Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yes to Tea Leaves!

I enjoyed knitting the Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan. For my first real sweater, it went well - not nearly as scarey as I'd anticipated. I do have questions about how I can avoid the little holes created where the sleeves meet the body. Must investigate. Tips welcome!

The only modification I made was to make long instead of three quarter length sleeves. I'd like my Granddaughter to be able to wear this as an outdoor sweater to throw on over her school clothes. Oh yes - I changed the length between the button holes as well. I didn't like the large gap between the two buttons, so I decreased the stitches between button holes to 10, then added two more buttons. It just seems more balanced to me this way.

So! I made it through my first sweater and actually enjoyed the process, as well as the finished object. Much easier than I ever would have guessed. Of course, a good basic pattern helps. Next oldest Granddaughter is asking when hers will be done. I'm casting on even as we speak in fuschia pink! I am a sweater knitter. Or at least a Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan knitter. Pretty cool.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What I Wish I Could Put On a Care Label

Dear Daughter,

I know you have the impression that socks are inexpensive, easily obtained items, but these I’m presenting to you are very special socks – magical, in a sense. Each hour spent knitting them were spent with Mom thinking of you, daydreaming about how you might wear them and how they would improve your life and add comfort to your tired, chilly feet. They’re infused with Mom’s best intentions, and loving regard for you. When you pull on these love drenched socks, your soul, along with your feet will be warmed and comforted. They’re made of a high quality wool, blended with nylon for long wearing. Your Mom dyed this yarn with Easter Egg dye tablets in her crock pot in her kitchen. When she saw the color, she knew they had to become socks for you because the delicious shade of green, along with the blues reminded her of the cool Washington forest and the drizzling raindrops you long to experience again.

Care: This wool is machine washable. However, your Mom spent many hours with her smeary bifocals perched on the end of her nose, creating these socks with little tiny stitches on toothpick sized needles. You'll worry that if they were thrown in the washing machine, one might get lost or mangled by a nearby zipper. Because you’ll treasure all your Mom’s hard work, you’ll more likely want to wash these by hand, in the sink by swishing them through soapy water, rinsing, then shaping them out on a towel to dry. Shampoo works nicely to wash them with. After all, wool is simply sheep hair, is it not?

You may wear these in shoes, or simply around the house on chilly days because I assure you, my cotton loving, southwestern raised, wool naïve daughter - your feet have never been more toasty than they will be wrapped in wool on a cold day. I hope you enjoy them just a fraction as much as I enjoyed creating them for you.

All my love, daughter. Always.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Lord of the Rings

This beautiful yarn is called Tolkien. It was part of my package in the recent kit swap organized in the My Other Hobby Swap group on Ravelry. There's a fun bunch of people there. Lots of talented, ultra crafty people who do various other hobbies besides knitting and crochet. Just off the top of my head, I can think of basketweaving, card making, scrapbooking, spinning, jewelry making, dyeing, pottery, quilting, mixed media, and oil painting for heaven's sake.

This is a fun group to belong to because one of the features of every swap is that your package must include something you make for your partner using your other hobby. Given the varied things people do - you never know what sorts of wonderful things you might receive!

My partner, Lauren - Lolabella on Ravelry, sews and makes jewelry, so I was lucky enough to get some really cool things including two sewn items - one of them a bag, (and you know how I love bags!) She picked a fabric that on sight made my heart go thumpity thump. A super cute folk artsy leaf and tree pattern fabric from which she made both a sling bag and a much needed dpn needle roll. She even stamped leaves on the interior fabric using a stamp she carved from a potato! Talk about crafty!

The Tolkien yarn, forest-y fabric, and even the tiny little sterling and copper ring stitch markers screamed the Lord of the Rings. She also included the Aestlight Shawl pattern - one I've wanted to add to my knitted wardrobe since I first saw it. What a pleasure this will be to knit now - with the theme of this classic trilogy running through the rows. I'm so taken with the theme that I'm going to listen to the story on audiobook as I knit. An old beloved tale knit into a wonderful new shawl. Thanks to my English pal Lauren, I'll enjoy every stitch. That girl sure knows how to rock a theme!