Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simplicity Mitts

I have a free pattern available for fingerless mitts. I used hand-spun alpaca for these but you could use any worsted weight yarn. A simple 3x1 rib pattern is easy enough for a beginner. Click the link below to view the pattern.

Simplicity Gauntlets
pattern revised for clarity

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hospital Hat

When my son first saw this hat finished he named it the "Hive Hat" but I will always remember it as the "Hospital Hat" because this is the project I worked on as I sat vigil by my husband's bedside in the hospital.
Gary had a terrible accident on New Year's Day, falling more than 35 feet, and fracturing his spine, the L1 vertebrae. He had surgery the following day to stabilize his back with metal rods and screws. Thankfully, the surgery was a success and the prognosis is very good. Gary should recover within a year or two.
It's been a scary and unsettling time for all of us but we are trying to focus on being positive and being grateful for what we have and that things aren't worse. We've had a lot of support from family, friends and the community which has been really a rewarding experience. Right now we are enjoying the time we have together as a family.
In the beginning I spent 10 days commuting back and forth from the hospital, sometimes staying for a few days at a time because I wasn't comfortable leaving my husband without a family member there to care for him. It seemed he needed so much more than the hospital staff was willing to provide so I'm glad he always had someone there to advocate for him and to tend to his basic needs. I felt as though I was caring for a newborn babe, jumping up at every whimper or cry, with very little sleep or energy.
This hat seemed to be the perfect knitting project to have with me. I had started it just a couple of days earlier when I was anxious to cast on something new and try out this yarn, "Spa" which is a bamboo and acrylic blend. I really liked the pattern for the hat "Wurm" which is very easy and repetitious, especially after getting past the brim part. It was easily fixed too, after dropping stitches, which I did several times when I threw down my knitting to tend to my husband or speak to a nurse, etc. Of course there was a lot of time that I didn't feel like knitting when I was there but when I did it was soothing to my soul, relaxing, and a distraction. I got quite a bit accomplished but didn't quite complete the hat while there at the hospital because it is meant to be a slouchy hat, and therefore very long.
Gary was placed in a physical rehabilitation facility for 20 days after he left the hospital and I went back to my life, except for feeling like a single mother (with added responsibilities.) I didn't have much time for knitting and I didn't want to work on the hat. I wasn't sure how I felt about this hat now. Would I ever be able to wear it without the memories of the hospital? Would I even be able to knit it without being flooded with those terrible memories? I avoided that hat for several weeks. I only occasionally worked on other projects, telling myself I didn't have time to knit, but in reality just not making the time for myself.
Gary's been home a few weeks now and I'm starting to see little glimpses of how he used to be. Sometimes I can forget he's wearing that brace under his shirt. I can forget how uncertain the future is and just focus on NOW. Now is all we have. I'm enjoying this time I have with my husband and my son. Gary was always so busy working and now we have this time together and it's something to rejoice. He may not be able to do all the things he used to but he's getting better day by day, bit by bit. He's walking more, even driving short distances, cooking and doing dishes...
So I picked up that hat again and I finished it. And no, it didn't bring me bad memories, because I'm thinking about NOW and how happy we are to be together and grateful for all that we have. Mostly grateful for each other.