Follow me as I go undercover to bring you information about my adventures in knitting and motherhood.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Double Standard

Today I'm getting ready to head out of town for a week long class that is being held about an hour and a half from my house.  It's a leadership course that is required for my job.  It's the first of many unusual work engagements I have coming up this month.  

As I am getting ready to pack, I can't seem to get one the Yarn Harlot's latest posts out of my head.  She had just gotten back from traveling and was lamenting about someone who asked her a question about whether her husband minded being left with all the work while she was away.  

Why is it as women that we feel like it is our job to take care of our children's needs (and our spouses for that matter) ahead of our own and if we leave them to their own devices we are bad mothers and wives?  Why do I feel so guilty for leaving them alone for the week?  Don't get me wrong, I'm going to miss them both terribly and I feel that every time I leave them for any length of time.  But why guilt?  And why in these situations is the husband seen as the hero?

When my son was born, I had the privilege of being able to stay home with him full time for the first five months.  Then when I did finally head back to the office, I only went back part time.  I typically work two ten hour days and a four hour morning per week leaving me with plenty of quality time with my little man.  And I love it.  I wouldn't change it for a thing.  I don't want to look back on his childhood and think "man I missed it".  

But, when I tell people that my husband watches Sam on the morning that I work, they are amazed and have nothing but praise for him.  Where is my praise for the other days that I spend with him?  It doesn't occur to anyone to comment on the sacrifices a mother makes.  That's our job after all. 

So in any event, I'll be spending today getting ready to head out for the week.  Of course I'll be taking some knitting along with me on my trip.  My current project is the Fibonacci Scarf.  

I'm making it in Colts blue and white (I'm originally from Indianapolis) as a present for my Mom for Christmas.  This is my first project with any sort of striping or color work and I've been experimenting with jogless stripes along the way.  It's an interesting patten in that the stripes can be as small as one row or as large as 34 rows.  I have quickly discovered that all methods are not equal in this case.  The slip stitch method works great for the larger stripes but is way too noticeable in the one row stripes.  

This means that this project will be my first color work and my first blocking experiment.  My hope is that by the time I'm able to blog again next weekend.  I'll be able to show you the finished product and detail my adventure in blocking.

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome to Undercover Knits

Hello everyone in the blog sphere...or no one!  I guess that's probably a more realistic view of who is reading my blog at this point.  In fact, maybe I should just do a shout out to those of you who I know will be reading at this early date...hi Mom!  

So what is Undercover Knits?  Well at this point it's where you can find this blog.  As the title alludes to, I'm hoping to document my adventures in knitting and motherhood.  I started knitting in September of 2008 when I started working with a group of devout knitters.  I remember when my friend Jaclyn asked me if I wanted to learn, I said that yes I would love to but I warned her that I might be a challenging student.  Everyone in my family crochets and my Mom has attempted to teach me no fewer than ten times over the course of my life.  I suck at it.  It just doesn't stick in my head.  I assumed it would be a complete disaster and end in the usual tears and ripping of yarn.

But in any event I looked forward to my knitting lesson with optimism and against all the odds, I took to knitting like a duck to water.  I was hooked or needled, as the case may be.  I started knitting lots of washcloths and taught myself how to knit in the round within the first few months.  Then in November of 2008, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child.  The knitting beast was kicked into full gear...well at least after the never ending morning sickness finally passed.  I ran right out and bought a copy of Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats and Itty Bitty Nursery

Once we found out that the baby was a boy, I quickly knit up the Simple Baby Cap 1 to be used as our little bundle's first winter hat.  This was my first actual project and my first adventure in using double pointed needles.  Frankly, I hated it.  I loved making the hat, but I was disappointed about my results once I switched to the double pointed needles.  Ladders abounded.  

I learned my first knitting lesson.  Follow the designers yarn recommendations.  I made the hat out of some 100% cotton yarn that I bought at a great yarn store in Alexandria, VA called Knit Happens.  Since I was a rookie, I didn't look at the yarn weight or really anything else and frankly I didn't even know what yarn weight meant.  I saw pretty yarn that was soft, bought it and got to knitting.  It turns out that when you make hats out of cotton yarn, your laddering really shows.  Also since I hadn't followed the yarn weight guidelines, the hat ended up being bigger than I intended as it stretched super easily.  But ladders or not, I put that first hat on my beautiful boy and he wore it all winter long.  Luckily babies don't care about laddering or if their hat rolls down into their eyes from time to time.

Here's a picture of my beautiful boy, Sam, and his cap.  Yes it still fits a year later!

So what can you look forward to in future posts?  I'll be documenting some of the other projects I've been working on, the new techniques I'm adding to my repertoire and the lessons I've learned along the way including my adventures in felting, color work, blocking, cables, eyelets, and the dreaded gauge.  Look for lots of before, after, and during shots and some random stories about my life and family.

Thanks for reading!

P.S.  If you are interested in more of my adventures and current projects you can check me out on Ravelry