Mother’s Day 2009

Maybe it was thinking about my Mum when I made The Hippy Pie that did it; maybe it was all the support and love she has given me during The Horribleness of the past couple of months, but for whatever reason, Mother’s Day seemed especially important to me this year so I made Bam* this, got some nice things from LUSH to go with it, and went home yesterday to cook her and my Pops a liver and bacon lunch.

As unglamorous as the liver and bacon lunch sounds, it was a significant and fitting choice of nourishment. When Bam was first at University she got that longing for some simple home-cooking. Liver was the exact thing she needed, but I imagine that once she had bought home that bloodied, intimidating packet of offal, she realised some instructions on how to render it edible would be essential. She telephoned her mother for directions who duly gave them thus enabling my mum to start creating for herself the very food that I now crave when I need the sustaining powers of motherly cooking. It is a generational thing. Yesterday, whilst stirring the onions, I asked Bam what her mother had said when she’d ‘phoned. Enacting that long-ago call, she started off with ‘Well…’ and I smiled, because I’ve noticed that ‘Well’ is the signature opening for any sentence uttered by an older woman to a younger one with the intention of imparting a. wisdom, or b., opinion. When you reach a certain age you can apparently use the word all by itself without any other words to convey strong disapproval. How many of you have Mothers or Grandmothers who just shake their heads and say ‘Well,’ with more force than ought to be able to fit into such a small word when they are outraged by something?

Bam is an irrepressible mimic (another thing she has passed on to me) and her impersonations of her mother always start with ‘Well.’ I have noticed that as she grows older, my mother manages to pronounce her entire perspective on a given subject via this word; it is quite a neat trick. I had assumed this use of the ‘Well’ was perculiar to my family until I met Mark’s mother who also managed to use ‘Well’ with great force, and until I started reading Elizabeth Zimmerman, who is a consummate user of ‘Well.’ In Knitter’s Almanac, Zimmerman makes a great case for doing a circular shawl as a travel project, and explains the maths of Pi and how this works in knitting terms to create a perfectly circular piece. After explaining the maths of the theory, her list of increases and decreases reveals a pattern by which every time the number of rounds is doubled, the number of stitches is also doubled. The last increase round she talks about includes 576 stitches. If you follow the instructions as they have been going so far, you realise the next step would be to make 96 rounds of 576 stitches, which is a LOT of stitches. She addresses the mathematically minded knitter who anticipates this insane number of rows and stitches curtly: ‘Knit 96 rounds plain? Well, not really. Before you have knitted half-way to 96 you will be enjoying the strong impression that you shawl is large enough.’ For anyone left in any doubt about this, she states later on that ‘theory is theory, and I have no intention of putting it into practice, as I do not plan to make a lace carpet for a football field.’ Well. That’s that cleared up, then…

…I loved reading about the Pi shawl and was extremely excited by the emergence of the beautiful Shipwreck shawl in this Spring’s Knitty, which I think is based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi-shawl mathematics.

I want to make Shipwreck later this year, but I didn’t have time to whip one up in time for Mother’s Day and when Ellen announced her Pi-day** housewarming party, I decided to make a wash-cloth based on the same mathematics.

I can’t remember exactly what I did, so directions are sadly lacking. I am thinking of making some more though, because the way the increases are placed means that many small lace repeats could happen in this kind of project and they could be great stash-busters for the random bits of cotton I have acquired.

The sideways garter-stitch border is very pleasing. The only reason it has a wavy edge in this photo is that I pulled it all into peaks while I was blocking it. Bam texted me this morning to say that she enjoyed using the washcloth with the Happy Hippy showergel I got in LUSH. I’m glad. Happy Mother’s Day Bam, you are the best.

*Bam is the name our mother acquired some years ago. It stuck instantly.

** I later discovered that there is a really great set of recordings made for/on Pi Day this year so if you fancy some interesting Pi-day recordings, check this out.

3 Responses to Mother’s Day 2009

  1. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » Mud-Pi.

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