Monday, August 12, 2013

My Summer of Squares

I am always curious about people who say they don't knit in the summer.  They cite the heat or gardening ...but don't they have air conditioning? do they stay sane? do they keep on top of their stash?
Okay, I admit that my knitting production may be down a bit this summer, but I think I've finally figured out why.
I need more auto pilot knitting!
I have MANY projects on the needles, but they all seem to be at a point where I need to think, plan, measure, or write down what I'm up to.  That just doesn't cut it when I'm distracted and rushing around.  Even my 3 pairs of socks are at that point.  What are the chances?!?!?
 This past week, I've been designing and knitting "spa cloths" ...or glorified dishcloths.(The name depends on whether you include a lovely bar of
lavender soap with the 'cloth', right?) 
I'm thrilled with how quickly they've knitted up and it's been lovely having something simple to occupy my hands. 
My late spring and early summer knitting was occupied with two renditions of
the Building Blocks Afghan by Michelle Hunter.
 Preparation for a new class tends to keep me on task, so I quickly finished my green afghan.  When it was done, I started the cream version ...just for fun.
 Since each block was small, portable and rewarding, it travelled with me on vacation. 
I kept two blocks on the go, so when the scenery distracted me,
I worked on the simpler one.
As our afghan class nears the end, I realize that most of us have kept up with our
1-2 blocks per week schedule.  Well done, knitters!

Conclusion: Squares Make Good Knitting.
What are you working on this summer?
ps. This class will run again on Saturday mornings this fall.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Knitting in Nfld.

We're back from a week in Newfoundland where we had 4 lovely, sunny days.  Since the only guarantee you ever get with the weather there is that there will likely be lots of RDF (rain, drizzle, fog), a week is really too short ...unless you are a duck
 ...or dressed like a sailor.
We toured around dressed in layers, with umbrellas and hoods at the ready, and saw lots of knitted goods for sale in tourist locations and craft/gift shops.  I was thrilled to see so many good quality items, many made with Briggs & Little yarns.  Most articles were sold under the NONIA "umbrella."

NONIA, or "the Newfoundland Outport Nursing and Industrial Association, was founded in 1920 to assist in providing medical care to the outports of Nfld, (which included anywhere outside of the capital city, St. John's).  It continues today as a not-for-profit cottage industry producing handknit items that reflect the spirit and tradition of Newfoundland and Labrador."
If you wanted, or needed, a pair of mitts, you were in luck!

Fun thick socks were another popular item.

Pictures of moose, puffins and maps of Nfld. were everywhere, ready to warm up someone's feet!
And because the items were sold through NONIA, we were sure that they were well made.  My friend spotted a sale bin.  Inside was a marked down item ...due to uneven knitting. 
So maybe there really are knitting police?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fiona is everywhere!

I found these pretty mittens in Cascade's "60 More Quick Knits"
(for sportweight yarn).
Guess who designed them!
Yup! Another Fiona Ellis design.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fiona Ellis is coming to Little Red Mitten

Bonnie, by Fiona Ellis of her many designs.
Fiona has had designs in every issue of Twist Collective since its premiere issue
in the fall of 2008!
Join us on Friday evening (June 21, 2013) to see her trunk show of 'Twist' designs
...or call us about class availability this weekend.

Knit-in-Public Day 2013

Who wouldn't start blogging again after a day like this?
 Caught you, Connie  :)
 I wonder how many stitches were knitted or crocheted that day?
 A brave and experienced knitter: lace ...and conversation!
 The perfect buttons!


 Janice, a designer for Koigu, will speak about knitting and pain management in July, at The Mitten.
 What a beautiful way to stay warm in the shade!
 Another brave and experienced knitter who can talk and knit lace at the same time!
Knitting a few rows for our Ukrainian afghan project - thanks Reina!
Oh, I wish every day could be so special!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Knitting is More Than the Knit Stitch

While visiting with a customer the other day, I heard a story about how quickly her grandchild learned to knit.  The little 6-year-old conquered the knit stitch, sat comfortably showing her grandpa how to knit, and exclaimed that knitting was easy!

I love these stories ....but I also cringe at these stories.
On one hand, we want to promote the "easy factor" in order to open the door for new knitters.

On the other hand, I tire of the disdain one hears from non-knitters who think that what we do is easy or talentless.  Ageism and anti-feminism ooze from comments such as ``my grandmother knits`` or `that`s woman`s work.``

Let`s remember that learning the knit stitch is entirely different from learning to knit.  To me, working the knit stitch is like learning how to print the letter "a".  When you can purl, you've learned the letter "b".  When you have a few ``alphabet letters`` under your belt, then you can read easy picture books.

The real fun begins when you take those two simple letters and learn an entire alphabet of variations - decreases, increases, cables, yarn overs, twisted stitches, colourwork patterns, short rows, seams, buttonholes, braids ...and variations on all of these, and more.  You learn to read patterns, decipher charts, and choose tools and fibres wisely for each project.  You learn about fit and design and color. 

You realize that the possible combinations of yarn and techniques are infinite.  As your understanding develops and your arsenal of techniques grows, shelves and shelves of great stories can be written with yarn and needles.

If there are skills that you have yet to discover, classes can open your eyes to ``novel`` ideas.  They can give you a chance to try a new technique under a watchful eye, help solve a mystery that has plagued you, or come up with a happy ending for the ``story`` on your needles. 

To me, knitting is much more than the knit stitch.  Knitting is a joy ...and a never ending journey of discovery.

Friday, July 27, 2012

There's Always More to Learn

Yesterday, I taught a seaming class to a group of 7 eager knitters.  Most of them were there because they had had bad finishing experiences in the past and really wanted to know how to solve their problems.  They were definitely of the opinion that, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well."

As I tried to squeeze as much as possible into two short hours, I heard comments about how much there was to learn about the topic and how many different ways there are to get the job done.  Since I am in the midst of putting together several more hours of finishing classes, this was good to hear. 

And, unfortunately, it is the opposite of what the general public thinks about knitting.  The public seems to think that if you can knit, purl, cast on and off, you know everything there is to know about knitting.  This is actually pretty sad, because they really don't have a clue about what they are missing. 

Maybe I'm just a slow learner, but I feel like there is no end to what I can learn about knitting.  There are so many different techniques, yarns, colours, stitch patterns and projects around that can then be recombined into new ideas ...that it just boggles my mind.  And that's just one of many things I love about this great art!