Tag Archives: Knitting

On Handwork

I have found my center again.  It always seems to come with the change of seasons.  The rhythm seems to be three seasons on and one off.  In the past I have noticed it is summer off, but this year it was winter and I have missed it.  Handwork.  My obsession began around the time I had my first baby. I began with knitting and eventually experimented with spinning and crochet and most recently needlepoint and weaving.


27March2014Photo3Photos of my Great Grandmother knitting next to her boys.

I remember laying on my mother’s lap at the end of the day while she did her needlepoint just over my head.  I would watch her work from the underside of the canvas.  Eventually I would get lost in the rhythm until I dozed off to sleep.

Recently, I listened to Ann Hamilton recall a similar account.

“I was very close with my grandmother. And you know, I have really distinct bodily memories of sitting next to her on the couch. You know, when you’re little and you kind of get in that space under her arm and her arms were full. And, we would knit, or needlepoint, and she would read. And I think there’s something about the rhythm of the hands being busy and then your body falls open to absorb and concentrate on what you’re listening to, but not completely, because you have two concentrations. And then from that, that sort of cultivates a kind of attention. That is the rhythm of those two things together. So the unfolding of the voice in space, and then the material accreting under your hand, and they have really different satisfactions.”

27March2014My First Weaving Project

I love the thought of my children seeing a hand knitted throw or a needle pointed pillow and feeling comforted and at peace.  Knowing that they watched me almost unconsciously for hours as they grew.  Stitch by stitch creating something out of nothing.

I love this short video by Renate Hiller.  If you have ever wanted to understand why some of us obsess over fiber and handwork, give this a look.




In with the New

Yesterday I told you about the project that I finished up to say good-bye to 2011.  The best thing about that is saying hello to my first project of 2012.  Of course, it is knitting.  But, it is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

I suppose there are some knitters out there who just find a project and start on it, but most of mine have a long history before the yarn is even cast on.  Like Shrek….I guess I am kind of like an onion and so goes my knitting process.

A year or more ago, a good friend took a trip to Portland for a wedding.  Unable to help myself, I said, “if you see a yarn shop, pick me up some yarn.”

As the story goes, they hunted down an little independent yarn store and asked for a little help.  I am not sure what they told the salesperson but they found the perfect gift for me!  It is this gorgeous yellow, grey, brown and white variegated cotton/wool mix.  AND to sweeten the deal and assure my devoted friendship forever, they bought me a pattern for a lace wrap and enough yarn to complete the project.  **Just in case you ever need to get my “friends forever” status buy me a pattern and the yarn to complete it.  I digress.

I have been swooning over this yarn and project ever since.  “Why then did it sit in its beautiful skeins for over a year,” you ask.

Because, I have guilt issues.  Guilt that this was too nice of a gift to utilize until I return the favor.  Guilt that the yarn is so beautiful and I might ruin it if I mess up the pattern.  Guilt that I really promised so and so that I would knit/or do such and such.  Guilt that I will have to periodically ignore Law Man when the lace pattern changes or I miss a YO.  Guilt that I really can’t knit other things when I knit lace.  **note to non-knitters…I have a one track mind and lace is just something you can’t cheat on.  Like I said, I have guilt issues….don’t even ask about my obsession with what to do with all of the left over cardboard from Christmas.  It almost ended in divorce.  But, in case you have guilt issues too, Goodwill recycles cardboard, any kind of cardboard.  :)!!!

So, I figure, what better way to start off the new year than beginning a project that is just for me, just because I can.  New Year’s Day 2012 I cast on and I have no idea when I will finish it since I have had to start over three times already.  But, I will not feel guilty I will just lust over this beautiful yarn until it becomes my beautiful wrap.

Oh, and see the red yarn through the piece.  That is not part of the final project it is a “lifeline”.  This is a new thing for me too.  I always say I will use one, but I never do.  So, here’s to a New Year, New Beginnings and recognizing that a little help never hurt anyone!

Out with the Old

Amy at the CMP gave me this idea a few years ago.  I thought it sounded like a keeper, but at that time I had two very little boys and taking time when they were with me was not a possibility.  Now, they are 5 and 6 and things are better….a little….:)!

The idea was to finish a project and start a new one on New Year’s Eve/Day.  Knitting is my go to craft and my obsession.  Then I had to decide what to finish.  That was easy, the hat for my sweet nephew, Jude.  He was the lucky recipient of the unfinished handmade Christmas gift this year.  If you do handmade Christmas gifts, you know what I am talking about.  Two nights before Christmas Eve I was down to his hat and it was essentially finished.  Simple stockinette with a seed stitch edging.  Then that little word that makes me shy away from this type of pattern.  Kitchener.  For you non-knitters, this is basically hand sewing, which I don’t do.  Hand sewing in a way that makes the stitches look knitted.  Now, I can knit most anything, but sew.  I am terrible.  Back to two nights before Christmas Eve….I was pulling my hair out and my living room look like it had been yarn bombed.  I had reknit the hat twice just to get it “set up” properly my phone and ipad were streaming how-to videos and tutorials.  The two colors were all tangled up and I had used three different sizes of needles to help with the several attempts to salvage what I had thus far.  The children were ignored, Law Man was snapped at and dinner was neglected.  Finally, I surrendered, left the mess strewn about the sofa and rug and stomped off to bed.  The next morning, December 23, I woke up, made breakfast and sat on the couch next to my yarn.  I regained my composure and *it* came to me.  I gathered things up and stuffed them into the ottoman and went on with Christmas preparations…mind you I was hosting 12 people the next day, roasting a rack of lamb for the first time and trying to make my house look like a family Christmas celebration straight out of Norman Rockwell painting.

Fast forward 30 minutes or so, Law Man calls and anxiously asks, “How are things going.”

“Great.  I decided to finish the hat after Christmas.”

With a sigh of relief, he had the nerve to try to convince me to give my nephew the hat as is, with the promise of finishing it.  But I did have some pride left and a knotted up mess of yarn that didn’t even resemble a hat was not going to leave the depths of the ottoman until after Christmas.

So, here lies the perfect project to finish and I would learn a new technique to boot.

Voila!!!!  It turned out great!  I can’t wait to give it to him.  Happy New Year!

Just in case you need another reason to learn to Knit

Life is going by way too quickly.  I have been a bit distracted by the births of a new Nephew in February and a new Niece in March.  Both babies and moms are doing great, but I am sooooo far behind.  I have been in auntie fog I suppose.  More of new baby stuff later, I wanted to share one quick little Yarnie Fun I took time to do myself.

A good friend and fellow Knitter, Knitterista A.K.A. Erin, hosted a Stash Bash at her hubby’s brewery yesterday afternoon.  “What in the heck is that?”, you ask.  It is the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon if you are a knitter, crocheter or other needle crafter.  About 20 people gathered with our stash, a “collection” of yarn kept by someone that knits, crochets, or uses yarn for some other purpose, and sold, traded, gave away yarn and then spent the rest of the time knitting, crocheting, beading, gabbing, and enjoying free COOP Ale.

I was able to chat with a few of my favorite local crafters…..

Knitterista, of course


Early Bird Special

Marilyn Artus

and I met Sara Cowan of the Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar.

IMG_9354 Erin teaching her mad skills!

IMG_9357 Chatting it up!

IMG_9359 Inspecting the variety of hand work.

IMG_9356 A portion of my stash….I have a problem…I really do.  See something you like, I can hook you up!

IMG_9365 Did I mention that we had access to an unlimited supply of COOP Brew?  Need I say more?

It was a fun afternoon and was just what I needed to get knitting again after all of the family excitement.

A good start!! Here is a sneak peak of my latest WIP…work in progress…any guesses on the design?  I will show you more tomorrow.  This might be the time to put your mind in the gutter.

A Knitted Prayer

Today we will welcome a new Curran into the clan. I have to say, I am terribly excited, but also very anxious about the delivery. It has taken the delivery of both of my children, my two nephews and a niece to figure out that this childbirth thing IS A BIG DEAL. There are so many things that could go wrong with mom or with the baby. It is one of those things that you almost don’t know what to pray…..just a constant prayer of “please let everything go well.”

My solution….I knit. I love to have a specifically for the person I am praying for primed and ready to go during a rough patch. In this case…I was prepared. A baby blue nightcap.

Nothing is more comforting to me than the feeling of yarn. Pulling and tugging a finished piece to make sure that each individual stitch is in place. Sticking my fist in where his precious little head will go to see if it is even close to fitting.

Some may call me lazy because I am sitting here on a Wednesday morning knitting at a coffee shop, but I say that this is what we do. This is what we do when our village expands. We wait, we pray, we knit.

And to think I will be doing this again in a week or two…..well, it is best we not think about that, but I will be prepping a project….something in pink, no doubt.