Saturday, April 18, 2009

Knitting dork.

At last.

I found a chat thread on Ravelry that sings to my knitterly soul. Knitting dorks are EVERYWHERE.

A few of my favorites from knitters all over the world:

You know you're a knitting dork when . . .

  • …you knit at the hardware store while waiting for the nice man to mix 5 different colors of paint for DD’s bedroom mural.
  • I have two projects in my bag when I go to court, and the bailiff chastises me for forgetting, again, that I have pointy sticks in my purse. (I’m a lawyer, and while I remember all my stuff for my client, I frequently forget that I have knitting in my purse. The regular bailiff usually just asks what I’m making now and if I will ever knit him something.)
  • …you knit on your sock while you’re in the returns line at Costco. And there’s only one person in line in front of you.
  • …when you refer to “snow days” as “knitting days”!!
  • You know you’re a knitting dork when you take the train from Zurich to Düsseldorf, even though it would be way faster (and cheaper) to fly. But knitting is not permitted on airplanes and the train ride gave me 5 hours knitting time each way.
  • This is going to sound terrible, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, it very quickly occurred to me that one silver lining was that I had a lot of knitting time to look forward to during my treatments. I bought a bunch of gorgeous yarn and some beautiful patterns and got all set up. I got a pair of socks done after my surgery, but I healed up really quickly and had to go back to work, so no more knitting all day. When I finally started radiation, I was thrilled! All that waiting time…in the waiting room, then in the changing room…a knitters dream. Unfortunately, that particular cancer center is super efficient and I really had almost no time to knit! I even complained about it a couple of times and the techs would tease me about it, but if they were running behind they’d always ask if I could wait and let them take others first, knowing that I’d be more than happy to get a few rows in on my minimalist cardigan!
  • When you and your husband are discussing what coud happen if there was a severe economic depression and the first words out of your mouth are, “Well, I think I’ll be okay on yarn.”
  • When your daughter and her friends are talking about all the things their moms always say. The other kids say things like, “Don’t run with that; you’ll put your eye out,” and “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?” Your daughter thinks for a minute and says, “Mine always says, ‘wait until I finish this row!’”
I'm a knitting dork, ready and willing to broadcast my dorky-ness anywhere and any time. At church, people remark that I must own a particular sofa in the main lobby because I'm frequently knitting before and between Sunday School and one of the worship services (it's turned into a chat place for friends and passersby). I knit in theaters ("how can you see what you're doing?"), in waiting rooms ("I wish I had something to do, too!"), on planes ("what's that? crochet?"), in carpool ("Mom, can we go now?"), Concerts in the Park at Dunwoody Nature Center (bliss), and throughout the parent portion of various Scout meetings (stopping only for the Pledge of Allegiance and Scout Oath).

Some people hint that I have a lot of time to waste. Amazing. Knitters understand that ten and fifteen minutes grabbed here and there are simply punctuations to a very busy day. If I had a lot of time for knitting, I'd do it AT HOME.

Dunwoody's wonderful Lemonade Days is this weekend. I promised the teen and tween and their friends that I'd take them this afternoon. Guess what I'll be doing while they do the rides and junk food and craft booths etc.?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Speed traps

A guy wrote a letter to the local newspaper complaining about a speed trap near an elementary school. Three things wrong with his protest: the speed limit is the same it has always been, it doesn't change for the entire length of the road, and if you aren't speeding, no problem. Fact is, speeders have been a chronic irritant in front of Austin Elementary School; not too long ago, in Lithonia, a mom on a cell phone struck and killed a child in a crosswalk WITH A CROSSING GUARD IN THE MIDDLE. So I really can't empathize with Mr. "Don't Give Me A Ticket Just Because I'm Speeding In Front Of A School."

Speed is an inherent part of the American culture. We want to get to school, career, wealth, kids, retirement faster and earlier. Slow and steady are for plodders. The early bird gets the worm. Problem is, with everyone trying to get there faster, no one wins. I like what a fellow blogger (Hi, Pattie) said about driving the speed limit on North Peachtree Road (another speeders' delight). As more cars fell behind her, she found herself leading a longer line of otherwise-speeding drivers - happily, since she was doing her "small part" to slow everyone down.

I do it. I've been late to an appointment, en route to the emergency room, rushing from carpool line to music lesson and pushed it just a bit too much. But I've been consciously working on planning ahead and driving steadily. You'd think that would cause more stress. The contrary is true. I'm feeling much more relaxed and in control. Amazing.

Of course, since I'm a knitter, I also think about speed knitting. There are people who knit lightning-fast (I'm not one of them), their hands and fingers a blur of dexterity and focus. They often perform this feat without looking at their work.

Part of the pleasure of knitting is the process, the leisurely art of working with cashmere and silk, wool and cotton and sharing it with kindred spirits. So is there a place for speed in this craft?

I asked one of these speed-divas, "do you make a lot of mistakes doing that?" Nope. The knitting was wonderfully consistent in gauge, with nary a dropped stitch in sight. So I watched her technique and realized that the whole tossing versus throwing yarn was at the root of her fast Knits Per Minute. (Want to see what it looked like? Check out the "World's Fastest Knitter"

The continental knitting technique has definitely increased my speed, though I'm having to adjust some tension and gauge issues (much looser). It has also improved tension in my hands and reduced finger cramping. So while I really don't care about increasing knitting speed dramatically, it is nice to have an alternate method to give my muscles a rest.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's Up With That?

We have a special item on the agenda for the monthly meeting of the Peachtree Charter Middle School Executive Council (what a mouthful). It's called "What's Up With That?" in honor of Mrs. G, a teacher representative who is prone to Socratic questions about everyday things. The wonderful thing about "What's Up With That?" is how it challenges us to take a second look at something we might have otherwise have accepted at face value.

Life is full of "What's Up With That?" moments.
  • Mapquest directions that send visitors to Dunwoody Nature Center over to Roswell instead (Google Maps is more accurate).
  • Strangely painted bike paths that meander drunkenly so that the car lane is suddenly narrowed.
  • Hiking trails "clearly marked" on a map, yet with unmarked forks and social paths (usually created by nearby residents who have their own private accesses).
  • Daytime school meetings originally scheduled decades ago for stay-at-home-moms who are now the growing minority in this economy.
  • Racks filled with narrow, lowcut, ultra thin shirts that flatter only pre-adolescent, stick thin girls (and which do not satisfy moms of girls who prefer something more modest).
  • Landscape crews who park their trucks in a lane of traffic, plop down a few little orange cones and ignore the growing line of cars trying to get around them.
Those are a few of my most recent "What's Up With That?" moments. Bet you have at least one today.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Chorus of Hallelujahs

Happy Easter! The day has dawned beautifully here in Dunwoody. I wakened to birds chirping merrily and a soft breeze tinkling the wind chimes next door. The kids discovered the Easter Bunny had visited yet again (he doesn't stop just because they're hitting the teen years). We're dressing in our finery, doing a few last-minute preparations for our Easter lunch, and will soon make our way to St. Luke's.

All is not well in the world. And that's all the more reason to live faithfully.

Have a glorious day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Stay-cation

We spent Spring Break in Atlanta and it's been a very restful week. Oh, we've been busy - no lollygagging for the Knitternall family.

We spent Monday at the Georgia Aquarium (thanks to a tip from John Heneghen, our tickets cost just $15 each!) and the World of Coke.

I worked half-days Tuesday through Thursday, so we did some adventure-dining for lunch. Happy Sumo and the World Peace Cafe were big hits, and the lunchtime prices were satisfying as well.

Friday was movie day for the guys and shopping for the gals.

Today, the teen and I hit the trails at Kennesaw National Historic Battlefield for his next 10-mile hike (almost there - just one more hike and the Scout badge is DONE). It was a beautiful morning, but the incline was brutal. Straight up. Straight down. Up to the summit of Kennesaw Mountain, across Little Kennesaw Mountain, Pigeon Hill, and Cheatham Hill, round and back to the Visitor's Center via an access road. Note to self: next time, take fancy hiking poles because the branches we used were evidently declasse. The hikers we passed (and who passed us) were well REI-d for the day. Not that our branches didn't work. They just weren't COOL.

We also passed throngs of volunteers working on the trails. To get to their posts, they had to climb the same rigorous incline we did. The assigned jobs involved pickaxes for breaking rock, moving 25-30 pound rocks to build water breaks on the trails, and hauling fallen limbs and undergrowth to gathering spots along the trail. Mulching the trails at Dunwoody Nature Center is a cake walk in comparison.

Spring Break has been nice. We're refreshed and ready for the insanely busy time between now and school's end. I have Preschool Phonics classes to wrap up, summer schedules to finalize (how did the teen get old enough for driving school?), and a never-ending to-do list at work.

Meanwhile, it's good to be home. It'll be wonderful to celebrate Easter at church in the morning. And I look forward to tinkering with the vegetable garden in the warming weather ahead.

But I don't want to see another mountain trail. Anytime soon, anyway.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


A guy at church started it. When we had our Mission Miles fundraiser at St. Luke's, he suggested we offer pies as prizes. The fact that he is passionate about pies was of course at the root of his inspiration. So a parade of homebaked pies entered the hall, from chess and apple to fudge and pecan. Bagged and bowed, tagged and adorned, each pie was enticing and memory-evoking. One church member baked at least four because she couldn't decide which one she wanted to donate. Lead runners got their pick of the pies, and not a single one was left orphan at the end of the fundraiser.

So we started talking about pies. How they're a distinctly Southern thing. That there are pie people and cake people, and it's rare to find someone who likes both equally well. One Sunday School class learned that some folks pronounce them "pahs," and some crisply enunciate the long vowel i. That pies should be plain, a la mode, warm, room temperature, crustless, crusty, deep dish, bite sized, homemade, special ordered at Fresh Market or Wright Gourmet, and so on. The only consensus was that pie is GOOD.

Of course we started making pies at home. The first was a long-treasured buttermilk pie I remember my grandmother serving, fresh from the oven and unadorned with whipped cream or ice cream. That one lasted two days. Next came the favorite chocolate fudge pie, half gone before the filling had a chance to cool into brownie mode. I'm thinking about a layered strawberry pie next, with strata of cream cheese and fruit and rich praline.

Rather surreally, there are knitters who knit pies. They also knit vegetables, alien creatures, entire three-course meals, and even wedding cakes. Personally, I'd rather invest that time in creating food for the soul. It may not last as long as that knitted thing, but the memory goes on forever.