27 June 2011

Honduras Knits

As some of you may know, I worked at my LYS before becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.  What’s an LYS, you ask?  Why, it’s a Local Yarn Store.  But Sam, you ask, Don’t you have a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science?  Yes, yes I do.  As it so happens, being an international school approved by the Department of Education to receive FAFSA funds does not actually mean that the government will believe that the quality of your education is as high as in US institutions. 

I always knew I wanted to work in the public sector, because consulting felt a little bit too much like selling my soul.  Government has inefficiencies, but so do private companies, and at least in the government there is such thing as salary caps.  I know that this creates an economic incentive that leads better-qualified people to take private sector jobs over public sector ones, but I think that the economics fails to account for values (as usual).  Many of the people I know who work for the federal government do so because they believe in serving their country and giving back to/improving the system we live in.  I also very much believe in collectivism (one of the reasons I like Honduran culture, despite its often ineffective government), which means I believe the public should be providing certain services with its tax dollars and those should be available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.  Enough of that, Peace Corps doesn’t want me to talk politics.

What all of this really means is that while my Master’s degree was awarded in December 2009, I wasn’t “qualified” to apply for government jobs requiring a master’s degree until the summer of 2010—after we’d applied for the Peace Corps and been accepted.  Since we had a tentative leave date of February 2011 (it was August at that time), I decided to walk across the street from our house to the LYS and beg them to give me a job through the holidays.  It turns out they had just posted on the interwebs asking for someone, and it all worked out beautifully.  While the customers didn’t know about PC until it was official in November, Fibre Space employees were amazing and supportive through our whole lengthy and frustrating medical process, and the long waiting for our invitation.
Sweater I finished during training

Now to get to the entire point of this post:  I thought it would be cool to show you all some of the things I’ve made since coming to Honduras.  I realize its absolutely ridiculous to knit with wool when it’s 85 degrees outside everyday with no AC.  I’m doing it anyway.  I was at Fibre Space through winter season, so most of what I have in my yarn stash is wool…. Though I’m not opposed to receiving some surprise packages of lighter weight fibres. 

I started a sweater before we left for Honduras, and finished it here in week 2 of training.  Then I made a sock to complete a pair.  Then I made my host sister some bracelets, and some placemats for the host family.  Next, I started the second pair of socks (finished two weeks ago), and the other night I started on this hat:
Through-the-woods hat in Neighborhood Fiber Company's Rock Creek Park

They look better on, right?
Alana Socks in bdg confetti?
People in Honduras think that knitting socks in hilarious, and why wouldn't they?  It's hot.  It is normally 85 here daily.  But, what they don't know, is that wool is a naturally wicking and fungus-resistant fibre, which makes it perfect for hiking socks (SmartWool, anyone?).  These socks are mostly wool with some elastic and nylon thrown in for good measure.  I also finished a pair in FBT from Louet GEMS (100% wool superwash).

Next, I'll be making Andrea's Shawl by Kirsten Kapur out of two colors of Bugga! by The Sanguine Gryphon.  If that means nothing to you, don't worry.  It just means you are not a yarn snob like me.  Also, for those of you who doubt the usefulness of knitted items in Honduras, talk to some of those volunteers from the West!  It's cold there! I have worn my sweater here in our site on some of the colder evenings, too, and I wear my socks all the time (as often as I wear socks.... which isn't very often).


  1. I am so happily impressed with your articulate explanation of the value of government and government work. Nick has always felt very strongly that he was serving our country through his work.

    Also, love your knitting!

    You are amazing!

  2. Fun projects Sam! Where are you getting your yarn?

  3. Thanks Nancy!

    Katie: All the yarn I've used so far took up an obscene amount of space in my luggage. I seriously underpacked in terms of clothes and shoes relative to the recommended guidelines. But I have yarns! And they are pretty! I also have a drop spindle and some fibre, but I haven't really started spinning, since we have a very small room.