The Shy Knitter

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Knitting bee .... or a bee in my bonnet.

Saturday was such a lovely day. My family got together to celebrate my father's 85th birthday, which is a milestone in itself, but follows on the heals of my parent's 60th wedding anniversary, my mother's 80th birthday and my own 40th birthday.

My family has many talented people in it. The first picture shows my dad holding up a card given to him by my cousin Sandy, who made it for him. The second picture is the card my aunt Josie (Sandy's mother) also made for him.

When dad isn't on the computer, he is often sketching or painting in water colours. Josie's card is a nod to this well appreciated talent. Dad also likes to make birthday cards and write humorus poems, but his old software wasn't working with his new computer. So we got him the latest and greatest program so he can get back to writing up cards.

It was a wonderful day, and a wonderful party, and I was happy to capture this picture of a bumble bee with my mother's garden bee. Sandy and I took quite a few pictures, I was lucky enough to have a picture with the bee's tongue (for lack of a scientific term) sticking out.

With all the excitement of the day, and all this creative talent, I decided to start on the Baltic Sea Stole with my Sea Silk yarn. The pattern calls for a yarn that has 7 sts/inch, and Sea Silk is 4 sts/inch. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I would get the gauge to work (I wanted to knit a stole, not a scarf) and finally decided on knitting with a 4mm needle instead of 5mm as the pattern indicates. It gave me a 5 sts/inch gauge, and I started merrily along. I was confident that I would have no problem with this pattern.

Then came day two of this weekend. Hot, humid, and oppressive. I promised myself to try to finish the ballet wrap sweater that I had been working on, but the heat made it a less than enjoyable task (we do have air conditioning, but it doesn't seem to make much difference to how I feel about wool in the heat). I switched over to the Sea Silk, and started the first row of the lace pattern.

Last time I tried to knit lace, I gave up and handed it over to my mother. She has been knitting since she was quite young and I believe she can knit anything, and in this case she did. I thought this time would be different, but I am coming across a similar problem. At the end of the first row of lace knitting, I didn't have enough stitches at the end. I counted, recounted, went over each stitch, tried a bit of backward knitting but nothing was working. I undid the row of lace knitting and 9 rows of seed stitch border, and have decided to try again tomorrow. So this happy 'knitting bee' has become a bee in my bonnet. I will find a way to overcome this roadblock, there is no way I am giving up my Sea Silk for mother to knit.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Things that aren't what they appear to be....

This, believe it or not, is lettuce that was growing in my garden. It started out like any other head of lettuce, but it kept growing until it was about 4' tall. The leaves were getting to be a bit thick, and I didn't think it would make very good eating so it is now in the compost (to feed next year's head of lettuce).

Knitting can be very deceiving too. Knitting is often perceived as being a solitary activity with very little interaction with other people around you. This maybe true when counting or following an intricate pattern, but it actually lends itself to being a sociable endeavor. Stitch'n'bitch sessions have been quite popular in the last few years, and it is almost although the traditional "bee" (as quilting) have made a comeback just as knitting has.

Then there are people like myself who like knitting, and like people, but have some difficulty in putting the two together. Being somewhat intraverted and socially shy, I have found it incrediably difficult to 'get out there' and meet other knitters. It seems that anytime I got to a knitting event, I think that everyone knows everyone else, and find it easier to continue knitting and listen rather than socializing. Perhaps that isn't a bad thing, but the point is to interact.

I have the good fortune of having friends at work who are avid knitters, and I am blessed to come from a family of knitters, but expanding on that circle has been a bit of a challenge. What has been your experience? Do you prefer to knit alone, or in a group? How do you meet new knitters?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pssst.......want a good deal on yarn?

So, what am I working on right now? Well, I've got two projects on the go, and two waiting in the wings for their entrance (i.e. yarn is at the ready, needles are at hand, pattern is within grasp).

First, I found a ballet/wrap sweater in the Spring/Summer issue of Knit Simple . I was taken with it from the moment I saw it, and almost immediately set out looking for yarn. The pattern suggested putting two strands of Contrasto by Skacel Collection together to get a 11st on 9 mm gauge, but it also
recommended 28 50 g balls. I thought it might be better to use a yarn of that gauge, and perhaps not so many balls. In the end, I found some on sale yarn at the DKC's Knitter's Frolic last April.

Lang Yarns M.A.X. is 50/50 merino wool and acrylic, and is very soft despite it its synthetic mixture. I have been working on it since May, but the heat has made progress sporatic. I have also never worked from a magazine pattern before, and since much of it is condensed, I keep needing to review the instructions from the beginning to keep on course (or falling off course as the case maybe).

My second project is a pair of humble socks, but as they are my first set they have been a great learning experience. I am using Kroy self stripping yarn which is quite a thrill to see unfold. When Lewiscraft announced they were going bankrupt, I was able to score 4 balls at 30% off (yes, I love yarn on sale).

With the initial excitement of seing self patterning yarn, I worked toward turning the heel which you often hear about as a somewhat ardous task. What I found was turning wasn't much of an issue (rather anti-climatic really), but picking up the stitches was. I guess I haven't had much experience with it and haven't really been to impressed with the results. Oh well, practice will make better (I doubt it will make perfect). I got a little bored after I turned the heel and sort of procrastinated a bit on it for a time. Of late, I have found it to be perfect subway knitting, and have managed to complete the first sock. I am hoping to keep the momentum going to make it's mate.

Waiting in the wings is the two skeins of Sea Silk that I got for 20% off (and yet another deal) at Romni yarns on Queen street (sale is on through July on everything). And I will be making the Baltic Sea stole from Fibre Trends, as I had to pay shipping onI lost the savings gained from the yarn.

I also bought several cones of wool yarn from the Canadian Textile Museum's Yardage sale, and want to felt some bowls, boxes, or bags with it. I only paid a buck or two for the cones, so if it doesn't work out, no big loss. With the summer heat, I have cast on stitches but haven't done much else. I hope to get moving on them shortly.

So this is what I am up to right now, with some other projects that are waiting for these ones to be completed before they make an appearance. As you have probably noted, I love getting yarn (especially quality yarn) at a discounted price. If you hear of a sale, let me know!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well, here I am, in and amongst the knitting blog community. Ever since I read the Yarn Harlot's mention of knitters who were "sadly, blogless" I have wondered if I should join in on the fun. As my blog name suggests, I am not necessarily the most sociable of knitters. I have gone to a number of knitting events, I am a member of the Toronto Downtown Knit Collective, but have a horrible time meeting and talking to other knitters. I have the great fortune of coming from a family of knitters, and have great knitting friends at work, but I often feel it isn't enough and I am missing out on so much more.

So in a world where the magic of the blog can have you speak to people across the planet, I am joining in to the discussion. Here is my view of the knitting world and life in general. Being new blogging world, it is going to take me some time to get a project meter going, links and all the usual bells and whistles that most knitting blogs have these days. But until then, feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think or are thinking. It will be so nice to meet you.