Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"One who knits" versus "A Knitter" and Travel Projects

I'm about to head to the rock, also known as Newfoundland to visit the family. My grandmother used to be an avid knitter but she doesn't knit anymore because she finds it hard to follow a pattern. Everyone in my family (approximately 40 people) has a personalize hand knit Christmas stocking courtesy of my Nan. Nan always had a proper stash which she just recently gave away. I hope she gave it to someone who really couldn't afford their own stash. I would call my grandmother "A Knitter". But there are lots of people in my family who knit. Yet, they don't seem to understand my new found obsession. I'm looking forward to showing my 5 projects I'm taking with me to my Nan. I'm interested to hear what she has to say when she sees I have 5 projects on the go at once. This is where I think you can separate the "Knitters" from "one who knits". A "Knitter" has the obsessive requirement to cast on everything and anything that tickles their fancy. While "one who knits' tend to do one project at time to completion even if they lose interest and the project waits endlessly to be finished.

There is also a difference in in how "one who knits" approach yarn shopping. "One who knits" tend to buy only the yarn required to knit a set project. They will decide for so and so's upcoming birthday/anniversary/baby/wedding to knit an item. They will find a pattern and buy the correct yarn (where is the challenge in that?!) and cast on. "A Knitter" will buy yarn that calls to them, that they just must have. "A Knitter" will figure out what to do with the yarn later, that's not important. In fact, "A Knitter" will bring home said yarn and cast it on with no real pattern in mind. They just have to see it on the needles!

All this being said, I'm "A Knitter". I have a proper little stash and in the less than 10 months since I started knitting, I've already been on 2 yarn diets (the requirement to NOT buy yarn until some of your stash is used or you come into money or the credit card company stops calling). Mine was imposed due to lack of proper storage space. My closet overflowth. As I mentioned I'm taking 5 projects on vacation with me. I still have 3 here at home that are on the needles.. Oh god, that's sad. Anyway, here's what I'm taking with me.

First I have to finish Nan's cable booties. I finished the first one and the toe is way too pointy. Luckily I have enough yarn to do 2 pairs so I'll knit up 3 more and give Nan the ones that turn out the best. And keep the other ones for myself. There is nothing quite as relaxing as curling up on a chilly evening to watch tv, read or knit with a nice pair of cable booties on. Yum!

Tim thought I should just put a bell on the toe and be done with it...

Next project I'm taking with me is the knitting bag I'm doing for my aunt. I think. See previous posts. I'm debating this one because I'm going to have to adjust the pattern to work for the afghan she's knitting. The bag will need to be wider and not so deep. I need to give this project some thought and vacation time may not be the time for really reworking a design. I'll either take it or the wool socks for my sister in law, also see previous posts. Both of these projects are done with Briggs and Little wool so I like to work on one of them while I have lots of cotton projects on the go since the cotton projects give my allergies a rest so it's a nice balance.

Next I'm taking some wool to make my great aunt a pair of cable booties to give to her while I'm there. I can't decide which colour though. I may consult my mother before I pack up the yarn.

Next I'm taking some wonderful Blue Sky Cotton to knit gloves. These will be for me in the vibrant pink but I want to see how they turn out because I would like to do a pair for my Nan for Christmas.

Next I'm taking some cotton wool blend (from Knitpicks) sock yarn to make Granny Tan's Heat Wave Socks. I'm psyched to do these. They'll be for my niece or my friends daughter for Christmas.

Lastly I'm taking some wool to do a neck gaiter. This project is fun, easy and quick.

Actually now that I think about it, I should take mostly easy projects that I can do while chatting with the kin over a cup of tea. Yes, I have the good tea and the good coffee all set to go! What's a vacation without a good cup of tea or coffee?!

Monday, August 20, 2007

What is this? A lesson in felting...

What is this?
It's a purse, silly! Actually, this is a purse. I refelted this one after cutting off about 3 inches because it was too wide. It refelted quite well but now it's almost too small. Oh well, you can't always win.
This mess is a purse gone mad. I tried making a purse with 2 very different types of wool. The plain red is briggs and little while the stripped is paton classic merino. Yes, I did know they felted differently but I went ahead and knit them together anyway. Then I proceeded to felt them through 5 agitation cycles without checking the progress. Needless to say the paton's felted up waaaay to much. The briggs and little is just right. And the purse is a freak of nature. Lesson learned.

On a slightly more positive note.. I'm working on some cotton cable booties in Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton. I love this yarn. The booties are turning out nicely but I've made 2 mistakes... How I am making mistakes on such a simple pattern is beyond me. And no, I haven't been hitting the wine hard. You can't see them but I know they are there. These are for my grandmother, and trust me, she will find the mistakes pretty quick. However, that's what makes them homemade! (or at least that's my story)
I'm also working on a pair of heavy wool socks for my sister in law. It's made from the briggs and little wool and it's their sock pattern. I find it hard to knit with this stuff because of the wool content and the roughness of the yarn but I keep washing my hands and keep cream on while I knit to try and minimize the impact on my allergies. I also have some of this to knit up a bag for my aunt so I'm really trying to make it work for me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Birthday Bits!

Granny Tan and I met for lunch at this delightful spot called Maelstrom here in Moncton. It was super yummy. Now I must let my stomach rest before dinner with Tim. Tomorrow, nothing but veggies, I swear!

Tan had already told me she had her heat wave sock pattern for me for my birthday which was excellent since I have some sock yarn just screaming for that pattern. But I didn't expect this!

I had been keeping my eyes out for a sock bag but you can't find them anywhere. Today I found out Line is making them. She has done a beautiful job! I was soo excited to get my very own. Thanks Line!

And I had also been looking for the dpn holders like Tan has. Well she ordered some for me off of Etsy. You can't really see but on the blue bead in the centre is a little dog. It's very cute. And the most practical thing for sock knitters!

And now I have some official K2Tog stitch markers. I was using dollar store ones so these are much nicer. And Tan added in a ball of sock yarn cause you can never have too much sock yarn!

She officially rocks. But not to worry, I already have an awesome plan for her birthday.....You'll have to wait though, it's not until October....

Tan also brought me some balls of briggs and little she balled up for me. I had mentioned it in my last post. Nice colours, eh?

I'm going to make another one of these bags for my aunt. They make great knitting bags.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Yarn Harlot, Birthday Books and Yarn

Tuesday night I got to see the Yarn Harlot. I hadn't really read a lot of her blog, I had stopped by once or twice but that was it. I didn't own any of her books. But Granny Tan has been a fan for some time and spoke quite highly of her. Now we all know how Granny Tan gets me sucked into things (or so I like to say...). So when she mentioned the Yarn Harlot was going to be in Mecca (aka Halifax) I didn't need any other excuse to pile the furry beasts in the car and head east.

It was so worth it! I have since added her books to my Chapters wish list. I can't wait to read the first one. Tan offered to lend it to me but I think I want my own copy and since I have a couple of knitting projects that must be done now it's not as if I have a lot of reading time on my hands. I'm still trying to finish the second sock for my mother's husband's birthday... which was 2 days ago. He saw and tried on the first sock. Luckily it's been way too hot to need socks lately.

The pattern is Twisted Socks by Bev Warner for KnitPicks and the yarn is KnitPicks Memories in Cape Cod. I'm almost to the toe of the second sock.

While in Halifax we visited the Tangled Skein and I stocked up on some cotton yarn. I'm going to make a pair of cabled booties to take to my grandmother later this month and the pink it to try making gloves for myself. I want to try making them for myself before I try making a pair for my grandmother plus I can check what colour would be best when I visit her later this month and review her coats. This is Blue Sky Organic Cotton and it is amazing.
I had also bought some briggs and little 100% wool to make a felted bag for my aunt for Christmas but Tan is currently balling up the skeins for me. I got 2 shades of blue which are quite nice.

I felted up this purse for my mom for Christmas last year but it is too wide. So I'm going to cot away about 3 inches, reattach the strap and add a second toggle which may just be for show, i may put a zipper in it. I will probably put it through one aggitation cycle in the washer just to felt up the new seam and strap attachment spot. I am also in the process of knitting her a new purse, same colours but different shape. We'll see how it all turns out. I may take one of the purses home to my aunt when I go to Newfoundland to see my grandmother later this month.

Lastly, I got some new knitting books in the mail today from my mother for my birthday. I got the Mason Dixon knitting book, Knitting without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann and No Sheep for You but Amy R. Singer. I had looked through Tan's copy of the No Sheep book. It's an excellent resource for those who have any interest in non- wool or blends. The patterns are a bit beyond me at this point but eventually I'll be up for the challenge. Knitting without Tears has the seamless ski sweater which I am dying to make but I think I'll have to wait until after Christmas.... My birthday isn't until tomorrow (mom also sent me 2 cookbooks!) so I'm not allowed to dive into any of these books until then. Ooooo the temptation!