Sunday, September 26, 2010

What it felt like doing...

My friend asked me to make her a little knitted felted box. She sent me a pattern she'd found online.  I tried the pattern and it was a dud. After some frustrating attempts, and after consulting with my knitting support group at the library, I gave it up. But I didn't want to disappoint. I decided to knit her a felted tote bag. Here's the free pattern I found online:

It was supposed to look like this:

Here's the unfelted bag I made:

And here's what it looks like after two go-rounds in the washing machine:

It has become a yoga-mat bag. That's what its intention was, all along, apparently. I showed it to the Knitting Goddess, who said, "Here's the thing about felting. It's an inexact process." Please note that this is a Lion Brand pattern and I used Lion Brand 100% worsted, the label of which claims "Perfect for Felting."

My friend now has another good reason for going to yoga class.  Happy birthday, my dear!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Planting ahead

Busy ant that he is, H has begun the winter crops:  kale, chard, radicchio, lettuce, garlic. Some of them are or will be outdoors under a heavy mulch wrap; others, like the lettuce, will be in the unheated hoop house. This is the first year he'll do lettuces there, and we are interested to see how long they can go before frost nukes them. Above photo is of two kinds of kale, still looking summery, as there hasn't yet been cold here to nip surrounding vegetables, and the straw mulch is yet to be applied.

My philosophy of knitted baby clothes is similar to that of the Master Gardener, inasmuch I prepare ahead by knitting everything for recent arrivals on this planet in size one year. It doesn't bother me that a sweater may be on the large and loose side.

Ted here is comparable in length and width to a three-month-old baby, but he thinks this oversized shetland-wool sweater looks fine on him, and doesn't mind the rolled-up sleeves.  He's loath to relinquish it, but it must be mailed tomorrow to Sofia in Berkeley, California, who was born in July. For those of you unfamiliar with Berkeley, it, like many coastal cities, has its share of morning mists and cool days, and we anticipate that Sofia will wear the sweater, in good health, for more than a year.

I've knitted this pattern once before; it's a free download that you can access here (scroll down to the bottom of the page) and was the ostensible subject of my very first ever post last year. The pattern calls for cotton yarn; I did it in wool and think the gauge may be larger than with cotton, but I didn't measure. That's one of the pleasures of knitting baby clothes--it's so not an exact science that it feels improvisatory. Too large is not a problem. This pattern is extremely clever--everything is done in one piece except for the button-on center panel. Thus you may knit several panels if you choose, for variety and to save washing the sweater too often. The pattern was designed by a mother of five, so she knows.

Speaking of which, a young woman came to the Langworthy Library Knitting Association meeting a few weeks ago with a ball of fingering weight white cotton yarn and size six needles she'd recently purchased. She didn't know how to knit but planned to make a sweater for an infant. I wished her much luck.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September song

But the days grow short, when you reach September...

and the autumn weather turns the leaves to grey

And the days dwindle down,
To a precious few...
And these few precious days

I spend with you....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First Prize!

Gentle readers, I'm happy to announce that the First Prize in this year's Knitting New England Poetry of Knitting contest, goes to 

Brandee O'Thown 

of Providence, Rhode Island. 

It wasn't hard to decide, as Ms. O'Thown's entry was both distinctive and accomplished. Herewith, her wonderful poem. I hope it inspires you to enter your own in next year's contest, which will run during the summer of 2011.

Knitting Life 

by Brandee O'Thown

Blend sox, afghan blocks.
Ribbed edge, born in college.
Buttonholes, rev St st rolls.
Aran monster, alpaca disaster.
Yarn stash—oh, wool rash.

Lined pocket, “cable” rocket.
Onion skin, fleece lanolin.
Allover lace—my _mistake_ face.
Intarsia, no mantra.
Getting bored, slipped st cord.
Book stack, wood needle crack.

Circular heaven, looped edge leavens.
Mosaic virus, St st tyrant.
Keep gauge, turn page.

Fair isle.  Fair day.
Knit.  Sit.  Flit. Writ. 


Friday, September 3, 2010

Always a cause for celebration

is the opening of another New England LYS.  Eneri Knits is in Oak Harbour Village shopping plaza, Exeter, Rhode Island. September 4th is the "soft" opening; Columbus Day Weekend is the grand opening. 

Owner Irene DeVerna may be familiar to patrons of Country Corner Yarns in Charlestown, having worked there prior to setting up her own shop. Much thought, energy, and dedication have gone into this endeavor, and Irene's vision of how she wants it to develop is already apparent. There's a distinctive feel--of serenity, peace, and friendship--no accident, as Irene wants Eneri Knits "to provide a support system for knitters." Besides many wonderful yarns, tools, and accessories, Eneri Knits will offer classes and problem-solving sessions on a regular basis. Check the website for schedules, business hours, contact info, and directions.  Below, the workshop area.

We will keep an eye on the evolution of this lovely place. It's a leap of faith to open a new business in difficult economic times, but then again, interest in knitting has historically surged when the outside world seems bleak. "Peace, relaxation, and tranquility to all who join us in knitting" is what Eneri Knits hopes to convey to its patrons. What's not to like? We wish Irene and Eneri Knits much success.