Respite

I have a two week respite from classes before returning to the overwhelming summer schedule.  I have been focusing on school and other things and have taken a break from knitting.  Like all hobbies, sometimes people just need to take a moment to reorganize.  My felted bag has an issue that I have to fix and the chunky shawl is short of yarn.  A lot of times when you have a large project and run into a problem, it is easier to simply put it aside and take a break.  Most of the time, that problem remains in the corner for months or even years.  Then, all of a sudden, the light will go off and you’ll pick up the needles with fervor, onto the next great idea. 

Instead of writer’s block, this seems to be more of a knitter’s block.  It’s easier to leave everything alone until I get that desire back.  In the meantime I want to indulge in books, movies, writing, and guiltily- the Sims 3.  I know it is terrible and unproductive- but I love the game.  I’m trying to keep this to a minimum because it is easy to get lost in the imaginary world of the people I create and control.  Why put all the work into writing myself, when I can make my character do it and make money on it in my world.

Right now, I am enjoying The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  I am only about 150 pages into the grandiose novel but I am enjoying it.  His story is set in 12th Century Europe.  The characters are interesting and fluid.  The plot is thick but intriguing.  Tom Builder and his family are traveling across England trying to find work, preferring to work in Cathedrals.  Prior Phillip is a genuinely pious priest but also a proven leader despite his youth.  He becomes engulfed in the politics of his day.  I still have a long way to go in the novel but am looking forward to it.

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Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung in Southern Florida.  However, down here, April feels more like summer than spring.  The weather has finally turned and the days highs are in the mid eighties.  About once a year, I go through this period when I really don’t want to knit.  I take a vacation.  I have the chunky shawl sitting on a chair covered with shirts, books, and my ten thousand nightshirts because I can’t possibly rewear them or wash them and put them away.  I have the bottom of the felted bag that I’m working on sitting in my work purse, waiting to be continued.  I have textbooks, regular books and library books surrounding me.  My vacations from knitting usually don’t take too long; two weeks or so.  Sometimes I may stay away for as much as a month.  My hands need a vacation.  I usually come back with plenty of ideas. 

I have to clean up now.  My stash is filled and a mess, intertwined with other yarns in the gigantic plastic containers.  Part of hurricane preparedness in this part of the woods is keeping that precious yarn in water proof bins that can be covered just in case.  It’s also good to have something that can be thrown in the car, especially something that can distract you from the chaos of an oncoming storm.

My wonderful knitpick harmony needles are strewn about the house.  I even have one sitting outside on the table of the lanai.  It seems to be calling to someone to knit, but I’ve lost interest for a little while.  Maybe my cats will make me something pretty instead.  I’ll come up with new ideas soon enough to post. . . I promise.

Time

I am afraid I have been overwhelmed of late and my knitting has been neglected.  Working on two group projects with school, busy work week, and trying to write for another personal project is taking up so much time.  I still have the shawl on the needles because I ran out of yarn.  Yes, I know- I should have gotten enough when I bought it.  I think I might just pull the whole thing off anyway.  I have another project a few rows in.  I want to make another felted bag, but this one in brown.  I have so many tan and brown items of clothing and no bags to match.  I have a few shades of galway yarn that look good together.  Now, I just need time.  I think my idea in my head would make a great pattern that I can’t wait to share.  I love felting bags.  The great thing about felting is that the gauge is really unimportant.  I can even knit and read at the same time without having to focus on an intricate steps of a pattern.  Of course, now that I’m listening to books, I don’t have to do that. 

I’m trying to cover knitting topics little by little since it takes so much time to get a pattern/project done.  Please let me know if there are any topics or questions you would like me to cover.  I’ll get to more about knitting needles in the next post. 

Happy Knitting.

Sticks & Needles Part I: what’s your needle made of?

Knitting needles are those indispensible tools of the knitting trade that seem so simple and yet are available in an immense variety.  Many people remember the long skinny metal sticks that their Grandmothers used and the sound of the click click click, stitch by stitch.  Today, needles are found in just about any material.  The most popular ones are:

Metal: smooth, good for quick stitches, can be more difficult for slicker yarns.

Wood: Warm to work with, more mailable will flex while working, better for slick yarn and tighter stitches. 

Plastic: Light, smooth, flexible.  Can become very warm while using.

Bamboo: Has a lot of the same qualities as wood needles but are lighter.  They are also more abt to breaking (as I have broken my share of cheap ones).

If you are just starting out, try different needles to see what is most comfortable.  As with everything, different people like different materials.  My favorites of the moment are my Knitpicks Harmony needles and the Lantern Moon Sox Sticks.  I do go through phases where I prefer to use metal needles.

Happy Easter

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter, a Happy Passover and a joyous Spring.  This is the time of year for rejuvenation.  As the weather calms and the trees begin to bloom, it is a change of pace for most knitters.  While many concentrate on scarves, hats and sweaters during the fall and winter months, these are too heavy for many as nature begins to warm.  Spring is a time for making lighter garments and experimenting with more delicate materials.  It’s ok to put away the wool and pull out lighter cottons, linen, and (yeek if I could only afford it) silks.  There are an assortment of spring and summer yarns available at your local yarn shops, online and even at the big box craft stores.  It’s a great time to make that light tank or even a cardigan set.  Have a spring jubilee with other knitters in the area.  Make a baby blanket just because you can.  Ok, maybe I’m the only one who does that. . .

Seed Stitch Belt 2010-03

I wanted a quick project and while I was hunting down a new belt in Kohls, I had an idea!  Rather than paying $20+ for something I really don’t care for, I’d make my own.  This is a great beginner pattern, no shaping necessary.  Think of it as a skinny scarf that has a little sewing involved.

Caron Simply Soft

Gauge 6 stitches 7 rows = 1 inch

Size 4 needles

1 Belt Buckle (try a craft store or take a part an old belt)

Cast on 7 stitches

Row 1: K1, P1, Continue to end.

Row 2: K1, P1, Continue to end

Repeat this row until desired length- remember that the belt will stretch (a lot) so put it around your waist to check.

Take Belt clip with tong and fold over one end.  Seem this to the belt.  See Picture below.

Knit loop- cast on five stitches and knit in seed stitch as above.  Bind off after 3 inches.  Seem together around belt (near belt clip.)

Wear with pride!