Summer Knitting

My current knitting projects include two sweaters. One of these sweaters is made from worsted weight wool, the other is fingering weight.

Today, it is approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When I walked out of work and climbed into my car, dear Gilbert informed me that it was 104 degrees out in the blazing hot sun. By the time we got home, he was willing to calm down and admit that maybe, just maybe, it was only 100.

Anyway, the point is that it is summer in Michigan. It’s hot. It’s humid. And I’m knitting a worsted weight sweater.

Now, you may want to ask me (and if you’re my coworker, DC, you already have) why the heck I am knitting a very wintery sweater in the heat of summer.

Well, I’ll tell you what I told D. Yes, it is hot now. But it takes me a while to knit a sweater and if I worked on these sweaters during sweater weather, I wouldn’t get nearly as much use/enjoyment out of them. So I knit during the summer.

With that said, I’d far rather work on the fingering weight sweater (or another secret fingering weight project I have on-needle at the moment) in this heat. But the worsted-weight sweater is a project with a deadline and I have to get it done in time. So I will sit in 100-degree heat and knit with worsted weight.

Blergh, as Liz Lemon would say. Blergh.

What are your summer knitting plans?

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Hey, Girl

(Warning: All of the following commentary is meant to provoke discussion and thought rather than pass judgment. You do not have to agree with me. I am merely presenting my opinions about something that matters to me.)

By now, you’ve probably encountered the “Hey, Girl” meme at some point in the past several months. If you’re not familiar with this, the idea is simple. One takes a picture of Ryan Gosling and inserts a brief, witty message that intends to make a young woman feel strong and supported. More or less, all of these memes can be summed up in a simple idea. “This is Ryan Gosling. He is attractive both inside and outside. He will support the liberated woman of the 21st century.” Click here if you want a more detailed explanation.

Then “Handmade Ryan Gosling” came along. Now, this meme I find entertaining, although I don’t find Ryan Gosling attractive physically but that’s neither here nor there. This meme took a picture of Ryan Gosling and showed him as supportive of a female crafter, giving her all the support that most crafters wish their significant others (as well as family and friends) would give them. This meme I found entertaining…and maybe even pinned a couple of them on Pinterest back when they were new and exciting and I really wanted someone to support my knitting habit.

Now, from my personal perspective, there is nothing really wrong with these memes. I’m not really into Ryan Gosling, but that’s just me. They might objectify Ryan Gosling a little bit, but I think they’re meant in good fun and Mr. Gosling himself seems to be amused by them.

And then I came across Hey Christian Girl. This meme takes various actors ranging from Ryan Gosling (of course) to Hugh Jackman and give them cute, witty Christian things to say. They say the sorts of things that Christian women would love to hear from Christian men. Some of them are funny to me. And I fully understand that the spirit behind them is meant to be encouraging and entertaining.

But here’s my issue with this particular meme. They take men who are not Christian (to the best of my knowledge) and give them Christian things to say. What’s more, they give them things to say that, as a single young Christian woman myself, I would love to hear coming out of the mouth of a single young Christian man.

But they aren’t attached to images of single young Christian men. They aren’t necessarily attached to images of men who support and uphold the Christian faith. In fact, some are attached to the images of men who I know to support things that are contrary to the teachings of at least some denominations of Christianity, including my own. Others are attached to images of men who are engaged or married, men who are fathers. Yes, these men are physically attractive, but they are not available. And on both counts, they aren’t necessarily the kinds of men who would say those sorts of things in real life.

Now, maybe I’m overanalyzing this here, but I would like to get this off my chest, so bear with me. Unlike Ryan Gosling, I find some of these men to be very attractive physically. For example, there’s Hugh Jackman. I do not need to be encouraged to think about Hugh Jackman as anything other than a talented actor and singer who happens to be physically blessed.

But when I’m presented with an image of Hugh Jackman with the caption “Hey, girl, how’s your walk with the Lord? Let’s share our hearts,” I have to take a breath and remember that Hugh Jackman would never actually say that to me. He’s married. He has kids. He’s not, to the best of my knowledge, a Christian. He is never going to say that to me. And while I’m fine with that, I don’t need to be encouraged to think about him saying those things.

And while that might not matter to some people, I’m saying this with the knowledge that I need to guard my heart. I need to protect myself from developing crushes on men-including unattainable men. I need to protect myself from lusting after men. It isn’t right. It does not benefit my relationship with the Lord or with the men in my life.

And, as a friend of mine pointed out while we were discussing this yesterday, these are false images. Yes, these are real images of these men-albeit generally posed photographs pulled from photo-shoots. But in the context of this meme, these images present lies. These men do not endorse the sayings and the sayings do not agree with the ideology of the men. And while I understand that the meme is intended in good fun, this makes me uncomfortable.

I am all for dressing modestly and living modestly. I believe in guarding your heart. I believe in encouraging my sisters in the Lord to dress modestly, guard their hearts, take prayer times, support one another, etc. I believe in encouraging my brothers in the Lord to do the same-and I try to actively encourage them in those areas.

But I don’t like the idea of false images. I don’t like the idea of presenting Patrick Dempsey or Justin Timberlake as a Christian man who can support me in my walk with the Lord. I also don’t like the idea of encouraging women to develop crushes on these men or to lust after them. I’m sure that the creator of the meme never intended to do any of those things, but they can be unintended consequences.

What do I propose as a solution to the problem? I’m not suggesting that the tumblr be taken down. I am, however, suggesting that it be used to encourage and strengthen young Christians-both male and female. I’m not entirely sure how this could be done. But I think that it’s important to encourage one another and to call one another on in holiness. We should emphasize right-relating and deemphasize the physical side of things.

Above all else, these two passages should be our model in relating to one another.

 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-35

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

-Philippians 4:8

Yes, I am alive.

I am well aware that I haven’t posted in a week. I’ve gone longer without posting.

So what am I doing? Well, about a week and a half ago, I went back to the book-binding business.

And I’m knitting. And reading…and not much else. I know that I’m not an exciting person. But I can show you what I’m knitting!

Firstly, I’m working on that pattern that I like to call Grace again. I think I talked about this back at Christmastime and thought I’d have the pattern ready to publish by the end of March. But then I lost my mojo for it and when my mojo came back, I found out that Grace wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, so I went back to the drawing board and started making something new and different and exciting. And it looks something like this…

It’s probably a little more than half done, but I’m excited about it. And I think it’s going to be beautiful and reflect the women in my life and my history/past who have inspired my knitting.

And then there’s my new sweater project. I know that I’m supposed to have started Kerrera because I know that the Ravelympics are like seven weeks away and that will give me 15 days when I can’t work on any non-Ravelympics projects. But that didn’t matter to me when I was scrolling through the Ravelry Free Pattern Testers group. I saw a hooded cardigan that needed testers and I knew that I had to volunteer to test it because this sweater needs to be in my life. And this is where I’m at with that project.

That’s the waistband, which I’m sure isn’t clear from that picture. But it’s cables, and we all know that I love cables. And it’s a gorgeous navy blue, which I adore.

So I have to have that done by July 1. And then I’ll start Kerrera. I promise.

But for now, I’m working on that test knit. And not reading the book that I should be…oops.