I’ve been knitting a lot. I’ve been lulled by the soothing simplicity of mindless log cabin garter stitch, but also finished up a pair of somewhat ungainly-looking, but hopefully warm, wool mittens. I tend to get most of my knitting done at Lily’s gymnastics classes. The waiting rooms sport old pleather chairs, the type found in a Coney Island, and are overcrowded with waiting parents and squalling siblings. I pop in my earphones, turn on a podcast or an audio book, and knit away.
Unfortunately, the last class tended to be less productive than usual. I had two projects in my Moomin knitting bag that I’d hoped to make good progress on. One was an easy, slouchy garter hat in a simple pattern, and the other was a tea mug cozy. However, the pattern on the cozy was written in a confusing way and I am still not sure how you start something in the round, turn it inside out, and then stop knitting in the round and just switch to rows. I made a stab at it by switching over to straight needles but it got hopelessly muddled and had to be ripped back. Then I tried to finish the hat, but the decrease rounds neglected to add the helpful tip to switch from a circular needle to dpn’s. I knew this, from doing several baby hats back in the day, but ultimately I couldn’t decrease enough to keep a large hole from forming in the top of the hat and that had to be ripped back as well. Very frustrating. However, at least on the hat I know what I’ve done wrong. I don’t have real intentions for these projects, anyway – the tea cup cozy was going to be a gift, but it was just a supplement to the real gift, and the hat was just to fill up our hall closet’s hat and glove bins. Lily tends to play fast and loose with hats and mittens and it’s always good to have spares. So the next hat will be started soon, in a smaller size, and a nicer color, I think.
I’m overcommitted between now and Christmas and am not feeling good about it. I have one last work trip to hurdle, with three days in Mexico City next week. Last night I led a Girl Scout meeting to show the girls how to earn their Inventor badges – I have no idea how I got roped into this or why I am did it. I think I felt immense gratitude at our Scout leaders for always doing such cool things with the girls and I really wanted to Give Something Back. I honestly don’t know how teachers do it. I felt like I was yelling at the top of my voice during the whole meeting and had to jettison my “lesson plan” when the whole thing went belly-up. I handed out “Inventor Notebooks” and pencils and let the girls fly with their own invention ideas. There were several ideas for spy-cams – mostly to make sure siblings were not impeding on their personal space or private thoughts – but my favorite was a belt invented to keep boys away. The intrepid young Scout drew a round circle (the belt, probably) with several arms extending from it to “push” the offending boys away. The other girls regarded it solemnly and then one said, somewhat dreamily, “And then someday you’ll want to take the belt OFF” at which pointed I shrieked with somewhat hysterical nervous laughter and asked one of the other children to discuss their great idea to take off snowpants more easily!! Crisis narrowly averted but I can’t help but think some parents saw those Inventor Notebooks come home last night with cookie forms and wondered what the hell we were teaching their kids.
Similarly, I offered to “help out” at Lily’s class holiday party and ended up becoming one of the two party parents. The other parent works midnights. I envisioned being one of a party crew, baking a few treats, being present to help with an activity, but this is not how it’s turning out. So far, we have no other parent volunteers and no one has offered to bring any treats at all. This seems generally really lame to me but I’m also a little jealous of the nameless, faceless masses who don’t have to wake up at 4 AM fretting about such things and feeling the weight of a whole classroom’s holiday expectations on their shoulders.