Posts tagged ‘needles’

July 21, 2012

Wonderful Ewe

Hoping to inflame me with thoughts of passionate self-expression, Jim sent me the above photo. He thought seeing the source of the object of my desire would be inspirational.

Sure was, I grabbed those needles and cast on immediately. Isn’t that what he meant?

June 17, 2012

Summer Knitting and WIPS

There is a bag of brand new yarn sitting in the Blue Room* waiting for me. This yarn was bought in April at Webs in Northampton when I was at the Friends of Smith College Libraries board meeting. This yarn was was purchased to make two sweaters for Ellie. One is an adaptation of a design by Fiona Ellis from her book, Inspired Fair Isle. The other is a pattern I saw in Knitter’s I believe that just looked like something Ellie should have. Ellie was with me and approved both choices and picked her colors and yarn.

I have written about my yarn diet which has been ongoing (sort of) for the past three years. Having accumulated a shocking amount of yarn, I decided I needed to stop purchasing. I felt almost nauseous at the thought of so much yarn. Like I had eaten a big, heavy meal and needed to go on an instant diet. There have been a few caveats to this diet–one is purchasing yarn with which to knit Ellie sweaters. I have written about that previously I believe. There have been a few other slips, falls off the wagon so to speak. One was a little problem with the Sock Yarn Club at Knit Purl in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t keep up with the Sock Club, but I loved the way they packaged the kits. I could knit socks for a very long time with the stockpile of sock yarn which kept growing until I finally got the strength to not re-up. Another too big meal until I pushed away from the table.

So, the bag of new yarn is calling to me, but I am not listening. My fingers are in my ears. NaNaNaNa!  I have decided instead that I need to devote the summer to working through my WIPS (works in progress to non-knitters). I think it is the logical extension of the yarn diet.

Scattered about the Blue Room and in the Yarn Corner in our basement are a panoply of projects in various states of completion. I always have multiple projects on needles, but I also have to confess that I stall out sometimes and things just sort of sit. Using the new yarn for Ellie’s sweaters as the carrot, I am going to try to finish off some of these lingering projects. I can’t work on Ellie’s sweaters until I knock off a few WIPS.

The first one I picked up again is a mitred scarf kit in alpaca that I must have started close to eight years ago. I know I was knitting on it in Auckland which must have been back in 2004 or so. I picked it up a couple of weeks and have finished knitting the squares and am in the process of crocheting the edging. It gets a beaded fringe and then it will be done. That will be one down. One less bag of yarn sitting around the house.

The next project I re-commenced is also in alpaca. It is called Jaywalking by Twisted Sisters. Knit on size three needles, this thing has taken on a life of its own.

It is ultra wide and required long row after row of knitting on small needles. I have finally finished the body and am working on the “corded tuck” which I don’t quite understand. After that I need to do the entrelac and then just seam it up. I am going to nail this one once and for all. Than I shall move on to another and another. I want to get my total of WIPS in progress under control by August 1st so I can have begun working on Ellie’s sweaters before she returns from Peru. It is my plan.

*While we hardly live in a mansion, we have developed the habit of naming the rooms in our house. We have the Blue Room, the Green Room, etc. It is kind of fun to me to call them colors rather than by purpose.

March 14, 2012


The first class compartment was old, but still in good shape.  The red plush seats were firm, over the back of each bench seat a mirror ran from side to side with hooks at each end for hanging outerwear.  Overhead ample metal racks kept possessions out from under foot and permitted the use of each of the six seats if the train was full.  The compartment was comfortable and organized and it felt like a train heading south from Paris should feel: romantic and timeless.

We were on a whirlwind trip to the Dordogne, the home of rich country pate and strong local wines. It was a thirty-six hour odyssey to attend the international publication event for a best-selling novelist’s first work in twelve years and we would spend more time traveling to and from our destination than we would actually spent at our destination.

I was traveling with a colleague, a good-looking man about my same age with whom I was only somewhat acquainted.  We were traveling with polite deference toward each other, not sure of each other’s likes and dislikes, but determined to be polite and professional.  I did know that he was very much looking forward to the fine wines and heavy meals the next few hours were sure to bring.

The train compartment was not ours alone.  At the first stop out of Paris, two older women joined us.  The women seemed to be of the same age, hair greyed with the passing years.  They were wearing comfortable traveling clothes and carrying shopping bags  and I was quite sure they had gone to Paris to visit family and to purchase the kinds of things not offered in their local shops.  My rusty French was adequate to exchange amiable greetings and then we rode on in silence.

Knitting in front of business associates always makes me feel exposed, vulnerable.  How can you take someone seriously who is holding needles attached to a ball of string.  The train swung gently back and forth and the movement was irresistible.  Four hours in a train, four hours with nothing to busy my hands, four hours just ideal for contented and reflective knitting.  The train rolled on and each passing minute was a lost opportunity.  What a waste to sit staring alternately at the pages of a book and the passing scene from the window.  How perfect to feel the soft wool flow through my fingers as I knit my way south through France.  To gaze out the window at fields and woods, small towns whizzing past and feel the fabric grow beneath my fingers, the train and the knitting forming the best of partnerships.  It was too much for me, I had to succumb.

I opened my work bag and with a defiant flourish pulled forth my knitting.  My colleague looked over and blinked with surprise to see needles and string, not a manuscript, emerge from my bag.  My hands quickly found their comfortable position and I sighed out loud with happiness.  “Vous aimez tricoter?” the lovely musical french phrase broke my trance. “Pardon?”  Rusty linguistic skills don’t fail me now… “Vous aimez tricoter?” the woman across from me wearing a brown cardigan repeated her question with a clear nod to the work in my hands. “Ah, oui. Je l’aime beaucoup.”

With warm smiles, both women opened their own carry on bags and brought forth needles and yarn.  Age and linguistic barriers began slowly to crumble beneath shared interests.  Knitting and chatting, the miles flew by as we discussed our projects and I slowly learned the vocabulary to go with our common passion.  There is a language shared throughout the world by all who love the process of creation with yarn and needles.  It is a common tongue whenever both are present.

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