Florence & Molly

The start of August is always the busiest time of year for me and this year is no exception. The yarn companies are beginning to launch their Autumn-Winter collections with new patterns and yarns galore - and as a result I have a thousand thingsto keep my head and hands busy. I hope to have a more in-depth look at some of my favourites soon - but before I can play favourites, I need some time to breathe and gather my thoughts. To tide things over, I thought I would share a free pattern with you.

I designed the Florence scarf last summer at the request of a well-know British department store. It takes one ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, it is a good introduction to knitting with fine mohair yarns, and it would make a good 'first lace project'. The scarf was very popular with the store and I thought it might also prove popular with others. I think of it as a quiet design, if that makes sense.

There are more designs to come, but I'll write about those as they get released.

In case you want something more worthwhile to read than my moans about work, my good friend* Molly Templeton has gone viral (as the kids say) with coverage ranging from Jezebel to The Atlantic Wire. Why? Molly took issue with the cover of The New York Times Book Review. It had a How-To issue in which men wrote about a wide range of topics and the ladies got to write about how to raise children and how to cook. In the words of Ms M.:

 There is nothing wrong with cooking and raising children; there are lots of things right and wonderful with these pursuits. They are also, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, traditionally female tasks, and when you take into consideration the VIDA stats, the history of gender imbalance in literature and journalism and the world at large, you might find yourself a little frustrated by the fact that it’s 2012 and we are still too often relegated to writing about deeply gendered topics. (Of the 18 bylined reviews and essays in the issue, five are by women.)

And so Molly decided to start The How To Tumblr which features women writing how-to articles about anything and everything under the sun.This is her call for contributions:

I’m sure there’s something you know how to do. I’m sure there are things your many brilliant friends know how to do, or something you could write about that has to do with doing a thing (most of the NYTBR pieces were, of course, book reviews). I would like to read the essays, reviews, comics, lists and more we, and they, could write in this vein -  irreverent, funny, heartbreaking, ironic, wry, snarky, sweet, clever, brilliant, silly, and everything else.

Inevitably, Molly's tumblr has turned out a whole host of fun, insightful and interesting essays . You can contribute too - Molly's project is open to women and those who identify as genderqueer/not of a binary gender.

(* how good? Handknitted-present-good!)

The End of Something

nov09 034My autumn/winter mitts have been blocked and subsequently worn for several days with much pride. It is a stash-busting project too as I used partial skeins of Lett-Lopi and New Lanark DK I had left over from previous projects. What is not to love? Taking a decent photo of them, however, proved too much for my photography skills, and it wasn't until this afternoon that Official Photographer went for a walk in the rain with the camera, that an in-focus photo appeared.

The pattern is free, but be warned that it needs to be tweaked in order to work. As written, the thumb increases do not match up with the colourwork and if i were to knit these again, I would go down a needle size as the mitts are a smidgen too wide across my hands despite going with the smallest size. On the positive side I can fit a pair of gloves underneath these for extra warmth.

Now to something completely different.

I first read Schrödinger's Rapist - or a Guy's Guide to approaching Strange Women Without Being Maced a couple of weeks ago and it has been on my mind ever since. In a strange way, the blog entry manages to explain exactly what it feels like being a woman and make me aware that this is how it feels for me. Honestly, I do not think about my body or my gender most of the time. My body is just there as a vehicle for my brain and, well, I have never felt like I was part of any Special Sisterhood. And yet, that blog entry made me finally acknowledge to myself that being a woman is not like being a man. I'm in my early thirties and I finally admitted this to myself.

Deep down, though, I must have known and sought to protect myself. During most of my twenties I hid in baggy black clothes. At one point I even preferred being severely overweight to having a healthy weight and receiving attention. Today I wonder why, although I have some residual fear of walking on my own in remote places and I never go outside at night unless someone is with me. For someone who is not all that aware of her own body (and, believe me, having a body never ceases to confound and surprise me .. especially after I have walked into yet another door or stumbled), I do seem to be aware of the dangers connected to having one.

After reading the initial blog entry, I wound up reading the long Metafilter thread/response. Nattie's response was particularly thought-provoking and I found myself nodding to several points she made - and surprising myself by being able to nod. I need to think a lot more about this and work out my own response. Somehow this feels like an awakening.