Helloooo Yarn Lovers. I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since we last connected. I hope you and your loved ones and friends have managed to get through what was without a doubt the strangest and toughest year for everyone. If you lost someone close to you, please accept my sincerest sympathies and condolences.
Looking back, it felt for our family like the whole year was just one long day (maybe 2). For such a long period of time it seemed as if every day was exactly the same as the previous one. You would think that, with so much time every day to do oodles of stuff, there would be so much to show for it. But, alas, there was some kind of time warp in which whole blocks of time would somehow be sucked into a black hole with nothing to show for it. So I apologise for the long hiatus. I have no valid excuse for it. I also apologise in advance that half of this post is a cathartic off-loading of the stresses of last year. Maybe some of you can relate to some of it.
Parenting worries in the times of Covid
I know that, for much of the time, I was constantly worrying and trying to deal with the emotional and mental well being of both my girls. Worrying about Meghan because she is such a social butterfly and was desperately missing the in-person contact with her friends. Even being back at school every second day was not the same because of the need for social distancing.
Added to this that she is now officially a teen, with all the physical, hormonal and emotional ups and downs that go with it. With Caitlin being on the autism spectrum, we didn’t quite realise that we were not having a true teen experience with her. She needed us more than ever, so we would just be there for her and, when all else failed, could secretly laugh our way through.
So Meghan’s see-saw moods are quite a surprise to us. Being un-cool parents that constantly embarrass her has been quite a shock. Smiling at her and secretly laughing our way through it makes her even more angry because she just knows that we’re secretly laughing. The poor child is convinced that she has IED – intermittent explosive disorder. But we have come to accept that this is probably normal life as a teen. That’s the problem with having kids in your thirties – by the time they reach adolescence, it’s been so long since you were there that you forget what it was like.
Challenges with Autism
Lockdown with Caitlin, on the other hand, was a worry that she was becoming more and more of a recluse, avoiding even virtual social contact with school friends. School was the one place she was forced to interact with others. The whole year was an extreme challenge for her because the routine of physically going to school was totally disrupted. She could not adapt to online learning at all – the mental leap from “school is the place for learning” to “home is the place for learning” was too vast a chasm for her to manage. She could only focus on the reality that her mental picture of matric was destroyed. Even therapy could not help her to get past it.
She turned 18 in September and we needed for there to be something special and turning-18-worthy amidst all the coming of age milestones that could not be experienced. So we took her out for a Sushi lunch and she had her first cocktail, which made her feel grown-up. A week or two later, she got a tattoo. We figured that she was going to do it anyway, and probably at an unsavoury cheap place that would probably botch it up, so took her instead to award winning Empire Tattoos in Fairlands to have it done. I still constantly look at her arm in horror that this is going to be there forever.
We used the wet-method of healing after she got it – a quick 3 days and mostly hassle free. The skin on the rest of her arm had a slight reaction to being covered with clingfilm for 3 days, but it was manageable. She went for a touch-up a week ago and we had to revert to 10 day dry healing because the reaction to the clingfilm on the rest of her arm was so extreme. My darling child, being on the spectrum, takes everything so completely literally – she refused to shower because it has to be kept totally dry. Trying to convince her that we could put clingfilm on and seal it off with tape, just for the shower, met with total refusal because clingfilm is only used for the wet healing method. We’re almost at the 10 day mark, thank goodness.
Keeping busy (non-yarn related)
I’ve managed to get showered and dressed every day – to be honest, sometimes very very late in the day – albeit in super sloppy clothes, unless I have to go out and get groceries. Then I manage to look my usual self. We went to the movies on Sunday (bless Smart Shopper points that allow you to get partner vouchers for a SK movie ticket at the equivalent of R30 a ticket). It was such a “big outing” for us that I even put on makeup and got a bit dressed-up (lol)! Meghan and I have played around with filters on SnapChat and TikTok and laughed ourselves silly. We just love the cartoon filter.
I finally found a job towards the end of last year (part of the reason I was so silent). But got retrenched on 15 December along with 4 of my colleagues on the last-in-first-out policy. I have to be honest and say I was devastated. It was a job I absolutely loved and I was really good at it (meeting targets, high CSATs and earning monthly performance bonuses). As much of a shit-show last year was, one big upside was that none of our cats died – we lost a cat a year for the previous 4 years. Gotta stay positive.
I’m not sure when we started Yarmies meet-ups again, but these have been a godsend for me. The majority of my friends have remained in complete lockdown because of their own or a family member’s co-morbidities. We’ve also continued mostly isolating ourselves. So my social contact has been limited to Yarmies meet-ups at venues sort of central to everyone that can make it. We did a mystery yarn-swap at our Christmas meet-up – so much fun! We’re starting a KAL this coming Saturday – the Lionberry shawl that uses just a 100g skein of fingering weight yarn. The yarn I’ve chosen is Kaleidoscope Pure Love Superwash in colour way Hemingway from my stash…
If you feel like joining us, please let me know via PM on Facebook and I’ll add you to our KAL WhatsApp group.
FO’s and WIPs
I started a number of projects in 2020 and finished a few of them. You’d think there was so much time to knit but where did the time go? Black hole, I tell you!
First and most recently, I actually finished a pair of socks. I’ve got a couple of single socks in a knitting “dungeon”. The finished ones were supposed to be for Meghan, but Caitlin has claimed them for herself. So I’ve taken one of the single sock projects out of the knitting dungeon and have started the second sock to finish the pair for Meghan…
Earlier in the year I knitted one Ranunculus (in Schachenmyer Fashion Soft Linen Mix – heavens alive and beware, this stuff can stretch!) and then finished another Ranunculus and a Deschain, both in SweetGeorgia Yarns Flaxen Silk Fine, available at The Yarn Room in Pretoria. The Ranunculus in Marine colour way and the Deschain in Pine…
All 13 of my FO’s can be seen on my Ravelry Projects page. I won’t bore you with the details of them all. My main WIPs right now are a Black Thorn Sweater, a Chevron Cloud wrap and a Wiveton sweater for Christo (my love). Please don’t let this short list fool you into thinking that those are my only WIPs – there are some more and some in hibernation too. Maybe my goal for the year should be finishing them all.
Here’s hoping for a better 2021 and I hope you all achieve your crafting goals.
Much love and virtual hugs to everyone (we surely need it, don’t we!)