Ranchin’ and Knittin’

by Stefani on 2-September-2008

Look what I can do!!! 


Okay, admittedly, I can't do it very well, but seeing as how in the past I've not even gotten past that pesky little "casting on" bit, I'm pretty excited. 

I just love everything about knitting. I love staring at rows of colored yarn and picking out a few to claim as my own. I love the click of the needles and the feel of the wood in my hands. I love that my project is portable, snug in my purse should the occasion of a few free minutes present itself. 

I love too that I have such eager recipients of my work. 

The moment my boys learned that I could do this, they began placing their orders. 

You see, they've been reading Johnny Texas and it's sequel, Johnny Texas on the San Antionio Road.** This is sort of the Texas version of a pioneer story. It's about a German family who settles in Texas just prior the battle of the Alamo, and is chock full of boy action. 

We've also been watching the PBS show "Texas  Ranch House"*** (thank you Netflix), so my guys are way into frontier play at the moment. They haul out all their blocks and their Schleich animals and set to work building their settlement, pens and corrals, Commanche encampments, and forts for the soldiers. 

Texas Ranch House

So, it shouldn't have surprised me when they started staking their claim on the dishrags that I was knitting. 

"Um, can I use that? My cowboys need a bed."

Then, soon after, "Can you make a whole bunch more? The ranch house needs beds too and the Indians need some blankets for trading and can you knit a teepee too? Oh, and maybe some saddles for the horses?"

I have my work laid out for me it seems, and that suits me just fine. The projects they've dreamed up for me, so far, are small and doable, and the cowboys don't mind one wit if I drop stitches or otherwise botch things. I've even managed to barter a few kisses for my wares, so all in all, I'd say that my first foray into knitting couldn't be more successful 🙂 Of course, if they start asking me for wee little socks and knit caps, we're going to have issues. Unfortunately, my knitting prowess applies solely to rectangles. 

** a note about the Johnny Texas books – My boys really loved these, but I feel that you should be warned. They were written a long time ago, and they reflect some fairly old ideals. The mother in the story is portrayed as pretty weak, fussy and "delicate" for a while. It really got on my nerves, but not too long into the story she proves herself to have an admirable strength of character. 

*** as for Texas Ranch House, my seven year old totally digs it. The six year old is kind of lukewarm about it. The three year old, obviously could not care less. Interestingly, issues of sexism have come up in this series too, so it's given us lots of opportunities to talk about the expectations and ideas of that time period versus our own. It's a neat show, but I would highly recommend watching it alongside your kiddos in case the need for some dialogue arises. 
elissa September 2, 2008 at 7:11 am

ok… i was starting to get nervous that i was going to have to be SERIOUSLY jealous of you. thankfully, you threw in the part about only knitting squares!!! you do EVERYTHING, girl! (and, seemingly pretty darn well!) i tried to teach myself to knit last year. casting on went lovely, but i added a stitch every row, and got frustrated and gave up. i could use some new dishrags though, so maybe i’ll give it another go! 😉 filing away the books for future reading as well…..

Sarah Jackson September 2, 2008 at 7:36 am

So, the knitting bug finally got you, huh? I knew it would eventually. Resistance is futile. 🙂

Gretchen Skovron September 2, 2008 at 7:53 am

I watched the preview of the show on netflix and I have to ask…how do you deal with the language? Just in the preview one guy told the other to “shut up” and a woman referred to the men as “sexist bastards”.
I worry about showing my boys a show with that kind of language in it.

kirsten September 2, 2008 at 7:53 am

did you watch frontier house? that is the best one of those series. so so good. we’ve watched them all. the FLIES in texas ranch house – oh, the FLIES! ugh.

Casey September 2, 2008 at 8:02 am

Yay! I’ve made a lot of “blankets” for stuffed animals in my time. And Hurricanehead *loves* Johnny Texas.

Mim September 2, 2008 at 8:07 am

Welcome to the wonderful world of knitting. Just a tip from one knitter to another: looks like you are using bamboo needles and cotton yarn. If it feels like it’s hard to slide the stitches switch to a metal or plastic needle. The bamboo grabs at the yarn, which is great when you are using wool, not so great with the cotton. Keep on knitting!

Stefani September 2, 2008 at 8:08 am

Gretchen – I was a little worried about it from the previews too, but honestly, I think they picked the most inflammatory stuff and edited all together for the preview. In the show itself, we’ve not once barring the “shut up” you mentioned, ever cringed over the language. I don’t even think the “bastards” part was actually aired.
I”m pretty old fashioned about language – in fact I’ve banned a lot of the Disney movies based on that alone, and I’ve not had an issue at all with this show.

Definitely though, watch an episode or two on your own to decide for yourself.

Sheila September 2, 2008 at 8:09 am

Oooh we love all the house series on PBS and my little house wannabe really loved the pioneer house! Congrats on the knitting. Not sure I would ever find the paitience!!

Sheila September 2, 2008 at 8:10 am

oops meant frontier house…

Jennifer September 2, 2008 at 8:21 am

I knit everyday! I love the craft. I bet your skills will just get better and better after handling all the requests.

Amy September 2, 2008 at 9:02 am

great recommendations and congratulations on the knitting. finishing the first project is very rewarding indeed!

French Knots September 2, 2008 at 9:07 am

I learnt how to knit earlier this year and it is so satisfying – cool dishcloths!

bean September 2, 2008 at 9:35 am

Isn’t it fun learning how to knit? It is quite challenging, though. I recently tried to learn and got only as far as you did in your picture. This post is inspiring me to try again!

I must look into Johnny Texas for my 5 year old boy. Sounds interesting …

Baba September 2, 2008 at 9:36 am

Good Job mom, soon You’ll be an expert.

Teresa September 2, 2008 at 10:17 am

I love the orders your boys are putting in. My daughter will often give me a few sewing orders, like a blanket for her baby or a bed for her schelich horses.

Imigination at work!

Hannah September 2, 2008 at 11:37 am

Now that’s my kind of knitting project. I made the mistake, soon after learning knitting, of attempting a sweater for my 2 year old daughter. Um, she’s now 5, and it would probably be too small for her little sister at this point! The miniature things will give that you that great sense of having COMPLETED something!
Off to browse Netflix for TRH …

Gretchen September 2, 2008 at 12:17 pm

You do realize that kids as young as 5 can learn to knit and do it well, right? Sounds like it’s time to get some manly knitters started on their own cowboy beds and saddle blankets. 🙂

Jennifer September 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Welcome to the world of knitting! I love, love, love it. Did you take a class over at Bluebonnet?

Definitely, I will have to check out those books.

Eren September 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Girl, that white stone on your fireplace is makin’ me homesick. That and I am totally remembering our summer in TX where my boys spent hour upon hour doing the same thing building with lincoln logs. Ok, enough for now…

MadWomanMeg September 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm

So glad the knitting bug bit you. I LOVE to knit, and you can find all sorts of free patterns and tutorials online. Pretty soon you’ll be knitting hats and sweaters and blankets (that’s where I am now).

I’ll have to check out those books. I really enjoyed the Edward Tulane book.

leslie September 2, 2008 at 5:52 pm

look at you! so good. so so good.
the possibilities are endless!

Meredith September 2, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Ha! I just learned to knit as well, and I too can only make dishcloths! I love it, and find it so relaxing. Enjoy!

katiemae September 2, 2008 at 11:59 pm

that’s great. I love to knit and have been so far been a seasonal knitter. My girl and I just knit a scarf together–must have been the chill in the air at the campsite that motivated me to pick up the needles and yarn. Great for you and all the fun projects to come. Time to pick up my needles for my next project:)

Lisa Cooke September 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

This is “Mrs. Cooke” from TRH, I just wanted to say “hi” and I’m glad you’re enjoying the show! My girls girls grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder books as I did, and that was a big part of our motivation to do the show. Unfortunately, a pretty sensational reality edit was done to the show, so it doesn’t reflect our experience very closely. But I wanted to share with you that I taught my oldest daughter Vienna to knit while on the ranch, and she really took to it. I also sewed a quilt while there and taught Maura how to quilt. Hand “arts” played an important role in giving us some joy and a creative outlet amongst alot of really hard work. Tell your sons that one of the steers gave birth while the cowboys and my husband were on the cattle drive – it was adorable and the mama cow was very protective. All the best, Lisa Cooke

hanna September 7, 2008 at 12:51 pm

you make me laugh!

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