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Happy 2008 Stitching…

January 3, 2008

Welcoming in the New Year is always an exciting time. Everything starts anew. Friendships continue to blossom. Stitching continues to provide insight, bonding and wonderful woolies to share. My biggest question this year is “What do Koala Bears, Knitters and Nature all have in common?” Let me try to answer this question as I update you on our knitting circle’s talented members.

First, our last meeting of 2007 on December 20, 2007 was a big success. Gale, Jan, Kristen and I met in the regular place to compare, show off and learn new insights about each other and our work. Kristen, new to the world of stitching, is becoming quite an accomplished young artist eager to spread her craft and inspire smiles. Currently, she’s hard at work on creating her nephew his very own crocheted kitty. For show and tell, Kristen brought along her almost completed projects: a couple of cute little characters done in the Japanese tradition of amigurumi. Although they need a nose and some eyes, these little characters will surely add personality to any corner they may call home in the future. Kristen has also announced her trek into other stitching wonders. She received her first sewing machine as a Christmas gift and is eager to try her hand at creating wonderful fabric items. Here’s hoping that next year, she’s accomplished enough to have a truly hand made gift giving experience.

Onto Gale. Even though Gale has joined the ranks of the work-a-day set, she still saves time to stitch and come out with us each and every Sunday. A number of projects have been given (like a cute little dinosaur, which her nephew absolutely LOVES!) and a few more started. Gale is currently hard at work on a Pirate Booty Bag (email me for the free pattern if you are interested in giving it a go) and learning the process of double knitting, Faire Isle (Intarsia) as well felting. This will certainly be something to be proud of once completed. On another note, Gale has also picked up a new fibre and is busy creating socks (of course 😉 ) from it – keep reading to discover what the new fibre is… The colourway (a varigated green scheme) is gorgeous and I can’t wait to post a picture of the finished project when they are done!

Jan, our experienced knitter, has been hard at work and reported that the plethora of socks, hats and other warm woolies were all received with many smiles and love and awe of her work. She’s still at work on the sweater for herself, but has taken to creating some cableing wonders. Headbands are the perfect medium to show off her talents and a cabling wonder. Although, we couldn’t quite name the fibre here (her pet Pug decided the Information Band of this particular yarn tasted very good), we all agreed the colour is beautiful. This creation will surely keep its owners ears toasty and add a bit of functional fashion to their world.

And now onto me. What have I been up to? Well I have a few things to report. First, I’m awaiting the arrival of my Knit Picks Harmony Interchangeable Needles not so patiently. I ordered them on Dec. 20, 2007 and hope for them to arrive some time this month. They are a beautiful compressed wood that add a touch of beauty to the act of knitting. By all accounts they are some of the best needles on the market to date. Thanks to my husband, for giving me these beauties as my Christmas gift. Now all I have to do is await their arrival and hope the postal service hurries them along.

In anticipation of the blessed day (when the needles arrive) I kept one of my resolutions. I promised myself to try a new technique and a new fibre to start off the new year with. This may also answer the question we began this blog with. So, what does a Koala Bear, A Knitter and Nature have in common??? Why, it is Bamboo of course!

As part of my Christmas present from DH, I also received Interweave’s Favourite Socks book. A beautiful compilation of their numerous and popular sock patterns from 1997 to present. My first project was Meida’s Socks. This pattern is easy to memorize and accomplish. I picked up Ornaghifilati 100% Bamboo yarn form the Wool Emporium here in Saskatoon to create these beauties with. So far I have one sock done and its pair cast on (which I’ll be bringing to the SnB this coming Sunday January 6, 2008). The Bamboo is a joy to work with. It is soft, has a beautiful lustre, comes in a number of gorgeous colours. I don’t know if I can return to the plain old fibres that socks are normally created with, but I will.

For the second part of my resolution, this pattern taught me to cable in a new way (new to me that is). It appears that cable needles were not very common in the Eastonian area at one time so the women became adept at cabling without them. Alternating slipped stitches on every right-side row produces a reinforced hell flap with a honeycomb (or partridge eye), rather than the usual reinforced rib that continues into the turning of the heel. The Eastonian cables are easily accomplished, once the initial shock of having live stiches hanging midair wears off. I love the technique and recommend it to anyone interested in trying out a new technique.

Now what of my UFO’s. There are a couple on the go at the moment. I have begun, as a promised belated birthday gift to my brother-in-law, a pet friendly and manly afghan to add a bit of spark to his living room. Constructed in a simple double crochet ripple pattern, this piece is working up quickly. I discovered 1000 gram balls of Red Heart at the local WalMart, which makes this project not so portable. It has become my TV watching project as it currently lives beside my couch. These balls are HUGE and wonderful when creating larger pieces. I love the way the multi, the brown and the green work together as the fabric grows with every stitch.

The other WIP currently receiving my attention is my Faire Isle Sweater. This project was cast on well before Christmas and has been worked at intermittently since then. Faire Isle is one of my favourite techniques. However, once my loved ones see how it works up they tend to vie over its ownership. Currently my Mother and Sister are both discussing who’s back it will be warming. However, it is being made for me. Wish me luck in keeping it!

Other WIPs lie patiently in wait in the queue. I’m sure once my new needles arrive they will have renewed interest and get some attention. I still have socks on the go, a few mittens, a sleeveless turtleneck and a number of other inspirations rolling about in my head.

Here’s hoping that your celebrations went well, your holidays were safe and warm and we see you at the next SnB on

January 06, 2008
McKenzie Cole’s Coffee
Corner of Gray Ave and Central Ave
Saskatoon, SK
at 2pm!!!!

Happy Stitching to all!
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