Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Copenhagen Hat revisited, and other stories

Yesterday I had a nice e-mail conversation with Kate, during which I was reminded that I never put up a link in the Pattern Shop tab for the Copenhagen Hat...

... (in case you needed a visual refresher as to which one that is) to the Interweave Knits site for download.  It's on sale at the moment, in case you're looking for a new fall hat to knit.  And the link is now in the Pattern Shop tab too.  Thanks Kate!

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Skip ahead a section or two if you like your Hugs light, because I want to share two other things that came out of that exchange.

First up:  me reflecting on the stories behind every one of my patterns.  Most of my designs are wrapped up in some huge event or other because there is always so much going on, but there are a few stories that are pretty darn slight. 

In the case of the Copenhagen Hat, I usually consider the backstory to be just a whisper: I am pretty sure I was playing around with purl stripes in a hat when a call for submissions landed in my Inbox from Interweave and I put together a proposal which was accepted.

But on further thought I realized that is not the story at all.  When I look at the magazine photos of that hat, what I actually see is the draft I made for myself before the magazine's yarn arrived.  The green hat that I'm wearing in the picture here.  A lot of that hat, including the many many frogs and reknittings it took to get it exactly right, happened on the bus going to and from the residence where my mum lived during the last 18 months of her life. 

Her move to the retirement residence wasn't entirely happy - she had hoped to stay in her condo till she had to be carried out - but on the upside, it allowed her to make the best of her health situation.  At the residence she was able to retain a lot of independence and improve her social life - never mind all the concerts she got to hear (mum loved music and especially piano), for nearly a year she had all her meals with a good friend from her old neighbourhood, and in the last two weeks another old friend joined them.  Apparently there was a lot of laughing at that table, and a lot of late suppers as they lingered and chatted. 

For me, the upside was that she was just enough closer to me that I could see her for a morning visit for the cost of a subway token and not so much time lost as to make it impossible.  In the first few months I went a lot, and I distinctly remember showing her how that hat was coming along.  I even knit some of it while we caught up. 

When I think about mum's death I wish I'd been less busy over the past year so I could have spent more time with her toward the end.  I did go every week, and I called whenever I could - actually, I called more often than I caught her, because she was often out doing something - but it didn't feel like enough.  Being reminded about the Copenhagen Hat reminded me that actually, I did spend a lot of time with her.  And I have the hat to prove it.

So thank you again, Kate.

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The last thing Kate gave me was a heads up for Yarn Soup, a Dubuque haven for yarn, which MAN I wish I could visit.  It looks fantastic.  Because it's a bit of a distance for me I settled for reading through the store's blog where I stumbled across such an amazing life insight: that love wants to create.

Think about it.  You have to have a huge commitment to make something.  Whether it's essential to your survival or a luxury for a one-off event, it takes effort, unlike, say, lying on the sofa.  It's just logical that there is some deeper motivation than just whim.

Now, some of us make stuff for people we love, and that's an obvious illustration.  Love makes us want to nurture the people we feel that for.  That particular blog post - really, I encourage you to click the link and read the original because Sara says it better than I do - is about making things for charity which is another way of showing love, in the form of compassion.

But it struck me after reading that blog that the effort to make really comes from loving ourselves.  If you don't love yourself at all, you don't have any currency to recognize the difference you can make by showing your love for somebody else - so why bother? 

The thing I like about that idea is that a lot of us don't love ourselves all the time.  We're quicker to curse our stupidity than to congratulate ourselves when we avoid doing something stupid.  But even if we don't love ourselves most of the time: making stuff proves we have at least a little love in there for the people we are.

And I think that is pretty awesome, don't you?

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Speaking of love and making and - let's be honest - getting a little more purely grabby here - when I was at Bob's on Saturday touring his house and delivering the socks I made him, I admired two pottery jugs on his kitchen counter.  They were gorgeous, and I mean but gorgeous - simple perfect lines, no embellishment beyond slight ridges left by the potter's hands. 

Turns out Bob made them.

I'm just sayin'... and by that I mean I'm really just sayin', because Bob doesn't read Hugs... I would love it if he showed his love for me by creating another pair of those things and bringing them to my house.  I would make room for them.  And that isn't just sayin', because it would mean parting with yarn.

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And now to end on a sweet note, pretty much literally:  I went to the Posh Grocer's today and had a personal victory followed by a personal Oops. 

The victory is that I went to the Posh Grocer's.  I won't bore you with all the reasons that was a big deal but I will tell you that I'm trying to drive more, in trying conditions I would normally avoid like plague, so as to break down my fear of driving and, you know, other stuff like getting on planes that are about to take off.

So: not only did I get to the Posh Grocer's and park in the parking lot instead of a block away where it's easy to avoid all the trucks, I was able to pick up something Jill wanted at the same time.  Jill has done a lot of nice things for me, including driving me over to the Posh Grocer's at a time of day I would never, ever have attempted it, so it just felt amazing to be for ten minutes a competent grownup person who drove through insane amounts of construction amid oncoming traffic to park in a small lot and do a little favour for a friend at the same time.  Go me!

and... then I got to the checkout and the cashier noticed me eyeing Something and let me know that yes, in fact, the Bequet caramels are amazing and I should really try them.  I'm not going to take a picture of the cute bag, mostly because it's pretty much decimated at this point.  But I will add a link to the site for the maker.  (I got the green-wrapped ones, caramel with celtic sea salt.  MAN.)

And that is me for today.  I'm going to go see how far my sock yarn is going to go and I will see you, I hope, tomorrow.  Till then, take care! and be glad you can make stuff because it says so much about you, and all of it good.

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