Friday, January 27, 2012


Saturdays are like sunshine in the morning and a time of new beginnings when you believe that all things are possible. I also like Fridays for the anticipation of that very reason. We fantasize about all that will be accomplished on those two full days off when the workday comes to an end and are always overestimating what can actually be done. I always have lots of plans - I’m going to get caught up on all things at home, I’m going to knit miles and miles of wool and then I’m going to be completely rested when I return to school. Of course, I’m also going to lesson plan and grade and do laundry. I will probably work out and eat right too. In my mind I will clean out a cabinet while at the same time lounging all day and reading just for pleasure. Unfortunately, the reality is all too often two days of starting many projects, knitting and other kinds too, and finishing very few.

This weekend I will begin a new knitting sample. It’s a beautifully soft, yellow wool and cashmere blend. The shawl is leafy and asymmetrical and probably difficult beyond my skill level. It’s the weekend and hailed as a time of rest. I have to believe I will accomplish a lot because its what keeps me going when I am overwhelmed with projects and/or responsibilities. So, here is to a productive weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Designing Stitches

Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure to take a class with Cat Bordhi. For many of you this may not seem like much, perhaps something like, “Yeah, you got to take a class with your friend.” No, you don’t understand, Cat Bordhi is a world renown author and designer. What a fabulous opportunity I was given! The class was on experimenting with designing stitches - a skill of which I previously had no interest. However, I think the class has accomplished its advertised claims and I’ve caught the design bug. I now have aspirations to create and design my own knitwear. I think I will start with socks. I don’t know how soon you will see them but I think I may start posting some designs right here. We’ll see - I’ll let you know. But before I get ahead of myself, here are some of the things I learned yesterday:

· I learned to design on the front while keeping ribbing on the back. It was quite fascinating. I was using a beautiful hand dyed wool from Yarn Chef that I got through Etsy. Cat had us knit 15 stitches in stocking net and after several rows we pulled the needle out to see the direction in which each stitch lay and then discussed how designing on one side is made possible.

· Mr. Stitch became my favorite of the day. It’s a little weird when you’re not in the class and referring to something as Mr. Stitch but when we were in the class it seemed perfectly normal. Anyway, imagine Mr. Stitch has two legs and the two guys on either side of him are pulling on each leg in a different direction. On the next row you then knit in the top of his head. There is a myriad of possibilities with this stitch!

· I don’t do well when the instructor says, “Just play with it.” I need some direction, focus or at the very least, some guidelines. All we were given was a list of knitting morphemes and direction to play. Hmmm – I don’t know about this….

What I really learned is that I am blessed. I’ve shared with several people that not only has God given me the desires of my heart, but he has blessed me in ways that I didn’t even realize I wanted to be blessed. This class was an unexpected gift. One for which I am extremely grateful!

Monday, January 23, 2012


I might have ADD. Now, this isn’t a medical diagnosis and no doctor has been consulted in my determination. Let me explain. I knit to stay focused and to concentrate. But on what am I focusing? That is a good and logical question. Currently, I have several projects in the works. I am knitting a baby blanket, two pairs of socks, a shawl (another will be started this week and is for a test knit due the middle of February), a hat for charity, a baby sweater (another which I plan to start this evening), three adult sweaters, an afghan, a dishcloth and there is no guarantee that other knitting projects won’t be started before these are finished.

So, let’s get back to the ADD and focusing. I knit to think about my lesson plans, while I am watching my favorite program, and most recently, while listening to podcasts and audiobooks. So do I ever complete projects? Of course, I do! I finished the socks that I have been working on for 2 ½ weeks as a test knit. Actually, I made three socks because the first was knit on size 1 dpns when the pattern clearly said to knit on 0. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem but because the designs were a little more intricate than in other socks I’ve knit, they required more yarn. Of course, I didn’t realize my mistake until nearly finished with the second sock and I ran out of yarn. So, I did what any conscientious knitter would do and I took the first sock out and reknit it on a size 0. Taking such action should have solved my problem. NOT! I was still 10 rows short. Oh well, I kitchenered the toe and called it a day – which means, one toe is longer than the other and I will send a detailed email to the person for whom I am knitting the socks and let them determine an appropriate course of action. Should we simply shorten one toe or add more yarn and finish the other? Thankfully, not my decision since the socks have been sent to their new owner.

So where does my knitting lead me tonight? I’m finishing my 12th hat for charity this month and then I will start on a baby sweater. I currently have three babies for whom I am knitting – two boys and one girl. Truly, knitting for babies is the best!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I am in the process of a Harry Potter marathon while I work toward a knitting deadline. I love that there is knitting in the movies. Although there are some jokes surrounding Mrs. Weasley’s knitting and the sweater Ronald received for Christmas, did you notice that he actually put it on prior to Harry waking up and coming into the room? If he really didn’t like the sweater, why try it on and continue to wear it when nobody was there with a camera and people expecting you to be excited about it? I’ll tell you why. He knew the value of a gift handcrafted by his mother who loved him more than anyone else. We don’t see Harry open his sweater but I like to think that part of his excitement about receiving a gift was the anticipation that Mrs. Weasley took the time to knit something special just for him and, he too, felt the love in the gift she had crafted.

Have you ever noticed the knitting needles in the second movie and how they were working on their own? I like when that happens and it really feels like magic. It’s not like it happens all the time but when it does, you are working along in a pattern and realize that hours have gone by and the design has developed into a work of art. Very satisfying!

Unfortunately, the magic is not happening right now. I’m working on a pair of socks that are taking hours and hours to finish. I’m removing as many stitches as I’m putting in because I am not paying attention to the stitches in the chart. I need to focus – and truthfully, it really is getting better as I’ve knit more on the chart. But this project will not last forever and soon I will be involved in some mindless knitting where the needles take over and the magic begins. I really want to make a Gryffindor scarf like those worn in the first movie or even the second. Have you noticed the difference between the two scarves? I have someone special in mind for the gift , someone who will squeal with delight and wear it with pride, and I even have the yarn as part of my stash.

Alas, that is not what I will do right now, because however much my mind may be wandering and lusting after starting a new project, one that is easy and quickly finished, I still need to work on these socks and be thankful that magic does occur but just of a different kind. Isn’t it magic to take miles of yarn and turn it into something beautiful?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Sitting with my knitting group is like an evening with the sisters in Jane Austen’s novels. Each has a distinct personality – there is someone like Elizabeth who has high expectations for herself and holds to certain ideals but rarely expects to see them in others. We have a Jane who sees the best in everyone and admires their work with the utmost attention to detail and is sure to praise each stitch as if it were the most exquisite in form, rarely finding fault. There is an Emma who wants to be the perfect matchmaker and find the best complement of yarn and pattern to marry with the most suitable of knitters. She may allow them to participate in this process but most often has decided in advance the match that should take place and simply convinces them that hers is the best choice. We even have an Anne who doesn’t see her own worth and must be reminded of all she has to offer and is encouraged to blossom as she knits herself into the hearts and lives of each member of the group without ever meaning to draw attention to herself and never truly seeing her full value and that which others place upon her. We even have the sensitive, and dreamy Marianne and the practical, imperturbable Elinor. As sisters we sit and knit, we share the stories of our day. Don’t you wish you could knit?