Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bitchin' Mittens and a Salute

I never put a button up on my sidebar, but I joined this great KAL called Bitchin' Mittens. The rules? Well there really aren't any rules, you just knit a pair of mittens. I've never knit mittens so I figured what the hey, I'll give it a whirl.

I give to you my Bitchin' Mittens:

MI Mitts

I call them “I Left My Heart In Lansing.”

Here’s the quick back story for peeps just now tuning in. My husband is a Ph.D student at Michigan State University. His defense date is his white whale. Every time it looks like it’s coming close, it slips away. He’s already got a post-doctoral position lined up at the University of Texas San Antonio. I quit my job in early May thinking Moby would be captured the end of June. Moby got away again.

I couldn’t remain unemployed in Lansing and couldn’t find employment there (who’s going to hire someone for a few months?) and all the temp work I checked into was non-existent. If you live in Michigan, you know how crummy the job market is there right now.

So I found a job, and me and my four year old son packed up and moved to San Antonio while husband finishes up his whaling trip. Hopefully in a few months he’ll be down here with us with a Ph.D. and a load of muktuk.

If you’ve ever lived in Michigan, you’ll know exactly what these mittens represent. For you non-Michiganders here’s the explanation. Michigan is shaped like a pair of two mittens. People use their hands as visual maps when you ask where they’re from/where a certain city is, etc.

“You see here? Saginaw is located right about here between the thumb and that crease right there.”

I thought it was completely clever the first time someone did this to me. But then I realized shortly thereafter that everyone did this.

So for this project, I sewed beads onto major cities that seem easily recognizable (at least to me). And of course, Lansing is represented by the heart. The mittens are connected by the Mackinaw Bridge. Sadly the six years we lived in Michigan, we never made it to see the bridge or the UP (Upper Peninsula). I guess being born in Alaska you don’t get too excited about remoteness and lush greenery.

The mittens are made from a recycled superwash wool sweater dyed with Koolaid.

Why orange mittens? Why not? Can I get away with saying they’re the same color of a sunset over Lake Huron?

I didn’t follow any pattern, I just forged ahead and knit them. I’m actually quite proud of how they pretty much match up. Can I get away with saying that they’re supposed to represent a map and not supposed to match completely?

They’ve got an element of absurdity to them now that we’re in Texas. I showed them to my son, Chunky, before I sewed the beads and bridge on and he informed me matter of factly that I didn’t need mittens in Texas!

So that, my peeps, is the story of my Bitchin’ Mittens entitled “I Left My Heart In Lansing.”

Shifting gears, I received the invitation for the "Back To School" dinner for the department I work at. Everyone at work has been talking about this thing. About how excited they are to meet Chunky. In small letters next to the sentence "Casual attire--outdoor dinning" it says: Adults Only, Please.

So I just want to give a shoutout to all single moms out there. You don't truly appreciate how sucky your social life can be when you're raising your kid alone. Well ok, maybe it wouldn't be so sucky if I wasn't new in town and didn't know anyone.

Oh well, it's not my fault that they don't allow children. They'll just be denied the sparkling conversation Chunky can provide. Sucks to be them.


Blogger Ali said...

I love how you are talking directly to me, i.e. "now that my peeps...". lol.

I totally know the whole Michigan-hand-map thing. I have family that lives there. Well, they are from there.

I'm impressed you just knit away without a pattern. yeah, I'm an idiot. :)

7:21 PM  
Blogger LaurieM said...

What a great story. I think those mittens are just bitchin' babe. The heart bead is poignant. I hope your Captain catches his Whale soon.

8:07 PM  
Blogger wavybrains said...

I love these! I love the hand-dyed wool and the story behind the mittens.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Those are some VERY bitchin' mittens. A great story and a great entry!

Fish Smish, I like them a bunch!



9:19 PM  
Blogger Sydney said...

I think those mittens are plenty bitchin'! I love the story behind the mittens. Hopefully Moby will be captured soon.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Inky said...

hahaha on the michigan mitten map. my husband is from kalamzoo (and various other michigan cities) and we've met alot of folks from michigan out here in cali. they ALL do it, that mitten thing.

i do admit before i met Mr. Inky that i had no idea michigan looked like a mitten. and to think when i was little i could draw the usa and all the states and their capitals on the chalkboard from memory. oh well i guess those braincells died in the 80's.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

The mittens are fab even if they do seem a little absurd in your new climate.

Bah for the shittiness of no kids allowed..

6:47 AM  
Blogger Starfish said...

Love the mittens, the bead thing is ingenious!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Cheesy Knit Wit said...

Okay, I just think the mitten story is neat. I hope you husband makes it down to TX soon!!!!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Since my Nate is from MI, the idea of MI mittens is great! Very cool. Esp the I left my heart in Lansing part. Awwww.

Hoping that the DH gets Moby soon.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Red Dog Knits - Kristi and Otis said...

Hey - I am a recent transplant to Michigan (Lansing area) from AZ but grew up in Michigan as a kid - I LOVE those mittens - what a great idea for the beads! Have you also seen how Michiganders use their other hand on top of the mitten to include the UP? My hubby is a almumni of MSU grad school, I taught there for a spell - he was born in Texas and hate to say that "Don't mess with Texas" has become some bizarre statement we frequently use in our household. How could you make Texas into a handknit? Italy is a boot that could become some bitchin' socks ;)

7:58 AM  

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