There are many things I don't let myself think about on a regular basis. Darfur, Guantanamo Bay, the State of the Union, the fact that my brother has been in either Afghanistan or Iraq since 2002 because of a president who cares more about his own pride than about the people who will die for it. I get wound up and upset and can, on occasion, completely incapacitate myself over the unfairness, idiocy and disregard for humanity displayed every day in the news. So I don't think about it very often.
Instead, I think about my 12-Mile Quest or my Summer Knitting Goals, or how I can put off doing laundry for one more day. I immerse myself in my daily life, surround myself with the work of people long dead, and fail to save up the money for a woolee winder because I can't keep myself away from Etsy (shut up!). I've been working hard on my goals: I'm on the edge chart for the Forest Canopy Shawl, and I'm about a yard of roving away from filling bobbin #2 with Tobacco Road singles. This second thing in particular is important, because I came to an uncomfortable realization two or three days ago.
You see, in order to knit the faroese shawl for my grandmother for the Knitting Olympics, I must first spin the alpaca roving into yarn. These concepts occasionally escape me. To kickstart my project, I joined the Tour de Fleece and chose the alpaca as my project. So far so good. Then I did a little mental count of bobbins in my possession. I have six, but these are the currently empty ones:
Problem. How can I make a 2-ply lace yarn with only 2 bobbins? Well, it can be done, but the last time I tried to ply from a yarn cake everything went horribly awry; the remnants are under the couch and are classified as "cat toy." By my calculations, I have until next Saturday to finish up at least one spinning project, so I pulled out that boon of crafters everywhere, the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, and cranked out half a bobbin full of singles. A disc of West Wing later, and I'm nearly done with bobbin #2 - which I won't show you because it looks pretty much exactly like bobbin #1. It's the same colorway, you see.
Then I took a look at my Stutter Socks. Here is how far I had gone since the last photo:
Pretty good, right? But the literate among you noticed the verb placement and groaned, just like I did when I ripped back to this:
That would be the waste yarn for the heel stitches, of which I held only 32 instead of 36. I could have probably fudged it, but I would have known. So I frogged. Sigh. That makes three of my four current knitting projects that are in a mindless knitting phase - the Tangled Yoke has 3 inches of stst before the charts, the Stutter Socks are in the world of k2p2, and the Seraphim Shawl I started for Meredith:
"Petals" light fingering weight merino from The Knittery
Which needs about twice as many stitches as it has now before I begin the edge charts. I forsee a lot of television and audiobook knitting in my future!
Knitting for charity opens doors in my mind that I usually leave closed. I could knit a hat for a child in Mongolia as long as I didn't imagine what it must be like to be that child - and if I'm spending 5 or 10 hours knitting something, I have to listen to a book to keep my mind from wandering and my notoriously loose stitches from tightening up. But there is a cause that never fails to send me straight to the ceiling: homeless veterans. Just typing it makes me angry. Men have laid their lives and sanity on the line for our country, which is more than I will ever do, and yet they are treated with disrespect and left to live in culverts or beneath freeways because no one understood PTSD when these heros came home from war. If there is one thing our country should be doing, it's taking care of those who fight for her, no matter what.
Now, I grew up in a place essentially without homeless people. Alaska is not kind to her homeless, and so there are very few of them on the streets. Coming to the Lower 48, and especially San Francisco, was a shock to me. I confess to being uneasy and awkward around homeless people, and I have more than once crossed the street when walking alone to avoid an encounter. So I'm not exactly the poster child for homeless veterans' rights.
However. I can help by making things, in the safety and comfort of my own home (or at work, or school, or in line, etc.) that could save a life on a cold night. And that is why I'm going to hit up my superwash stash and crank out some items to send to Carol. And with every stitch, I can help in a way that doesn't involve handing out cash or restaurant leftovers. Because someday (hopefully soon) my brother Mike will be a veteran, and he deserves to be treated with the respect and honor due his dedication to our country.
P.S. - the wedding was awesome, and I'll cover it in a different post for reasons of tone.