Each day I like to wear something hand made. Most of the time it’s something knitted, but every once in a while a sewn item creeps in to my wardrobe as well. There’s something deeply satisfying about moving through the day with something created by and/or for yourself. Something primal? Perhaps. Or maybe I don’t need to wax on about it, but instead need to say that I just truly enjoy it. You get it, right?
My second shawl was Silverleaf by Lisa Hannes made with Madelinetosh Pashmina in Glazed Pecan. It’s yummy. I need not say more. The yarn color is actually discontinued, I’m told, and it came to me by way of a fortuitous trade with a guest (on a knitting cruise of course) who knew my color wheel exactly.
As every good mama should, I alternate between making something for one and then the other. This project is one for Ella and one that was a joy to do – in part because she chose carefully – the pattern, the yarn, and the size – which meant that she was happy with the end result.
It’s been a while since I’ve made things for the girls as there was a long time when anything I made was too itchy, too big, too small, too something. So there my loving, homemade, hard work would sit. In the drawer. Eventually to be out grown. So I stopped making things for the girls. Until one day last summer, Ella ASKED me to make some socks for her. I did so with a little trepidation, but also with a good measure of letting-it-go. I told myself that making a gift is not about how someone receives it (although it sure does help) but that instead it’s about the person doing the making. How it’s made, the care you give it, the thoughts while you create with fiber. This is what I told myself and mostly it worked.
These are the first pair of socks after a long, gift-making hiatus. Made with sock yarn purchased at Over the Rainbow Yarn, our LYS and also sponsor/instructor of our June 8-11, Sheep to Shawl, Maine Knitting Cruise. Go Mim!
This next gift was made with Berroco Vintage DK, Black Current #2182. I adjusted the Purl Soho Stirrup Sock Pattern to accommodate the yarn and Ella’s thinner-than-adult legs. I knit really loosely, so typically I have to go down 2 needle sizes to get the correct gauge. Knitting with size 2 needles, I cast on 68 stitches rather than the 96 the pattern calls for. I then adjusted accordingly, wrote down what I did (key to success here, right?), and did the same on the other sock. Just wove the ends in yesterday! Wahoo!
On a sunny day in June, our Maine Knitting Cruise crowd took to the island armed with indigo dye and yarn. The process was magical, beautiful, creative, and a complete blast.
Below is the best of the process start to finish. Ending with the yarn hanging over the wood stove for a final dry. Of course the day wouldn’t have been complete without an all you can eat Maine lobster bake too!
The trip began with a visit to the Swan’s Island Company north of where the Riggin is docked. Jackie Ottino Graf, the resident dye-master and social media maven of the company, took us through the dyeing process, handed out complementary patterns with yarn, and shared her extensive knowledge.
The next day found us in the Rockland yarn shop, Over the Rainbow Yarn, owned by Mim Bird, resident knitting instructor extraordinaire, for last minute items and extra yarn (because who doesn’t need EXTRA yarn)? We left the dock shortly after for our 4-day adventure armed with more yarn than we could possible knit in as many days.
Our first day had us romping across the bay to feisty winds and feistier seas with a promise of sunnier days to come. Mim started everyone off with information on how to knit with multi-colored yarn, the difference between a tonal yarn and variegated yarn, plus many more tidbits and facts.
As with any knitting retreat, some dug right in to their project and managed to knit furiously, finishing on the last night. Others meandered their way through the day, working on the official project some and their pet projects as well.
I’ll post photos of the actual dyeing process next, because that cool event deserves it’s own post.
My hands are blue (from indigo), but my spirit is sunny
P.S. When you go to the Swan’s Island Company website, check out what schooner is the setting for some of the photos! And,yes, the model and the yarn are pretty too.
P.P.S. Our next two knitting cruises are June 19 to 22 and August 31 to September 5. You should come!
All of our trips are excellent and my favorite is always the one we are currently on. However, our most recent knitting cruise was memorable for a number of reasons:
– The youngest knitter so far – 12 years old
– The most number of men knitting (including one who was 16 years old). Does 16 count as ‘man’? Not really probably, but any way he was at the knitting just like everyone else.
– The most new knitters (some came on board not planning on knitting and some were beginners who booked with the express purpose of beginning a new hobby)
– Somewhere it must be said we had the most number of “tinked” projects (things that had to be ripped out and started again), but hey, lots of beginners ups that ante and there was no shortage of laughter and camaraderie in the process.
– Maine’s fastest knitter was with us and knitting her heart out.
Thank you, as always, to the fabulous Bill Huntington for his knowledge, humor and gift of the craft of life through knitting. We are looking forward to seeing you again in July.
Our next knitting cruise still has space! Mim Bird, knitting Queen, will be on board to for the newest to the most experienced of knitters. If you aren’t a knitter, come join us for a short sail anyway, knitters are a fun bunch to share time with.
Our knitting cruise on the J. & E. Riggin, taught this year by Bill Huntington, is from June 9-11, 2011. Bill owns Hope Spinnery yarns and is a knitting wizard. Last year when I boarded the boat after getting the girls off to school, Bill was surrounded by rosy-cheeked, vibrant women, all clamoring at once to tell me what they’d learned or show me what they’d knit. A happier group I’ve yet to see – loud belly laughs and hands moving furiously were what occupied the galley after dinner that night.
Join us and share in the fun as we sail, knit and eat our way along the Maine Coast! It’s the only trip in June that still has space and from now until June 1st we are offering a Buy One, Get One Half Off Special. Call 800-869-0604 for more details.
If you can’t make this trip maybe our Sept. 5-10 knitting cruise with Maggie Radcliffe fits your schedule.
I’ve fallen in love with Quince and Company Yarn, sold in their flagship store Knit Wit in Portland, Maine the Munjoy Hill neighborhood. A friend and I were scheduled to have lunch one day at Duck Fat (just go and have the fries, oh, and a shake – heaven) and in she walks with this cowl that I HAD to own. And what do you know? It’s hand knit with Quince and Co. yarn – Puffin. And also what do you know? The yarn is sold just around the corner, to which I hied myself after proper sustenance and bought my very own yarn. When I got home, I promptly began making cowls with Quince and Co. pattern. I was so excited about my first one that I couldn’t wait to weave the bitter ends in, I just tucked ’em up and wore it. Oh, shhh. I’ll weave them in eventually.
Maybe we could knit a cowl on one of our knitting cruises? Hmm. I need to think about this a little more….
My first pair of socks – that are actually both the same size – knit this summer on the Riggin in between stirring stew and rolling pie dough. The bamboo yarn is yummy on my toesies and was really easy to work with. My only question is should I have used thread to reinforce the heal. I guess time will tell as I pad around the house in them this winter. Dang those needles were small.
While the idea of making all of my Christmas gifts by hand sounds alternately like a bucolic scene in Little House on the Prairie and an over achiever on steroids, I still love the idea of it. These hand warmers were easy to make and were perfect for the mountain of leftover yarn that is exploding out of the "guest bedroom." It could easily be called the craft room.