Thankful

Howdy, knitters! Welcome back to the Knitting Daddy blog. For my first-time readers, I’m glad you found me and I hope you enjoy what I’ve got going on over here. For my returning readers, you know I love you all, and I’m so glad you came back. As we prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, I’m going to devote the main portion of today’s post to the idea of being thankful. Before jumping into that, though, let’s take a look at the other things that have been going on in my knitting world the past week.

NICU/FSNCC Contributions

That’s a lot of hats, blankets, socks, and books for the Women’s Hospital NICU and FSNCC. I’m thankful for the contributions!

This Week In Podcasts

Wow. I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts this week! I chalk it up to a couple of things: my wife and daughter have been out of town this week (so I tend to listen to podcasts in the evening while doing other things) and I spent all day Saturday in an epic battle against the leaves at my house (and listened to podcasts the entire time). Really, by the time I was done with the leaves on Saturday, I had listened to over 8 hours of podcasts. That all combined to make my podcast to-listen list empty now. I listened to episodes of 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Curious Handmade, Fiber Hooligan, Knit 1 Geek 2, knit.fm, Knitcircus, Knitmore Girls, Knitting Pipeline, KnottyGirls, The Lost Geek, Twinset Designs, Yarn Thing With marly Bird, and The Yarniacs.

In 2 Knit Lit Chicks Episode 80 (Most of the Stuff Was Really Immature), Tracie and Barb talk about their guest appearance on Yarn Thing With Marly Bird, their sweater KAL, and — of course — books. Tracie also reveals the obnoxious gift she is knitting for her brother-in-law. In the last episode, she mentioned that the Dead Fish Hat — the one I talked about in last week’s post — was a possibility for the obnoxious gift. I heartily recommended it in their Ravelry group, and they gave me a nice shout-out on the podcast, complimenting my hat. It’s always cool to hear a podcaster mention “Knitting Daddy” on their show. Thanks, ladies!

Excited To Be Mentioned On 2 Knit Lit Chicks

I was excited and surprised when Tracie and Barb had some nice things to say about my Dead Fish Hat on their 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast.

In Curious Handmade Episode 51 (Knitvent Week 2 And Knitting In The Round), Helen continues discussing her newest collection — Knitvent 2014. She also gives a great tutorial about knitting in the round, well worth the listen. I was also thrilled to hear her read a tip about how to block hats that I left in her Ravelry group last week. Again, it was really cool to hear her read my comment. Additionally, I had a couple of folks responding to my post in her Ravelry group thanking me for the tip, which was nice.

Excited To Be Mentioned On Curious Handmade

I was excited and surprised when Helen read my tip for blocking hats on her Curious Handmade podcast.

In Fiber Hooligan (Ellen Gormley), Ben interviews crochet designer Ellen Gormley. I always enjoy hearing more about crochet, even though that’s not a fiber art (currently) in my wheelhouse. I’m sure some day, I’ll get hooked. But for now, I stick with the needles.

In Knit 1 Geek 2 Episode 96 (Pre-Rhinebeck…) and Episode 97 (…And Post-Rheinbeck!), Maggie and Karen talk a lot about Rhinebeck. There is also a lot of geek squee about the Marvel cinematic universe, Agents of SHIELD (which I may start watching now that it’s on Netflix), and various other geeky topics.

In knit.fm Episode 12 (Finishing), Hannah has knitting designer (and podcaster) Alana Dakos as a guest — they were able to hang together because they both attended Rhinebeck. They talk about the importance of finishing your knitted items. I don’t mean getting the items off the needles, but all of the things that are involved in putting the finishing touches on — weaving in ends, blocking, etc. I seriously think that knit.fm is like a correspondence course in all of the important things you need to know about with respect to knitting. As always, this is an excellent episode — my “must listen” pick of the week.

In Knitcircus Episode 53, Amy and Jaala talk about food. And about being kind to your pancreas. There is also, of course, knitting talk, with plenty of talk about various KALs in progress.

I listened to Knitmore Girls Episode 306 (Buffy’s Contemporary), Episode 307 (Flair), Episode 308 (Certified Pre-owned), and the Director’s Cut Episode with JC Briar. The Knitmore Girls is one of my favorite podcasts, and all of these episodes are highly recommended. There is a lot of sock knitting going on with the Knitmores, which is just fine by me. I’m on a bit of a sock kick, too, and really enjoy listening to other people talk about knitting socks.

In Knitting Pipeline Episode 188 (Magic Cake To The Rescue), Paula talks about using her magic cake method of collecting bits of yarn together for a single project to knit a Tubularity cowl. In Episode 189 (One Year Later), she talks about the tornado that devastated her hometown of Washington, Illinois a year ago, and about how much has happened in the year since.

In Knotty Girls Knitcast Episode 39 (Skewing Manly (or Laura and Jen Have Too Many Relatives)), Jen and Laura talk about the guys in their lives that they are knitting for. In Geek Culture, they talk about the discovery of part of Amelia Earhart’s plane, which is really cool.

In the Lost Geek Poscast Episode 38 (Europe Logbook and Plethora of Knitting), Arlin talks about her recent travels to Europe — getting a babymoon in before the impending arrival of her 2nd child.

In Twinset Designs Episode 47 (Melancholy Bunny), Jan and Ellen have a bit of catching up to do. As always, it’s a joy to hear theses sisters talk and laugh with each other. They pull you right in and make you feel like you’re part of the conversation. I was especially jealous of Jan’s report from the recent Knitting Pipeline retreat. They have lots of great knitting talk in this episode, too.

Yarn Industry Black Friday Cyber Monday DealsI listened to a lot of Yarn Thing With Marly Bird this week. Marly’s podcast had recently fallen off my radar, but when I noticed that she was doing a Podcaster November series and recognized so many names of folks she was talking with, I popped her podcast back in my to-listen list. I listened to episodes with Dark Matter Knits, Knotty Girls Podcast, Craftlit Podcast, Knitting Pipeline Podcast, Ready, Set, Knit, and 2 Knit Lit Chicks Podcast. There’s an episode with the Knitmore Girls scheduled before the month is out. This has been a favorite series of podcasts for me — it is absolutely fascinating to me to hear podcasters on the other side of the microphone. She also took a break before Thanksgiving to have an episode focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the many yarn-related sales out there this year. Head over to her blog post on MarlyBird.com to check out the growing list of deals to be had. It’s a great place to start with a little gift shopping — for yourself, or for the yarn lovers in your life. So many of those deals are from small businesses and individuals, and I always feel good about supporting them in their efforts.

In The Yarniacs Episode 75, Gayle and Sharlene have a great discussion about dealing with snags in your knitting. I’m almost scared to wear my hand-knit socks around the house without wearing shoes (and I hate wearing shoes inside), because I’m afraid I’m going to snag my socks. It was cool to hear about repair techniques.

This Week On My Needles

I’ve made a few more Mini-Stocking Ornaments since last week. I’ll continue knitting them throughout the next month. Any that I don’t give away as Christmas presents this year will either end up on our tree or end up in a stack of ornaments for gift-giving next year.

I also completed my charity knitting for November’s IBK Charity. I knitted up another hat in my go-to hat pattern for charity hat knitting: 4 hour hat – bulky by Marilyn Clark. I love how quickly this pattern knits up, and it makes a super-warm and comfortable hat. I specifically wanted to use a superwash wool for this, and I didn’t find any bulky in the tiny bit of looking I did. So instead, I got worsted and knit it with 2 strands held double with no other changes to the pattern. It worked great. I also ran it through the washer and dryer because I wanted to see how it would react to it. It loved it. I’ll be posting it to the Boston area early next week.

Charity Hat

I pray this charity hat provides a lot of warmth and comfort to the person who receives it.

I Like The Charity Hat

I figured I’d try on the hat I’m sending off for charity this month before I washed it. I like it!

Yarn Used: Cascade 220 Superwash (2 strands held double)

I highly recommend this pattern for a quick, warm, knit.

Thankful

The main thrust of this week’s post is being thankful. One of the things for which I am most thankful is my family. My wonderful wife is working hard raising our darling daughter, while balancing the many other things on her plate. And, of course, our daughter Blueberry is such a blessing. She came into our lives two-and-a-half month earlier than expected, spent five weeks in the NICU before coming home, and is the reason I’m a knitter. She’s about two-and-a-half years old now, and has filled our lives with tremendous joy. She’s a hoot, and I love everything about her. I don’t really think of myself as a “preemie dad” anymore, but when she was born, we definitely had a steep learning curve about preemies thrust upon us. I’m thankful for everyone at Women’s Hospital — especially everyone associated with their NICU — for the wonderful care they provided for Blueberry until she was ready to come home. I’m especially thankful for the caring people at Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC) for all of the support they provided as we navigated the NICU.

I’m thankful for my knitting friends, many of whom I know through Ravelry. I am a member of the Itty Bitty Knits (IBK) group, and the folks I know through that group are some of my best knitting friends. The group is for anyone, particularly fans of Susan B. Anderson (my favorite knitting designer). Far from being simply a fan club for Susan, this group is like a family. We engage in swaps with each other. We share our joys and sorrows with each other. We do charity knitting together. And, yes, we love and knit Susan’s patterns. Each month, members in the group support a charity. One group member is the charity host, and the group contributes to the host’s selected charity. I was honored to get on the charity calendar this year and I hosted the August charity. Of course, I asked for contributions to the Woman’s Hospital NICU (preemie hats,) and FSNCC (board books and/or monetary donations).

I was overwhelmed and humbled by the response.

When everything was gathered, I had received contributions from 39 people from all over the United States, Canada, and Germany. There were 261 hats, 3 blankets, 1 pair of socks, 42 books, and direct donations to FSNCC. Most of these contributions came in from people in the IBK group, but a few came in from friends and people reading the Knitting Daddy blog. I even received an email earlier this week from someone who found the blog and wants to donate some hats to the Women’s Hospital NICU.

A Sea Of Hats

All laid out on the table, the collection of hats is really impressive.

I am truly humbled.

A few weeks ago, I gathered everything up and brought the donations to the hospital. I met my friend Nancy, who is one of the directors for FSNCC and we laid out all the hats, blankets, socks, and books. It was impressive to see them all spread out!

Hats Photo Shoot

FSNCC Co-Director Nancy takes pictures of the donations.

I take absolutely zero credit for the awesome arrangement of the hats by color, that’s all Nancy’s doing. Seeing them all laid out like that really underscored how successful the charity drive was. Nancy tells me that the NICU usually serves in the neighborhood of 560 to 580 babies per year. So the hats we collected could find their way to the heads of about half of the babies that come through the NICU in a year. That’s a lot of babies, and it helps underscore just how many more hats they could use. And that’s just one hospital. There are NICUs all over the world that can use lovingly crafted hand-knit (and crocheted) hats.

Thank you. Thank you to my family, who brings so much love into my life. Thank you to the hospital and NICU that took care of my daughter when she was a fragile 2-and-a-half pound baby born too soon. Thank you to FSNCC for everything you provide for families like mine, and for allowing me the honor to serve on your Executive Board. Thank you to all of my knitting friends who provided contributions to the NICU and FSNCC this year.

Thank you — yes, you — for reading my blog. I love writing it, and it’s always a thrill to know that you enjoy reading it. I love your comments and emails (and try to respond to each of them). I love the comments you leave on my Instagram pictures. This blog walks a fine line between being for me and being for you, but knowing that there are folks out there enjoying it is definitely something that keeps me going.

Whether or not you’re celebrating the US Thanksgiving holiday this week, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on the things for which you’re thankful. Why not join the conversation here and leave a comment describing some of those things?

Happy Thanksgiving! Spend some great time with your family and your friends this weekend. And knit! Do some knitting.

If you’d like to make a (US tax-deductible) financial donation to FSNCC, we’ll be happy to take your money through the donation pages on our website.

Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

12 thoughts on “Thankful

  1. Happy Thanksgiving Greg, Meredith & Blueberry! I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday. I love reading your posts and you really are an inspiration! I have knitted since I was a child, but you totally amaze me with your knitting! I am so impressed with how much you have learned about knitting in such a short time. I have loved you & Meredith since I first met you both at Mt. Pisgah many, many years ago. You are a very special couple!!!!
    My life has been busy recently with the care of my elderly parents and I have not gotten to knit as much as I would like. I still want to get together & would love for you to meet my knitting friends. I would love to have you join us sometime when we get together. And we make trips to the yarn shop in Black Mountain frequently. We love it and the couple who own it are delightful! They have a lot of male knitting customers. Like them on FB (Black Mountain Knit Shop) and they post pictures every Sunday night of customers and their finished knitting projects. I love to see the pictures and be inspired!
    Enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday weekend and I hope you get a lot of knitting done. I actually plan to knit myself! Can’t wait. Give my love to your family! Happy knitting!

    • Thanks so much, Melinda. We had a great Thanksgiving visiting lots and lots of family. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, as well. I’m totally up for some getting together to knit and catch up. Hit me up sometime if you want to meet in downtown Greensboro for lunch and knitting. I’ll be checking out the Black Mountain Knit Shop, too. Hope to catch up with you “in real life” again soon. 🙂

  2. What a heart-warming post! We are all so lucky to have you in our group, you add so much fun and positivity. I love seeing that table full of knits and books. How fantastic!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    susan

    • Thanks so much, Susan. 🙂 That table full of knits and books was amazing, and seeing them all laid out like that was the first time I could really appreciate the breadth of what the IBK group did. Since they came in bit by bit throughout the month and I collected them in boxes, it all snuck up on me. FSNCC and the hospital was thrilled with the donation.

      Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving!

  3. We are so lucky to have the knitting daddy on our executive board and part of the FSN family. Greg, please know that I have been sharing your story with the families as I give out the hats and they are so touched. Thanks for all you do for NICU families!

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! You and all of the people at FSNCC made a huge difference when we were in the NICU with Blueberry. I’m honored to serve on the FSNCC Board now, and happy to be able to help give back a bit.

      When we do this again, I’ll try to create a little business-card-sized note that can be distributed with the hat with info about the group who made them. I know we talked about that this time, but it fell off my radar….

      • A little tag is a great idea. Maybe you can design a “moo” card that is both a business card for your blog and a gift tag for charity items.

        • That’s a great idea, Sara! I’ve been thinking about getting a “Knitting Daddy” business card for a while. Getting something that could double as a charity tag as well might be just what the doctor ordered.

  4. Great post! I enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday for a reminder that we need to pause and really think about what matters. This was a fun post to read. I like the thumbs-up shots! Best wishes to you and yours during the holiday season.

    • Thanks, Sara! I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post. It was one of my favorite posts to write, too. In the hustle and bustle of things, it’s often easy to lose sight of what’s important. Like you say, it’s good to take a pause and really think about what matters. Best wishes to you and yours as well!

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