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Wednesday Night. The yarn activity continues…

Ethel’s skills as a teacher were greatly in demand….

crochet

Someone wanted to learn to crochet

learning to knit

Someone wanted to learn to knit, but she was ok with learning to crochet, too.

knitted fingerless mitts

Lois had some final touches to finish on these mitts

knitted afghan

I am up to the letter I so far!

knitted tote

And I’ve started on another tote

Knitting book

I forgot to show my book of knowledge to the group

tatting and book

mysterious but perfectly preserved package

Meanwhile, we solved the mystery of the mysterious but perfectly preserved package.

While DH and I were at the Family Beach Weekend, he got an email stating that some tool or other he ordered would be delivered by UPS and would lounge around on our doorstep til we got home. So he called a family member and asked her to go by the house and please pick it up on her way to the beach. She did, but when we quizzed her about it, at the time it was in her car, so she described it as a book and a present. A present? Yes, wrapped in pink wrapping paper with butterflies on it. That didn’t sound like something DH would have ordered from Rockler or Woodcraft. When I opened the package, it was a beautiful arrangement of tatting mounted on black velvet in a silver frame. And the book was a biography about Teddy Roosevelt. Well, when I saw the tatting, I immediately thought, “Lois!” But then, the book had an inscription that mentioned “Ethel.” So I presented the treasures at Wednesday Night Knitting and learned that Lois had dropped these things on the doorstep for my birthday 3 months ago! She put them in the iron Dutch oven that resides thereon as a sort of rustic decoration. Thinking back, she did say that she had called. Which just goes to show that people need to spell it out, preferably using the NATO alphabet names (ie. alpha, beta, Charlie, November) or make exaggerated mouth movements after saying, like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, “Look-eye! Always Look Eye!” And then maybe I will get the gist of the conversation! Thank you, Lois! I am humbled that you thought so much of scatter-brained me!

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Wednesday Night Knitting started off slow. Again, I had nothing to show for the week, since my project kept coming out WRONG and I had to rip it, rip it, rip it. But when the knitters came over, things began to get better and better, and by the end of the night I was floating on a cloud of knitting confidence and hope! soft alpaca/wool/bamboo Ethel brought me a “hostess gift” of 2 skeins of Maylla Peruvian yarn in alpaca, wool, and bamboo blend. “Not my colors,” she said, “but they are yours!” Hmm, remember those Color Me Beautiful parties people used to have where you draped the silver or gold scarf across your shoulders to see if you were a “warm” or “cold” color personality? And then you were one of the 4 color seasons and yep, I was dubbed Autumn. The yarn label says maylla is a Quechan word meaning wonder, abundance. I found this site with some lovely, artisan apparel Peruvian fashions for spring to ponder, check it out! Oops, I digress!

progress on my cable headband

Ethel also brought along some double-pointed needles in a size 4 and some other knitting paraphernalia she’d scored at Tuesday Morning. Treats for the taking, thank you! Then Lois showed up with some chocolate! My mood was improving all around. Lois showed a hairpin lace doily that possibly her mom had made.

Hairpin lace and chocolate from Lois

Tina came with a loom project; we were happy to spend what few Wednesdays we may have left to associate with her before she moves to North Carolina. Her husband was chosen as president of a small college there, a great career move for him! And it’s exciting to talk about how when she gets to her new home, she will only have to travel a few hours north to get to DC, a few hours south to get back to FL! And the beaches! And the mountains! Tina, you will have to round up some knitters in NC and start a new group.

Lois is making fine progress on her fingerless gloves!

Lois' gloves

We were also thrilled to see on Facebook that one of her Fair Isle hats was in England this week for spring break, on top of Lori’s pretty head!

Ethel worked on another poncho

Ethel and poncho #2

after having sought collaboration with the staff at Yarnworks to find a match for the alpaca she started out with. An excellent match, don’t you think? We believe that in time, whenever one looks up “poncho” on a Google search, up will come an image of Ethel pulling a face.

Tiffany also made fine progress on a soft yellow blanket, finishing a border and starting on a lacy pattern within the border.

Tiffany and blanket so far

Sure, the blanket is an appropriate size NOW, but what about when the babies are born? They are growing exponentially, let’s hope the blanket(s) keep pace…

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It was an excellent session at Wednesday Night Knitting: Tina made mad progress on her cable-loomed project.

Tina and super-long cable-knit scarf on loom

As you can see, the project is coming along well.

Ethel and poncho

Ethel worked on the poncho, in a warm 30% wool charcoal gray chunky yarn. Lois continued working on some fingerless gloves in a luscious mauve mohair.

Glove in progress

And I continued the scrunchie handwarmers from Designer One Skein Wonders.

scrunchie handwarmer, in progress

DH and I took a little mini-vacation last weekend, and checked out the local yarnies.

Four Purls in Winter Haven, Florida


Four Purls is a warm and wonderful shop we visited on the first Saturday in January. I snagged some interesting fiber, things I haven’t seen at my regular haunts. The shop is in the downtown area where lots of quaint antique stores and fashionable-looking eateries abound. I was invited in to see and feel to my heart’s content, by some friendly lasses (one of whom I’d met at the 2011 Florida Fiber In), and as I meandered around the perimeter shelves overflowing with color and tactile wonderment, oohing and ahhing to myself at the lusciousness of their wares, a group of women, young and middle-aged, were chatting and knitting in the center lounge area amid comfy, colorful and eclectic chairs and cushions. Love!
I also had to pay a visit to Yarn Basket to get some more of that pink tweed Kathmandu yarn. Sigh, Elsa had one skein left! That shop was also having a group knit-along when I showed up. Saturday seems like an odd time to group knit, to me–Wednesday seems juuuust right.

Stash snaggle from Winter Haven

In case you wanted to know, the stash includes, clockwise from top left, Juniper Moon Findley 50% merino, 50% silk in Serendipity (pink); the Queensland Collection Kathmandu DK merino, silk, cashmere blend; Cascade Yarns Dolly (black cotton, acrylic, nylon with “taggies”); Sprinkles gray white and black acrylic; Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn; Berocco Remix, the green yarn made of 100% recycled fibers in a nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk and linen blend; and in the middle a skein of grey Maggi Knits Irish MK Collection cotton-linen blend.

We were here, somewhere between Tampa and Orlando...

DH looked aside and said, "You think that might be a BAR?"

The scenery is magnificent. Did you know that oranges grow on trees? Millions, billions of them! They grow on trees, in the dead of winter! Amazing.

Mile after mile of trees ornamented with juicy oranges!

Mother Nature might surprise us with a few chilly days in January. We are running around central Fl with scarves around our necks but flip-flops on our feet!

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Ah, January, with your wonderful “come, let us anew” whispers! All over the retail world, whispers of “let’s get organized; buy containers!” Weight Watchers and the gym packed full with hopeful repentant souls who want to start the year out right. At Wednesday Night Knitting, we just want to finish our Christmas gifts from last year (week, month)…

I started out taking lots of great pictures, then realized my camera didn’t have a card in it. Duh! Back to the drawing board.

Tina and shawl

Tina came wearing a beautiful shawl, one she had made herself: the perfect wrap to throw on over a sweater since it has finally gotten cold here in Central Florida.

beautiful bird motif wash cloth

Tina showed her finished wash cloth with the cardinal in the center–a little hard to see in the pic, but very cool!

Tina and Lois

Lois' wool hand warmers

Lois turned out some gorgeous fingerless handwarmers. We liked that the gloves were not exactly the same, but one can tell that they are from the same yarn even though the stripe patterns are not perfectly matchy-matchy. Here is Lois’ most recent hat, too; I’m glad the photo shows some of the fine detail and vibrant color in one of her beautiful hats.

hat by Lois


my handwarmers, in progress

I also started a pair of handwarmers, you can see the work in progress there in my Magnolia Pottery yarn bowl (Christmas gift from my DH). The yarn is superwash merino sock yarn from Hobby Lobby. I started out balancing the mitten on 3 dpn’s but that got too crazy for me and I was heinously dropping stitches. Lucky for me, I found a 9-inch circular needle, size 1 (so excited!) in my needle stash, and it is a joy to work with…so far. This is my first attempt at sock yarn and with such small needles. I may have never found and decided to use this yarn, had I not been overcome by the January urge to neaten up the place and organize my stuff. Here are before and after pics of some of the changes I made in my “studio”–which prompted a shopping trip within the room! Score!

before

After


Ethel and acrylic painting of Murphy

In the mean time, Ethel began sharing more creative works with us, in addition to her knitting. We’ve resolved to spend some time doing painting and sketching this year. Here is a pic of Ethel’s portrait of Murphy, in progress, with his bright beady eyes! Ethel also brought a new European knitting mag, Filati, which has some alluring patterns to try. And Tina showed some new booklets for loom knitting, including one she’s working on:

Tina's cable on the loom

Here’s a link for another Leisure Arts leaflet she loaned me so I can look at another method of casting on: I Can’t Believe I’m Loom Knitting.
Go, knitting! When the renewed interest in New Year’s diet, working out at the gym, organizing the stuff, and all that wanes, I trust knitting will be still going strong!

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‘Twas the Knitting Night before Christmas, and all through the session
We had fun talking and laughing, eating, digressing
About our activities to be holiday-ready,
And the things we will do in two-thousand-one-two as we’re knitting rock-steady!

For Tina, 2011 has been the Year of the Hat! She has finished out the year with some truly phenomenal hats for her Primary class, loomed on the Knifty Knitter.

Loomed hat by Tina

She asked the kids what was their favorite color, and the variations and combinations of color and strand came about like magic!

this one formed a vertical stripe!

this one, a diagonal stripe!

a pink hat to love!

all the girls want pink or purple, and why not! It's awesome!

Imagine it on a cute little boy's noggin!

What a beautiful collection of loomed hats, all gifts for some happy kids.

the felted cashmere

Tina also brought gifts, which she said she would throw up into the air and let Ethel and me jump for our pick! The wool sweaters had been felted by accident or design…I chose the white 100% cashmere cable sweater and Ethel got the purple wooly one with the embroidered collar.

Ethel's pick from Tina's treasures

Methinks no sweater is ever too ruined to make something good out of it!

It's not what ya know but WHO ya know...


fave Christmas gift from loving DH

I had to show off the wonderful Christmas gift from my thoughtful hubby, a yarn bowl from Magnolia Pottery. I did not know he even knew what a yarn bowl is, but he must have had a conversation at some point with talented and creative Brooke Madsen, owner of the etsy shop, and this magical present found its way to me I love it!

back view, with swirly path for yarn

The rim bears the legend: Any day spent Knitting is a Good Day.

Tina and Deb, having a good day


Ethel's English toffee, with or without chocolate

Ethel brought homemade toffee to the party; it was hard to put a stop to the savoring of it! Deb brought a gift of chocolates in a handmade box.

candy in Deb's handmade container


Tina's gift from her favorite North Carolina gift shop

Tina brought a present; a metal rod formed into a Christmas tree shape, with red ribbon that can be used as a tree ornament or worn as a necklace.

and we had music

Ethel brought her Bose player, loaded with the sublime sounds of Motab Choir. Beautiful!
We have wonderfully much to be thankful for. As “ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day…” we commemorate the Savior’s birth and marvel that we have a place in His Plan of Happiness!

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Wednesday knitters stayed inside in the A/C while heat lightning flashed and thunder rumbled outside; the temperature got up to 100 degrees in Gainesville yesterday! Ethel braved the elements and got us a snack at the Farmer’s Market –French sorrel leaves, to go along with the watermelon cubes she brought.

watermelon cubes and French sorrel leaves

The leaves had a bright, lemony taste; very refreshing!
Meanwhile, we worked on some new and old projects. Lois worked on her beret from this book:

Lois's hat inspiration

pattern for beret

in a burgundy wool.

Lois and beret in progress

Ethel demonstrated her progress on the Fishy project…

Ethel and Fishy, so far


Ethel's frilly scarf

Ethel worked on a ruffled scarf but had to stop and get more of the carnival-colored yarn–don’t you hate it when you run out?

Turkish woolly

Ethel also finished two hemp washcloth squares, very primo with size 3 needles in seed stitch and double seed stitch.

hemp face cloths

. The rough, luxurious hemp blend and bobbly stitch has a wonderful exfoliating effect!

I worked on a couple of projects from One Skein Wonders to give me some practice and use up some odd balls in the stash. One was a baby hat in a Plymouth Heaven Lite nylon/polyester yarn, and another was the Fillippi scarf in a rib knit with ruffled edges, using a Patons Shetland bulky wool.

baby hat on creepy doll model

Fillippi scarf

After everyone left, the cats were relieved to be set free from their porch prison, where the heat lightning was probably very unnerving. They had a new toy fishing pole with a catnip mouse attached that has a supposed “real-feel” mouse squeak, so they were going berserk.

Cat-demonium

Mrrrow!

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The Wednesday Night Knitting group started off a bit slow but we had a great evening. Sorry I didn’t get better pics.

Tina started on a project on one of her looms; to become a felted wool purse.

loomed 2-strand twisted stockinette

here's what the back looks like

Love that 100% wool. I was reading somewhere that the correct term for knitted things that are shrunk by washing and drying is “fulled” and not “felted.” Wool that is not knitted into anything but is loosely piled together and agitated into forming a mat-like material is felted. Interesting; needs more research.

Lisa partly finished the bunny hat with one bunny ear. Cute! Adorable!

Tiffany dropped by and showed her progress on the afghan in Hunter’s stitch:

Hunter's stitch in progress

I actually did a dishcloth in seed stitch but it is nothing to brag about, especially with all the evidence of stockinette rows that I swear I do not know how they got there. It’s a good thing I like the cotton yarn because I am going to have to redeem myself by doing another one that looks better.

Lois is working on a project in the Angel Hair yarn that is self-striping. We love the feel of it and how it magically forms stripes.

Debbie fulfilled her assignment and brought back intel collected from the 4 yarn shops in and around Orlando. She had a business card for each of us from The Knitting Patch in Altamonte Springs (“Home of the Friday Night Knitting Club”) and The Black Sheep on North Mills Ave. Tiffany knows where to take her mom when she comes for a visit!

Debbie worked on the socks some more, then decided to regroup. Lots of unwinding and rewinding.

Do-over

Refreshments consisted of sushi and St. Patrick’s Day molten lava cake. The cake was Lisa’s experiment, and it turned out very holiday-worthy! Pretty and delicious.

Before

I couldn’t get my after pic to turn out–grr. But it was yummy!

Wondering why there are so many instances of knitting in Harry Potter? Is it because knitting is so English?

I love that knitting has so much presence in some cultures: English, Scottish, Scandinavian…

Knitting references I can think of, offhand, from Harry Potter without yet having verified them:

1. Ron gets a hand-knitted sweater from Mrs. Weasley every year for a Christmas present.

2. In the movie Chamber of Secrets, when Fred, George, and Ron rescue Harry in the flying car, when they get home to the Burrow, a bewitched set of knitting needles is going at it in the living room while the family is sleeping.

3. Hermione knits caps and other items of “clothes” for the house-elves as part of her House Elf Liberation campaign, and tries to get Harry to help, too. He’s not interested.

4. After Harry and Ron reconcile in the common room following Harry’s completion of the 1st task in the Tri-Wizard tournament, Fred or George says, “All right everyone, get back to your knitting!”

5. Harry gets a pair of socks from Mrs. Weasley knitted in a pattern of golden snitches.

6. In the beginning of Half-Blood Prince, Harry and Dumbledore try to recruit the old Potions professor to return to Hogwarts. Dumbledore retires to the bathroom to give Harry some time to convince the professor to come out of retirement, then explains his absence by saying he was busy looking at Muggle knitting patterns.

And to think I read these books before I was into knitting. Kinda scary that I recall obscure knitting scenes from Harry Potter but not a bit of calculus or trig that I learned in college.

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