I had no more than posted my definition of bummer (which I really should have called something like "small bummer", or "bummerlet") than offers came in to send me a scan of my pattern. Ellen had me covered, and even sent me a written out version of the next several steps to tide me over until she could scan it, and Mary Lou was my backup, in case Ellen couldn't get the scanner to work. How lucky am I? So I'm back in business on the shell, which is probably just as well, as I'm going to get far more use out of it in the next month or two than a pair of socks (I'll start those soon, though, just wait and see).
I pretty much missed my first blogiversary, but I realize that this week has felt more to me like an anniversary of some sort for my blog, as it was almost exactly a year ago that we were up here, visiting with Grandmom, and I had just started the blog. During that trip, Grandmom got severely dehydrated, and we had to postpone leaving so that we could be here with her. I kept writing on the blog, deviating from the planned knitting content perhaps a little sooner than I might otherwise have, under the strain of sitting with a delerious Grandmom while managing the reactions of two young children. And people checked in with me and commented. And people have done that since, and been incredibly encouraging when I most needed it (I couldn't possibly link to everyone who has helped me through some rough spots this last year, but you know who you are, and how much I appreciate you, I hope).
What I love about knitters is the combination of practical and caring natures. I think that it goes with the craft. We knit for the people we love for practical reasons: to keep them warm, so often. But because we love them, we also try to knit for them what they want, and to make it beautiful. This combination of practicality and empathy makes our craft a pretty wonderful one, if you ask me. Yesterday at the deYoung Museum, we went to visit the Turkmen textile exhibit, and I was, as I so often am, completely awestruck by the beauty of handmade, practical items. One might think, and I think that a lot of people do, that people who were, by our standards, impoverished, who were living on the edge, might just throw together the textiles that they needed for everyday use (many of the weavings we saw were meant as storage containers), but they didn't. Each and every one of those weavings was a work of art in itself (and each one started with handspun fiber, which was only mentioned in passing once, but which I thought should have been the central theme of the exhibit -- every one of those rugs involved not only the time-consuming weaving, but the spinning of the fiber to do the weaving, and all of it was done by nomadic women on the move).
You might think that, given how much time people were spending on these things, they'd want to get them finished quickly, but in fact, just the opposite is true, I think. It seems to me that if you're going to spend that much time on something, you will be using it for a long time, and given both of those factors, it seems that many people historically have chosen, and continue to choose, to spend the extra time (relatively little, in the grand scheme of a project like that) to make each object beautiful, an exemplification of art and skill, something that will delight the eyes and please the spirit.
To me, knitting is like that. Eminently practical, worthy of the effort of beauty. And knitters reflect their craft: practical (after all, I got my pattern when I needed it most), and beautiful in the way that they move through the world. Regard yourselves with love and admiration in the mirror today, my dears - you are art.