Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Slow Down, Baby

Lo. It is begun.

I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized with a shock that the arrival of my little niece or nephew, which once seemed so remote, is now disconcertingly near. It may not seem so to my sister, but she hasn't promised to knit a large square of lace to wrap the baby in once it arrives. All she has to do is sit around and let it bake, or whatever babies do in there.

I don't have anything to show you at present, but in the interest of keeping track of the process here's what I've done so far.
  1. Contemplate the many, many beautiful shawl patterns available commercially for today's lace knitter.

  2. Imagine completed shawl being shown on edition of "Antiques Roadshow" in 3014 and great-great-great-grandniece being told that it was made from chart bought for $2.75 and is worth $4.53.

  3. Decide baby absolutely must be given shawl of original design.

  4. Ponder approximately 14,000 lace stitch patterns as recorded by various authorities the form (Walker, Khmeleva, Miller, Bush, Kinzel, et al.)

  5. Swatch about two dozen of the above.

  6. Wash swatches. Block swatches. Accidentally step on swatches. Exclaim emphatically. Remove t-pin from bare foot. Re-wash swatches. Re-block swatches.

  7. Compare the construction of shawls as practiced by the Shetland Islanders, the Estonians, the Russians, the Scandinavians, Jean, Marianne Kinzel, and Elizabeth Zimmerman.

  8. *Decide to do it the Shetland way.

  9. Decide to do it the Orenberg way.

  10. Decide to do it Elizabeth's way.

  11. Jean's way.

  12. Marianne's way.

  13. Repeat from * until freak out and start throwing yarn and patterns and itty freaking bitty needles at the wall.

  14. Stop. Breathe. Pick cobweb swatches out of chandelier, retrieve needles from behind fainting couch, stack patterns neatly under paperweight shaped like Meg Swansen.

  15. Sit zazen and think of lace.

  16. Go to bed and dream of lace.

  17. Survive 153 pointless staff meetings by doodling lace charts on what looks to civilian eye like Very Serious Excel Spreadsheet.

  18. Experience epiphany. Consult with dear Margaret Stove regarding best methods of plotting a new design.

  19. Send Dolores to Lucky Horseshoe for five hours of pre-paid lap dancing.

  20. Screw courage to the sticking place.

  21. Cast on. Knit.

  22. Wonder if pregnant lady can "cross legs and wait" if shawl takes longer than expected.

  23. Hope baby has perhaps inherited its uncle's predisposition to procrastinate.


Southern Gal said...

oh.mi.god. tears running down face

and am i the first! wohoo!

cant wait to read more about the shawl!

Southern Gal said...

ok now that i am officially the first (yah - i take my pleasures where i can!)

seriously funny - i want a MS paperweight - please?

(are you gathering these for your book? seriously.seriously!)

Carson said...

Good luck!
At least its only baby-size

marie in florida said...

uhm....i'd have ended up knitting one giant grandmother's favorite washrag...LOL..actually for my comming grandbaby, i'm croching "absolutely geogGorgeous baby afghans,book four" one of each.
ya, i said crochet...LOL...
are you going to show pix of work in progress or wait till the final result?

jenfromRI said...

Let it bake? Oh my goodness.

Bells said...

what I want to know is how to make lace design look like excel spreadsheets in a meeting!

Also, how can I make knitting look like work in a meeting???

Luise ( said...

Love your blog and, specifically, your attempts to decide on something suitably incredible for your first niece/nephew. Though a much less talented knitter than you, I am going through similar agonies now that my first great-nephew has arrived and his female cousin will appear in June. The only consolation is that they first isn't the only (please god) and future opportunities will abound. Enjoy your unclehood! Being an aunt is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Ginger said...

Lace does not have to be knit with lace wt yarn. Fingering wt makes for lovely lace, can be knitted with small (instead of tiny) needles and will still look lovely while taking less time to knit.

Just a thought. Whatever you do I'm sure it will be lovely.

KellyD said...

Franklin, I can see your point. But then, you are talking to a woman who is STILL in the process of making a baby quilt for her niece. The problem? She (the niece) is 18. In all fairness all I need to do is finish quilting one block and put on the binding.

DianeS said...

There is a trend (at least in Toronto) that babies don't come until the shawl is done. That being said, hurry up, your fans want to see the lace!

Elisabeth said...

Perhaps you will be like Yarn Harlot and the baby cannot arrive until the shawl is finished.... I'm not sure I would test the notion, however. And anyway, I think it would be bad if your sister--in her 12th month of pregnancy--came over, ripped the shawl off the needles, stapled the live stitches to a piece of fabric and called it done.

JoVE said...

I'm with Elizabeth. that last couple of weeks of pregnancy is excruciating enough. There will be other opportunities. This doesn't have to be the perfect baby blanket. It will be beautiful. (and newborns tend to be small. Remember that when planning the size. a small blanket also comes in handy for the car seat and other small spaces)

Jacquie said...

I have been developing an online knitting chart maker here

it may help you with your design or may just be another distraction, but you are invited to try it and see what you think.

Good luck with the shawl whichever way you decide to make it!

Mel said...

I believe that babies are actually braised rather than baked, as there's a fair amount of liquid involved.

hugs said...

There's nothing like a T pin in the foot to make you feel alive. It's similar to stepping on Legos, but satisfies a different need. (By the way, this is Hugo, who left you and the other boys in Chicago for the vast and empty expanses of Colorado.)

Lizbon said...

If I may say this without any actual acquaintance - darling franklin, you are a funny, funny, funny man.

And a very good uncle-to-be. I hope that when the recipient is old enough to read & appreciate them, you will also treat him or her to some of the posts you wrote during the planning, designing, and knitting process. No doubt the kid will have inherited a sense of humor and will get as big a kick out of them as we are.

FiberQat said...

24. Contact Ted Myatt the day of the birth to see if he will accept incredible favors in exchange for a shawl from his freezer.

Jennifer said...

My very favorite step is number 17, I call it exHell!

Best of luck!

Sharon said...

Oooo I love your blog! Too funny!

Snarled Yarns said...

It will all work out fine. Have patience, have faith and have knitting with you at all times.

Rachel H said...

Perhaps you ought to remind yourself to breathe every now and then, darling.

john said...

I want to go lapdancing with Dolores.

Kathleen said...

For my own niece, I designed and knitted a rather sizeable baby blanket using double knitting. So I can completely relate to the dedication and perfectionism (and frustration) behind your tale of lace blankie woe.

Be of stout heart! You have a great eye for design and beauty, and I'm sure you'll get it all done in time. She's not due until the summer, right?

(That'll be a lot of lapdances, though.)

Natalie Servant said...

It's worth having you off for a few days if this is what we get. I see "Slow down, baby" days in my future, since I'm selfishly knitting a sweater for my own impending July baby but I've got at least 4 other friends with babies due before then to knit for. I'll just have to do things other than shawls.

Joe said...

Fortunately, when it comes to knitted lace, it will look pretty spectacular no matter what your pattern or design shaping is.

My theory on lace knitting is that even the ugliest lace pattern can be made beautiful by surrounding it with a nice lace border.

I'm not quite sure why you need it done in time for the birth...will it be used as a safety net during the birthing process?

And you and Ted are both's more like Tangine cooking...braised indeed.

Laurel said...

Too funny. And way too much like me for reading comfort. I too tend to try to make things complicated. I can't wait to see what you've come up with, though.

ellen said...

Did you forget the step where you have settled on a pattern acquired the yarn, and stare at them in fear for a week before you have the nerve to cast on? Possibly everyone does not have this step on the way to a finished garment.

Ted said...

Joe, I've never heard of a "tangine". Do you mean a "tagine"? I thought a tagine was a braise...essentially a stew in a covered container. Moroccan, I think.

Anyway. Franklin, once the planning is over and you're ready to knit, you'll be surprised at how fast it'll go. Just set the design and work it. Once you've thought it through in your head you've already done it, so actually knitting it is just a repeat. But if I know you, the killer will be if you get halfway through and start tweaking the design.

April said...

Do you think this is how Leo Tolstoy felt right before he wrote "War And Peace"? With a bit more angst?

Carina said...

*giggle* Been there. Well, not the pin in the foot (many in fingers for some reason), but the obsessing and screaming part--yes, I have done that.

It's all part of the fun, right?

PICAdrienne said...

Whatever you make will be of great beauty and value.

I wish I had your eye and your talent. I just hope the child grows to appreciate (OK, probably 30 years from now) exactly what you have done for them.

Oh, and as a mom of three, crossing the legs does not work.

Oh, and I am glad you are back posting, you were missed.

MonicaPDX said...

Dear Franklin, you're not a procrastinator. If you were, you'd be planning to present the baby with the results on the birth of its first child. Failing that, as a piece of art framed under glass for the 34th birthday or similar. You were just... A tad indecisive. Yeah, that's it. Indecisive.

Besides, the Excel thingy during the meetings probably kept you sane. ;)

Hollyeqq said...

You crack me up - over and over again.
I am not sure which I like better, Delores getting 5 hours of lap dances (can one really survive that?) or referring to your sister as an easy bake oven!

Kai Jones said...

I feel your pain. My first grandchild is due at the end of March and the baby blanket (black cotton, for my Goth daughter-in-law) is only 1/4 done!

Sharon J said...

Oh Franklin, you're hilarious! Get some Xanax, cross your legs and wait until sport weight on size 13 needles sounds completely rational.

I love this blog...just LOVE it!

Mary Lynn said...

I like Sharon J.'s suggestion. My Mom knit or crocheted blankets for all of my nieces and nephews. You have no idea how totally ticked she was when we announced that we were adopting, had not told anyone about it (keeping questions to a minimum) and that we were picking up our baby in SEVEN days. She made her a quilt which she got two weeks after we got her. My daughter is now almost 21 and the quilt is neatly folded in her top drawer and when she is having a really bad day, I'll find her asleep with it, wrapped up in the love with which it was made.

Dr. Steph said...

"20. Screw courage to the sticking place"

All I could imagine is your sister saying "out out damn spot" while washing spit-up out of the blanket.

Whatever you make will be loved and beautiful.

junior_goddess said...

Oh, crud. Just pick SOMETHING NOW. Preferably washable.

Worry about the heirloom thing for christening.

David said...

My list would be much shorter:

1. Go find online store and select lace wrap.

2. Confirm order and head to porn site.

mad angel said...

Cross legs and wait???


God, I love you, Franklin!

Josa Craft said...



I am sure the baby will wait and I am sure it will be breathtaking....loved that sweater

DH and I are going to see Barack Obama tommorrow...

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