Tuesday, May 13

Knitting is a way of life

Southern girls learn to knit and sew at a very early age.  Mothers teach their daughters what their mothers taught them.  It was no different for me.  I was sewing by the age of 12 and learned to knit when I started high school.  My first sweater was a bright yellow cardigan with a leaf pattern going up both sides of the front by the banding for the buttons and buttonholes.  As I look back at it, that was a really complicated pattern for a beginner!  When I went away to school some of my classmates wanted me to teach them how to knit -- one was left-handed and I taught her by knitting in front of a mirror.  When she watched me in the mirror it was just as she needed it to look -- it was either that or I had to learn to do it in a way that seemed backward to me!  When my own daughter was in high school she asked me to teach her how to knit.  Honestly, I didn't think it was something she would ever do but boy, was I wrong!  She not only enjoyed it but has turned knitting into an art form!  She develops her own patterns, combines techniques and patterns to create beautiful and unique pieces.  She always has about half a dozen projects going and never leaves home without something to knit in her "bag of tricks".  I give you this background not to brag about my abilities -- far from it! I want you to understand that I now go to my child for help with my own projects.

The 3rd week-end of October each year, there is a fiber festival in western NC that has the most beautiful handmade items on display, yarns that are hand dyed and spun, sheep shearing so that you can see the process from start to finish, anything and everything related to knitting for sale and a plethora of yarns to buy. Therein lies the problem.  You see all this gorgeous yarn in every color and shade under the rainbow and want everything you see!  The dealers are there to help you with selections and answer questions about weight of wool or yarn for the item you are creating in your head as you walk through the building.  Several years ago I spotted a bin of wool yarn in a soft aqua (my favorite color) and of course stood there with my feet frozen to the floor.  Total inertia took over and I had to have that yarn!  No way I was leaving without it.  So, I bought 15 skeins because I wasn't sure what I wanted to make with it but knew that I didn't want to run out!  This was definitely a case where "less is more" was not the mantra of the day!

Okay, I found the pattern that I wanted to make with the wool I bought and began working on it with so much enthusiasm that I could barely contain myself!  But not long after I began, it all came to a crashing halt when I moved from western NC back to the Chicago area and I was having renovations done on my new home. For months, the frig was in the dining room, I had no kitchen at all to work out of and the bathrooms were being done one at a time so I didn't have to rent a "PortaPotty". Juggling what seemed to be too many balls in the air at one time, I realized that the extra yarn I needed was in a trunk under all the new kitchen cabinets, wood trims, and tool boxes.  Thus, no knitting.  Once I got my home back in order, the sweater project sat in a bag next to the sofa so I had to see it on a daily basis.  Guilt finally won out and I was back knitting again.  However, when I got to the sleeves, I was stumped at the decreases and had to pack up what I had finished and send it to my daughter back in NC so that she could try to figure it out for me.  And she did!!!  So here is the completed sweater with vintage buttons that I wanted but thought I would never find in the right color.  It was knit in the round so no seams to put together.  I used US7 and US5 circular needles to get the proper gauge.

Tweak It Tuesday #89

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