Monday, January 23, 2017
Knitting And Grandmothering
I am back at the farm after a few days helping out with the grandchildren while the little one was sick. (Thankfully, she is better now.) One way I help is by providing "car service." I drive to school, pick up after school, drive to dance lessons and haircuts and so on. That lets Mommy skip a lot of buckling and unbuckling in car seats for multiple trips every day. And it's nice to let the sick one continue napping when it's time for these trips and errands.
I often am a responder grandmother—one who leaves on a moment's notice when circumstances demand it. So I keep a "basket of bags" sitting by the sewing machine. It's easy to grab a few knitting projects to take with me when I need to go. I put yarn, pattern, knitting needles, stitch markers, and maybe even a tape measure in a clear ziptop bag. (Tape measures cost less than a dollar at Hobby Lobby.) It's like making knitting kits.
I usually keep a sock project, a baby hat or two and maybe a shawl or scarf ready to pick up and go. Sometimes—especially with baby hats—I'll even do the cast on and knit a row or two, then it goes in the bag ready to pick up and knit. Bagging up these knitting kits means I need a few extra sets of knitting needles, but I love having several kits to choose from when I leave in a hurry.
Some of my knitting time while being "helper Mimi" was early in the mornings. I would work quietly in my room while Mommy and the sick one got some extra sleep. The light in that room isn't the best. Working with dark yarn is always a challenge but I knew that working with dark yarn over a light background makes the knitting easier to see. This time it was a white washcloth in my lap. It might not be a bad idea to keep a light color dish towel or handkerchief in your knitting bag for this purpose. It really helps.
When you are a traveling knitter, you probably discover from time to time that you don't have quite all of the normal tools/accessories with you. There are so many ways to use everyday items to make do. A mom in the dance class waiting area found a big safety pin for me to use as a stitch marker as I cast on 120 stitches for this tubular scarf. (I had driven straight from home to dance class and met Mommy there. I stayed with Little Sister while she had class and let Mommy take Baby Girl home.) And when I knitted in early mornings in this girly household, it wasn't hard to find a small hair rubber band to keep the stitches from slipping off the needles when it was time to put my work down.
If you are a newer knitter, you might not have thought about all the work-arounds that you can use as you knit. Paper clips work as stitch markers and cable needles. You can use bread twist ties as stitch markers, too. And wine corks can work to keep yarn on the needles when you put the work away. Goodness, you could even knit with chopsticks if you are desperate. Just think before you give up when your regular tools aren't handy.
I have found that always having my knitting with me helps me stay centered when life is a little chaotic. It's like meditation with yarn.