Educating Myself as I Knit
It has been two weeks since my last post. I was silent last week. Last week was a week for listening only. Listening to voices that have been silenced or ignored for far to long. As I sit down to write this week, I feel strange. It seems so strange to write about knitting and yarn when so much is going on in the world. Coronavirus hasn’t gone away. Racism hasn’t gone away. It is encouraging to see so many protesting in the streets. I hope that this time the movement will continue when the big protests are over and the real work begins. We must all work for change. Every single one of us. We must end systemic racism. We must work until all persons are treated equally. Black lives do matter, and if, after all of this you are still responding to that statement with, “All lives matter”, then you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It’s time to educate yourself and do some real soul searching.
I am going to start with what I have been reading and watching this week, and then, if you are still here, you can read about what I have been knitting.
I watched “13th” (I have linked it here. It is on Netflix and Youtube) this week. It was as painful for me to watch as documentaries on the Holocaust. In many ways, it was even more difficult. This is a history of the United States. Here is the Wikipedia summary of 13th:
“13th is a 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay. The film explores the "intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States;" it is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States and ended involuntary servitude except as a punishment for conviction of a crime”
That’s right. Slavery continued, particularly in the south, under the guise of “punishment for conviction of a crime”. Watch the film. Pay attention.
What I am reading:
I have just begun The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I am only a few chapters in, and already, I have been captivated by the language. From the Goodreads summary:
“Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her — but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.”
The writing is so hauntingly beautiful. The pain experienced by Hiram walker is tangible. It is one thing to know that slavery, an abstract idea for most of us, existed. It is quite another to experience it through the eyes of a slave. Read the book. Share the experience and the burden while reading something beautiful.
Not all of my reading this week was educational. I also finished Rick Riordan’s “The Hidden Oracle”. It was pure mindless escapism. Not great escapism, but definitely mindless. The book is a spin-off of the Percy Jackson series. There is a lot of action, but the characters are a little flimsy and very predictable. I like the concept of gods and demi-gods walking and living among us, but the stories were not very compelling.
I have a finished object! Remember the Big Easy Blanket from my last post? It is finally finished. I thought I would never complete it. Once I started knitting on it ever day, it knit up rather quickly. It now resides in the living room, where the cats are enjoying it very much. Aren’t all of the knits really made for the cats?
My Afterthought Everything socks are progressing nicely. However, they are no longer the afterthought everything socks. I read through the pattern and quickly realized that the pattern by Erica Kempf Broughton is really a forethought sock. In order to follow the pattern, I would have had to figure out where to place the heels and toes as I knit the tube, and that meant counting rows. What I really wanted to do was just to knit a really long snake, using up as much of the yarn as I could. Now what? Well, fortunately, I am participating in a Sock Hop class via Zoom through The Local Yarn Store. Gretchen Fancher, who is teaching the class is going to virtually hold my hand as I cut my knitting. I used the parameters described in the pattern to figure out about how long to make the tube, and I will take it from there. Here is a picture of the long sock snake. The yarn is Paca Peds in colorway Age of Steel. I am knitting the socks on US size 1 (2.25 mm) dpns. When I do this again, I will cast on with a provisional cast on, knit all of the yarn into a tube, an then add ribbing, toes and heels in a contrasting color.
I also have a new cast on. I cast on my Rift tee, by Jacqueline Cieslak, for the Rift KAL, also hosted by The Local Yarn Store. This is a really fun pattern. I love that there is a formula for a custom bicep. I am using Berroco Mantra in the colorway Twilight. I am knitting it on size 8 needles. I got the recommended stitch gauge, but the fabric is very open. I love it in the stockinette portion of the sweater, but I have mixed feelings about the twisted rib. The ribbing is so open that it looks more like lace than ribbing. I thought about re-swatching and dropping down to a smaller needle, but I really love the drape of the silk fabric, so I have decided to look at the “lace” ribbing as more of a decorative detail. So far so good. I am enjoying the pattern so much that I may knit it again in a more appropriate yarn weight.
I did have some homework for a virtual VKL class on steeking that I am taking today, but I will hold off on that until after it has been steeked.
That’s all for this week. My Stash Dash count is 1591.1 meters. Hopefully I will add socks to that count this week. Until next time, wash your hands and happy knitting!