Monday, December 19, 2005

Birth of a Knitter

By now, you all know that Diana (who will be 7 next month) knits. This week, she finished a project that featured a remarkable number of quintessential knitting experiences. Sorry that there aren't illustrations (see #10 below), but here's the story:

1. She wasn't finished her previous project. Although she had a scarf (in Cascade Fixation) and a hat (in Lolita, which is kind of a plush) on needles, she was suddenly overcome by the urge to cast on. The reasons were classic: She didn't have her knitting with her, and The yarn just spoke to her. The yarn in question, by the way, is Alpaca Seta.

2. The deadline was perhaps a little unrealistic. She started more than a month ago, with the idea of knitting her friend Isaac a scarf for Christmas. Now, Isaac is Diana's age, so his scarf doesn't need to be very long; and Diana prudently cast on a small number of stitches (8, if I recall). But she doesn't knit very fast.

3. There was a mistake. After about 8 rows, the scarf was about 15 stitches wide. Faced with the dilemma of ripping back vs. modifying the original plan, Diana cleverly decided to taper the other end of the scarf to match.

4. Progress stalled. She's six. She gets distracted. Knitting is kind of, you know, slow.

5. Then she got motivated again and tried to do everything in a rush. She had an unusually long afternoon at the shop (hate those noon-dismissal days!) and began to make some serious headway. Inspired by the visible evidence of her achievement, she pressed on, in a near frenzy.

6. With the end in sight, her measurements began to get, er, optimistic. This is the first thing she's made that involved a tape measure. No one had shown her how to use one. There may have been some stretching involved.

7. She became unable to hear advice that contradicted her desire to finish. I was in the other room, but I heard Judy say, "But don't you want him to be able to wear it for a long time before he outgrows it? Why not make it a bit longer?" I tried with "Christmas is still more than a week away; you've got plenty of time. You're making such great progress, another day is all it would take." Nothing doing.

8. She stayed up past her bedtime to finish. We've all been there--though not necessarily at 8 p.m.

9. There were tears of frustration. Though, again, I don't know that all of us remember the last time we actually threw a project on the floor. Or were threatened with a timeout for doing so. (She couldn't remember how to bind off and couldn't wait 30 seconds for me to finish loading the dishwasher before I could show her.)

Then came a step or two that maybe aren't so universal: she agreed to let me cut the fringe strands after she'd gone to bed, so that she could attach them in the morning. She bounded out of bed and got dressed immediately and went downstairs and got to work, while I was still getting dressed and organizing Eva (Suzanne was in Seattle).

10. She couldn't wait a minute longer than absolutely necessary to get it packed up. This is why there aren't any pictures: I had thought, since she was binding off a Christmas present on the night of December 15th, that there would be plenty of opportunity to get a picture of her with the completed scarf before she wrapped it. I was wrong. By the time I got down to the kitchen, she'd not only finished the fringe, she'd wrapped it all up. And, being Diana, she flatly refused to unwrap it. (She used notebook paper for wrapping paper, because that was all she could find on short notice. Rewrapping would not have been a big deal.)

11. Or to give it. Maybe it's because we don't celebrate Christmas that the whole under-the-tree, Christmas-morning thing was irrelevant to her. For whatever reason, she had to take it to school with her on Friday morning, and Isaac had to unwrap it on the spot. She did make him promise to have his parents take a picture of him wearing it, though.

So young, and already so experienced. (This is only the second project she's finished. The first was a swatch.) She also reports that knitting with Alpaca Seta was more pleasant than knitting with Fixation, although she wasn't in a mood to discuss why or how.

Now, the big question: does finishing a project entitle her to begin another, or must she return to one of her UFO's? (Don't ask me. She buys her own yarn now, with money from the Tooth Fairy, at the standard employee discount, so she has some autonomy in these matters. I do lend her needles, though.)


Carol said...

What a great post!

Jennifer said...

Diana is just awesome! Such a great kid!

Carol said...

How long until she has her own blog??

Kim said...

I love the post. She is learning to knit at such an early age...and with fine yarn. A lucky young lady. Well, tooth fairy money won't go too far unless she borrows teeth from her friends!

Tell her she needs to work on a UFO and then can begin a new project. I cannot wait to see the photo of Isaac in his scarf! Kim

Marg B said...

I'm betting Diana starts another project before working on a UFO. She sounds like that kind of knitter.

BTW I am ROFLMAO at the post!