Covid Cowl

©DROPS Design Lovely Feathers Neck Warmer

The “Lovely Feathers Neck Warmer” comes nowhere near the neck, and it doesn’t look like any feather I’m familiar with, not even a flamingo’s. Obviously I agree it’s lovely or I wouldn’t have chosen the knitting pattern.

I never knit patterns with the colors specified by the designer. My motto is, “Why knit something that looks like you could buy it in a store?” So far I’ve reached my aspirations in spades. The motto might be, “Why knit an accessory that makes you look sane when you could look eccentric instead?”Read More »

March of the Penguin Sweaters

On knitting a garment I hope will never be worn.

Ill-fitting

I’ve come to understand one of the primary reasons I’m passionate about knitting: As I knit, I visualize the person the garment is intended for. If it’s the holiday season, I visualize friends, family, and a flock of juvenile-service professionals who will get to choose from a knitted pile of accessories.

This is a relief after a quarter century of writing: nobody wants a draft of a bad poem in their holiday stocking—although the Man I Married might have preferred a slim sheet of paper over the seven-foot-long scarf I knitted him as my first ever knitted project.Read More »

Mistakes, Making It Up, Moving Forward

Brachiosaurus hat?
Or lumpy bowl?

My friend’s sister said, “I have no problem ripping a knitting project apart if I’ve made a mistake. After all, it’s knitting I love, so it doesn’t matter if I have to lose a bunch of work and practically start over. It just means more knitting!” A rumbling of assent, like the hubbub at British parliament, reverberated around the dinner table of women crafters who had been meeting weekly for a few decades.

Not I (though there IS something pleasurable about the sound and feel of ripping out rows of knitting, perhaps the vegetarian’s version of ripping flesh off ribs with our teeth).Read More »

Circles

Clever Kates cavorting with crapper cylinders

“Why am I doing this?” I asked the Man I Married as we fastened the backseat seatbelt around my new bundle of joy.

“Isn’t knitting enough?” I continued. “Why take this on, too? What am I thinking? Clearly I’m not thinking.”

MIM knew better than to answer. He squeezed my hand and let me wind myself down.

The orifice hook rattled against the strapped-in spinning wheel as we pulled out of the cul-de-sac far from home. The bobbins clattered on their Lazy Kate—which should be called a Clever Kate—a wooden stand on which the bobbins perch and spin while yarn is plied (when two or more individual strands are wound together to make a stronger, thicker yarn). This one was a step-up from my improvised and borrowed Lazy Kate: a shoebox punctured with shish kabob skewers, on which hung cardboard toilet paper rolls.Read More »

Spinning Tales

Now this king and queen had plenty of money, and plenty of fine clothes to wear…

I’ve been thinking about the Brothers Grimm tale of Briar Rose—better known in our time as Sleeping Beauty—in a new light.

The fairytale, true to form, comprises many farfetched aspects, but until I took a spinning wheel class, I’d never before considered the biggest hitch in the plot’s logic.

To refresh your memory:

Causing the whole brouhaha was the queen (always blame the mother) failing to invite the thirteenth fairy to the birthday celebration of miraculous newborn Briar Rose, for good reason—the king and queen didn’t have enough dishes.Read More »

Mohair Melee

Angora rabbit thinks it’s snowing all the time.

Most of the attendees at the annual fiber festival looked the same: middle-aged ladies who have clearly never seen the inside of a CrossFit, some trailed by a patient husband like mine. Their outfits could often be described as “creative,” “unique,” and “artfully layered.” Choosing warmth and pride over commercial fashion wasn’t a bad choice for a mid-October festival in huge, warehouse-like buildings on a fairground, serenaded by the the Doplered approach and retreat of racecar engines circling the nearby track in the constant rain.

We arrived on the early side for the Saturday noon opening of the Used Equipment Sale. I envisioned a The Who concert-like stampede by knitters, swarming, grabbing, and elbowing for first dibs on Lazy Kates.

But, no. Quiet and polite milling around the swifts, looms, and spinning wheels disappointed me. A victorious gleam in the eyes of a woman clutching a spinning chair (a damned uncomfortable-looking piece of furniture for a craft that requires many hours of sitting) over her head as she made her way to the checkout table like an Oregon Trail migrant forging a river, was as close to Black Friday pandemonium as things got.Read More »

Cheapskate Knitting Supply Hacks

An upside-down salad spinner keeps your yarn project from escaping (a colander will also do in a pinch).

The inverted salad spinner also protects my completed knitting from my cat while it’s being blocked (pinned in shape to my ironing board, dampened, and left to dry in the hopes that this last ditch effort will transform my project into something more closely approximating my original intent). Read More »

Knitting School Dropout

Class Prep: I had no problem with having sufficient materials for my Color 101 class.

“See you tonight! Don’t wait up!” I said cheerily to the Man I Married as I headed off at noon with a bulging supply bag to my first ever knitting class, held at a knitting conference in my neighborhood that I’d dreamt of attending for years. I’d never been able to participate, because I didn’t know how to knit. Well, now! That was a wee hurdle I’d finally overcome. With almost three solid (and I mean solid) months of knitting under my belt (as well as the new layer of fat from three months of sitting with nothing but my elbows moving more than a few inches), I finally got to enroll, carefully choosing classes geared toward beginners. That afternoon I would attend a lunch-hour lecture, followed by a three-hour Color 101 class, and then a Happy Hour meet-and-greet with conference instructors, so I didn’t plan to be home until after dinner, well-lubricated with boxed wine and bearing stunning examples of my newly acquired skills.

A couple of hours later, though, I slunk—as much as a person on a crutch can slink—back home in time to make dinner for the family.

“What happened?” asked MIM.

“I flunked out!” I wailed.Read More »