Sunday, July 1, 2012


I told my mother about the silverfish and the roving. She suggested I pack the roving bag full of mothballs when I leave. I am kind of skeptical about this plan. Not because I think it won't kill potential silverfish - everything I'm seeing on the internet suggests it will - but because I still have at least two more plane trips in the next few months, and at some point security will start wondering about a girl who travels with so many "mothballs" stuffed surreptitiously into a bag of "wool".

Then we spent a nice afternoon knitting and crocheting together. My mother both knits and crochets. Or rather, she knows how to knit and crochet. She hasn't actually picked up a needle or a hook in something like fifteen or twenty years, except during my knitting infancy, when I twisted a stitch, or needed to bind off, or had to rip back. I knew from previous conversations that she prefers crocheting to knitting, so yesterday I handed her a hook and a half-skein of yarn and let her go at it.

Things I learned:

- Her claim of "crochet is so much faster!" is true. My mother, H hook flashing in and out at lightning speed through acrylic worsted, crocheted a dinner plate sized circle (and took a short nap) in the same amount of time that it took me to cast on and knit about two inches of the second Fern Lace armwarmer with splitty bamboo/silk fingering and size 2 DPNs. Any hint that this might not have been the most fair and impartial basis of comparison was dismissed out of hand.

- But she admits that my knitting looks "kind of nice". When pressed for more compliments details, she said, "Well, it looks... almost professional. All right?"

All right, Mother. I suppose I can live with that.

- My maternal grandmother doesn't know how to crochet. My mother learned to crochet from the neighborhood kids when she was young. This is shocking to me, because... well, I thought that my grandmother knew how to craft anything. I learned how to knit from her, and I've seen her sewing enough clothing that, well, I extrapolated a proficiency with crochet as well.

- My mother and both grandmothers (and possibly all Chinese knitters of that generation, though of course I just pointed out the dangers of extrapolating) knitted sweaters from the bottom up. Some of them were pieced together, some of them were in the round, but they were all bottom up. Then the sleeves were sewn in with thread. My mother swears that there are some where the armhole stitches were picked up in order to start in on the sleeves, but she could only find examples where the sleeves were sewn in. I informed her of the raglan shaping on the sweater I've started, and her reaction was, "...huh. That's an interesting way to do it."

- They knitted sweaters really freaking fast. I asked how long it took them to knit one, and she said, "Oh, not long, maybe a week."

A week.


"Well, we would sit around and talk and knit in the evenings, and at the end of an evening, you'd have finished a panel."

My Traveling Man sweater has been on the needles for close to half a year now.

I've got to kick this into gear, in a big way. Ravellenic Games 2012: Winterlime Takes the "Almost" out of "Almost Professional" or Dies Trying.

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