Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Torturing my sister

Dear Blog-

I may have already told you the beginning of this story, but darnit, I'm going to tell you again. When I got back into knitting several years back I tried my darnedest to get my oldest sister, who had also knit when we were children, to take up knitting too. I was just thoroughly convinced that she would love it - the patterns, the yarns, the creativity and relaxation, all of it. It was (and is still) something I was so excited about that I wanted to share it with everyone I knew. And with anyone I don't know, too.

But she is as stubborn as I am and the harder I pushed, the more I offered to teach her again ("I already know how to knit and I'm not interested!"), the more she resisted. But every Achilles has their heel, as it were, and my sister's weak spot is her grandchildren. So I knitted sweaters for her two grand-daughters. Heh, heh, heh. That did the trick. Next thing I knew she was asking me if I might know where she could find the pattern for the slippers we used to knit every year as kids. She's gone sharply downhill from there...

It has been a pleasure to watch her journey through learning all those things about knitting that we didn't know as kids, and her pleasures in her projects, to receive knitted gifts from her. We went through a rocky period in our relationship a few years back and although we always still loved each other and always still 'got along' there was something held back on both sides, but knitting has broken through that, and if for no other reason - and I have plenty of other reasons - I will always be grateful to knitting.

I love being able to help her when she runs into a roadblock and to point her to books and resources that will be useful and patterns that she would enjoy. Through her I get to enjoy the discovery of those things all over again.

The flip side to all this is that she lives 8 minutes away from Sheep's Clothing, the shop for Morehouse Farm yarns and patterns. (Yes, she has timed the trip.) The place, as I have already said, that I would like to move into and just be that strange but happy and helpful (undoubtedly corpulent and fetid, as well) woman who lives on the couch in the knitting room, surrounded by ever-growing delicious piles of knitted things.

So when she was visiting last spring and our Mom was in the hospital the entire time, Carol - one of my two nursing sisters - took great care of making sure Mom was getting the meds and treatments that would help her the most. This took enormous amounts of strain off of myself and I'm sure from my Dad, too. I can do the nursing grunt work, but don't know what to ask for or what questions to ask - or even what the answers might mean. Yes, I am the black sheep in the family, as I always say. Our Mom is a nurse, my two sisters are nurses, Carol's daughter is a nurse, my sister Mary's other half is a nurse.... In fact, in my researches of the family tree, we have nurses going back to the mid-1800s - perhaps even sooner than that - along with several doctors around that time period. Anyway, while being a knitting teacher means that I am a dab hand in a knitting crisis, it doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of good in a medical crisis. Hmmm... Nonetheless, I'll stick with my knitting, it doesn't have the yucky bits.

My husband and I ordered the Morehouse Farm book for her as a thank you, at the same time as ordering one for myself. Well, I'll be damned if hers didn't arrive first. Of course it did, she's only 8 minutes down the road! It was sheer torture to me that whole week waiting for my book to come as she described patterns and exclaimed over how wonderful everything was.

Fast forward to about a week ago when I sent her the link to the Interweave Holiday issue, and we both drooled over it by emails back and forth, exclaiming over the woolly pears by Nicky Epstein - and all the other treasures - though it was really the woolly pears we were lusting after. The silly thing wasn't due to hit the newstands until the 17th and we could hardly wait. She ordered her copy from the Interweave site but I wanted to wait to buy mine from the LYS where I teach. So Monday of this week I was talking to the LYSO about classes to teach for the upcoming quarter and what was new in the shop, etc, when she said that the much-anticipated magazine had already arrived! I know, Dear Blog, that you know that I was already in the car and on my way to the shop to get my copy. I told Lynn, the LYSO, that with this in hand I knew what I would be doing that afternoon! Heck, I knew what I'd be doing the whole trip home at every red light!

My sister, of course, was greatly exercised that I already had my copy in my hot little hands and was enjoying every page...

Yesterday I could stand it no longer and after holding out less than 24 hours I made three of the woolly pears. I do see more in my immediate future, they are a very quick knit. The first pear (the purpleish one in the center of the photo) I made according to her instructions - knitted flat and with an intarsia area that is later heavily worked over with the main color in duplicate stitch. The second pear I made again knitted flat, but without the intarsia area, with less heavy duplicate stitch in a couple of contrasting colors. By the third pear I was knitting the whole thing in the round and it all made so much more sense.

It was with much glee that I mentioned to my sister yesterday afternoon that I had pears processing...

I've just whipped the three of them out of the oven and here they are. (Yes, after felting and blocking, I always put my felted things into the oven overnight to dry out completely. We have a gas oven and it is always just warm enough from the pilot light to make it the perfect spot for drying out felted bits. It's also perfect for raising bread dough. I lust after an Aga and can picture the things I could dry in THAT puppy! SIGH. No, I haven't yet turned the oven on to cook and acidentally roasted my felting.) NOTE: Live chicken added for scale.

I can't wait to email this photo to my sister, who already hates me for yesterday's photo of my finished sweater...


Blogger AlisonH said...

Sisterly competition. Ain't it grand?! (Said the third of four sisters, and the fourth of six kids.) I love your pears. I love everything else you've knitted shown on your blog--makes me feel like I'm in a rut: see all this cool stuff out there I could be doing too? You do gorgeous work!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Cathy C said...

LOVE THE PEARS! May I ask where you got the pattern? I think it would be LOVELY to have a bowl of fruit sitting on a dining table...

10:36 AM  

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