Sunday, May 30, 2010

When Informal Gatherings Becomes Something More

I realized, after last week's gathering on Wednesday night (for knitting, etc), that these Wednesdays sessions have evolved into a meeting of friends. I read books about this. But I really didn't anticipate it happening to us. I think it takes some time, some kindness, and some history to happen. I hope others will find the same experience, either with us or with a different gathering of individuals. We all come with our own fears or feelings about meeting new people. It is a little scary to jump into a new experience. But I think craft-ers are a special group of people. They want to teach and help others enjoy what THEY enjoy.

So we had our usual thoughtful and humorous Wednesday evening. Anne has nearly finished a Tree of Life blanket. The edging is being knitted, then will be attached. I am impressed! Helen is making a 6 ft cabled scarf. Lovely and LONG. I am still garter stitching squares for the baby blanket (I have 5 weeks left!).

We looked at some lovely books this week. Knit Kimono: 18 Designs with Simple Shapes, by Vicki Square. Everyone liked the patterns, Dofunku, and Taiko Happi. The history of the kimono is included.

The second book is, Awareness Knits: Knit and Crochet Projects for the Eco-Concious Stitcher, by Vickie Howell and Adriane Armstrong. This book is about more than just using green products; there are ways to knit for world peace! I may be stretching that a little, but it IS indeed more than product selection, and touches on many current issues. Check it out and report back!

Remember, you can comment on this blog. We would love to hear your thoughts. Keep raveling and unraveling that yarn.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Do you work on projects in the summer??

Here are words that spread panic into many good hearts: "Are you ready for Christmas yet?" Some people have (I believe) some magic that gets them ready for Christmas by Thanksgiving...and cook a big dinner too! I wish they would share their magic (It probably includes some hard work). One friend starts December 26th.

But really, I have never been a "summer knitter". This is changing, as there is a baby (1st grandchild) coming, in July. The first baby sweater took a lo-o-o-o-o-ng time to do. The second would weigh down a toddler. I am moving on to a blanket; 4x4" squares in garter stitch. (Classic Babies, Book 4, by Cashsoft Baby DK). But I am afraid that this baby will inspire summer knitting for the next 20 years. There is already an order for a Tiger and a Teddy Bear, and the baby hasn't been born yet (I love it)!

It is a good time to start gifts, especially if you knit at my speed. Here is a good book for those who want to knit toys: Knitted Toys: 21 easy-to-knit patterns for irresistible soft toys, by Fiona McTague. The Wed Night group liked it very much.

For those who like beads or other sparkly stuff, there is Knit and Crochet with Beads, by Lily M. Chin. We were whistling at the pictures. It answers the eternal question: How do you get beads on really long strands of yarn?

Who of you visit yarn shops on vacations/trips? The range of yarn shopping ranges from, 1) being dragged into one by a friend/relation, 2) finding a shop and asking if anyone minds if she/he goes in, 3) finding a shop and shrieking,"I'm going here", to, 4) planning a trip route by yarn or quilt shop's locations. I am the wander-by type. I wandered into Portland's Closeknit and bought some yarn, of course, chosen by my son for a hat. It is so much fun!

Tomorrow, Wednesday at 6:30-8:00 PM, at Deming Library, is another evening spent fondling yarn. Hope to see you there. I was away the last 2 Wednesdays and I miss my co-yarn addicts!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Goes On Wed Nights?

"We" are still a pretty small group of 3 or 4. There is no agenda or roll call. I try to gather names but not very compulsively. After all this is not work. Newcomers are gladly welcome. Where are all those knitters?

We have migrated around the library, and found exceptionally comfortable chairs and good lighting in several places. There is even a couple of tables for spreading out a project. If there is a crowd (rare), we can always go into the community meeting room.

We share what we are working on and admire progress and new ideas. There was a lot of poetry reciting going on this week! Books and patterns from magazines and websites are looked at. We tried some spinning one week. We haven't brought any sheep in yet :)

The Deming Library yarn crafting section is well used each week. The section number is 746.432. Whatcom County Library Services offers on-line search and book requests. Click here to go there.

Here are a few we like: "Knitted Socks: over 25 designs for fab feet and cozy toes for the whole family" by Anna Tillman. "Getting Started Knitting Socks" by Ann Budd is a good beginner resource. "The Knitter's Handbook" by Montse Stanley, is like a little knitting bible.

Most people start with a scarf or a washcloth as a first project. We show you an easy knitting cast-on technique, followed by a knit stitch, a turn at the end, and more rows until you are ready to cast-off. This is called a "garter stitch", is flexible and hides uneven stitches! Crochet uses a hook and starts with a chain of stitches, a turn, and rows attached to the previous one. Voila...a scarf or a washcloth!

Don't let a lack of supplies deter you from starting. We bring extra yarn and supplies for new-bees. You can try it before you invest dollars.

If you bring your yarn and needles/hook, here are suggestions: light colored "worsted" yarn without fancy patterns, a pair of size 7, 8, or 9 needles (straight inexpensive steel or plastic), or a size I, J, or K crochet hook.

If there are problems in any pattern, Anne is a good one to ask. Patterns for crochet or knitting have occasional errors....grrr, or it is hard to determine what the pattern writer is intending to do. Yikes! More than one brain is sometimes needed, and maybe a resource and a little ingenuity.

We have a good time and laugh a lot. Whatever you are making, have a good time doing it!