Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Schedule to Date

This is the schedule for 2012 such as I know it.  Some of it is a little tentative, but here it is anyway...

March 1 - Buffalo Knitting Guild
April 28 - Embraceable Ewe, Hamburg NY
May 26, 27 - Great Lakes Fiber Show, Wooster, Ohio
August 18 - Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair  Newark, Ohio
September 15, 16 - Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival  Hemlock, NY
September 22, 23 - Southern Adirondak Fiber Festival  Greenwich, NY
September 29, 30 - Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival  Tunbridge, VT
October 5,6 - North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival  Ridgewood, NJ
October 13 - Woodstock Fleece Festival Woodstock, ONT
October (18, 19) 20, 21 - NYS Sheep and Wool Festival Rhinebeck, NY
November - All Things Fiber Retreat  Ramapo, NY

All these dates are tentative based on contractual arrangements and meeting attendance requirements.  If you would like me to speak or teach at your event and the date is currently free, please let me know.  If you have contacted me regarding teaching at your event and your event is not listed above, please contact me immediately!  I hope to see you all!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Colorwork 5 - Intarsia

If Fair Isle is prom king and Slip stitch is prom queen in popularity, Intarsia is the wallflower who turns out to be a surprisingly phenomenal dancer.  It is everywhere, working along behind the scenes, but most people don't want to admit that they're friends with it.  Although not "popular" with knitters, it is beautiful, and simple to knit.

Intarsia is how you get an island of color in a field of another color.  In the sweater at right from Knitty, Spring 2006, the cheerful sleeves are stripes, but the focal point of the sweater is the ice cream cone. Assuming the project was knit from the bottom up on straight needles, how did they get the cone in there?

Right side of intarsia work
Here's how.  Pick up your colorwork swatch and do it with me.  (Go get it.  I'll wait here.)  If you've left off on a solid color row, great.  If not, do so, and start this exercise on a RS row.  (Don't do it on a cast-on row.  It's much easier on established knitting.)

OK, knit across your swatch to the middle (this is color A).  Drop your working yarn (do not cut).  Pick up a separate color yarn (B), and continue the knitting from where you stopped.  Finish your row. 

Turn your work.

Purl back towards the middle, stopping at the last stitch of B.  Drop your working yarn (do not cut.)  Right now, facing you on the back of your work, you should have a loose end of B,  a strand of B attached to a ball, and a strand of A attached to a ball.  If you have this, you're all set.  If not, rip back and start again. 

Pick up yarn A again, and before starting to purl with it, wrap it under loose strand of B, then, with loose B trapped in that little wrap, begin purling with A.  (This twist should have the same tension to it as the rest of your knitting!)  Purl across.
Wrong side of intarsia work
You should now have two rows of knitting in which the right side is A color, and the left side is B color.  If you don't, rip back and give it another shot.

Now we're back to a knit row, knit across until you reach color B.  Drop A without cutting, and pick up B from under A.  Again, mind your tension as you twist the yarns and keep it even with the rest of the work.  Finish knitting across. 

Continue from where it says "turn your work" above for another dozen rows or so. If the front of your work looks like the Right Side photo above, and the back of your work looks like the Wrong Side photo, you've got it!  If not, keep practicing, and you'll get it soon.

Every time you work intarsia, you'll be working in separate columns of color.  That means that in the Ice Cream Cone sweater above, there were three balls of yarn working during the knitting of the cone - one cream, one cone-colored, and another one cream.  No yarns are carried behind stitches.  If there are several islands of color, each one will represent its own ball of yarn.  You may want to start with patterns containing only two or three columns at a time until you're comfortable managing several working yarns at once.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quick Colorwork Recap - Knitting and the Prom

So far we've practiced stranded colorwork and slip stitch.  If colorwork were the prom, Stranded and Slip would be the King and Queen of the prom.  (Attractive, popular...)

Fair Isle Sweater pic, borrowed from
Why two names for the stranded knitting?  Well, Fair Isle (the Prom King) isn't the same as stranded, it's one form of stranded knitting.  Fair Isle traditionally is worked in relatively narrow bands in several colors.  Geometric patterns are the norm, and stacked in alternating thin and thick bands, but all bands are narrow relative to the size of the garment.  In each specific row, only two colors are worked at a time.  The traditional knits usually work 5-7 colors.  The effect is very unique and beautiful, and the sweaters are very warm.

Stranded work from Kristin's Creatives
In all other foms of stranded knitting, you don't have to follow the rule of the narrow, multi-colored bands.  You can also use more than 2 colors in a row.  As you can see from the stockings at right, no one would mistake this form of stranded for Fair Isle, but the basic work of the knitting is the same, no matter what the overall design.

Slip stitch, our Prom Queen, is the other popular and beautiful way to put colorwork into your project.  In this example from Kay Gardiner and the Mason-Dixon Knitting Blog, a really dramatic effect is created with slip stitch, with lovely texture enhancing the whimsy of the design.  All slip stitches will have texture to them by nature of the slipping of the stitches, and different designers choose to use that texture in different ways.  In general, the more texture, the warmer the fabric will be.

Lion Brand Intarsia Polka Dot Scarf
At every prom is some kid who didn't make much of a splash during school hours, but you were vaguely aware of him.  You saw him every day, and you might have even known his name at some point.  Then, at the prom, he bounces out on the dance floor, and he dances with joy and precision, and the whole crowd stops to watch.  When he stops, people applaud, and try to coax him out there to do it again.  That guy, my friends, is Intarsia.  You see it everywhere, and when you see how it's done, you'll be delighted. 

It's coming up in the next installment of this series.  Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

SlowKnitter: First Glove!

A guest post from a Gift Knit Kit Club member. Enjoy!

SlowKnitter: First Glove!: Hello there! I'm writing a quick little post here, because I KNITTED A GLOVE. Can you tell that I am so proud of myself? And, here is t...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Colorwork 4 - Slip Stitch

Ok, let's do this.  We're swatching again.  Cast on 20 stitches, all in color A (of your choice, but of appropriate weight for needle size.) Now, for the next row, purl.

**Now it starts to get fun.  Working in stockinette throughout the project, you're going to pick up a second color (b), and knit 3 B, slip 1 A.  When you slip the stitch, you transfer it from one needle to the other without knitting it, or turning it.  K3B, Sl1A across.  Turn your work. (You'll notice that yarn B is at one end of the needle, and yarn A is at the other.  Don't worry.  We'll go get it.)

Ok, time to purl.  Slip the As and purl the Bs, all the way across.  Make sure you don't twist the slipped stitches!

Now knit across in A, then purl your way back. **

The four rows above represent the whole pattern, which comes out very cute.  For those of you asking, "where's the picture?", where's the fun in that? 80 stitches from now, you'll know how it looks, and you'll love it.  And wasn't that ridiculously easy?  I know.  I used to be scared of them, too.  Now I feel very silly.

You may have noticed there are no directions telling you where to hold your yarn.  Usually your working yarn stays where it belongs - when knitting stitches, you just slip the slipped stitches without moving the working yarn to the front.  (Which is probably what you did, anyway.) That means that when purling the working yarn, you won't move the working yarn to the back while slipping stitches, either.  In some different slip stitch patterns you'll see directions reminding you to hold your working yarn to the back or to the front.  This is important to notice, as you won't get the desired effect if you don't put the yarn where the pattern tells you.

Happy knitting! Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Colorwork 3 - Onto the needles

The very good news in most colorwork is: you nearly always cast on in only one color.  In the event that the pattern asks you to do something else, it's is usually explained in detail.

Okay, so you've cast on, and I know you're casting on a swatch.  Congratulations on your wise choice.  Now, there are a few simple rules for all stranded (not intarsia, slip stitch or two strands held together) colorwork no matter what style you're going to use: keep both yarns working with even tension, tack as you go, and bring the "new" yarn from underneath.  Let's take 'em one at a time.

1. Keep both yarns working with even tension.  Some folks have a tendency to knit much tighter when they do colorwork.  Maybe they're trying to make sure there aren't any gaps between colors, but trust me, it doesn't work that way.  When you knit colorwork tightly, you end up with a strange, ripply, bumpy fabric that won't smooth out for anything.

When it is time to introduce the second yarn, pick it up and knit as if you were using the first yarn.  That is, don't change anything except colors!  Really.  The best practice for this is two knit two stitches with color A, and two stitches with color B for several rows until you don't have to think much about it.  Then, move on.

This brings us to the next tip:  (You'll need a colorwork pattern for this one)

Floats on the back of fabric
2. Tack as you go. After three stitches in a row of one color, if there are more stitches of the same color coming up, twist the two yarns together.  The first color you used, A, should make one wrap around the color you're using now, B. That's one tack. Now knit more stitches as directed, letting neither color "float" for more than 3 stitches without  tacking. Each tack should be twisted in the opposite direction from the one previous, keeping the two yarns from getting twisted up.

I know, that sounds like a lot, but it's not.  It just takes practice.  It's a bit like tying your shoes.  It takes a little while to get it, but once you have it, it becomes easy and second nature, and honestly, you can do it.
Colorwork front of fabric
Why tack?  Because long floats mess with your tension, making some stitches really loose, and others really tight.  Then, when you try to put on the garment, fingers and toes get caught up in these long floats, and that's really aggravating.  What should the floats look like?  The floats above are neat and beautiful, and most important, all exactly the same.  That allows the front of the fabric to look like the mitten at right.

I suggest you knit several rows this way without adding rule #3, just letting your hands become accustomed to these two skills.  Once you're really comfortable, go on to #3.

3. Bring the new color up from underneath.  The trick of that is to bring it up from underneath the original color every single time you change colors.  This means the original color is always going to come in from over the new color.  This, along with the tacking twist reversals, does a pretty good job of keeping the yarns from getting very twisted together.

What about the loose yarn ends?  You'll weave them in, just as you would any other end.  If you don't want the ends to show through to the front, make sure to weave them into their own colors.  In the mittens above, green was woven into green, and brown was woven into brown. 

Play with this swatch until you're happy with the work you're doing.  If you learn as you make a garment, often your work at the end of the garment will look quite different from the work you did in the beginning!  And, as you become more comfortable with colorwork your gauge will change.  That's all for now! Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Colorwork 2 - basics

Knitting colorwork will make a thicker fabric in every case except striping.  So, let's consider that.  There are benefits to having a thicker fabric, including added warmth and added durability, but these can also be drawbacks.  You want your garment to be appropriate to its intended use.  Sweaters that make you sweaty are rarely a good thing.

How much warmer will the garment be?  Assuming you're using two yarns of the same weight, it's going to be about 1/2 warmer, based on how much air it traps.  So if you're working a sweater in 1 strand of worsted wool, it gives you about 10 degrees F of temperature insulation.  In colorwork, it will give you about 15 degrees F of insulation.  If that's too much, go down a weight in both yarns to a DK.  You'll have approximately equal warmth.

The same goes for durability.  The increase in durability comes from the two layers of yarn.  If you're looking to knit a fabric with a very delicate texture, you may need to lighten your yarn choices.  If you're trying to make a certain yarn more durable, and thicker is desirable, wool, silk and linen are very strong.  Nylon, rayon and tencel are usually very strong.  Mohair, angora, alpaca, and cashmere are all usually spun quite loosely, and are fibers that are weaker in all cases.  This combining of two different yarns works best in cases of two yarns held together.

Remember that when you're contemplating a colorwork project, you'll need to buy more yarn.  You need to remember that you'll be buying at least one skein per color.  If the pattern is unclear about the amount needed of each color, ask your handy LYS clerk.  They will guide you to the correct amount, and you can shop with confidence.

Naturally, you'll also need to swatch in colorwork.  I don't care what the pattern says.  Everyone's gauge is different in colorwork than it is in plain knits.  (It's also always tighter in the round than on straights, but I digress.) Knit along and get your gauge.  You'll be eternally glad you didn't waste your time making an entire garment that is the wrong size.

Next article: getting the project on the needles. Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just When I Thought It Was Safe...

There are days I think it might help if they made superhero undies for grown ups.  I could have used a little Wonder Woman power today.  And I really needed the cool invisible plane.

So I opened the box from Mountain Colors and saw my beautiful un-skeined Crazyfoot yarn for the Gift Knits Snuggly Socks, and was thrilled.  It still smelled a bit of mordant (the stuff used to set dye, in this case largely vinegar), so I didn't ball it right away.  I let it breathe until this morning.  Then, out came the yarn swift and ball winder.

Well, I put the giant 1lb dye hank on the swift, and the swift promptly broke.  Ooops!  Ok, a little swift surgery later, I was back in business.  Then, I cut the ties on the hank.  Then, I started winding.  Strangely, as the ball reached the size of a racquetball, there was a yarn end, and the swift kept spinning, no longer attached to the ball.  I cursed, weighed the ball, and cursed again.  Only 27g.  It takes at least 45 of this yarn to make a man's sock.  Nobody wants to knit a sock with multiple ends.  I started winding again, thinking that was a fluke.

Not a fluke.  It happened again.  3 more times!  This is amazingly rare in the land of yarn.  (Like maybe one in 500 dye hanks.)  So I have 4 little mini balls of sock yarn, and then the rest of the balls for the club went very smoothly.  95g came out perfectly again and again. 

Because Murphy's Luck follows me like an Eeyore cloud, I had only ordered exactly enough yarn to fulfill the kit orders, so I was one kit short.  And they're supposed to go in the mail today.  That's not the toughest part.  No one in my area carries this particular yarn.  They carry the brand, but not the exact yarn.  Now what?  Have a club member wait until the company can ship some from Montana?  No.  (This is where I would have used the cool Wonder Woman Jet.)  Provide a different brand of yarn in a similar put-up?  No.  There is a reason these socks had to be Mountain Colors.  The pattern was literally designed for their style of colorshifts in the wool.

And then I remembered.  I made the first two swatches for these socks in Mountain Colors' sister sock yarn, Bearfoot.  The pattern works equally well in both.  So I trotted out to my LYS and purchased one skein of Bearfoot so that all the club kits could get into the mail on time.  As happens to me every time I'm in a yarn shop, I wanted every skein in the place, but I managed to stick to my plan and just buy the one skein.  I don't know if I'll be able to get to the Post Office in time today, but I made a valiant effort. 

Tomorrow, I buy Wonder Woman undies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Mitten - Free Pattern

A Valentine for all my friends and readers: Valentine's Mittens!

Materials: Size 5 needles
Cascade Yarns 220 Worsted Wool, one skein each red, and white

Makes women's size med/large mittens. For smaller or larger size, decrease or increase needle size respectively. Finished size 4.25 inches across, 8.5 inches long.
Cast on 52 sts needed. Please note - there is a white stripe up each edge of the mitten, so make sure to count those on the above chart. I admit, they are not super clearly marked.

On Round 20, (solid red above stripes) increase 1 stitch every 6 stitches 8 times, finish round.  60 Stitches.
This pattern is designed in the round, with an afterthought thumb. The front and back of each thumb are the same, so repeat the thumb chart twice. The grey lines on the palm of the mitten body represent where to knit with scrap yarn for thumb placement.
Happy knitting! Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mosaic and Duplicate knits

In this article, we'll define the remaining two color work styles in the series:  Mosaic and Duplicate knitting.  There are more styles of color work that I won't cover, including Brioche knits, Double Knitting, and Needle Felting.  They are wonderful knitting styles, but represent a very small percentage of color work patterns.  As such, they just don't seem to be "intro" to color work material.
Duplicate knitting is very easy to do, but not always intuitive to understand from written directions.  In this color work method, you thread a tapestry needle with the desired color, and stitch following the exact pattern of the yarn in the knit.  It differs from embroidery, in that embroidery can be stitched in any direction, whereas duplicate stitch can only follow the yarn of the knit itself.  In the example at right, the green of the mitten is stockinette stitched, with an intarsia white circle stockinette stitched into the back of the hand.  The Red Cross inside the white circle is duplicate stitch.   It really looks as if it were knit that way in the first place, doesn't it?  Duplicate stitch is great in areas where stranded color work would be complicated or messy, or in spots where you only need to change the color of a few stitches.

Mosaic Knitting (above left) is a form of Slip Stitch color work, and as such will not be covered separately.  The term seems to have been coined by Barbara Walker in the early 1970's, and her approach to slip stitch is a little different from the average.  Uniquely, only one color is worked at at a time, ever.  Otherwise, basic slip stitch rules apply (slip a stitch from left needle to right without knitting it).  In Mosaic Knitting, you always slip the color you're not working, and only knit the color you are.  This work is also pretty easy once you've practiced a little. 

The next article will talk about tension, and how to keep your color work looking smooth, even before blocking!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Colorwork 1 - choose yarn and colors

Believe it or not, there's a little more to colorwork than just choosing two colors you love and putting them together.  Not a lot more, but more.

First, how do you choose colors?  For smooth and easy colorwork, choose two colors of the same exact fiber from the same yarn line.  As and example, two or more different colors of Classic Elite Inca Alpaca.  It comes in 45 colors, and provides variation across the color spectrum.  Why the same yarn line?

Stranded Colorwork
Not all yarns are created equal, and not even all yarns of the same fiber and weight are created equal.  As you can see in the example, these two "worsted" yarns are different thicknesses.  They are both from the same manufacturer, both merino wool.  One is superwash, and one isn't.  Depending on what you're making, this may not matter at all.  If you know not to launder the piece as if it were all superwash, great.  If you're felting, this is a problem.  A very slight difference won't show much in a stranded colorwork situation.  In stranded, each color stitch needs only to match itself in size.  If the other color is slightly different, it's fine. 

Fair Isle Swatch
If it's Fair Isle or striped, it will yell at you!  Fair Isle is entirely dependent on every stitch being exacly the same size, or the pattern wont work.  As you can see in the example, when they aren't, it's pretty obvious.  The red stitches were knitted much more tightly than the white, and the white are very uneven.  It's still pretty, but after the time and money you've invested in making a piece like this, you'll want it to look its best. 

However, if texture and striping are your goal, maybe you really want the yarns not to match.  In that case, run with it!  Or, maybe you're holding two yarns together for a marled effect, in which case you may choose two yarns of totally different weights to achieve just the color proportions you want.  The swatch in the example is made with a worsted wool and a bulky cotton alpaca blend, creating a very chunky, textured look.  The texture pops much more because of the two yarns held together than it would in either yarn alone.  (I know this because I tried it.)
Two Yarns Held Together
For the garment you're about to make, would you like it to coordinate with clothes you already own?  Maybe bring a garment you'd like to coordinate along with you when you shop.  Do you want to coordinate with clothes you haven't purchased yet?  Check the Pantone color chart for the season you'll be using the garment.  They keep archives of top fashion colors for years past, present, and future.  (Ever wonder how all the clothing manufacturers end up on the same page for color every season?  Mystery solved.)  Even if the clothes haven't been made yet, it's likely that the palette on Pantone will accurately represent the clothing choices you'll have in the upcoming seasons.  (Not sure?  Check it out here.)

Yes, there's more to it.  We'll go over it in the next several posts.  You'll be great at this!

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fearless Knitters Swatch

First off, let me tell you I am not a totally fearless knitter.  But honestly, I'm not afraid of knitting in any of its many guises.  A road trip with all of my children at the same time?  Dread fills me.  But knitting is no biggie.  Not because I'm so good at it, I'm only pretty good; but because I've learned to swatch everything!
some of the swatches in my knitting basket

Swatching is the "scratch paper" of knitting.  It's the doodle pad.  It's the place you can screw up with abandon, precisely because you can abandon it!  Everyone will look at your finished object or garment, and never ask to see your swatch.  It's how I start every pattern I've ever designed.  It's also how I test out every cable combination, and confirm gauge.  Testing color combos next to each other while still in the skein is okay, but you'll never be sure until you swatch.  Little differences in the finishes on yarns, or nearly imperceptible diameter differences may look great, but they may knit up horribly.  Enter the swatch to the rescue!

Stranded colorwork with the occasional 3 color row
This comes to mind because the teaching season has started again, and I have begun my teaching swatches.  (OK, I started the swatches before the sling.)  This first round of swatching is for Introduction To Colorwork, and it starts easy.  First, two colors held together.  Then we stripe.  Then it will be slip stitch.  Then intarsia.  Then stranded.  Then Fair Isle.  During my class, my students knit a swatch just like mine.  They're always amazed that they can do 6 different types of colorwork inside of 3 hours, when they were sure they couldn't do any!  Why can they perform this magical feat?  No performance anxiety!  No one will ever see it but them.

One more thing swatching is terrific for is curing some start-itis.  If you're dying to start something fabulous, but don't want to sink a fortune into new yarn and patterns, grab some leftover yarn and swatch a new or rusty skill.  You can find a variety of patterns and tutorials on the internet if you're a new knitter, and don't have any instructions for a new skill at home.  Try,, and YouTube for patterns, directions, and ideas.  Do it now!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Updates du Jour

Well, I chatted with Mountain Colors Yarns today to finalize the details of the Snuggly Socks kit yarns.  Man I love that yarn!  It's going to be so hard not to keep it all to myself!  Oh, well...

Still rockin' the sling on the arm, and I've got to say, it's not my favorite accessory.  Maybe that's why they're never on the fashion runways - maybe not, but on me it's quite unflattering.  On the upside, my arm is starting to respond positively to all this babying.  There are a few things I do each day without the sling, like bathe and dress, and both of those were much less painful today.  A little more ice, a little more ibuprofen, a little more time, and I'll be good as new!

Which is good because all this not knitting is killing me!  How do people manage to put it down?  It's like crack for crafters, I think.  You think it won't overtake your life.  "I can quit anytime I want to."  The next thing you know you're standing in the coffee shop grilling the woman in front of you in line about the sweater she's wearing, and wondering if you could actually knit with coffee stirrers and shredded napkins.  Or maybe that's just me.  Right now I'm telling myself, "I don't have a problem.  I have a hobby.  That I'm very enthusiastic about."

In other news, the calendar is starting to fill in with teaching dates.  In March, the Greater Buffalo Knitting Guild.  In April, at Embraceable Ewe in Hamburg, NY.  May is the Great Lakes Fiber Show. August is the Mid-Ohio show.  September is North Jersey.  October is Vermont and Rhinebeck.  There are several others that I'm still firming up dates or classes, so if you're hoping for me to teach near you, contact me now!  I'll do my best to get everything on the schedule.  And if your group is highly organized and prepping for 2013, this would be a great time to talk.  I only have one date for 2013 booked!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Knitter's Elbow

Illustration from
As I've mentioned a couple of times, I've recently moved my home.  I'm only just across town, but it has made a difference in  my world.  The biggest change, knitter's elbow.

If you're not familiar (as I wasn't), it's the same injury they describe as tennis elbow, and no matter what you call it, knitting aggravates it. Caused by inflammation of a tendon connected to forearm muscles, it's a sharp and hobbling pain in the outside of the elbow, in my case on the left side.  I injured my arm moving a mattress a month ago, and reduced my overall activity level significantly in hopes of a speedy recovery.  Not so much.

It's a month later, and my elbow is worse.  I'm impressed at how painful this is!  I was in the grocer yesterday, and reached out for a 14.5 oz can of tomatoes at elbow level with my left arm.  In the two feet of space between the shelf and my cart, I dropped it!  My grip loosened in response to the pain shooting through my arm, and I realized I have more of a problem than I had realized.

As a former personal trainer and licensed massage therapist, I've done a fair amount of studying this phenomenon, and therefore lived blissfully in denial.  To accept that tennis/knitter's elbow is the problem would be to accept that ice, a sling, and (gasp!) no knitting were part of my future.  Obviously denial was preferable.  Not anymore.  I can't cook, open a jar, or do most other things that require two hands.  (You should see me try to drive!)

Have you had or do you have Knitter's Elbow?  If it's keeping you from sleeping, or visibly swollen, red or bruised, see a doctor.  None of the above?  In my athletic experience, with total rest and ice therapy, it can be over within about two weeks when you're lucky, a month to six weeks when you're not.  And if you're not noticing improvement at all after the first two weeks, you need to see your doctor.  There are surgical interventions for this pain when it's not just an inflammation but a tear (or worse) to your tendon.

It's hard to imagine what I'm going to do with no knitting for the next two weeks or more.  The Kindle will get a workout, and I suppose I can go for walks, but that will hardly fill my time.  Maybe it's time to gain a full appreciation of the filmography of Woody Allen.  Or learn French.  I'll let you know what's going on.  Anybody out there in the same boat?  I'm open to suggestions, and to your stories of recovery.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SATs and knitting

It's time for my daughter to take the SATs.  I can't believe she's 17!  She's so grown up, and beautiful, and tall.  It's one of those milestones that has me looking back on her life.  And her life in knitting.

While I was pregnant, my mother-in-law crocheted her a beautiful baby blanket in a soft but sturdy cotton.  She was a winter baby, and it became a staple of our day to wrap her in the blanket in the car seat.

When she was still a baby, my childhood friend Lisa started knitting for her.  There were strawberry caps and lemonhead hats.  She was adorable in all of them.  A happy and busy baby, she liked to show off her hats to passers by as we would shop and run errands.  She would "vogue" for anyone willing to watch.

At about 7 she wanted to learn to knit (I guess I made it look like fun?) and started knitting up thin little ribbons of knitting that she would use as collars on her stuffed animals.  This phase lasted for a couple of years.  Build-a-Bear animals, Beanie Babies, and even Elmo were very fashionable in their collars and scarves, and most of them involved glitter.

At 12 she wanted to participate in clothing some teddy bears given out by a local charity.  She made scarves and belts, and a couple of teddy bear sized baby blankets.  She considered herself a knitter.  The bears were adorable in their little outfits, and I was very proud.  She had taken to "borrowing" my fair isle mittens and earflap hats, and that spurred me to make her a knitwear wardrobe of her own.  Middle school being what it is, we quickly ended up with single mittens, missing hats, and many requests for "one more pair.  I won't lose them.  I promise."  And I knitted her several more pairs.

At 14 she started getting into the scarf craze, and picked out some yarns for me to make her a fashion scarf.  Shimmering ribbon yarn became a scarf, which was worn twice before it was declared "too hot" to wear all day.  I'm grateful she chose colors that I wear, because I've enjoyed it ever since.

At this point, she's not into knitwear or knitting.  She likes military-influenced jackets over trendy t-shirts, and goes mitten, scarf and hat free most days.  If there is a hat, it's a canvas cadet cap. 

As she moves on in her life, I still have many of the things that she knitted, and that I knitted for her.  It's funny to me how each piece brings to life a chunk of our history.  Vivid memories flood back.  And it makes me wonder what she'll want me to knit next.  Stuff for college?  A wrap for a party dress?  Will I have to wait until she needs baby blankets?  I don't know, but thinking about this knitted bond, past and future, makes me smile.