2 bag straps, 2 mornings of this weekend

Currently working on a very popular bag pattern – the Knitting Needle Knitted Bag. Having finished the body of the bag, my imagination was that in one day or even half a day the needed 2 bag straps (which are fairly easy) will be completed. The long and short of it, it is now the 2nd day and I am but 2/3 finished with the 2nd strap.

In the first morning (Saturday), had to cut short finishing the first strap because of an unscheduled meeting. Even before the formal discussion began 2 young law school graduates were trying to convince me that they graduated from the country’s best law school.  Having graduated from another university, and because I am not lawyer (nor would I want to be), I was not easily convinced.  Decided to give both of them the benefit of the doubt anyway.  At the back of my mind calculating that perhaps each sentence exchanged with them on this morning is equivalent to 3-4 rows of the strap.

Today Sunday I am determined to finish the 2nd strap. As it turned out, had to leave the house early since my daughter has an early schedule with her friends. Decided to just sit here in a cafe and compose this blog as I wait.  Thinking now how I should have bought the strap knit project. But realized that the bag intended to be my knitting carry on is not yet complete as it still lacks straps. Thinking now on other errands that need attention this weekend – grocery, new shower curtains, etc. etc.  Being irritated now at old guy in the adjacent table who is speaking so loudly to various people he is calling.

I need to be knitting. I recently read an article that napping is very helpful in restoring one’s productivity for the day. Also, images of nursing rooms being designated all over commercial spaces for mothers who breastfeed are coming to mind. It that possible? To designate free spaces for people to take a break. Some what of a lounge or better yet a park (both of which are not popular in the Philippines) where people who want to be calm and nurture quiet can find refuge. A space to think and knit.  That will be the day.

epilogue: finished second strap just now. inhale, exhale, yehey!

S&C-005 In a Pinch Scarf

in a pinch scarf

Time Stamp March 2015
Yarn Weight (4), multicolored yarn, 2 solid color, Dark and Light Blue, 100% acrylic
Needles US 10, 6.0 mm, straight bamboo knitting needle
Notions -o-
Stitches Knit, Purl, Stockinette stitch, Garter Stitch, Pinch pattern, increase – krl, kll, decrease – k2tog, ssk
Pattern Link http://www.jerinknits.com/showewe-basics-scarf-pattern
Knit Tales Tweaked from pattern. Turned this to an infinity scarf.  Had to rush for two weeks. Scarf travelled with my dad to California. To give to my sister Rona. But my mom sequestered it.

THA-004  Mitered Squares Glass Coasters

20150324_083213

Time Stamp March 2015
Yarn Weight (4), 2 solid color, Dark and Light Blue, 100% acrylic
Needles US 6, 4.0 mm, straight knitting on circular needles
Notions -o-
Stitches Knit, Purl, Garter stitch, decrease – k2tog, ssk
Pattern Link http://verypink.com/2012/03/07/mitered-squares/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHxabZA-dGk
Knit Tales Tweaked from pattern. Cute gift to homes of friends. Very easy – half a day per square. Uses little yarn . Uses little attention.

HHB-003 Belt Welt Hat

belt welt hat

Time Stamp March 2015
Yarn Weight (4), 2 solid color, Red (85 yards), Cream (35 yards)Total of 120 yards, 100% acrylic
Needles Knitting in the round, US 6, 4.0 mm, circular needles and US 8, 5.0 mm, double pointed needles
Notions Yarn needle
Stitches Knit, Purl, Ribbed stitch, Belt Welt pattern, decrease – k2tog, p2tog, ssk
Pattern Link http://www.ballstothewallsknits.com/2015/01/belt-welt-hat.html
Knit Tales Tweaked from pattern. Ended up as a semi-beret. Actually looks cool. Gave it as gift to Marina before she travelled to New York for a conference.

what could have been a scarf

That very night when I got my first knitting loot, I started a knitted scarf project which to me was a good way to practice knitting basics such as cast on, knit and purl stitches, garter and seed stitch patterns. Each stitch venture was accompanied by a very helpful step by step guide from Simple-Knitting.com and a lot of youtube tutorials. 

It was rough. Had to decide on which way to hold the needle, what color combination to use, how much yarn to use, how many rows to knit, where to do my knitting, what to do while I knit… decisions, decisions.  But the story of my first knit project is not a story of meaningful struggle, overcoming odds and finding victory in the end.  Rather it is a story of humble acceptance,  the courage to change ones mind and claiming unexpected joy.

I just couldn’t finish the scarf. I tried for almost two weeks.  Every so often, when I change my decision about something I restart the project from the very beginning.  Every time I made a mistake or someone would point out one, I would also restart. I unravelled the scarf so often I even found out that in knitting unravellng your work (which was a worst case scenario) was called defrogging.  I got as far as 150 yards of yarn equivalent to 30 inches of unfinished scarf.  

It hit me. While there were many imperfect aspects of the would be scarf – the yarns were of the wrong color and thickness, the stitch patterns were ordinary, tightness of the stitches weren’t perfectly consistent, there was one very important fact that made me stop and defrog for one last time.  All other imperfections were forgiveable except for the fact that no one will use the scarf I can eventually finish, not even me. It made finishing the scarf unnecessary and wasteful.  I just couldn’t.

The alternative first project re-used all unravelled yarn from the would be scarf.  It was a granted request from my first ever knitting fan (my gay uncle).  The house help wanted it as an accessory to her next vacation. My daughter wanted a cooler version of it.  And my sister who lives in Hawaii ordered one just like it.  I took on a knitted beanie hat project (KPH-001) as my first attempt to re-acquaint myself to knitting.  

Knitting the beanie hat came with a familiar sense of calm and quiet.  Finishing it gave me the usual sense of accomplishment but more significantly that simple joy of knowing you can now move forward.  I decided to keep the hat.

with my first knitting loot

That Sunday (January 2015) after a week of reacquainting myself to knitting through the internet – how to’s, what beginners can do, what materials are needed, what knitting materials are available in the Philippines, accompanied by my gay uncle, I headed to Market Place – a wet and dry market with a mini-mall in Mandaluyong City to scour the place for yarns and knitting needles.

While not completely surprised, there were no knitting needles to be found in any of the stalls of that four floor commercial space. There were two stores that carried solid color yarns and crochet hooks.  Desperate that day to get my hands on any knitting something, I purchased red, orange, yellow and brown yarns around 12 small balls (35 yards/ball) for PhP 15 each. The dry market stall owner had to ask what the yarns were for.  When I responded that it is for knitting, her curiosity forced her to further probe what is knitting.  Trying to explain that knitting is like sewing or crocheting using two long straight needles with yarns, she gave me a wide grin, a bobbing head and a quizzed look as if seriously asking from what planet did this girl come from.

To complete my first ever knitting loot needles had to be found.  So, me and my uncle pushed on to Megamall, one of the bigger malls in the Philippines, full of hope and anticipation. Spanning two blocks (I guess) and five massive floors of mall space, we found two, (yes also two) stores selling knitting needles. Notions of SM itself only carried metal needles. While Carolina’s sold only the bamboo ones.  Both had did not have the complete range of needle sizes. But still purchased bamboo needles from Carolina’s worth around PhP 45 per pair  allowed me to pause, breathe and avoid a pending panic.  To boot Carolina’s also carried affordable multicolored yarns at PhP 17 per ball.

Heading home, a silent thank you prayer was said for what to me was a crucial first step in a quest, in an unexpected journey called knitting.