This weekend, Matt & I were in Philadelphia for Gum’s memorial service. “Gum,” Matt’s grandmother, passed away over the summer after a long, full life. We were both quite close to her, so it was nice to have a chance to be with the rest of Matt’s family to share remembrances and, well, just to be with each other.

When the family gathers, the Non-Blood Club also convenes. The term “non-blood” actually originated with Gum herself, I think. She was a big believer in blood–the family–and no matter how much she liked you, if you were a non-blood, you’d never be a blood. So those of use who are destined to forever remain Non-Bloods in the Cole-Hartl-Emerson family decided we’d form our own club. It’s been a welcome source of camaraderie and support ever since.

While we were waiting for brunch, my sister-in-law Krista, who is married to Matt’s brother Andrew, sidled up to me on the periphery of the group, where the non-bloods tend to congregate, and asked me what I’ve been knitting. Thus a meeting of the Non-Blood Club was brought to order. Krista is a knitter herself, despite her upbringing in the warm, sticky climes of Hawaii, which is where she, Andrew, and their crazy kids Ronan and Torin live now. (The whole family came out to Philly for Gum’s memorial service.) Krista knits beautiful things.

Here in this post, I answer Krista’s question. What am I knitting? About 6 weeks ago, I posted some swatches I’d been working on for some pretty hand-painted yarn that I wanted to turn into a sweater. I’m well into it now, but progress is slow.

Forget slow food– if you want to experience life deliberately and incrementally, if you really want to savor seconds, minutes, and hours as they pass, take a deep breath, and enter the world of sweater-knitting. You can spend months–or years– on a single sweater. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with knitting sweaters with very thin yarn, which is usually used to knit socks (and is thus called, logically, sock yarn). Knitting with sock yarn allows you to make garments that are more polished and fitted, and also lighter in weight, all good things when you live in a warm place  like Baltimore. But because the yarn is so thin, it takes lots and lots more stitches to make a whole sweater. Here’s what I’ve got, knitting for 30-60 min. per day for about a month:

Here's how far I am on my sweater!
Here’s how far I am on my sweater!

And here’s what it looks like on me (apologies for the crappy selfie taken at night):

Sweater in progress, Oct. 11, 2014.
Sweater in progress, Oct. 11, 2014.

Since I’m creating my own pattern for this sweater (improvising would be another word for it), “knitting” also means lots of experimentation, trying-on, and basic math. Here’s a page from my knitting notebook with ideas and calculations:

Knitting notebook page for this sweater. Yes, that’s long division that you see there. Does anyone still do long division?

Who says being on sabbatical isn’t hard work?


2 thoughts on “The Non-Blood Club

    1. Yeah …. I have some fingerless gloves that I’ve been “working on” for at least 5 years now. For some reason I find it easier to get motivated to work consistently on a bigger project. Maybe because it’s big and I know it will never get finished unless I keep working on it!


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