December Cheer

This year is an odd year for me. For the first time in nine years, I won’t be a pastor-type this holiday season. Added to that, I’m actually taking time off work for most of the month. Advent will truly be a time off for me.

On the knitting front, that won’t be the case, of course. I’m involved with Knitters4Critters which is taking up a lot of time. And my Christmas knitting is going well. There are secret projects for my cousins Allison and Rachel, and I’m almost finished with wonderful scarf project out of the Bombyx silk for my mother and I’ve frogged the Jaywalkers that I was doing in the Regia bamboo because they were fitting me funny and I didn’t think they’d work for my friend either, so I got some lovely yarn by Pagewood Farms in a wool superwash:

My cousin Marie has a surprise project too. Not too bad for December.


Knitters Unite

Friday was our opening event for Knitters for Critters. We raised $350, which is a great start.

May I say that we have a fabulous knit night group at Marin Fiber Arts? Let us begin with Warren Agee, the owner.

How cool is Warren to have donated his space at the Parade of Lights event along 4th Street in San Rafael for our event. Yay, Warren.

Judy was AMAZING!

Along with Allison!

Sandy provided essential logistics and a winsome spirit!

Emily brought great snacks, flyers for folks to know more about the oil spill, and knitted more of her very cute Christmas stockings.

And many thanks to David Reidy of Sticks and String podcast fame for his support by mentioning this project!


Knitters for Critters

I’ve been heartsick about the oil spill from the Cosco Busan ship as it hit the Bay Bridge in San Francisco Bay. My sadness turned to anger as the initial response seemed to make several strategic errors in enfolding in volunteers, and making assessments quickly.

The nonprofit organizations have been heroes in this story. Many of them are mom and pop organizations, relying on a few dedicated volunteers and staff to stitch together resources, and when something like this hits, they are in need of help as this story will play out further in the weeks and months to come.

When I proposed to the Marin Fiber Arts Knit Night that we do a by and for Knitters Fundraiser, the reaction was very positive, even though it means that we are getting busier during an already busy season.

There are two pieces to the project:
We are making ornaments to sell this coming Friday, November 23rd at the Marketplace at the Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland in downtown San Rafael. We welcome knitters who would like to knit for this (it’s short notice). Or, stop by Friday to help put together ornaments, or help us display and sell them later in the day.

You can also make an online contribution to one of the three organizations that we are highlighting because of their direct assistance and monitoring of the Bay following the oil spill. As an incentive to make a donation, the Knit Nighters and Marin Fiber Arts are looking through their stashes for some wonderful yarn as a drawing prize. For each $25 that you donate, you’ll get a chance to win! The deadline for donations is Friday, December 14th. We’ll draw on Saturday, December 15th, just in time for the lucky winner to have for some nice knitting time during the holidays.

Please join us as we make the connection, and help to clean up the bay one stitch at a time!


The Language of Knitting

I’ve knit for a long time. I have old issues of Family Circle with knitting patterns, I remember when Red Heart was just about the only yarn out there for the average knitter. I remember when slp 1, k1, psso was the authoritative way to do a left-leaning decrease. There were no ssk, spk, or all the infinite variations one can find on the internet today.

Knitting these days is a whole new re-birth of the craft. There are wonderful free patterns on the internet, blogs that share FO’s and UFO’s, boards to share and commiserate, store sites to boggle the mind and pocketbook, and Ravelry to get us distracted from the actual knitting.

But at heart, knitting, if it involves a written pattern, still involves the knitter sitting with yarn, needles and a pattern to be interpreted. We cannot escape the need to speak the language of knitting. The thing is, which dialect are we speaking? Are we in “Knitty” land, or one of the older variations. How does this particular pattern envision the simple or not-so-simple yarnover?

So, I got this lovely Ladder Lace Shrug pattern by Ivy Mok as part of a purchase at CommuKnity on the Peninsula to Pier LYShop Hop last month. I took it with me on a short retreat to this beautiful place

and by the looks of the pattern (two rows long for the main lace pattern) I thought this would be a mindless knit. I needed a mindless knit. Then I read the pattern, and tried it, and all of a sudden my years of ignoring those pesky little details of yarnover variations became clear.

I’ve always been confused by the variations in how knitters describe putting the yarn over the needle to make a whole, except for the most simple yarnover between knit stitches. That one I’ve got down.These two rows bit my you-know-what. I literally put the whole thing down, because I was second-guessing myself – was this variation of a yarnover big enough? Is the hole the way the designer intended? How lacey should this lace pattern be?

(I’ll note that far more experienced lace knitters have run up against this language issue — Alison Hyde told me that she and her editor of “Wrapped in Comfort” do their yarnovers differently and had different notions of what she was intending. It makes me feel better to hear this.)

These are indeed the existential questions of knitting. Am I doing it “right” or right enough for me? What language is this pattern-maker writing?

Well, this is how my ladder lace shrug looks before sewing it together. I hope Ivy approves.

In another burst of lace knitting, I finished the Tuscany Shawl from No Sheep for You, this in Alfabeto from Artfibers. Those yarnovers are always between knit stitches, so my main problem was counting up to 10 over, and over, and over again.

I like it. Amy and I speak the same dialect of knitting!