Thursday, May 4, 2006

Low Tech pleasures

In the age of rapid communication, digital everything, and instant gratification, whether it's microwave pancakes (for pity's sake) to click and ship ordering, it's good for me to focus on the slow and complex parts of life. Maybe that's why I garden. I did a search the other night for some Lisianthus seeds (also called Texas Bluebells, I think). I've only been able to find plants. When I found a seed source, I was so grateful I may have ordered a few more things:

Of course, after the order came I did some searching online, and discovered that Lisianthus takes about six months from planting-- during which they have a low germination rate, require both light and moisture -- to blooming. Maybe that's why people buy plants. Fortunately, I still love gardening, although I may wait until fall to start those Lisianthus.

That got me thinking about some of the other things I do that are probably lower on the technology-input level. I started blogging to push me to finish projects, and to have a place to blather on about knitting. The finishing projects part is helping -- for some reason, I've become tremendously committed to finishing the dratted pain project on the needles before starting a new one. I guess I figure if I'm knitting, I need to be finishing them. So far, it's working okay, but I can't post pictures because I'm working on a surprise project.

Outside of the blog, though, I want a record of my projects that will outlast me, and perhaps outlast them. Backstory? My mother made loads of clothes for me. While not all were hits -- the vinyl jumper that made swinging my body around the bar completely impossible comes to mind -- many were pretty nice. Do I have a record of these lovingly made dresses? Nope, not one. They may be in varying photographs, but I don't know anything about them.

When Thing 1 was little, it was tough finding clothing to fit her, because while she kept growing taller, she got not a bit bigger around. I finally took a basic dress pattern, modified it, and made roughly one billion little girl dresses. I don't think I have pictures of each of these, although they're in a box somewhere. They didn't all fit Thing 2, because the girls are built differently.

But the principle is the same -- I don't know why I chose what I did for the dresses, nor if they were made for a special occasion. I didn't write it down, and I have a brain like a sieve. My mother had many doll dresses made for her by an aunt, and she has no record of them, nor does she have them.

I determined that my knitting was going to have a different fate. I may be taking my work overly seriously, but right now, knitting and raising my children are my work, no matter how underpaid. I may not be a famous designer, or even a very skilled knitter, but I'm the only knitting mama my children have, and I want them to take it seriously.

I started a knitting journal:

On each page is a swatch or bit of the yarn, a label, and hopefully a picture of the project or a picture of it being worn. Here's one of a baby set that's already been half-felted:

The notes are the real meat of it -- why the object was made, hopefully when it was made, for whom or what occasion, and any funny things about it. If more than one child wears it, I try to get a picture of them all in it. Even when the item is made to give away, like my first finished quilt:

I have a record of it. Now that my mom is sewing for my kids, I'm trying to take pictures of them and note it in my photo album. Losing our mothers' work through forgetting has to stop somewhere.

P.S. Tomorrow, I promise, I'm going to have a comment-fest and answer everything anyone has asked and finally say thank you specifically.


sewingsuzee said...

Really, you'll answer ALL of them?

Why *is* the sky blue?

Can you explain Conservation of Momentum satisfactorily?

Why does peanut butter come in four different texture/saltiness varieties, but other foods don't?

OK, OK. You don't have to.

I think the journal and blog are fantastic ideas. I blog for your first reason, because it makes me get things done....

And unless I'm very much mistaken, I think today is a red letter day - the first time we've seen FACES in your blog! Yay!

Emma said...

I so would love a garden. The pityful yard that came with my apartement building is nice in some ways, but it just won't do. As soon as get a proper job I'll get a house.
(and get pregnant, and buy another cat, and get a car.)

Rain said...

I think your knit journal is a wonderful idea. It'll be lovely to look back on.

meredith said...

I started a knitting journal/scrapbook when I took up knitting again 5-years or so ago. But becoming a mom made me lost track of it. there seemed so many other things to do. now i'm inspired to head down to the basement and find it. thanks.

Brittany said...

I started my blog for the same reason. My memory is terrible. I wanted somewhere I could refer to for information about a pattern, what needles worked, etc. I need to be more diligent though. I often forget the needles when it comes time to post. :P

amy said...

The journal is a great idea. I really value the blog for the same reason. If I were better at keeping up with clutter, yarn, labels, etc, I could try the paper journal, but for now the blog will do.

That is one colorful spotted girlie in this post.

allisonmariecat said...

Wonderful post. I use my blog as my journal, not just of knitting, and I love that I have a record! Last year, pre-blog, I made dozens of knit gifts for Christmas, and didn't even take photos before gifting them! I could kick myself.

I love reading about the Things :)

String Bean said...

You've inspired me to dig out my knitting journal and update it (or re-create it depending on how shabby it is). Thanks!