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Archive for October 23rd, 2003

Catching Up

Thursday, October 23rd, 2003

Well, I’ve been a busy girl, but when I was home yesterday I was re-learning history on the Time site. Some of that was spooky, but the inspiring pieces were worth the “trip.”

New Purple Hat
So now I need to tell you what I’ve been up to. I finished a hat I started on my USM knit machine when Tony was here. It is in Woolpak yarn (the light worsted, I think they call it 9 ply but I’ve lost the ball band) in a very dark purple, almost black. I used the same pattern I tried last time when I used my turquoise handpainted yarn (which is slightly thicker) but since that hat didn’t have quite enough fabric in the top of the hat, I decided to hand-knit a ribbed hatband on the hat once I sewed it together (after coming off the machine). This is how the hats I buy look like they are constructed. I need to do that band on smaller needles next time, perhaps, but the concept worked really well and it fits fine, plus has a little extra fabric where I wanted it to have some.

It is gorgeous. The shape is exactly that of those berets I purchase in stores. The only thing wrong with it is that the store-bought hats are made of a much finer yarn, so they are more drapey. I am going to experiment with the USM and thinner yarns and see what I come up with. The machine theoretically knits sportweight to worsted yarns, but since I’m shrinking (fulling/felting) the knit item once it’s off the machine, if I can figure out the shrinking factor I should be able to create a pattern I like myself. This pattern has six sections and I would like mine to have twelve, ideally. It won’t have prominent corners that need to be rounded during shrinking, if I can figure out a way to do it with more sections.

Mid Michigan Knitting Guild
Tuesday was knit guild day. Tony and I went to the annual Show-And-Tell extravaganza, where everyone (and it is a big group) shows off anything they want to show, that they knit during the summer. The guild doesn’t meet from June-August so this is sort of a reunion meeting. Usually we have the show-off meeting in September but this year we had a Philosophers Wool trunk show in September so it was put off for one month. I had a pile of things to show as did several others. My items were small, though. It’s amazing how many sweaters and afghans some people can knit, and some of those women work full-time jobs and or are mommies as well.

Local Bloggers at Guild
I got to see several of Sarah Peasley/Handknitter‘s projects. She had more stitches accomplished than any of us this time, she has been incredibly prolific this summer. Her Mary Tudor sweater is just incredibly beautiful in real life, both as an artform and as a garment that makes the person wearing it look beautiful. I wish I had found time to get over to her table and see some of the lovelies she brought. There are so many people in the guild, and several brought me things for my CityKidz Knit! program, that I got tied up and never got over to say hi to her. Sigh… (Photo of guild, see how many folks there are? Tony is just left of center wearing a hat, and Sarah P. is the very far right person, paying full attention to the speaker while I was not.)

Bloggers Tracy/Sweatergirl, Debi/TrixieChick and Daphne/Serial Knitter were all there. I did get a chance to talk with Tracy a little bit, but I was bummed that I missed talking to Daphne.

Daphne brought a finished Koigu Charlotte’s Web Shawl and I really wanted to see it. I love Koigu more than any other yarn (though I have some in my stash so I’ve been good and have not purchased any in at least a year). I would adore a project mixing several colorways of Koigu, and wanted to see hers up close. I’m not sure I would wear a triangular shawl and I’m not sure I want to do any lace, but anything with Koigu could tempt me for a good while before deciding yes or no. I have enough to do right now, so that is a 2004 project if it happens at all.

Abundant CityKidz are Knitting!
Speaking of CityKidz Knit!, things are going great guns. Wednesday I had 14 kid knitters and two adult knitters besides myself. Today I had ten knitters. This pic is my Wednesday crowd. My group does change by the day.

I love this pic because I have four boys there, and three had not been around in a while. One boy was very excited to finish his wristband in one day. I was not confident he could do this, but by the time our session was up he had about four inches finished. At night, when I stopped by the computer room (I was at Habibi dance practice down the hall while Mr. Mike was working in the lab) and that lovely child was knitting again. He found the magic and was going for speed! Too funny.

In this picture I have fourteen lovely children and only four of them I had not seen in the last two weeks. All of them had visited my knit program at least once or twice at some time in the last year. This is a wonderful development. This summer I had a very transient crowd. I taught knitting for 8 weeks and had 32 children who came only one time. I had only one child who attended 6 sessions, and the rest came 5 or fewer, most of them 3 or fewer sessions. So I am really enjoying the continuity of the school-year crowd. I have younger kids this year, and I have more loyal kids. They are very enthusiastic and have all sorts of ideas.

Four of them have decided in the last week to try knitting in the round. Since all four of those kids celebrate Christmas, I suggested a Christmas stocking so that they don’t have to worry about it fitting and it will appear to go faster than a hat might. They are working top down on short circular needles, and will make a tube which will get a wedge toe and then we will add an afterthought heel. I have big hopes that at least a few of them will finish this fairly large project.

I have two other big dreamers who are doing well on bigger projects. One girl is knitting a top-down hat with mohair and a knit-along accent yarn, on double pointed needles. Another is on her third or fourth week of knitting and is most of the way through a backpack. She knit the bottom and the main body, learned to make eyelets for a drawstring, and is now knitting a top flap. She is really doing well and loving it. She says she knits even faster when watching TV. I’m glad she’s knitting while watching, that makes me feel good.

Planning New Projects
I stopped by Yarn for Ewe tonight after work. It was crowded, with two classes going on. That means the yarn shelves (which are on rollers) were pushed to the sides of the room to make space for tables/students. Wendy and I had a fun time adventuring between the students and the rolling shelves to find some Encore yarn in beeeeautiful colors for a little project I’m going to make soon as a gift (no more said until gift is given/received).

I also picked up two skeins of Noro Kureyon for a pair of maxi-legwarmers inspired by the Sally Melville Knit Stitch book. I am not as nuts over this yarn as some folks are, but the legwarmers are really colorful and I adore that. She uses two variegated colorways with very long repeats, and alternates them into subtly (randomly) striped fabric, and it is wonderful. I’m picky about color and lots of Kureyon has orange or yellow or brown, which I don’t want. However, tonight they had a turquoise/green/purple, colorway 40, so I got two skeins while they were available. (The pattern calls for 2 skeins of each colorway.)

The other day I was there and they had one skein of a hot pink to purple, but I needed two so I passed it by. I will keep looking as I travel from yarn shop to yarn shop (I’m loyal to all yarn shops, they all make me happy) and when I find that colorway I love, I’ll get it and make those legwarmers. (Anyone in Michigan know where I can find that hot pink/purple colorway? I prefer to buy at locally owned shops if at all possible.) Meanwhile, the skeins I got today will make me smile all by themselves. And this way I buy the legwarmers on the installment plan, so to speak… not all bad.

I think that Kureyon yarn almost looks prettier in the skein than knit up, if I may be so bold to say so. I would love a bouquet of it in a bowl or basket to decorate my table (if my table wasn’t already overburdened with the other yarns I’m currently using in projects). So beautiful!

Adventures in Cashmerino
Off to putz around with my Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino. I knit one mini- handwarmer with it and will do one more, then I will do the unthinkable. I’m going to throw them in the washer ***AND DRYER*** (this is not allowed according to the ball band, and I can find nobody who has tried it who will admit they did). I want to see how it comes out. I want to know if washable merino and microfiber with a little cashmere can handle the heat. My theory is that it will not shrink, but might fuzz or pill a bit. I’ll let you know how it works out.