Friday, December 31, 2010

Fresh Starts - New Year

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to make New Year's Resolutions that I probably won't keep and a few that I will definitely decide to accomplish.

To accomplish a goal, you have to set a deadline, design the steps to get there and break it down in to parts that can easily be accomplished.  I get that.  But I've also learned that the goals that I should accomplish (lose weight) are not the ones that I'm motivated to achieve.  So this year, I've decided that I'm going to set goals that will be fun for me.

First goal, knit my husband a pair of socks for every day of the week.  After all, he really does like my hand knit socks and he deserves a little fiber love for all the time he spends listening to my endless conversations about wool, patterns, etc.

Second, spin enough of my new white wool roving  to make 3 skeins of lovely yarn for my first dyeing project.  I love the look of hand-dyed yarn and envy all of those talented individuals that make the lovely fiber that I lust after each time I cruise the web.

Clear out my yarn stash.  I like many fiberholics I can't resist a soft, fluffy, squishy bundle of yarn.  How will I clear out my stash, well Christmas 2011 is coming.

Finally, weave a scarf on my Spencer rigid heddle loom.  For those weaving experts out there, I realize that my little loom is classified as a toy; but, I've figured out a way to get a nice tight weave that will make a lovely scarf.

So, now that I've written down those goals/resolutions.  I guess I'd better get down to organizing the steps to get them done.  Yes, I'll suffer periods of time where the goals will be ignored or I'll wonder why I set myself up for failure.  But, can a fiberholic among us really say that these resolutions aren't worth the price?  Let the suffering begin :)

A Fresh Start Contest » Knit Picks Blog

A Fresh Start Contest » Knit Picks Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sister Secrets

When my sister and I were very young mothers we shared secrets. Like all secrets, ours required that we be quick-witted, stealthy, and have above-average smarts.

My sister's secret was hiding the pages of the phone bill before the hubby noticed all of the collect calls. You see, the collect calls were from her sister who was in crisis at the time and no matter what the time of day or night, she accepted those phone calls. As a result, many pages of the phone bill magically disappeared. To this day, I can visualize her dashing home to meet the mailman before her hubby arrived to snatch the bill out of the mail box. I'm sure that eventually we were found out.

Our other secret was our secret crocheting pattern addiction. We had a favorite store that sent out catalogs each month with the cute new patterns. We would save up our money, split the cost, mail in our order (yes this was prior to the internet) and wait for the goodies to arrive. Once that cherished bundle arrived in the mail it was off to the photocopier, the yarn store and then a little quality time with those patterns, the yarn and my sister.

This memory came to me the other day when I stumbled upon one of those bundles of photocopied patterns from long ago. It brought back so many fond memories and the simple pleasure of having a sister to share secrets.

Psst....don't tell.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thanks to Mom

I have to thank my mom for my addiction to knitting. Little did she know during that Campfire Girl meeting when she had that small group of girls with sharp pointy sticks and yarn, that she would plant the seed of obsession in me.

I remember being so uncoordinated that I held the right needle between my knees and used the left needle to make the stitches. And casting on wasn't a skill I learned until many years later when I took the art back up. It was only one project (house shoes I believe) but it planted a seed that has lasted a lifetime.

It's funny, I don't ever remember seeing my mother knit again. It could have been that the stress of dealing with that many young ladies was too much. Or maybe I just didn't see her knitting. I do remember her crocheting and I seem to recall that one time she told me that knitting made her too tense.

So, thanks mom for giving me a lifetime of enjoyment. Mom, I realize that you probably don't even know what an influence this knitting lesson had on my life. You probably don't know that knitting was my stress reliever when life was knocking me around a bit; you didn't now that knitting allowed me the joy of giving a simple gift to those I loved; knitting got me through the some of the worst days of my life. Knitting is my therapy and I owe my sanity to my little knitting lesson from my mom.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Knitting and the Simple Scarf

Scarves have been very popular over the years. I like many other knitters have knit my share of scarves...long ones, thin ones, lace and more.

Like many knitters these days, I'm spending much less on fiber, yarn, and needles; but, I still want to give my friends and family a gift that shows how much I appreciate them.

What could I make with only one skein of yarn. Yes, the yarn is unique. Yes, the amounts are usually small. Yes, this would be a challenge. Wait, I've got it...a scarf.

The scarf pattern would have to be beautiful, not too short, maybe a little lacy. So here it is. I'm not sure that it is an original pattern but after many years reading knitting pattern books, knitting many patterns and adapting ideas that I have seen from any of us really have an "original" pattern. So here it is, does it have a name....yep, let's call it the No Name Scarf.

No Name Scarf

Required Materials:

Difficulty level - beginner

1 skein of yarn - any weight, any fiber

Knitting needles - any size to achieve the effect you would like - larger needles result in a more open lace pattern

Cast on an odd number of stitches (remember the more stitches, the shorter the scarf)

Row 1: Knit 1st stitch, *yarn over,knit 2 together*, *repeat through end of row, turn

Repeat row 1 until you have achieved the length of scarf that you want.

Bind off.

Below is the most recent scarf on the needles.

Happy Holidays and Happy Knitting

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Here's What I Did On My Summer Vacation

As you know, I'm on vacation this week. Knitting for me is therapy. I get into the pattern, the tactile sensation of the wool, the sound of the needles softly clicking and I just zone out. The tension in my shoulders melts away, the frown lines in my face fade into the background and a smile starts to form on my face. Yep...this is my idea of vacation.

So, this week, I began working on a Ravelry KAL (knit along). I liked the idea of a knit along - it gives me a chance to connect with other knitters and keeps me challenged by making something that I would not normally take the time to knit. I was "struck" (pun intended) by how creative the designer, peargirl, must be. The pattern was challenging but not so difficult that I wanted to throw my hands up and quit. I liked the idea that I could "personalize" the end result by changing the colors to suit the individual that is getting this little hat for the holidays. So, here is the end result.

Thanks peargirl for a wonderful vacation day.

Ravelry: DebraEmanon's Dark Lightening

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What's Your Ideal Vacation

So, this week I'm on vacation. I got to thinking about what an ideal vacation would be like. Several years ago, my DH and myself went to Scotland. It was an intense 9 days filled with airline flights, layovers, missed connections, arriving at our destination; and, then like so many others, spending the next few days cramming in as much as we possible could in a short amount of time. I'm sure everyone of us has come back from a vacation like this thinking that we needed a vacation from our vacation.

So, this year, I decided to do what my perception of a vacation should be. I have no agenda. I plan on doing only what I want to do each day. Yes, we are planning on going into the woods for some hiking and camping (since it's November I'm sure that the area we are going to won't be crowded with the typical weekend traffic). But that is the only plan. I'm packing up some wool fiber, my drop spindle, a few knitting projects that need to be completed. I intend to hike a little... just enough to reduce the stress from my work schedule...but mostly I plan on sitting and relaxing and spending some time with my DH.

Yep, no electronic cell phones....laptops....iPods.....none of the trappings (note the word trap) of everyday life. Just me, him, nature and the sounds of woods.

What do I hope to gain? When I return, I want to feel like that for an entire week, I lived in the moment. I took in the sights and sounds of the day. Experienced the simple life. Got back a little bit of my sanity.

What will I give back? Well, holiday presents will be complete (yep the alpha person in me won't let me completely sit on my back side doing nothing). Hopefully, I return to my regular work life with a better perspective and attitude (cause right now my attitude stinks) and be able to bring a little more fun to the work place.

With that in mind....the packing is done, I've found the knitting projects and they are packed next to my seat in the car (yes, I do knit in traffic jams and we are off in the morning.

Talk to you next week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Repurposed Yarn

Repurposed - to use or convert for use in another format or product.

That's how repurposing is basically defined. For a yarn addict like myself - it's just another excuse to gather more wool (acrylic, cotton, mystery fiber) yarn.

I like the basic concept of repurposing yarn. It justifies my addiction on many levels. I'm saving money-after all, purchasing a wool sweater at the thrift shop and breaking it down to balls of wool costs me very little. My recent purchase, a man's large wool sweater, resulted in 8 skeins of wool for a mere $2.25. If, I'm feeling a little lazy, I can always shop the skeins of yarn that are hanging on the back wall in little plastic bags. Every once in a while, I find a couple of skeins of beautiful angora or some sock wool...but mostly I find those acrylic yarns that those of us who are truly addicted don't mind having in our stash.

I can be popular with the "green" crowd by repurposing. It's a great conversation starter and my ecology-minded friends think I'm doing my part to save the planet.

Ultimately, my reason for repurposing is all about my fiber addiction. I love to give gifts for the holidays, birthdays, etc. Since I have a large blended family, I can give those I love a nice gift - even those who are allergic to wool (see I just justified the acrylic). With the money I save, I can ultimately afford a little splurge down the line for a very nice lace weight or my newest wish list yarn - a little buffalo.

So with that in mind - wait I hear the local thrift shop calling - I think I'll continue to do my part to save the planet and repurpose more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Stitch A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Fiber addicts, I mean those of us who have a stash of wool, yarn, etc hidden in the closet, attic and basement, really understand how fiber can keep us healthy.

There is absolutely nothing that can ground you more than a few minutes spent knitting, crocheting, spinning or immediately become centered on the project....all outside thoughts seem to disappear and for that short period of time you are only working with the fiber. The tactile sensation of the fiber through your fingers, the smell of the wool all work to bring you back to you true self.

Yep, a stitch a day keeps the doctor away.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise

Well, the holiday knitting is on full tilt and the pressure is on for all of us knitters, spinners, tatters and crocheters to get the "gifts" done.

I actually love this time of the pressure of getting the gifts ready and the anticipation of how they will be received during the holidays. I'm fortunate/unfortunate in the fact that I'm not there when the gifts are unwrapped...don't have to see the looks of disappointment or if the gift is a "keeper" I don't get to see the looks of happiness.