Thursday, November 29, 2012

On the lesson learned by finding a doctor on the Internet.

I starting seeing Dr. C a year ago when I moved to Chicago. He was the first doctor on my insurance's online list of providers in downtown Chicago. He went to Harvard and received strong reviews and many awards. The first time I went to see Dr. C, I was forced to confront my own, well, not racism and sexism exactly, but what I'd call racial and gender expectations. Upon my arrival, it didn't surprise me in the least that the curvy, black woman working the front desk was, well, a curvy, black woman. It wasn't until an elderly, black Dr. C came into the waiting area that I noticed quite suddenly that I was the by far the youngest and the only white woman in waiting room which was adorned with paintings of black mothers and children. It was the tiniest of reactions, a small surprise, a reversal of a subconscious expectation I didn't know I had.

When I think of the word "doctor," a middle-aged white man in a lab coat and plaid pants comes to mind, even though surely throughout my life I've had male and female doctors of different races. My subconscious has little more imagination than a 1950's children's book about careers (which is strange, since knitter/fake patient/nanny/actress was never featured in such a book.) Understand, I don't care what race my doctor is, but I didn't expect my doctor to be black. I noticed it. So what does an experience like this mean? In Dr. C's office ( and in many neighborhoods in the still very segregated Chicago), my age and race place me in the minority. I imagine when Dr. C started practicing medicine years ago many white women would not be treated by a black gynecologist, Harvard degree or no Harvard degree.  As the years have gone on, his patients have aged with him, except for those of us new ones who wander in confusedly off the street because we found his name on the Internet.

While I could list all the reasons why I'm not racist to make myself feel better, it seems more productive to admit I found an inadvertent flaw in my social constructions of race. We shouldn't be afraid to start a dialogue with ourselves about our racial expectations or biases. How else can we confront, challenge and seek to change them? It is 2012 and this country has not only elected, but reelected Barack Obama as president.  When I think of the word "president," I see a black man in my mind's eye.  But I've never met Barack Obama. I do meet doctors, teachers, engineers, artists, scientists, lawyers, human resources managers,* business owners and psychologists. And these people are not all white or men. They do not default to white or young or male or straight, for that matter. 

When my daughter thinks of the word "president," I hope she can see a woman's face. I'd also like her not be surprised when her doctor is elderly, a woman, black, Hispanic, or gay. She'll learn that from me, that's a promise. 

*For the record, thanks to Miss Tina Le, HR managers will always be Vietnamese in my mind.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Emma's Tardis Mitts

Not to get all sentimental on ya'll, but this is my 50th post! Wooooo! Something special is occuring. I made these Dr. Who Tardis mitts for my boyfriend's lovely and talented daughter, Emma, who is a super fan of the show. I wasn't wild about any of the patterns that already existed for Tardis mitts because many of them lacked a thumb gusset, so I made my own pattern!


Any 3 skeins of a DK or light worsted weight yarn in blue, black and white.
Mine use: Blue Primarily Speaking Merino Wool, Black Blue Sky Melange, and White Malabrigo Rios.
Size 4 DPN
Size 6 DPN
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle

The yarn. 1/3 from stash.


PM: Place marker
K: Knit
P: Purl
M1: Make one stitch by knitting into the front and back of the stitch.

In blue and smaller (size 4) needles, cast-on 45 stitches using the long tail cast-on method. Place 15 stitches on each of three DPNs. Join in round, being careful not to twist sts.
Work for 2 inches in K2, P1 ribbing.
Round 1-4: Switch to larger needles (size 6). Continuing in blue, knit 4 rows in stockinette.
Round 5, 6: Holding 2 strands together if you are using sport weight Melange, K 2 rows in black
Round 7-8: Knit 2 rows in blue.

Round 9: Begin thumb gusset as follows...
  • Needle 1: K2, M1 by knitting in the front and back of the stitch, PM, K to end
  • Needle 2: Knit all.
  • Needle 3: K to 3 stitches to end, PM, M1, K2
Round 10: Knit all stitches.
Round 11: K to 1 stitch before marker, M1, K around to next marker, slide marker, M1, K to end.
Round 12: Knit all stitches.
REPEAT rounds 11 and 12 three more times so that you have a total of 55 stitches.
On the final repeat of round 4, knit to marker, remove marker, K2 and then cast off 12 stitches, K2, remove marker and continue knitting Round 19, being sure to pull the yarn tightly when you come around to join both sides. (42 stitches)
Round 19: Knit
Round 20: Knit in black.
Round 21-25: Work chart (see below) by K2, then beginning with the E. My version is K2 POLICE K5 BOX K6.
Round 26: Knit in black.
Round 27-29: Knit 3 rows in K2, P1 ribbing in blue.

Cast off!

*I used the chart for the letters from Sarah's rad pattern on her blog. CLICK HERE TO USE CHART.
I embroidered the windows on the top side of the gloves using a darning needle.

Emma proudly rocking her mitts!