Saturday, January 26, 2013

Project #1 Completed: Smittens!

Hey Y'all,
So I was starting out the year working on a super simple, totally massive market bag, knit in the round on big needles, to be felted upon completion. And I am still working on that project. In fact, now that I've observed my pace on it, I'll probably still be working on it when we get to Monhegan Island in September. One factor in my slow pace-- as you know, when you pick a big, simple easy project, it's also pretty easy to put that down-- I'll get back to it later, no worries I'll forget the complicated pattern-- to pick up "just this one little quick project."

Which is how my first finished project of 2013 has come to be a pair of handwarmers. Or, as a friend recently suggested calling them-- smittens. As in "I really love these." My smittens, which I whipped up for a fellow Capricorn for her birthday, were fun in and of themselves. I used some lovely Cascade Eco-Duo, a super soft blend of 70% Alpaca and 30% merino. Nice muted colors, too, with a hint of blue agave (hence my attempt, above, at an artistic photo).

I happened to use a simple pattern I picked up on my first Knitting and Yoga Adventures Monhegan Island Retreat back in 2008. I'm pretty sure that was my first lesson in thumbs (a great time to actually be "all thumbs"). I so loved the feeling of accomplishment I had that I hung onto that pattern and I keep it in my Very Special Pattern Binder. Yes, I have 95,000 knitting books around the house, an extensive collection of Rowan mags dating back a decade or more, and all sorts of ideas about one day actually following through on one or another complicated pattern I've acquired over the years.

But the truth is, so often I come back to the same handful of patterns. Using different yarns keeps it interesting. So does this bonus element: joyful association. The minute I started working on this pair of smittens, I remembered being back on the island, my first trip, amazed to be in such a glorious place with so many likeminded, passionate knitters. Of course, me being me, I did knit a punk rock pair then-- mismatched and, if I am to be fully honest, rather different sizes (the periwinkle stripey ones in the foreground of the picture above.) But I still have them, love them, and wear them. And now that I've gotten that pattern back out, I'm thinking there will be at least a few more pairs of smittens to be made before I get back with any serious effort on the big to-be-felted market bag.

Until next month,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Joyful, Unnecessary but Fun Reminder: Knitting is Good for the Planet!

I had a wonderful surprise the last day of 2012. I was hanging out at home, listening to the radio, nursing a cold. I didn't have the energy to be out at some party waiting for midnight to arrive. Instead, I decided to answer a few emails, get some stuff in order so I could step into 2013 with an empty inbox and an eager heart.

I hit send-and-receive one last time, and there was a note from a stranger I'd heard from just once before, months prior. I should explain that I have a pretty well-known reputation around Austin as a constant knitter, and I have a pretty established online presence as One Who Gushes About Knitting. So it wasn't a complete surprise that this woman tracked me down. She wanted to make a donation to me in exchange for a pair of baby booties. She even sent a picture of the booties she had in mind.

Let's be real here: I would've made those booties for no donation. I like the challenge and I love people who appreciate handknits. Plus, booties? How much time could that take?

Actually, they took a bit longer than I expected, just because I was trying to track down an exact pattern. In the end, I found it-- a kimono design. (As you can see from the picture, it seems that baby is maybe wearing them upside down or backwards? Such is the beauty of the simple kimono!)

Anyway, I made them, I mailed them off, then I heard nothing back, then I forgot. Then comes New Year's Eve and, tada, a picture! The baby has arrived, the booties are on and, I am not kidding, at that very moment Shake Your Booty was playing on the radio.

I'm going to say that was an extremely auspicious start for a year of great knitting in 2013. I'm kicking things off real slow with a massive, in-the-round bag that I will felt. It might take me til the end of February, that's okay. Then, on deck, a sweater pattern I found years ago, very easy. And then, by April, I'm thinking I'll kick it into high gear and bust out something cably and challenging.

Wish me luck!
Happy New Year,