Lazy Summer Days

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer. In Southwest Florida, it has been summer for about a month now. The days are above ninety degrees and no one wants to spend time out in the summer. While the pool looks appealing, the air-conditioning is much more comforting. I’m about five inches into my light summer scarf/shawl after a week’s worth of work. I should have this done by Labor day if I’m lucky. Once it is completed, it’ll be my favorite summer accessory. The warm weather is a good time to work with lightweight materials such as cotton, linen, silk and bamboo. I’m using very, very fine wool. I’d love to make a skirt out of linen, but right now I don’t have the budget or the time to cover such a large project.

Summer is a great time for reading for those of us who love to delve into a novel while relaxing pool side or beach side. I recently finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This is something that I could not put down. If I only had five extra minutes in the morning before rushing off to work, I spent those few minutes perusing a few more pages. This is a story of the maids who work in the deep south in the early sixties and the families that they take care of. If you like reading, go out, buy or borrow this book and tell your friends. I hope that this will change how we think of people and class structure.  Society has changes but in some ways, it never will. Kathryn Stockett allows the reader to empathize with Miss Skeeter – the upper class white woman who decided to write the stories of the black maids, as well as the maids themselves, Minnie and Aibileen. I read this in five days despite work, school and even a guest visiting (read a few pages, talk a bit, sneak back to read another page). This one will definitely win awards and hopefully be discussed in classrooms as part of regular curriculum some day.

New Projects

Congratulate me. After a little over a months hiatus, I am back knitting. It is not a grandiose project, but I think it will be treasured. Back in January my mother bought me a skein of this gorgeous candy colored yarn Lace Wool yarn in Gelato made by Prism. We bought it from a small shop in Coral Gables, The Knitting Garden. It is a lace wool and I’ve been waiting for the right idea to pop into my head. I’ve decided to start a shawl/scarf out of the light weight material seeing as the temperatures are going to remain hot in Southwest Florida for several more months. The only problem is that I’m using size 0 bamboo knitting needles. In other words, this is going to take forever. I know it will be worth it in the end.

I’m attaching pictures of the project and the label. I’ll keep updating this as it goes a long.

If anyone is in the area, I recommend checking out The Knitting Garden. It’s a cozy shop with a great selection and a comfortable environment. The staff is extra friendly. There are big chairs to sit and hang out and they even offer coffee and tea. It is an experience not to be missed. I look forward to going back one of these days.


Making Moolah with Knitting

How to make money knitting? If you find out, please let me know!!!!

There aren’t too many people who actually make money knitting. Most of us try hard not to spend too much of our hard earned cash on the prized strings in our local yarn stores. There are a few people who are making money and even a couple who earn a regular income off of knitting in general. Most of us don’t have the resources to go out there and open a yarn shop. From what I can tell, it is hard to keep up the enthusiasm after awhile. If you are a really talented knitter, there are wealthy people who will pay good money for a hand knit sweater or fancy shawl. I think bags are good too, as long as you can find someone who will pay for your labor as well as the cost of yarn. So far, I haven’t earned even close to mininum wage.
There are companies that will pay to have you test their patterns. Once again, you have to be an experienced knitter. I’m not sure how much they pay, but I’d assume the more experience, the more your income potential.
A great website to visit is etsy. On etsy, people can set up shops (similar to ebay) but can only sell vintage, supplies, and hand-made items. It is fun just to browse around or to find gifts for other people. I have my own shop set up- but I haven’t tried selling anything up to this point.

Most of us don’t knit to make money, but it is definitely a plus if possible.

Ode to Knitpicks

Most avid hobbyists have a favorite store/a favorite brand/ a favorite website to browse around. I have an activity that I liken to window shopping online. I’ll go to a webpage, add everything I could ever want into the shopping cart, and then eventually close out the page. Some places, like amazon, have a wish list so that later on I can decide if I really wanted that thing-a-ma-bob or not.

One of my favorite sites to do thing is Knitpicks. I know this is a not a new company and if you’ve ever favorited anything to do with knitting on Facebook, you’ve likely had an ad from them pop up in the right hand side of your window. Yet, I still love the site. I have the Harmony Options Interchangeable Needles. They are colorful and sharp. Some people may not want pointy objects that are that sharp, but I don’t mind the occasional jab at my fingers as long as they help me tear through some rows faster.

A favorite part of the Knitpicks site is their enormous amount of accessories. Yes, accessories are not always necessary but they are almost always wanted. I don’t mean in that -I need a stitch holder while making this collar- kind of useful way. No- I want the Crafty Critters Knitting Tool Holders because they look cool! I want something shaped like a crocodile to hold my needles. Why not? I do have a GoKnit Pouch which is very useful. I like to throw my small projects in their and I can take them in the car, to work, and to the lunchroom with me as I need to. The best part about it is that it is waterproof, so I don’t have to worry about a loose cap on my water bottle messing up my yarn.

There are tons of great gadgets and gizmos, quality knitting needles, and plenty of yarn on the site. If anyone is looking for a sturdy set of quality interchangeables, I recommend the wood harmony options set. I have no doubt that any of their products will be loved. Happy Knitting.

Sticks and Needles Part II: Shapes and Sizes

Most of us picture a pair of knitting needles, long and skinny with a knob at the end.  I’d imagine them being aluminum and purple.  Those were my first pair of knitting needles bought at the local store, Raindew.  I loved the click click sound they made as I create each stitch.  It was not until years later that I learned about the variety of needles out there.

Straight Needles: These are the long skinny needles with a knob at the end.  They are good for scarves, small blankets and smaller simpler projects.  The knob at the end prevents the stitches from falling off and the stitches are passed from needle to needle with each row.

Double Pointed Needles: These are shorter, skinny needles, usually coming in packs of four or five.  Both ends are pointed with nothing to prevent stitches from falling off.  These are used for socks, i-cords, stuffed animals and small shaped projects.  The stitches are knitted in the round, going from needle to needle with two-four needles holding yarn and one ‘working’ needle.

Circular Needles: These are two straight needles connected by a cord.  The yarn is knit from one needle onto the other, with the stitches sliding on or off via the cord.  These are used for round projects such as hats and sweaters, can be used using two needles to make objects that would normally require double pointed needles (knitting with two circulars), or can be used for knitting flat objects such as scarves by turning the work at the end of each row as if one was working with two straight needles.

Cable Needles: These are used for cables.  They are a smaller needle, usually in the shape of a hook or similar to a ‘V’.  These are used for holding stitches behind or in front of the work, while other stitches are knitted and then knitting the cable needle stitches to create a bump, design or cable.