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!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Always Try Something New

I was recently given 3 hanks of the most gorgeous single-ply aqua wool . . . from Ireland no less!! When I thanked this generous knitter she mentioned she had more at home in a partially knit sweater that she was never going to finish . . . did I want that too? "YES!" She suggested ripping it out, washing it, and then reknitting with it. I confess to you that in all my years of knitting I have never tried this. It just seemed like . . . well, work . . . but with the extra yardage . . . well I would also have enough to make a sweater.

She brought it in . . . I took it home . . . and ripped it out. (I did feel bad ripping out all her work . . . all that seed stitch!). 

I started to make hanks by winding the 
yarn around my hand and the length of my arm . . . but that didn't work. My hand ended up curling in . . . and I ended up with these stubby little hanks! 

Next I tried to wind it around my dining room chair . . . but it kept slipping off . . . and my newly adopted kitty from the shelter thought we were playing a game. (Isn't she the cutest?!)

So I consigned myself to my mudroom where I could shut the door on Mona the Cat . . . 
and lo and behold there was a bench with the perfect arms to wind yarn on! 

I loosely tied one end to the bench and then started
winding . . . loosely of course . . . I didn't want to stretch this gorgeous yarn!

When I finished winding I took a contrasting color and tied my hanks together at both ends . . . and then slipped it off. 

I ripped out the rest of the sweater and did the same for the other lengths. I ended up with 4 extra hanks of this gorgeous-I-can't-wait-to-use-it-what-should-I-knit-with-it yarn.

I filled my kitchen sink with lukewarm water . . . added a little Euclan . . . and submerged my hanks. I let it soak for about 20 minutes to fully absorb the water.  

It was really like magic . . . I could see the kinks coming out! 
I carefully took it out and gently squeezed out the water . . . and then hung it to dry. 

Check out my before and after . . .

Before . . .

. . . After!!

See . . . isn't it like magic?!
It's like new!
Instead of knitting with crinkly used yarn . . . well I have this wonderfully smooth yarn.

Give it a try. Remember, it won't work with acrylic. Just wool . . . wool has 'memory' which is why it always look better and retains it shape better when it's blocked.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

When a Favor is Gift

When I was growing up, I was fortunate to have a 'crafty' grandmother. I remember her mostly doing crewel, but she would also crochet, knit, a little weaving, sewed (plain summer shifts always with a patch pocket) . . . I think almost everything. Using whichever her 'craft of the moment' was, she would make an afghan every year for one of her grandchildren. She started with my cousin Diane, who is the oldest, and worked her way through 13 afghans for her 13 grandchildren.

Since I was at the younger end of the line, I had to patiently wait for my afghan. Mine was created with crocheted granny squares created from her huge pile of scrap yarn .  . . probably all left-over from the previous afghans of my cousins! Each square was outlined in cream and then sewn together. It has comforted me through many naps, went to college and to this day has it's place of honor over the back of a chair in my den. It's worn . . . faded . . . and has a few rips in the seams . . . which my daughter carefully tied together when she was 3, thereby adding to it's charm. (Of course my mother looks at it and says, "See, if you use good yarn it will last forever".)

So when a friend asked me a question the other day . . . there was only one answer.
Her 91 year-old mother-in-law was home with hospice care . . . and also waiting for her grandson to have his first child. Her mother-in-law has knitted (beautiful intarsia!) for years and was also kitting a Christmas stocking for the expected baby . . . just as she had done for all her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She was able to hang on until the great-grandchild (a boy!!) was born, and then died a week or so later with her family by her side. 

Leaving an unfinished Christmas stocking behind. 

Yes, of course I will finish this stocking. The friend of course thinks I am doing her a favor. I, of course, know it is the opposite. She has given me the gift of helping to create what will be an heirloom item in her family. She has given me the privilege to continue another knitter's legacy. She has given me the vision of imagining this infant growing into a toddler . . . and then into a child old enough to be told that his Christmas stocking was the last item his great-grandmother knitted. She has brought the memory of my grandmother, who passed away 27 years ago, closer to my heart.

I think I will go home and take a nap . . . with, of course, my afghan.

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