Thursday, May 8, 2008

Musings on Books, Denmark, and my Knitting History

When we planned our home library we underestimated the amount of shelf space. Not all of our books are shelved in our new library/music room. We might be able to squeeze them in if we eliminated everything but books on the shelves, which was probably what we were thinking. We still have bookshelves in the basement with my husband's math and engineering books, Bible Study texts, etc. I still have some boxes of Danish books that smell rather musty but I have trouble parting with because the represent my year at the university there. That year was probably the most memorable single year of my life and fulfilled a dream. I always think about Denmark a lot in May because I arrived there for the first time on May 17--that is the Norwegian national holiday. (Norwegians being close relatives of the Danes, everyone in Denmark knew this and commented on it.) There was a transportation strike the day I arrived so it wasn't easy to make my way from the airport in Copenhagen to the town of Odense, located to the east and on the island of Fyn. Nearly everywhere I went people were knitting and I was immediately drawn to the Continental method, which I recognized as being much faster than the way my grandmother had taught me at the age of about 8. (I hadn't done any knitting since then either.) I asked my Danish mother, Annie, to teach me to knit. Immediately I embarked on a sweater in Lopi cream wool with a green color pattern. I was hooked and have been knitting ever since! The only time I took a respite from knitting was when I was learning to play the bagpipes. I needed to concentrate my spare time on one or the other. Once I got the bagpipes under control, I came back to knitting and found that my piping actually got better. Was it improved dexterity or was I just happier?

When you are a knitter who LOVES knitting you want to pass it on. For all new knitters out there, keep a list of all the people you teach, just for the fun of it. The knitting class that I gave for young moms at my church in January and February was particularly rewarding because out of that class came several excellent knitters. Sarah is already knitting socks and felting boxes. Melodee has made hats and has plans for Christmas Stockings for her whole family. Nicole has made hats for her son and husband and socks for her daughter and herself. Melodee and Nicole already knew how to knit the American/English method but were willing to learn the Continental method also. Sarah is left-handed and took to Continental like a duck to water. Heather, my helper in the class, learned to knit when we went to Scotland together several years ago to play a wedding. She is a fearless knitter. I taught Nancy to knit when she was in high school and she is reviving her knitting skills. Monica didn't get to all the classes but she is my neighbor so we can work on knitting this summer. It is so much fun seeing how these young moms are knitting for their families and enjoying our beloved craft.

Between projects about two weeks ago I made a pair of Perfect Baby Booties. The pattern is on Ravelry by someone named Ruth B. The pattern is very similar to one I used earlier in the year from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding. Ruth makes no bones about taking the parts she liked best from various bootie patterns to come up with this design. I don't know whether they are perfect, but I do like the pattern. I added a mock cable rib for the cuff. The cuff seems a little long to me. Babies don't have a lot of length from the top of the foot to the knee.
A week ago Monday I awoke with a rash on the inside of my forearm. It didn't get much worse and didn't bother me much. Although it was itchy, it was not poison ivy (bumps too small and did not spread). About 4 days ago it started getting worse and it became obvious that there was a "center" to it. None of the over-the-counter medications seemed to help. A friend of mine suggested it might be a spider bite. That seemed reasonable. Yesterday I finally realized it was time to call the doctor. The itching was driving me nuts and the bite was getting swollen, hot, and hard. The physician's assistant agreed that it was an insect bite that had become infected. He mentioned some scary bacteria and said not to worry which I obviously have not been since I waited 10 days to do anything about it. Now I have a steroid creme and oral antibiotics. That got me wondering how long it was been since I've had an antibiotic. I believe it is about 24 years. I am very fortunate that I am rarely ill.
I carry on with the Meadow Flowers Shawl although I am not all that thrilled with it. I think the wool and the pattern are not perfectly suited. Perhaps its just too soon to knit another triangular shawl after the very fun "Truly Tasha's Shawl".


Marie said...

It was very interesting to learn how and why you started knitting. I was taught to knit by a Turkish woman who had grown up knitting and spinning. It was quite common in her village for people to be walking down the street with yarn or fiber in their hands. The only time I see people knitting is in yarn shops. Nowhere else.

Britt-Arnhild said...

How nice to hear about your year in Denmark.
I am going to Copenhagen next week-end. I don't plan to bring my knitting though :-)

MRS MJW said...

The booties are sooo cute. The color you used is adorable.

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