Month: October 2016
When I wrote about going camping last weekend I mentioned that I brought some knitting with me. Next time I should remember to start a project more than an hour before I want to use it. Knitting takes time.
I wore a partially finished glove with the yarn stuffed in my pocket. I felt very knitterly hiking through the woods.
Yarn: Noro Kureyon – 110 yards of wooly goodness – colour 263 – red, brown, tan, purple, chartreuse. This yarn feels very rustic and is slightly thick and thin. I wanted to use every last inch, so I started the gloves from opposite ends and worked toward the middle.
Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm)
Last weekend my husband and I went camping. We’ve gone hiking before and camped with family, but this was the first time we went camping alone. This is such a beautiful time of year! We went to Oconee State Park and hiked a 9-mile section of the Foothills Trail.
Day 1: I realized about an hour before we left that my hands were going to be cold. So I packed a skein of Noro Kureyon and some US 8 DPNs. We drove to the park, hiked 2 miles, and set up camp. At which point we realized we had forgotten a lighter. No fire for us. We marveled at the stars, and then went to bed.
Day 2: Up and at ’em! Hiking is the best way to warm up! Especially when you have no fire. It’s a good thing we packed Clif bars and beef jerky!
We hiked and hiked and hiked and it was pleasant until mile 7 of 9.
Then my legs and feet decided to hate me. But it was so beautiful! Once we made it back to the parking area we begged a light off a kind stranger and made food. Warm food! Heavenly! Thus fortified we drove home (where I promptly took a very hot bath). My feet took a while to forgive me. I think my birthday pedicure helped.
Happy Birthday to Me!
Yesterday was my birthday. I love birthdays because they are the one day a year that is really just about me (wow, that sounds really narcissistic…). And I don’t work on my birthday. I’ll work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, but not on my birthday. And let me tell you, this year my birthday was amazing!! My husband went above and beyond to make it so.
We started by going to breakfast, then I went to get a pedicure with a friend. Apparently this is the time when my husband dreamed up a dastardly birthday plan. I had planned to have a very low-key day, so when I arrived home I pulled out my knitting and turned on my favourite Netflix show. My husband had gone out on an unnamed errand and returned with a gift – well, multiple gifts, actually. He brought me a tiny bread tin, a cooling rack, and two baking mixes! Yum! I set to work immediately to make us some tiny Pumpkin bread!
A little later he presented me with another gift: A tiny Doctor to go with the Tiny TARDIS on my desk.
And so the day went on. Every time I least expected it he would turn up with another present. This man knows me well: he gave me something from all my favourite fandoms. I love baking. I love Doctor Who. From Harry Potter he gave me The Tales of Beedle the Bard. For knitting he gave me Knits for Pets (I need to make some cat toys now). For music he gave me a CD of the Three Tenors Christmas. He made me a steak dinner. And he gave me tea.
I think this was the best birthday I’ve ever had. And it’s not (just) because of the presents. It’s because I spent the day with the person I love most.
The women of my family are very crafty (in the best sense of the word). My great-grandma made beautiful handmade quilts. My nana taught my mom and her sisters to crochet. I learned to knit and taught my sister. I just found out that my great-great aunt was a tatter! My aunt contacted me, asking if I wanted Aunt Marie’s tatting, since she passed away several years ago. I’m the only tatter left in the family, it would seem. Of course I leaped at the change to have such a family heirloom. It seems Aunt Marie was working on several borders and trims. No patterns were included with her work, so I’m not sure what the original purpose was.
Lace before blocking is a crumpled mess – as much in tatting as in knitting, so when I received the package I wasn’t sure what it all actually looked like. There was the beginning of a doily (I think); two triangle sections of lace that must have taken hours and hours to make, each about 18″ long; and three trims – one about 8″ long, the others over a yard.
After a good soak and a pinned blocking, look at the treasures I have been given! I will cherish these, and I hope to be able to honour Aunt Marie’s hard work by incorporating these pieces of lace into future projects.
I have a friend who has recently learned to knit who comes to me for knitting help and advice. She knits a lot! Seriously, you should see the pile of scarves and washcloths (I, myself, have 5. They make a great wedding or housewarming gift.) she has made! The knitting bug bit her pretty hard, and she is seldom to be seen without yarn and pointy sticks.
Recently she decided hats were going to be the next thing she would learn to knit. Accordingly she bought yarn, I supplied her with circular needles, and away she knit! She faced the hurdle of ribbing, which can be seriously confusing for a beginning knitter. She learned to knit in the round (yay for purl-less Stockinette!). And she learned about decreasing in a rather funny way. All started well: she divided her hat into 6 equal sections, decreasing every other round to the very end. At which time she realized her hat was very pointy! It looked like a Cone-head hat.
So she ripped the last few inches out (terror!), picked up the stitches, and decreased every row. This was much better. Now her son can enjoy his handmade (with much love) Christmas hat. Doesn’t it look like the most comfortable hat ever?
Knitting a Lifestyle
I don’t know about you, but as a knitter I feel a lot of internal pressure to knit all the things. If I need a sweater (or gloves or a scarf, etc.) I feel that I cannot buy one. I am a knitter, therefore I must make it. And until I make that item I must make do with my current wardrobe options (and possibly be cold). Considering that it takes me almost 2 months to knit an adult sweater I could be cold for a long time. I look at other knitters making fingering weight sweaters and doing colourwork or complex lace, and I think, “Get it together! You should have more things done by now!” I long for a future where I have mountains of handknits – not just sweaters, but shawls and socks and gloves (this vision also makes me wish I lived somewhere a little colder, even though I hate the cold).
But thinking about that perfect future world where I have knit everything I need and everything I want brought me to a profound realization: what would I knit after I finished everything I want to make?
I’m sure when I reach that point I will have a whole new set of things I want to knit and people to knit for. But for now that realization gives me a bit of peace. I don’t have to knit all the things right now. Everything will be done in its time.
The Dragon’s Tail
One of the wonderful things about living where I do is the close access to many interesting places – both natural and man-made. Yesterday my husband and I drove The Tail of the Dragon (Well, he drove. I held on for dear life). This section of road sports 318 curves in 11 miles, and is not for the faint of heart. We had such a fantastic time, zooming around curves and passing
slowpokes other people. It made me wonder about a time before asphalt roads when the mountains were seemingly impenetrable. Who found this gap in the mountains? How do you even start climbing over a mountain???
On the way up we stopped at the Tapoco Lodge (at the very bottom of the map) for lunch. My husband had a trout PoBoy with home-made potato chips (yum!) and I had the most wonderful salad I’ve ever eaten: the greens were fresh and topped with grilled chicken, dried cranberries, candied pecans, fall squash, and goat cheese. Drizzled over everything was a creamy vinaigrette. If you are ever near the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, please stop here!
Guys, the trees are so beautiful this time of year! I knit in the car, but I just had to stop and look at the gorgeous scenery every few minutes. I didn’t get a huge amount of knitting done, but I don’t even mind because FALL!
You see here a sweater I’ve been working on for a while: Perry by Michele Wang. I knit the sleeves first, and now I’ve started the body. The pattern instructs you to knit the body in pieces, but I don’t particularly like seaming, so I decided to knit the body in 1 piece. I think I started the body 4 times before I finally got my math right! Perry is sailing along smoothly now. I can’t wait to see her done.
My husband and I were married 1 month ago. It’s funny how being married changes everything, but at the same time almost nothing has changed. We’ve moved into the same space, but we were there a lot together before we got married, so it already felt like home. I felt like he was my husband before we were married, but now it’s legal. When you get married you expect a lot of change in your life – and there is. But there are also a lot of things that stay the same. And it’s weird.
You know that song and dance routine from White Christmas where Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen play two inseparable sisters? I may be a little farther away from my sisters, but we still think alike.
My littlest sister is a fiber artist, and I am pleased to say I taught her to knit. When she was here for my wedding she gave me a pair of adorable cat washcloths.
In contrast, my middle sister is a visual artist, specializing in drawing and sculpture. The Lord of the Rings was my earliest fandom (something I have passed on to her), and I incorporated some elements from the movie into our wedding (our ringbearer was dressed as a hobbit). Accordingly, my sister drew my husband and I a movie-esque poster as a wedding present.
I come from a talented family.
Sisters – Irving Berlin
There were never such devoted sisters
Never had to have a chaperone “No, sir”
I’m there to keep my eye on her
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress and I stayed home
All kinds of weather
We stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Two diff’rent faces
But in tight places
We think and we act as one
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up but no one can
Lord help the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
And Lord help the sister
Who comes between me and my man