A Note before Yom Kippur

For those who observe, I wish you an easy fast. For all of my friends and relatives, both online and in real life, I hope you are inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.


I’m not sure, but I think my knitting mojo may be creeping back.

I have gotten a little bit of work done on two of my sock projects, the Socks for Colbert, and the Circle Socks. It’s not a lot, but I will take it happily.  I’ve even been remembering to toss one of my projects into my tote bag before I leave the house, which is something I have not been doing much since I was in the hospital.

Here is a list of things I have started, or have to get done, once it does come back for certain:

  • Wonder Woman Fingerless Mitts  (c0mmission)
  • Socks for Colbert
  • 3 pair of socks for my accountant
  • Sediment Scraps Blanket
  • Get fully caught up on Year of Stash Socks 2012 projects.

It’s a doable list.  I have only one project for myself to work on this year that will require a yarn purchase.  My ex gave me Craftsy’s “The Perfect Fit Seamless Crazy Lace Cardigan” class as part of my birthday present, and I will need to purchase yarn or that.  Otherwise, I continue to work on projects I can find the yarn for in my stash.

I am hoping that these things are a positive sign.  I miss knitting, but when every stitch seems to be a chore, putting it down or a bit is probably the best thing I could have done.

Well, I said I would Post on Tuesdays…

…but I have not been knitting still, so I wanted to talk to you about my favorite charity knitting program, The Seamen’s Church Institute’s Christmas at Sea program.

According to their website:

Since 1898, during the Spanish American War, volunteers of the Seamen’s Church Institute have knitted, collected, packed, and distributed gifts to mariners who are miles away from home during the holidays. The gift consists of a handknit garment, a personal letter, and information on SCI’s services for mariners. In addition to this, SCI also includes several useful items like hand lotion, lip balm, and toothbrushes—things difficult to come by when working long stretches on the water.

My own experience with them began a few years after high school, when I wandered down to their headquarters (which was then in lower Manhattan), and requested the patterns they were offering. At the time, there were four patterns on offer: scarf, hat, vest, and socks.
These patterns, plus several more, are now available for download from their website, along with mailing instructions, materials preferences, and a host of other information. I have knit or them many times, since they accept projects all year, with a rough deadline of Thanksgiving for inclusion in any particular year’s donations.

This year, they are also doing a project called the 1200 TEAny Hats Project, making small hats to put on iced tea bottles to be sold at Starbucks to raise awareness about the seamen and women who work on the cargo ships that still transport much of what we use on a daily basis.

With all the worthy causes out there to knit for, I still think this is one of the best, because it brings joy and comfort to those who are giving their time and energy to support us.

Note: Credit for photos in this article goes to the Seamen’s Church Institute (used with permission).

My Knitting Mojo Still Seems to be Out of Town, Dammit!

I’ve gotten another couple of inches done on my Sediment Scraps Blanket, and found some more yarn that will fit with the color scheme already in progress, but — other than that — my knitting mojo still seems to be on vacation.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to get caught up on all the little things that one lets go of when the knitting mojo is running strong.  I’ve been entering data on my calendar that needs to be there, throwing out tons of accumulated papers and other dreck, reading (although my reading mojo also seems spotty these days), and writing.

I want to be knitting.  It feels odd not to have projects tucked into all my bags.  It feels odd to ride an express bus and watch the scenery, rather than my hands moving.   Still, if there is one thing I have learned over the 55 years (as of tomorrow) that I have been knitting, it’s that I cannot force it.  So, I am patiently waiting for it to return, perusing Ravelry patterns hoping to raise it from the dormant, and fondling my stash hoping to find a yarn that excites me enough to cast on with it.

I think that I probably need to get out o the house a bit, and find things that excite my sense of art/craft.

What things trigger your desire to knit/create something?  What activities inspire you to pick up your needles/hook/brush, etc?

What to Do When Your Knitting Mojo Takes a Vacation

I’ve been knitting on and off for 55 years (give or take 12 days). Most of that time, I’m merrily chugging away on three or four projects made on size 2 or smaller needles (my go-to needles for socks on sockweight yarn is 00). It was no surprise, therefore, that when I was in the hospital this past June I got approximately half of a pair of socks done (2 at a time, magic loop).

However, once I got home, I had no desire to knit. I read a lot, I played computer games for large portions of the day, I even worked a bit on a knitting book. But knitting itself…not so much.

The August 31 issue of the Knitting Nuggets newsletter (not posted in the archives yet, or I’d give the URL), however, had an article that caught my eye. Make a big, cuddly afghan out of all the yarn you can’t/won’t use for anything else. I clicked on the link for the pattern, the . It uses five strands of worsted weight yarn, and can be adapted, really to any weight of yarn by adding or subtracting strands. To quote the authors:

We got it all in here: recycled cotton and wool sweaters, craptastic eyelash yarn, satin ribbons, cotton in overly-bright colors, some Caron Simply Soft that simply would not go away, a wool sweater I sliced in a spiral to spin with but never used, etc. etc.

The best thing is that you already own the yarn for this project.

It wasn’t my beloved socks or a shawl, and I had no idea whether or not I could even work on really large needles any more, but I decided to give it a try. After all, if I really hated it, I could rip it.

While they used size 13 needles, I am using size 15s because the resulting fabric feels better to me. I started the project by hunting up a bunch of acrylics and a cone of some particularly ugly mohair that I inherited when a friend’s mother passed away.

The colors I started with are the ugly mohair (charcoal and red); white with lavender; white with pink, blue, and green; cobalt blue; and white. The white was replaced by ivory, then purple. The color changes are subtle, since only one yarn at a time is being changed, and I have been stopping to hide the ends every so often, so that I don’t have a ton of ends to hide when I’m done.

The fabric is, indeed, cuddly, and very thick. It took me about two minutes to readjust to working with large needles, and the project currently sits next to my computer, so that I can pick it up whenever I need a break. Measured along a non-working side, I have done 19″ of the first 48″ since Saturday.

While I’m not sure this will be a project to show off (although I will post a pic here and on Ravelry when it’s done), it’s a project that will be useful in winter, since this apartment is very drafty, and my room has the exit door to the back yard, which fire codes will not let me block off.

No, it’s not my favorite kind of knitting; no, it’s not yarn I would really use to wear; but, yes, it’s a way of keeping my hand in — even when I need a break from my usual diet of socks, hats, shawls, and mittens.

So, a question: What do you do when your knitting mojo takes a break? Enquiring minds want to know.

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