The Niecelet, Part II

Last summer, when my ‘niece’ turned one, I decided she needed a new sweater.  I’d made her the Baby Surprise Jacket for her as a newborn, with a matching hat.  A mere four months later, I’d made her a new hat, because the old one didn’t fit anymore.  But she was turning one now, and clearly she needed a new sweater.  I had some nice orange wool on hand, and cast on.

Well, wait a minute.  The niecelet is in California, and I am here.  How do I size this?  Also, wool sweater, and  her birthday is in early July.  She’s not going to want to wear the sweater right away.  Okay, cast on top down and ribs, so the sweater stretches.  I’m crazy, so I cabled a sweater for a baby.  Good, now, arms, maybe there, and close the neck there . . . 

I arrived in California with the sleeves on spare yarn and the body still on the needles.  One afternoon, I snagged the niecelet and made off with her into a corner.  She was smiling and cheerful and into everything and perfectly happy to go off with Aunt Roza.  I put the sweater on her (inside the air conditioned house!) and measured.

0703141442    0703141443h  

Two more inches on the body of the sweater, and one on the sleeves.  Alright.

I knit up the last little bit and bound off.  She was swimming in the sweater, exactly as planned.  Four months later, I got this picture.

IMG_2872

Only an inch folded up at the cuffs, and the body is long enough.  Hurray!

Update a year later:

IMG953575

Ain’t she cute?

1 Comment

Filed under knitting

When someone you know has a miscarriage

Warning: graphic imagery


When someone you know tells you they or their partner miscarried, don’t try to fix it.  It’s unfixable.


I asked my boyfriend to spend the rest of his life with me the day we stopped talking about IF we were going to have children and started talking about WHEN.  We were 21, juniors in college, and had been together for two years.  Roughly six years later, I married him.  His joke is that he married me so I’d do his taxes, but we were mostly thinking that maybe it was finally time to have children.  As a friend pointed out, I was keeping him, I wasn’t going to marry any one else, and many things are a little easier (paperwork and so on) if you are married to the other parent of your child.  Except, even as we were planning the wedding, I was applying to grad school, and then my new job started the same week as I got accepted into grad school, and it seemed like a good idea to wait a little longer.  My poor dad was so confused.  Should he be happy and proud that I was going to grad school?  Or sad that the promised grandbabies weren’t happening yet?

About nine months ago, we just got sick of waiting.  It had been eight years since that long car ride home from school when he agreed to spend the rest of his life with me.  We wanted babies now.  We both had good jobs, the end of grad school was in sight, and the only housemates we had were two cats.  So we planned and went on vacation over the holidays, scheduled a tonsillectomy for me in February (if I needed any proof that he was good at taking care of helpless people, I got it over my two weeks of recovery; tonsillectomies hurt), and had my doctor take my IUD out in March.  We waited through one menstrual cycle to reestablish my body’s cycle, and then started having unprotected sex.  There were color-coded excel charts involved.

It turns out, I am as fertile as family lore said I should be.  Four days after my next period failed to show up, the pregnancy test was positive.  Two weeks later, three days after my thirtieth birthday, my doctor’s office had me pee in a cup and confirmed the pregnancy.  Two weeks after that, I had eight doctor’s appointments in one week, all related to the pregnancy.  Some of them very interesting, some not so much.  The family planner and I started out with the fact that I already done the planning, very carefully, in fact, and so we skipped several sections of her planned speech.  The social worker and I agreed that we earned too much money for food stamps, WIC, and section 8 housing.  I lectured the nurse about toxoplasmosis and why it probably wasn’t an issue for me, but I still didn’t mind letting Himself change the litter box for the next several months.

We came up with names for girls and for boys, and talked to midwives.

We told everyone at about the two and a half month mark.

On Father’s Day (and I have no idea why the techs were working on a Sunday), we had the first ultrasound.  The next day, Monday, my doctor called me from her vacation with the results of the ultrasound.  I wasn’t pregnant after all.

Diagnoses have all kinds of names.  Some have useful names, some not so much.  Recently, the worse diagnostic name I can think of is the one for what I had.  Blighted ovum.  Also called anembryonic pregnancy.  In other words, pregnancy without an embryo.  My body had grown an amniotic sac and filled it with fluid, but the fertilized egg had failed to grow.  My doctor said that there was no way she or anyone else could have known before the ultrasound that this was happening.  She said that I had all the signs of pregnancy, and she wanted to be really clear that I hadn’t been making this up.  She said this would have no impact on my ability to carry a future pregnancy to term.  She told me that I would shortly start to pass the issue, or I could take medical steps to ensure that everything was expelled.  But there was not going to be a baby at this time.

We spent the next day or so in a kind of a daze.  In retrospect, I am extremely grateful that my doctor called when she did, because it meant that when I started to bleed on Tuesday, I knew what was happening.  On Wednesday, when I started to expel tissue, I didn’t go to the ER in a panic.  I just sat at home and cried with Him.  We cried a lot those first few days.

The rabbit hole of the internet says that ten to twenty percent of confirmed pregnancies miscarry before the end of the first trimester.  In other words, one to two of every ten pregnancies don’t make it to the second trimester.  Most women who have had a miscarriage have no difficulty getting pregnant when they try again.  This fact is only marginally comforting when you are part of that ten to twenty percent and the miscarriage just happened.

Nothing is official until you post it to Facebook, right?  About a week after I started bleeding, I posted a note to Facebook explaining that I was no longer pregnant, and that we didn’t want hugs or sympathy unless we started the conversation.  Almost everyone went along and talked about other things around us, meaning that I could control when and on whom I cried.  I’m not sure who He cried on aside from me.  He’s never cried as easily as I have, but I know this hurt him almost as much as me.  I say almost because he didn’t have to deal with the cramps from expelling tissue.

Talking about it with other people was, and remains, one of the hardest parts.  The cramping and bleeding trailed off, and three weeks out, I am no longer bursting into tears every time I stop thinking about something else.  Every time a parent walks by with a new baby.  Every time a pregnant woman walks by.  Every time an ad featuring babies pops up on a website.  And we’ve been talking to people.  Our parents and sisters.  My therapist.  And friends.  Almost all of our friends have let me cry if I need to.  One of them took Him to the zoo.  At least two have taken me out for supper.  One of them took the time to think about His point of view and suggest things to me about what He might be dealing with that I hadn’t been able to see past my own pain.

I wish that people would stop telling us “you can always have another.”  We want another baby.  We will try to have another.  But we wanted this one, too.  We wanted this baby who we planned for so carefully.  We’re still planning on using the same name if we have a girl next time so I’m not going to share that here, but we wanted little maybe-Alexander.  We wanted the dreams and the hopes that we thought we were going to get to realized.  The next one will be wonderful.  But right now, this one hurts.  Telling me that I can always have another dismisses this one, makes it irrelevant.  This one mattered.  If I carried the pregnancy to full-term, and then our baby died, would people tell us we could always try again?  I don’t think they would.  But somehow, because we only had three months dreaming about this possibility, it’s okay to skip right ahead to the next one?

I would be happy to never hear another variation on “but this one wasn’t really there” when I go into the details of what happened.  No, this one wasn’t really there after all.  There wasn’t an embryo that I lost.  But we didn’t know that.  We built three months of hopes and dreams on the completely reasonable assumption that it was there, and just because it turned out there wasn’t anything growing doesn’t change what we hoped for.  It feels like people are trying to explain to me why I shouldn’t grieve.  I might even call it a benevolent form of gaslighting, an attempt to rewrite my experience and my reality.  I do believe the people who have said this to me mean well.  But arguing someone out of grieving is a terrible thing to do to your friends.  It’s a convenience to the person I am talking to, so they don’t have to deal with my pain.  It doesn’t help us, the people who are hurting, at all.

I appreciate the people who tell me “I’m sorry.  That sucks.  Do you want a hug?” and then take no for an answer.  I appreciate the people who offer distractions, but are fine with me not being up for it.  I’m glad for the ones who offer supper plans, and then talk about books, or knitting, or plans for the summer.  And I’m desperately grateful for the ones who let me interrupt those discussions with tears and trying to articulate how much it hurts, how angry I am about everything, and how scared I am for when we try again.  I cannot adequately express how much it means to me when people don’t try to fix the situation, but let us be sad and unhappy.  It’s a sad and unhappy situation, and it hurts, and the people who acknowledge that and hold our hands without trying to fix it make things a little better.

When someone you know tells you they or their partner miscarried:

  • Assume that you know nothing about the situation.
  • Assume that no matter how uncomfortable you are with this person’s pain, you cannot fix it.  You cannot make it better.  You cannot wish it away.
  • Assume that you have no idea how to help.
  • Sit in silence with them or let them talk or discuss the latest iflscience.com article you read if they need a distraction.
  • Cry on someone else.  They might cry on you, and if they do, you can cry, too; but take your pain from the situation elsewhere.  They are not the right person to listen to your fears or the reasons why you think the pregnancy might not have progressed.
  • Tell them you’re sorry for their loss.  Ask if they need a hug.  Don’t take it personally if they say no.
  • Be there.  A hand if they need it, a shoulder if they can cry, an ear if they need to talk.  Someone to tuck them under the blanket on the couch and walk away if they need to be alone.
  • Don’t try to fix it.  It’s unfixable.

1 Comment

Filed under children, Life, the Universe, and Everything

The Niecelet, Part I

Once upon a time, my mother and her friend decided to become blood sisters.

It was an interesting decision for me, even though I wasn’t born yet.  The friend is my godmother and bought my prom dress, at which point she became my fairy godmother.  She also bought the fabric for my wedding dress, and I feel like there should have been a third dress, as shining as the stars, if we followed the tales, but I don’t remember that one.

My fairy godmother’s eldest daughter, just two months younger than me, was my best-est friend for years.  When we were very little, she would bite me, or so the story goes, and then I’d cry.  Her mother would ask me: Roza, did she bite you?  And, tears streaming down my face, I’d lie and say no, because I didn’t want her to go into time-out.  I wanted her to stay and play with me.  When we were ten or so, we were each going to run for president, with the other as the vice-president, so we’d be sure to win.  In high school, we’d stay awake way past midnight when our families would visit each other and talk about everything.  Why not?  Our parents were downstairs, playing board games until the middle of the night, so we stayed awake, too.  I was one of her bridesmaids, and we traveled across the country for each other’s college graduations.

Over the years, it turned out that the second daughter was a dear friend as well.  She moved to Boston for a few years, and there were weeks I saw her three or four times.  If two weeks had gone by, and I didn’t see her, it was time to call her up and make plans.  I would knit or spin and she would do cross-stitch, and we’d talk about books for hours.  One year, we hit all twelve of the North Shore Yarn Crawl stores in just two days.  She helped me pack my books and move with only three weeks of warning.

Sometime after college, it became easier to call them both ‘cousin’ when introducing them to people than to try to explain.  Much to our amusement, I’d introduce my ‘cousin’, and people would immediately say that they could see the family resemblance!

Sadly, both now live in California, so visits are rare these days.  The eldest’s daughter, who turns two this summer, knows me mostly from Skype dates rather than in person, and the long midnight talks haven’t happened in a while.  There are some very cool things about being an adult, but babies and work do cut short late nights.

Before my ‘niece’ was born, I decided this baby needed a sweater.  And not just any sweater.  The Baby Surprise Jacket.  And for reasons that have now been lost to time, I decided the yarn to do this in was Sugar n’ Cream.  I picked a nice set of colors, white and green and blue and pink, and cast on.  And it was hideous.  The fabric was way too thick, and this made it stiff, and I couldn’t get it to work, and this was supposed to be for a baby!  Bother.

So, as if I wasn’t already crazy, I decided the way to solve this would be to unspin the yarn, a four-ply, and respin it half as thick.  I really did decide to do this.  I  have no idea why.  The baby wasn’t going to care.  My cousin and her husband would be delighted that I made a thing for their baby, regardless of the details.  And yet, there I was, hunched over my spinning wheel, unspinning and then respinning an entire ball of cotton yarn.

0306132053b     0306132058

It was silly, but it did work.  Having finally reach the right thickness of yarn, I cast on.  The Baby Surprise Jacket is a magical and weird piece of knitting, in which you knit misshapen rectangle (very misshapen), fold it up just right, sew two seams, and surprise!  There’s a jacket.

0306132053a 0316131403

The rectangle has too many corners, the increases are in unexpected places, and none of it makes sense.

Except, then there’s a baby sweater.

0403132137

And, since I had leftover yarn, a matching hat.

0403132137c

Here’s a picture from the hospital, of the hat.

P1030508

Except, the baby is much more interesting.  Isn’t she awesome?!

2 Comments

Filed under knitting

But is it Perfect?

Knitting is a dangerous skill.  I don’t just mean the possibility that a knitter will get fed up with people asking what she’s making and commenting that they could never have the patience for knitting (personally, I have neither the patience NOT to knit, nor the patience to explain that yet again to non-knitters), or stabbing himself with the tips of socks needles hard enough to draw blood (ask me how I know this can happen!), and balls of yarn tangling or skittering away under the table.  This can all be dangerous to the knitter and the people around him, but that’s not what I mean.  No, knitting is dangerous because of the ease with which it allows a knitter to exercise her perfectionism.

Hi, my name is Roza, and I am a recovering perfectionist.

*Hi, Roza!* you all chime in.

I wrote about this a fair bit over here, and now and then it gets me into some interesting situations.  Happily, my perfectionism is controlled at this point such that it only really shows up in two places: at work, where I hope my boss and coworkers appreciate it; and in my knitting, where no one but me is affected by it.  Not, mind you, that it doesn’t bother friends when I take a shawl that I spent weeks knitting and pull it out entirely because I don’t like the drape.  But unless it was the wedding shawl I was making for the wedding which is in only two weeks (and I decided to fudge that one rather than rip it out!), their botheration doesn’t stop me frogging things when the object is not entirely perfect.  The sweater I linked to above was reknit entirely once, and redone around the edges about six times.  Himself finally forbade me to do anything further to the sweater for at least a year!

For further entertainment, I also get bored easily.

One day, Himself was grumping about being cold, it was about 0°F that day, I believe, so he had some justification.  He decided that what he really wanted was a nice double-knit scarf, to go with his double-knit hat.  Being unable to knit himself, he naturally turned to his dearly beloved wife and gazed beseechingly upon her.  I groaned and went off to contemplate patterns.

Now, double knit is really dreadfully boring without some pattern to follow.  I googled ‘font patterns chart‘, and showed Himself several different fonts I could use to write a witty phrase.  Cross-stitch has a lot of well-documented fonts, nicely graphed out already.  He picked a font that he liked, but this still left the issue of what to use for a phrase.  I wasn’t too worried about length, because I could always add extra decorations at the end.  But it needed to be something he liked.  Over breakfast one day, I jokingly suggested ‘garrote in training’ . . . . and he loved it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 1.00.02 PM

Oops.  I might have created a monster.

So off I went.  And then frogged.  And cast on.  And frogged.  And winter ended.  And cast on.  And frogged.  And summer came and went.  And cast on.  And finally I gave up and admitted that while it was in theory possible to make a scarf that was blue on both sides and had black lettering on just one side, I wasn’t going to make that scarf for Himself this time.

Blast it, anyway.

0421150749b

After casting on and working the G in such a way that I felt like it was actually going to work this time, I looked at the size of the letter and decided that it was too narrow side to side for the height.  So every line of the pattern was worked twice, once over and setting up the colors, and once back duplicating the colors.  it did mean that for every other row, I didn’t have to look at the pattern.

Also, after completing the G a second time (at double thick), I realized that this was going to be long and boring after all.  Even knitting in the phrase wasn’t going to be enough excitement.  Now, you might notice on the sample letters below, a line of black dots.

0421150749a    0421150749

No, that’s not a decorative border.

It’s Morse Code.

Three stitches in a row for a dash, one for a dot, three stitches in blue in between letters, seven in between words.

And Himself didn’t realize it was there for at least six weeks.  I refused to tell him what it said, so every once in a while, he’d steal the entire thing and see what I had added since the last time, and translate as much as he could.

Actually, I don’t think I’ll share it here, either.  You’re welcome to try and translate it yourself, or make up your own ideas.

It turns out, knitting a mildly complex pattern during class actually helps me focus, so much of the scarf ended up happening during macroeconomics class.  Now, finally, with winter all but over – I have finished the scarf.

0421150748b        0421150748c

The back of the scarf, of course, is black with blue letters.

The variegated blue yarn makes lovely ripples down the front of the scarf.

0421150748

Yep, I think it’s perfect.

2 Comments

Filed under knitting

Thank you letter to Spider Robinson

I’m not in the least surprised, but I am vastly amused by the coincidental timing of learning, via Spider’s website, that I cannot contact Spider directly.  I picked up a book to read this morning while eating breakfast, just grabbed something off the shelf, ended up with By Any Other Name, and opened it up to “True Minds”.  Somewhere in reading the story for the nth time, I decided that perhaps it was time to write the thank you letter I’ve been meaning to write for the past several years, and went off to the website – to discover that ‘Paul’ has become much more effective.  Well, and that I am much lazier than Anne and prefer to say thank you from a distance.

I don’t remember what age I was when my father first gave me Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon.  More than fourteen, less than eighteen, because my mother forbade my father to give me Callahan’s Lady just yet, because I was too young.  Sorry, Mama, I snuck it off Daddy’s shelf and read it anyway.  I do remember that between that, The Rolling Stones by Heinlein, A Saucer of Loneliness by Sturgeon, and Foundation by Asimov (and then the rest of those authors’ books), I was set for sci-fi reading, until freshman year of collage when I discovered Bujold one night and stayed up until 2am to finish the book – but that’s another story . . .

I think I read the Callahan books twice through before I graduated from high school.  My boyfriend at the time, who read very rarely, and never shared books with me, brought back from a trip the same copy of By Any Other Name that I was reading this morning.  I was thrilled, mostly because I hadn’t yet read it.  I read the Stardance trilogy, somehow skipped the Deathkiller books until much later, and kept coming back to Callahan’s and the cautious and careful empathy and the hope.

My junior year of high school, I won a state essay contest by applying the idea of TANSTAAFL to the idea of magic.  Where does the energy come from to make someone fly?  In college, I quoted both The Crazy Years and Time Enough for Love in my senior thesis on sexual education.  I loaned Variable Star to a kid I met on an annual camping trip, never expecting to get it back – and the next year, there he was, book in hand, wanting to talk about it.

Thank you, for being part of my childhood, and continuing to be part of my adulthood.

Leave a comment

Filed under knitting

The Cold Shoulders

Sweaters are lovely knitted objects, but they take for bloody ever to knit, and are bulky to carry around, and take a LOT of yarn.  Scarves are sweet, and keep your neck warm, but they cover too little.  Some clever people get around the issue of too much/too little with shawls. I will honestly admit, I was not a fan of shawls at first.  They didn’t fit under coats the way I thought they should, they took up more yarn and time than scarves, a lot of people appeared to use them as interchangeable with scarves – so why bother?  And those that didn’t use them like scarves used them as decoration alone in a ‘aren’t I so cool’ way, which is nice, but not what I tend to think about when deciding what I want to make.  I want a thing that is both pretty AND useful.

A friend of mine started wearing her hand-knit scarves around, however, and I started being interested.  Yes, it was pretty, and yes, she wore it for decoration.  But it also looked warm.  And it covered her shoulders.  Her warm shoulders.

The other issue I had with shawls is that if you knit a rectangular one, it doesn’t fit around your shoulders and neck properly – you know, because humans aren’t square.  And if you knit a triangle shawl, it’s better in theory, and then the ends always slip off and the whole thing falls on the ground.  And if you knit a triangle shawl and then use a shawl pin, you’re right back at the doesn’t fit right around the neck/shoulders issue. And my friend’s shawls fit around her neck and shoulders smoothly.

Oh . . . . . .

Faroese shawls are designed with a back gusset which allows the shawl to sit on top of the shoulders, instead of behind them.  I never knew such a thing existed until there it was, and it was awesome!  Well, except that I am a picky knitter and I didn’t like that the back gusset wasn’t the same as the sides.  Hmmmm.

Okay, next I found a pattern which called for taking the usual triangle shawl pattern – two identical sides and a center seam – and doubling it, making a four-panel shawl.  Oooh, that was nice! I no longer remember exactly which pattern I used, but it was something like this one.  And off I went knitting.

The yarn is its own story.  Okay, so Himself went to Northfield Mount Hermon in western Massachusetts for high school, as did his sister, as did his dad.  And it turns out that every May, NMH has a Sacred Concert, during which current students perform with alumni of the school during a concert for the community.  It’s a boarding school, the alumni are really involved in ways that I will never be with my high school!  My sister-in-law isn’t usually in the States at the right time to go and sing, but in 2014, she was going to be around.  And I always jump at a chance to see her, and my FIL was encouraging us to go, and my SIL’s friends were willing to put us up . . . . so off we went.

While I can sing, and haven been in a choir, singing with a bunch of people from a school I didn’t go to didn’t really interest me that much.  I spent Friday night cracking quiet jokes with the campus security guard, and oh! did we have fun.  No laughing too loud, of course, since we were in the back of the rehearsal hall.  Sunday, I went wandering around with the husband of the friend who was putting us up and their three-year old, who was the cutest thing ever, and had a wonderful time.  Ran into a friend of mine, which as fun, considering we were both two hours from home!

Saturday, however . . . Saturday, I took the car and ran away on my own.  I went to the farmers’ market, and bought maple spread, and beads, and a pair of pants from someone I’d run into at the NOFA event the previous summer who remembered me because my mother and I bought t-shirts from her and then let her take a photo of us.  I visited a cousin of my mother’s, with very little warning.  I’d been whining to my mom on Friday night about nothing to do, and she emailed her cousin in the next town over and invited me for breakfast on Saturday.  And I decided that Bellows Falls, VT, was only an hour away, and my uncle had a store there, and I was going to go visit. Call first to find out if he was open?  Why?  If he wasn’t, I’d have no reason to go.  So off I went.

I drove up route 91 for a while and once I’d crossed into VT, I realized I didn’t remember exactly which exit I needed to get to Bellows Falls.  So I got off at the next exit and pulled into a parking lot to check my directions.  All right, still on track, and then I looked up and discovered this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 4.25.46 PM

I was literally parked in the driveway of a yarn shop, the Green Mountain Spinnery.

What can you do?  I went in.

I bough four skeins of yarn, a bright blue, a grey-ish blue, and two skeins of dark blue.  It’s really hard finding good gradient yarn, so I have taken to making my own gradients.  I had a nice chat with the shop keeper, and wandered off again, delighted with my luck for the day.

As it turned out, my uncle was not at his shop, but I wandered around a bit in Bellows Falls.  I slipped though a door into an old factory that had been re-purposed into artist studios, and at the back of the building, I came across a man making glass birds with his furnace, so I watch him for a while.  It was gorgeous.  And then I went back to NMH.

Somehow, none of my family that night believed me when I said I had just happened across the yarn store.  They all insisted that my yarn sense had been tingling!

So I cast on, stole a lace pattern from somewhere else entirely, I’m not even sure I remember where anymore, and knit a shawl.

0324152203

The shape is five-sided, and the fifth side is open for my neck, if I wear it open in the front.  Usually, I drape it over one shoulder, wrap it around my neck, and then lap the other end over that same shoulder again.  Warm neck, not bunched up, warm shoulders . . . .

0324152203c

It’s lovely.  I wear it all the time, instead of a scarf.  Also, remember I bought one skein each of the bright and mid-blue, and two of the dark?

0324152203a

Yeah, notice the thickness of the bands of color, as I knit from the neck to the outer edge.  Next time, I might buy three of the dark blue.

Leave a comment

Filed under knitting

Update, upload, and away!

Two years and two weeks ago, I got an awesome new job.  The next week I got my acceptance letter to grad school.  Six months later, grad school started.  Three months later, we moved.  As I was telling people for a while, recent life events included: getting married, getting into grad school, starting a new job, my husband getting a new job, and moving.  Then we moved again.  Six months after the second move, we . . . got a second cat.  And breathed.  And settled in some more.  And slowed things down a little.  And suddenly it’s been two years and two weeks, and I have only posted once, and I’m not entirely sure where the time went.  Sorry about that.

Will such long breaks between postings happen again?  Oh, probably.  I’m halfway through grad school, adore my challenging and complex and time-intensive job (the same one I got two years ago, but with promotions!), and would still like to go on dates with my husband, have lunch with my sister and parents, and see my friends.  But this doesn’t mean I haven’t been making things.  Oh, I have been making things.  So perhaps I’ll spend several posts on catching up on the fiber projects of the last two years, tell some thrilling tales of life as a grad student (mostly the stories are of staying up late with lots of papers, canceling plans to do homework, and never reading for pleasure), and see how regularly I can keep this posting thing happening.  Here goes, in no particular order.

When I was seventeen, my mother had a floor loom in her sewing room.  Ah, I loved that thing.  It was so much fun to make cloth, real cloth!, and so fast.  I made only a few pieces on it, but I remember it very fondly.

One of the things I made was a rag rug.  Warp the loom with some nice strong cotton twine, cut up a bunch of old t-shirts, jeans, tablecloths – anything that came to hand.  And weave them in.  That rug lived outside my bedroom door in that house, on the floor in several dorm rooms, in the living room of our first apartment, and in the main hall of the second apartment.  About which time, being almost ten years old, some of the warp threads started snapping, the weft started catching on feet going over it, and the entire thing turned into a trip hazard.

0212151307

I washed the rug and carefully folded it away, waiting until I had access to a loom again.

Last year, I made my own warping board, remade it, didn’t like it, made a warp and wove it, and still hated the warping board.  The Woolery had a warping board for only $55!  So I bought it.  It showed up just after we got back from our holiday travels, and my mom suggested making a test rug first.

0127151309

It worked!  Just unraveling the first few inches of the rug gave me the rags very easily, and then I could weave them up again.  So I made a longer warp, I strung my loom, and started weaving the rag rug again.

0212151308c

 

I had my tonsils out just after I finished stringing the loom, and two weeks at home gets a lot of weaving done.  Also, in case any one was thinking about a tonsillectomy as an adult, make sure you have someone around who is expecting to spend a fair bit of time actually caring for you, not just roommates who will look in once in a while.  Himself was marvelous – at 4 o’clock every morning for a week straight, he managed to get the ice cream and the pain meds and the hot packs all arranged, while I cried.  And mine was, as far as I can tell, a fairly typical recovery, without anything exciting or scary.  Just painful.

 

0212151308b

The one thing I did learn about my seventeen-year-old self was that for reasons that I no longer understand, I had decided to sew together all the stripes of rag.  In other words, I apparently would weave until I reached close to the end of the stripe, and then I was SEW ON the new piece.  Can you imagine what this did to unraveling the damned thing?  I had one LONG piece of weft, instead of lots of nice short little stripes.  No idea what I was thinking.  On the plus side, after more than a decade, some of the rags had started to fall apart, so I could usually tear things when I wanted to.  I ended up throwing out a fair bit of those pieces, because I wasn’t sure what another ten years would do to them.  I also threw out pieces that I decided I didn’t like the color of any more, which made the entire thing somewhat shorter.  However, it’s turned out pretty well, and doesn’t seem short at all.

      0315151807        0315151806b

And so far, neither of the cats have thrown up on it, which is always nice.

2 Comments

Filed under weaving