A blog about fibre, wine, and all things cozy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Perfect Pairing

The perfect pairing of wine and cheese produces a glorious experience for the lucky recipient.  So too does the perfect pairing of yarn and pattern.  I achieved that this week when I paired Stephen West's Boneyard Shawl with Indigodragonfly's 100% Merino yarn in the colourway Grrrr....Arrrrrrgh.  (That's a Buffy the Vampire Slayer inspired colourway.) 

The pattern is a simple garter stitch shawl that is wonderful to knit and beautifully shows off the yarn that is being used.  The colourway has subtle colour changes that complement the pattern without overpowering it. 

 The result is a peice of knitting that I am truly happy with and can't wait to wear and show off.  If all my final products pleased me this much, I would be a much happier knitter indeed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What is Knitting Really?

The simple answer to the question is that it is the moving of loops of yarn from one needle to another in hopes of creating a garment. However, if you ask any knitter is something more. It is trips to the doctors office, and time spent sitting in a car. It is a labour of love and sometimes something very frustrating. It is often misunderstood by those who do not knit and often it is a starting point for interest and conversation if you knit in public. It is giving up part of yourself and sometimes it's a memory of times past.

I was knitting one time on public transit on my way to my local yarn store when an elderly man sat down in the seat beside me. After watching me for a few minutes, he proudly told me that when he was a young boy, he was taught to knit in school. He then asked me if I was married and explained to me, with much love in his voice, that his wife knits for him all the time and that he has received many sweaters over the course of their marriage. He believed that any man who has a women who knits for him is a lucky man indeed and that he hoped my husband knew “just how lucky he is.” (I assured him that my husband does.) He asked me where I was going and then told me that he was going to tell his wife about the "lovely young knitter" he met on the subway and promised to take his wife to my knitting store so she could connect with the new generation of knitters. He was truly thrilled to learn that knitting was a popular pastime, and happy to know that the "young people of today were still willing make productive use of their time". I'm not sure if his wife has been to the store, but I guarantee she would be welcomed with open arms.

Another time, I had gentleman sit down with me in the park where I was knitting on my lunch break. He told me that he had been raised in South Africa "where everybody knits". He moved to Canada when he was in his early 20's and for a long time couldn't figure out what was wrong with our buses. Then one day he realized that he couldn't hear the clicking of knitting needles as he rode.

I've never had anyone tell me horror stories associated with knitting. Sometimes I've heard "I've tried to learn," or "one time my great Aunt made me this horrid sweater." But I never heard how knitting ruined a life or gave anyone nightmares. Knitting always seems to bring out happy times or thoughts. So really, knitting is happiness. It is love. I love knitting as I know most knitters do. I love the way the needles feel in my hands and the way a beautiful yarn becomes a final product. I think that knitters make the world a better place and I am happy to be part of the that community, even if sometimes the non-knitting community doesn't understand it at all. Really, it's their loss and I hope that they each have someone who loves them enough to make them a knitted garment at least once in their life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend & a Really Cute Baby

Our View
A big thank you needs to go out to Kim of IndigoDragonFly for organizing a much needed knitters retreat this past weekend.  (Thanks to her wonderful partner too for bringing a group of knitters whatever we wanted so we didn't have to leave the cottage.)  A bunch of us city knitters trekked up to her neck of the woods to decompress and knit.  Our view was beautiful.

Yes, this is a cake.  Chocolate

The weekend was spent with good friends, good wine, great conversation, many episodes of FireFly, amazing food and lots and lots of pretty yarn. 

Kim was wonderful and brought the yarn store too us and didn't mind when we dove into the bins and piled stuff everywhere, or when we gave Little J a yarn bath.  (You know you'd do it too if you could!) 

Yeah, we all wanted to be this baby

Projects were started and planned and many yards were knit.  I came home with too much yarn and can say that not only did I fall off the cold sheep wagon this past weekend, I took an axe to it and then burned the peices of the wagon to stay warm.  (I don't regret this for a second.) 

I cant wait to do it again next year!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Quick Quote

Vala Malduran: By the looks on your faces, I can see you’re not surprised I had more in common with the village harlot than I did with any of the ladies of the local knitting circle.
- “Stargate SG-1″ (TV) (2006)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

To Cute Not to Share

I was going to wait until I had the set finished to post these, but I think that they are too cute to keep under wraps.

Penelope & Peter

These little guys are going to be a b-day gift for my BFF's baby girl, Little J. 

There will be five in total, (and one cat)

More new friends on the way

 The pattern is Marisol the Knitted Mouse Pattern with a party hat added.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Drum Roll Please

I have finished my first pair of socks for 2011! The are Jaywalkers. I realize that this in itself is not much of an accomplishment. There are probably a ton of knitters that have finished their first pair of socks already and are onto their second or third pair. I am sure that there are even a few knitters who have just finished their first pair of socks ever, (which I believe is a big accomplishment.) But these socks and I have a history that involves ongoing antagonism right up to the point where they were finally on my feet.

My first attempt to make these socks happened on a summer day about two years ago. I had the skein of yarn in my stash and as soon as I saw the pattern, I knew that the skein had to become these socks. Unfortunately, I was jet lagged. I was so badly jet lagged that I literally could not count too eight reliably and it took me nearly two hours to knit about 2 ½ inches. I struggled with the double decreases and the knit front and back until the phone rang. When the person asked me what I was doing and I answered with “I am struggling with a sock pattern, it kind of needs my attention,” and her response was “uh-huh” before keeping me on the phone for 45 minutes, I gave in and tossed the whole damn thing (frogged) into the closet.

For the next six months, the ball sat in the closet undisturbed and taunting me. I would have to move it occasionally to get to other items in my stash and every time I saw it I would think “Jaywalker” and then ignore it again. Last year I tried again. I set it up with the other patterns and skeins that I matched up to make 12 pairs of socks last year. Well, that didn't happen and somehow they just didn't get knit. (I think I managed about 5 pairs of socks last year.)

So finally, right around New Years Day, I took the ball and the pattern out to try again. (I have been told in the past that I can be quite stubborn.) I cast on and they are going well. And then I tried to put them on. They would not go over my heel. I'm not sure how small your feet would have to be get them on, but I'm thinking 10 year old girl. So they were frogged again and had another “time out” . I went up both a needle size and a pattern size and cast on again. This time, I finally seemed to have the magic combo and the first sock flew off the needles. I loved the striping, and even though it was a tiny bit too big, I was still pleased. I was not going to allow second sock syndrome to strike me down, so the second one was cast on and the cuff completed before the end of the day. And then I had a horrid thought.

“Do I have enough yarn?” I bought this skein so long ago, it was in my stash for at least a year before I tried to make the socks for the first time, that I don't know if I can get more, and the label is gone so I'd have to guess anyway. Suddenly I found myself harnessing the spirit of the Yarn Harlot and truly believing if I got to the end of the leg fast enough, I would somehow magically increase the amount of yarn that I had in the ball and be able to finish the sock before finishing the ball. This tension became the driving force behind the socks. I was unable and uninterested in knitting anything else. After turning the heel, I become “cautiously optimistic” about having enough yarn, but believed that if I said “I had enough,” that the yarn elves would hear me and steal away half my remaining skein when I got up for a coffee. The game was defiantly on and I really wasn't sure who was going to win it, me or the sock. Turns out, in the end, it was me with a handful of grams left over. They are finished. I am happy. And I think that after 6 years of knitting, I can finally say that I am a sock knitter!