What’s In A Beanie?

On October 8th, I celebrated a birthday.  I was treated so well and had so much fun that month, there wasn’t even time to do my usual Birthday Edition message.  Fast forward to exactly 1 month, 1 day later (November 9th), I find myself putting my money where my mouth is when I look at this post.  Especially the first two wishes …

I think by now, even sand under a rock knows who the US president elect is.  I can’t speak for everyone but I know for some of us here and worldwide the result was devastating.  For so many reasons.  I’m not here to disrespect anyone’s choices but I need to say what I have to say … for me.  To get this big weight off my chest.  To just have it written down some place.   I’ve not turned on my TV since Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, but I can’t ignore what is.  Shutting myself away or ignoring what the results mean to people on both sides isn’t going to change the inevitable.  I need to accept it and give voice to my thoughts, my fears and my feelings even if doing so comes at a risk.  More importantly, I need to practice what I preach.  I need to make space for those who think differently from me and also allow them to express themselves.

Earlier this year, I agreed to join my friend Poppy in making hats for a homeless shelter in Indiana.  The demographics of the recipients didn’t matter to me and I even told some of my knitterly friends about the plan.  But today, I found myself caring about the demographics.  I found myself wanting to instead, support a charity in a state where the political views closely mirror mine.  This morning it was “let them take care of themselves”.  Stupid I know, because everyone in Indiana does not subscribe to hate and bigotry.  But that’s how hate is perpetrated.  Seemingly logical and “right” rationalizations about why we can’t do something for someone who is different or thinks differently from us. Or why we should oppress them with whatever power we have to do so.  Usually, these rationalizations/generalizations don’t make one lick of sense.  I thank God those thoughts didn’t last for long.  Who my parents raised me to be, who I am and who I desire to be is not a person who would let those thoughts fester much more act on them.  So I’m pressing on.

The more I thought of why I had those thoughts, the more I thought of the movement that was part of this president elect’s platform, I accept that I can’t yield.  I can’t yield to hateful thoughts.  I can’t yield to divisiveness.  I can’t yield to exclusion and I have to make space — for everyone.  So my beanie project continues.  Regardless of the recipients.  For with each stitch, I’ll be praying.  I’ll be praying that each recipient chooses:

  • love over hate
  • to embrace that we are more alike than different
  • to embrace that we are each, all of us, valuable
  • to be kind one to another
  • to speak against injustice
  • to choose joy
  • to embrace diversity
  • to be a light

What’s in a beanie?  For now, my prayers and most importantly love will be in each stitch.

Read, Knit: The Tea Planter’s Wife

Back in the day, when I was younger and full of tragic heroine’s angst, I would have lapped this book up in a heart-beat, but now that I’m older, not so much.  This is not to say that this book is not a good read, it’s just no longer my cup of tea.

The story is set in colonial Ceylon and it’s protagonist is Gwen — a naive nineteen year old who has become married to a mysterious tea plantation owner after an extremely fast  courtship.  She then travels from London to Ceylon, excited about her new life and head over heels in love with her new husband.  She arrives to find that he’s not the same man she married, that excitement she had to run her own household is dampened by the mistrust and resentment of the plantation’s servants, that her sister in law seems hellbent on breaking up her marriage and of course, there is another woman in her husband’s life whose complicated presence Gwen doesn’t understand.  Enter stage left, a local man who has piqued Gwen’s own interest, then last but not least, the secrecy of what happened to her husband’s first wife.

The book in some ways reminded me of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea.  The air of secrecy, this “thing” that everyone knows except the protagonist, story set against a colonial backdrop.  Then all of a sudden, it’s discovered that even the protagonist has her own secrets which added a smidgen more drama to the plot.  I really liked the author’s prose and descriptions of the culture and country were beautifully done.  But that’s where it ended for me.  I just never became invested in the characters.  The protagonist made choices that I didn’t understand or could relate to.  I also thought the plot was predictable.  The book had a slow start, gained momentum in the middle but the end was as I expected.   For the fans of this genre, this book would be an absolute love,  in my case, I like it, but I don’t love it.  It held my attention enough so I could practice reading and knitting together.  That’s a good thing right?

The Planter's Wife

Author’s Website: Dinah Jefferies

Knit Pattern: Boden from Nice & Knit

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.