On the third Monday of the month a group of enthusiastic knitters meet in the Resource Room at the Duxbury Free Library. From 6:00 - 8:00 you can find knitters of various skill levels with yarn between their fingers. We would love you to join us. If you can't, follow us here!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ready to Time Travel?

Saturday was a beautiful November day, so I convinced my husband to take a trip to visit Old Sturbridge Village. I thought it would be fun to transport myself in time to the late 1700's-early 1800's . . . (I had a vision of turning into Clare from the Outlander series!).

 As soon as we walked in we, were greeted by the cutest little sheep . . . well okay, they weren't really little . . . I looked at them and wondered how much they weighed!!

While some people were looking at them and probably thinking of lamb chops for the village, I thought . . . 'oh, fleece'!

When we came across the building labeled, Carding Shed, I couldn't wait to go in. (For some reason my husband was not as enthusiastic). Gone were the days of carding by hand . . . dominating the building were two carding machines that would have been powered by water.

I could just picture myself walking around the village in my bonnet wearing a dress made of a pretty blue calico print and carrying a basket . . . to put my fleece in, of course.

I envisioned myself purchasing my fleece (probably using vegetables from my garden or eggs from my chickens, since not many people had money), and then probably going home and sitting down and setting to the task of spinning my yarn . . . hey, just like the spinners that come to Knitting Night on Mondays!

But then as I walked around more . . . 
 and noticed more of the cute little woolie lambs . . . it hit me. They weren't knitting cowls from sock weight yarn or scarves from the latest novelty yarn . . . and their sweaters were not knit from kid silk mohair or cashmere.

They were using homespun wool . . .  literally . . . and knitting for warmth.

I also took a closer look at the cute little woolies . . . and then I also took a closer look at their fleece . . . and I saw how DIRTY it is!! (Leaves, mud, sticks and other 'items' I would not want to touch.)

Then I found out that women could drink alcohol and carry a gun . . . but couldn't vote. (My husband thought alcohol and firearms could be a dangerous combination in women and perhaps they should have allowed voting instead.)

Hmm . . . what do you think? Would you want to live in that era? Take a trip and visit Old Sturbridge Village and decide for yourself. The library even has a pass so that you can get a discounted admission.

I decided the 18th century was not for me. I'll stay in 2015 and visit my local yarn shop and purchase a hand painted skein of yarn to knit something frivolous.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Turning T-shirts Into Yarn.

One of the best things about working in the library is having creative co-workers . . . like Lindsey. When another co-worker cleans her office . . . resulting in a lot of T-shirts that are left in a 'who-wants-these-?' staff area  . . . Lindsey looked at them and saw . . . yarn. (I know, right?! Yarn?!! I looked at them and saw a pile of T-shirts that I wouldn't wear.)

When she showed me her 'yarn' I was of course . . .  'how did you do that?' Since she is nice . . . she showed me. I went home and copied her and made my own T-shirt yarn. Want to make some??

Start with . . . you guessed it, a T-shirt.

Lay it flat and smooth it out.

Next cut it just below the armholes . . . 

Then cut off the hemmed edge at the bottom.

You now have a tube.

Next fold your 'tube' in half, but leave one edge about 1 1/2 inches longer than the other.

Now comes the fun part.

Cut from the bottom through the first fold . . . but don't cut all the way across. Leave the fold furthest away intact.

Repeat all the way across. I made my strips about an inch thick. (Maybe you noticed my lime-green-Only-You-Can-Prevent-Forest-Fires ruler. I had a grandiose vision of carefully measuring each strip. I threw that idea out the window and just eyeballed it once I started. I decided to be a free spirit.)

When you are finished, unfold it and separate all the loops.

Next cut diagonally to make one big strip.

(You would cut from where my thumb is to the notch created by the two top loops.)

You will end up with one big long strip of jersey fabric.

Give it a gentle tug and a little bit of magic will happen. The ends will roll in and it will turn into . . . 

. . . a pile of T-shirt yarn!!!!

I'm not sure what I will make with it. Maybe a cowl?

Go ahead, give it a try. You must have a lot of old T-shirts that you are probably never going to wear again. (And if you see Lindsey tell her thanks for sharing!)

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shop a Little . . . Help a Little.

I wasn't going to mention that the holidays are right around the corner . . . but . . . well . . . they are. If you haven't been busy all summer knitting hats and scarves and finger-less gloves and socks and cowls . . . it's okay. Don't stress about how you can't possibly get enough gifts knitted in time. At the last Monday Night Knitting, Mary presented a perfect solution for you. (At least if you live in the South Shore area of Massachusetts.)

If you shop at Charming Charlie's on Sunday, November 15th from 11:00-6:00, 
10% of your sale will be donated to the organization CABbies. 
Charming Charlie's is located at 194 Colony Place, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

CABbies (Cancer Care Advisory Board) is a non-profit organization that provides short term financial assistance for local cancer patients in active treatment that are experiencing financial hardships due to their cancer diagnosis.

click here for more information on CABbies.

What could be better? Easy shopping and helping people that need a little help.
Mark your calendars!

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Books or Knitting? Take Them Both!

One of hardest things about working in a library . . . and being a knitter . . . is having sooo many books on my 'I'd like to read this' list. Because of course, the 'I'd like to knit this' list is just as long. So what do I do when supper is over and the dishes are done? Sit and read? Sit and knit? 

Thankfully the library has a compromise available for me . . .not the one I really want, which is to sit and read at work!! But now there is Hoopla. I can now instantly (and yes, I mean instantly!), download or stream an audio-book to my phone, plug in my earbuds, listen to a book and knit away. The best part? It's quick, easy, and of course FREE with my library card. What could be better?! (Yes, you are right - pour a glass of wine before you sit down.)

Give it a try. If you don't have a Duxbury Free Library card, see if your library offers Hoopla. If they don't, suggest it to them and then ask what other audio options they have in the meantime. Start knitting and listening.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book (or your ears!!) or your fingers in fiber.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday Night Knitting

Hand surgery, weddings, and expectant mothers kept some of our knitters away . . . but we still had lots of friends to chat with and projects to view!

There was roving to touch and feel . . . the white is merino wool and feels like you are holding a cloud in your hand . . . the cranberry/green/brown is yak and silk and feels like . . . well it feels like nothing you have touched before!! (So soft!!!)

And still more roving . . . 
this one looked like autumn. Nancy joined us and started in with 'autumn' using her drop spindle . . . makes me want to try it again!!

Dinah brought in her skein of yarn that she was spinning last month. It's gorgeous. All I can think of is a field of lavender on a hillside in Scotland . . . with a castle in the background. (I don't even know if lavender grows in Scotland . . . ).

More beautiful colors! 

Linda finished a scarf/shawl made of sock yarn. 
It's like a sunset . . . reds and a little orange showing too.

Joan finished her ornament and is starting another one.

Marguerite finished her afghan. OMG . . . it makes me want to grab it from her, make a cup of tea and sit down with a book.

Peggy is working on a scarf.

I love Monday nights. A wonderful group of talent and support . . . all under one roof!

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

When Is It time to Stop?

When I went through one of my baskets of stash yarn the other day . . . (yes, you read it right, one of my baskets!) . . . I found two skeins of Manos del Uruguay (two different colors) that I forgot I even had. In the same basket was a pattern for a cowl that takes 1 skein. Okay, my next project was picked out!

It worked up quick . . .  there is a 5 row ridge of garter stitch, then two rows that are repeated for about 9 inches, and then another 5 rows of garter stitch and then you bind off. 

Easy enough, right? Wrong. I have this compulsion that I have to use all the yarn in the skein. If I get to the end of the last garter stitch ridge and I have too much yarn left over . . . . well, I'll feel wasteful. 

See . . . here is my cowl all done and I have all that extra yarn. I could have made it longer. For shame, for shame.

Then I had an epiphany. I could dig out my Weight Watchers food scale from the bottom of my cabinet. (This probably sheds some insight into how actively I am counting points lately!!) All I would have to do is weigh the skein of yarn and then weigh the needles . . . and of course write down the two weights . . .  since I will never remember them. Then I'll knit the the garter stitch ridge and weigh that. Since the needles will be attached to the project I'll subtract the weight of the needles . . . and then I'll know by weight how much yarn I will need to save in the skein for the last garter stitch ridge. I'll be able to come a lot closer to using the whole skein . . . and an added plus is I will be getting some use out of my food scale!!

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Keep On Learnin'

I decided that since I just learned the crochet cast-on, well . . . maybe it's a good thing to keep learning and trying new things. Please note: even with this attitude something like sushi or cauliflower is still way too out of the box for me. But another method for casting-on? Sure I can do that!

So I got out my trusty Vogue Knitting (my go-to-reference-book), and started looking at some options. I settled on 'the crochet cast on for knit one, purl one rib'. 

It seemed easy enough. 

Start by crocheting a length of chain with waste yarn.

Here's a hint - it's easier at the end if you use cotton waste yarn.

You'll use the back of the chain to pick up stitches.

Using your needle and the yarn for your project, pick up two stitches in the first two bumps on the chain.

Then skip a bump and pick up a stitch in the next one.

Keep going, picking up a stitch in every other bump on the chain.

When you're done, it will look like this. The length of chain will look a little wonky . . . but that's okay . . . you're going to get rid of it in a bit.

Next purl one row.

Then knit one row. 

Easy enough so far, right?

Here's where it gets a little tricky.

With the purl side facing you, insert your other needle into the first stitch purlwise.

Then go down and pick up the loop from the first stitch you picked up from the chain. Purl the two together.

That's what the directions said to do. Go ahead and try it. I did and I found it as close to impossible as you can get!

So instead, with the yarn in the front,  I slipped the first stitch purlwise . . .  then I picked up the loop with the right needle . . . then I slipped them both back to the left needle . . .

and then I purled the two stitches together. Much easier and less stress involved.

Sorry for the blurry photo . . . I wasn't even drinking wine.

Move the yarn to the back and knit the next stitch on the left needle.

Repeat the last two steps across the row . . . (it suddenly became clear why the directions had me pick up in every other chain bump since you are only going to lift the  loop when you purl a stitch . . .).

Work as many rows of K1P1 rib as you need.

You'll end up with something that looks like this. 

Now comes the fun part. 

Take the tip of your needle and gently take out the knot  and undo the chain stitches. 

(I didn't follow my advice at the beginning so some of my little white fibers wanted to split or stick to some of my little navy blue fibers. So make it easy on yourself and use cotton waste!)

When I started to remove the chain I was a little nervous. I had only used waste yarn and chain cast-ons in the past for a provisional cast-on . . . I was so sure I was going to have live stitches at the bottom.

But look at it . . . it was kind of like a little magic . . . it leaves a nice rounded edge that is also stretchable . . . perfect for a sleeve or waistband!!

I realized now that using navy blue yarn wasn't the best choice. It's too dark for you to really see the nice edge. I was going to re-knit it in a lighter color so you could see . . . but then I thought you should do it . . . then you can try it and see for yourself! Go ahead . . . give it a whirl . . . learn something new.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.