The art of letting go
The above freezing temperatures and sunny days all combined to create perfect tobogganing and playing outside for preschoolers. The most fun on earth is to pile a bunch of 4 year olds in an old plastic kiddy pool (no kidding) and slide down the hill behind the school. The hill is man-made, since we live on the prairies, so there are no trees in sight. Perfect.
After that, why not play in the wet snow and mud in the sunshine? Sure! Why not? Why not felt your brand new mitts in the process.... (wet mud, melty snow, hot hands inside mitts, and tons of agitation. Viola!)
After I carefully rinsed (no agitation here!) those mitts about 8 times, I realized the water had been dirtier than most fleeces I'd ever washed. Also, I observed that the mitts were remarkably small. By the time I got the whole story out of the four year old, I'd long since realized that the mitts were felted and....toast. They will probably keep an infant's hands warm, but only if I do some serious triage first. Oh well.
So, we're in the middle of Hanukah, and this is a low-key gift holiday. Lots of candle lighting, sweets, singing, dancing, and fun. Yeah, you maybe get some big toys, but some nights? you get Mommy's handmade mitten liners. I took a pair of mitts that still fit, cut this out of recycled sweaters, and used the sewing machine.... Top one there is beige cashmere (less prone to felting than wool) and the bottom one is red, already felted, wool. I do need to make another pair of mitts for the mud pie, felting mitts twin, but in the meanwhile, he can wear the back up mitts. (back up, acrylic mitts were knit by somebody who is friendly with my mom.) If it gets cold enough, now we have liners to make those work.
The thing is, I've had a bit of a backlog in the knitting department. Still working on sweater #2, and after that, I have to make some (superwash wool--no felting!) mitts, but wanted to mention this first. I got a lovely package in the mail from www.yarncanada.ca. It's some Patons' Kroy sock yarn. They've got a stunning range of colors available, more than I would ever get to see at a big box retailer. This is good solid wool yarn, with a bit of nylon to help make for hardwearing socks. I'd ordered these colors for my boys, and they were thrilled by the selection. However, they are not sure they want socks, they are showing more interest in having me knit up some worry bears for their pockets. (little knit amigurumi bears, to hold onto when you are having a worry.) Bears are waiting their turn in the knitting line up, but I've already heard from certain four year olds that the variegated blue at the left of this photo and the purple one, beneath, are the appropriate colors!
I'll have to see if I can squeeze some socks out of these, too. Wool socks are a necessity for all of us in the winter time....
I know a lot of knitters would freak out if somebody went and ruined their work 2 months after they'd made it. You know, played mud pies in the snow sunshine and destroyed their mitts. I feel oddly detached from it all. I know both my boys LOVE Mommy's handknits. They are proud to wear all the homemade woollies I churn out for them to order. So, I'm ok with making another pair of mitts...or two. I think we'll need back ups. In any case, I know that having more to make is ok because in the end? I like to knit. I like to feel valued and that my work is useful.
So, yeah, even if I made it, it's just a thing, and things can be replaced. Here's something else--something that can't:
(caption: We're talking on the phone to Grandpa while Daddy changes bedding. Note the line up on the bed. 2 dogs and 2 boys....and no rough housing or fighting. A miracle....just right for Hanukah.)