Wooly Weather

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that when the weather turns cold, a knitter must be in want of good wool and a hot beverage.

It’s that time of year again. The time to bundle up in thick scarves, chunky sweaters, over-sized hats, and drink copious amounts of tea and coffee to ward away the afternoon drowsiness which accompanies darker evenings.

For me, this weather is perfect. I hate the heat, though my complaint actually lies with over-exposure to the sun (I’m super pale. Like, I glow in the sunlight in early spring. And I’m as red as a lobster in the summer). Right now I’m really excited to break out the wool socks and mittens. I’d be super happy if it snowed this week, but I know that it wouldn’t be a good thing for those who are still out of power from Sandy (like my parents; they already got half a foot of snow last night).

Still, my idea of a perfect winter afternoon is curling up in a huge armchair in front of a fire, snow swirling outside the windows, shelves of books host to infinite new worlds, my cat in my lap, and knitting in my hands. Some quiet music would be nice, too. Maybe some tea on a table beside me.

Biltmore LibraryTudor house in Elmira NY

Well, at the moment I’m lacking snow, a fireplace and my cat, but I have some form of the rest at school. The reading room has wonderful chairs to curl up in, Barnes and Noble is only a bus ride away, I have my iPod, I just bought a cup of coffee, and my knitting is in my backpack beside me.

When it comes to hobbies, I am not your average 20 year old. My art prof saw my knitting this past week and asked “Shouldn’t you be texting or something? Constantly tapping away at technology?”

Trust me, I do my fair share of that, but my answer will always be “No, I’d rather be knitting.” And what I knit isn’t your typical scarf or blanket either.

I started knitting when I was homeschooled, and made little stuffed animals and knick knacks but nothing very complicated. I stopped knitting for a few years, and then got back into it in high school when I was given sock yarn one Christmas. Since then, I’ve made

socks

First pair of knitted socks!

hats

Polka-Dot hat - took me forever!Blue Beret

scarves

Scarf in Progress

and now I design my own patterns. Which, let me tell you, involves more math than you think (Reasons why it’s good to have math core at Loyola).

I actually have Loyola to thank for getting me started on designing patterns. When I visited here my senior year of high school, I wore a hat my sister had knitted for me, but lost it when my mom and I were checking out Fells Point. I was really ticked because it was something my sister had put a lot of work into and I really liked wearing it. So, instead of associating bad karma with the school, I decided that I would try to make my own hat. I sketched out ideas, looked at other hat patterns, and came up with this:

Designs for my first hatLove wearing this, it's so soft and warm!

Since then I’ve made leg warmers, a fez, hand warmers, sweater motifs, and a Batman hat

How I plan out patterns: lots of graph paper!For my friend Ben :D

I currently have a Superman hat in the works!

Pattern in Progress

Writing patterns and knitting is so much more suitable for cold weather. Soft wool slipping through your fingers, smooth needles click clacking away, and the rhythmic hand motions are all very soothing.

I think it’s time to end this and take out my knitting. Productive Procrastination!

Tying It All Together: Sunday Morning Questions, Thoughts, and Fears

One of the things I’ve always valued and loved about the weekends is the Breakfast Ritual. It could be Saturday or Sunday, really, but I feel Sundays are better suited for this. Here are the basics:

  1. Wake up without an alarm. It sets a nice unrushed feel to the day.
  2. Tiptoe around the room so as not to wake your roommate.
  3. Listen to The Dallas String Quartet and Jingle Punks Hipster Orchestra as you do the dishes.
  4. Make (strong) coffee and a bowl of Marshmallow Mateys (ShopRite’s version of Lucky Charms)
  5. Sit. Eat. Think. Ask Why?
  6. Repeat step five for as long as you care to sit in solitude enjoying the quiet. Or until your roommates get up.

That is the start to a good morning. Just contemplating your life, thinking about what you want to do, not what you have to do, and ruminating why you chose the paths you did as the coffee kicks in.

Today, my Sunday morning questioning takes the form of this writing, and I’ve just hit all the marshmallows in the bottom of my bowl (I like to save the best for last).

I know asking really vague questions isn’t as fun as other things, or as comfy as staying in your nice warm bed. But sometimes it’s good to let your mind wander and take an uncharted and unplanned course. Which has led me to thoughts of yesterday afternoon.

I met with the same group of friends who gathered to talk about what authenticity is, but this time we focused on why people have trouble being authentic.

Why are we so afraid to be our true selves?
Why do we find the need to prescribe to societal standards that don’t always reflect our true inclinations or beliefs?
Why are we intimidated by letting people in?
Why are we afraid of being open or practicing self-acceptance?

The answers that come to mind without thinking are the ones most likely to be true. Peoples’ responses yesterday: Fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of not being accepted for who we are. And the list goes on …

Those words: ridicule, rejection, acceptance, all bring me back to middle school bullies and trying to change who I was in high school (it took me a couple years to realize how much I was hurting myself and those around me in a fruitless battle to be “cool”). I’m 20 and I still have the fears of a 13-year-old. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

If I’m not the only one, then shouldn’t it be easier to reach out and connect with others, who undoubtedly want to feel like they belong at this school just as much as I do? Or is this a larger social problem, something that is impossibly huge and scary and multi-generational? Maybe it’s a combination of both.

Spiked hair on a Sunday

Confession: If I felt that people were more open, I'd probably spike my hair more frequently.

Self crossword - the missing letter is a T, by the way

You can't tell who a person really is just by looking at them. You have to ask and listen. Don't be afraid to initiate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I don’t have the answers to all these questions, and I’m not asking you to, either. I also know I don’t have perfect solutions. But I have an idea about the (possibly subconscious) intimidation of others.

When you walk over the bridge on Charles St, or through College Center, unglue your eyes from your phone or iPod and look at people as you walk by. Smile and wave. Ask how they’re doing and mean it. Show interest in their life and well-being; they will reciprocate. You don’t have to go out of your way to be present to others. Just a nod will do. I know I’m not the best at this; sometimes I miss a wave or “Hey’” because my earbuds are in, but I’m trying to get better.

One thought and smile at a time.