Two weeks ago, I explained my strategy for summer knitting (digging through my time-out bin filled with a veritable “dysfunctional family” full of projects) and introduced you to The Problem Child.
This week, allow me to introduce The Poor Relations.
But first – some backstory.
When I was in high school, there was a boy in our crowd . . . let’s call him Rick (because, well, his name was Rick). Anyway. Rick had a really irritating way of engaging you in conversation . . . while keeping an eye out for someone “better” to talk to. I’m sure you’ve encountered the type. Rick, who was funny and generally friendly, was always looking to “up” his own “social capital” by seeking out those who might be "cooler" than he was (or we were!). We were well aware of his tendency, and we teased him about it all the time. When he would spot someone he thought might be “better” (in that high school pecking order sort of way) to talk to at a party or gathering or even just at lunch, we’d just roll our eyes and say . . . “Who are we? Your poor relations?”
Yep. “Poor relations.” Good enough to hang around with when you need ‘em, but when someone “better” comes along? Bye bye!
When the pandemic first hit back in March 2020, my focus and brain capacity were at a real low. I didn’t have the focus for reading. I couldn’t concentrate on my knitting, either. And, suddenly, much of my social life and all of my meetings and classes were Zoom-based. I was desperate for something simple and easy to do with my hands while Zooming.
Enter . . . The Poor Relations.
Just a few weeks before everything shut down for the pandemic, I had gone to a small fiber “event” with a local knitting friend. While there, I picked up a lovely-in-the-skein 750-yard cake of hand-spun and hand-dyed suri alpaca. I had no plan for the yarn. I surely didn’t need it. But it caught my eye, and I bought it. (You know how it is when you’re at one of these fiber things. The fumes. The vibe. The enabling friend.)
Anyway, when I realized I needed something super easy and rather mindless to knit before yet another Zoom meeting, I grabbed that new cake of yarn and this pattern . . . and cast on. (Although I’ve never knit a Hitchhhiker, I think it’s basically a Hitchhiker with “pleats?”)
The project lived under my desk, permanently. For years. When I needed it, I picked it up and worked on it. When something “better” came along, I kicked it back under the desk. (Thus . . . The Poor Relations.)
Sometimes, I didn’t work on it for months and months at a time. Some of my (ahem) “better” projects were also well-suited to Zoom calls, so I always chose to work on them ahead of The Poor Relations. But, when I needed them (when there was nobody "better" around), The Poor Relations were always eager to be back in play! Often our re-introductions were a little awkward as I had to recall the basic rhythm of the pattern or fix all the stitches that had dropped off the needle in my neglect. But there they were. The Poor Relations. Always ready for another conversation.
Needless to say, The Poor Relations are still around. (750 yards of yarn can make a really long shawl, y’know?) The project will never be my favorite. I liked the yarn a lot better when it was all caked up. It was . . . prettier. It's a little jarring and abrupt in the knitting. But it’s . . . okay. It’s super soft and drape-y, and I’m sure the resulting wrap will keep me warm.
If I ever finish it, that is!
My Zoom meetings are fewer these days. I’m meeting up with local friends in real time, face-to-face, more often now. But The Poor Relations have been back in my life again (always eager for any morsel of my attention) in the evenings while I watch TV. While I'd prefer to work on my “better” and "cooler" project (The Problem Child) I'm afraid it must go to bed early – before the TV comes on in the evening, y’know?
But, as you can (maybe) see in that photo, I’m past the complicated cable motif section of The Problem Child now. So The Poor Relations? They may find themselves back under the desk again . . . real soon!
How about you? What are you making this week?
(Stop by next week and I'll introduce you to the final project in my "dysfunctional family collection of knits" . . . The Prodigal Son.)