Sisterhood of The Stashdown Scarf – Part 3.

Carolyn ended her report on the Travelling Scarf in November when it continued it’s journey from New York to Washington. There waited Meghan, who added a truly wonderful colourwork section and introduced green to the scarf.

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Then there was some re-organizing, as the next recipient in line, Suzie, was in another continent. So the scarf left America and come to Europe at last. It was one long journey, but it finally arrived to travelled to Sweden. where Ida added some recycled delicate bouclé mohair yarn and a drop stitch pattern.

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And the scarf finally arrived to Brussels, which makes me stop No.7.

I collected some nice lace patterns, but when I saw that piece of art in person, I had to realise that none of them fits the scarf. Or me. If lace doesn’t fit, then let’s keep it simple, I thought. So, I decided to use the simplest knitting pattern of all, a good addendum to all those wonderful different sections and something that represents the depths of my personality. So, garter it is.

I searched my stash for some green yarn that would fit the red in the last section and would give some Christmas-y colour sheme, but, of course, no green yarn was found. I found some white instead, and some blue, but mostly browns and beiges. So the best I was able to do to chose the white and two blues and to make some stripes.

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I made only one twist. The scarf already grew very long ad there are 13 ladies waiting to work on it, so I decided to make it wider instead of knitting it longer. I like the result, but I’m also afraid that it dominates the scarf too much.

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So, this is it. It’ll spend Christmas in an envelope, somewhere between Belgium and England.

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Sisterhood of the Stashdown Scarf – Part 2!

After several weeks of impatiently waiting, I FINALLY got my chance to knit on the now famous stashdown scarf, more commonly (and lovingly!) known as the Frankenscarf. I was the fourth lucky recipient, so we have a little catching up to do:

First our Scarf traveled to Christy in Maryland where she spun up several yards off gorgeous purple to add to Maura’s basketweave beginning.

Then after Christy’s lightning fast spinning and knitting, the scarf traveled on to Sylvia in Utah! Sylvia quickly added on a gorgeous blue lace section and again sent the scarf off a travelin’.

California was the next stop and Michelle’s daughter wanted in on the action and chose a beautiful gradient brown yarn for the next addition.

After Michelle was finished the scarf was on its way to ME!!!! All the way from California to New York! I impatiently waited for the package and was so excited when the post office surprised me by delivering it in just a few days (I take back every mean thing I have said about the USPS).

Now the hard part of my job came, I actually had to decide on a yarn to use and what pattern to knit. Since it was a stashdown scarf I wanted to use some of my leftovers if possible but I wasn’t sure which leftovers would be the best… I was also set on doing cables because the scarf had two lace sections in a row and I wanted to break that up, but that was all I had figured out. After much hemming and hawing (and finally having mean moderator Kelly step in and tell me the scarf was due elsewhere quite soon) I decided that the leftovers from my most recent project (Susan B. Anderson’s Quaker Ridge Shawl) would be perfect!! I still had some leftover beads and could add them here and there as accents. On Halloween night I sat down to knit in between children knocking on my door and came up with this after a couple of hours:

I was really hoping to take a picture of the scarf in a beautiful location (because the Fingerlakes are known for some very scenic areas but Hurricane Sandy had other ideas so.. no gorgeous outdoor photos from me)

Tomorrow the scarf again begins its journey onward to Meghan in D.C. I hope she enjoys the scarf as much as I did! It was so much fun to see everyone’s knitting in person and to actually get to feel some of Christy’s gorgeous handspun (seriously, her stuff is amazing!).

Safe Travels!

Crafting for Christmas – my hobby is my responsibility

I don’t believe that just because I knit, I have to provide knitted presents for every friend and family member for Christmas. Also, I don’t believe that just because I knit, all friends and family members are obliged to accept a hat and some mitts every year, in the middle of the winter season, when they probably managed to keep themself warm already. I try to keep in mind that nobody is entitled to order handwork from me (unless he/she pays for it) and also, that I should try to keep my hobby to myself, just the way I hope that others will do (I don’t like decoupage or chatney, and I get a headhache from strong smells, so no homemade soaps or such, thank you).

So I just knit what I want and if I want to knit for someone, I do it, and if Christmas is in the corner, it’ll turn into a Christmas present, but I don’t let Christmas rule my knitting plans for months.

Last year I made one present, a baby onsies that was a lot of fun and a good present. It was a big hit, as far as I can tell. Oh, and a felted bag, that was fun to make, but wasn’t expecially nice or appreciated. But that was it, two knitted items.

This year I will be restricted too. I only plan to make an Oak Park scarf – a beautiful and clever pattern. And that’s it.

There will be some birthdays and namedays (yes, there’s such thing) along the way, and I do feel that I want to knit something that is UFO- or robot related, so I might end up with a knitted present for one of those occasions, but only because I want to do it. I would do it even if there were no reason to celebrate.

I think, this attitude has something to do with the project knitter – process knitter spectrum: I’m more of a process knitter, at least, if something is not fun, I won’t knit it. Also, I am extremely lazy. And I like to keep expectations low.

Crafting for Christmas – For Better or Worse

Holidays. Amiright? (I like to play the part of the awkward stand-up comedian around here).

My family insists on giving gifts to each other every year. No matter if we’re strapped for cash, or more likely, we just have no idea what to get each other, my suggestions of dropping the gift giving are ignored. I would so much rather my parents just mail me a card with some nice sentiment (that they wrote, not just picked up off the shelf), than the stream of sad and ridiculous gifts they’ve given over the years. I know, I know, this sounds so ungrateful. I just hate the idea of obligated gift giving. I mean, this sense of obligation led my mom to send me a salmon figurine with a lid in the top (the lid handle was the dorsal fin). Think something like this, but plastic, and more poorly painted:

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You’d rather get a card too, now wouldn’t you?

So last year I decided to go with something more personal and handmade, and gave them all knitted gifts. For my mom, dad and grandma, there were socks. My niece got a sweater, my sister some Norwegian mittens, and for my brother, a hat with his name on it, in binary code (he’s a geek). Here’s my niece in her sweater, man I love that kid:

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Everyone really loved their presents, my mom ooohed and aahed over all of it, which of course makes me happy. When I asked a few months later how the socks were wearing, she said, oh I don’t wear them, they’re too nice. Ugh. Same goes for my dad, and apparently they’re too warm for my grandma. What grandma has feet that are too warm?

It makes me sad to think that my parents think something is too nice to wear – they’re just socks. I’m sad that they don’t think enough of themselves to see that they deserve a little treat, made with love. And while I’m sad, then I start thinking that this is also about wanting acceptance and recognition from my parents, which at 37, I’d like to think I’m beyond needing. I waver back and forth between being irritated they don’t use my gifts, (although who knows, maybe socks are my parents’ unwanted salmon figurine), and inspired to try again to make them things they will like.

So this year’s plan is a little more modest. Some simple cotton socks for my mom, something store bought for my dad and grandma, a scarf out of my handspun yarn for my sister, and the other stuff is unclear. That said, back in the summer I was saying “no knitted gifts this year” – except for my sister, who as a knitter and spinner herself, totally gets it – and here I am now in October with a small list, that seems to be growing. I’ve already added a hat for my girlfriend, some washcloths for a friend’s mom who we’ll be visiting over the holidays, a skirt for my niece, and the best part, a sweater for my cat:

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Oh yeah, I’m apparently that lady.

Crafting for Christmas or Is my MIL Knit-Worthy?

I have been roped into knitting for my mother-in-law for Christmas.  Normally, I consider her not knit-worthy.  She is not high on my list of favorite people in the world and is actually fairly high on my list of least-favorite people in the world.  But…

The in-laws were visiting for the birthday of the youngest child and stayed at our house (very full house! My mother is still staying with us).  We went to dinner and I was wearing my newly completed Clapotis which I am inordinately proud of.  During dinner she commented “Oh, don’t the stores have such nice scarves this year?”  My own mother nearly swallowed her tongue and started choking and coughing at this as I had spent 3 solid days finishing, soaking and blocking the Clapotis.  I replied, “Oh, I made this!”  Then I told her and my father-in-law that I would offer to make her one, but as the pattern is a monumental pain in the ass, I am not planning on ever making it again.

Newly finished Clapotis

After dinner, the husband’s sister called while we were all sitting around talking, and I was knitting because that’s what I do. I had made a Color Affection for her and sent it to her as an early Christmas gift.  Now, this SIL is my favorite of the husband’s family and she is the one who I blamed previously for starting me down the knitting path.  She was so excited and so appreciative of the gift.  The MIL gave me a look when I explained that I had made the SIL a gift.  You know.  A look.  Then she asked me what I was working on.  Oh, I said.  I am working on another Color Affection requested by my own mother who was sitting innocently in the rocking chair.  This garnered me another look.  Sigh.  Then she said with far more tact than I have ever given her credit for having or using that she would love to have anything that I made.  Weird.  She is usually much more underhanded and manipulative than that.  Hmmm…

After they left to go home, I did go to the store and bought some worsted weight acrylic.  I am modifying the Color Affection pattern to use worsted weight rather than lace or fingering weight.  This way, I will not spend too much time and energy on something that I am not sure that she will ever use, but she will have something that I made.  And it will be washable.  This is really self preservation.  This way, she can never tell me that I only made things for my own mother, that we don’t love her as much, blah, blah, blah…

Ladies with sticks: Raveler Meeting 2012, Bxl

Most of the time I didn’t want to go, only I hated the idea of not coming. I decided in the last minute, I only signed up the previous day.

I also had serious doubts. What if everybody talks French that I understand most of the time, but can’t really answer. What if the talk Flemish that I don’t understand at all, unless it’s written down. What if they talk to me too fast? What if they don’t talk to me at all?

Anyway, what should I wear? If I wear handknit, it would look like self-advertising. If I wear store-bought cardigan, it would be cheap. If I don’t wear a cardigan, I’ll get cold.

And what should I knit? I just can’t go there with the scarf I should currently be working on: it’s technically finished, but it thas 68 ends to weave in (yes, I counted), it would be uncool to sit there with a darning needle while everybody knits. And I hate those ends, each one of them, I don’t need audience for my suffering. I can’t bring something complex, partly because I don’t work on anything complex, but also because I can’t knit and talk in foreign languages in the same time. I don’t want to bring anything easy, because I would love to impress everybody. Also, I can’t bring anything I only casted on recently, I don’t remember, why, but I had a reason there too. I don’t have anything to knit, how could that happen?

Plus, I’m terribly bad at socializing. I shouldn’t go.

So I went. I dressed up as usual, wore the cowl I received from Maura on the BoTB swap (to get some support), brought the only project I am working on currently (a Wingspan that look better and better every time I work on it) and off I went.

And of course I had a great time, with some great ladies, discussed yarn and Japanese patterns (public transportation and elections in Amerika) and had a nice time seeing all those different lovely yarns and knitting techniques, had a lait russe, checked the nearby designer shop, so overall had a wonderful time.

And now I want to learn to crochet just because I saw my neighbour making a miracle with a cronice chet hook and a 20mm (!) size knitting needle. And  just try to gather the courage to try what another knitter did: made a beautiful and complex Fair Isle pullover, then cut it (yes, cut, with scissors) and made a cardigan out of it.

There’s just so much to learn.

Sisterhood of the Stashdown Scarf – Part 1

As you know if you have been on the Bus Full of Yarn before, many of us have a commitment to using up some of the yarn in our stash.  We chat a lot about yarn, our stash, what we are working on…  We chat a lot.  One day, the chatter went back to our swap and how much fun that was.  First – a little history on the swap.

Twelve of us signed up in May of 2012 for a secret swap within our Ravelry group.  Patty was in charge of drawing names for us and sharing addresses.  Then pandemonium ensued.  We started a thread where we asked and answered random and not-so-random questions about the wants, needs and allergies of the group.  Then packages were posted and flew around the world and photos started coming in of the packages that people were receiving.

A collage of some swap gifts from the Super Secret 2012 Swap

As we were discussing the thought of having another swap next year, several of us expressed our disappointment in waiting until 2013 to do the swap again.  We came up with 2 ideas of how to get through until the next swap.

  1. A traveling project for everyone to work on
  2. A traveling finished object for everyone to take a picture with and pass on

Of course, we decided to do both.  The first to happen will be the Stashdown Scarf.  I had about 4 inches of a scarf that I started, but I don’t know what the pattern is and I have no intention of finishing it.

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The beginning of something wonderfully hideous

Off it went this morning, this little bit of knitted softness.  It will travel the world for the next several months, visiting many friendly hands in various countries all over the world.  Its journey will be recorded here with photos as it goes.  I wish it safe travels and much fun along the way!