Saturday, June 02, 2007

Shawl Stuff

  1. I have completed the little pine trees in the final section of the shawl border. All that remains before the edging is a couple rows of plain stockinette, two rows of k2tog, yo, and couple more rows of plain stockinette.

  2. I cannot now remember what it feels like to knit anything other than white laceweight on a size zero circular.

  3. My next project, whatever it may be, will involve color. Lots and lots of color. Enough color to make Kaffe Fassett say, "Wow. Don't you think this is a little busy?"

  4. When we visited a craft sale today, the old Maine ladies admired first the baby, then the Glencora shawl wrapped around her.

    Arbor

    My sister kindly informed them that I had made it. When they recovered the power of speech sufficiently to express surprise, it was fun to say, "Of course, I'm working on something much fancier for the christening." Girls, that's how it's done downtown.

  5. I'm afraid there's no pattern for Glencora, Lauren, though I'm flattered to be asked. To make it, all you need to do is knit up the baby shawl from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac(it's in February, I think), and when you have enough room put a tulip from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patternsin each quadrant. Above that, after a bit of plain knitting, put in two rows (staggered) of rosebuds from Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. Then a little more plain knitting. Surround the whole with the Wave Edging from Heirloom Knitting. Block severely. Wrap around baby. Ta-daaa.

  6. I knew I would love Abigail but I didn't realize how much. Leaving is going to be difficult. Yesterday while Susan was taking a much-deserved nap I was in charge of keeping the baby happy and had her all to myself. She started fussing, so I picked her up and we drifted around the room to my off-key rendition of the Emperor Waltz. She gurgled happily and briefly attempted to nurse on my left bicep; then we sat on the sofa and she fell back to sleep on my chest. From her point of view, at that moment I was both needed and sufficient. I've seldom felt myself to be either of those separately, let alone together. Thanks, kid.

75 comments:

Terri said...

All things are grand with a niece in your arms. Congratulations on the start of a beautiful relationship!

Donna Lee said...

babies have a way of making us feel both incompetent and absolutely necessary at the same time. Your ears should be burning because I am sure you are the talk of the town there in Maine.

Windsornot said...

Regarding how you felt holding and loving Abigail: Even though it was in a "uncle-y" way, now you know the love that a parent even has for a child. I think you expressed it quite elegantly, as usual. ;-)

And man, your sister looks GREAT for having just had a baby so recently! I'm jealous! Such lovely ladies you have in your family. :-)

Cathy said...

The most beautiful feeling I have ever had was having my first niece fall asleep on my shoulder. I felt the same way you do. The trust our nieces imparted in that simple act is overwhelming. She's now 22 and about to be married! Enjoy this time with Abigail, Franklin. It goes more quickly than we want it to!

Your sister is GORGEOUS. Congrats to Abigail's parents, grandparents, and of course, honored uncle.

MollyBeees said...

What a beautiful picture of your sister and niece! Your last point made me cry...

Aidan said...

I will never forget the first time Norbert fell asleep on my chest. I remains among the happiest moments of my life. Next time, for a special treat, once she has fallen asleep, bury your nose in her neck and take a deep, deep breath. There is nothing as intoxicating as the smell of sleeping baby.

I remember when my nephew, Sean, was born. The first time I held him, I looked over his fingers and toes and lashed and lips, and, even though a teen-ager, I realized that babies were miracles -- rainbows -- signs of G-d's intention to sustain humanity. Nephew Sean gets married in August, and maybe he'll provide us with miracles of his own. And maybe they'll fall asleep on my chest and let me relive it all again.

shannon said...

you are more than needed and sufficient...

Mel said...

I was reflecting just the other day on how miraculous babies are. Of course, the baby in my case was a newborn alpaca, but I do still remember holding my nephew when he was only 4 hours old (12 years ago now). It's a feeling beyond special.

Lauren said...

Thank you anyway, Franklin, I found a lovely Spanish christening shawl in "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl O'Berle (sp?)I have already purchased the Merino fleece via Ebay as I raise Shetlands and think their fleece is not quite baby soft. I think I'll dye the locks the palest yellow, card and spin them to show off the slightest variegation in color yet not detract from the pattern.

I love the photos of you and your wee bairn of a niece. It makes my heart go pitter pat and my emotions verklempt.

Talk amongst yourselves.

LOVE

karen said...

What a lovely post. Congratulations to your family on the birth of the beautiful Abigail. It breaks my heart just a little to think that you could feel less than needed or sufficient. But it mends a little to think you have a niece who at just a few days old could give that to you.
Thank you for everything you do, Franklin.

Bells said...

Welcome to one of the best experiences in life Franklin - being an aunt or uncle. I love the experience dearly and your description of how you feel about Abigail made me feel all gooey.

terri from san fran said...

I don't know what to sigh over first. That lovely shawl, the imagined expressions of the Maine ladies, your sweet naptime story, baby and mama's expressions, or little Abigail's feet peeping out from under the shawl.

Kristy said...

My oldest nieces (twins) were born when I was 12. The very first time I held one of them, I instantly felt all grown up and full of love and devotion and protective instincts. It was amazing. There is nothing in the world like holding a sleeping baby in your arms, close to your hear...surpassed only by sitting in a rocking chair while holding a sleeping baby.

You have a lovely family and I know without a doubt that you are going to be an excellent uncle.

Christa Giles said...

Some of the most peaceful moments of my life have been spent sitting in a chair, with a baby sleeping on my chest...

.. and I'm now feeling a bit sad, realizing that since neither my sister nor I plan to have babies, that my parents won't have grandbabies to cherish, and I'll never be an aunt...

Dog-nieces aren't quite the same.

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

You're going to be a wonderful uncle!

Brewgal said...

There is absolutely nothing better than the feel of a baby sleeping on your chest.

marie in florida said...

may that wonderful feeling of avuncular accomplishment return to you many times over during Abigail's entire lifetime

Mama-E said...

ok.. now I am teary because the way you described that interaction with your niece really describes parenthood.

EnnaVic said...

Those tiny feet peeking out! Abigail is beautiful.

There is nothing like holding a baby - and those monthes pass ever so quickly.

At least the ladies in Maine got the order right and admired the baby first *chuckle*

Oh - the shawl is wonderful too.

Leslie said...

Awww, Franklin. You had me giggling at the bitchiness of "That's how it's done downtown" then tearing up at "needed and sufficient. I've seldom felt myself to be either of those separately, let alone together." You are some wonderful guy - whether you fall into somebody's definition of he-man or not.

Thank you for being Franklin Habit, an all-round good person.

gail said...

1 - wow. 2/3 - don't forget to tread softly over all of us who are slain with envy. 4 - The Glencora disappears into springtime. 5 - a shawl pattern I understand! 6 - You held Abigail to your chest, she heard your heartbeat and was comforted. Necessary and sufficient, yes.

elaine, wet, whatever... said...

Franklin, your eloquence brings me to tears.

you are beautiful.

Laritza said...

I love your "recipe" for the shawl! Simple right? Yeah sure!
Babies are wonderful things that happen in our lives. Congratulations!

lynette said...

oh, you're more than babybsitting your niece. you're bonding. your time with her sounds so special.

Jess said...

A beautiful picture of your sister and the baby and a beautiful description of your time alone with the baby. It makes me miss my kids as newborns more than a little bit.

Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful portrait of your sister and niece. They'll treasure that one forever.

Abigail is so lucky to have you for an uncle!

knitnzu said...

Amazing the power those little people have, huh? So did any of those little old maine ladies tell you the baby (or the shawl) was wicked cunnin? (it's a compliment...)

joan said...

Oh, Franklin! Reading your exquisite post reminded me of when my two were babies. They are 19 and 17 now, and I promise you that every single stage is an adventure! I can tell you are going to enjoy every minute. Good wishes to you and the whole(new and improved)family!

no-blog-rachel said...

Nieces are awesome. We moved from one side of the country to the other so we could be closer to ours.

That was a great post - can you please tell Susan she looks both wonderfully happy AND fabulous??! It's a gorgeous picture of the two of them.

Wily Jeneric said...

Isn't that the best feeling? Makes you think about relocating to NYC, Boston, Portland, ME, etc.

Lorraine said...

I'm glad Glencora got the recognition it deserved and it's great to see a picture of your lovely niece and her happy mommy again.

FiberQat said...

You indeed are the recipient of many treasures: a loving family, the skill to create beauty in yarn, and the talent to share these treasures with your readers through words. You are indeed blessed. Thank you for sharing.

Nancy said...

Abigail is so lucky to have you for an uncle. I'm sure she'll be the best dressed and most loved kid in town.

Gina said...

Nothing in life can even begin to compare with the swelling of love one feels when a baby falls asleep in your arms.

Carina said...

My kids would only sleep on me, it seemed. Sometimes I miss it. It's an amazing feeling.

She's just adorable. She is so lucky to have you and a great family to have around her. The shawls say it all--she is well-loved. :-D

farm-witch said...

I am but a humble Maine farmer who fancies herself some warty ole fiber artist when clanging the dye pots but, when you mentioned working with some color - I couldn't resist the temptation to offer to do something just for you.

Want some yarn?

The baby is breaking my heart with her peaceful pose - and sister Sue beams, truly.

Julie said...

It's amazing, isn't it, the emotions you've never felt before that sprout, when faced with a baby you're related to? Enjoy each other. Abby's scored herself an awesome uncle.

LaurieM said...

Point six left me feeling all warm inside. Never mind logistics, I think you'd make an awesome dad.

Rachel H said...

To us, Dearheart, you are absolutely needed and so much more than sufficient. So wonderfully more. I'm so glad for you that your niece could make you feel that in a way my words never will.

lizbon said...

I know how you feel - there is something breathtaking about being an aunt (or uncle, of course), especially the first time it happens. Though I pretty much get hit with it again every time I see my nieces.

Elizabeth said...

I believe you can feel your heart grow the first time a baby falls asleep on your chest. There isn't another feeling like it.

Heather Shaffer said...

Oh Franklin, you have discovered the reason that parents and others do not leave their offspring on other peoples doorsteps... that and they smell good.

H

becky c. said...

These baby updates are so sweet! Must.wait.for.grandchildren.

JoVE said...

I might have said this before but babies are magic. It's good to hear details about how they enchant their loved ones.

Baycolonyfarm said...

Babies can cure the world of it's ills.

:)

Alwen said...

Babies are great. Kids are great, too, but I was more than happy to experience the baby stage. I hardly got any tatting done back then, so I doubt I would have gotten any knitting time in either.

Too bad none of my brothers knit (other than chain mail). One of them does crochet, but nothing like Glencora!

Flavaknits said...

You gave your Sister a well earned nap ? - no wonder she is smiling in that lovely photograph.
You are a saint, and your niece knows this!

Judy in Indiana said...

I wonder if Abigail will be an only child? I suspect not, so you might want to consider what you'll be knitting for the next children as well. While it's lovely to spoil Abigail, you wouldn't want the others feeling less loved.

Susan looks lovely with the baby and the Glencora in her arms.

KnitNana said...

LOVE IT! I can see those ladies now... lolol!
(((hugs)))

lin said...

Loving a baby is just the greatest thing in the world. Lucky you to have one to love. Everytime I look at her picture, I can't help but think she is really one of the prettiest babies I've ever seen. No lie. And a baby sleeping on your chest is one of the world's greatest gifts.

Kristen said...

Aww, damnit. I've got PMS and you went and did this while I'm all hormonal. I generally detest babies. You've got me all misty eyed over this kid.

Anna-Liza said...

Once again, you've found the perfect words for something I thought I would never have words to describe. Thank you.

Odds are that I'll never meet you, and yet your writing, humor, and perception have added something lovely to my life. It's not nearly as good as a baby sleeping peacefully on your chest, but maybe sometimes you can remember that many of us are very glad you are on this Earth and writing.

yarnkat said...

Frankllin,

You and your well written words are needed by those of us who stop by to read them. They are a comfort, enlightening, entertaining and a way for us without such skills to express the joys of knitting and nieces and much much more. Sufficient doesn't do them justice either! I only wish I could express my pleasure in reading your words as well as you write them. I'm so glad you're here sharing with us! :)

Linda said...

What a lovely post. So nice to hear news of the lovely baby. Maybe you can rustle up a job a bit closer to where your sister lives? Wishes...

MonicaPDX said...

Suggestion for color - invite Dolores to a game of paintball. That should be interesting, supposing you survive. Then somehow finagle her into getting sheared. She was supposed to get sheared when she originally came to 'visit', wasn't she?

And your last point... The first night my grandson Ryan was home, my stepdaughter, my SIL, and her mom were totally wrecked. The doc had had to do a Caesarian, and they'd all been at the hospital for 5 days. I finally got over to their place, they handed him over - to me, the never-had-a-child 3rd grandma! [g] - and crashed. Ryan was a bit fussy at first, probably at being in a new place and with a new person, but I sang to him very softly and it wasn't long before he cuddled down and went right to sleep. I spent most of the night holding Ryan on my chest, while he kept sleeping. One of the best compliments I've ever had in my life. So glad you've gotten to experience it too! Ain't it wonderful?

Start budgeting for more uncle visits. ;)

Knitting Painter Woman said...

IllustrationFriday*dot*com has issued a challenge this week of illustrating "Your Paradise." It would be a place where all children grow up feeling needed and sufficient. With enough love, we experience. I am so happy that darling baby gave it to you. Some lovers are capable of nurturing those sensibilities, some children, some friends. Best wishes.

Carol said...

Hmm. I think I'd like to try nursing on your left bicep.

Mary said...

Happy belated congratulations on becoming an uncle. By the way, you have the most picturesque niece.

Ann said...

Franklin, you're an awesome uncle!
AnnDS in Ohio

Mary said...

My oldest niece, the one who's birth I was there for, the one who calls me her favorite auntie, the one who was (swear to god) 5 just seconds ago is off to college at the end of the week.

Have fun with yours.

Eldronius said...

Ahhh...#3 had me smiling. #4 had me laughing at the thought of putting all that stuff in a pot, stirring it around, and pulling out a wonderful shawl. Then #5 had me looking through watery eyes. You will be a wonderful uncle. *hugs Franklin*

Eldronius said...

Ooops I got my numbers off!

#4, #5, and #6....gheesh.

David said...

Treasure those moments with the baby. All too soon, the roles get assigned and you are neither mommy nor daddy.

anneonymousone said...

Some people run from strong emotions because they know and fear the power of events that call them forth. Your writing and photography remind us that to capture and share the truth of such moments is a sacred task.

Thank you for touching all the quiet places in your readers' souls.

elizabeth marley said...

Wow, I'm glad one little baby has brought you so much joy--knitting and otherwise. I can't wait to see all of the baby clothes you're going to knit!

Dusa said...

'"Of course, I'm working on something much fancier for the christening." Girls, that's how it's done downtown.'

This made me laugh out loud and scare the cats. Query? Did you do two snaps in a Z pattern after you said it? Or were you just channeling Delores?

Don't answer that!

BigAlice said...

"My next project, whatever it may be, will involve color. Lots and lots of color. Enough color to make Kaffe Fassett say, 'Wow. Don't you think this is a little busy?'"
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

You're so lucky to have a relationship with your neice like that. I seem to have an fear of babies that they can smell, and they immediately start screaming when they approach me.

Adele said...

I don't have children of my own, partly because I don't find small babies interesting, but I love being an aunt!

As an aunt/uncle you are rarely the disciplinarian, and are therefore cool. You can buy gifts which the child will love but your sibling will hate (such as water pistols or toys with loud noises). You have can be the devil's advocate to almost everything society finds proper (I want to grow up to be Aunty Mame).

Seriously though, I think that providing an 'alternative' role model to a child, broadening its horizons of what's possible in the world, is a responsibility that is not taken seriously enough. I'm sure you will fulfil this duty admirably.

Caroline said...

OK the best part of that photo? The little baby toes sticking out of the shawl. Adorable.

Diane said...

Isn't it funny how you never had this child in your life and in the blink of an eye you just can't imagine your life without this child? The magic of love.

4-ply said...

Downtown...
where all the shawls knit right.
Downtown...
hold onto that baby tight.
Downtown...
we all are cheering for you!

Martita said...

Wait til you pick up Size 8 needles and some aran weight yarn after knitting lace. It's like knitting sailing rope with tree trunks.

That's a beautiful baby, and a beautiful shawl!

Anonymous said...

susan looks positively glowing and healthy!

of course, your niece looks splendid in her shawl!

and yes, you ARE an adonis!

anne marie in philly

TracyKM said...

A beautiful baby in a beautiful blanket! I also highly recommend a Moby wrap baby carrier to help keep baby snuggled and safe. You can fall asleep and not risk the baby rolling off your chest, LOL. At least she tried your bicep and not elsewhere, LOL.
I also have a neice named Abigail!

Mel said...

There is nothing better than a perfectly innocent and unselfish little being to reflect back at us some unconditional love once in a while.