It challenges my perfectionism, and gives me practice in learning how to decide when to live with a mistake and when to pull it out and start over. I've struggled with perfectionism a long time, and my knitting really does make me think "Is this okay? Is it good enough?" Sometimes the answer is no, and it needs to be redone, but sometimes, surprisingly, the answer is yes! It's not perfect, but it's good enough. Knitting allows me to not be perfect (or even, at times, all that good) at something, and yet still enjoy it.

Knitting also calms my anxious mind. It gives me a focus for my hands and head, so that I can stop thinking quite so much. Or rather, my mind can become so full of what I'm doing, that there's not room for all the anxious chatter my mind creates, so I get some respite. This is a gift. Part of me wishes that I had the time and space and energy in my life to have a serious yoga and meditative practice. I don't right now, and that's okay. But, knitting allows me that time and space, and helps me with the practice of being. I am a head person, an (over)thinker, an (over)planner. I spend far more time that I'd like living in the future or the past. When I'm caught up in knitting, I can just be, right here, right now. It doesn't always work, of course, but when it does, it's quite wonderful.

I've done very little knitting for myself - a couple of scarves, a hat and one sock. Mainly I've knit for my children and other people's children. There's something really special to me about seeing my sons in things I have made them. As I knit these hats for the NICU, I try to project the love I feel for my wonderful boys onto them. It sounds a little crazy, but I want to think of these hats as another piece of love that these little babies could carry with them. They and their families probably need all the love they can get.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thinking about service.

There is a gentleman in my neighborhood who drives/rides a scooter. As I was pulling out today to go take the boys to play at a friend's house, I saw him go by. As he drove up onto the sidewalk, I saw the basket on the scooter come loose, and fall. I immediately stopped, got out, and gave him a hand.

I was feeling upset before that, about some silly LJ thing. I've been thinking about how scared I am of conflict, how much I nevereverever want to offend ANYONE, and even worse, hurt someone. I am sure I have hurt people, mainly through carelessness and alcohol abuse, but I try not to hurt people deliberately. I also try (I think) to see other people's perspective. Anyway, after I got back in my car, I thought "I think that was helpful for him, and it was really helpful for me." It put some things in perspective, that I was upset about something that I really didn't need to be upset about. Drama that I don't want, or need in my life. I can put this down. I am so blessed - I can walk, I have enough, so much more than enough, I have my family, my health, so many blessings. Why do I worry so much about what other people think?

I finished another hat today! This is quite possibly the cutest hat I've ever made. It's a watermelon hat, of my own design (inspired by a hat seen at the LYS, but not from their pattern). I am so excited at the thought of sending these hats along!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Welcome to Knitting with a Purpose

This is going to be separate from my real life blog, hosted elsewhere. I'm not working to keep this anonymous, I just want to do some writing about some things apart from the mundane, everyday things I tend to write about there. I'm not trying to Write, if you know what I mean, I don't think that's my craft. Rather, I just want to spend some time focusing on other things. The higher picture, rather than the details.

I chose the name because of a project I just started. I wanted to do some volunteer work, but couldn't figure out how to do it, what with being a SAHM to my two boys, and having no regular babysitter. Then it occured to me that perhaps there was a way to volunteer without actually leaving my home. I contacted the NICU at Children's Hospital in Boston, and asked if they might want knitted items - specifically, baby hats. The nurse manager was very interested in this, and I agreed to make some hats for them. I chose the NICU because that's where my younger son was treated for jaundice. Those first few hours, when he had some abnormal liver function test results, were among some of the lowest of my life (and I've had some big ones). Once that straightened out, and it turned out it was just simple, phsiologic jaundice, then it was just difficult and tiring, but not terrifying.

I started last week, and it's been so...fun! I am combining several loves here - knitting, babies, and service. It's been interesting to be knitting these hats. I've been thinking about what their needs might be - different sizes, different types of hats, and just excited at the thought that something I made might make a difference in someone's life. Not a big difference, I know. If your baby is in the NICU, that's just Not Good. But if I could make something pretty, something sweet, something whimsical or fun, and if it gave someone in a bad situation a moment of lightness, that would be worth something to me.

It's important to me, I guess, to be doing something useful and helpful in life. I've been lucky. In my pre-baby life, I was a therapist, and I know that I made a real and important difference in a number of my clients' lives. Nowhere near all of them, of course, no one is that good, but there were some...Being a mother, while so important to me, isn't giving in quite the same way. I can't quite articulate it, and maybe I'll work on doing that here.

So, knitting. I'm not an artist, really. My art has always been interpreting other people's work (music) and looking at what's there (photography), rather than creating (except for a short time where I wrote some poetry, some of it even good, if I do say so myself, but that part of me seems to be on a long-term hiatus). I've always loved crafts. I love taking a pattern and the materials and creating something. I learned to knit when I was young, but hadn't done it in years, until two years ago, when I decided to knit a pumpkin hat for my older son for his halloween costume. I was 8 weeks pregnant with my younger son when I took my "Knitting Fruit Hats" class (I was the only student). I was wanting a new craft, since previously I had been a cross-stitcher, but needles and toddlers/young babies seemed a bad mix to me. I fell in love. I've been pretty damn good about finishing projects, which is amazing for me. I've got several cross-stitch pieces yet to be completed, but only one knitting project hanging over me (a simple sweater knit before I discoved knitting from the top down). I love seeing the things I've made worn and used! I may be slipping into One Sock Syndrome, but once I get a fair whack of these hats done, I'll get back to the socks.

So, the hats. So far, I've completed a soft fuzzy plain pink hat, a pumpkin hat (the proportions are wrong on it though so I may not give it), and a fun hat - a deep purply blue microspun with a few rows of coordinating fun fur. I think it's adorable, and hopefully someone else will too.

I'm calling this blog Knitting with a Purpose because, I suppose, that's what it feels like I'm doing with these hats. Not just for me, or for my family. I feel good to be connecting with that part of me that wants to give.