Back to the 60s

April 18, 2018

As a change of pace from our usual walk into the square for marketing, errands, and lunch, Mom and I took a field trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Perched on the edge of Boston Harbor, it’s a beautiful, powerful, exhilarating, and somber place to spend a couple of hours.

JFK-agh

I’m sure the thousands of school children who visit each year take some comfort in learning that young Jack was far from a good student. As these letters show, he was determined to do better, and his father expressed confidence that he’d turn out OK. Ha!

JFK-school Having grown up in Massachusetts in a politically active family of Catholic Democrats, Mom feels a kinship of sorts with the Kennedys. The politics of the 50s and 60s are vivid in her memory — in part, because she was so politically active herself.

JFK-convention

Watching parts of Kennedy’s speech at the 1960 Democratic Convention prompted snippets of her own participation at the 1972 Convention, when she chaired the Foreign Relations platform committee — a lively topic (to say the least) in 1972.

I love these Get Out the Vote ads. “Sure you’re busy — but…”

JFK-vote

No presidency is perfect, but the belief that the government has a vital role to play in building a better society for all that undergirded the Kennedy administration touched my heart again — especially in contrast to what passes for our current political leadership.

JFK-speech

In knitting news, I seamed Mom’s Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neck warmer while we waited for our lunch at our favorite bakery. Looks pretty spiffy, don’t you think?

Agh-neckwarmer

I’d like to think she can put it away until next winter, but given the wacky weather we’ve been having, she may need it this month!

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Power of Memory

April 11, 2018

The warm detergent-scented air, steady rumble of washers and dryers spinning, metallic jingle of the change machine, fellow customers folding, chatting, reading. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve been to a laundromat, but not much has changed.

As often happens when I knit in public, my project (Second Sock) sparked curiosity and conversation. As she folded several baskets of clothes, the owner told me about her mother’s crochet and sewing skills.

Knit-laundromat

A 20-something woman said that she’s been thinking of learning to knit, partly to do something creative and also to break her habit of defaulting to her phone. I told her about a couple of local yarn stores that offer lessons and, as I left, encouraged her to follow through: “you’ll never regret learning to knit.” Hope she does.

My first knitting teacher and I have been spending a lot of time together this winter, walking from her apartment to the village market and/or our favorite lunch spot or thrift store several times a week. We’ve watched lots of Celtics basketball and have welcomed the start of baseball season, which provide plenty of knitting opportunities.

Last week, Mom expressed interest in knitting again, so we pulled out the simplest of her several works in progress (WIPs). After the briefest of tutorials, her muscle memory kicked in, and she was on her way!

Mom-knitting

 


New Knitter Pride

April 4, 2018

Some WIPs (works in progress) on a Wednesday: Not all of the students in my Knit 101 class are true novices, but every month or so, a brand new knitter walks through the door. Chris and Justin are the most recent, each with their own motivations for learning a new craft.

Ten-year old Chris arrived with his mother, a non-knitter, a few weeks ago and explained he thought knitting looked cool. Yup, you read that right. While he’s got a goal of making a sweater someday, he started with a practice swatch in garter stitch and last week learned the purl stitch. His concentration and quiet pride warm my heart.

New-knitter.jpeg

When Justin walked through the door, I thought he was looking for directions to someplace else! He’s not your typical Saturday morning knit class member: a male, accountant in his late 20s.

His motivation for learning to knit? He resolved to learn 10 new things this year. How cool is that?! So far, he’s learned to bake bread and play golf (at an indoor range until the snow melts). When summer comes, he wants to learn how to water ski. His knitting goal is socks for his girlfriend but, like Chris, happily — and very conscientiously — dived into knits and purls.

Novice-knitter.jpeg

After completing her son’s hat, Louise is working on a scarf (the pattern name escapes me at the moment) in a beautiful variegated yarn. She’s been perusing sweater patterns, so it’s likely she’ll add another project soon.

Louise-scarf.jpeg

Jacqui recently returned to class after a winter hiatus and has cast on a hat. Before she joins the stitches in the round, I encouraged her to knit an inch or two flat, so that it’ll be easier to join without twisting. The subtle color shifts in this Madeline Tosh yarn are exquisite.

Jacqui-ribbing.jpeg

I’ve been spending most of my knitting time with the second sock. I’ll get back to the Sunshine Coast one of these days. What’s on your needles?

Sock2


Traditions and travels

April 2, 2018

The house is quiet again as Kevin and Michael left this morning via plane and car after being home for the past few days.

As is my tradition, I baked the lamb cake, using the metal mold bought by my Mom more than 60 years ago in Boston’s North End.

I tweaked the recipe a bit – adding the zest of one lemon to the batter, which is similar to pound cake so the cake can “stand up.”

After morning Mass, we brunched at home, and I finished the cake while the boyos cleaned up.

Since it was a beautiful spring day and we had a couple of hours before we were due at my brother’s house for dinner, we headed to our favorite quick, local hike.

Recent snow melt made the trail mucky in parts, but we didn’t care a bit. As always, tossing a football along the trail was mandatory.

The tower at the summit was open again after being closed for repairs when we were there for the family Thanksgiving Day hike. Beautiful views of Downtown Boston and the harbor.

Easter dinner at Luke and Mary’s was delicious and the conversation lively. As usual, the lamb cake platter was graced with eggs decorated with colored paper, including photocopies of photos and tissue paper. Most were made by my late in-laws and some are nearly 20 years old.

After second helpings and another sliver of cake, we headed home to close out the evening — and the boys’ visit — with a friendly yet competitive game of pinochle.

The sock and I observed.


Some Things are Never Finished

March 24, 2018

When my children were very young, I didn’t knit much. I thought I didn’t have enough time, which is bizarre because there’s the same amount of time in Every. Single. Day. If I’d been honest with myself, I would have realized that it wasn’t a matter of time; it was my perception of time and my very real reality of seemingly all-consuming busyness.

My mind was shifted by a single comment from a wise neighbor to whom I’d shared the desire to knit but didn’t have time: “When you’re raising a family, running a home, and working at your job, you might find that it’d be nice to actually finish something.”

How very true. So much of daily life is repetitive or ongoing — cook a meal, wash the dishes, wait a few hours, and do it again. Wake up, rally the troops, get everyone out the door (fed, dressed, and as put together as possible), then do it in reverse in each evening. And again. And again. For years, decades even.

One of the joys of knitting is finishing. In fact, I consider finishing the primary goal of a new knitter’s first project. That’s why I recommend a dishcloth as a first project and definitely not a scarf, which can take an eternity.

With that thought, I’m pleased to report that Sock #1 is finished.

Sock1-done-roving

Since I’d not been happy with the bumpiness of my previous sock toe grafting, I paid extra attention to my Kitchener stitching. This is an improvement over my earlier toes.

Sock-toe-kitchener

Part of my desire to finish the sock was my seemingly slow progress on the Sunshine Coast sweater. The slower pace isn’t surprising since it’s now up to about 250 stitches per round.

Sunshine

On the home front, dear Michael is home for a week’s break. Since he arrived at midnight and will likely sleep a solid 12 hours, I won’t see him until this afternoon, after Knit 101 class and the Boston March for Our Lives.

Being a parent or a child is a role (not really an “activity”) that doesn’t feel like it’s ever finished — at least, if you’re as lucky as I am, not for many, many decades.


WIP Wednesday: Socks and Sunshine

March 21, 2018

Having lived most of my life in New England, I’m accustomed to cold, snowy winters. I generally try to avoid the broadcast and social media hoopla that surrounds storm predictions and round-the-clock coverage during the actual “weather events.”

My attitude generally is “It’s winter. What do you expect?” Does it really matter whether the wind gusts that knocked out the power were 40 or 75 miles per hour? The difference between six and 12 or even 22 inches is significant from a shoveling perspective, but really it’s just a hell of a lot of shoveling.

Like probably everyone else in New England (and probably most people from here to Washington, DC), I’m ready for today’s storm to winter’s last gasp — especially since Spring began yesterday!

Enough about the weather. Here’s what’s on my needles these days. The toe of Sock #1 is nearly finished (Done Roving “Frolicking Feet”). I’m going to modify — or at least pay closer attention to — my Kitchener stitch grafting of the toe in an attempt to avoid the bumpiness of my previous sock toes.

Sock-toe-shaping

I can’t decide how I feel about the Sunshine Coast sweater yet. We’re still getting to know each other. (Perhaps it’s mutual.) Progress is slow and feels a bit painstaking. I find myself looking at the pattern several times during each pattern round. Hoping that changes over the next couple of inches.

Sunshine-coast-yoke

I love the bright Spring green yarn.


Knitting Inside Out

March 20, 2018

Has this ever happened to you, dear knitter? You’re knitting in the round, perhaps on your first hat, and suddenly something doesn’t look right at all. You’ve unintentionally created a band of bumpy reverse stockinette. That’s what happened to Helena, one of my Knit 101 students at Stitch House.

Inside-out-knit-hat

In my experience teaching knitting, it’s not an uncommon mistake for a novice knitter to make. So how does it happen and, most importantly, how can it be avoided?

This “inside out” knitting is the result of unintentionally knitting on the inside of a circular project. The knitter picks up the project and continues knitting across the project.

Inside-out

A closer look shows that the working yarn — the yarn connected to the ball or skein — is on the last stitch on the left needle, rather than where it should be — on the right needle.

inside-out-detail

Most often, the mistake is made when the knitter picks up the project after taking a break and doesn’t check to be sure that the working yarn — the yarn connected to the ball or skein — is connected to the last stitch on the right-hand needle.

That’s how to avoid “inside-out” knitting. But how does a knitter fix this error? For the sake of argument, let’s assume they don’t want to incorporate a band of reverse stockinette as a “design element” — always an option if one doesn’t want to remedy a mistake.

The only solution I’ve found is to rip out or tink back the erroneous stitches. Then, take a deep breath, check that your working yarn is on the right (not left) needle, then double-check it, and begin again.

What are your most common knitting mistakes? Any tips for avoiding or fixing them?


How Can I Swatch with This?

March 14, 2018

I’m not a regular swatch knitter, partly because I generally make things where fit isn’t quite as important (like socks or shawls or baby knits). Indeed, dear friend and Fearless Knitter Cathie — who’s been swatch-free for about 50 years — and I regularly share messages about our swatch aversion.

But since I’ve decided to knit a sweater for myself (two rare occurrences), a swatch was in order. After all, if I’m going to spend hours on something that I intend to wear, I want it to fit. What knitter among us hasn’t finished a project, tried it on, discovered it doesn’t fit properly, and then stuffed it tucked it away in the back of a cupboard?

I started with size 5 (3.75mm) and knit a square, then switched to a size 4 (3.5mm) and knit some more. After washing and drying the swatch, I measured.

Swatch

The size 4 needles had yielded the 5 stitches per inch that I was looking for, which would have been terrific if the pattern actually called for 5 stitches per inch. Thinking I was all ready to cast on, I reread the pattern and discovered that the correct gauge is 4 stitches per inch.

That might not seem like a big difference, but over 200ish stitches, that’s more than two inches difference — the difference between a lovely summer sweater that fits and one that is banished to a dark drawer for eternity.

So, with Cathie’s shocked voice in my ear from 3,000 miles away, I pulled out what I thought were size 6 (4mm) needles and started another swatch. Here’s where things got a bit wonky. The size 6 swatch looked and measured the same as the size 5.

Since I’d been using a circular needle that wasn’t labeled and which I’d assumed was a size 6 since that’s what the needle gauge told me, I decided to check the gauge itself. I pulled out a size 6 needle from my interchangeable needle kit and double checked the size on my trust KnitPicks needle gauge, and then, because I’m someone who likes to verify results, I checked the needle size using a different gauge.

Needle-gauge

Who knew that a needle gauge could be miscalibrated? The size 6 needle from my interchangeable kit was too big for the size 6 hole on the KnitPicks gauge but fit smoothly through the Susan Bates gauge.

Now that I’ve got THAT figured out, it’s time to cast on the Sunshine Coast.

How do you feel about swatches?

 


Socks on the Beach

March 9, 2018

“That’s so unlike you!” was the response from each of our children when we told them of our four-day trip to Florida. But January’s deep freeze had us planning for a warm weather get-away, and as luck would have it, we were away for a ferocious Nor’easter.

As usual, Patrick was first into the ocean. I’m more inclined to walk, look for shells, watch the wildlife (human and other), sit and knit — all the while mesmerized by the sound, sight, and smell of the sea.

PLD-Florida-beach

On the flight, I’d seamed the toe of Sock #2, wove in the ends, and then cast on a new sock. As usual, it’s a basic, top-down sock pattern; this one in Done Roving’s “Frolicking Feet” (Peacock colorway).

Sock-beach

The hotel loaned bikes (and kayaks) to guests — on the honor system, no less — so we explored some of the surrounding area. Shell seekers comb the beaches for hours, searching for treasures, some for souvenirs but many for their small businesses.

We had the pleasure of meeting an Ambassador from the nearby National Shell Museum (who knew?!). He identified some of our shells and advised us to clean the shells in a 1:4 bleach/water bath so they wouldn’t stink. His “I Know Shells. Ask Me” t-shirt was well earned!

Shell-seekers

After a morning yoga class, I discovered an historic cemetery, nestled under the trees only 50 yards from the sea. Grave markers, including this one of a 10 year-old girl who died in the 1880s, were often “decorated” with shells and sea glass.

Captiva-cemetery2

One afternoon, we opted for a guided kayak tour of the bay and a mangrove forest. In the quiet of the forest, we saw and heard birds — white ibises, osprey, turkey vultures, and pelicans —  dozens of ancient shell mounds from the Calusa natives, spider-like black shrimp that climbed the mangroves (fortunately staying far away from us humans).

PLD-kayak

The sock joined us for its — and our — first Spring Training baseball game.

Sock-redsox (1)

The get-away may have been unlike us, but given how wonderful and relaxing it was, that just might change.

MAH-PLD-Captiva


The “Unquestionable Benefit” of Handknit Socks

March 3, 2018

Kevin’s been a fan of my knit socks since his first pair nearly five years ago. He’s even agreed to be a model for blog photos. Every once in while, he’ll text me a photo — usually from a table in the university library — of his feet, wrapped in lucky socks, as he studies for exams.

As he slogged his way through mid-term exams this week, he sent the following to our family group text:

Pro tip: Mom’s knitted socks are real juju for taking midterms. Even if they might not have all the answers, their benefit is unquestionable

KRD-lucky-socks

Warms the cockles of this mother’s heart.


First Mittens

February 24, 2018

Although already a competent knitter, Jeanne joined the Knitting 101 class at Stitch House a few weeks ago, accompanying friend Jean, a true novice. She’s a terrific cheerleader for Jean, giving her tips and encouragement as she created her first project: a Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neck warmer.

Jeanne arrived at last Saturday’s class with one completed mitten and another nearly finished. By the end of class, she’d finished the thumb, closed a gap in the wrist ribbing, and was done!

Jeanne-knit-mittens2

Feeling camera-shy, she struck the perfect pose for admiring these simple, beautiful mittens. When she commented that they were a bit roomier than she had hoped, I took the opportunity to share a general knitting tip.

Knitting Tip

Before starting a project, make a copy of your pattern and work from that.

  • Note the yarn and needles you used.
  • Highlight each size-specific instruction.
  • Use check marks or your method of choice for keeping track of repeats or numbers of rows.
  • When you’re done, make notes about what you’d do differently next time. In Jeanne’s case, she’ll make the mitten smaller by either using a smaller needle (with same size yarn) or by casting on fewer stitches.

I’ve never knit mittens. At least, I don’t think I have. After my recent memory challenge, I can’t be 100% sure.

Do you have a favorite mitten pattern?


Knitting Amnesia

February 23, 2018

I generally don’t pay much attention to the occasional “memory” that Facebook sends (because they care about me, of course!). But yesterday’s caught my eye:

No-memory-blanket

While I vaguely recall knitting this bright, log cabin blanket, I have absolutely no memory of who I gave it to — what new life sparked my desire to create something.  The information in my post, way back in 2009, was minimal and unhelpful: “log cabin baby blanket.” Duh, obviously!

I’ve got plenty of yarn in my stash that I look at and think: “What project did I have in mind when I bought this?” But until yesterday, I didn’t think that I’d forgotten a finished project.

Am I the only one? Have you ever forgotten a knitted creation?

 


Not Your Usual Bread Baking

February 18, 2018

For the past few years, I’ve been one of the bakers of my church’s eucharistic bread, the round, unleavened bread that’s blessed as part of the Mass and shared with the community. About every five or six weeks, it’s my turn to bring 5 “loaves” to the Saturday afternoon Mass. I’m always afraid that, in the midst of the comings and goings of the weekend, I’ll forget to bake, so I add a reminder to the fridge door.

I really love to bake yeast bread but rarely do so. I love proofing the yeast, kneading the dough, watching it rise, shaping the loaves. And the smell? Heavenly!

Unleavened bread? Not so much. It’s not meant to be kneaded more than a couple minutes before being patted into a circle and rolled thin.

Bread

The balance of sticky and floury is a delicate one. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to start over after scraping a stuck loaf off the counter. After rolling, each loaf is imprinted with a special press (the name of which escapes me). This is another opportunity for stickiness!

Bread2

Yesterday, I had some extra dough which is patted into lumpy free-form circles. Perfect with my supper of turkey soup!

Bread4

In knitting news, progress on Sock #2 is brought to you in part by the Winter Olympics and the NBA Slam Dunk and Three-Pointer competitions.

123sock


For the New Life to Come

February 16, 2018

In the midst of breath-stopping tragedy and rage from my country’s latest mass murder, finishing a knitting project for a baby-to-be has been a welcome respite. When the project made its last appearance on the blog, I was in search of buttons and had cast on for a little pair of shorts (or, as the pattern called it, a diaper cover).

My search for green buttons yielded lots of unsuitable options – pastels, leaf, pine — but not the bright apple green that I wanted. So I switched to pink and found the perfect pair.

Wee-penny-buttons

Before sewing them on the top, I finished the bottom (if you’ll pardon the expression!). The pattern called for longer ribbing on the “legs” that would then be folded over like a cuff. Since this will be for an infant who won’t be moving much at all, I decided about six rows of ribbing would be plenty.

Wee-penny-bottom

The seed stitch pattern makes the flowers look a little wonky but so what? Although there’s not really a front or back on the cover, I think of this side as the back. The flower pattern lands on the waist (something a baby doesn’t even have!) on the other side, which seems more front-ish.

There’s probably enough yarn left for a little hat or two. For another baby at another time, I think.

Once I was done weaving in the ends on the diaper cover, I untwisted the yarn and sewed on the buttons.

Wee-penny-top

I’m quite pleased with the results and expect the mother-to-be will be, too.

Wee-penny-set

Lest I get tempted by another project, I immediately cast on the next striped sock because, you know, Second Sock Syndrome is real.

Sock-cast-on.jpeg


Fun Time at Farm to Fiber Festival

February 14, 2018

Last weekend, Fearless Knitter Judy and I spent a couple of hours at the first-ever (maybe first annual) Boston Farm & Fiber Festival, a celebration of local (or regional, as in New England) farmers, yarn, dyers, spinners, knitters, and makers. I couldn’t possible capture the wonderful wooly-ness of the event, but I’ll do my best with a few photos and Instagram videos.

Blue Heron Farm in Vermont brought hundreds of skeins of their gorgeous organic yarn and project bags.

Blue-heron-wool

As we paused to admire and fondle the naturally dyed New England yarn at Upton Yarns’ table, founder and owner Sarah was just pulling out her phone to multi-task.

upton-yarns

As Sarah says on her Instagram profile (which you should follow for the love of all that is wooly), she was “previously an engineer on a small cruise ship [and] these days [works] on an Antarctic research vessel.” How can anyone say that knitters are boring?!

My beloved home state of Maine was represented well by Seacolors Yarnery,  with its naturally dyed yarn and exquisitely soft woven blankets (pretty sure they’re still having a sale) and by Mindful Folk Farm.

Mindful-folk-farm

I could have watched for hours as children patted and marveled at these two lovelies from Wing and a Prayer Farm

Given that I was surrounded by loads of gorgeous yarn — I mean, just looks at all this —  you’re probably thinking that we came home with bags of goodies.

Farm-fiber-fest

I’m somewhat chagrined to say that I bought nothing (except for a delicious hot popover to keep up my strength). I had my mind set on a skein of soft bulky yarn for a cowl, and the only bulky available was a bit too coarse. I could easily have bought hundreds or even thousands of yards of organic fingering or worsted, but I’ve got plenty of that in my stash.

Is it possible to have non-buyer’s remorse?

 


Wee Penny Plus Bottoms

February 11, 2018

Last Sunday, the lovely, almost-finished Wee Penny had an unfortunate encounter with a platter of baked chicken — with some tasty but messy sauce, to be precise. If I wasn’t the type of knitter who usually washed a finished project before blocking, I would have become one!

A good sudsy soak and swish in the sink plus a couple of rinses in cool water did the trick. I lay out the little dress on a towel and placed a couple of pins along the neck so it would drive evenly.

Wee-penny-block

I need to find two small buttons for the back opening. I think green would be nice. Agree?

Wee-penny-blocked

Since I had just under half a skein of the lovely Hayfield Baby Blossom remaining, I decided that I’d make “an outfit.” Rather than a hat or booties (which are cute but, given their tendency to slip off and get lost, kind of ridiculous for an infant IMO), I decided on a pair of “shorts” or, as I discovered after perusing Ravelry, is more commonly called a “diaper cover.

Hayfield-diaper-cover

Eventually I’ll get to the second sock, but for now, I’m having fun with baby knits.

 


Exuberant Girls with Yarn & Needles

February 10, 2018

Have I mentioned recently how much I enjoy teaching knitting? Oh, I have? Maybe a couple or few times? Well, I’ll say it again.

Every Thursday afternoon since early January, I’ve been teaching fourth- and fifth-grade girls from a local after-school program how to knit. There’s never a dull moment in what is definitely the fastest two hours of my week. Think knitting is a quiet, calm craft? Think again.

Only two students were complete novices; the others had learned in my class last year. Like all knitters, each developed her own style of holding the needles and working the yarn. One had to adapt since her arm was encased in a bright purple cast.

Girls-knit

Our sessions were interjected with regular fits of laughter, occasional shrieks (“Aaaaaah, I messed up! Help! Fix it!”), dancing or floor stretches, and spontaneous bursts of singing. They rehearsing for the fifth grade production of Peter Pan (the junior version — who knew? not me!).

Three projects were finished at the session’s last class this week. A fingerless mitt that will someday have a mate:

Bascp-mitt

What started off as a neck warmer was turned into a headband because time was short and finishing is key to a first project:

Bascp-headband

And a slightly too-large but still beautiful and pom-pom’d two-colored hat:

Bascp-hat-pompom

Their delighted pride at their accomplishments is everything!


These Early Birds Gobble

February 8, 2018

 

I’m usually a very solid sleeper, falling back to sleep pretty easily after I awake during the night. But when I found myself wide awake one morning this week just before 5am, less than an hour before my usual rising time, I decided to get up and get going.

I’m fortunate to live in a safe environment that enables me– with appropriate reflective gear and blinking lights on my jacket and ankles — to be a regular pre-dawn runner/walker. Whatever the weather, I head out before any in my house is up. It’s a habit I cherish; in fact, one the rare occasions that I’m not able to do it, I find myself cranky and out of sorts for much of the day. My favorite poet-artist Brian Andreas captured the sentiment perfectly in this poem, Before Dawn, that hangs by our door:

Before-Dawn-StoryPeople

I was joined watched by some of the local wildlife, wild turkeys roosting in the trees of my suburban neighborhood. They started calling to each other across a few blocks, probably debating whether to “fly” down to the ground or to hit the snooze button and stay on their branches for a bit longer. Although you can’t really see any of the birds, you can hear a few seconds of their chatter.

 

They're baaaaaack. [listen] #signofspring #wildturkeys

A post shared by Saltwater Hill Knits (@saltwaterhill) on

By the time I got home — with my usual cup of coffee from the nearby coffee shop — I’d decide to put the mostly brown bananas on the counter to good use. Instead of banana bread, I usually make muffins; they bake faster and are a good grab-and-go snack or breakfast. I tossed some frozen wild Maine blueberries into half of the double batch and popped them into the oven.

Muffins

While they baked, I did a couple of rounds of the border on the Wee Penny baby dress. I’m hoping to finish it tomorrow.

Wee-penny-edge

After I’d done a bit of quality assurance testing of the muffins (they passed), I dove into the day. When I plotted out my daily schedule, I add “nap” to the list. As regularly happens with items on my to-do list, I didn’t complete that one. There’s always tomorrow!

 


Fearless Knitter Finished Objects

February 6, 2018

In November, I started teaching a Knit 101 class at Stitch House, one of Boston’s lovely local yarn stores (LYS). Starting at 9:00 on Saturday mornings, a group of about six or eight new knitters gather around the table for learning, creating, sharing, and only occasionally, cursing. The students include sisters, ages 7 and 9, so we try to keep our language in check!

Stitch-house-knit101

For their first projects, several knitters have made the Wham Bam Thank You Lamb Neckwarmer. Jean is seaming hers in the lower corner in the photo above. It fits my top requirement for a first project, namely that you’ll be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time and experience that surge of pride in your accomplishment. A cotton dishcloth (or washcloth, your choice) also fits the bill when it comes to a first project. Here’s Mary’s creation:

Wham-bam-lamb-cowl

When Helena finished her neckwarmer, she immediately texted her mother in Brazil, who was suitably impressed. Of course.

Wham-bam-lamb-neck-warmer

Julia made a super bulky cowl, which she was delighted to discover also made a terrific headband!

Julia-cowl

This past Saturday, her sister finished a hat, complete with pom pom, for a younger cousin. As you can see, she was delighted. And that’s what it’s all about.

Ella-pink-hat

What have you made that makes you proud? I’d love to hear your ideas for other good knitting projects for beginning knitters?

 

 

 


But It Was On Sale

February 4, 2018

I haven’t bought any much yarn in the past six months or so, which I consider a feat of enormous willpower. The Hayfield Baby Blossom DK doesn’t really count because baby yarn isn’t a regular part of my stash, and I can’t not knit a gift for a future member of my extended family.

Besides, who’s counting? There are no knitting stash police. And the Wee Penny is progressing nicely, don’t you think?

img_5403.jpg

Imagine my delight, when I arrived to teach Knitting 101 this morning at The Stitch House and discovered they were having a bit of a sale.

In the interest of supporting a local yarn store and boosting the local economy and because I’d donated several bags of stash yarn to a local library’s upcoming yarn sale, I felt almost compelled to buy a few skeins. Wouldn’t you?

Sock yarn is always a good buy because I know what I’ll make with it. This skein of Done Roving Yarn’s “Frolicking Feet” in the Peacock colorway caught my eye. I don’t think it’s self-striping, but the colors will suit my Michael quite nicely I think. Plus it’s made in my home state of Maine, so I was almost required to buy it!

Dove Roving Yarn skein of Frolicking Feet yarn

A sparkly skein in the clearance basket caught my eye. At less than $4.00, how could I resist?

I found some lovely Madeline Tosh Twist Light that I think will complement it nicely.

The question now is: what will I make with these two? Maybe a shawl or wrap of some kind? I welcome all pattern ideas – leave a suggestion in a comment. I’ll let you know what I decide…eventually!


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