Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pass/Fail Summer

My original "summer enrichment,"  was going to be reading and absorbing the wealth of useful info in Amy Herzog's book Knit to Flatter.

I purchased the book and thought "this will be the new thing I learn during the summer."  (During the summer I don't have a full teaching schedule, so I try to enrich, somehow.  One summer, it was reading the writings of Lincoln; another summer, it was learning Indian shisha embroidery, etc.)

So, I had my plan.  Don't ask me how I like Amy's book.  I'll tell you I love it, which would lead you to believe that I have pored over it, but I haven't.  I love the idea of it and I have loved hearing about it on several podcasts.    I haven't even opened it. What an epic fail!

I was so bummed when summer officially ended because I didn't glean the  great advice on making garments to fit your body, in  Knit to Flatter.  I had a sparse student schedule and  wallowed in the feeling of having been not unproductive, but rather nonproductive over the summer. I hate that. It makes me feel shamefully lazy.

Then, I was putting something on my Ravelry project page, and realized that I knitted Kate's Shawl and a matching hat and cowl.  I also crocheted the Scallop Crochet Scarf.  Well, at least I was a little productive. 

Oh, yeah, I also taught VBS for a week and began mentoring a young man we know, whose weakness led to criminal activity. He's incarcerated for the time being. At the beginning of the summer, I took an ESL tutoring course, did the required work and extensive extra reading and study,  and passed the final test.  

Now, I feel better.  I will get to Knit to Flatter - I just don't know when.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Easy Drop Stitch Scarf

In hopes of finishing gift crafting (don't ask!) by Thanksgiving, which coincides with Hanukkah, this year, I'm trying to make simple but attractive things.

The Easy Drop Stitch Scarf by Christine Vogel, which is a free Ravelry pattern was a great candidate.

I made a small sample with the super clearance ($1.99 a skein -- I fell off the Cold Sheep wagon and bought the only 3 in the bargain bin) Bernat Mosaic yarn I picked up last week.

 I liked it.  It was a quick, 1 skein knit, because the recipient is a very, very, very petite woman.  This scarf will be "normal length" for her.  The texture is interesting and the subtle colorway is reasonable for her very conservative business style.

I haven't washed and blocked it yet, but having only been tugged at to open up the curls of the dropped stitches, the overall look is impressive, considering how simple and fast it is to knit. 

I knit everything on circular needles. For this project, I used Knitters' Pride interchangeable  Cubics.

Panic in Hook and Needle Park

Although I swore off over extending myself with gift crafting, and was highly successful last year because we were coming out of Super Storm Sandy and the beginning of E-Rex's cancer treatment, I feel like I'm scurrying through a jungle and long, grippy vines are tangling around me with every step.  I have to disabuse myself of all this craziness!!

I always knit or crochet for Michelle (who's a Christmas baby) and Alex (who's now residing in Birmingham, England), Gigi received a knitted gift last year and seemed to relish it - so she's on the list again this year.  Okay, that's 3. 

There's a new baby in our friend circle so there is temptation to create something cute for her, because she's so small and it will go quickly, but then there's her older brother and her mom (who's been a friend for quite a while) and dad.  I shouldn't go down this road. I'm already committed to making a Christening gown for her, but a date hasn't been set because of some family complications.

Last year, someone at church, who knew I knit and crochet, asked if I could make a hat and scarf for the men in a shelter, who need winter wear.  I couldn't say no and made 2 or 3 sets for her.   On Friday night, Sally Ann asked if any of the meetup attendees wished to make hats and scarves for women in a shelter for battered women.  Of course I'd like to, but before committing, I checked with my Grace sister, to see if she was going to be collecting again this year, and since she is, I will forego the women's shelter crafting and reprise my  2012 donation - or pretty near.

Okay, so now it's 3 yarn crafted gifts, for sure, at least 1 hat and scarf set, maybe 2, a Christening gown for which I may only have a few weeks' notice.

Then, there are the office personnel in our apartment building.  They're great to us.  I was thinking about very simple cowls for them, or maybe crochet bead bracelets.  I'm on the fence about crafting for them this year.

Oh, did I mention my plan to make a baby guinea pig amigarumi for a former student who is a good friend?  She loves guinea pigs and has one. 

I'm feeling the walls closing in because a few neighbors and I get together for an informal knit/crochet/embroidery/cross stitch group for a couple hours on Tuesdays.  One of the participants is our next door neighbor.  She and I usually exchange small gifts.  I have never knit or crocheted for her.  I'm hoping she doesn't think I will be this year.

Then, there are the instructors/presenters from a class I took in the summer.  I saw them last week and looking at their personal styles, I'm sure they'd love a handmade Thank You something. I'm sure they don't expect anything.

In years past, I used to make something for each of  our Pastor's kids, all 3 of them.  I broke the tradition last year because of all that was going on as Christmas approached.  I should leave well enough alone.

I know I'm being sucked into a vortex of my own creation but I don't know how to stop.  Even the WIPs I've got going that are for me, and that I really want to finish, haven't had any prophylactic effect!

When thinking of a title for this cry for help disguised as a blog post, the allusion to the movie Panic in Needle Park was irresistible.  

Friday Night Knitting Club, Sort Of

Since I read Kate Jabobs' book, The Friday Night Knitting Club and the 2 sequels, I have thought about how much I'd like to participate in an organized knitting group.  I wanted them to be local, and have been disappointed that the LYSes near me have groups that are at times for which I frequently can't be available.  I've been a member of MeetUp.Com for a while, in hopes that one of the yarnie meetups  will be just right for me and my non-typical schedule.  Oh sure, the Englewood meetups are enticing.  The days aren't good for me and in all honesty, I didn't care for the schlep.  Then, there's the Rochelle Park ones. Closer, but still not optimum. I even heard of another informal knitting (and crochet, I'm sure) group that met at alternate venues: one week in Fair Lawn and the next week in Montclair.   The Fair Lawn aspect was okay, but the evening was a night I work in Fair Lawn, so, double disappointment

Then, 2 months ago, a MeetUp.Com notification came into my email, mentioning a Friday night knitting and crocheting group getting together at my local Panera, which couldn't have been better!  It was going to be monthly, not weekly, but hey, it had great potential.  Unfortunately, my husband was sick when the first opportunity to attend rolled around.  

The second meetup took place last Friday, and I was the first one there.  The organizer, Sally Ann, Connie and Mary Ellen attended.  We introduced ourselves, chatted and began to get to know one another while we stitched.

I brought a few projects with me, but decided to work on a drop stitch scarf I had just cast on the night before.

Mary Ellen brought a nearly done, ultra bulky scarf, that became a beautiful neck/warmer or cowl because she was nearly at the end of her skein of yarn and she only had that one. 

Sally Ann was crocheting a lovely poncho in a yarn that had a soft halo, in a stitch that resembled knitting.  She was the first to leave and I neglected to take a photo of her project.  I'll do so next time.

Connie had crocheted years ago, so she worked on some crochet she had already started.

Although the room in which we met was FREEZING cold, the conversation and camaraderie was warm and we all parted, looking forward with great anticipation, to our next get together.  
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