Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Nothing like finishing

March 31, 2017

Each Friday, I spend 90 minutes with 7 or 8 fourth grade girls at a nearby after-school program. I’m there to teach knitting, but mostly I just try to keep up with their questions, energy, anxieties, and aspirations.

“Help! I messed up! Oh wait, never mind.”

“I want to knit slippers. How many stitches should I cast on?” Said while holding nothing but a ball of Sugar ‘N Cream cotton yarn and size 7 (mm) needles

“I was going to go on the field trip today but my stomach hurt from worrying, so I decided to come to knitting instead.”

Last week, Lily finished the last couple of inches of a garter stitch scarf, a gift for her aunt who was coming over for dinner. Another knitter volunteered to model. I love her t-shirt — Try And Stop Me — which conveys the fierceness that so many 10-year-old girls possess.

Garter-stitch-scarf

As she carefully folded the scarf and put it into her backpack, Lily wondered aloud, “I hope she likes it. I know she likes these colors but will she like the scarf?”

“How could she not like it?” a fellow Fearless Knitter asked and then confidently answered her own question, “You made it and she loves you.”

So very true.

 

 

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Score 1 for the Cozy Knit Cowl

December 12, 2016

I’m happy to report that my dear niece seems to like her GAPtastic cowl. Given that she’s heading into finals week (read: late nights, walking across a wintery campus, lots of coffee, and too-little sleep), staying warm and cozy is a priority.

nora-gaptastic-cowl

In other news, I’ve made a side trip to Northampton for a consulting project on Monday. I left home early on Sunday afternoon so I could spend a few hours some time at the fiber wonder that is Webs.

Do I need more yarn? or needles? or clever tools and accessories? Of course not! What kind of question is that?! Updates on what I found later this week.

 

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.

Gift-Knitting Jump Start

September 29, 2016

Just a couple of days after her new speckled, hand-dyed yarn dried, friend Shelley had selected complementary yarn. Look how great the green and blue (Encore by Plymouth Yarns) pick up the similar colors in her hand-dyed sample.

green and blue balls of yarn with sample of hand-dyed yarn

By now, I expect she’s already cast on and is creating a great hat that one of her grandbabies (-children, -nieces, -nephews) will open in late December. Christmas knitting already? Sigh.

What’s on your needles these days? Or on your gift-knitting list?

Lessons Learned on Re-Sizing a Sweater

September 30, 2015

There are lots of online tips for making a too-big sweater smaller. But as I discovered when I had the opposite problem — a too-small sweater that needed enlarging — there wasn’t a lot of help. With a fair bit of in-person, online, and book research, I was able to figure out how to make Michael’s special sweater large enough to fit his 17-year-old body. I learned a few things along the way, about myself and about knitting.

  • I’m not afraid to rip back and try again, especially when making something complicated and very time-consuming. A lot of time and effort went into this sweater even before I discovered that it didn’t fit. I’ve knit plenty of finished items that didn’t turn out right and were abandoned to a drawer or thrift store somewhere. This time, I decided to invest the time and energy into remedying the situation.
  • Making a sweater longer is pretty straightforward: Rip or cut back the ribbing. Pick up the stitches (I used a lifeline for this bit), and knit!
  • Knitting in the opposite direction changes the orientation of the stitches. If you look carefully, you can see that the white “specks” point up or down, depending on whether they’re in the original body of the sweater or in the added two inches.
    stitches point in different directions when knitting in opposite directions
  • Gussets are pretty nifty inventions. I needed to add about 4 inches to the circumference of the sweater, so I made two two-inch gussets — rectangular from the ribbing to the underarm and then tapered over about 4 inches into the arm sleeve.
    gusset stitched into the side of a knit sweater to make it larger
  • I appreciate attention to detail but not enough to make the gussets fit the sweater pattern.
  • Wrapping a knitted gift is a wonderful thing!
    finished stranded knit sweater in gift boxI’m delighted to report that the sweater fits — at least, that’s what Michael has told me! He’ll allow a photo “session” once the weather gets cooler. Of course, I’ll share.

 

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Striped Socks…Belatedly

March 22, 2015

I gave more knitted gifts for Christmas last year than I had before. Usually I start around Thanksgiving, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that that’s not enough time to make more than a couple of items. I’m not a chunky knit, make-it-in-a-day knitter although I definitely understand the appeal.

Knitting whenever and wherever possible was my goal. Socks are great anytime projects because they’re small enough to stick in a bag or pocket and pull out anytime you have more than a minute to wait — just about anywhere. Like at the pediatrician’s office.

knit_striped_sock

In a waiting room while Patrick had surgery… (He’s all healed, thanks for asking)

striped_sock_2

I just love this self-striping yarn, Opal Hundertwasser, which knits up beautifully — almost like magic.

Striped_knit_sock_at_hockey_game

OK, I got a few odd looks while knitting at a college hockey game, but I did my best to be a Fearless Knitter (as I tell my knitting students). A Fearless Knitter on a mission.

Finished_striped_sock

Handknit socks aren’t everyone’s first choice, but I’m doing my best to convert those folks one pair at a time.

A Knitter’s Christmas…Every Month

April 27, 2014

Like every knitter I know, buying yarn is one of my favorite activities. Actually shopping for yarn — looking, fondling, planning, dreaming of wondrous projects — is enjoyable in and of itself. With a new skein of beautiful merino or handpainted sock yarn, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Imagine my delight when my sweet husband gave me the gift of new yarn every month for a year. OK, OK, I hinted told him that was tops on my Christmas wish list.

On a cold, rainy April day, this little cardboard box of yummy (Vivacious DK in Deep Aqua by Fyberspates) sure warms the heart.

Fyberspace

Thanks, Patrick. xo

A Knitter at Heart

October 20, 2013

My sister-friend Liz and I have been friends for more than four decades. We grew up together in central Maine and now are fortunate enough to live about 1.5 miles from each other. We have a walking date every Wednesday morning at 6:00am — and we go out year-round, which in New England means in all kinds of weather and often in the dark. While the walk is good for our hearts and muscles, it’s even better for our souls — kind of like therapy.

Liz isn’t a knitter but she understands how important this craft is to me — as a creative outlet and a calming influence (except when it’s not). Yesterday, she gave me this for a birthday gift:

yarnbowl2

A beautifully hand-crafted, blue (my favorite color) pottery bowl with a lovely sheep on one side. But this is no ordinary bowl, dear reader. This is a yarn bowl, especially for a knitter (made by the clever Susan LeBlanc Brum of Hog Wild Pottery).

yarnbowl

I think Liz may have been a knitter in another life.

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