Monday, January 19, 2009

Old Hat, New President

I can feel it in my bones, and no mistake. Usually happens to me about this time of year, when winter taps constantly at the window like a persistent but unwelcome gentleman caller. It's too early for spring cleaning by months, but I feel I must do something productive indoors or run mad. So I line up all the unfinished projects and give them marching orders. You, you, you, you and especially you–outta here!

Happily, this weekend I was entirely surrounded by knitters. A body can really get things done in such company, as at no point will it be suggested that wouldn't you like to put your needles down and sleep, or eat, or pick up the Wii controller and pretend to shoot things. (There was some fuss on Ravelry about a knitting game being created for the Wii. I find the idea ridiculous, but could see the point of a game in which you get to slap people who tell you that you knit too much.)

My house guest, as I mentioned in the last post, was Carol of Go Knit in Your Hat. Carol is one of those knitters who make you wish you had six hands so you could knit three projects at once. Ideas bubble out of her effervescently.

In spite of brutal temperatures, a good crowd turned up at Loopy Yarns to pick up Carol's book and meet the author. I got to sit at one side and watch. This is Carol, signing.

Carol Signing at Loopy

(Some of her inscriptions, I regret to say, were quite unmaidenly. My delicate tastes were affronted.)

The next day we were back at Loopy again, to rendezvous with Knitters for Obama.

Knitters for Obama

They were putting together the batch of chemo caps knit by the group for donation to University of Chicago Medical Center. There were (I think) about 200 hats to sort and label. We were awash in hats. Submerged in hats. Inundated. Very nearly immolated.

Chemo Caps

Meanwhile, I was working on a hat of my own. I'd started it in August, using a handout from Knitting Camp. I was determined to learn from it the basics of Bavarian Twisted Stitch. Unfortunately, when I hit the shaping at the top I suddenly felt quivery and unequal to moving ahead. There were no instructions, you see–only Meg's very sensible advice to proceed according to one's own taste and best judgment. Alas, I am prone to question daily whether I have any of either.

When picked up the hat again on Friday, I couldn't understand what my trouble had been. There wasn't much left to do, and all of it was straightforward. I closed up the top after about two hours' work, and shoved it onto the head of Lumpy, my phrenology bust/hat model.

Hat, Side

I'm not cuckoonuts about the way the shaping turned out. Next time, I'd arrange the decrease points differently to keep the major patterns in play longer. On the other hand, it's always interesting to see–once again–that if you plot a course of action in your knitting and you stick to it, the end result will at least have a certain orderliness to recommend it.

Hat, Top

I am, may I add, extremely taken with Bavarian Twisted Stitch and wish to waltz with it again. In spite of my Urge to Finish Everything, I can't help contemplating what new project I could work it into.

Hat, Cables

Hat "Little Window" Pattern

Probably I'll tackle another hat, in a different color. Because I put this one on and realized the yarn (Shepherd Classic Wool #1816) doesn't suit me. So Susan, if you're reading this, I sure hope you like your new hat.

Tomorrow

I can't sign off without mentioning the Inauguration, but find better heads than mine have already written of it so eloquently that I have nothing of much merit to contribute.

I will say this. For eight years, I have watched the government–my government, the one I was always taught was of, by and for the people–do everything in its power to divide the country into us and them. I have listened, shattered, as my fellow citizens have questioned my loyalty, my liberty, and my right to exist.

Well, I'm still here and I'm still loyal. This place ain't perfect, but it's mine and I love it. In spite of eight years of misrule by as sorry a pack of weasels as ever held office, I still believe that America, at its heart, is a nation founded on noble instincts and good ideas.

As Mr. Obama takes the oath, I wish him luck. And I hope that when the history of this era is written, that January 20, 2009 will be remembered as a good day–the day we took our first, uncertain step on new and upward path.

55 comments:

Spikey said...

Amen, brother!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Glory, hallelujah! Let us all raise our needles in a salute to our new leader and to better government for all, circulars and straights, metal and wooden, DPN's interchangeable or not...

Kim said...

Amen.

And I have to say - it just tickles me that you actually have a phrenology bust to use as a hat model. :-)

katrog said...

Stitches for all--twisted, straight, backwards, forwards, upside down, dropped, plopped and, well, you get the idea.

That's a very nice hat, BTW.

Karin said...

Amen to that.

Karin said...

and: those are the most perfectly executed bavarian twisted stitches.
I should know. I'm a Bavarian, and a little twisted myself...

Knit Witch said...

Here here!!! It's nice to actually be INSPIRED by a leader and have a leader that sounds intelligent and like he actually knows what he is talking about. Bush speaking unscripted is an ugly, ugly thing. Out with the old and in with the new and improved!!!

Barb said...

Amen, brother!

shannon said...

could not have said it better myself. i think it will be just that, a day to go down in history as a truly wonderful day.

Amy said...

Well said!

Kristen said...

Re inauguration: Praise be, brother, praise be!

(How does one get immolated by hats? Too much wool cause spontaneous combustion?)

(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Amen to that.

CatBookMom said...

Here, here! May our future be better in many ways, not least in how our government deals with its citizens and the rest of the world.

And major kudos to your knitting group for having produced so many hats!

Sue said...

ooh I love the hat! I'm a Susan...mail it to me. Maybe she wont remember :)

chellebelle said...

Amen as well... I cannot wait, we have had a count down at work for this day long before the election took place! As to your hat! wonderful... I want to go to knitting camp so badly! Maybe after the boys are older. sigh...

Marcy said...

Lovely hat. I like the way knitting sometimes seems overwhelming and then, all of a sudden, it doesn't.
And thank goodness tomorrow is coming.

SallyT said...

the audacity of hope...

Ann said...

Clink! A big ol' virtual glass of champagne to the days ahead! I'm sitting around delighted and amazed at what happens tomorrow!

And a fabby hat, by the way!

kmkat said...

Bavarian twisted stitch is wicked cool. It would be nice in some socks.

Anonymous said...

I don't often quote bumper stickers, but...

Seen today in bold graphic black and white:

JANUARY 20, 2009
THE END OF AN ERROR


Maureen

Captain said...

Bobdammit, Franklin, if I'd known you were going to be at Loopy I might have mustered up the courage!

Praise for your X-in-a-diamond design. Like it.

Anonymous said...

Amen!

bkat said...

Before I looked at the other comments, I said an "Amen" outloud to you. Well said, as usual, Franklin.

nutmeg said...

We're cheering for Obama's success, too, 'way up here in Northern Alberta, Canada. (And we wish we had a leader that inspired as much hope in these troubled times as he most certainly does...) Onward, and upward!

GinkgoKnits said...

Wow! Must go explore this Bavarian Twisted Stitch that you speak of. Hats are just the perfect size project for learning something new, aren't they?

As for the inauguration, out here in San Francisco, I'm getting up early. Bush's re-election was so disheartening to me that I walked around with my insides tied in knots for days. I didn't think that I'd see "Change I can believe in" so soon.

Today, I baked a cake to celebrate the inauguration. Tomorrow, I'm having it for breakfast!

Rebekkah said...

Ooh, the stitch definition looks great in that yarn. I'll have to keep it in mind for twisted stitch work!

Figuring out hat decreases is my favorite part of designing hats. A great puzzle with many solutions. Kind of like what in-a-few-hours-PRESIDENT-Obama gets thrown to him. I'm so excited.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I've been watching all the festivities and new of the inauguration. And it brings tears to my eyes to see so many happy and honestly open faces! No hidden and frightened expressions, now it is energy and hope. Yes we can!

NC Knitter said...

Great day for America!

Great hat!

And let's here it for Twisted Bavarians!

Brewgal said...

Amen.

Donna Lee said...

Firstly, the hat is beautiful. Secondly, I believe that we, as Americans, can maybe find that heart of which we are so proud. Maybe we can move back into the place where we care about everyone and not just the rich or white or straight or christian or......I am hopeful for the first time in a long time.

Cheryl said...

Love the hat, nothing like a twisted Bavarian. And nothing like a new president that can grab us from the brink and give us hope so we can do what needs to be done to repair the damage.

cazj said...

As a Brit I am glad to see that there is so much hope in America that Obama will live up to the promise. I wish him well and hope that he is an instrument for change for the better in the world as well as the US.

anne marie in philly said...

carol looks so happy! may she be that happy this sunday at her "loop yarn" booksigning!

I have been up since 3a; can't sleep, so excited, going to a special luncheon to watch the ceremony.

hey W, don't let the door hit ya in the ass as ya leave!

Kim said...

The first word that came to mind after I read your post is AMEN!!! but everyone beat me to that.

I haven't felt this good in the morning since November when I got to cast my vote for hope. I have never felt this way about my country, nor so glad to be a part of this experiment we call democracy.

Love the twisted stitch. Like I need to add another project to my list - oh well, it's still a great day!

Alwen said...

If it's Bavarian, maybe you could Schuhplattle with it . . .

KGLO said...

I think that was very eloquently put. Thank you!

dale-harriet said...

Oh my Dear FRIEND! I'm reading this while drying my eyes (I just watched the Inauguration Oath). As a former Civil Rights Worker, I never thought I'd see the day, but here it IS, and yes - filled with hope, optimism and joy. Our new President is young, eloquent, sharp, clear-sighted and insightful, fair-minded....oh yeah, and he's African-American by heritage. One of the newsfolks I was watching commented - as we watched the helicopter carrying Dubyah away from DC - "a lot of those people are clapping and cheering with relief". Amen to THAT, too.

Sister Sue said...

Oh good! As I was reading about the hat, I was trying to come up with a delicate way to ask about its intended recipient, and if there weren't one, how to go about insinuating myself as possible receiver of said hat. I love it! Miss you, brother dear. Abby tells everyone you made whatever knitted piece she's modeling--this morning it was her mittens. She holds up her hands (or points to her sweater) and says, "Unka Fwank!"

Ciorstaidh said...

WOW, I only hope when I finish my stitches project that my cabling will look one tenth as good...

With regard to the inauguration, even in the UK, we've been pretty excited. I think everyone in my department spent the last two hours of the day streaming the inauguration through the BBC on the internet (if only we could get as excited about our own leadership...!)

Anonymous said...

Dear Franklin - I gratefully add my chorus of joy to all the comments. You summed it up so well. I am hopeful that the future will, indeed, be better for our troubled nation. Now, if the politicians will only remember that they are to work together for the good of the country and the people. Not Big Business. Love the hat, too. I've not tried traveling stitch (that I remember) but it surely looks promising. The idea of a cap to learn a new technique is good, too. Take care and Namaste - Joe, in Wyoming

Anonymous said...

Franklin, here's a Canadian, from Southern Ontario, who is so excited and happy to see your new President Obama today. What happens in your country happens to ours, you know, and many of us here have been so hopeful during the campaign and so grateful that Obama was elected. I was impressed with him since the interview with Oprah, before he was even running. I have hope today, that our countries will be better, that President Obama is going to make changes that will further both the United States and Canada. His address was wonderful and reflected exactly who I believe and hope he truly is. Happy dancing here in small town Ontario, delighted with what is happening today. samm (samm on rav too)

Laura said...

I noticed your lovely hat, and meant to say something nice, but the comments were lost in all the excitement. I had no idea I was seeing its debut. It's a beautiful hat!

Su said...

Gorgeous hat! Love those Bavarian twisted stitches. And the sentiments about our new President. As a Federal worker, it's a wonderful change to work for a boss I respect.

janna said...

Hear, hear! It's a great day!

And a great hat! How is it that I've never heard of Bavarian Twisted Stitches -- I need to investigate!

Stellasmydog said...

Si se puede!!!

Liz said...

Well said; congratulations; and best wishes for the next four/eight years; I'm amazed the world's collective sigh of relief didn't cause a hurricane in Washington...

Nice hat, too.

Jennifer said...

Franklin, Just popping in to say happy inauguration and to let you know that your sweater design got to celebrate with another baby, in Portland oregon... http://somewhereknitting.blogspot.com/2009/01/photo-heavy-lovin.html

Everyone loved the sweater, again :)
Thanks for sharing the design with us!

One Sock Short said...

Is that an intarsia Obama symbol I see on the far left (no pun intended) of the Knitters for Obama photo? I wonder if the lovely woman wearing it can point the way to a graph? (I ask with hope in my heart)

Great hat! I think you need another sister. We've lived on or near some of the same bases already, so I think I could qualify ;-)

Now back to my happy-dance marathon...

Liz said...

Amen again!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you feel that way about the outgoing administration.

Eileen said...

Franklin, your new (sorry, Susan's new hat) is wonderful. I'm twisting stitches lately, too. It even crept into a pair of socks just-for-me.

As for your thoughts on (now) President Obama and his administration (not to mention those on the previous inhabitants), yes, we can say that.

Yes, we did, and yes...we are moving forward. (Check out my blog on the 20th for my new sweater and my feline assistants.)

Anonymous said...

Franklin

When I read your posts they are great stories they may me smile, giggle, nod go ahhh. THey have just about everything. How a bout a book with the best ones in, volume 1, volume..... That might set up a trust fund!

Jacqueline x

blckbtch said...

I just came from D.C. I've never seen 2 million people who were so nice, so calm, so full of hope. it sounds hokey, I know, but it was freakin' incredible. I will never forget it. And yes...he will need a lot of luck...I think he's up to the task.

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