Saturday, September 03, 2005

Knitting, stories, and music

Dear Ellen,

Since you posted, the news on the Katrina victims have become ever more bleak. It has gone beyond "weather" news to news of violence, hunger, death, and destruction. All the news channels are in the mode what we have seen in previous disasters. I, too, am a weather obsessed news watcher. Little did I know or anyone else know the magnitude of this one until now.

All of this time, while watching the news, I have been knitting, but I would call it restless knitting. I can't seem to focus on the job I am doing - it's as though I wonder why I am knitting and watching this in the comfort of my own home? I think of the times I have complained about the hot weather, but can go into my home in air conditioned comfort under the vent and ceiling fan so I could remain cool.

Yesterday, I came in from work and didn't turn on the television as I had been doing this week. It had been a long day at work with meetings, assessments, and paperwork - which is part of my Friday job. I had gone to the library to pick up some children's books for next week and decided to listen to some music, to drift a little bit and meditate. I chose the CD Vision-The Music of Hildegard von Bingen. I don't know if you are familiar with the cd, but it is what I termed "nuked" - made palatable for today's listener instead of in its purest original form. It's nice for a change and I find it soothing.

It allowed me to escape the world, from the harshest details that we all have been seeing. The knitting needles began to relax in a rhythm where the fingers become like a well oiled machine and the knitting results become constant and smooth. Wouldn't it be nice if all knitting could be like that - no tinking, frogging, stopping to look at the pattern, wondering how many more rows until finished thinking mode takes over.

In your last posting, you asked me if I had a favorite knitting story. I was not familiar with the Seven Swans story, but there is a children's book The Mitten by Jan Brett. Brett is a wonderful author and illustrator of children's books (I am not sure if I like her stories or her artwork better - both are excellent). In this Ukrainian folktale, Grandmother knits mittens for her grandson. He wants white mittens. Grandmother really does not want to knit them in white for fear of the little boy losing them in the snow. The little boy does lose one of the mittens and it becomes home for many of the animals of the forest. The mitten grows and grows as more animals make the mitten their home. Then the bear sneezes. What happens to the mitten??? Oh you will have to read it to find out what happens.

My grandmother used to knit us mittens. I remember my hand being traced as a child to send off my measurements to have the mittens knitted. The mittens would come back and I loved them - but in Florida, one doesn't wear mittens often. However, some things never leave us, and grandmother came from New Hampshire and even after she moved to Florida, she still knitted mittens for us. Oh she would have loved the diverse yarn of today, but would have never bought expensive yarn unless she found it at a thrift shop. She had lived the Depression and remembered what it was like.

You have aroused my curiosity as to what you are knitting - not even a single hint for our readers?

Today the house is full of children again. Laura and Allison return from college for the weekend (carpooling this time!), and Rachael. Tomorrow we go to a grape stomp to make wine for Communion at church.

Somewhere knitting will fit in the picture.

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