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August 21, 2008

And now . . . something simple

Who doesn't love a baby hat and everything it represents? I get a little nostalgic whenever I see a wee knit hat. And because I like to have access to basic, unembellished knitting patterns, I put one together for you so that you can use it as a starting point for your own baby hats. I wanted this basic pattern to be something that one could use to teach knitting with double-pointed needles with 4 DPNs rather than 5; and on the Ravelry page for the Very Basic Baby Beanie, I also included suggestions for yarns that can be found at your neighborhood discount store if you aren't close to a local yarn shop. If, however, you regularly visit your local yarn shop (and I hope you've already discovered this wonderful resource), ask them to point you to a sportweight merino or wool; then find your favorite color and knit a baby hat. I'd love to see it! The free pattern link is in my sidebar if you don't have access to Ravelry.

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Thank you all for sharing your favorite summer reads in my last entry! I added a few of them to my "To Read" list on Good Reads. I'm still going through my emails and comments so your suggestions are all going to end up on that list. I'll read 'em all. I might not be a fast knitter, but I am a fast reader.

And to clarify some of what I wrote about knitting sweaters; I want to assure you all that I totally push the boundaries on sweater-WEARING - just not necessarily sweater-KNITTING! In my lifetime, I've bought so many sweaters and I have worn a few to death. There's one charcoal gray wool cardigan in my closet that I've had for at least 16 years and it still looks good. I really wish I was a knitter back when my kids were outgrowing their sweaters faster than I could buy them replacements. I simply understand better now the dynamic of knitting up north. It's more for survival than fashion. I'm fascinated with it really. I love all the little factoids I learned about our northern neighbors who knit sweaters - like the fact that they opt for natural and neutral colors for their sweaters. I envy the fact that there is an accepted tradition of knitting functional and wonderful sweaters that are passed down for generations. Perhaps I secretly want to be Canadian, eh?

August 18, 2008

Mother & Daughter Knit-Along

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Erica was here for a long weekend and we had a great time. The only time we were able to fit in a knitting lesson was on the afternoon of her last day here. She needed help with the slip-knit-psso (SKP) and reading the lace chart for the Dragon Scale Scarf. We both bought yarn last year to make the scarf and I finished mine in May 2007; her yarn, pattern and needles traveled with her to Florida and understandably, she wasn't motivated to finish a scarf in Florida. Earlier in the weekend, she'd seen the red Malabrigo Laceweight ("Torero" colorway) that Vanessa sent me. She clearly wanted to claim it, so I suggested that she try it with my Addi lace needles while I cast on with her yarn ("Purple Mystery" colorway) with her needles. We agreed to share both scarves when they're finished -- I'll wear the one she knits and she'll wear the one I knit. It's a no-pressure knit-along since she starts school next week.

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I discovered that I knit a lot looser now than I did last year. Some of it might be due to my using a different needle this time, but it just feels like I'm more relaxed while I knit. It also seems like I knit a tiny bit faster than I used to.

We flipped through Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman and made a few observations that we're usually both drawn to the non-sweater projects first. We love scarves, handbags, afghans and pillows. After reading the article about Canadian knitters in the recent Vogue Knitting magazine, I think I understand why. We've never lived anywhere where the winters were so cold for so long that we needed to depend on wool sweaters for more than a few months. Instead, scarves, hats and occasionally, gloves or mittens served as warm accessories that could easily be shed when we entered a heated home. Consequently, I don't think I could ever knit too many scarves.

I withdrew for a while after we got back from Oklahoma. I've been reading, listening to music and limiting my online time to concentrated bursts. I've been feeling a little overstimulated and anxious (seriously . . . does this get better? Mid-life hormonal changes are incredibly not fun) so I didn't web-surf or knit much. I've really enjoyed reading more though -- a good story lifts my spirits. What did you read this summer that you loved?


August 11, 2008

New scarf pattern and my return

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One of the projects I've been working on is complete - a simple and luxurious cashmere/merino scarf for Signature Needle Arts (knit with Argosy Luxury Yarns' Lotus Blossom). The pattern will be included, along with yarn and needles, in a kit; you can find it at Stitches Midwest at the Signature Needle Arts' booth. It's a simple pattern designed to reveal all the wonderful properties of the yarn, a sport weight cashmere and merino blend. The needles in the kit are Signature Needle Arts' new 7" straight needles:

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We just returned from a quick trip to Oklahoma to visit my husband's family. This week will be set aside for a visit from my daughter; I haven't seen her in eight months -- the longest time we've been apart since she was born. I have a feeling we'll be spending some time at the mall. I've missed blogging, but I'm thrilled to have completed some of my lingering projects and to have made progress on others.


Lisa got the little something I knitted for her
to thank her for hooking me up with some translation assistance with my Japanese documents. And I should soon be able to show you a finished knitalong project.

Note: I had to close my comments due to SPAM - if you have a question, please send me an email via the email address in my sidebar. Happy Knitting!