All right, this seem odd. Yarn stash and boobs are two things that aren’t really related. Generally speaking, that’s usually true, but not for this post. Stick with me for a moment and I’ll explain.
A few weeks ago my good friends were over for dinner and to hang out. We were sitting around, eating too much, drinking a little too much, and they were telling me about some friends who’d just had their first baby, and I was asked if I could make a boob beanie. I had to ask what the heck they were talking about. I hadn’t heard of such a hat, which surprised them. They said when they had their boys they were given more than one, and thought it was a standard gift for nursing moms and their babies. I pointed out my kids are a bit older, and no one I knew when I had them would have thought to give us a boob beanie.
Which made me wonder, why not? Choosing to nurse your baby wasn’t considered an odd thing to do when I had my oldest son. For the most part, I was encouraged to. So, would a boob beanie have really been that odd a gift at the time? I don’t know, but it did remind of after I’d had my son. My midwife asked me if I was going to nurse him or give him formula. I told her I was going to nurse him, and intended to until he was one. She gave me a card to carry in my purse. On the card it had Alaska Statute Sec. 29.25.080 Breast-feeding:
“A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal ordinance, “lewd conduct,” “lewd touching,” “immoral conduct,” “indecent conduct,” and similar terms do not include the act of a woman breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. Nothing in this section may be construed to authorize an act that is an offense under a municipal ordinance that establishes an offense with elements substantially equivalent to the elements of an offense under AS 11.61.123. This section is applicable to home rule and general law municipalities.”
When I asked her why I would need it, she said I might get hassled for feeding my baby in public. If that happened, give it to the person, and let them know it’s perfectly legal. As is stated repeatedly in the statute, there’s nothing indecent about nursing in public. At the time, I thought, of course it isn’t indecent! But you know, I remember finding nursing in public kind of stressful. I always felt like I had to make sure me and the baby were covered up, which never worked out well. He wasn’t used to have a blanket over his head at home, and sure as heck wasn’t going to put up with it just because we were somewhere else. I usually tried for a few minutes, and then gave up. A kid’s got to eat, and if anyone had a problem with it, I had the card saying it was okay. Why do people even get worked up over this? After all, a woman’s breasts are there for a reason beyond sex. They’re there to feed the babies, and until fairly recently in human history, there really weren’t any other options.
The boob beanies really make a statement about breast feeding in public, and how it’s fine, and do it in a fun way. So, at first I said I would happily make one, and then I got to thinking about what yarn I would use, and I said no. The only yarn I could think of for the hats was this big skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool yarn that I have. It’s cream colored, worsted weight, and I tend to use it for most surprise hat projects. It’s kind of scratchy though, so not the best yarn for a baby hat, and you can’t stick it in the wash. I told them I’d have to order the yarn, and they may find a hat they like on Etsy quicker. But, being a curious kind of person, I went on Ravelry.com to see what kind of patterns were out there for nursing or boob beanies, and found there were lots of knitting and crochet options.
After a little bit of looking around, I found a crochet pattern I liked. It’s by Jennifer Holzer, and is called the Nursing Beanie. The pattern has sizes from 0-3 months, all the way up to toddler. I went on ahead and downloaded it because you never know when this kind of thing will come up again. Which then reminded me of the yarn I have on the top shelf. It’s mostly cotton yarn of various weights and colors, and after I climbed up on the ladder to look, I realized I had all kinds of yarn options for making boob beanies. I wrote my friends and told them I had the yarn after all, and would have two hats ready for them by the end of the week.
My take away from all of this was two things. First of all, before saying you don’t have the yarn for that project, check your stash. You could be surprised by all the yarn you squirreled away. Secondly, there seems to be more acceptance for women nursing in public, and that’s a good thing.