Posts Tagged ‘fingerless mitts’

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!

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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?

 

 

 

Cozy Knits for a Birthday Girl

December 9, 2016

My Twitter feed is full of ideas for gift knitting. As we get closer to Christmas, there are more “quick knits” made with chunky, bulky, and super bulky yarn. Someone could probably track how the changes in yarn weights correspond with amount of time until Christmas. But that someone isn’t me because I’ve got gifts to knit.

First, a birthday gift for a beloved niece, a truly amazing young woman attending college in my hometown. She’s generous, curious, super smart, talented in so many ways — baking, theatre sound engineering, photography, poetry that touches hearts (this one’s been shared more than 70,000 times).

My heart warms whenever I think of her, which I’ve been doing a lot lately because I’ve been knitting love into every stitch of her gift.

gaptastic-cowl-fingerless-mitts

A GAPtastic cowl, which regular readers will know is a popular project for me and my knitting students, and a pair of fingerless mitts in matching seed stitch.

It arrived just a day after her birthday earlier this week (but was technically on time because it was mailed before her birthday — that’s my story and I’m sticking with it). Since the temperatures are below freezing during the day and well below at night, I’d say it arrived just in time.

Knitting Class: Small but Fierce

December 5, 2016

After several years of having 6 to 8 knitters around the table at each knitting class, I find myself with two very small sessions this fall. I don’t know what accounts for the change, and I’m not taking the lack of enrollment personally (at least most of the time!).

What these regular Fearless Knitters lack in number, they more than make up in their creativity, persistence, good humor, and ferocity. Discover a mistake (or many) a few inches into your circular scarf? Realize that the pattern on your stranded sweater is off by a few stitches? Learn the painful lesson that knitting while drinking red wine is not for the faint of heart? (Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!) These knitting students tackled each project and challenge with vigor and commitment.

Christy, she of the Fox Cowl Hood, recently finished a luscious braided cable cowl. The yarn and pattern are from Purl Soho. With the temperatures dipping below freezing here in Greater Boston, you can bet this cowl will get a lot of wear.

file-dec-04-2-29-52-pm

Gillan’s half-way through a pair of chunky fingerless mitts. The pattern had both of us flummoxed for a while. (And by a while, I mean we each knitted and ripped it back two or three times!) Following it carefully resulted in two rounds of ribbing around the thumb gusset, messing up the rhythm of the seed stitch. Finally, I adjusted the pattern, substituting some PFB for KFB and some (P,K) for (K,P) repeats. Seems to have worked.

file-dec-04-2-29-14-pm

Marcia’s latest creation is a striped cardigan for a lucky baby-to-be. After finishing the neck at our last class, the only thing she’s got left to do is graft the sleeves to the body (underarm grafting, what a concept!) and add some buttons.

file-dec-04-2-30-21-pm

See the yarn near the neck? That’s all she had left — yet again, playing a high stakes game of Knitting Bind-Off Chicken.  Who says knitters aren’t risk takers?!

 

Knitting in Turbulent Times

November 16, 2016

Was Election Day really only a week ago?! Like many people in the US and beyond who supported Hillary Clinton, I’ve experienced shock, anger, dismay, disappointment, and a flurry of other emotions. For most of last week, I tuned out nearly all media. I just needed to retreat temporarily, focus on my work (which does include a lot of social media) and on the people around me.

Knitting helped a lot, starting with last Wednesday morning’s class. I told my students we’d have only two minutes of election conversation before diving into projects. Deciphering a pattern. Figuring out how to fix a mistake. Relaxing into the rhythm of stitch after stitch, row after row.

As usual, Gillan is working on several projects at a time. Here’s her chevron scarf and fingerless mitts. I know there are some knitters who work on only one project at a time and don’t start another until the first is finished. It takes all kinds….

gillan-knitting-projects

When Christy (maker of the adorable fox cowl) arrived at this morning’s class, she reported that she couldn’t bring herself to come last week. Like many, she felt the need to hunker down for a bit, eliminating the complexities of life for a little while. That included her knitting. She put aside her cabled cowl (more on that gorgeous item in a future post), took up her circulars, and stitched together a bright ribbed cowl for Darwin — her beautiful dog, who looks quite regal, don’t you think?!

dog-ribbed-cowl-christy

 

Turning a Hat into Fingerless Gloves

February 6, 2016

For the past couple of months, I’ve had the great pleasure of teaching knitting to three 5th grade girls. We gather at one girl’s house and spend 90 minutes knitting, chatting (and listening) about sports, school, older siblings (ugh!),  and ideas for next projects. “Do you think I could make this?”  “How long do you think it’d take to make this?”

They all started on the same project: a garter stitch hat with bulky weight yarn. A simple rectangle that will be pulled on one end at bind-off and topped with a big pom-pom.

Last week, Brigid decided that she’d rather turn her hat-to-be into fingerless gloves. Why not?

After measuring her wrist, we realized the time – and length- were right. So I showed her how to bind off and then how to seam.

We marked the thumb hole, and she seamed up to that point. Then the top little bit and voila!

She was thrilled — and rightly so. The other two girls were appropriately happy for her and encouraged her to cast on the next on quickly “otherwise you might stop at one.”  So wise!

Back to the Shop

September 20, 2014

For the past several months, my participation in the Friday mid-day knitting group at JP Knit and Stitch has been minimal, and I really miss it.

I’d vowed to go yesterday, and even though it meant dropping off Patrick at his train 45 minutes early, I made it for the second hour. And boy, I was glad I did.

Joanne and Barbara showed off their scarves, made in different colorways of Liberty Wool.

scarves

Margaret is working on Maine Morning Mitts in Noro Keureyon. I didn’t get a photo of hers, so here’s one from Knitter’s Review. Having finished my first pair of fingerless mitts a couple of months ago, I definitely want to make more. As those of us in New England know, fall is just around the corner and with it, the need for cozy knits to warm fingers and toes.

MMKnits

I’d missed the shop’s trunk show on Thursday with Diane, a.k.a. Lady Dye. She dyes her own gorgeous yarns and put together some adorable samples. Joanne had a handful and generously shared. Despite her insistence that I take as much as I wanted, I chose one — don’t know the name, but isn’t it lovely?

LadyD

Joanne is making another lovely scarf, and I can’t for the life of me remember its name. Guess I’ll have to go back soon.

Island Knitting

July 9, 2014

Nearly 30 years ago, my in-laws had the imagination, chutzpah, and foresight to buy an abandoned barn on nearly an acre of land on a lovely island off the coast of Massachusetts. Over the years, they added on rooms in a not quite random, but definitely quirky, fashion: bunk beds built into hallway walls, 4 squeaky beds tucked under the attic eaves. No insulation, no TV, and definitely no air conditioning.

Despite the thin walls, unending number of Daddy Long Leg spiders, and dampness that comes from part of the house being below grade, it’s one of my favorite places on earth. The sea air is wondrous, and the night sky is bright with starlight, except when the fog rolls in and obscures the view.

Berry Hill fingerless mitt

I’m working on my first pair of fingerless mitts: Berry Hill by Liz Thompson. And last week, during a wonderful stretch of days with my sweet Patrick, I popped into the local hospital thrift store and discovered a bag of yarn that was calling out to me. Four skeins plus a bit more for $8.00 — how could I not?

thrift_store_yarn

 

 

 

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