What’s on My Needles This Weekend

I mentioned in last week’s post my participation in #the100dayproject and it’s going so well!!  3 weeks in and both my orphan socks have mates and that was my condition for starting new sock yarn!!  I was lucky enough (awhile back, we won’t say how long) to score a skein from FabFunkyFibers.  I’m not even sure how I knew there was going to be a shop update but I got on it and got me some yarn.  With these shop update type of purchases I don’t usually have time to see what I’m buying I just put it in my cart and check out.  This time I got Pink Rainbow and I loved it when it came in the mail!  It’s been hanging on wall waiting to be knit for a long time…  And it’s day came this week.

First, I wish I had a video running when I wound into a cake because the colors as they were whipping by just made me so happy!  I’m not so big on cat videos on the internet but I probably could’ve watched that video a million times.  And, this is what I ended up with:

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Seriously, how can you not smile when you look at???  I was thinking of just doing a vanilla sock with an afterthought heel but then I looked in my Ravelry queue and found that I had marked this pattern for this yarn.  The pattern is Fruit Stripe Gum Socks, featuring a spiral rib by Leah Oakley.  She wrote it to really show off self striping yarn and I fondly remember Fruit Stripe Gum from my youth and in this pink colorway – oh heck yeah!!

So, this is what’s on my needles this weekend (and after the week I had I probably won’t put this down for long :) )

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April’s Finished Objects (yes, plural!)

Wow – 2 finished objects this month!!  I’m so impressed with myself.  The first was a pieces which was commissioned by a friend.  She requested a spring infinity scarf in a light blue color.  This was an easy knit and the colors in the yarn really made the project pop.

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Project #2 is thanks to #the100dayproject.  If you have not seen/heard about this on Twitter or Instagram check it out.  It started a few weeks ago and those participating have committed to creating for 100 days and posting a picture each day on Instagram using the above hashtag and creating a unique hashtag for your project.  Knitting was an obvious choice but seemed too each or without goal.  I’ve had a couple of single socks hanging around and I have a ton of sock yarn waiting to be socks so I went with #100daysofsockknitting.  I’m amazed at how much I get done, even if I only do a couple of rows each day.  So, one single sock is now mated up and ready to wear come winter!

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Pattern: Came with the yarn but basic sock Yarn: Snowman Self Patterning by Abi Grasso

I have to say they are pretty cute but it was kind of a pain in the behind to knit.  I’m not great at playing with my guage and as you can see in the picture it’s really hard to get the snowmen to match up so there was a lot of decreasing and increasing stitches during the snowmen rounds.  I’m not sure I’ll tackle another self patterning yarn.  Maybe just stick to stripes for me, or something a little less defined.

#LoveYourBlog – Week 4

A Playful Day

So, we’ve made it to Week 4 of A Playful Day’s love your blog challenge.  And, I’m happy to report she went easy on us this week – the topic is Gratitude.  I’m sure I could write a million posts on the topic and I can’t wait to see what everyone else is writing about – should be fun!

The first thing I thought about was an article that talked about how writing down at least one thing you are grateful for each day does wonders for one’s mental health so I did that for a year.  It is an interesting exercise.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel to El Salvador on two occasions and each time I’ve come home more grateful than ever.  I would think about that trip when, at the end of a long day, I would struggle to come up with one thing I was grateful for.  The people I’ve met in El Salvador are so happy, and so grateful and have so much less than anyone I know here in the States.  The mere fact that I was lucky enough to be born in a 1st world country should make me grateful everyday.

These thoughts led me to think how grateful I am to be in a position to enjoy knitting as a hobby.  There are two separate ideas to look at closer.  First, let’s face it – knitting is not an overly affordable hobby.  I mean, there are ways to make it more affordable but good yarn is expensive, there are always needles to buy and books, patterns, etc.  I’ve warned my parents that if something happens to me they need to call my knitting peeps to deal with the room of yarn and needles in my house because there’s some serious investments back there.  Oh, but all the yarn is so pretty and shiny and cuddly…  I honestly do not know if I would be as interesting in knitting if my shopping was limited to box store yarns.  I’m so drawn in by the texture and feel of the yarn and all the beautiful colors.  You miss all of that if you are limited in yarn choices.

Second, I enjoy knitting as a HOBBY.  No one is forcing me to knit for pennies a day in a sweatshop in Asia or Central America somewhere.  I’m doing it because I like it and most of what I make, no one actually needs.  Again, hand knit socks are lovely but definitely not a necessity in life.

Not only, do I have the time and resources to enjoy actual knitting as a hobby, I also have the time and means to partake in love your blog weeks.  This means I have a reliable internet connection and an education which allows me to write with some level of competence (a fact that never ceases to amaze my Mother, who paid for said education including 12 years at Catholic school…)  These are all things for which to be grateful.

All of this got me thinking more and more about my gratitude log so I managed to find it.  The year was 2013 and it was super interesting to read back.  There were 30 (I realize this should be out of 365 but there were about 3 weeks in July when I was in Europe that I did not keep up – heck I was grateful everyday for being in Europe for 3 weeks so we’ll say 344) entries that related to knitting – either finishing a project, hanging with my knitting peeps or just having a day to knit.  That was pretty high up as being one of the most repeated entries.  Reading it today I realize I did not have much variety in posts.  I believe, second to knitting was working at home and also just a generic “great day” (really, because 2 years later I have no idea what happened that day but I’m certainly glad it was great). Clearly, not my most creative endeavor.  But, some of the entries really did bring back some good memories so I got it right some days.  In my defense, I would do it right before I went to bed and some night you’re just more tired than other nights.

At the end of this challenge (and post) I would like to express my gratitude to Kate at A Playful Day for organizing this.  I’ve been happy to connect with her and with the other blogs I’ve discovered during the month.  And, gratitude for whoever is reading this.  When Kate first posted the challenge several commenters were asking if blogging was dead and wondering if anyone is out there reading.  I’ve had some traffic with these posts so thank you for reading!

April Yarn of the Month

I thought it would be a little more springlike since I believe spring has finally arrived in my corner of the world but then the e-mail said it was based on our local Asiatown so I immediately thought red/black/yellow.  And, here it is!

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When I saw the actual colors I was pretty excited because I’m not a deep red/black kind of girl and this has such muted shades that it is really lovely.

Our Asiatown is so named because it celebrates many different Asian cultures and is a vibrant area located on the near-east side of Cleveland quite close to downtown.  I have not spent much time in the area as I do not enjoy eating much Asian cuisine.  However, in the past few months I have been attending meetings scheduled at various restaurants in the neighborhood which has allowed me to check out the area for myself.  I have friends who enjoy the celebration that takes place for Chinese New Year in Asiatown and it always looks like a good time.  Especially, this year welcoming the year of the sheep!

Recently, the area has also become home to a number of live/work spaces for artists and there are some cool things to be found in the galleries that are popping up.  I would say this area has a lot to offer, especially if you have an interest in Asian culture, food, goods!

#LoveYourBlog Week 3 challenge – Ugly

Wow, this was a tough one and I’ve been playing around with it in my head for awhile since I read A Playful’s Day weekly post. And here’s where my head went with it – there’s nothing ugly about knitting, I find there is beauty even in less than perfect knitting.  So, the question became how to incorporate a challenge about ugly into a blog about knitting.

Here’s the thing – so often now our world and the events in it are very ugly.  I was reading Twitter posts by the singer Pink last night where she was calling out the trolls who were making comments about her weight.  Anytime you read comments on public stories you see the ugliest side of humanity.  It becomes overwhelming.  Knitting brings beauty to my world and helps erase the ugliness I observe on a daily basis.  Yarn is beautiful in so many ways – the color, the feel, and sometimes even the smell of new yarn makes me so happy.  And, then you have your needles and while we all have our “work” needles, we also all have needles we have splurged on which are beautiful.  To think, we take that yarn and those needles and make something out of it is so awesome.  While I’m knitting I can forget about what I had to deal with during my day job, I can forget about what I saw on the evening news, I can just forget about the ugly and be submerged into a world of beauty.

Our world needs a whole lot more beauty in it and if I contribute, even on some minuscule level, then I’ve accomplished something.

A Moment of Silence

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile now you will know that June usually brings the Annual Rummage Sale post (those are not to be missed :) )  From those posts, you will know that I hate the rummage sale for a multitude of reasons.  This year we had the brilliant idea that one sale was just not enough so we are in the middle of a clothing only sale this weekend.  June will be saved for all the other treasures that are not for wearing.  Due to day job responsibilities and a slight (but ever so annoying) head cold I did not make it up to the sale until this afternoon.  As usual there was so much stuff!!!

When I got there they showed me an entire box of hand knit items to ask my opinion.  And, this my fiber friends, is where we must take a moment of silence for the lovely hand knits that were not lovingly tossed aside at the church rummage sale.

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Now, what was in that box???  First, a Wiggle Wrap – made from Kauni in the rainbow and grey colorways (I almost stuffed that in my bag)!!  I suffered endlessly through my Wiggle Wrap and never thought it would end and then gave it away as a Christmas gift.  Second, a Modern Quilt Wrap made from Kidsilk Haze.  I never personally made one of these but when I first starting going to knit night several of the ladies had paired up and were yarn sharing to make one.  At first, I was kind of sad that I did not have a partner and was not partaking but after all the whining and moaning involved the making of the wrap I was happy that I did not get to join in.  A few of my friends still cringe when they hear the words “kidsilk haze”.  Anyway, it’s a beautiful wrap and super fuzzy with all that mohair.  Next fun item was a Wingspan.  I could not quite identify the yarn but it was definitely high quality.  There was also another large wrap that was pretty basic and a couple of smaller shawls or shawlettes and a loose open cardigan tee that looked to be made out of a rayon/cotton/linen something.  There were two small sweaters, one was definitely hand-knit and the other was probably hand-knit but it was hard to tell.  Whoever wore them was very petite.

I will say that nothing will make you feel like more of a knitting nerd than standing at a rummage sale while people hold up hand knits and you identify the pattern and the yarn and then talk about the one you knit.  My friends asked why these ended up at the rummage sale and my only guess is that the poor knitter who belonged to the items had left this world and whoever was in charge of getting rid of things just threw these in with everything else without regard to their origins.  If this is the case, whoever had knit the items was knitting right up to the end because they were relatively new patterns and yarns and quite up to date in the knitting fashion world.

These hand knit items were lucky that my friends know and appreciate beautiful crafting.  They had pulled them out and waited for an “expert” to arrive and assess.  In the end, they will be used in raffle prize baskets and hopefully go on to live long and fruitful lives with new owners.

Beginnings

This week’s prompt in the LoveYourBlog challenge is: beginnings.  When I read it I thought beginnings of what???  Ah, that’s the point – it was a long (and lovely) Easter weekend and I’m a bit sleep deprived after spending is with my best friend and her four children.  And, then I thought it was ironic that I had just got back from said holiday weekend because two of the four children I was with were the impetus for me learning to knit.  So, it looks like this post is about how I began knitting.

My best friend and I have been friends since high school which is more years ago then we care to remember these days.  We could not have chosen more different life paths if we tried.  She is a stay-at-home mom of 4 and I’m a single career girl who has nothing that depends on me for food or water (because I can’t guarantee either of those will be available on a regular basis) but somehow we’ve managed to stay friend across the years, miles and life paths.  12 years ago she called me one afternoon and I had very exciting news to share – I had bought a new mattress!!  She also had news – she was expecting twins!  Lost that one…  She had a son who was almost two and we found out that the twins were two girls and before they even arrived she asked me to be Abby’s godmother.  At that point, for reasons unclear to me, I felt this weird need to knit for the girls.  I had never picked up a needle and my mother did not knit.  My grandma and aunt crocheted and had attempted to teach me but that was a failure.

As luck would have it a yarn store was opening across the street from my apartment so I signed up for Knitting 101.  It was a struggle – I’m a classic type A so just going with it was not really working for me.  I needed to know exactly how it was working and why it was not falling apart and boy, oh boy was I a tight knitter.  I wrapped those stitches around the needle as if their life depended upon it.  My instructor was fairly certain I would never really become a knitter for obvious reasons.  This was 2003 and pre-Ravelry so I got a Stitch N Bitch book and took classes to learning new things.  I do remember my instructor telling us that we should take a picture of everything we knit and start an album and write down what type of yarn it is and who we gave it to so we could remember (a little ahead of her time with that idea!).

I think my first project for the girls were Santa hats.  It was a class being offered through the yarn store.  Anything circular I feel is a tough first project and those first hats were awful – they had gaping holes where I was not holding gauge around the needles and where stitches dropped off.  I did a search for pictures and found none but I did find these two.  The first one is of my very first scarf and the second one is of the girls in their second set of Santa hats that they got when they outgrew the first set (sorry for the blurred faces but they’re not my kids so I like to respect privacy)

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Happily the second set came out much better and if you could see their faces you would know they loved them (those cute girls will be 12 in July, I still can’t believe it)!  I have this picture hanging up in my house.

When I was still a relatively new knitter (I had been knitting about a year) I hosted a baby shower for a friend.  I took a bootie class at the yarn store and carefully made a pair of booties for my friend.  She opened them and loved them and I was so pleased with myself.  And then, about 3 gifts later she opened the gift from her mother.  I had not met her mother before as she lived in Alaska so I did not know her mom was a lifelong, very talented knitter.  When my friend held up the matching baptism gown and blanket in a feather and fan pattern – all I could think is hide those hideous booties!!!  But, her mom was so kind and said very nice things about them and mailed me the feather and fan pattern when she got home.  I still have not tackled that – it’s a lot of counting for me!

These are some of stories I remember best about my knitting beginnings and boy did writing this bring back some memories.  I can’t wait to see what other beginnings everyone else explores!