This is a rug I'm knitting from a pattern on the Lion Brand yarn web site. I describe the process I finally chose to use with this in my introductory post on this blog. It's been a bit of an adventure.
Friday, March 25, 2005
This is the backpack from Kids Knitting. The i-cord shown is still pretty short, huh? It's supposed to be 59" long, and currently it's just over a foot. I am rather proud of those dpns, though! I was getting ready to run out to JoAnne's to get a set of Size 8 dpns when I discovered that our local Chinese restaurant had provided us with the perfect size 8 chopsticks. A little sharpening, a little sanding, and voila! I now have a set of size 8 dpns.
Since I became obsessed with knitting, I have checked out nearly every knitting book they have at the library. Well, not all of them. Only the ones that include really cool, different patterns. I've steered away from those focusing on baby clothes -- my kids are too old, and the nieces and nephews haven't started having them yet, and all my friends' children are too old, too. I've also tried to avoid those focusing on afghans. My dear grandmother (and my husband's grandmother) knit so many afghans for us. I just can't bring myself to do that.
So, here are some of my favorite books so far:
The Knitted Rug <-- The rug on the cover is so pretty. The best thing about it is that you knit it up in squares. Not only does this make it quite a portable project, but you can adjust the size to your needs, and it doesn't seem to be so tedious when you can work on a square at a time. There are also some really attractive throw rugs in here from a loopy bath rug to what looks like a braided rug that you make out of a very long i-cord. I may eventually buy this one.
Kids Knitting <-- This one I actually purchased! I usually borrow books from the library, and when I find one that I really need to keep longer than three weeks, or that I think I will refer back to over time, I take the plunge and buy it.
Knitting for Dummies <-- This one I bought on a whim at Barnes & Noble. It has paid off. It has some neat tips and projects. I like to take a break from my current project and play around with the stitch samplers they have. My children are amassing a little collection of "afghans" for their stuffed animals.
Knitting Without Tears <-- I have found this useful from a practical standpoint. Elizabeth Zimmerman (the author and inventor of the i-cord) is a very practical, no-nonsense knitter. The thing I don't like about it is that it's very text heavy. I also remember trying to look up something in the index and coming up short. Unfortunately, I'm coming up short right now, too. I can't remember what it was that I tried to look up; only that I felt it was basic enough to be there.
Knit Wit: 30 Easy and Hip Projects <-- This is a pretty cool book. Not only is it cool because it stands up all by itself like a flip chart, but also because it has some really unique projects. I found it really funny that the author included an ice-cream pint cozy! There is also a water bottle sling, a round felted tote, which is adorable, and a notebook computer case. There are also a couple of sweater patterns and a few other things I wouldn't have thought of knitting. This one is worth a look.
Well, I think that's probably enough for today. We're all getting a little hungry!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
I'm not really even sure what to say this morning. I'm 1/2-way through my first cup of coffee, and my brain is still a bit fuzzy. I created this blog just to have a place to ramble & also to share knitting pictures. Yes, knitting.
Many people think of knitting as an activity performed only by little old ladies in rocking chairs, but that's only because they haven't been paying attention. Knitting has become the "in" thing to do. I see women knitting on the bleachers at the gym where my daughter takes gymnastics; I've seen women knitting at Cub Scout gatherings; I've seen women knitting at the library; and, I know of at least one young woman (age 12) who has begun her own business by knitting caps & scarves in school colors and selling them to middle and high school kids!
Merely taking a look at the multitude of free patterns available on the Internet will give you a hint as to how popular knitting has become. There are patterns for tank tops, coffee bras (those little wraps you put around a cup of coffee to prevent burns), felted totes & purses, beautiful sweaters, bikinis, lingerie, table scarves, rugs, and ... hmmm ... I seem to recall even seeing a pattern for a model of a womb. Yes, knitting has become an international obsession.
Why did *I* start knitting? Do you really want to know? Well, back in November, we had the news that no parent wants to hear ... for the second time. Our son has cancer. Again. I was terrified, depressed, in need of comfort. He asked if I would teach him to knit. Me? I hadn't knit since I was a child. Well, perhaps I could learn it again. So, off we went to the library where I found Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick. This book was the impetus I needed. We bought some yarn, pulled out the needles we had from the last time we tried this and got started. I was hooked. Now, I am the one knitting like crazy, and he occasionally gives it another try. Apparently, for a 10-year-old, left-handed boy electronics are much easier to grasp than knitting needles.
After seeing the patterns Ms. Falick has included in her book, I became inspired and convinced that "knitting" is not synonymous with ugly afghans made out of leftover yarn. She has some really cute patterns in this book, and it does a nice job of outlining the basics of knitting without getting overwhelming with all those little abbreviations you see in most knitting patterns. So far, I've knit the eyeglass case, a teddy bear for my daughter, and most of a backpack -- I'm still working on the very long i-cord that is needed for the drawstring.
Now, I am completely obsessed with knitting and find myself wandering the yarn aisles of the local craft shops. I haven't been able to make myself buy any very expensive yarn yet, as I feel I need more practice before I actually make something worth wearing. Currently, in addition to pecking away at the i-cord for the above-mentioned backpack, I am working on a rug from Lion Brand's website.
This pattern is labeled as "beginner," but after my first attempt at it, I found that I really didn't like cutting the yarn & joining every time I changed colors, which at one point in the pattern is 4 times on one row. So, I frogged my first attempt and started over. This time, I am using 4 separate balls of yarn attached to the work in order to make my color changes. This was working moderately well at first until I disocvered that the places where I was changing colors were being knit up separately. Duh. So, I started knitting the first stitch where I changed color with both colors. Duh, again. This caused a bulky spot there, and it didn't look all that great, either. Finally, I had a revelation and realized that I was treating this as an Intarsia piece. So, I pulled out my new copy of Knitting for Dummies and checked the index for "Intarsia." Lo and behold! There's a method for changing colors, and it doesn't result in bulky, messy stitches! Even better: There's not a hole in your work!! So, I simply switched, midstream, to this new method. I couldn't bring myself to rip out yet another attempt. I'm just chalking this up to a learning experience, and I'll remember the lesson well when I see the feeble attempt lying on my floor when it's finished.
Now, you may be wondering why I'm not expounding on the situation with our son. It's simple. I need a place to go where I can do something that's not related to his health. I love him with all my heart, and I want only the best for him (and our daughter), but I need to escape, too. Knitting has become that for me, and this is just an extension of that. Let's call it a mental vacation. We all need that now and then.
Perhaps at some time, I will feel the need to share my feelings and the whole experience of what we're going through, but right now, I just need this to be a place to ramble and knit.
I also want to point out that the purchase of books through links on my blog will generate a small commission from Amazon.com. 100% of this commission will be donated to CureSearch, which is an organization that combines the efforts of the National Childhood Cancer Foundation and The Children's Oncology Group. As you can imagine, the efforts of these organizations are very important to us. We have supported them for four years now through monetary donations and frequent prayers for their success in finding a cure.
Posted by DotMom at 9:21 AM