Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One for the Baby Book

When your kid is twenty-one, you usually aren’t still thinking of firsts that warrant recording in one’s baby book. Many of the firsts that happen at this point in life are best left undocumented

  • first week subsisting entirely on rice and beans
  • first all-nighter
  • first bounced check
  • first time filing your own taxes
  • first hangover
  • first time buying beer legally
  • first . . .

Then there is the first cable.

No, not cable as in TV, knitted cable.

My freshly twenty-one year old came home for Christmas break with the desire to knit her boyfriend a scarf. That, in and of itself, made me happy. I remember a time when I was talking to the girls about needing to write my will. One of them said that it was not important for me to do so because all I had were books and yarn; nobody would want that stuff. I now am comforted to know that I can leave my yarn stash to Offspring No. 1. I also know that she appreciates my healthy collection of poetry since I often have to reclaim volumes from her “nest.” Whew! One less thing to worry about.

In an effort to nurture this interest in knitting, Brooke and I sat down and looked at scarf patterns together. She already knew how to knit and purl; she wanted a pattern that would be challenging yet accomplishable and that was appropriate for a twenty-one year old man. That left out lace – challenging, but not appropriate. She decided that learning to make cables would be fun. We found a reversible cabled scarf, Here and There Cables in Interweave Knit’s ScarfSTYLE, that is a perfect first cable project and looks manly enough.

The next day, which happened to be my birthday, we took a field trip to the yarn shop to find yarn. (I probably had something in my stash that would have worked but we all know that going to the yarn shop and selecting just the right yarn for this particular project from all of the wonderful choices is a big part of the fun. I was happy to indulge her and it was a fun birthday adventure for me.) She chose a very striking deep burgundy yarn.

As soon as we got home, Brooke cast on to begin her scarf. She knit until time for the first cable row. At that point, she handed her work to me so that I could show her how to make the cables. I did the first few on the row and then handed the fledgling scarf back to her telling her that it was now her turn. I have not touched the scarf since. She had eight inches or so done before she left to return to school.

"Baby's First Cables"

It makes me happy that she both values and enjoys knitting, something that is important to me. Those of us who knit often make things for babies and children who have no context from which to appreciate the time and effort that went into whatever was made for them. After all of those booties, hats, mittens, doll clothes and sweaters, it is rewarding to see that appreciation emerge, especially in such a way as she wants to learn and develop the skill so that she too can create something for someone she cares about.

I hope that Brooke will finish her scarf before the Chicago winter has past. We discovered while she was home that Weber and her boyfriend share the same birthday. Many of the knitting projects that I have started for Weber over past Christmas holidays have not been completed until his birthday in June. Hopefully Brooke will not follow my example on this point!

As I was writing this post, I got a text message from Brooke that said, “I just joined my next ball of yarn all by myself!”

The following text message conservation ensued:

ME: Awesome! Are you enjoying knitting?
BROOKE: Yeah. I might make another scarf like this for me. A grey one.
ME: Big surprise. (Grey is her favorite color.)
Do you want me to send you yarn to match your hat? )I still have her “Christmas hat” to make. If I don’t finish it until her birthday next December, at least she will be able to wear it immediately. Just kidding; it will be done this weekend.)
ME: I will get it in the mail early next week. I have not mailed the stuff you left yet. I will try to get some of it in the mail tomorrow.
BROOKE: Can you make sure that my magenta bra is in the first batch you send? It’s important.
ME: I’m not even going to ask why, but yes.
BROOKE: Proper undergarments are the fundamentals of a good outfit.
ME: I want to make sure that your fundamentals are in good array.

The end.

Whatever is going on with the magenta bra is probably one of those things that should not be included in one’s baby book or any other permanent record.

So, I will just smile and be thankful that my baby (in the magenta bra and . . .) has discovered the joy of knitting.