Sunday, March 25, 2012

Episode 29: Losing All My Buttons

Off the Needles
Fimbrethil by Bethe Galantino of The Worcester Knitting Company for the Dreaming Pickle Pot Lord of the Rings Club called There and Back Again.

On the Needles
2 Categories of WIPs:

1. WIPs slowly moving into Hibernation: Herringbone Cowl, Jo March Mitts and Cladonia/Rock Island/Summer Flies Shawls

2. WIPs: Larch Cardigan (I thought I lost my buttons! Turns out I may be losing my marbles, but let's hope that I haven't lost all of them), Darjeeling Socks and Botanical Garden Shawl (a test knit for Kristen Finlay of Skein Yarns). 

Spin Right Round
Song of the Spinning Wheel by William Wordsworth
The Spinning Wheel by John Francis Waller
Spinning in myths

Knitting Finds
Online lace stitch dictionary
Post-Tsunami Japan and Knitting
Knitters Curiosity Cabinet by Hunter Hammersen
 Olympic Yarn Bombing! Still a mystery.
 Frostlight Scarf by Robin Ulrich
Lady Edith Shawl by Karrie Steinmetz

Knitty Spring 2012 - check out the Carousel socks!

Swatch and Learn 
Thank you so much for the donations for the fledgling knitting club. I also read aloud the final draft of "Lessons in Sticks and String," which is a little different from the one I originally posted.

Thanks for listening! 
"Diaspora" by Glykeria (English Translation)

Smirni (was a Greek City in Turkey), Canada
Ah!You have left far away
I hurt!

One headed for Australia
the other very young boarded the ship
Turks and Greeks in Germany
(working) all day and night in the factories!
Building a new society

it was worth the crop
My soul is moving
It makes more seeds!

One, washing dishes in Astoria (New York)
The other a captain on the ships
Greek young people neglected
build the ruins
They worked for you and I!

One headed for Australia
the other very young boarded the ship
Turks and Greeks in Germany
(working) all day and night in the factories!
Building a new society

One, washing dishes in Astoria(New York)
The other a captain on the ships
Greek young people neglected
build the ruins
They worked for you and I!"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lessons from Sticks and String

Part of the requirements of my grad class this semester is to go through the writing process. We could write about anything we wanted, and naturally, my brain went to knitting. This is the final (for now), although I hope I get the time to write more about knitting in the future.

When someone hears that I am a knitter, I usually get one or two of the following reactions. The first is a look of complete disbelief and the statement, “But you are too young to knit!” The second is a roar of laughter and the statement, “Only grandmothers knit,” or “Knitting is what?”
True, there is still the image of the gray, old-fashioned grandmother sitting in a corner with her knitting needles, churning out the most hideous of sweaters and itchy afghans for her grandchildren to wear. That is the prevailing stereotype, but over the past 10 years, the knitting demographic has completely changed. More than ever, people (both women and men) are picking up the needles and yarn and turning one piece of string into beautiful and wearable garments, or the most delicate of shawls worthy to be called an heirloom. In fact, it is people under the age of 50 that make up the majority of the knitters today and populate the yarn shops and fibre festivals across the country. Walk into a yarn shop, and the shopper is most likely a young woman, stylishly dressed, trying to get some reprieve from her stressful job.
Reprieve. That is the reason why most people choose to knit, unless their grandmothers forced them to pick up the needles at a young age. Even those knitters – the “my grandmother taught me” types – stop knitting when they are in high school, but something happens after college when they enter the workforce that creates an urge to return to the skill or in my case, pick it up for the first time. There are so many other reasons as well – a wish to quit smoking, a desire to stop eating while constantly surfing the Internet, sheer curiosity – but what is most valuable is the life lessons that knitting can teach you as you first pick up the needles and slowly progress to more challenging and interesting patterns that you thought you could have never tackled before.
First and foremost, it is always ok to make mistakes. In fact, most knitters learn from and reflect on them, and apply that knowledge to their next project. You can always frog a sweater and start all over again with the lesson of washing your swatch in mind because you experience the trauma of wearing a shapeless tent instead of a fitted sweater. Some try to tink it so that they can still salvage what was done. More often than not, tinking does lead to frogging in the end, but at least you gave it a shot. The point is, you can always go back, reflect and work to make it better in the future.
Second, always try something new. Never be afraid to give something a shot. You will never know if you do like it until you try. Fair Isle was extremely intimidating at first because I am a Continental knitter; I used to think, “I could never knit with my right hand, much less knit with two different strands of yarn at the same time!” That thought eventually gave away when I cast on for my Selbu Modern hat. I overcame my fear and negativity and gave it a shot. The hat was so much fun to knit that I finished it in two days, 6 hours over the course of each day. Knitting for so much and having that feeling of “Wow! Just one more row…I want to see what it’s going to look like in the next 5 minutes!” did eventually give me Repetitive Stress Injury, but the hat was worth it.
There are so many things you can learn about yourself and life by becoming a knitter. It may sound a bit silly, but it is true; knitting is a contemplative exercise and it gives you that brief reprieve from the crazy of the day swirling about you. You never know what you will discover about yourself next when you cast on for those toe-up socks you never thought you could do before.
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