Sunday, February 22, 2015

Newly discovered

Gentle knitters,
I'm one of those people who deliberately limits input of information either because learning curves for new tech programs, tech gizmos, relationships, handicrafts (e.g. crochet, weaving), and pieces of music are so exhaustively extensive, or because I fear the accretion of new knowledge will displace/ permanently remove important stuff already at the edges of my brain bank. For example, I sometimes ponder why I'm unable to teach myself (or be taught) three or four additional useful methods of casting on knitting stitches, or innovative bind-offs, until I remember how my mental space is limited, and that if I foray into the realm of New Knowledge something good and still marginally accessible might permanently disappear.

This could be a false assumption, but it feels true. Plus the nature of technology these days is that if you can breathe, have one working finger to swipe or push a button, and partial vision, you can send messages, talk to people, and take photos in a manner that profoundly conceals your limitations. Just as I believe in the Winnicottian concept of the good enough parent, I also believe in the good enough knitter, computer user, photographer, musician, etc. Perhaps this is no revelation to you, mes amis, but for a recovering Type-A such as I am, it's an essential fact that needs to be placed daily at the fore of consciousness:  Repeat twenty-five times to self:  Good enough is okay.  Good enough is okay.

Recently, in the company of dear buddy Casapinka, I sashayed into the hinterlands of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and was introduced to a beautiful LYS, Love to Knit (or Love2Knit). There are many things to enjoy about this shop, (which I'd heard of for ages but never had the gumption to visit, as I feared information overload), though its two most outstanding features, at first glance, are the high level of friendliness generated by Ann and Gayle, the super-personable proprietors, and the excellent selection of yarns for sale.

It was Love2Knit that introduced me to a really superb fingering weight yarn, Jaggerspun of Springvale, Maine, that's super squishy, strong, and comes in the most beeyootiful colors. How is it that their products, made in New England, eluded me for this long? This company has been in business since the 1880s! I immediately purchased two skeins of red, as with all the endless snow this winter (as I write this, we are being bombarded by yet another storm), I need need need hot colors. (NB: Besides Jaggerspun, the shop carries really interesting indie-dyed yarns, a good selection of standards and luxuries, and has excellent prices on skeins of Swans Island.) was a good thing that I was able to reach out beyond my comfort zone and discover Love2Knit. And Jaggerspun. I'm now about to hunker down for a period of heavy knitting while I convalesce from surgery slated for Tuesday. The big question: Will I be able to finish all of the forty projects I've assembled for my recuperative entertainment during my period of confinement?

Here Ann kindly winds the Jaggerspun fingering into two cupcakes for me

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cat out of bag, and miscellaneous

You can see how enthusiastic Molly is about the latest news, my article in the Spring 2015 of Interweave Knits about Sarah Upton, indie dyer par excellence, and purveyor of the only gansey yarns spun and dyed in the U.S. from American sheep!

See the teaser, "Meet a Seafarer and her Gansey"? That's it!  Find the article, "Wool at Work:  The Utilitarian Yarns of Sarah Lake Upton," on pages 12-14. It was a blast to travel to Portland, Maine last August to do the interviews and photography. If only I hadn't broken my foot...Check out Sarah's beautiful website and blog, too. And buy some of her awesome yarn! Her yarn is great for loads of other things than gansey sweaters. I recommend the sport-weight for super durable socks.

So, while I'm on the topic of my personal disabilities (file under Crumbling Late-Middle-Aged Body abetted by intensive klutziness), such as breaking my foot last August (it's all healed), I was also dealing with a horrible case of tenosynovitis in my right (dominant) hand. Yes, knitting, playing two keyboard instruments, and constant use of a computer for writing, finally just about wrecked my hand. This was most upsetting, as you might conclude. I could barely knit for about a month, and began intensive occupational therapy plus regular visits to amazing hand specialist Dr. Lee,  at Foundry Sports Medicine in Providence.  (What, you didn't know that knitting's a sport? So is playing the harpsichord.) He, and his wondrous OT Vicki Moitoso, analyzed my knitting posture (or whatever one calls the positioning of the hand) and made suggestions--such as knitting on very large needles rather than number ones and twos. Apparently it's much less stressful to the hand to hold large objects (like big fat pens and number 15 needles) rather than those that are smaller.

Ergo, I raided my stash for bulky yarn and found a bunch of rug wool donated to me some years ago by a friend cleaning her ex-husband's debris from the attic. (Don't ask.)

I just love the funky labels. The yarn itself isn't too shabby, either. Preliminary research suggests these skeins date from the 1940s, and it's in amazing shape for seventy-year-old yarn. (It might be even older. Anyone know?) I found a lot of it for sale on E-bay, in case you suddenly develop a craving.

It's surprisingly pleasant to knit big. I'm using the rug yarn to make two heavy-duty rugs/blankets for my sister's completely mental dobermans, Theo and Dorrie. If I made a rug for my pets, they'd just pee on it. That's what they think rugs are for. Barfing, too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The medium is the message.

It's called the Winter Blues hat, and you can get it on Ravelry.  I modified the wording to assuage my delicate sensibility.  Also, I knitted it in a variety of Aran-weight leftovers. If you knit it as specified, using worsted, you may need to go down a needle size.