Fun with Knitting Pictures

February 25th, 2013

Okay, I got a little silly with this one.

Blue "Snake" Scarf

The knitting sample clearance continues — this blue lace scarf is also now for sale on Etsy. I don’t know what possessed me to take a photograph of it coiled across a jade plant like some kind of fuzzy snake…

Baby Booties

It’s not just scarves either. These baby booties must go as well! For some reason, I knitted about a dozen pairs a few years back. Most have been given away as gifts. The last three pairs are now “lookin’ for a home” on Etsy too. Get ’em while they’re warm and cozy.

Look Ma, I’ve Been Knitting

February 24th, 2013

How embarrassing, it’s been nearly a month since my last post. Oops. I haven’t been idle though. Mostly, I’ve been knitting. A lot of it was sample work in preparation for my knitting classes — they start in a week! Here’s the class list if you’re interested.

But I do have a few knitted items worth showing off.

Lace Scarves

A pair of pull-through scarves in the traditional “old shale” lace pattern. The pale rainbow colored one on the left is bound for the sample board at the fabric store where I’ll be teaching. The other, darker colored scarf is up for grabs in my Etsy sample sale store. I’ve been knitting these neat scarves for years. They make great holiday gifts, and only take a single skein of yarn! I plan to publish the pattern shortly as well.

Knitted Socks

And what better 19th-century gift from a faithful wife to her consort than a pair of hand-knitted socks? Though the colorway on these is far from traditional. It’s all in the yarn — self-striping (and fair isle-ing) Heart & Sole with Aloe spun in for comfort. These are also destined for the sample board, at least for a while. Then back to warm my darling’s tootsies.

A Good Excuse to Knit

January 30th, 2013

I’ve been knitting again lately. First the seaman’s caps. Then a flurry of tiny garments for a special wee someone, who’s impending arrival is causing much excitement amongst the family and friends of a certain bosom chum of mine. And now in preparation for a series of knitting and crocheting classes at a local store.

girl knitting

It’s been years since I’ve taught knitting, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been brushing up on basic technique, tricks of the trade, and patterns for cables and openwork. I even started a Tumblr for the classes.

On the knitting side, I plan to offer a monthly intensive for absolute beginners, plus weekly sessions for intermediate knitters who want to expand their skills. If you’re an intermediate knitter reading this, whether or not you’re in the San Luis Obispo area, what sorts of techniques would you like to learn? What’s always baffled you? What do you wish you could do better?

As for crochet, I figure a monthly beginner class, intermediate class, and lace class will be a good mix. Any suggestions on that front are welcome too of course!

A Seaman’s Watch Cap

January 10th, 2013

Charity knitting was a popular pastime among ladies of the newly leisured industrial class during the mid-19th century. Before the advent of government sponsored welfare programs, women of means helped bridge the gap for poorer families by providing baskets of food and practical clothing (like warm socks or serviceable shawls). They were often motivated by religious duty as much as their own generosity. In addition to sponsoring indigent locals, ladies might also target other deserving groups, such as missionaries or sailors, with the fruit of their needles.

Visiting the Poor, 1844 (from La Magasin Pittoresque)
Visiting the Poor, from La Magasin Pittoresque, 1844

Fast forward to the late-20th century, and you find that many women are still eager to knit for those in need: hats for preemies, sweaters for penguins, and all sorts of other worthy causes. My own grandmother’s pet knitting charity was the Seamen’s Center, Port of Wilmington. It’s a service of the Episcopal diocese of Delaware, offering accommodations, clothing, and much more to merchant seamen while they are in port. Along with her guild, Gram knitted countless watch caps to warm chilly heads on the open seas.

While cleaning out my studio this week, I came across her last hat, maroon with a double white stripe above the band. It was nearly finished — I just had to sew the seam up the side. I wrote a little note explaining who’d made the hat, and her long-time dedication to their cause, and mailed it to the Seamen’s Center. Then I remembered that she’d given me a copy of the watch cap pattern years ago.

I whipped up this variegated version in a matter of hours.

Seaman's Watch Cap

Only I had to promise my husband that he could keep the hat before he’d agree to model it, so this watch cap isn’t going to sea. But the next one will. And the one after that.

Would you like to knit a watch cap too? The pattern is linked below. I didn’t write it, but I figure it’s okay to share on the honor system — which means, if you want to use it, you have to knit at least one watch cap to donated to the Seamen’s Center. Their address is listed on the document. There’s no deadline, no rules about color or fiber content.

Seamen’s Center Watch Cap Pattern

If you do make a cap, I’d love to see a picture. Leave me a link to your blog or photo page in the comment area of this post.

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