diverging from the norm

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(Note: I’ve had this post in draft mode since May 6th. )

I find it fascinating how one person’s perception of what is “normal” is different from someone else’s.  I was on Facebook the other day and a friend posted a photo of her 2 month old daughter in a tiny little sundress, completely adorable with bare arms and legs waving around.  The caption was something about how the mom appreciated the warm weather because she could finally dress her daughter in her Summer dresses.

Most people would look at that picture and think “aww…how cute!” or “look at that tiny little thing” or some such thing.  I didn’t.  My honest, gut reaction to the photo was pure, unadulterated outrage. How could a mother be so irresponsible?  How could someone who purports to love their child dress them so scantily with ankles and wrists and so much skin exposed??

This is how my brain thinks now.  That a “normal” child, dressed in “normal” summer clothes is “abnormal”.

I think this way because for the last 3 weeks, Henri has worn full-length, footed sleepers to work.  All day, every day.  I used to dress him in clothes and he would scratch whatever he had access too- arms, waist, ankles.  The rare time he’d keep his socks and shoes on, he’d pull up his pants to scratch his legs.  The last time he was dressed in clothes for the day I put him in the car to drive to work and by the time we got there both socks and shoes were off and he’d scratched his ankles up so badly that there was blood dripping down.  I can’t imagine ever dressing him in shorts and a tshirt to run around the house, and there’s no way I would ever let him go outside like that while his skin is like this.  He caught skin superinfections from me twice so far, I can only imagine what he could catch if he breaks his skin then goes running through the grass or in the sandbox.

It’s really sad that he’s affected this way.  And it’s really sad that my vision of normal has changed to the point where our way of life is commonplace now.

Anyhoo…

Here’s another take on how something went away from normal-and turned out for the better.

I think I’ve mentioned on the blog before about friends of ours (business acquaintances, actually) who got married in May, in India.  I wanted to knit something as a little wedding gift, and I liked the idea of using the sari silk yarn that I had, as they both have family and close ties to India, and the yarn is made in a way that benefits the womens’ collectives, plus it actually is from India, and I thought it was a nice touch.

I had never met the bride before, and didn’t know the groom well enough to really know his tastes.  I had decided to knit a little gift for the bride-to-be.  After much browsing online, especially in Ravelry,  I decided to knit Knitty‘s Unbiased purse.  It looked cute and funky and in the bright colors of the yarn I thought it would make a really nice gift.  I bought some bright blue satin to line it with, and was really pleased with the idea.
ubwip1
Then I started knitting it.  The yarn has A LOT of twist in it.  I had started by winding it on my ball winder, but quickly realized that I had to rewind it by hand.  The yarn has so much twist that it would bunch up and kink as I knit, and the fastest way I found to let it untwist was (with the ball wound by hand) to wrap a rubber band around the ball and hold up the knitting and let it untwist itself as it dangled.  There was also a lot of VM in the yarn, mostly twigs and little bits of wood.  The colors were delightful though, and I kept knitting.
ubwip2
The biggest problem I found with the pattern is that the depth of the purse is dependent on the diagonal of the knitting.  Which means that in order to have a purse more than 2-3 inches deep at the center, you need to keep going, which increases the outside depth of the bag, making it bigger all around.  A quick look around Ravelry found a solution- some people had knit a simple garter triangle and seamed it upside-down to the front and back of the purse- making it now a rectangle with straps.  I decided that was what I’d do and calculated how big I could make the bag based on the weight of the yarn I had remaining and how much I would need to leave for the straps.
I finished all 6 pieces of the bag and was working on the straps when I realized- this bag would be huge.  And floppy.  And kinda ugly.

NOT what I wanted as a sweet little gift congratulating this young woman on her marriage and move to  Canada.

My mom had the solution- sew the fronts and back together and stuff it into a pillow.  That was a great idea, and exactly what I did- although I kept the front and back separate and used that blue satin I’d already bought and washed, and used it for the backing and lining.  I had enough to make piping with some cording from the fabric store, and stash-dove for buttons so the covers could be removable.  I added some fabric store pillows that just happened to be exactly the right size (a total fluke!) and voila:

ubfo04
I like this so much better as pillows, than had it been a huge, floppy purse.
ubfo06

Pattern:  Unbiased(-inspired Pillows) (Ravelry link)

Size:  from memory I’d say 20″ or 24″ x 11″ or 14″.  Grrr forgot to write it down.

Yarn:  recycled sari silk, 2 skeins.  1 made up the bottom row of pillow 1 and the top triangle of pillow 2, and the other made up the reverse.

ubfo03
(unstuffed & stuffed)

Needles: 5 mm

Notions: stretch satin fabric, piping cord, buttons

Dates:  April 21 2009 – March 3 2010

Modifications:  (see above)

ubfo01

As usual you can find my finished (and unfinished!) projects in my “projects” page by clicking the tab up at the top of every page on my blog, and I also have this project in my Ravelry notebook here.

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Author: Jennifer Lori

maker, baker, cake decorator, mother, wife, partner, friend, gamer, reader, nerd, dork, geek, nail polish addict (not necessarily in order of importance)

4 thoughts on “diverging from the norm

  1. Love the way you finished off the pillows!

    That’s so upsetting that Henri’s skin is like that. I hope he doesn’t have to hibernate all summer 😦

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  2. The pillows look really smart! A little touch of her old home for her new home.
    It must be so hard for Henri to be in such discomfort. Again, I’d highly recommend going dairy (casein) free for a while (at least a month) to see if it helps. Allergy is the number one cause of ezcema and dairy is the number one allergen (and then soy and gluten). It doesn’t hurt to try, and could really make a difference, and if it doesn’t, then no harm done either 🙂

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  3. Poor little Henri! 😦 Is there anything you can do to decrease his sensitivity to things? I can’t imagine how uncomfortable he must be. 😦

    The pillows are gorgeous! They will make a wonderful addition to the bride’s new home.

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  4. Awesome job on the pillows, sweetie. As for Henri, I’m so sorry his skin condition has become such a huge albatross around all your necks. He’s a trooper. No wait – you’re ALL troopers. Hugs.

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