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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Hi… so… I know it’s been a while… but I promise… I’m still knitting.

Witness:

february-lady-sweater-sleeve

The February/October/November? Lady Sweater now has a sleeve. I’m really languishing on the second one (ain’t that the way?) but I’m hoping that scoring some buttons soon will inspire me. Goal is to have this done for the boy’s performance, which approaches quickly.

Also, making things up:

moebius-cowl-silver

A cowl in this BEAUTIFUL silver yarn I found, inspired by Cat Bordhi’s musings on the current state of our political/social climate. I’m hoping this will be something I wear frequently under my favorite purple pea coat, as a kind of reminder to see things fully.

And in the slowly-but-surely-things-for-other-people category:

striped-scarf-orange

I’m really digging how the colors work together. Yarn is Berroco Jasper something or other — more info next time I post on this, which will hopefully be a victory “It’s Done!!!” post. Anyway. Super fun yarn to work with, as the stripes don’t follow a regular pattern.

While I’m at it, here’s how I’ve been getting stitchy lately:

embroider-tea-towel-apple

The embroidered tea towel love fest continues, this time with a whole slew of fruits and vegetables from Sublime Stitching. All that’s left to do is the black!

I’m also working on acquiring more scarves, in an effort to work on a “personal style.” I guess this is a sign I’ve been watching too much What Not to Wear. But in all seriousness, I love scarves, because they are frequently inexpensive and can take an outfit from blah to hooray. I’m proud of this last find, which is blue and white, but has sparkles (OMG!!) in it:

sparkly-scarf-blue-white

Yum. Sparkles.

I’ve also been working at keeping two adorable dogs out of trouble. And this is my parting gift to you:

cute-dog-picture-hat

Dogs like hats made out of pillows. It’s true. Especially when said hats accentuate a condition known as Cute Wrinkle Face.

Over and out.

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knitting-for-good

I’ve spent the past few days working through my copy of Knitting for Good, by Betsy Greer of Craftivism. (This is one of the benefits of working in a bookstore!) I’d like to fill you all in on what a great book this is, and some of the reasons why I think it’s a really important contribution to the growing canon of knitting writing.

Greer’s book focuses on the importance and significance of knitting. While I may be preaching to the choir on this one, I think that an emphasis on knitting as a productive practice is necessary, when many people see knitting as a non-essential hobby. Knitting for Good knocks down this assumption immediately, using its relationship to feminism — much to my delight — to illustrate the good that can come from picking up the needles. The common misconception is that knitting is an idle act, “women’s work” meant to pass time; Betsy Greer asserts that just the act of knitting itself is an act of healing, of meditation, and of self-love. I’m sure all of us who knit (or do any kind of craft) understand this: to sit down and make something is to assert my ability to shape my world, to create something as I want it, and to be present in what I’m doing.

I love that Knitting for Good links feminism and domestic arts like crafting. I know I went through my feminist crisis when I got super into things like nesting; Betsy Greer will have us understand that knitting or cooking or quilting is not an act of disobeying feminism, but rather celebrating its tenets:

This domestic reclamation can be celebrated with pride and heads held high… As a direct result of years of hard-working women who proved themselves just as capable as men of earning wages, we now have the freedom to make money for ourselves and then knit a sweater out of expensive cashmere bought with our own paycheck… When we don an apron and start to cook or take measurements for a garment, we can be empowered by the notion that we are self-sufficient and choosing this path instead of following society’s expectations… Feminism has given us the strength to explore our otions instead of being concerned about regressing or kowtowing to cultural standards.

Right on! That’s what I loved about this book — its continual insistence on the fact that the act of creation is important and productive and deserving of respect.

Knitting for Good is constructed to reflect an expanding of personal borders that happens with knitting. First, the emphasis on knitting as a healing act for the individual; from there, the empowered individual has new means with which to interact with family and community. I myself have benefited from this aspect of craft and knitting: the ability to connect with my grandmother and aunt through crochet and cross-stitch and quilts and how we make things for our living environment. It truly is a unique and special connection, and Knitting for Good will have us remember that.

Knitting and craft can be used, once connected with a community, to benefit that community — I especially like Betsy’s focus on the more forgotten members of society, like the homeless, elderly, and abandoned animals. Knitting for these people gets to be a way to connect with them and recognize their humanity, becoming a political act of insisting on the importance of each member of a community. I also appreciated that Knitting for Good includes why focusing on buying homemade is important — in a time of large chains, supporting your local independent store and artisan is an intensely political act that will ultimately benefit the community. Buying local, Greer points out, supports those local crafters who are enriching the community with their art.

In short (ok, not so short), this is a lovely book with many sturdy take-home messages, as well as personal reflections and patterns that will inspire you to pick up your needles for a good cause. I highly recommend it as a personal read — it will make you feel fantastic about your choice to be a crafter — and I really recommend it as a gift for that crafty person in your life*. This book is an act of love, for crafting and for the world at large.

*Hey, while you’re at it, keep with the message of Knitting for Good and make this an act of love and politics by getting your copy at your local independent bookstore instead of Amazon or Borders!

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I was wandering outside today, and guess what I found hiding in the rosebushes?

What IS that? Is it trying to camouflage itself, or does it just have a special affinity for flowers and bad metaphors?

…okay, you’ve got me. I knit a uterus.

A friend of mine is having some uterine trouble, so I did the obvious thing and knit her a uterus. Isn’t that what all of you would have done? I’m sending it in a care package to help her on her way. The pattern is from Knitty, and can be found here. I knit this on size 7 dpns with worsted weight yarn, so it came out a little smaller — actually close to the size of a real uterus!

And hey, for you Vegan MoFos out there, I have a cookbook recommendation:

I bought Farmer John’s Cookbook recently on a quest for more veggie-focused cookbooks. While I’m a fan of fake cheese and fake meat, I’ve been working on shifting my vegetarian diet to something that’s actually focused on, you know, vegetables. This cookbook does just that, with a bunch of recipes for almost every vegetable you could imagine (although not artichokes!), arranged by season. It’s full of pictures and anecdotes from the farm, as well as some slightly eccentric commentary from Farmer John. Maybe best of all, this cookbook in particular focuses on seasonal eating, so recipes for early spring produce won’t have you buying tomatoes from who knows where in the middle of February.

I’ve been realizing that the best vegetable cookbooks are those with less glossiness, less pictures, and more text. They appear boring at first, but end up being a wealth of information on how to buy, store, and prepare vegetables — more of a how to cook vegetables guide than anything else.

Tonight? I try to tackle eggplant. I will let you know if I survive. Eggplant and I have a tumultuous past.

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I finished another tea towel yesterday, and I’m really, really excited about it:

I’ve been wanting to put this idea into stitches ever since I bought Sublime Stitching’s Forest Friends pattern. Two hedgehogs. In love. A reference to me and my boy: I love purple and he loves blue (and was once Sonic for Halloween). I’m not sure it gets cuter or mushier than that.

Taking the time to make this has also been an act of home-making, in the most complete sense of the word, for me: settling down and deciding I live here, making a new space my own.

Speaking of making things for the home, some pictures of my Log Cabin blanket (a Mason Dixon must-knit).

This blanket began very much as a comfort item for me. I was living in an unfamiliar place, with few friends and a lot of time to feel lonely. I started knitting a log cabin blanket on a whim, out of all the cool- and neutral-colored Cascade 220 I could muster. It’s become a long-term project that I’ve carried with me through all my moves.

The blanket’s a good lap size right now, and I’d like to make it big enough for two people to snuggle under. The rows keep getting longer and longer… and yet I still enjoy knitting it.

That’s the funny thing about knitting. What can seem really tedious when you’re looking forward to part of a garment will seem soothing in another piece. For instance: right now I’m working on a February Lady Sweater, and I’m so happy to have moved past the garter yoke. Yet every time I pick up my log cabin blanket to knit, I’m ready for nothing but garter stitch.

I think the explanation lies in the comfort of coming back to something familiar, letting a piece of knitting provide a sense of home for me when I’m not quite sure where I’m going next (and have had at least five spaces I called home over the past year). It’s this feeling of “I’m here and I’m going to make something pretty happen” as I knit knit knit away. The repetitive motion of just knitting, stitch after stitch, allows me to breathe and relax, reminding me that I really can take things only one step at a time… whether or not I know what my next step will be.

I guess it’s all about creating a home wherever you land: making your mark with something handmade, curling up with someone you love, coming back to what’s familiar, noticing the beauty of simple details.

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Today’s blog post is brought to you by the color burgundy.

These are some cranberry shelling beans I bought at the farmers’ market. Check out the pods! I think they were referred to as “tongues of fire” beans, and I couldn’t resist. The beans have beautiful cranberry speckles when shelled. Unfortunately, the speckles disappear when cooked.

Pretty pretty. I cooked these for 20-30 minutes in boiling water. I mixed them with some cooked green beans, lemon juice, parmesan, and salt and pepper.

We had a fabulous vegetarian dinner last night, totally veggielicious:

Sorry for the picture quality! The beans are in the lower left-hand corner there. In the lower right is some spaghetti squash and yellow squash, with a little bit of Parmesan. The upper right-hand is the tomato salad I love to make, and the upper left is some red fruit: Flavor King pluots, raspberries, and strawberries. Nothing added!

Seems like burgundy is a serious color theme in my life lately. I made some “sun-dried” tomatoes in my oven — sliced up about 1/2″ thick, on aluminum foil, for 8+ hours. I’m looking forward to using them in the winter:

And hey! I’ve started knitting a February Lady Sweater, just like everyone else it seems. I was inspired by brainylady’s post about it, and could no longer resist. I’m not one for knitting sweaters usually, but I think this one might just turn out super cute! I was really drawn to the shape of it, which seems incredibly flattering, and the prospect of picking out really cute wood buttons for it. I’m using Cascade 220 wool:

I guess Autumn truly is here. I can’t wait for leaf-crunching season to really set in.

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I have a deep hatred of plastic bags. I’ve recently exiled plastic bags (like the ones they give you at chain grocery stores or Target) from my life for a couple reasons. More often than not, they get thrown away. Those that don’t end up in the ocean — where they ensnare marine life or entice seals to eat them — end up in landfills, where they will never ever break down. Even if they get successfully recycled, the problem with plastics is that they only recycle down; plastics get recycled into less-good plastics, creating a spiral into a product that is ultimately unrecyclable. Down with plastic!

OK, sorry, I can get a little carried away. So! Lots of people and places are perking up to the fact that plastic bags are evil. You can only imagine my excitement when, perusing Mason-Dixon Knitting (one of my favorite knitting blogs), I came across the (totally free!) Monteagle Bag pattern from their new book (which I am so trying to find this weekend).

And I was so excited that I knit my own in about two days!

In an effort to reduce-reuse-recycle, I dove into my stash and came up with some Sugar and Cream cotton yarn that looked just funky enough for this macrame-style bag. I figured, “If I’m focused on reducing my consumption of plastic bags by knitting the bag, I should further reduce my consumption (of yarn) by using something I already have.” Hooray for conserving… and having a new bag to use instead of plastic bags!

The pattern knit up great. It was a bit of a challenge, and I consider myself a more-than-decent knitter. Very few issues though, just needed to read the pattern carefully and trust it. The horizontal stitch is totally the most fun part of the pattern, but lassoing my needles for the long stitches was pretty fun too. I did find that the longer wrapped stitches needed some coaxing to unravel. Maybe it was the cotton? I guess I’ll get to see when I knit a linen version…

My only change, as evidenced above, was to give it a longer strap. Most of my food shopping is done at the farmers’ market, and I need room in a bag for beet greens to stick out!

Let’s see that horizontal stitch up close and personal:

I foresee making a few of these for people I know. I think one of these with some embroidered tea towels inside would be a great gift to encourage someone towards eco-friendliness… a cute bag to take to the store, plus a way to curb paper towel usage. Awesome!

Can’t wait to take this to the farmers’ market next week!

…and that IS bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress in the bag… if any of you were wondering…

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Thought some of you out in blog land might be interested in other shots from my photo shoot. Knitting with carrots is no easy task! I do think, though, that I ought to make knitting with various veggies a regular installment on this blog. Yes?

Let me tell you, this is not at all my natural hand position when I knit. I do throw with the right hand, but that’s about the only similarity. I always feel so graceful when I knit… apparently I’m misguided!

Maybe I’ll try knitting with celery next time? Beets wouldn’t be easy, but sure would look pretty.

There are some pretty giant fish in that pond. They weren’t too keen on carrot greens, unfortunately. They did seem interested in my yarn, though…

And just for fun:

Shot of the cute boyfriend in the wild, gathering sequoia seeds to grow into trees, while waiting for me to re-knit my swatch with a better purple yarn.

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