a girl and her boy

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Tag Archives: fiberphilia

Windfall

I am blessed as a knitter to have a supportive partner: he not only encourages but financially supports my fiber addiction. This has resulted in my recent expenditures on high-end sock yarn (see earlier posts). But of late, I’ve not had to spend money to add amazing skeins to my basket. You see, I met a woman over a bonfire at Amy‘s house that used to work at a fiber store and she doesn’t knit. Read that again. You may be in shock. You read it right, a person worked at a fiber store and did not dip into the luxury that is running the fiber across the fingers while making beautiful items. I still can’t quite believe it myself.

Anyhow, said woman, in a moment of generosity no doubt inspired by s’mores and smoke, offered her stash to me and Amy. And Amy is just starting to knit. So essentially, the stash went to me.

I picked up the booty, er, proffered stash yesterday and I could not believe what I was given: Filatura di Crosa Fisherman 2 Icelandic wool!!!

I left 5 skeins (sky blue and grey) with Amy and took away four skeins of natural, and one each of charcoal, light green, and bark brown icelandic wool, and other odds and ends of wool.

I slept with it last night tucked under my pillow so it wouldn’t disappear on me.

Knowing that I must make something wonderful with this wool, I went to Fiberphilia to seek guidance and inspiration. Cheryl and Michele scoured the stacks of pattern books to help me find just the right thing. Fair isle yoke sweater? Only enough if I “borrow” back the stuff I left with Amy. Vest? Nice, but dime a dozen. Felted bag? Right out.

Eventually, we cracked open Reynolds Lopi vol. 26 and there, in all it’s glory, was the pattern. It is untitled, but I call it the Cabled Cowl-Neck Vest. It’s going to be gorgeous. There is no online representation of this pattern that I can find. Nor can I find anything on the yarn. I’ll take photos tomorrow of the beauty that is this wool when I can do it justice.

In the meantime, I wish you sweet dreams of the softest icelandic wool you can imagine, and then some.

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Cardigan of my Inexperience

Nothing new to report on the knitting scene. I still haven’t knit a stitch in over a week. However, I have a 3-day weekend coming up and I hope to crank out the rows! My goal is to finish (finally) the Sockotta sock. After that, I’m going to tackle that cardigan. I need to do something with it. In case you are new to the blog, I have a green cardigan in Peace Fleece that I have had nearly done for several months now. And by several, I mean since October.

I came to a realization with the cardigan, though; several very important discoveries: I didn’t know what I thought I knew. When I went into that cardigan, I thought I knew enough about knitting sweaters through the reading I’d done to not consult with the Keepers of Fiberphilia. I was also rushed, as Allan called me twice in the shop urging me to come home. (I had to get some job applications done to get in for a deadline and he was concerned I was going to run out of time with the yarn shopping.) So, I bought the pattern and yarn, thinking that a 38″ medium would be fine. Heh. Now that the whole thing is knit up, I’m realizing it is better suited to a small framed A-cup rather than my medium frame D-cup. Live and learn, right?

So now here I am with a cardigan that is complete, blocked and all, without button bands. I can’t decide whether to frog or press forward and then give it away. (To whom? I have no idea.) I’m also somewhat ashamed of it now that I recognize the twisted stitches. I did all that knitting before I realized I had been purling wrong all these years. (Another reason for social knitting!)

So, my dear readers, what would you do? Would you frog the whole thing and make it into something else? Or, would you press forward with the button bands and then give it away?

Reflections and Decisions

The last two days have swallowed me whole emotionally speaking. All the stress that has been building up from being separated from Allan, from my first year of teaching, from being sick for a month, and dealing with huge snow storm after huge snow storm broke yesterday when I was out to lunch with some colleagues from the Master of Arts in Teaching program at UMaine. We were checking in over sandwiches at Harvest Moon in Orono, and when it came to me, I spilled all the troubles I’ve bottled up for months and nearly started sobbing on the spot. It was not fun. And then, of course, I was very confused about everything in life: my career, my relationship, my current trajectory in life, all of it. I was ready to cash in my chips and quit. But I didn’t.

After lunch, I went to Fiberphilia and got in some fiber therapy. I caressed the Noro and dreamed of the Rowan. And I swooned over the alpaca silk. Then I sat down in the sun room, with The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, flipped through, and spilled my troubles all over again. This is the first time I’ve talked out all my current stresses and it happened twice in one day. And both times, my listener(s) were wonderful, caring, and supportive.

I have to say that knitting is what has kept me sane and alive all these years, and especially in my current situation. I had a very troubled childhood and I knit my way through it. And now, with my current challenges, I’m finding the same strength through knitting. It allows me an opportunity to achieve a zen-like state, meditate on my troubles, and find a solution. The one I’ve come to is this: be patient, be firm, stay where I am.

My relationship is wonderful. I was shaken simply because my past has not given me experience with solidity. Whenever things have been shaken up everything, literally everything, changes. My friends, my living situation, my occupations (outside of knitting and reading), and at times, my personality. And now, I have this firm foundation in Allan, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I was very confused. But through journaling and meditation, I’ve come to realize that I have everything I need and want. I just need to learn to trust the stability.

I will stick with my school and with teaching; the school through the end of the year, and teaching for at least five years. After that? Who knows.

I’ve done so much thinking and journaling while trying to figure out how I feel and what I want. I keep breaking it down to the following:

  • I want to be loved.
  • I want to love.
  • I want to be in a stable relationship.
  • I want to be in a stable living situation.
  • I want to be able to express my creativity freely.
  • I want to be able to explore the capabilities of my body through exercise.
  • Some day I want to either own or participate in a tea house/fiber store/book nook.
  • I will make changes if I ever find myself truly unhappy in my living situation.

All of these things are possible and/or present within my current relationship and life trajectory. I’ve found more peace than I’ve had in several months after realizing this. I am content despite the daily challenges of a temporary long-distance relationship and a difficult career.

Continental Break-through.

A few days ago I posted about the life-changing event that took place at Fiberphilia and the resulting decision, namely to learn to knit using the continental style of holding the strand. I didn’t realize what this decision fully entailed until that night when I was home working on a moss stitch scarf for my brother-in-law. I found myself getting stressed, frustrated, and tired. I couldn’t keep the tension. I couldn’t get the strand to move around my pointer. I’d end up dropping the strand when dipping for a purl. I was ready to throw the knitting across the room, or shake it up and down like a frustrated 3-year-old with a teddy bear while wailing. Knitting has never ever felt like this for me before.

I tried so hard for a few days to sit and knit and those sessions always ended in walking away after 15 minutes. Not cool. I finally took a look at the knit-stitch video at Knitting Help again. That’s when the break-through occurred. I had been wrapping the strand once around my pinky and twice around my pointer. I couldn’t keep the strand moving that way. I watched the video and she showed two ways of wrapping the yarn. It was the second that dissipated my frustration. I wrapped twice around my pinky and once around my pointer and off I went! I zipped through several rows on a baby blanket like I used to with the old method. It was the most wonderful experience.

Despite the frustration that learning continental has been, it has been immensely valuable as it has encouraged me to try out other techniques and styles that I’d never considered before. It has urged me on to be a better, more skilled, more diverse knitter.

Also…

I picked up some Mission Falls 1824 Wool today, too! I love this wool. I have 1 skein each of Oatmeal (006), Nector (009), and Russet (010) that I plan on making into striped socks. Scrumptious! Fiberphilia has a basket near the desk that is the home of the orphans, you know, the skeins left over without the rest of their dye lot at the end of a cycle. They sell these orphans for 20% off and I found these lovely colors and snatched them up instantly.

First Day of My (New) Knitting Life.

Michele changed my life. I walked into Fiberphilia with my lacy shrug in tow hoping to make progress on it after months of struggling with this project. I ripped out the previous work, untangled the mess of bamboo spaghetti, wound it up, and proceeded to knit the three inches of 1×1 ribbing. I get to the part where I am supposed to increase from 45 to 55 stitches in the last row of ribbing and I ask Michelle for suggestions on how to do this. “Knit the front and the back of a stitch,” she said. She suggested other methods as well, but said this would be the best for this particular project. I went back to the knitting room to work on it while she rang up the customer at the counter and then she joined me in the knitting room. She took one look at my project and said, “you’re twisting your stitches.” This, my friends, is the moment my knitting life changed.

You see, my grandmother taught me to knit when I was six years old in Byron, Maine. I’ve been doing nothing but acrylic garter stitch monstrosities up until six years ago when I finally taught myself, using the power of the internet, the purl stitch. Come to find out I taught myself the purl stitch incorrectly.

Instead of going down into the stitch and laying the yarn over the top to carry through, I come around the bottom of the needle and wrap it. I’ve been twisting my purls all these years. My life is changed! I pulled out some spare needles and spare wool and knit six rows in proper purl and it looked like nothing I’ve ever seen before coming off my needles. It was simply beautiful.

My transformation didn’t end there. I also decided that today would be the day I learn to carry the strand properly. All these years I carried it in my right hand pinched under my pinky and I’d pick it up with my forefinger and thumb when I wanted to move it over a stitch. I’d drop it and pick it up between each stitch; definitely not the most economical motion. Bravely, I learned how to not only knit, but purl, using the continental method of holding the yarn. I spent an hour at Fiberphilia practicing the continental method of holding the yarn and purling correctly. I felt like I was learning how to knit for the very first time. And my friends, I was.

I am a brand new knitter! Today is the first day of the rest of my knitting life!

I Knit This Weekend!!

I actually had time to knit! Can you imagine!! I was so incredibly sick this past week, as you know, and I drove the hour and a half up to Orono between naps on Thursday afternoon. While at the boy’s new house (he just moved!) I sat on the couch knitting. And boy did it feel good!

I worked on a new set of mittens for myself. They’re made out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Peat Mix using the basic mitten pattern found in Katherina Buss’ book The Big Book of Knitting. I’m using size six with 40 stitches cast on and knit on size four needles. I love them! They are going to be so wonderful! I love Ultra Alpaca and make so many projects out of it.

As a matter of fact, I went to my favorite local yarn store Fiberphilia in Orono, Maine and planned a sweater for Allan out of it. I’m going to make the men’s striped sweater from Knit Issue 1 from page 16. It’s pictured on the second row of images, first small one on the left on the link given. I’m thinking blues and greys for Allan. Suggestions of colorways? I’m still deciding.

While at Fiberphilia, I learned that my talented knitter friend Laura works there now! It was a pleasure seeing her. I met up with my friend from This Mouse’s Den for an afternoon of knitting and it was the most relaxing afternoon I’ve had in ages. I also saw my friend Katherine. I haven’t seen her in months! It was simply serendipitous seeing all my favorite people, unplanned, at my my favorite local yarn store! Talk about a weekend!