Archive for the 'knitting' Category



One Stitch at a Time

There’s a discussion group at Ravelry for “Mindful Knitters” and the folks there have shared many different ways that they see knitting contributing to their spiritual practice.  Sometimes I wonder about that.  Does knitting bring something to a person’s practice, or does a person’s practice transform knitting into a spiritual act? 

There are so many positive feelings that can come from knitting.  Obviously, there’s the aesthetic pleasure that comes from working with colors and creating something beautiful.  If the project is to be given away, there’s warmth in thinking of the intended recipient.  It’s fun to dream up ideas for future projects and to work through design questions (though I don’t have advanced experience with this yet!).  I enjoy handling the yarn and working the needles and I take pleasure in a sense of connection with knitters of different cultures and eras.  I like the feeling of accomplishment, both from admiring a piece of fabric that I’ve created and from successful experiments with new stitch patterns or techniques.    I don’t even mind discovering a major error and deciding to rip out and recover … well, I don’t mind too much!  There’s a feeling of confidence that comes from what Elizabeth Zimmerman calls “being the boss of your knitting”. 

But there can be negative feelings too!   All I have to do is put a deadline on a project and the whole thing can turn into drudgery.  I spend time calculating and recalculating “percent completed” and then estimating how far ahead of or (more likely) behind schedule I am.  Mistakes may be met with anger, because correcting them cuts into the schedule.   There can be panic if it looks as if the yarn quantity is off (“Will I be able to get more yarn in this color lot??”) and restlessness because I’d like to work on something else for a while.

For the last few months, I’ve been working on Christmas knitting.   Yes, Christmas has come and gone!  For the most part, I’ve let go of the deadline.  If I had given each person a certificate good for “one scarf, knitted in the coming year”, then I would be waaay ahead of schedule!  (There are two scarves left out of six and each is more than halfway finished.)  But those negative feelings can still creep in.  Right now, it’s mostly restlessness. I have several unfinished project that I’d like to get back to and so much lovely yarn I’d like to work with!  Here, for example, is some fuzzy goodness I received as a prize (see earlier blogs) that I would love to get my needles into:

 

This is Artyarns Silk Mohair in colorway “pale pink 408”.

It’s tempting to accomodate that feeling, and I often do, but I can also use those moments to get to know “restlessness”.  What kinds of thoughts come with it?  What are the physical sensations?   Can I sense what I’m pushing away, and why?  Once I was pushing away boredom and as soon as I started examining my experience, life became interesting and the boredom evaporated!

When I think of spirituality and knitting, my first thoughts are about all of the opportunities to celebrate positive feelings … joy, creativity, the pleasures of seeing and touching, connection and love.  But I’m wondering if the negative feelings don’t offer just as much?  Hah, I’m not saying I take advantage of this myself most of the time!  But sometimes … when I’m mindful … it happens.

WIP: Prism View

What a beautiful day!

It’s difficult to sit and knit, but one more good session and I’ll have one of the Prism Toe-Ups finished.   I will definitely set aside some time after dinner because it’s so much fun to sit on the porch with the windows open at this time of year.  The cicadas fade away and the katydids take over … I think there are crickets and other critters, but the katydids pretty much drown ’em out!  Here’s a progress picture:

I hadn’t decided on how I was going to handle the heel until I got there and once I decided on what to do I ended up ripping out some rows.  OK, going all loosey-goosey can have its drawbacks!  I thought I’d try something new and went with one gusset on the bottom of the foot instead of the traditional side gussets.  I totally borrowed the idea from Wendy Johnson’s free pattern HERE (this is a pdf file).  It was handy that the stitch count was already just what I was using (no adjustments needed!).

I’m so tempted to pore over stitch patterns and start dreaming up another pair of socks to squeeze into the second half of August but on such a lovely day it might be more fun to spend some more time outside … did I mention we went on an 11-mile bike ride this morning?   We love to ride on Forbidden Drive, a wooded road along the Wissahickon Creek.  I didn’t take any pictures, but there’s some information about it HERE.  See you in  a few days with some *FO* pictures, I hope!

Shoes News

Been waiting all summer for cooler weather to kick in so I can wear some handknit socks!  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about what shoes would show them off best.  It occurred to me that sandals would be great!  Well, as long as they don’t have a thongy-thingie … Sure, sandal season ends on Labor Day but what if you’re wearing woolen socks with them?  I went to the JC Penney web site and found a pair on sale that looked like it might work.  What do you think?

 

The one problem with buying shoes online is: you don’t get to try them on.  I wasn’t sure if the thickness of the handknits would be an issue so I ordered one half-size larger than usual.  Turns out, it wasn’t necessary.  In fact, the shoes look a little big in the back.  But hey, they were $15!!  They’re called Cabin Creek ‘Shell’ and they’re still on sale, get ’em while they last!

So, today I’m walking past an Aerosole shop with *no* intention to buy anything (really!) when I saw another sock-worthy pair of shoes in the window.  Here is a shoe called ‘Open Door: 

Are these the cutest or what??  They cost three times as much as the other pair, though.  Well, I needed shoes for showing off socks.  They’ll get good use!  Both pairs are fairly flat.  I bought these in my regular size too.  I tried on the half-size larger and they were definitely too large for me.  I think this style would look best on a narrow-to-normal foot.  Mine’s a little wide, and they look OK.  Just sayin’ …

An Alaskan Birthday Preznt!

Was it coincidence?  Or was it meant to be??

I was lucky enough to be selected the winner of Carin’s Blogiversary Contest, is that awesome or what?  Well, that’s not all: my really excellent prize arrived in the mail today … my birthday!  And it was perfectly birthday-ish because I was heading out the door for a birthday treat of dinner with friends when I saw the package waiting on the porch so I grabbed it and brought it along.  I opened it at dinner and each piece of the prize was wrapped with tissue and ribbon … it was a birthday party in a box, let me tell you!  I didn’t take pics, but there is a nice one on Carin’s blog HERE.  I can’t decide which item I like best … I’ve wanted to try Kidsilk Haze and Noro sock yarn forever and I especially looove Artyarn.  Oh, and hubby and I will share the salmon … a much-loved treat for both of us!!

Birthday -Cakes-

Today is hubby’s birthday and I unwrapped and played with a present for me!

swift1.jpg

This is the Beka Yarn Swift, which I purchased at Paradise Fibers (after seeing the video of it in use, I was sold on it).  The yarn is Memories from Knit Picks in the “Fly Fishing” colorway (no longer available, I believe).

It was actually hubby’s remarks that caused me to order some knitting gear … as documented in one of my early posts here, I’ve been considering getting a swift for some time and when I mentioned it recently, he noted that we sometimes spend as much as that for greens fees at a nice golf course.  “Well, yeah?!”  He also observed that I had enough for such a purchase in my “personal expenditures” budget (he’s a CPA).  “Hey, you’re right!”  And then he actually agreed with me that trying to estimate how much yarn is in a ball by weighing it is, well, just not very accurate (CPA, remember?).  “Dang! How have I managed to continue knitting under such circumstances??”  (What an enabler hubby is.)

Needless to say, my personal expenditures budget is no longer what it used to be.  There’s the birthday thing too, you know!  Along with dinner out on Saturday, he’s getting a nice homemade dinner tonight with something chocolate for dessert and an extremely cool but useless Klein Bottle, made by Cliff Stoll. (Name sound familiar? He wrote The Cuckoo’s Egg, an engrossing book about computer espionage.)  If you’ve ever knitted (or considered knitting) a Moebius scarf, a Klein Bottle will probably be interesting to you.  I think the web site is hilarious, in any case!

It was just a coincidence that I happen to have received all this stuff for me this week … but YAY!  The yarn swift was easy to assemble and works just as advertised.  The ball winder works great too, though it doesn’t clamp so well to a round table.  Not a major issue.  It took less than two minutes each to wind the two hanks of yarn.  Doing it manually took 30-120 minutes per hank, depending on yarn weight and whether I got all tangled up.  The whole setup was thoroughly intriguing to Baloo, only of mild interest to Bagheera (see in the background):

swift2.jpg

Some time in the next day or two, I’ll update my “Knitting Lingo” page with some associated terminology … for example, the word “cake”!  I’ve also held off on trying out my new yarn meter.  Thought I’d better get the hang of the other items first …

Knit-Anon

I don’t know if there is such a group, but I’m wondering if maybe there ought to be one?  I mean, a support group for people who have a knitting nut in their life.   This occurred to me when I  reported to hubby that I’m meeting folks (both online and in person) who are probably even more insane about knitting than I am.  He said, “That can’t be possible.”  Oh, if only he knew … !

My poor hubby has already listened to his share of my “discoveries” as I learn more and more about this excellent hobby (it’s not a habit and it’s certainly not an addiction; I can quit any time I want!).  But I was thinking that family, friends and acquaintances who don’t knit could perhaps benefit from a vocabulary guide.  It could come in handy if I actually go all the way around the bend and start babbling entirely in knitterly language!  (That could happen, possibly the first time I go to a Fiber Arts convention or something …)  With that in mind, I put a new page on my header called “Knitting Lingo” and posted some entries based on my own beginner learning over the last year.  There’s lots more where that came from, I’ll be adding to that page as opportunity permits!  Knitters: got some good definitions?  Please share!  Non-knitters: if there’s a fiber addict an enthusiastic knitter in your life who is confusing you with knit-speak, feel free to inquire here.  I’ll do the research and update the Lingo page!

On knitting in general, I’m now doing the cuffs for the Cabletini socks and yesterday I had to take a break.  I don’t care if I won’t finish by February 1, enough with the cables already!!  (I guess it doesn’t help that I finished the Plait Cable scarf, mittens and hat fairly recently, hah!)  I stood in front of my (really very modest, no really) stash:

Stash

… and decided to mess around with the little leftover balls of yarn (in vases on top) to make some kind of holder for a hanging plant.   (Please note the tidy storage of  the more expensive yarn in plastic … skeerd of moths, prolly don’t have to be?)  Knitting with two different-colored strands at once and changing one strand out for another a couple of times, I made this:

Hanger/Crown

The stitch pattern is a very basic lace called “Razor Shell” (YO K1 YO combined with an S1-K2TOG-PSSO and a few extra Ks in between).  I had never tried it, so what the heck!  Anyway, I think all it needs now is some I-cord or other strandy-stuff attached to the top and I can hang Mr. Philodendron-in-original-cheesy-plastic-pot in style!  If that doesn’t work out, the piece has a spontaneously-discovered alternative function as “Knitting Queen Crown” … it served in that capacity at the Paoli Knit-n-Crochet group gathering last night!