Posts for : November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 4

Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are. Among other things, I’m thankful for the internet that lets us connect with each other from all over the globe.

On the home front, knitting is keeping me sane despite a crazy amount of work and one dead computer. This didn’t help . . .

 

Yarn Disaster sm

 

And just so you get the full picture, let me note that this was the same yarn I’d recently ripped back on the Adele’s Legacy sweater in preparation for reknitting because I somehow got to the waist ribbing with the armholes off center(!) . . . but then there was this moment, which made everything okay.

 

Sleepy

 

The sweater project managed to survive. I’m almost to the ribbing (again). I’m also making slow progress on the Mystery KAL Shawl. I’ll take a picture for the next post.

Wishing everyone a great day with lots of time for knitting!

 

In Which She Finds A Podcast That She Kind Of Likes 0

I haven’t done a lot of knitting today, but I did make a mildly interesting knitting discovery. It happened at the gym.

My normal pattern is to listen to an audiobook while I’m doing my workout. I spend about half an hour on the treadmill and then about forty-five minutes to an hour stretching and working out with weights. That’s a nice chunk of time for audiobook listening, and it’s one of the things I look forward to about my workout. For some reason I wasn’t in the mood to listen to my book today, though, so I did a quick search for knitting podcasts. And I found an interesting one.

Now, I should explain that I’m a tough audience. I much prefer to gather my knitting news by reading than by listening to someone else’s monologue. I like the control I have with reading—to skim, skip ahead, linger over something especially interesting, that kind of thing. So I went into the podcast not expecting much. But you know what? It was actually okay. It was interesting enough that I ended up listening to three episodes.

So let me tell you what it was. The podcast I listened to is produced by Never Not Knitting. You can find the list of podcasts here. The person behind Never Not Knitting is a knitter/designer named Alana. The parts of the podcasts that dealt with her knitting and design projects were alright, but what I really liked was a feature she apparently includes in each episode—knitting stories submitted by listeners. One was about a woman who knitted her way through recovery from a serious automobile accident. Another one was about an Australian woman whose lover moved to the northern tip of Sweden. In preparation for a two-month trip to visit him in the dead of the Swedish winter, she knitted a pair of leggings for herself. The result was funny and touching. The stories are actually broadcast in the person’s own voice, so you feel kind of like you’ve sat down for a cup of coffee together and are hearing the story personally. I found myself completely drawn in by all three of the stories I listened to, as in—I would spend more time listening to the podcasts just for this segment.

If you like podcasts, or even if you don’t but you like hearing knitters’ stories of how knitting has been important to them, you might want to check this podcast out. The current episode is number 84, so there’s a rich backlog to keep you busy while you wait for Episode 85!

Oh, and don’t miss the Never Not Knitting theme song at the end! That alone makes it worth tuning in.

AFGE 2

So I was finishing the body of the Adele’s Legacy sweater last night when I was presented with an opportunity for growth, or as my husband would say, an AFGE (pronounced aff-gee). I’ll let you guess what the letters stand for.

I was about an inch into the ribbing at the bottom when I noticed an odd twist to the body. What the what?! I shook out the sweater and took a look, and guess what—somehow I’d gotten the armholes out of position relative to the raglan increases. You can use your imagination for the visual because, while I’m sure it would be character building, I absolutely cannot bring myself to post a photo. Let’s just say that I spent the next little while trying to focus on the joy in the process.

On a much nicer note, it just so happened that yesterday was the yearly big day for Adele’s Legacy. Check out the local news coverage of this year’s woolly event. It’s absolutely guaranteed to make you smile.

And just so we don’t have two posts in a row with no pictures, this is what it looks like here today. I took this along the road that leads to our house. We’re up there in the fog.

 

View 1

 

I think these girls were hoping I was the delivery person with lunch.

 

View 2

Carrot 0

Here’s where things would have started to slide during the first iteration of this blog. There is knitting (thankfully), but I have nothing special to report—nothing newly finished, no milestones reached.

The incomparable ladies of the Limestone Creek Fiber Guild met yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself as usual, but there’s no reason for you to care about that. I baked a paleo cranberry orange loaf to bring with me and for which I might have shared the recipe had it been tasty, but it wasn’t. It turned out very wet. My host (who has experience with such things) thought it might have been the coconut flour. Apparently, coconut flour absorbs liquid at a different rate than wheat flour, so you have to let anything you mix it with sit for awhile before putting it in the oven. Good to know, but again, not at all relevant to knitting.

Work is very busy, and that does have a slight connection to knitting in that I’m considering putting a knitting-related carrot at the end of one particular work stick. One of the things I do for a living is teach freshman composition. At the moment I’m teaching through an online university, and I’m in the process of designing my own course. “Designing” is actually a rather lofty term for what I’m doing, which is pretty much the same thing I always do in the course. The difference is that  because this course is online, I’m having to literally write out every single word, even the ones I would normally speak. Up to this point, I’ve been teaching from a canned course the school acquired through a third-party “content provider,” and I don’t particularly like that. It will be a relief to be able to teach the course in a way that makes more sense to me. But I have to finish writing everything out—every word of every lecture, explanation, tip—if it’s going to be in the class in any form, it has to be written down so it can be processed through the online course creation machine. The idea is to make the material available in every conceivable format so as to accommodate students with different kinds of learning styles. So there will be audio, visuals, etc. And all of this is produced from the transcript I provide.

Anyhooo . . . this whole process is taking awhile and is becoming a bit of a slog. And, as usual, my monkey mind wanders to knitting. Here’s the thing, though. I think I’ve come up with the perfect incentive to help me power focus through getting my course finished. I’m considering starting The Knitting Guild Association Master Hand Knitting Program. (!!!!)

I’ve been wanting to start this program for ages. You’re given assignments to complete, and you swatch and do research for written reports and just generally knit and learn about knitting and get feedback from experts on your knitting and interact with a bunch of other people who are crazy about knitting. (!!!!!)

I seriously considered starting the program when we made our big move a year and a half ago. Stranger in a new place—no friends, not many obligations, all of that. As it turned out, though, we made a number of great friends right away, and there was more than I ever imagined to do. So no time for the Master Hand Knitting Program. But now . . . things have settled down; winter is upon us; I desperately need a light at the end of my course designing tunnel . . . I’m thinking this might be just the thing. I could allow myself a little thinking and preparing as a picker-upper during the next couple of months of work with an eye toward starting the program after I’ve finished writing the class, sometime in early 2015.

Hmmmm . . . I think I feel better already.

Wednesday 2

The lace bug has bitten again. It was an email from Craftsy today that did it. They were advertising Myra Wood’s “Crazy Lace” class. I’m not sure whether I’ll take the class or just buy her book, but one or the other is definitely in my future. The Amazon description says that, “Starting with a comprehensive explanation of ‘Lace Logic’ you’ll quickly learn how and why different types of lace patterns are created.” That’s what I want. I want to not just knit lace but understand the way it works, the how and why. Stay tuned for updates.

In the meantime some knitter friends and I are knitting one of Hilary Latimer’s patterns. This one is called the Mystery KAL Shawl. We missed the pattern debut knit along, but we’re doing a little cross country knit along of our own. It’s my friend Dorothea’s fault. She’s already made one, and she wore it in my presence, and that was it. Had. To. Have. One.

One of the fun things about the pattern is the yarn it calls for—Wolle’s Yarn Creations “Color Changing Cotton.” The yarn is four-ply, and the plies gradually change from four plies of one color to three plies of one color and one of a second, to two plies of each color, to three and one going the other way, to four plies of the second color. The effect is startlingly pretty. Here’s a picture I took at SAFF this year of the bins of 185g skeins:

 

Unique Vampire at SAFF

 

I got the “Unique Vampire” colorway on the top right. This was a major acquisition because, let me tell you, this yarn is very hard to come by. The Etsy shop that I linked to above is pretty much always empty. It sounds like if you can’t catch Elisabeth at a fiber show, the only way to get your hands on some of the yarn is to watch for one of her preorder offerings. These apparently come up every now and then and are announced through her Ravelry group.

So far, I’m up to Row 20 in Clue #3 of the pattern, and I’m loving both pattern and yarn:

 

Cotton Vampire 1

 

You can’t tell much from this picture, but you can just start to see the first color change there at the top. Here’s a close up of that part:

 

Cotton Vampire 2

 

Pretty cool, huh?

In other news, I saw this article yesterday about an Air Force Colonel who started knitting on deployments after 9/11. He said, “I wanted to learn to make something pretty, that would outlast me.” He’s now knit 40 scarves, 68 hats, and at least 40 pairs of house shoes.

 

 

Saturday 2

Look what came in the mail today. My very own Bosworth Moosie!

Fotor Moosie 3 smMoosies are something special in the world of spindles. The whorl is turned from moose antler. In Jonathan Bosworth’s hands this becomes the heart of an incredibly well-spinning spindle. If you don’t know about the Bosworths and their spindles, take a look at the flickr group. People have posted some great pictures of Moosies, in particular. I chose a  Bocote wood shaft for my Moosie, and it is absolutely perfect.

And if the arrival of the Moosie wasn’t enough excitement for one day, there was Baylor football. I finished the raglan increases on my Adele’s Legacy sweater while the Baylor Bears took Oklahoma to school. Go Bears!!

Fotor Baylor Game

And in the news . . . I came across an interesting article this week that addresses what I talked about in this post—the way we can be moved to action by the hardship of one person yet become more and more detached as the numbers of affected people increase. We see so much—online, on TV, through travel. The world is small. But it’s also huge. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get my mind around both sides of this.

The article I read this week refers to a study that looks at why we begin to disengage when we are confronted with tragedy on a large scale. The researchers believe that something in the way our brains work demotivates us from trying to help anyone in the face of not being able to help everyone. They believe that the two things are related and that our brains push us to action when it’s a matter of responding to one single person or one out of a small number but that we are wired to pull back when we’re confronted with the idea of helping one out of 10,000. We are motivated by what they call “perceived efficacy.” There are so many—what difference will doing one small thing make? They point out that this is “nonrational”—it doesn’t make sense to refuse to help someone we can help because others are out of reach. But over and over again, it’s what we do.

My thought had been that we help those closest to us as opposed to the masses of people far away because of some kind evolutionary holdover connected to defending the home cave. This research puts a different spin on things, though. Doing nothing because we know we can’t do it all says individuals don’t matter. Not a world I want to live in. Some little person will wear the sweater I am knitting today, and that will matter. Take that, reptile brain!

 

 

Knit, Vote, Love 4

Fotor 2014 11 04

Back again! That’s two days in a row. I might be on a roll.

Nothing profound to share today—just the joy of knitting in a day full of errands and waiting. Two days, actually. Yesterday was election day, and today was run-around-all-over-the-county-to-appointments day. Despite some disappointments at the polls, the referendum on selling wine in grocery stores here in our fair city passed. Woohoo!! Believe it or not, the vote was actually somewhat close. One of the stranger parts of our mostly wonderful move from Chicago to Appalachia has been our introduction to the culture of the blue law. I saw some of this in Texas when I was younger, so the concept isn’t completely foreign. But still.

Today’s excitement was a trip to the dentist and the vet, among other things. My teeth and our Misha’s now-stitch-free tummy (he had surgery for bladder stones two weeks ago) are both doing fine.

Fotor 2014 11 05 2 Fotor 2014 11 05

My on-the-go project these days is a sweater I’m knitting for Adele’s Legacy. I learned about Adele’s Legacy earlier this fall at The Knotty Ladies Yarn and Fiber Weekend Getaway. A new friend who is deeply involved with the project told me about the group over lunch one day. I was impressed to the point of tears by what these women accomplish. A handful of them work together to knit a sweater, hat, and scarf for every single child in a particular elementary school each year. On a designated day in November, the children are ushered into a large room where tables are spread with hundreds of items that have been knit especially for them. Each child gets to choose a sweater, a hat, and a scarf for their very own, which means that each child has at least one sweater, hat, and scarf to wear through the winter.

I can’t begin to say how impressed and touched I am by this. Not only does it address the issue of cold children—it gives each child something special that has been handmade—stitch by stitch—with care. I believe in the power of knitting with love and the ability of something knit by hand to carry good energy. That each of these children, no matter the child’s individual circumstances, goes home that day with something that has been handknit on his or her behalf is huge. I am certain the world needs more of this.

Knitting Miscellany 2

Pats-Tam-5.jpg

 

So blogging takes a minute. And with every day so full of things that must be done, who has a minute (or thirty) to write a blog entry? It seems like the answer to that question, increasingly, tends to be those with a financial interest in being heard or promoting their brand or selling their stuff. I could be imagining it, but that’s how it feels.

Stalwart Jean Miles continues to be her dependable, entertaining, always knitting, blog self. And thank goodness for that. I check in daily, and I’m up to 2007 in the archives. I notice as I read through the archives, though, that she regularly refers to blogs that, if they are available at all, stopped being updated a year ago, four years ago, six years ago . . . sometimes even longer ago than that. Like hers, these blogs chronicle the lives and projects of knitters. No more, no less. They’re wonderful. And I want more of that. I love Kate Davies and Mason-Dixon Knitting and Knitty and so many other business-of-knitting type sites, but I especially enjoy the blogs that connect me with real knitters—not people selling books or patterns or lessons or yarn as they offer their thoughts and advice—just knitters knitting and living their lives.

When I started this blog, I kind of thought that was what I was doing. But then a new day would come around and I wouldn’t have a new technique or any breaking knitting news to share, and I’d wimp out. Instead of posting to say that, yeah, work was insane, and the grocery store was crowded, and I started the arm on my charity sweater, I’d not post. That happened even though I promised I wouldn’t let it. Well . . . for what it’s worth,  I’m promising anew. I don’t blame you if that very thing makes you suspicious (protesting too much, and all of that), but there it is. There won’t be a post every day, and there might not always be pictures, but there will be something.

Onward.

Knitting and Reading

So . . . since the last time we talked, I’ve discovered that Betsan Corkhill (who started Stitchlinks) has published a book! Her story and what she’s done with her personal discovery that knitting has been repeatedly used to transform people’s lives are beyond fascinating. If you are interested in how the brain works and develops and how knitting can help your brain, this book is a great read. It’s also interesting from a cultural perspective to hear about how, in order to get her foot in the door with neuroscientists and other medical professionals, Corkhill had to begin referring to knitting as “a bilateral, rhythmic, psychosocial intervention”! I wonder how many opportunities we miss because of the things we think we know.

In the knitting and reading realm, I can also recommend Ann Hood’s The Knitting Circle. I’m kind of surprised I read this one, actually. I tend to avoid books about loss and sadness. I think I’m afraid they might lead to some kind of emotional point of no return. Or something. Anyway, If this book hadn’t been about knitting, I’m sure I wouldn’t have read it. But it was, and I did, and it was good. It’s simple, and the story is forced in some ways, but it does something important in telling how the central characters move through grief, how they knit, and how they help each other.

Knitting Projects

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my version of the “Thin Edge of the Wedge” shawl. I used almost two full skeins of Hazel Knits “Entice” yarn, so it’s all kinds of long and drapey—perfect for fall, when sometimes you need lots of wraps around the neck and shoulders and sometimes you just need a light cover.
Thin Edge of the Wedge FO 4
I’ve also been on a bit of a hat kick, having knit three of the hats at the top of this post in various permutations over the last couple of weeks. The pattern is “Howard’s Tam,” and it’s a fun, quick knit that produces a super comfy hat.
So I’m thinking that’s about enough for today. Catch you on the flip side, my knitters. It’s good to be back.

 

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