March, so far…

It’s been a reasonable month, knitting-wise.

I got my YOSS project done and posted before the first half of the month was done. The pattern I used was Honey Badger, and the yarn was Madeline Tosh Sock Yarn.

I’ve become kind of addicted to yarn by a few independent dyers: Ethereal Fibers, MIB Yarns, and Keegan Lane Yarns. And Ethereal Fibers has one color, Poison Apple, that practically glows in the right light. I chose to use it for a second Belgian Waffles, since I loved the way the first one looks, but my main coat is burgundy. It came out even better than I had hoped.

I’m currently using her laceweight in “Saphira” to make the Madeira Mantilla, but I don’t have any pictures yet.

One thing I have found consistent among the independent dyers I’ve been using is the quality of their yarns. So often, the commercial yarns are full of breaks, or small knots, and it makes those yarns annoying to work with. I don’t know if it’s because the indie dyers spend a bit more for their base yarns, or what, but I have never had a problem like that with an indie dyer.


Something that Struck Me

I’m reading Adrienne Martini’s wonderful book Sweater Quest: my year of knitting dangerously.”, and something on Page 167 struck me.

Ms. Martini is talking about a conversation she had with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, who had described the day her grandma taught her to knit. Ms. Pearl-McPhee’s words were, “I remember thinking that this was very important. I wasn’t sure why or how, I just knew I had learned something really significant.”

Ms. Martini then noted that, “Unlike for most of the knitters I know, the connection between Stephanie and the craft was immediate.”

The reason this struck me was that that’s how I felt when Mom taught me to knit. I had been watching her knit, and begging her to teach me. She kept insisting I was too young (I was about 5), but finally cast on about 20 stitches on a pair of needles she wasn’t using, and showed me how to make knit and purl stitches. She was sure that I would lose interest, when it was hard, but for some reason, when I made mistakes it only made me more determined to get it right. I was just totally fascinated with the whole idea.

After I spent months practicing stockinette stitch, rib, and basketweave, Mom showed me the book of patterns she used to make outfits for my Barbie dolls. I was even more hooked for life, if that was possible. I made all the patterns except the crocheted wedding dress (Mom made that one for me, because it took me longer to master the basics of crochet). Oddly, my father taught me to crochet, because my mother got frustrated with trying to show me how to make the beginning of a round for granny squares. Pop taught himself, then taught me. Shawls and sampler afghans became favorites, along with the doll clothes.

I slavishly followed instructions for various projects until I was about 12. The I tried something new: making something by improvising and adding what I had learned to what was in the book. The result was a mock Chanel suit for my doll. White cotton knitted shell, earth-tone jacket, skirt and hat bordered in pink single crochet. A friend of my parents’ saw this outfit, and commissioned me to make a set of doll clothes for his daughter’s Barbie doll.

Still, it all goes back to seeing Mom knitting. Watching her, I became fascinated. I had no idea then that the fascination would last so long or be so steady (unlike many knitters and crocheters, I did not put it away during or after college). If pressed, I could not tell you what it was that drew me to drive Mom crazy begging her to teach me to knit.

In retrospect, it was probably the smartest thing I ever did, because my love affair with knitting, crocheting, handspinning (another story altogether), and yarn in general continues unabated. In fact, it continues to grow. I love trying new yarn, and new patterns. I am obsessed with sock knitting, with shawls (afghans have kind of gone by the wayside), with textured knitting (cables, fisherman knits, etc.), and with lace. I also love reading about knitting, chatting with knitters, and sitting with friends, knitting and talking.

Yes, I am one of those women for whom the connection to the craft was immediate, hard, and enduring. And I am happy that it happened that way.

Thank you, so much, Ms. Martini, for nailing it so elegantly!

Project Sweet Caroline

Okay, you guys know I don’t push things very often.

However, I am taking part in an ongoing project to knit hats for preemies. The project is called Project Sweet Caroline, and is being run by Melissa, aka Meliabella on Ravelry.

If, like most of us, you have an accumulation of small bits of superwash sock yarn lying around (wool/nylon blend or just 100% superwash is great, but please no cashmere, silk, etc. as some babies have a sensitivity) and a little time to spare, please consider joining this ongoing project.

There is a link to the basic hat pattern on the page, and it’s a really great way to use up small amounts of yarn. The hats are really easy, and I found it took less than an hour to knit one.

Curious George wearing a hat for Project Sweet Caroline

Information on where the hats will go is also on the page, and Meliabella says that she can be messaged through Ravelry so that people can let her know how many hats they are contributing.

Thanks for considering contributing to this project. Hopefully, I will soon be seeing a bunch of new preemie hats on folks’ Ravelry pages!

Commissions Finished

I got the fingerless mitts I was commissioned to make done about ten minutes ago:

I am very pleased with how they came out, and will be sending them to the client in a day or so.

The yarn is Zitron’s Trekking Maxima, in a gorgeous subtly variegated orange.

I also got the socks I was making for the same client finished:

These were done in a yarn called Bambewe, in the Tramanto colorway.

Got a small project finished today

I had signed up for a knit-a-long (KAL) for a hat called Belgian Waffles.

Conveniently, I had some handspun a friend made that I got at an Interfilk Auction at a convention called Contata last July.

I’m very pleased with the way the hat came out, how easy it was to knit, how well-written the pattern was, and I look forward to making more of them in other yarns and colors.

Finally Got Something Finished

I finally finished the socks I ended up doing for YOSS 2012 — you know I’m kind of allergic to doing plain vanilla socks, so I picked a pair that was calling to me beyond anything reasonable: Kirsten Hall’s Hexagons from Think Outside the Sox.

I am pleased with how they came out.

I’m still working on the Circle Socks for my customer, and will start the fingerless mitts for her once I finish them.

I’m still undecided as to what my March YOSS project will be; I like both patterns.

And I’m committed to a hat knit-along this month: Belgian Waffles by Keelin Sweeney.

I swear, my knitting eyes seem to be bigger than my time will allow for these months. Of course, spending much of the last two months sick with one thing or another has not been helpful. We shall see if I can get caught up this month.

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