Making It Brief

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No time for long posting today. Too busy knitting. Will leave you with a picture of Ricky Swavey, the sexy laimg src=”http://images.demandmedia.s3.amazonaws.com/verify.png?id=B85NOfkP375Yz1lRcg58iAja”
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tin lover peacock. Swoon ladies, swoon.

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: When I Retire From Knitting

Everyone has those projects that they plan on doing as soon as they retire.

“When  I retire, I’ll rebuild that classic car.”

“I can’t wait to retire so I can  finally have the time to quilt.”

“I so want to redecorate the whole house, but it will have to wait until I retire.”

“Let me retire and then I’ll have time to do everything that I want!”

Well, I’ve got a project on my retirement list as well. When the kids are grown and I retire from knitting, I plan to take on the challenge of knitting a bedspread. That may sound odd, but it seems to me that in order to make a bedspread, one must no longer have plans of knitting anything else for the remainder of their life. (They must also be without any form of stash as not to distract them from the task at hand).

I look at lacy knitted  and crochet bedspreads and my jaw just drops at the time and skill it took to create them. Have you ever even tried to knit with bedspread weight cotton? Working with it should be an Olympic sport!

So, until that day when I retire, I’ll just enjoy the work of others and stand in awe of those with the time- and sanity- to create these beautiful pieces.

Crochet Bedspread

 

Knitted Bedspread

Mystery KAL

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I just finished a mystery knit-a-long (aka, KAL), with the group Sisters Crocheted & Knitted In Christ on Ravelry. I had never done a KAL before, so I was excited to be a part of this one. Watching the piece form in my hands while trying to guess the image was a lot of fun. It is a great introduction into working on vintage patterns that don’t always have a picture to show you what you are making.

The pattern is by Rhonda White and can be found on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/3-crosses-cloth or directly here:http://www.knittingknonsense.com/3crossescloth.html

The yarn I used is Aunt Lydia’s Denim yarn. It’s been in my stash for years now. I was so glad to be using it for this project. It will be a gift for a dear friend this Easter.

A Sock Poem

ODE TO MY SOCKS
 
by Pablo Neruda

(Translated by Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as though into two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin.

Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.

They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.
 
Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp tempation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.
 
The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty,
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Sock Knitter Interview: Mary the Hobbit

If there is one thing I love more then sock knitting, it’s talking to other knitters about sock knitting. I sent a call out for knitters who would like to be interviewed and a few brave souls responded. So, please enjoy the following interview with Mary the Hobbit-

Please tell us your name, where you live and any special talent(s) you have, (other then knitting)?

My nom de chaussette is Mary the Hobbit. I live in Reno now after working in Silicon Valley for 25 years as a computer programmer. I have an affinity for languages – studied Russian in college, and Japanese was an obsession for several years. I wrote a blog called Language Geek for awhile until the knitting bug bit. Also I have a serious book collection of translations of The Hobbit, hence the name.

How long have you been knitting? Who taught you how to knit?

My mother taught me to knit when I was little. In northern Wisconsin where I grew up, knitting was a fun thing to do in winter. After college I was working and living in California. When we moved to Reno 5 years ago I decided to knit a throw for the new living room, started visiting yarn shops, and discovered all the wonderful yarns that have appeared since I last checked 30 years ago.

When did you start knitting socks?
Tell us about the first pair of socks you ever knitted? (What pattern did you use? Who did you make them for?)

I was looking for interesting projects to feed my new knitting obsession. As a girl I knit mittens on 3 needles but I’d never tried socks. So I got a book of sock patterns, I think it was Vogue’s Socks Two, and gave it a try with some purple and blue Red Heart yarn. They turned out clunky and enormous. Another early attempt was ribbed socks for The Spouse made with cotton/bamboo yarn because he thought wool was scratchy. Ha – little did he know that 2 years later he’d be begging for more wool socks!

Where are those socks now? (i.e., in your drawer, frogged, in sock heaven?)

I don’t wear the Red Heart horrors, but sometimes I show them to students as an example of a first attempt at sock-knitting. Kind of a before and after thing – it’s clumsy at first but with practice you too can make fine socks that fit.

What made you decide to become a designer?

It’s been an evolving thing. First I knit a few socks, then I knit some more socks, bought more sock yarn, knit more interesting and complicated sock patterns, bought lots of colorful sock yarn, bought and read sock books, started tweaking sock patterns, went to Sock Summit, learned new sock knitting techniques, and eventually it turned into designing socks for fun. The first pattern I ever published was my Seriously Southwestern Socks and they were/are free. I didn’t start selling patterns for awhile because I didn’t think they were worthy.

What was the first design you ever sold?

I don’t consider myself a Real Designer yet, because I’ve only sold patterns on Ravelry. Also I have no blog (sigh), which is de rigueur for Real Designers IMO.

What advice would you give to other aspiring designers?

Learn as much as you can about different techniques and architectures and yarns and experiment with them, so you have lots of possibilities for expressing your idea. When you have a design, make a good-looking sample and use it to market your pattern.

What are your most treasured pair (or set) of knitting needles that you own? Tell us why?

I have some Lantern Moon bamboo dpns, size 1, that I used for my first dozen or more pairs of socks. They’re bent and battered but I still love them, even though I mostly use Addi Turbo circs these days.

Where is the furthest your knitting has ever traveled?

Birmingham, Alabama – The Spouse and I participated in the Mustangs Across America event, and I knit a pair of socks in the car.

If you were a yarn, what type and color would you be?

I would be a multicolor blue/purple Malabrigo Sock yarn, soft and fine.

Fantasy knitting- If you could knit something for anybody (dead, alive or fictional), who would it be and what would you knit for them?

I would knit some thick warm socks for Strider (Aragorn) of Lord of the Rings, because he spent all those years as a Ranger in the wilderness of Middle-Earth, protecting Hobbits from evil creatures.

What’s on your knitting needle(s) right now?

I’m working on Yet Another sock design, of course! I keep swatching with different yarns, trying to get the right effect. For some reason, each swatch looks like a sock toe!

Some people just can’t seem to understand why in this day anyone would ever think of knitting socks. So, I’ll ask you the question sock knitters get all too often- Why would anyone waste their time knitting socks when you can get a 12-pack for five bucks at Wal-Mart?

Anybody who asks that question misses the point, which is not to obtain cheap thow-away socks. Knitting socks is a hobby that fulfills many needs: for relaxing activity, for a feeling of accomplishment (look what I made!), for self-expression, for creative impulses (what would this pattern look like with that yarn?), and of course, for comfy socks!

Could you please provide a link to your website, blog, Flickr, Facebook, Ravelry or Twitter, or all of the above.

This is embarrassing, but I have no blog. I keep meaning to start one but am easily distracted by new shiny yarn and pattern ideas. My Ravelry designer page is http://www.ravelry.com/designers/mary-the-hobbit.

Thank you Mary for giving your time and giving your talent to the world of knitting!

Power Lunch

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This is what most of my lunches look like now. No rest for the knitter with deadlines! Grabbing a few bites of food in between rows. Now this is what I call a power lunch.

Doesn’t Every Knitter Deserve. . .

I was on Flickr the other night viewing pictures from Sock Summit 2009, when I came across this gorgeous picture.  This picture was posted by Knit Chick. Even though it is a collection of several knitters’ items purchased on day 1 of the Sock Summit, I can’t help but drool at the idea of bring home this kind of loot. Seriously, doesn’t every knitter deserve to bring home a suitcase filled with all these goodies!

The Joys of Being 30

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I use to be one of those people who always carried a day planner and would start my mornings organizing my to-do list in order of priority. The sale associates at my local Franklin-Covey and I were on first name bases. I would even schedule in my bedtime!

But all that changed after I turned 30. I don’t put so much pressure on myself to get a million things done in one day. I no longer feel the need to be superwoman. I’m just enjoying being me.

Life is no longer put on paper and set in stone. To-do lists are scribbled on the back of grocery lists and my schedule is open and changes as the day goes.

Before, in my twenties, I had something to prove. It was me against the world. I wanted people to know who I was and realize I’m someone important and deserving of respect.  Now my motto is more along the lines of, “as long as God is happy with me, I could frankly care less what you think”. My mom tells me it gets even better when you turn 60. She says that by that time you just put up your middle finger and walk away.

I happened to notice this change first in the way I knit. I use to only knit if there was a true need. I researched patterns, compared yarns and would frog and re-knit until I got it right. Now I’m not ashamed to use some no name yarn I found at the thrift store and whenever I make a mistake, as long as it’s not noticeable, I just shrug my shoulders and keep on knitting. Knitting is no longer a functional scheduled craft. Now its a kick-ass fun playtime with sticks and awesome fibers!  Here’s to being 30 and knitting!

Cats Love Yarn

Okay, I’m thinking the history of the first yarn ball went something like this:

In the B.C. era, a shepherd, after hours of spinning, realized he could wound his yarn into a manageable ball. The shepherd spent the next hour winding a decent ball. Five minutes later, a wild cat discovered the freshly wound ball and in less than a minute had it all unraveled into a huge tangled mess.

As long as there has been knitters, there have been cats that own them. It would seem that one could not exist without the other. I know more knitters that own cats then those who don’t.  I happen to live with two cats myself and can tell you first hand the joys and woes of having cats and yarn under the same roof.

I have waken up to find balls of cotton yarn sitting in the water bowl. I’ve tripped over wool spider webs that are wrapped around every chair and table leg in the house. I’ve even found balls of Angora yarn that has been licked to death and lovingly pushed under the couch for the dust bunnies to enjoy. My stash box has been raided more than once and I’ve become an expert at retrieving knitting needles from under the fridge. Oh, the fun of cats with yarn.

Cats have this uncanny ability to know exactly when you are about to knit and will make themselves comfortable right on top of your work. Dark haired cats adore sitting on your light-colored knits while light-haired cats prefer darker knits. They roll our yarn balls to just out of our reach and chew on our yarn so as we are knitting we get the lovely gift of wet fingers and soggy sections in our project.

Despite the added challenge of knitting around cats, they are a great comfort to any knitter. They never judge our work and could care less about any mistakes. They think acrylic is just as good to lay on as cashmere and are always appreciative of any knitted gift they receive. In short, they are the perrr-fect knitting companions.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I am addicted to looking at pictures of knitted socks in progress. Something about seeing a sock just started is thrilling to me. My mind is curious about how the sock will evolve the patterns, the texture, the colors.

Seeing half-finished socks also shows me how proud sock knitters are of their work. Most writers would never show a draft of their writings. And a painter would never think about showing a painting that’s only half completed. But us sock knitters will show you the entire process from start to finish. To us, the art is not in the finished product, but in the process of making it. I simply love that about us knitters.

So below, I share with you a gallery of socks in the making: