Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting ready to knit!

When you decide on a project, what are the items you need in your basket?  

1).  Yarn
2).  Needles
3).  Pattern
4).  Scissors
5).  Stitch counters
6).  Scratch pad / pencil

Now, find a comfortable spot to sit with good lighting. 
Be sure you understand the pattern.  Read through the pattern a few times.  If there are sections that are unclear, work through them before you tie that section into the full pattern.  I have a hard time understanding other peoples' patterns, so I reconstruct the pattern in my own language.  Looks like chicken scratch to most, but keeps me on track with where I am in the project.  Most patterns are written in a paragraph style, however, I break it down to:

Row 1). knit          +     /    /    /    /    /    /
Row 2). k1yok2tog       /    /    /    /    /    /
Row 3). knit            -    /    /    /    /    /    /
Row 4). knit                 /    /    /    /    /    /

As I knit Row #1 I check it off on my scratch pad, Row #2 the same..........and so on until the end.  Setting up a pad for this purpose can take some time when you first start a project, but can be well worth it.  I prefer a side, spiral bound, small note book.  I'll label the project at the top of the page.  On one side of the page I write the pattern per row, then rule off the rest of the page for my check marks. It's rare to find a pattern that's different every row and is not repetitive, so I only need to write the pattern a few times. 
Every time I knit, I finish the row.  That may be all I have time for, is one row, so with this system, every time I sit down, I know exactly where I am in the pattern.   If a row is an increase row, then I add a + sign, a decrease row, a - sign. (see example above). 

Simple, and easy to read at a glance.  If you've been having a hard time following patterns, try this method.

Good Knitting!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


A conversation took place yesterday with a fellow Pool Lady that touched my heart in many ways.  She told me the story of going to the doctor only to be told what she already knew. Her condition, while not exactly life threatening, was not surgically repairable.  Her life would continue to be ruled by pain.  Her doctor was stern but sympathetic.  "This is something your just going to have to learn to live with".  The same conversation with a doctor happened for me about 17 years ago.  My doctor was not sympathetic. Just have to learn how to live with.......Just? Just?  Lady, really, Just? Like I could twitch my Samantha nose and everything would be wonderful.  Just.... my butt!

When my friend said those words, my stomach fell through the floor and I was sitting on the exam table again.  I too, cried for days.  I could not imagine how I was to live, not just exist in this body that has betrayed me.  All my life I had lived a very strenuous life.  Chopping wood, hauling wood, construction, driving cars and tractors, grew up on a farm........well it was a shock to hear a doctor tell me that I had over used my body!  WHAT?  It never occurred to me that was possible. 

As I was trying to learn how to live in this worn out, painful body, and I was living in the grey world of grief, I lost many friends.  Just what I needed at the time, don't ya think?  Not only did my body ache, but my heart did too.  My husband, my wonderful husband, stood by me the entire time, and still does.   But serendipity is a funny thing.  I believe that God puts people in your path to teach you lessons you need to learn.  Well, thru a set of events, I joined the warm water pool.  I could have chosen any number of water classes, but this 4:00 class ......... The other women all have similar stories, rounds of doctors, pain management, surgeries, recovery, boy, we're all falling apart.  These women all get, that there are days I can do a lot, then there are days I can't.  Many of us knit, most of us read, we all laugh!  Laughter, my refuge. Pictures of me in childhood all show me clowning around, all of them. The years of grief over the loss of my former life, well, didn't get me too far.  It turned me morose, distant, on edge.  Grief was a lesson I had to learn.  Lessons can be so hard.  I try to laugh every day, many times a day.  That was one lesson, when you laugh, and put life in its place, not dwell on pain, or not being able to go and do, its no less painful, but it does get a little easier. I had to learn many other things before I could re-enter life.  Listen to my body, don't overdo (hard). Sleep when I need to, no matter what (not easy). Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (easy).  Include as many things in my life that make ME happy (easy).  Swim with a wonderful group of like minded, like bodied women (easy).  We swim, we eat, we knit, we talk some about how we feel, but none of us, on most days, live in the pain.

My friend that day needed more.  A few days have passed and its been on my mind.  I apologize to her.  The pain and heartbreak in her eyes, I couldn't handle it then. I promise to be more in the moment, just let her talk when she needs to, cry when she needs to, come to my house to eat cake (on the porch) when she needs to. As women, as women in the same pool, so to speak, we stand together. 

Laugh often, everyday
Turn your face to the sun, everyday
Breath deeply, everyday
Pray, everyday
Do what makes you happy, everyday
Do these things everyday!    

Monday, October 11, 2010

Changing Weather

When the weather turns cooler, my thoughts turn to knitting with yarns that are warm and fun.  Scarves, shawls, shrugs, hats, etc.  I can go thru a lot of yarn in a year and it took me a long time to fine an online company that I could trust.  I chose KarensKnits.yarnshopping (see last post for address).  4,000 yarns, largest selection I've found. Scrolling through the list of yarns for a knitter, is like Christmas morning!   Wools, Angora, Metallics, Cottons,  such a selection! And the yarn comes to my door within a few days.  Great!  This is one online company that I would recommend, and have to all my knitting friends.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Red mohair cape

Well, comsuming most of my time is a full to the waist, kid mohair, red cape.  So far so good, but seeing as I don't use patterns, I make my own, sometimes things come out fine, sometimes they don't. The yarn is luxurious, but fine, I'm using #3 kneedles. I'll finish the edges in a crochet open work.  In the future I hope to publish pictures of my creations. 

They say that knitting is zen like.  My theory of knitting is that it's fun to learn new stiches and patterns, but if you're constantly finding that your project is more of a dust bunny, rip it out!  I knit to calm myself and take time just for me to sit and produce something beautiful, functional, and texturally pleasing.