I have a lot of updates for you!
Firstly and most importantly, the Connor Caps project was a huge success. In three weeks, knitters and crocheters from around the world contributed 145 hats to help support Connor in his fight with brain cancer.
December 5 was Hat Day at the school, and I had to leave early to get all the hats there. Unfortunately, I was just inside the city limits when I realized I had left one box of fleece hats at home. They had been sent from Hawaii, and represented the largest number of hats sent in by a single person, so I couldn’t leave them out. After a few moments’ panicked thinking, I realized that what I had to do was keep going, let the helpers start stringing up the rest of the hats, hope someone would take care of my two younger boys, and dash back home (ten miles away) for the fleece hats.
It worked out perfectly — the preschool teacher took Big Tom as well as Jack, and by the time I got back to school, all the rest of the hats were clipped to a clothesline that ran the length of the school gym.
The hats weren’t the only thing going on. The school principal kept everything moving through an intensely emotional ceremony. She explained about the Connor Caps project and how it had come together, then let Connor go up and pick out his own hat. Then each class from kindergarten to the eighth grade came up for hats. I made a little movie of part of the “hat sorting” and I’ll try to post it here. The quality is not great, since I made it with my little digital camera, but the emotions are what really show.
After all that was done, it was only 9am, and Jack still had school. It took me a full thirty minutes to convince Big Tom that he needed to come with me, and to convince Jack that he needed to stay at school until I came back for him at the regular time. To help me recover from the emotions of the morning, I went to the nearest quilt-shop-with-a-yarn-room and bought the prettiest and softest yarn I could find. I could only afford three balls, so I hid the rest of the dyelot and told the clerk not to sell the rest to anyone else.
Soft and pretty "reward yarn"
When I got home, there were more hats waiting for me. Even though they didn’t get here in time for the ceremony, they’re still part of the program, and if anyone wants to contribute hats they are still welcome. We came just ten hats short of making one for each kid at school, and I think the staff members would like to have hats too. If you’re interested and able, please contact me for the mailing address.
We have other projects planned for helping and comforting Connor and his family. The details are up at the Connor Caps group on Ravelry, but I can post them here, too.
Next there was a pilgrimage to Sinsinawa Mound. For some reason I had thought this was in the Eau Claire area, since it was described as being 2-3 hours away from Jefferson. Boy was I wrong. We went through some new Wisconsin territory for me, and I took a picture of the Verona exit from 151, just to prove there is something past it (that’s how I get to The Sow’s Ear). At one point our charter bus was stuck behind two Amish men driving their buggy home from Sunday Meeting. When we were at the spiritual center, I read on a flyer that it’s “just a ten minute drive from Dubuque!”
The day at the center was amazing, and there’s no way to adequately describe it all. I could refer you to read what Connor’s mom wrote in his CaringBridge journal — but she says the same thing.
It started snowing and squalling on the way home, and since James and I were in the first seat of the bus, we had an excellent view of how dicey the whole drive was. We were able to watch DVDs on the way out and back, and after the second movie ended, the kids decided to sing Christmas songs the rest of the way home. I can think of much worse road trips with schoolkids!
I found out later that when Connor’s family got home that night, other friends had put up their Christmas decorations for them, and they came home to a beautiful display of sparkling lights. They really are getting support from all quarters.
What comes next? Oh yes, Christmas knitting. I took a couple of projects with me (what? It was going to be as much as six hours on a bus!) but the only one I worked on was the Christmas stocking for my brother. I got a ton of it done, including almost finishing the colorwork section. After that it really picked up speed. It arrived at my parents’ house yesterday, and he doesn’t have it yet, but I can show you a picture. Even with the cuff folded, it came out to 27 inches long.
There really wasn’t any other requested knitwear to make for presents, but I did send out an Everlasting Bagstopper (i.e. cotton market bag) and make some dishcloths. In the meantime, I started working on a Season 16 Doctor Who Scarf as part of a mini knitalong. On Ravelry I became acquainted with a woman who finished her Season 12 Scarf as she sat with her dying mother. She was using the same yarn I had used and we both had lots of leftovers, so when she decided to make a Season 16, I started one too. I believe it’s the longest scarf, and I know I’ll run out of yarn at some point, but there’s no deadline. It’s all about community and support.
I also had a meetup at Thanksgiving time, with Christine (“akasha”) from one of my Ravelry groups. We met at a yarn shop (go figure) and I found the perfect tweedy yarn to start collecting for another variant on a Doctor Who Scarf. Talk about no deadline. And then, on Thanksgiving Day, I wore my Scarf all day long. My brother was impressed and eventually asked about it, and the upshot is that I’ll be making a machine washable version for him. Just yesterday I bought the bulk of the yarn I’ll need for it. I want to buy a special circular needle for the project, and I’ll get started after I find it.
I made another pair of the cotton footies in shades of blue, and gave them to James in his stocking. They’re a little big yet — I made the adult size — but at the rate he’s growing they will soon fit.
And after getting heavy snows and bitter cold and brisk wind, I decided to make everyone in the family a new pair of mittens, in wool this time. I started with Big Tom, and made a pair of baby blue mittens in Dalegarn Falk, using the Fittin’ Mittens pattern and adding a green Norwegian snowflake to each mitten. Jack’s are next. He wants an Autobot logo one one side and a Decepticon logo on the other, and on the other mitten he wants….
So, what’s on the needles now?
A Season 16 Doctor Who Scarf. The bamboo socks, newly restarted — transitioning to the toe color on one sock, with the other one watching curiously. Not Jack’s mittens yet, but soon. There are also seven (I think) other WIPs. One is a Secret Holiday Project that didn’t come close to getting done, but the others are familiar (cough Tyrone cough) if you’ve been reading this blog for a while.
Ugh, it’s driving rain right now and it’s melting our snowbanks down so everything will be ice when the temperature dips again. And the sky is thick with fog. Yuck yuck yuck! I’d rather it were cold straight through winter than to have this freeze/thaw/sleet junk, especially when we have most of the day booked for a huge Round Robin family eatfest today. With four little people to get in and out of the cars from house to house, it’s not easy, but we’ll do as much as we can.
We all had a blessed Christmas and I hope you did too! Stay warm and dry…. I’ll be back in a few days to make insanely optimistic New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all got to have a tradition, and that one’s mine.