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!