Mum Didn't Raise an Idiot

The words lipstick on a pig have been bandied about a lot lately. . . .


The scene:

My kitchen table. My mum is over for coffee. I'm still knitting a mitten for my parish priest's new wee one (3 hours per mitten, times 4 mittens = are we done knitting mittens yet?)

She looks at me over her coffee. "What are you knitting X and Y for their baby?"

Me: Trying to manipulate 3 skeins of yarn (fair isle knitting) and 4 double pointed needles. "Nope"

Mother: "Pardon?"

Me: Looking perhaps, a tiny bit exasperated, wondering what round I'm on.

"Nothing. I'm not knitting anything"

Mother: "Oh, is it because of *insert long, drawn out drama here, that is totally a waste of time*. Because you've knit for all the other children."

Me: Ripping back. The row was supposed to be green, not blue. "I'm not knitting for them. I'll pick up something from somewhere. Probably diapers or something."

Mother: "Why?"

And I put my knitting down on the kitchen table. I looked over my glasses (progressives, we can likely blame really tiny lace knitting for this.) And I thought.

I thought about why I'm not knitting for this baby. It's not that I'm not glad they are having another baby. It's not the whole dead baby thing, I've knit for other babies since Gabriel. It's not the present long, drawn out drama and their unkindness.

"You didn't raise an idiot."

The very first blanket (I wrote about it here) I knit for these parents, I ran across it a year ago. Thrown in a corner, covered in dirt. The mother looked at me, as I went to go and rescue 150 hours of my time, and said that it was nice to have a spare blanket at the cabin.

Now, let me let you into a secret about knitting for babies. They do unspeakable things to hand knits. Truly. And I am a knitter who has been known to knit a baby a sweater made of a cashmere-merino blend. I don't expect projects for children to live behind glass. Nothing, nothing gives me greater joy than to see people wear things I've knit for them. And when unspeakable bodily fluids wind up on $80 worth of cashmerino? Oh well.

And this blanket? It was my first big project. And folks, let me tell you, there's a reason I'm nice to people about their first big project. I think I had knit a few dish clothes and a scarf before this blanket. The dishcloths have long since been shredded, and, well, the scarf has never seen the light of day. The blanket was ok.

I looked at it that day, and noted that my tension is much more even, I have fewer dropped stitches, I have become much more proficient in my craft.

But, that didn't change anything. This blanket was knit out of heartbreak and sorrow, and a wish to send joy. And, to put it mildly, it didn't seem to be very valued.

I learned something that day.

My time, my craft, they are worth something. I am not "just a knitter". The time, the cost, the quest for perfection that I put into gift's for others, they are worth something. My gift, it is one of love, and it's worth something. 150 hours, it's worth something.

I am putting down my foot. (or possibly my size 16 knitting needle).

I'm not knitting for those who don't appreciate it.

Mum didn't raise an idiot.