Friday, April 30, 2010

Location, Location, Location

Meeting Leader: "We need a volunteer to go to the Whateverfest to man a table."
Me: "Will there be lots of waiting and boredom involved?"
Meeting Leader: "Yes."
Me: "I'm in.  Sign me up."  

Where do I knit? Where do I not knit is easier to answer. I do not knit at funerals or weddings.

My knitting bag goes with me to Weight Watchers, various club and town meetings, doctor's and dentist's appointments for me and my three teens, and to many, many concerts and rehearsals - my son is a very active musician.  Where I go, my knitting goes, pretty much.

At home my knitting spot is seasonal.  In the winter I like a chair right next to the wood stove ... though it proves difficult to stay awake.  In the non-heating season I like a sunny spot, like the porch or our family room.  And in the evening I go where the family is.

Where I knit matters little.  Whether I knit matters lots.  I'm thrilled and thankful to have the use of my fingers and hands.  And time on my hands, too.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Tools

My favorite tools for knitting are the ones I have made myself.  I have a series of tools I use to make recycled self striping yarn.

I start with thrifted sweaters, usually cellulose fibers and/or silk.  I frog them and ply the resulting yarn on my spinning wheel. Then I wind the plied yarn onto my super skein maker (which is actually a homemade pvc drum warper).  Here it is in pieces.  I'm not going to set it up today, because I know if I do none of my other jobs will get done.  I'll post pictures next time I set it up.  Soon.

Here's the resulting 22 yard super skein (body to demonstrate scale):
I dye the skein with fiber reactive dyes.  Then I wash it out by hand and put it back on my super skein winder so that I can wind it into more manageable sized skeins.  For that I use this, my homemade pedal powered skein winder:
Here's the yarn:
Then I knit.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Great Knitters

Today's assignment: write about a knitter whose work I enjoy. I have to answer this question two ways.  Sweaters are my deal.  I have my own sources of wool and other fibers, and I have strong ideas about how to use them, so I never go by a written pattern. But, I am constantly searching other folk's work for inspiration.  Looking at good sweaters just makes me feel downright happy. 

One designer keeps stopping me dead in my tracks for her ability to think outside the box:  Norah Gaughan.  She is a brave knitter, going where no knitter has gone before. Oh how I would love to sit on a couch and knit with her ... maybe eat some snack foods, plug in a good movie ...

The other knitter whose work I enjoy is Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.  Her book Knitting in the Old Way has been my companion for almost 25 years.  She taught me how to take my ideas and turn them into wearable pieces.  Her work has fostered my work.

Thanks Gals.  I sure appreciate the help.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Knitting Aspiration

Back in the 1980's I worked in a fitness center/restaurant/bar.  This center became my hub of operations as a college student.  It was where I worked, played, made lifelong friendships, and where I met my husband.  Fast forward twenty-five years and I'm still a knitter, but not a fitness instructor any more.  Far from it.

Here in my neck of the woods there is an annual half marathon along the shores of Lake Winnepesaukee.  My fitness center friends train for months and enter the race as a personal challenge.  After the run we all convene at my house for a huge Thanksgiving dinner.  I believe Thanksgiving is the most important holiday, so we celebrate it twice a year. 

This year the runners have dwindled to two, but the supporters/eaters has grown to something like thirty.  I proposed that in support of our two lonely runners we each set a personal goal and try to achieve it by race day.  One friend's goal was to never wear holey socks again.  Another's was to not run 13 miles.  Mine was to self-publish a pattern.  I have had to revise my goal recently, when I discovered it would be wise to have my pattern test-knit before putting it out there.  So I'll have it ready for test-knitting by May 8.  That's what I aspire to.   

Monday, April 26, 2010


Eskimimiknits has a great idea: a week of prompts for knit blogs.  I'm giving it a whirl.

Keeping Warm with my Knit Mentor

During the energy crisis in the 1970's we installed a woodstove in our den, a Jotul. I can still recite the engraving on the front, "ed grev ned min eld, sent om kveld, nar daagen ur slut, gud gdee min eld, alder slokna ut." I have no idea what that means, and I apologize for any misspellings.

My mother took up her trusty needles and knit us all manner of winter wear, as we were new transplants from the warmer climes of Georgia. When my father bent over to stoke the stove, my mother could reach his crack with the cold tip of a 14 inch aluminum, right from her knitting spot. And she never missed that opportunity.

My older brother, a boy scout and learning the world of knots, asked my mom to teach him how to knit. Hey, cool. I joined in. There begins my journey of a lifetime of knitting.