Tag Archives: knitting

Crawling to the Airport

6 Jul

Rather than driving directly to the airport for my 6pm return flight home, my sister and I took a leisurely drive to the airport yesterday in order to participate in the Lakeside Yarn Crawl.

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Unlike Portland’s 4-day Rose City Yarn Crawl, the Lakeside Yarn Crawl begins in mid-June and runs through Labour Day. That gives you two months to visit the twelve participating LYS (local yarn shops) that rim the Southern end of Georgian Bay in Ontario.

Our first stop was True North Yarn Co. in Barrie.This was the only shop of the 12 in the yarn crawl my sister had been to before. The first shop on a yarn crawl is always tricky. You don’t want to get carried away and spend too much, but you don’t want to walk out without supporting a local yarn shop. I bought a colorful self-striping yarn.

Our next stop was also in Barrie. Eliza’s Buttons and Yarn is a treasure, tucked away in a strip mall just off the 400. That’s a major highway for those of you not from Ontario. Deb, who was manning the store that day, was a gregarious knitter.She and her sister, Lyn, design patterns under the name Cabin Fever.  I was anxious to get to this shop because I knew from the passport that they stocked the signature yarn of the crawl and I wanted to ask about it. Deb told us about Dragon Strings,  the local dyer who produced the yarn, a cashmere blend called Lakeside, dyed to match the colors of Georgian Bay.

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I didn’t purchase a skein here, but chose another skein by the dyer in Fall colors. Me & my earth tones! My sister did get one, however, and we left feeling as though we had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

After a bite to eat at Panera, we went off the 400 and onto what William Least Heat Moon calls a blue highway. our destination was Alliston, and two more shops.

The first, Alliston Yarns, is what we like to call a grandma shop. It caters to an older, more traditional knitter. This is not the place to look for hand-dyed Blue-faced Leicester, but you can find a great gran for knitting aster or baby blanket. I got a skein of gradient sock yarn here.

A little further down highway 89 was our last stop, The Knitting Basket, in Rosemont, a tiny town about 10 miles west of Alliston. Angie, the owner of this shop, was my favorite shop person of the day. She runs her small business out of her house in this rural area. My sister and I fantasized about how we could do this when we retire. For a small shop in rural Ontario, she has excellent yarn. She has a lovely mix of everyday yarns and a range of independent dyers. I finally got my skein of Lakeside here! My sister and I each got a gift bag, too. We had a lovely chat with Angie about how her business operates. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop in to see her.

So, here’s my stash.

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My sister’s GPS indicated we could get to the airport on more blue highways, so, rather than return to the 400, we meandered through the Central Ontarian landscape and small towns towards Toronto, stopping for a Tim Horton’s in Bolton.

I got to the airport in a timely manner and had a bit of Canadian money left, so, I did what any self-respecting ex-pat should so: I bought the candy I can’t get in the USA!

Here’s my other stash.

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Frogging

3 Mar

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word ‘frog’ has 5 meanings.

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I hate to be a pedant, but they missed a few.

Frog can also describe a basset with his or her rear legs stretched out.

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It is a common term in Bassetdom as many basset hounds find this position very comfy and relaxing.

Frog is also a knitting term. It is a verb of recent origin, said to come from the sound a frog makes. Ribbit sounds like rip it and means to rip out your knitting. Let me use it in a sentence for you.

Realizing I had misread the directions, I had to frog the baby dress I started Saturday.

Alas, this exemplar is also a statement of truth. I started a new knitting project on Sunday. When I found it, I read the note that said “errata available” and actually found the error and correction. But caught up in the ecstasy of a new project, I promptly forgot about it. I was about 1/3 of the way through the back of the baby dress when I realized something was off. I kept going for a bit more, then remember the  “errata available” message. I reread the correction and realized it was unsalvageable, so I frogged it.

Then, I started over, doing correctly. It looks much better now.

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Sometimes a little frogging is all it takes to make the world right again.

The thing about knitting…

14 Dec

Knitting tends to be a solitary endeavor, unless you belong to a knitting circle. Even if you do, most of the work is done alone. But the cool thing about knitting is that, although alone, you spend a lot of time thinking about the person you are knitting for.

My mother taught me to knit, but it was my Danish host mother, Lis Pedersen, who taught me to make things and read a pattern. She also taught me to knit continental style.

I have a lot of happy memories tied up in knitting.

In Knit Together,  Angela Dominguez brings together a mother who knits with a daughter who wants to knit, but only creates tangles.

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A lot of beginning knitters get frustrated while learning…it looks so much easier than it is.

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Fortunately, our unnamed narrator has a patient mother who finds the perfect solution to this dilemma.

Goodreads Summary: New from an award-winning illustrator comes a sweet story of mothers and daughters, drawing and knitting, and learning to embrace your talents—just right for Mother’s Day.

Drawing is fun, but knitting is better—because you can wear it! Knitting isn’t easy, though, and can be a little frustrating. Maybe the best thing to do is combine talents. A trip to the beach offers plenty of inspiration. Soon mom and daughter are collaborating on a piece of art they can share together: a special drawing made into a knitted beach blanket.

For every mom and daughter, this is an arts-and-crafts ode creative passion and working together.

High gear crafting season

1 Dec

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After Thanksgiving comes the crafting panic. Will I get everything done in time? I always seem to start later than I ought to, even tough it feels early. So, now I am knitting in every spare moment.

So far, I’ve finished 3 pairs of socks that will be holiday presents. Then I made an ornament for an ornament exchange. Sorry I can’t post pictures; I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I have one hat to finish before I have to get everything in the mail. All of the gifts, except for the ornament, will go to Canada. The post office always recommends that parcels to Canada should be mailed no later than December 10th. Being the time minded obsessive that I am, I like to get them mailed before the USPS deadline. My self-imposed deadline is Monday, December 7th.

We are small gift givers. People I give to will get something hand knit and a book. I love knitting for people because, as I knit, I think about them. I think about other things, too, but I think about them more often than I do when I’m not knitting for them. I especially love choosing books for people. I usually take a day and go to Powell’s, armed with a list of ideas for each person. Then, I like to pick up each book, leaf through it and think if it is that just right book for them.

I always mail the parcel from the main post office downtown. I could go to a smaller one a little closer to home, but I like the ladies at the counter at the main PO. They are feisty and festive.

Once everything is in the mail, I take a little break. And then it is January: Knit Something for Yourself Month.

 

TGIF

20 Nov

At last, it is Friday. It has felt like it should have been Friday since Tuesday. I can hardly wait to do nothing tomorrow.

By nothing, of course I mean read and knit. I can’t talk about the knitting projects because they are top secret holiday gift items. Let’s just say I discovered a new yarn company, Biscotte Yarns, that I love.

This is the Morris Committees last weekend to discuss nominees and we will make our final pitches for books on Sunday. Next week, we vote to select our five finalists. They will be announced officially on December 1st, I believe. Then, the rereading begins. I need to know those five books inside out so I can articulately debate their merits when we meet in January to choose the winner.

In the meantime, I have a ton of good books on my to read pile, none of which are Morris related. This weekend, I hope to tap into a few of them.

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Have a great weekend. You’ve earned it.

 

Happy I Love Yarn Day!

17 Oct

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It is a rainy Saturday in Portland, a hot bed of knitting, so it is a perfect place to celebrate I Love Yarn Day. I have several yarns stashes around my house, but this is my display stash

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Literature’s most famous knitter is probably Madame Defarge   from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

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There are other books where knitting plays an important role. The first that comes to mind is Knit Your Bit  by Portland’s own Deborah Hopkinson.

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I met Deborah at the 2013 Rose City Yarn Crawl and got my copy signed.

Publisher’s Summary: Mikey’s dad has left home to fight overseas during World War I, and Mikey wants to do something BIG to help. When his teacher suggests that the class participate in a knitting bee in Central Park to knit clothing for the troops, Mikey and his friends roll their eyes—knitting is for girls! But when the girls turn it into a competition, the boys just have to meet the challenge.
Based on a real “Knit-In” event at Central Park in 1918, Knit Your Bit shows readers that making a lasting contribution is as easy as trying something new!

Older readers will enjoy Boys Don’t Knit by T. E. Easton.

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Publisher’s Summary: After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) with the impression that it’s taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to discover he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It also helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.

Last Saturday, I started my Christmas knitting. I can’t post a picture in case the recipient sees this post. Just know, I will be celebration I Love Yarn Day in a very appropriate manner.

The book to which my meandering thoughts took me

24 Aug

Yesterday, when I should have been thinking loftier thoughts, my mind took a little trip to Hallowe’en. (I still like to spell it with an apostrophe even though that seems to be going the way of the dodo.) I got thinking about Hallowe’en because, now that I am back at middle school, we dress up for Hallowe’en. And so the eternal dilemma: What will I wear? And can I knit it?

I started thinking about things I could knit as part, or all, of  a Hallowe’en costume. I could where a brain hat with a lab coat.

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And there is quite an array of Viking options. No weapons at school, obviously.

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I will keep thinking on this, but if I am gong to knit for Halloween, I will probably have to get started soon.

Have you ever noticed that when you are thinking about something it seems to pop up everywhere? Well, I went to the library a little bit after my Hallowe’en excursion, and found this little gem:

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Publisher’s Summary: Princess Decomposia is overworked and underappreciated.

This princess of the underworld has plenty of her own work to do but always seems to find herself doing her layabout father’s job, as well. The king doesn’t feel quite well, you see. Ever. So the princess is left scurrying through the halls, dodging her mummy, werewolf, and ghost subjects, always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well.

Luckily for Princess Decomposia, she makes a good hire in Count Spatula, the vampire chef with a sweet tooth. He’s a charming go-getter of a blood-sucker, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become friends. And then…more than friends? Maybe eventually, but first Princess Decomposia has to sort out her life. And with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she’ll succeed.

Andi Watson (Glister,Gum Girl) brings his signature gothy-cute sensibility to this very sweet and mildly spooky tale of friendship, family, and management training for the undead.

It is delightful graphic novel. the art is simple black and white, bit this actually adds to the ambiance. The writing is smart and funny. This is an excellent book for kids aged 8 & up.

 

Charity Crafting

16 Jul

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I finished the sweater on Monday. It took me several hours to sew all the seams, fix the spelling mistake and weave in all the ends. I pressed it for two days and now, it is sitting on my kitchen table ready for Sunday’s Oregon Basset Hound Games.

A few weeks ago I responded to a blog post from Knitpicks asking people about what sorts of charity crafting they do. I sent an e-mail that said:

I got Clara, my first basset hound in 1996. She belonged to my former roommates. Clara & I hit it off from the start. After I moved out, my friends called me and said Clara missed me, would I like to have her. Of course, I took her, but felt sorry for her being home alone, so I took my first step into basset hound rescue and got her a companion, Louie.

When Clara passed away, in 2008, I got Fiona, my first basset from Oregon Basset Hound Rescue (OBHR). Louie passed a year later and I got Lucy, as a companion for Fiona and began volunteering for OBHR.

Every year, OBHR holds summer games in Woodburn Oregon. In addition to the Games, there is a raffle. Four years ago, I started knitting a sweeter for the raffle. I am currently working on my 5th sweater for the Games. It has become a games tradition.

I’m not sure that this is the sort of “knitting for charity” project you are looking for, but I’d love to share more about it, if it seems interesting to you.

 

I got an e-mail asking if I’d be willing to talk about it on their podcast and said yes.

Last week, I called a number and recorded my one minute description of what I do each year for OBHR. You can listen to that podcast HERE.

There are lots of ways you can craft for charity. I hope this inspires you to find your muse.

Basset Games Sweater Problems

10 Jul

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The 2015 Oregon Basset Hound Games will take place next Sunday, July 19th. I am madly knitting to finish this year’s sweater. I usually have it finished by now,  but, I got a late start this year. I could blame my Morris Committee work for not being finished, but it is my own darn fault.

You see, I had an idea for a sweater of my own design. But I am not a designer. I planned to use a plain sweater pattern, but knit a basset head on the front and it’s cute backside on the back. I even found an online chart creator to convert pictures into something knitable. But I realized I should knit a prototype to see if it actually worked and I just didn’t want to. So, I opted to reuse a pattern from a few years ago, using the intarsia from this pattern by Peggy Gaffney’s Kanine Knits but on a different sweater than the pattern called for.

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I was almost finished the front when I noticed a problem. I guess the first time I knit this pattern I caught the error in the pattern. Here is the first sweater I knit about 5 years ago.

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What I noticed the first time, but didn’t this time in my haste to finish the sweater was that the chart spelled basset with two t’s: bassett. Bassset owner see this frequently, and kindly correct it, just as they kindly correct people who call their bassets beagles.

Here is the unassembled front with the spelling mistake.

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Fortunately, I can remedy this problem by sewing duplicate stitch over the offending “t”.

Today’s task is to finish the first sleeve and start the second. I have 9 days to finish both sleeves, fix the spelling, knit the collar and assemble the sweater. It is a good thing I am on vacation. I will finish on time and probably be able to squeeze in a book or two before the Games on the 19th.

 

 

It’s finally here!

13 May

There aren’t a lot of good books about knitting. Oh, there are fantastic pattern and history books, but the quality of novels on a knitting theme is, at best, mediocre.

I have been anxiously awaiting this book, which I first heard  about last year,  Boys Don’t Knit (in Public)  Bu T.S. Easton.

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Goodreads Summary:Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more ‘feminine’ side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course.

To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets ‘stuck in’. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates…and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…

The book was first published in the UK, where the cover was much brighter

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The library finally got a copy and I am planning on spending much of my weekend deep within its pages.

 

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