Friday, August 19, 2011

Knitting is not tough? What?

So I stumbled upon an article today that you can read here. All of a sudden, while reading it my world started to spin. What was the author trying to say? That knitting is not tough enough to be a female pursuit in today's world?

Obviously this is someone who does not knit, and is a total Muggle about it. The writer then made her next big mistake in choosing The Yarn Harlot as a blog to link to, with the idea it would show how "girlie" knitting truly is. Never mind the fact that The Harlot is one of the best examples of a woman who is making a difference in this world while not giving up the fact she is very much a woman. Makes me wonder if anyone edits these articles before they go live.

But I regress. Why would someone think that knitting is not something a forward thinking woman would do today? Knitting takes talent. Yes, it is just 2 stitches, but by using those together with some yarn overs, increases and decreases, one can make something that can take ones breath away. Or it can be the article of clothing that will keep away winters chill in subzero temperatures. Knitting is a different as the people who practice it.

What would make one think that knitting is "girlie" and to do it you are not tough? Apparently this person has never stayed up Christmas Eve to finish that sweater the child wanted so badly. Or been madly knitting that last row during a knitting challenge. One has to be tough to keep going even though you have been bored to tears with the pattern and you want to be done, yet you have 600 more yards of lace weight to knit.

Knitters are anything but weak. They have been known to knit in the most trying times. I still have the pair of socks knit while my husband was having valve replacement surgery, and the pair of socks knit while my Father had by-pass surgery. I have knit when stuck in traffic for 45 minutes due to weather, when stuck in construction, while working the poll booths during elections, at football games while watching child in band, at pro baseball games, on trips. Instead of buying a souvenir, my knitting becomes part of the memories.

I can look at a knitted article, and remember where and when it was knit. I learn from each project, and take that lesson with me in my life. Patience and perseverance is something that will be rewarded with a finished project. Just like saving and planing for a trip.

Knitting is tough. You have to be to keep knitting, and knitting, and knitting to get to the end of the project. You learn so much about math while knitting, how much to decrease, what the stitch count is for the lace row you are on. Which decrease will give the right effect you are looking for. What patterns you like, and what you don't.

When I was young, and in college taking the certified occupational therapy assistant program, I had to look at many different crafts. Not for fun, but to think about how that could be used to help someone recover movement after a surgery, injury, or when they have a disease. Its amazing how easier it is to get someone to do something if they are enjoying it, rather than just doing a movement.

Knitting is not "girlie" nor is it "non-feminist". It is very much a choice of someone who is very particular on what they want. The knitter does not follow the stream, they are the ones going the wrong way. They appreciate the craftsmanship, the fact that this pair of sock they are making today will be around for many years beyond what the commercial items will be.

It takes time, energy, ability and most of all part of the knitter to create a object. I have yet to see a Television set hand you something other than 42 min of semi entertainment that someone else has decided you should watch, with many plugs from items you don't need.

I take offense to that article. Yes I knit, I cook, I bake, I spin my own yarn, I enjoy creating things for others. I also love being a female, and I would hate to have to fit into the authors idea of what a modern feminine woman should be.

Oh yes, one more thing, probably the biggest reason I knit....

I knit ---- So I don't kill people.

You have been warned.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The view from inside a glass of wine...

Wine is a perfect thing. It is a great way to preserve some grapes too.

It is the perfect thing to accompany a good steak or a great piece of salmon grilled to perfection. Or in my case, lace. For some reason, knitting lace can mess up rather quickly if knit when sober in my experience. Lace is something that requires concentration. For some in this world, that is hard to do. At least to just pay attention to one thing appears to be a struggle for me.

However, when paired with one glass of wine, everything becomes clear. Maybe it is the fact that in days of old, when they knit with the gossamer yarns spun so fine we can just marvel at them today and then knit into lace. This sometimes seems like a incredible feat.

But we should spend a bit of time looking at the society at the time, and the food. They did not trust the water. Wine and beer or milk was consumed. Tea in some places. So lets think of this, a group of women, knitting and drinking.

What would happen when one made a mistake and created a hole? Well then it is a mistake. However if you continue to make mistakes regularly, then it becomes a pattern.

If one looks at it in this way, it is not hard to see how lace began. Personally, relaxing after a long day ( and I put in at least 9 hours not counting the hour drive each way to work) and knitting some beautiful lace is the best way to end a day.

If you are having problems with a pattern, it may not be due to you not paying attention. Instead it may actually be due to over attention. Take a deep breath, have a glass of wine, and enjoy it.

Don't stress. Look at it through a glass of wine, preferably a red or rose', and you will see it in a whole different light.

Knit on.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Becker Family Reunion 2011

Family Reunions

A time to meet with new relatives:
Size up how everyone is growing up

Take random pictures of those taking random pictures.

Enjoy talking about Alpacas and fiber animals.
Especially to those who would like some even if their husbands have other ideas.

Win some cool prizes.
Hang with cool people at the pool.

Laugh and play in the water.
Enjoy some good food.

Take random pictures of people eating.
Share stories of the crazy things kids do.

Even time to ponder about some.

This might take more than a few moments to ponder.
Obligatory picture of food being consumed for Mary.

Just keep one thing in mind.
No matter what.
There will always be someone for you to talk to or play with.
They have to.
You're related!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Couldn't Foot it - Sock Summit 2011 challenge.

The past few weeks have been brutal. The heat and just life have had me so busy, I have not had time to do much.
The craziness finally decided to slow a bit this past week, and some knitting was getting done until the realization that Sock Summit 2011 was happening this weekend.
Considering that the Sock Summit is held on the other coast it has never been someplace easily to attend in this economy, but I wanted to live vicariously through those that do. The best way to keep up is in the forums on Ravelry.

Then a friend showed me the "Couldn't Foot It" thread with the challenge to knit a pair of socks in 4 days. The rules for this challenge were simple: cast on at the same time that Sock Summit begins and finish the pair before it ends. The sock patterns to choose from are ones that the Yarn Harlot has made.
As it lasts 4 days, and making a pair of socks in 2 days has occurred in my past, this should be fun. But, it's to be a challenge, right? So, take away the vanilla socks, and the pairs previously made. Add in the fact that there is a family reunion on Sat, work on Friday, and most of Thursday is to be tied up in errand running.... what could possibly go wrong?

So of course, one needs to choose a pattern that will also challenge them. The Pearls of Wisdom socks. Yes, those would work perfectly and any sane person would choose those.
I cast on Thursday night, and managed to get the first cuff done.

Work on Friday was busy and due to some very strong storms. Which made the ride home was longer than expected. By the end of that commute, being able to concentrate was not up to par, and it took all evening to get the ribbing done on sock 1 and the start of sock 2 on needles.

Saturday started out with good intentions, and cuff design was began. It was going well, optimism was at a high. This goal is going to be reached. Dh left to pick up and transport Grandson and parents to reunion, and then was going to swing back and pick up youngest DD and myself, to allow time for knitting. Unfortunately, a child with Aspergers sometimes decides to suddenly demand attention. Patience is something DD lacks at times, and no knitting occurred during that period of time. At the Reunion, time visiting, and playing with Grandson took center stage, and while knitting occurred, not as much was done as hoped.
Leaving the Reunion at 6pm, an hour driving was required to return Grandson to home, then another quick run to parents home to deposit some leftover items.
Finally sat down to knit at 8 pm and worked hard from then 'til 2 am, during which time two things were realized:
1. Charted Knitting needs to be enlarged for easier reading.
2. Paying attention to chart is required for the set up row or multiple trips to frog pond will be required.
Slept 'tll 8 am and resumed knitting.
10 am - starting to think the charts are against me. Frog pond visited 5 times this am.
Noon - wondering if this might be a bit more knitting than previously realized. On chart 4 of the first sock. 7 hours 45 minutes to go.
1 pm - still thinking it can be done. Visited frog pond again 2 times.
2 pm - finished chart 4 on first sock.
3 pm - finished chart 5 finally. Lost count of frog pond visits. Beginning to wonder about sanity, still only on first sock. Heel is going well, but still have two more charts to complete till toe can begin after heel is done.
3:20 pm - realized that to do last 2 charts for foot, one needs to chart them out personally. Start looking for graph paper.
3:30 pm - Only about 4 hours remain. Realization that even if knitting non-stop occurs, high possibility of not making deadline. Continue knitting a bit slower.

3:45 pm - decide that as much as it would have been great to accomplish this in the time frame given, it is not going to happen. Gracefully admit that this challenge + my life = not happening.

Then I smiled for a bit, walked around a bit, and knit some more. Poured a glass of wine, and toasted to those who did accomplish the challenge. Think some on what went wrong with my choices.
What could have been done differently? Probably choosing this pattern was not the smartest thing, but the fact is that several things have been gained by it, such as:
1. If decreasing is needed and doing colorwork in bands, do the decreases on a solid rows before the colorwork looks better. If done in the row after, it causes the colorwork to be altered and will not give desired effect.
2. Purl rows when knitting a sock are not as fast as doing them on a larger project.
3. The Master Knitter program has altered my thinking from just knitting, to making sure it is done to the best of my ability.

Would I try again?
Yes - but would try to choose a pattern without influence of wine.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bobbin Lace

After several years of avoiding the sirens call of Bobbin lace, I have finally given in. Got a small kit at Md Sheep and Wool, and down the rabbit hole I am headed.

I have managed to get 2 bookmarks done and decided that I might need a roller pillow to help with the lace edging I wish to make next for some pillow cases.
So I looked up some tutorials online. DIY here I come.

First step, get a pool noodle. That was the only purchase I had to make for this. Everything else I had on hand.

Then I cut a 6 inch length of this. A serrated knife works best I discovered.

The next step was finding some cotton batting. Thankfully several king size pieces of quilt batting are still around here, so this was not hard.
Next, cut 7 inch strips of batting, and tightly wrap them around the noodle base. I am happy that this one has a hole in the middle that is not large. The noodles with larger holes did not seem as stable as this one. Also I am planning on having this in a base, and having a dowel through it so it will work great.

Trim edges. Now to do the basic cover. I started with a scrap of fabric from the stashed quilt fabrics:

Cut the fabric to length and add a few inches, add 2 inches to the width of the side. Turn under 3/4 of a inch on the long side and sew a casing as shown here:

Now string a chord through the casing. I used some scraps of the cotton clothesline from the replacement line this spring.

Whip stitch the edges together, and then pull the edges tight. I used a bit of felt under the pricking, and here it is ready to go:
Not a bad job for the first one. Will make a nice cover for it in a while, but now- I am off to play with it!

Monday, March 07, 2011

What? Its been a Month?

So where did it go? I know it was right here a few days ago.
What happened to February? Has anyone seen it?

That is one of the many reasons I dislike February. Its short. Very short. Why does it not have the shortest name? Its too short to get anything accomplished in.

Last month I realized that March was coming up. That means a Grand baby would arrive. So I began to cross stitch and embroider the top of the quilt I bought for the baby...

So far so good. I had forgotten how long it takes, and have been working on it some. I had made each of my children a different style of quilt, so this will work.
When I did Royce's quilt - it was a shadow quilt pattern. Very soft and pastel. Its so pastel that pictures of it show up very faded even, but this is one of the blocks:

There are 4 blocks on it total, this was the bear with the rainbow block. Then I spent time looking at quilts. Knitting has suffered. I got disgusted with the swatches for the Master Knitter level 1 so have purchased new yarn. Will start over here in a bit on the swatches.

March came as a Lion here - the truck has decided it wants a new engine. This comes after the van needed new wiper motors on front and back and new tires. So at moment we are down to one vehicle.

But everything in the world stopped on Friday at 12:53 for me when I was told this person has arrived:

Meet Vincent Joseph Kajka. Born March 4, 2011. Weighing in at 6lbs 6 ounces and 19 inches long. I am so in love with him at moment, everything from the past month can be forgotten.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Socks, interrupted.

I had started the twelve pair of socks in twelve months. My first pair was originally going to be a pair of Pomatomus made out of some Regia yarn. I had gotten a good start to it as you can see.

Then suddenly, life decided to interrupt me.

The first interruption came in the disguise of several pairs of my socks developing issues. These issues were holes and worn out toes that needed mending. Now I should have been better at keeping up on any issues with them, but I had been slacking in that department.

So one afternoon that should have been spent on the Pomatomus pair was spent fixing not one but FIVE pairs of socks! One pair had been repaired a few times before, and at this point it required both of the toes to be replaced.

The good news is I now have several pairs to wear till the new sets of socks are done, and then they shall be put to the emergency only pile to wear.

Then Life decided it needed my attention again - this time in the disguise of some pretty severe medicinal side effects. I am not going to go into much detail, other than to say, I am not in any way a fan of Intuitiv for ADHD in children at this point.

So I decided to make my DD a few new pair of socks. So, I took a trip with my dear Cousin and Yarnie in training to Stitch Your Art Out. Stash enhancement was needed:

The Mini Mochi is color number 111, and after scanning for a few patterns to make it with the colors screamed Fruit Loops. So the first sock was started.

Enter the next interruption - Snow.

Last Wednesday, Jan 26, my drive to work was a bit delayed. When I left for work the roads were totally dry, no snow. I had listened to weather reports were listened to and read online that no major snow was projected, only 1-3 inches of snow and a 40% chance of precipitation. Driving should not have been a issue.

So travel began in the good old trusty tank - the van. The ride to work was fine.

At least until Route 22 just passed Ebensburg. Then I ran into a wall of snow. Now, snow does not scare me, having survived the huge snowfalls of the 90's of 36 inches every week, and while driving from Philipsburg, Pa - Clarion, Pa on I-80 daily. All done without four wheel drive. So this is nothing, just a squall, it will pass.. and it will be fine. Right?

Got to work, and got into the groove. Around 3pm, suddenly we got a few phone calls. There were over 3 inches on ground in Altoona, and wrecks were occuring. Roads were being shut down. New projections of snowfall 3-6 inches of snowfall and treacherous driving conditions with blowing snows and possible white outs.

Thankfully I work with a very cool boss, my sister Mary.

Needless to say I did not go home, but stayed with her. We had some wonderful pierogi pizza, wine, and watched some Pawn Stars. I had a very nice time visiting and working on the sock:

Its now done and the second sock is on the needles. While it is not the Pomatomus, I am going to finish this pair and call it my First of the Twelve.

I think that works.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finished items.

A few years ago my dear friend Opal came for a visit, We had a wonderful time and went to Md Sheep & Wool to enjoy the fibery madness that it is. She had given me a beautiful mitten kit from Riihivilla. I started them, but as life usually does, projects for others pushed them to the back burner. Until last week.
It has been a bit cold out , and my hands were screaming for some warmth. So, it was time to pull out the WIP and finished them up!

I have to admit I love them. I blocked them inside out to allow the floats to relax. The result is amazing - soft and beautiful. They have worked well so far this week with the storm blowing outside.
I also finished the Reader Mitts for Amy. They are perfect for her as she loves her phone and would be devastated if she had a pair of gloves that would not let her use it. These are made from some wonderful Cash Vero DK yarn. This yarn is amazing and soft with just the right amount of cashmere to make them perfectly warm. This pattern is becoming a very big favorite of mine, as it is fast, yet so elegant looking.

The scarf was also for Amy, made from Noro Kochoran, it should help to keep her nice and snug. The name of the pattern is escaping me at the moment. It used one skein to make it, and is very entertaining to knit.

So now to finish one more pair of fingerless mitts, and it will be time to work on more things for the shop.