Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Staying warm

Am I sorry to see 2010 go? I'm not sure. It's been a kick watching db become a little person, and my book, the product of so many years of work, is all over but the page proofs. Then again, these two very wonderful things also took a very serious piece out of my backside, and being in Delhi has been laughably, absurdly hard.

Knitting is happening again, amazingly. I saw Camilla on a blog and fell in sweater love for the first time in a long while, and as it happens I brought the silk/alpaca that was originally purchased for db's baby blanket with me. Held double, it makes gauge for the pattern, and about 1/3 of the way through the torso, I'm feeling very pleased with it. It's a fast knit, and with any luck, I'll be able to wear it home on the airplane.

I’m knitting it on 7 circulars that I managed to track down here in Delhi. I can't find the photo that I took of the receipt, but I wouldn't lie about something as serious as knitting needle prices. Everything else in Delhi may be ridiculously, infuriatingly overpriced, but I paid a whopping 58 rupees (TOTAL) for 5 pairs of circular needles. At 44 rupees to the US dollar, I think we can forgive them for not feeling quite as good as Addis.

It's freezing here in Delhi - not technically freezing, but close enough. In order to beat the cold, people burn coal in these little stoves that are generally made out of clay-lined metal buckets. A recent and all too rare foray into the world of field work resulted in one ball-busting grandma potter teaching me exactly how these small ovens are made. Here's a photo of us with our work.

I love that someone in Delhi will eventually purchase my little stove. Also, I would like to note that (1) the clay mixture we were using was 1/3 cow dung and (2) that the ball-busting grandma is so nicknamed because she spent much of the afternoon explaining to me that while it takes me a year of classroom instruction to teach my students anything, in less than 30 minutes she successfully taught me how to make a heating stove out of a bucket, some wires, and a big pile of clay.

The city is filled with simply amazing knitwear, much of which seems to have been extruded from the bowels of some large, hairy acrylic monster. On the bright side, a fair amount of baby knits are still done by hand, often with spectacular results. People here can be a little touchy about having their kids photographed (and maybe that’s true in America, too – I wouldn’t really know), but a few proud Indian knitters let me document their work. Some particularly sparkly store bought stuff is also included.

Also awesome: the handknit vest.

This is a typical specimen. Indian men are obviously very comfortable in their masculinity.