Unraveled Wednesday – retreating

Last Friday I headed east to join my quilting friends for an annual retreat.  I am not quilting much these days and with the chaos and stress that has been my life lately, I contemplated skipping this year.  In the end, I was happy that I went.  I stitched up four new project bags, a pair of pants for our tiny person, and a gadget bag that was much fussier than I would normally tackle but since I sewed this one alongside one of my friends so it was fun.  There was a fair  amount of unsewing (the quilting equivalent of unraveling).  There was also good food, catching up, coffee, wine, and plenty of laughter.

Between sewing projects, I made some good progress on my most recent knit.  I don’t think I will finish before I leave but this could be my travel knitting, at least for the first part of my trip.  Then I will need to acquire the materials for another project once I get to Shetland.  I still need to make some final decisions on travel clothing.  I have two smallish books to take and leave along the way and two audio books on my phone.  Departure time is so close!

Thanks for hosting us Kat!


Fiber Friday

It was a long week and I’m not exactly sure why but I know that it felt long to a lot of people.  But we did see a bit more sunshine this week and even had a few days that didn’t require me to put up my hood every time I stepped out of my office.  That was lovely.

And there was fiber in my week.  I started the sleeves on my Annabel cardigan.  I am almost to the elbow on sleeve #1.  I started with magic loop but after two inches my arms were getting tired so I am knitting the rest of the sleeve flat and will seam it up.  I will follow that same method on the second sleeve to have consistency.  The garter stitch is quite forgiving and bouncy.

I made two pair of pants for our tiny person.  That was very fun and super simple.  His lovely mom put them on him yesterday so I got to see them when I picked him up for a few hours.

Tomorrow I am going to meet with some quilters.  I met these ladies when I joined the Sue Spargo block of the month  last year but have not made it to many of their gatherings.  I am taking some of the red strips I cut last weekend to sew some blocks for the 70273 project.

Hope your week was good.  Happy spring and enjoy your weekend.

can we talk?

I learned how to knit as a girl.  Both of my grandmothers were knitters.  One knit beautiful sweaters for us.  The other knit little sweaters for our dolls.  It was my Scottish  grandmother who helped me knit a Christmas stocking and put knitting into my memory bank.  When the girls were little, I knit a few sweaters.  Then I found quilting and I gave away my small stash of yarn and needles because I didn’t see myself as a knitter.  

About 8 years ago, I was at a prayer retreat.  There was a woman knitting a prayer shawl.  She told me about the group at her church and the shawls they knit.  I was at the retreat with a friend who was a knitter.  On the drive home, we came up with a plan to start a prayer shawl ministry at our church.  I was not deterred by the fact that I had given up knitting.  And it did not take long to accumulate more needles and yarns.  My first shawl was for a woman who was walking through breast cancer with her mom.  I made a simple, basket weave shawl.  That first year we knit about 10 shawls and a bunch of hats and scarves for a women’s day shelter.  

I have loved knitting hats and shawls to give away.  I almost always have a donation hat on the needles.  But the last few years, I keep seeing reference to “selfish knitting.”  I really do not understand this.  I love knitting donation items.  I try to use good yarn and do my best knitting, no matter the recipient.  But I also knit just for me.  And I don’t think that is selfish.  I enjoy knitting.  I can’t tell you how many times I have knit something and then unknit that thing because it didn’t make my heart sing.  I just unknit a shawl last night that would not block out properly.  I immediately cast on a hat because I love this yarn.  I plan to wear this hat.  Is that selfish?  Can you help me understand this idea of “selfish knitting”?

I used to make quilts

low-volume-quiltI actually still make quilts, at least I start quilts.  And I did finish one recently, the one for the tiny person.  I also used to make stuff with paper and glue, and I put photos in scrapbooks, and I dabbled with paints.  But I have been giving most of my paper and stamps away.
These days, knitting is my craft of choice.  I have been listening to Ann Hood’s collection of essays, Knitting Pearls.  Jane Hamilton writes about the choice between knitting and reading.  In another essay, the writer recalls the joy of knitting for her mother.  As I listened, I had a bit of a revelation.  During the school year, life is pretty hectic.  I just don’t have the energy to make a quilt.  And really, how many quilts does a family need?  I have exhausted the list of people who might want (or deserve) a handmade quilt.  But knitting is different.  We have a prayer shawl ministry and a couple of different groups that collect knitted hats and scarves for men, women, and children.  I can enjoy the process of knitting, try out new stitches, new methods for casting on or decreasing the crown, and best of all, so many different yarns. I used to make things with fabric, now I make things with yarn.  I suspect that I will be further reducing my fabric stash during Christmas break.  I could use that space to store my yarn!