What to knit when you’ve lost your mind

baby wearing purl soho toque

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve come to a decidedly unfeminist conclusion:
Pregnancy makes you stupid.

Once your body starts the all-important, all-consuming, beautifully miraculous task of cooking up a human being, it figures you’ll have no more use for that brain of yours.

My math skills went early. By the end of the first trimester I had to pull out a calculator to subtract 2 from 39.5. I figured I could probably do it, but I just didn’t trust myself with that pesky little .5 at the end.

Next, went my words. Through the second and third trimesters I found myself searching for common nouns, pointing at objects to fill in the blanks in my sentence, mixing up family members’ names and sounding more and more like my mother.

My brain hit peak dumbness after baby boy arrived. Shrouded in the thick fog of sleep deprivation, I could barely manage my email password. My linguistic output was limited to parroted oohs, aahs, gurgles and heehees. It had been many weeks since I’d attempted to knit anything: the very notion of having to read and interpret a knitting pattern felt like advanced calculus.

But at about four weeks postpartum my fingers started jonesing for some wool. Any knitter deprived of knitting for long enough can relate to that yarny itch. I had started this sweater a while back and figured the miles of stockinette stitch would be a reasonable choice for a sleepy half-wit. Boy was I wrong.

It had felt so good to be knitting again. Like that first bike ride in spring after a winter of lumbering around in clunky boots: I was flying! Row after row, speeding past! A blur of fingers! A knitting ninja!

Except, when it came time to join the pieces at the underarm, something was off. I spread the knitting out flat, I spun it around, I turned it inside out, I folded it one way then the other. Yes, after having grown and birthed a baby I had experienced some remarkable anatomical transformations, but none that warranted replacing a neck hole with an armscye! None that would have me fitting into the strange moebius strip of fabric I had produced.

Somewhere along the way I had attached one part of the sweater to another part that had no business being anywhere near the first part. It was less sweater and more “art piece”.

There was no saving it. I was done for. Mind = gone.

But at least the consolation prize is pretty good. And cute to boot.

baby wearing purl soho toque

  • Pattern: Purl Soho Garter Ear Flap Hat
  • Size: Baby
  • Yarn: Leftover Cascade 220
  • Needles: 4mm & 4.5mm
  • Notes: A cute, and most importantly, super simple pattern. Clever short row ear flaps. Barely any need to reference the pattern once you’ve read it through once: safe to knit when you’ve lost your brain. I worried the tassel was a bit silly at first, but now I think it makes it adorably gladiator-like. Works up slightly larger than I expected: room to grow.


Link to follow woolandpotato on bloglovin    

Instead, I knit

I often wonder what I’m missing.

If t.v. is to be believed, the best cure for a bad dream or a stressful board meeting is a handful of cool water splashed onto the face. It seems everyone’s doing it.

I can’t remember the last time I splashed water on my face. Maybe once, after a long day of gardening in the summer heat? But never as some sort of panacea for emotional turmoil.

Tell me world, does it work?

Of course, I’ve never “grabbed a bite” either. Or “hit the sack” or shyly whispered “well… this is me” in front of my impossibly expensive Brooklyn brownstone.

But maybe I just haven’t lived!

Instead, I’ve been knitting my clothes as per usual and submitting legal questions to the Undisclosed Podcast.

Yes, you heard right folks, little Allison Wool&Potato got her question read aloud on the second addendum episode of the current season of the podcast. Like a boss.

It was terribly thrilling.

Should’ve splashed a little water on my face to come down after!

  • Pattern: Donner
  • Size: 43.25
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, Colour: 862 Piedras
  • Needles: 3.75mm for main body, 2.5mm for ribbing
  • Notes: Great pattern, fun to knit, especially the braid detail and short rows on the shoulders. Didn’t have enough yarn for longer sleeves, but prefer the short sleeves anyhow. Haven’t compared the final measurements to the pattern, but I thought it would turn out looser to make more room for my expanding belly? Here’s hoping for ample stretchiness instead.

Link to follow woolandpotato on bloglovin   

Leather hard

My favourite kind of mug is one that has reached the leather hard stage. It’s the best ceramic state. A pot that was once soft and delicate has become firm and cool to the touch. Delicate curves hold their own.  Handles defy gravity.

Slicing into leather hard clay is like slicing through a piece of milk chocolate or semi-hard cheese. It’s a wonderfully satisfying experience.

I’m always a little embarrassed to say “leather hard” to a non-ceramicist though. I worry they might picture something a little more saucy than I had intended.

Leather hard: A boy’s club for dudes who prefer to wear chaps and chains.

Leather hard: Thursdays is free ball gag night!

It seems hobbies have a way of generating their own insular vocabulary that sounds totally fine to those participating – and totally wacky to anyone else.

I love to knit twisted rib in fingering yarn. Both painful and dirty sounding!

And I can’t say I’ve ever managed to explain what a clitic is to a non-linguist without a “wait…. what?!”. (Ironically, your first impression will help you remember this particular linguistic object. You see, a clitic may be a small addition -phonologically speaking- but it’s still incredibly important.)

I imagine astrophysicists must feel similarly when mentioning the seventh planet to an unenlightened public.

  • Pattern: Even Flow
  • Size: 38/40, but with a tighter gauge of 10.5 sts per 2 inches: gauge on 5mm was way too loose
  • Yarn: Wool of the Andes sport, colour: bramble heather, lot: 75889
  • Needles: 4mm
  • Notes: Joji Locatelli’s patterns are always clear, well written and enjoyable. The collar ribbing does roll back, but I don’t think it’s meant to stay perfectly flat anyhow: I tacked it back at the bottom to make it seem more intentional. I wish there were some sort of finishing done on the hem of the stockinette collar though.
  • Modifications: I added longer sleeves and did a twisted rib + applied I-cord bind off on the cuff.  I say I-cords for all long sleeves from now on! Should have done twisted rib for the hem as well, it’s a little messy as it is.

Ooh! Boning channel… just thought of that one.

Link to follow woolandpotato on bloglovin