Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pay It Forward!

I've been tagged by Twisted Knitster to PAY IT FORWARD!

So I will randomly choose three people who reply to this post to send a little gifty too, maybe yarn, maybe something else, maybe both! Who knows. Like Twisted Knitster I promise to do it some time in the next 356 days. So leave a comment. I will contact 3 people to let them know they are tagged with in a week or so. And then be prepared to be surprised .... some time .... in the next year!

Come on and join in the fun! Pay it forward and put a smile on someone's face!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Freaky Large Ball!! and what have I been knitting? Wouldn't you like to know. Ok, I'll tell you....

Is there a limit to how much you can write in the "title" field? Could you just write a whole entry in there? Maybe I will try that someday but today.....

Check out this BIG BALL OF WOOL! This is one skein I bought yesterday for the Mystery Shawl 3 Knit-a-long. Yes, I'm a member and I am just getting around to starting. What took me so long?

I've been busy.
I wanted to see more of it before starting [not as adventurous as I though I was].
I was living under the misconception that 1200 yards of lace weight would be freakin' expensive. Hey, it's lace weight ..... oooo .... it's special and it's 1200 yards, oh my.

But then I read Melanie's email [to the MS3 yahoo group] where she revealed the theme, Swan Lake. and that we would be knitting a wing. A Wing? How cool is that! I want to knit this now!! I got motivated.

So I was at LYS S&B yesterday afternoon and asked to be shown some lace weight so I could plan my purchase. I was show this fabulous merino by Grignasco and was told I only need one skein. Just One? I turned it over and was pleasently shocked to see it was only 25 bucks and is over 1300 yard. Why is it so cheap? Yarn is sold by weight! The thinner the yarn the more yardage you get. *lightbulb* I knew that but I guess I really didn't get it. $25 for yarn + $5 for beads = I am knitting this amazing shawl for $30! Why didn't you tell me sooner that knitting lace was so cheap!!!!

I get my yarn home and I am so excited to get started I couldn't wait for my daughter's camera batteries to recharge and take a proper picture of the skein before ripping into it and start winding. I don't have a swift [I looked at those at the store too - $99, hmm, maybe someday]. I layed the skein around my knees and started wrapping the itty-bitty, skinny yarn around my hand. After an hour it really dawned on me that I was winding over 1300 yards, 1250 meters, thats 1.25 kms, about 3/4 of a mile. Two hours and I was done! I didn't have the gumption to do any itty-bitty, skinny knitting.

I found soothing solace in my other fab project, Cardigan for Arwen from Interweave Knits, winter, 2006. I started this in the spring after seeing it on Sabine's blog "Mindful knitting". [scroll down to see Sabine's entry on Arwen, the pictures are no longer there but good insight]. If you know me on Ravelry you've probably seen this before.

I am loving it.

I knit the back first, lickity-split, and 'am now on the end of the first sleeve on the first front. I like the way the sleeve and half the hood are all knit in one piece with the front.

What I have learned so far on this project? Kate Gilbert knows what she is doing! Don't try and change the pattern! When she says "break yarn and cast on for sleeve using back-loop method" she really means it. I thought I could just cast on without breaking the yarn [i hate sewing in ends, don't you?], I thought I could do a lot of things besides follow the directions. I start that dang sleeve 4 or 5 times before I gave in and did it right ..... like Kate says to do it. I tried shortening the sleeve, because I am short. I messed up the math [SHOCKING] and it ended up too short. Start the blasted sleeve AGAIN! Good thing I am a process knitter. I don't like frogging but once I am into knitting again I am fine. The past week or so messing up is long forgotten and I am at peace again.

I have a secret project started recently. I'm not saying much about it because i don't want to hear how crazy I am at attempting it ..... and I don't want to embarass myself in front of everyone. I'm fine embarassing myself after the fact. I promise to tell you all about it wether or not it is a success. Very soon, next week or so.

It is finally cool around here. I, for one, do not miss the blasted heat!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pitfalls of the Craft Culture

I have been inspired by Rebecca of 'My Heart Knits'. She blogged about the culture of obsession in the crafting community. Read her entry here.

Here is my response:

Girl, when your right your right!

Knit with your heart! It's a good knitting philosophy.

Your right, all the crafty influences around us do tend to breed lust for what we don't have. I have mostly been removed from gratifying that lust because of our financial position. So there is one thing about not having a lot of money to throw around, you tend not to waste it. Every one of my yarn purchases is carefully thought out. I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to spend $100 at Ram Wools, when I was in Winnipeg, in ONE hour. I didn't do it. Only spent $70 something. I wish I had picked up a book, they had a few of EZ's works, but I just didn't have the time to think it through. I couldn’t feel good about spending that last 25 bucks or so on something I hadn’t thoroughly justified in my head. And I think maybe the books were more than $25 so I would have had to justify going over budget.

Books… there is my downfall. And then there are the magazines. I taught a knitting class this past spring with about 8 students. The 2nd or 3rd class I brought out my mags and books for the students to look through. After the gasps and exclamations about how much there was to look at subsided it occurred to me that I might have a problem. [and it was maybe half of my collection]

After flipping through a few, one of the student’s mothers asked how I had the time to knit all these patterns. I felt like someone had just slapped me and said, “Snap out of it!” Now, that was not her intention, she was honestly asking. The imagined correction came from within me. I wonder if anyone else noticed I was stunned? All I could do was stammer a bit and explain how I liked looking at them and reading them and I get inspiration from them and bla bla bla…. Then admit that maybe I have a magazine addiction.

Up until that point I had found it difficult to not buy every knitting mag I found. There used to only be 2 [VK and Knitters] available so it was not so much an issue. But then in the last few years many more became available but I hadn’t changed my buying habit. Since then I censor my buying. If a magazine doesn’t have a FEW patterns that interest me and/or articles [technique is what I look for] I don’t buy. This has curbed my spending a lot.

Still, what the culture of knitting has become can create a kind of greed for more, a desire to be knitting what the “in” crowd is, to read all the popular blogs, to hear all the popular podcasts, to have everyone reading my blog, to know as much about this culture as possible so I get the in jokes and cool references. Eek! It almost sounds like high school again.

It CAN create that kind of atmosphere but doesn’t have too. If I keep my head on straight and use all the wonderful internet paraphernalia [blogs, podcasts, ravelry, etc.], books and magazines as tools they can ENHANCE my enjoyment of my craft.

After reading Rebecca’s post I did some rethinking.

As the readers of my blog know I just recently got involved in the local knitting and spinning scene. At the knitting group I showed everyone the socks I was knitting and, when asked, showed the pattern I had printed off I was surprised that most had never heard of the site. One of the ladies showed a “new” book that she was about to read that the storeowner had just read and enjoyed by a “new” author. It was Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee’s first book “Yarn Harlot”. I said I had read it, that it was funny and had some interesting info. But what really interested me was the group’s lack of knowledge about the Yarn Harlot [I remember when she was telling stories on the knitlist at yahoo and someone suggesting she should write a book. I, of course, said nothing about this.] Hmmmm. These ladies were all working on wonderful projects, incredibly talented and knowledgeable and they did that all without the internet.

Need to get internet obsession under control.

Why am I knitting socks? I always said I never would. My Dad had many pairs of hand-knit socks from his mother that he never wore because he would put his toe through them on the first wearing. So much work and never worn! I wore my first pair over another pair a lot this winter around the house and sometimes in my boots for extra warmth. They are big and bulky and suited for that. I am knitting a pair of Monkeys that are beautiful but I have caught myself many times wondering if I can walk around on such beauty. [I will give it a go.] Still I bought myself a skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool to knit another pair largely because of what I read on blogs about it. I started knitting socks because everyone on the internet was talking about it, how wonderful they are to knit and to wear. But is it wonderful for ME. I don’t know yet. I won’t know until I finish these Monkeys and try them out. So I don’t know about starting another pair of socks until I know for sure. When I made my Sea Wool into a ball, yesterday, it so struck me with its beauty that, again, I was second-guessing my plan to make socks and walk around on them. I have even been searching the internet and my library for alternatives.

Anyone have a pattern or idea for a project for 355 yards of sock yarn? I’m thinking lace.

I’m following Rebecca’s example and reassessing my queue again. This also means…… sorting out my stash and library again! I love doing that. I am hoping I find some lace weight. I have done a few small lace projects and feel ready for the big one… a full size shawl. I’m thinking the chances are slim but what about a lace shawl made out of something heavier. Might be more suitable to the North-western Ontario climate I live in….but now I’m rambling. Must move on……


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