Knitting for Afghanistan

Early this year, I discovered one of the many charity knitting projects out there — and this one is perfect for me — Afghans for Afghans (see the button to the right). Anne Rubin, the founder and organizer, probably never dreamed that this work would be going on so long, but the needs are still critical.

I’m so glad that that the latest project partner is Church World Service, an ecumenical agency that partners worldwide, and is just an amazing organization. As a result, I’ve been knitting a lot, but not for me.

First, I knit a couple of hats,

A pair of mittens from the leftovers that I made the hat with!

And I made a sweater that I’m really happy with — out of a Cascade 220 Heathers, with a bit of color thrown in for interest. The actual pattern is from a booklet published by Phildar in 1985, if you can believe — it was called “New Classics”, and other than the slightly blousy sleeves, they really are classics. C, the son of one of our Knit Night-ers, happened to come this past week when I brought the finished sweater, so I even got it modelled! Isn’t he cute — and thanks to Judy for taking this photo with her iPhone!

I also have a Kid’s Hoodie that’s almost done, and more Cascade 220 that I think I’ll try either a vest or two or three hats, or maybe some thick socks. We’ll see!


Yarn Splurge(s)

ok, I promised to talk about yarn splurges. I mentioned a few weeks ago that my congregation had bought a very generous gift certificate to Marin Fiber Arts. Up til this week, I bought a bunch of Cascade 220 at 20 percent off for several things for Afghans for Afghans (you’re knitting for them too, right?). That left a bunch still there, and I had Warren swear not to let me fritter this away with little purchases that wouldn’t add up.

So, Tuesday afternoon, I need to get a fun thing in after having some fillings done at the dentist, and while I hung out with Warren, I decided to get serious about the yarn purchase. Yes, Patricia, Boise was seriously considered, but I’m not into making really really expensive things that I can’t wear for much of the year. So, I went instead for the Karabella Empire Silk in my signature blue color. Definitely the totally biggest yarn purchase of my life. Yahoo! Don’t know what it will be other than some kind of cardigan. I’ve checked out Luxury Knitting at Warrne’s recommendation so I figure out the kind of being that this silk is!

But that wasn’t the only splurge for the week. No, indeedy, I went on Sunday to Artfibers, and simply could not leave without Alfabeto, seen here:


Third Sock

Why make a third sock — when I have only two feet?

Well, it goes like this. I made a wonderful pair of socks using a Regia 4-ply yarn in lovely blues and greens using a great Knitty pattern called RPM. The yarn is wonderful, hard-wearing yarn, and the pattern, which is a spiral rib, is great pattern to hug the leg and foot. I loved these socks.

But then, up in Tahoe, when I had to do laundry, the unthinkable happened — one of the socks disappeared when I did my laundry at the laundromat. The remaining sock was lonely.

and so because I want my socks to feel good about themselves, I checked the leftover yarn, and I think there’s enough to do a third sock to pair with the other one. So far, it’s looking good — I think I’ll have just enough from the remaining ball to make the matching sock.

For Tomorrow: yarn splurge!


Stash Acquisition

Travel implies a need for stash acquisition, at least for this knitter. Niki, who frequents KnitTalk on Yahoo, helped me this time when I mentioned I was heading to North Carolina. Even though I was going to the Asheville area and she lives 4 hours away, she was quite helpful in recommending yarn stores in the area.

The closest town to Montreat is Black Mountain, which used to have a cute yarn store on the main street Broadway — no more. Although the website is still active, the store is something else, and the phone number disconnected.

So the yarn crawl had to head to Asheville. The local tourism bureau, because of the folk craft nature of the area, has a tri-fold flyer on fabric, fiber and bead stores in the area. After looking at that and comparing it to the list Niki gave me, I headed to Purls in downtown Asheville on a Saturday morning when I was heading out of town. Purls was listed as a store that focused on natural fibers.

As soon as I parked (conveniently across the street and only $1 on Saturdays) and walked in, I knew it was a good choice. The store is organized by color, which gives the store an immediate arty look. The guy (who was helpful when I called for directions) was great — helpful without being intrusive. And it turned out that when I picked up this:

it was his very own handspun yarn.

But I also think that one of the reasons to buy yarns while traveling is to find things that I haven’t seen at home. Why buy stuff I can do at home (and support the folks I need when I’m trying to figure out a pattern)? So, I asked the helpful guy for stuff that is new and I found this lovely wool merino from Peru:

which is Mirasol Hacho, and is a wonderful bouncy yarn with a wonderful twist. I can’t decide what to make — mittens, socks, a hat? Oh, I am very happy with all of these purchases.

The final part to this experience was as I left, I was able to get some great lunch ideas, and had the best bowl of soup at a place called The Laughing Seed!


Trip Knitting

I’ve been traveling a lot in the last six weeks. Sometimes a trip will provide major opportunities to knit (while I was in Tahoe, I almost finished my tomato, and worked on socks), but on others, it is simply not knitting aura.

I was at Montreat Presbyterian Conference Center, in Montreat, NC, more famously known as the home of Billy Graham (trivia alert: Ruth Graham was a Presbyterian, and this is a very Presbyterian kind of place, an odd place for one of the most famous Baptists, I’d say). The photo to the right is one that I took while there last October for another event.

Anyway, this was a NOT-knitting kind of trip. I was with people all day, and my brain was thinking all the time, and there was a brief few hours where I felt that I literally should be in three separate states of the union for various reasons. It was stressful.

The complicated sock patterns I brought along were wwaaayyy beyond my mental capacities, so fortunately I brought along this scarf of my own design — knit purl diagonal ribbing, baby!

Finally, yesterday I went back to my basic sock recipe and began with this Regia self-striping yarn — Isadora clearly approves.

But there were, of course, some yarn acquisitions, some on eBay, others in Asheville. I’ll review them tomorrow!


Knitting on Faith

When I left the congregation where I served three years ago, my knitting yearnings were well-known, and I got a gift certificate in the hundreds to my then favorite LYS, which lasted ’til about 9 months ago.

This month I’m finishing another interim pastorate, and because they are very much in debt for all kinds of reasons, many of which are not under their control, I expected a potluck party and good wishes for the future.

Imagine my huge surprise then, when I got the following at my farewell party yesterday:

— a pair of lighted knitting needles, with batteries
— two books on knitting (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s At Knits End, and Zen and the Art of Knitting
— a gift certificate to my NEW favorite LYS in an amount almost equal to that of the last larger and more financially stable congregation of three years ago.

Are these great folks or what!

OTN: a scarf for the Red Scarf Project


Stress Knitting

It’s one of those weeks, when there’s too much life for the hours that are there. In other words, I need my knitting. It’d better be pretty simple, because it’s just not a good thing to add to the stress by having to frog stuff.

So, I worked on this birthday present for a family member:

and started the Carlsbad scarf in Alison Hyde’s Wrapped in Comfort. It’s done with beautiful bombyx silk from Ellen’s Half-Pint Farms, a score that I made at Stitches West this year. I tried two other patterns that didn’t work because it made it look like tie dye (the pattern repeated too perfectly) but this is going to be very nice…and it’s very easy, so it’s good for my nerves!



I’ve been away, on travel for work, and then what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. So the vacation part was good for a while, but then life intervened, and it wasn’t so much.

In short, my Mom joined me in Tahoe, and after a couple of days, she fell. Fell kinda down a small incline, over bushes. Rolling over kinda falling. For an 85-year-old with osteoporosis, this is not good. At all.

But miraculously, she got away with a pain in her neck and a bruised hand! No ambulance or broken bones. Dude, she WALKED AWAY from the fall…that’s a spunky 85-year-old.

But the rest of the time was spent in some care-taking, not just relaxing. Clearly that is going to have to wait ’til September.

I did, however, get some knitting in…cute socks for Mom in Panda Cotton

and another Tomato sweater, just for me!


Celebrating some FOs

Ever have one of those FO’s that you are really, really glad to have done? This week I finished the Lily seater in Euroflax linen by Louet.

It came out well — a bit of fudging with the styling to accomodate my shorter, curvier shape, but the fiber is very tough on the hands. I will be knitting with only very soft stuff for a while. In addition, because I am a loose knitter, this baby was done on size 0 addi turbos. It was like knitting a very, very large sock for an elephant with twine.

Did I mention that I really liked the outcome? In that respect, it is, I fear, a lot like having a baby — so much fun at the end that I’ll forget the process.

I also finished a hat and socks of my own design for a cute baby in my life.

So, what do I do to celebrate — yep, head straight to the lys for a fix! Got me some Sierra in a couple of nice colors to make a Tomato for me, now that I realize what a lovely pattern it is because of the one I made for my cousin. LYS owner talks me into some Regia bamboo to take to knit a sampler sock — I’m using the Jaywalker pattern, since it seems to work with almost any yarn, and I’ve wanted to try it.


Wrapped in Alison’s Warmth

Today I headed to Marin Fiber Arts for the booksigning with the wonderful, amazing, gentle spirit that is incarnated as Alison Hyde.

She brought her wonderful shawls for us to admire and drool over, and although the sun is not great for her, she would not remain alone, but joined us on the floor, refusing to take a proffered chair – there’s a humorous story she told about a couch, but it is her story, and I leave it to her to tell it.

The book is lovely and wonderful too. Thce shawls really do work so much better than others that I have seen, and lucky me, the Carlsbad scarf is perfect for some bombyx silk from Ellen’s ½ Pint Farm that I bought at Stitches West earlier this year. And I will decide on whether a shawl is in my future.

She laughed with Patricia, of the very cool Sea Socks ’08

took photos herself

and posed with me and Warren Agee, owner and inspiration of Marin Fiber Arts.

It was a good day!