Tuesday, February 27, 2007

OK - it's warm

That's the way it is here in Atlanta. If you don't like the temperature, just stick around for a few minutes! I think that was last week I wrote about how God Awful Cold it was but now I'm telling you how wonderfully warm it is!! We have been working out in our backyard garden today and just enjoying every minute of it! I think it must have hit about 72 today! I love the south....

We went to this yard sale over the weekend - who dosen't love a good yard sale?!?! We picked up a few really neat things. I bought a bunch of fabric, we bought a desk that is painted terrible colors but will refinish beautifully, a chair to go with the desk and other little things. But the guy that is moving (a neighbor) said that he was going to have someone come in and clear all of his bamboo out of his backyard. So, we immediately volunteered (with the understanding that we got to keep the bamboo)! We need to keep our dogs out of our garden when we plant it so, here is what we have been doing today:

Here is the desk and the chair we got. I think someone accidentally gave this desk to their teenager!!

And here is what the unpainted wood on the desk looks like:

And here is the fabric I bought:

I am less than adept at sewing. It took me two hours to cut two pieces of fabric to the same size so I'm not really expecting a needle case anytime in the near future. But, of course when I do finish it - I will post pictures if it is in fact presentable enough!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

OK - it's cold.

It's cold out there people. I was feeling REALLY cold until I read about Canada weather being -30. -30.....what does that even mean?? To me, that means to not go outside because human bodies will instantly freeze. So, I feel like a wuss telling you that we had to drag our butts out of the house to go climb Stone Mountain when it was 24 degrees this morning. That must be like a nice spring day in Canada. Again, thank goodness I live in the south. In all fairness, with the wind chill on top of the mountain it was 0 so that's gotta count for something. So, we had a nice climb despite the cold air. Wayne said his feet were actually sweating in his hand knit wool socks - mission accomplished. Here are some pictures we took on top of the mountain. No need to tell me just how very lovely I look - I already know, thanks anyway.

Here's a picture of my cute husband. His pictures are always cuter than mine - that really ticks me off too. But, by the end of our climb I was calling him "Trojan". If you can't figure it out from the picture then I'm just not going to tell you.

Signed, Knit Witch who is ready for flip flops!!!!
OTN - started a crochet baby blanket last night and a sweater for one of our dogs that will probably be ready in spring.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Yarn Harlot Strikes Again

If you have not been to the Yarn Harlot's Blog today you need to go check it out. What she says is so true - aside from being hilarious. The general folk (muggles as she refers to them) truly have no idea of the immense number of knitters there are in the world. I am still amazed at the amount of people who look at me like I have just grown a second head when I tell them I enjoy knitting and crocheting. But you are so YOUNG, they say. As if knitting has an age requirement like a bar or something - MUST BE 105 TO KNIT - WE CHECK ID. They are even more amazed when I tell them that I spend time teaching others how to learn this craft AND regularly keep up with a website that teaches people to knit and crochet. Also, the fact that my husband helps me with this website and has learned far more about knitting than he ever thought possible (or reasonable) makes people look so shocked I'm afraid they might pass out.

I'm not sure why the stereotype applied to fiber crafts exists as it does. I'm beginning to think (because of this and many other situations) that people just get used to, and almost enjoy, being closed minded. Anyone who knits, crochets or enjoys any other type of art/craft, knows the benefits that are reaped. They go far beyond having that lopsided sock or uneven sweater, or perfect doily at the end of the process. Knitting/crocheting/spinning/whatever is simply meditative. Tell your children and/or spouse that you picked up knitting because they FORCED you to - after all, you needed to find some way to stay sane!

I was absolutely delighted when my son told me he was dating a girl who is a knitter - what luck!!! He is just 17 and is already smarter than 99% of his peers! I didn't ask a single other question about her until I knew all about what she liked to knit, if she knew how to use circulars, if she wanted more lessons, if she had knit a scarf yet, if she had been to the website. Of course, my son still being a 17 year old boy despite all his intelligence, had no idea how to answer my questions. So, then I had to move on to other questions such as was she nice, did she go to school, does she treat him well - you know - the "other" stuff.

But, back to the original issue - knitters and their numbers. They are huge. Even I had no idea how many of us are out there. Since I have started this website and been putting up instructional videos - I have just been amazed at the number of people who have emailed me telling me how much they appreciate the videos. People are asking for more videos "Could you please do a video on this because your videos are so great and I learn so much?". Just wow. Thank you to all the knitters and crocheters who have visited my site and thank you even more to those of you (and there have been lots) who have emailed me to tell me how much you have appreciated my efforts. I hope I am helping people to learn, become better knitters and to enjoy a bit of (generally much needed) meditative time.

I know, I know. It's hard to believe that knitting is really meditative when some knitter that you know is over on the couch cursing and asking for a large glass of wine as they frog the 32 rows that they just knit. I promise - it's true though.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is there a store that sells humor?

If anyone knows of such a store - please let me know where it is. I would like to refer some people there so that they can learn to appreciate humor. Thanks!! :)

Knitting is so much like life...........

Well, again, my husband and I had one of our amazing "hot tub" discussions this morning. Just talking about life and the energies that we, as humans, put out there into the world. We are so proud of what we have built together, are so eager to share our life with others, but yet are so protective of our own world and the influences that we allow into it. We have such a wonderful home full of love and peace. So, how in the world does knitting figure in?

A finished object is only as strong as the materials you put into it. Every strand, every fiber, every stitch, every mistake and every manipulation all somehow impact that finished product. The possibilities for what you do with that fiber are endless. Every pattern/idea/object is a possibility just lying in wait of your own creation. Sometimes we choose to put in strong, beautiful, top of the line fiber that will last forever and be strong, and sometimes we choose to purchase the "bargain brand" that may not last as long or be as pleasureable to work with but will certainly get the job done. Not that either choice is good or bad, it is just that - a choice. Just a part of the possibilities that we put together in the fabric we are making.

Life is the same way. We get the strength out of it that we put into it. We can choose to build our lives with good, strong, top of the line materials or we can just put into it what we need to in order to get by. As in knitting, we choose how we want to handle our mistakes. We can choose to go back, re-work that mistake and make it look and feel better, or we can leave the mistake as-is and just live with the mistake we have made. Again, not that one decision is better than the other - the action simply depends on the circumstances.

Expert or experienced knitters usually love sharing their craft with beginners. We enjoy sharing what we love and what we are good at. We want to teach someone about something that we feel passionately about in hopes that it will bring someone else joy in their own life. We show them the tools, teach them about fibers, discuss techniques and open up another chapter in their endless book of possibilities. The possibilities of where that person takes their newly learned skill are limitless. Ultimately though, it is the beginners choice about how he/she uses the tools, chooses the fibers and weaves their own craft. Sometimes we will agree, and sometimes we won't. Even if we don't agree we have the ability to stand back in appreciation of someone else's creation and understand that that beginner has just created their own possibility and also, perhaps, created some kind of possibility for someone else.

I want to choose what I allow into the fabric of my life. I want to take an active role in what I allow in and what I leave out. This goes for people, things, jobs, situations, friendships, whatever. I want to know that every "ingredient" I am putting into my life is doing a part to make the "soup" of life feel better, taste better, be better. I want to be responsible for my own "life soup" and encourage others to do the same for their own "soup". I never want to rely on someone else to do "life work" for me. That is how we learn and grow - by participating in the activities that carry us along our path. Even the most mundane activities are a part of that wonderful path.

So, I guess my advice is to look at every single thing you do in your life. Determine whether that action truly helps you add to your life soup, your being. If it does, great - build on it, share it, explore it. If it does not - look at why. Look at the ways you can change your course, change your actions, change your vision so that you are positively adding to YOU and making YOU better as well as adding to the lives of those around you. Be responsible for your own life. It's all about balance. Balance with each other, balance with nature, balance with our environment, balance with our spirit. All things are here for a reason, to teach us, to guide us, to help us and to create beauty in our lives. We just have to be able to receive the teachings.

I learn more and more everyday. Thank you so much to the people, the things, the situations, the life in nature that all do so much to teach me - both how I want to be and also how I don't want to be. I am learning. My life techniques get better with learning and practice - as does my knitting!

Friday, February 9, 2007

First Sock Mate!

OK - here it is! The mate to the first sock - FINALLY! This one turned out much better - even though it did require some frogging around the heel. I even used kitchener stitch on the toe and didn't even cry! I am pretty darn proud of this sock - I think my husband already has it on!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

First Sock!!

OK, here it is. The first sock ever! Well, not THE first sock ever but MY first sock ever. I really wanted to learn to do socks so I sat down with some worsted weight wool and some DPNs to try and get the hang of it. This was the first time I had tried to make a sock or really used DPNs so it was a challenging project! The Yarn Harlot has a great guide in her book "Knitting Rules" that I used as my guide to making the sock. I didn't really have a pattern so I was just winging it.

After about 3 days of working with the DPNs I decided there MUST be a better way. Those things suck! So, I decided to try making them with magic loop knitting instead. The results were MUCH better for me. The transitions came out much smoother and my joins were tighter. I haven't seen any sock patterns written for use with magic loop knitting but I gotta tell ya, it worked well for me. I made the sock with worsted weight wool (even though I know that isn't really "sock yarn") but I just wanted to practice how to do it and go through all the moves. I don't know about most folks, but I was very glad I didn't have a "perfect sock" in mind when I set out on this project. I just wanted to make something that sorta resembled a sock.

I learned A LOT doing this project. The sock is too big, it isn't stretchy enough, I totally bunked up the bind-off, I almost cried at least twice, but all in all it turned out pretty good for a first attempt. When attempting your first knitted sock - be sure you have a supply of wine on hand - it helps. Amazingly enough, it does actually look like a sock! My husband spent the rest of the night wearing just one sock. Amazing what love will make you do, huh? I have a picture below as well as in my Finished Projects photo file with my husband modeling his new solo friend. I guess I better get to work on the second one!