Something that may surprise you (or not) when you look at the ridiculous amount of knitting here is that I am a writer. But it is true.
It is also true that one of my teachers - Wayson Choy, someone I had already considered to be absolutely wonderful - has encouraged me to knit even at the expense of writing because it is important to go wherever your creativity leads you.
Well, here is where my creativity led me when I read Wayson's latest book, Not Yet: A Memoir of Living and Almost Dying.
I made these for him as a present - I so love when things like that actually fit, don't you?
This design is important to me for lots of reasons, but in knitting terms it is all about the thumb, which I redid about a million times before I settled on a gusset I liked. My technical editor tells me that this particular approach is unusual - and I am taking that as a compliment because it's so comfy.
The yarn choice gave me a lot of trouble too. I was swatching about the tenth hopeless attempt when my order from Toots LeBlanc & Co. turned up in the mailbox:
No matter how I tried to make do, Wayson's gloves needed to start with yarn that suggested it had seen animals fairly recently and hadn't had too much fussing over it since then. I had intended my much-coveted Jacob/Alpaca DK for something else, but when I saw it, I knew it was The One.
After that I had to put my sense of Wayson's approach to writing into words. One word, to be exact. One word that translated into Chinese in, ideally, two pictographs simple enough that even I could embroider them.
I spent a lot of time browsing through dictionaries before I was rewarded with this:
The pictograph on the left means 'mouth' and the one on the right means 'sprouting plant.'
When you put them together, they mean eloquence.
Isn't that beautiful? and it applies, I think, to artists in every conceivable medium, making an embroidered pair of these gloves perfect for anybody who works with their hands in a cold place.
Of course it must be said that if you don't embroider them, the thumb is reversible. And that makes it perfect for kids playing or snacking outside in cool weather, so I did a kids' size.
And then I thought, mittens are only a little bit more work to do - so I added instructions for that in all the kids' and adults' sizes.
I worked this particular cuff in Open Flame, an exclusive colourway from the Vesper Sock Club, for some extra zing. You gotta be in the club to get your hands on cuties like this! All Julia's sock colours are fabulous, though, and any bits of leftover sock yarn do just as well.
Knitting aside, I love this book. There is so much in it to relate to, and so much joy, inspiration, and hope. It is amazing enough to have such astonishing experiences and live to tell them, but to have Wayson's particular brand of eloquence too - that is something very special. Not Yet is, I think, a perfect gift.
(and so is a pair of Eloquence!)
Download .pdf of Eloquence