I’m a Knittin’ Fool! And autistic, too!

Well, after finishing up the shawl – and delivering it this morning to Nancy’s office – I had this knitting void to fill, but when you’ve got a bunch of projects waiting NO PROblem (she says with slight Jamaican accent!)….
I didn’t know what to do, so I figured I’d do all I could yesterday while the wash was moving along. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

That poor yarn has been through so many permutations (mutations, LOL!). But I have enough for a vest/tanktop and thought why not? This pattern from the latest edition of KnitSimple is fascinating. It uses the tendency of ribbing to pull in to create waist shaping – which should be all the more interesting with a variegated yarn. The ribbing is triangular in shape, starting at the sides and tapering in toward the middle. I’d like to give a shout out to Denise C., from the Columbia, MD Knitting Meetup for turning me on to this magazine. The covers sometimes look too elementary and for those of us a bit older and wanting more classical looks in our knit items (sorry, I cannot spend hundreds of dollars on yarn for something that will only look good this fashion season on a size 0 model on the cover of Vogue, however lovely), I have to admit the cover of Knit Simple seemed, well, a little too simple? But I was very wrong. There is a lot of knitting know-how in the pages of this magazine and some very nice patterns, even for those of us for whom the chubbiness fairy has been all too kind;). As one can see, I’ve only gotten just past the ribbing and on to the stockinette section. The yarn is a little rough, but it’s cotton and I have high hopes that it will soften with washings (that’s me- ever the optimist!).

And on to the sock knitting. OK, I know, I know. I have often said on this blog that knitting socks is a waste of resources, time, money and color to be putting sush loveliness on stinky old feet. But you know, we all have to grow and change with the flow of life. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. There have been some evil influences to get me to this sad state of affairs and Yarn Harlot, you know who you are!!!!!
These pics don’t do the colors justice. The first one does a little better – hard to believe these two are of the same subject, eh? This is my first foray into toe-up sock knitting and as I get better at it, I cannot imagine I will do it any other way, but then aren’t those famous last words? This is the advantage of going to a knitting meetup or a stitch ‘n bitch or a sit and knit thingie with other knitters. You always learn something. Denise is our best teacher in the group. Lynn has an amazing sense of humor – and there are men and women from all walks of life in our knitting group. As someone for whom knitting has been a solitary activity, this is a lot of fun and it’s really remarkable how much knitting I get done in two or three hours of solid knitting and chatting. How did I ever live without it before?
This is the beginning of a cuff-down pair – my first attempt to imitate what was done by the YH on Knitty Gritty. I liked her style so much, I have her book, Knitting Rules (so yeah, Yarn Harlot, I’m a fan, LOL!).

And finally another pair of cuff-down socks in an Online cotton sock yarn. That’s the thing about sock knitting. You get to work with so many cool colors and yarns and it doesn’t cost much because you’re not investing in the stock market to make a sweater:) OK I get it. I get it!
Finally, some more work on the Mason-Dixon Log Cabin blanket. I decided I’d do Four motifs like this and then piece them together with the darker colors in the center, like a star pattern. We’ll see if it works. I like these purples and blues and greens. Gee, can you tell I’m a “Winter?” But seriously folks, don’t you get sick of pinks and blues for babies?
I even worked a bit on three unfinished scarves not pictured here. Diane has dibs on one in a raspberry color. I don’t know who gets the black/silvery one; same with one in blue feathery novelty yarn – called “Boa.” They’ve been sitting around so long, they’ll need washing before anyone gets them.

So yesterday was a nice day to knit – a little too hot to go out and walk.

This morning I went to church with Diane and Ann from choir. It was great to see her get out and about. Ann gave her a ride to church and Diane did just fine. The music was amazing. Nancy has such dedication! The quality of her art and the musicians with whom she works never wavers – even on her last sunday for the summer! I think she wants us to really miss her when she’s gone. No fear of that! There was a soloist this morning – I think it was a friend of Bonnie D. – who had a voice like an angel – a soprano whose tone was as pure as that of a child but with adult strength. She sang “Come Unto Him [or is it Me??] All Ye that Labor” – an aria from Handel’s Messiah – and added just the right improvisation necessary for genuine Baroque-era musicianship. I could tell Diane (herself a professional singer and music teacher) was pleased. For communion, she sang “The Lord’s Prayer” – the old standby – but very well done and given that today’s Gospel was on just that topic, very appropriate. In the foreground was our associate pastor, Rosemary B. She had memorized the gospel and spoke it as though Jesus himself were talking to us. Her homily was stirring, simple and elegantly written. Rosemary is a professional journalist – or was until she felt a call to be a priest. Her experiences, both past and present, are inspiring to me – as is her deeply held and mature faith in God. I really appreciated what she had to say about prayer – and how the Lord’s Prayer really shows us so much about what it is meant to be. It is first about praise, then about unifying ourselves with God’s – or GodasBBL’s (don’t ask) – will, about uniting with others and persistence, then about petitioning. When prayer is only about petitioning for favors for ourselves or others, it becomes shallower and God becomes an imaginary friend whose will we can bend, instead of a relationship with the Divine.

In other words, I came away from the service having learned something I hope to keep with me.

Well, today is Sunday and with any luck, we’ll be seeing all of our children – and grandchildren -at dinner tonight. Talk about counting our blessings! All of them live within a half hour drive. Speaking of grandchildren, I’ve been reading this excellent book by Ellen Notbohm about children with autism. It’s called, Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew. It is really helpful. Here are the Ten Things:

“1. I am first and foremost a child.

2. My sensory perceptions are disordered.

3. Distinguish between won’t and can’t.

4. I am a concrete thinker. I interpret language literally.

5. Be patient with my limited vocabulary.

6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am visually oriented.

7. Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do.

8. Help me with social interactions.

9. Identify what triggers my meltdowns.

10. Love me unconditionally.”

In the introduction, on page xxxi, she writes something that had me breaking down in tears:

“And finally, three words: Patience. Patience. Patience.

Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. It may be true that I’m not good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don’t lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates or pass judgment on other people? It’s also true that I probably won’t be the next Michael Jordan. But with my attention to fine detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh.

They had autism, too.

The answer to Alzheimer’s, the enigma of extraterrestrial life — what future achievements from today’s children with autism, children like me, lie ahead?

All that I might become won’t happen without you as my foundation. Think through some of those societal rules and if they don’t make sense for me, let them go. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we’ll see just how far I can go.”

Wow is all I can say to that. It’s true. For example, Madison may do what others perceive of as “bad” and yes, she has bad days, but in reality that child doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She doesn’t know how to be mean. She gives hugs to anyone who wins the video game and shares her toys with her baby sister. And she does love to pay attention to detail and she loves playing on the computer and she loves to rewind every Wonder Pets show we watch together. And all of that is just fine with me:) Who knows what her future holds? One thing I do know: It will be filled with love and really, what more can we ask of this world?

If you’ve read this blog a few months ago, you might recall those boys hitting Madison on the school bus and her asking her mom what a “retard” is. I keep thinking about that and strangely(!) about the movie “In and Out” starring Kevin Kline as a teacher who finally realizes he’s gay. At the high school graduation at which he was supposed to receive an award that was being withdrawn because of this disclosure (this was supposedly in a small town somewhere), people got up and said, “I [have this good quality of this teacher], so I guess I’m gay.” Over and over again, people got up – sometimes so hilariously unlikely ones, saying “Well, I’ve known him all my life, so I guess I’m gay too.” By the time the scene was over, everyone in the room was saying they were gay as a showing of support for the Kevin Kline character.

Well, that’s how I feel about autism. If being autistic means having a good heart, being honest, showing love in unusual ways (!), being curious, being confused and overwhelmed at times and needing the understanding of your family and community, then I want be autistic, too.

Dori, Madison’s mother, has purchased buttons to educate people about autism when she and Madison are in public. One – for Madison – that says to be patient if she acts strangely or has a meltdown in public and explains why. I think the button says something like “I’m not being bad, I have autism” or some such thing. And she got a button for me in support of autistic people. I keep hoping she would get me the one Madison has, ’cause Lord knows I can act pretty strangely in public myself! At least I could wear it in court- the masters and judges would certainly understand, LOL!

It’s afternoon now and I am going to wait for John to get up before doing any grocery (and liquor store) shopping for dinner, so maybe I’ll do a little work on the Cables and Os cardigan (tee hee….).


Quick P.S.: Thank you everybody! My WordPress blog went over my first thousand this weekend!


12 thoughts on “I’m a Knittin’ Fool! And autistic, too!

  1. I’d love one of those buttons as well – or at least the source so my daughter can get some for her older two.

  2. Sure thing Gail – the website address is:


    This gets you to http://www.autismspeaks.org and then go to community tab on the top, then “donate” then “store” – but the above link should get you directly there.

    There’s a march in Washington, D.C. October 20th – I’m practicing my walking with my friends and hoping to make it on that date:) I have a walking buddy who I think will try to make it that day, along with my daughter and husband (if he’s not working that night).
    Take care,

  3. By the way, (writing as the aunt of an autistic) there’s a superb book called “There’s A Boy In There.” Don’t remember the authors’ names, but co-written by a young-adult autistic and his mom. I passed it around at church about ten years ago, where we have a severely autistic young man, and it was much appreciated.

  4. Oh, I’m going to love reading you!

    I have a nephew with Asperger’s Syndrome. He is one of the greatest gifts in my life.

    Welcome to RG!

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your comments, the referral to a book on autism – it sounds great and I’m going looking for it! And thanks also for the welcome to RG. I have looked at some of the other websites and am humbled to be a part of this web ring! I expect my daily reading to go up a few notches in cool:)

  6. Welcome to RGBP and thanks for your sensitive writing about autism. My son is high functioning and is also bipolar, never a dull moment at our house.

  7. Pamela – thank God for meds, right? Wow you do have some challenges with a dual dx! My hats off to you. When I think of how little patience I had with my so-called “normal” kids when they were growing up, I feel so humbled to see/hear from parents who contend with so much on a daily basis.
    My prayers are with you!
    Joan a/k/a FSK

  8. loving your blog – Episcopalian, knitter, and interest in autism. I have all of these interests! I am a teacher of children with special needs – quite a few children I serve have a diagnosis of autism.
    Welcome to RGBP!!!!

  9. Wow Cathy – it was the teachers who got us all thinking about what was up with Madison and to notice the really really interesting and good things about her as well. How wonderful that you are working with the children! Hope you can weigh in here on a few of the issues we all face. I’m such a newbie I don’t even know what questions to ask yet!
    Thank you so much for your kind comments.

    One question though: do you sing, LOL?

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