Thursday, November 29, 2012

Knitting Guild--Coming in 2013

I am forever on the lookout for ways to get knitters together.  Let's face it: knitting can be a lonely craft.  You could knit alone, shop for yarn, needles and patterns alone, and end up a lonely, yarn-covered, sad little person.  Trust me, you don't want this!

Instead, wouldn't it be nice to belong to a group of knitters which is connected to the largest knitting association in America?  An environment where we can further our knowledge of knitting, join forces to knit for charity, and encourage other knitters in their craft?

If this sounds as good to you as it does to me, please join us for our initial organizational meeting of the North Charleston/Summerville chapter of the The Knitting Guild Association of America.

Meeting details:
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Panera Bread, 1311 Main Street, Summerville, SC

Come be a founding member.  
Bring your ideas (and your knitting!)

Monday, November 05, 2012

On taking chances and trying new things

So this year I finally took some advice I'd heard several times and entered something in the local fair. Despite our good intentions to go visit the item in question in its temporary home on display with a gazillion other cool items in the Creative Arts building, we never made it to the Fair this year.  Imagine my surprise then, when I went today during the designated pick-up-your-stuff time, they gave me not just a knitted hat, but a blue ribbon as well!

I don't know if there were fifty other entries in my category or zero, but the fact of the matter is this: I GOT A BLUE RIBBON! I'm pretty sure it's my first, and certainly I hope it won't be the last, because knitting has once again taught me that sometimes you just have to try something new: enter something in the fair, attempt a new technique, branch out in a different direction.

In knitting, as in life, if you don't take a chance on losing you'll never have the chance to win.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New pattern! -or- Look out, Mr. Franklin!

I think I might be an overachiever, but I'm too busy to find out for sure!  I've always been an admirer of Ben Franklin's ability to do many things and it seems as though some days, I share that ability in some small way. Today feels like one of those days.

In addition to knitting, teaching knitting, and being a wife and a busy homeschool mom, I like to write down patterns with the thought that "some day" I'll get them published or blogged or Ravelry-ed.  This side of things tends to get put on the back burner (on another stove in a different house!) most of the time.

But I am thrilled to bring you a link to a pattern that finally saw the light of day (or the web, whatever).


It's free! It's fabulous! And hopefully error free as well--the perfectionist in me is cringing at the possibility.  So please, enjoy and let me know what you think!

And thank you, Brooks Jones, wherever you are, for making my sock knitting possible!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Charity Knitting Update, or Hope you're almost finished with your Red Scarf!!

Red Scarf Project red scarves.  Yes, I like to say that :)

There are SO many charities for which to knit.  It really is hard to pick just one or two and still not feel as though you are neglecting some great cause or need.  This year, the KnitOasis knitting group (aka, anyone who wants to contribute!) has been knitting for 3 charities:
  1. The Red Scarf Project--Red Scarves for college students who have been in foster care
  2. Warm Up America -- Afghan blocks which will be sewn together to make a blanket, then donated (ideally to the Ronald McDonald House in Charleston)
  3. TriCounty Family Ministries -- Hats and scarves for the less fortunate

 I put The Red Scarf Project first because the time to mail them off is fast approaching. Last year we sent 6 beautiful scarves to Foster Care to Success and received this lovely note of thanks in reply:
Good Afternoon Tamara - Thank you so much for your generous scarf donations.  We are delighted that so many talented knitters and crocheters chose to participate in the program.  Each year we continue to be amazed at the generosity and creativity of the needle arts community.

If you do not mind, I will keep your email address and definitely keep you updated on the Red Scarf Project.  Please email me if you have any questions.

Please know that the scarves really mean a lot to the students that receive them.  For many it will be the first item they have ever received that is handmade just for them!

I also left a comment on your blog.  If you have any questions feel free to email me - Thanks again!

Lynn Davis
Director, Community Partnerships
Foster Care to Success
(formerly Orphan Foundation of America)
America's College Fund for Foster Youth

So if you've been thinking about knitting (or crocheting) a Red Scarf this year, do it NOW!
I'll be sending this year's box on November 30. 

Donations to TriCounty Family Ministries is ongoing, and the cooler morning temps here in Charleston remind us that it will get chilly this winter and there are those without adequate heat or shelter who could use a warm scarf or hat or mittens this winter.

Warm Up America blanket blocks are also coming in weekly.  We need 49 blocks, 7" x 9", to sew together for a full afghan.  These can be knitted or crocheted, in any pattern or design or color, preferably in an easy care acrylic yarn.  I'm offering two more classes this year featuring patterns for blanket blocks, on November 29 and December 13.  Check KnitOasis Classes & Events  for details!

Thank you to all my knitting (and crocheting) friends who have contributed to our charity knitting projects this year!  Keep 'em coming!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Quilts, quilts and more (knitted) quilts

My knitted flying geese quilt. Come learn how Oct 20 at the Charleston Museum!

I love quilts.  I always have.  I love old quilts on the bed in the spare room, made by your great-grandmother and her sister and used by all the members of your family at one time or another. Quilting connects the generations in a special way.

I have never sewn a quilt, despite the desire to do so and a very talented grandmother and aunt who have quilted for years. At this point, I am content with knitting quilts and excited that this fall I will be teaching quilt-knitting skills at the Charleston Museum.  The workshop will be Saturday, October 20 from 9:30-noon.  The skills you will learn to knit a flying geese quilt can be applied to other types of knitted quilts and even just other types of knitting. As in sewing, knitting a quilt is a commitment, both of time and materials.  You can come learn the techniques to use later or come ready to cast on for your quilted masterpiece.  Either way, it's going to be fun!

In addition to my Knitted Flying Geese Quilt Workshop, The Charleston Museum is also offering other quilt related events, including:

   Curator-Led tour of the Geometric Quilts Exhibit
   Beginner Quilting Workshops (one on Wednesdays, one on Saturdays)
   Gullah Rag Quilting Workshop

Make room in your calendar to take advantage of the quilting opportunities this fall. You just might craft an heirloom that will connect your generation to the ones to come.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adventures in Travel(Knitting)

Cadence Socks by VeryBusyMonkey, or my interpretation of them!

I just returned from two weeks of vacation, traveling via MomVan 1100 miles and back to visit family and see a tiny fraction of the great state of Texas.  My grand plan when I embarked on this journey was sock knitting.  A sock starts small and stays small.  A sock won't sit on my lap like a big hairy cat and shed on me in the midst of a hot Texas summer.  A sock is easy to carry with me in my handbag.  A sock is easy to pull out and work a few rounds in the midst of after-dinner conversation.

I had a pair of socks that were almost finished, plus some nice (pricey) sock yarn I wanted to use for a pair of stockinette socks.

What's more, I decided to design a pair of socks, using Brooks Jones' Basic Sock Chart and devising my own lace/cable pattern for the leg and foot, along with some simple Regia sock yarn that was not earmarked for other use.

Well, I had a great trip and learned a little something about my ability to knit while traveling.
      1) Designing in the round is not as simple as designing flat.
      2) Due to lack of concentration while knitting, lace and I are currently not on speaking terms.  I'm sure we'll work it out eventually.
      3) Despite HOURS spent as a passenger, hours when I could have been knitting, our schedule was so hectic that I was some days too tired to do more than a few rounds on my stockinette socks (I did finish the first sock in the pair on the day after we got home).
      4) Stockinette socks are a lifesaver! (OK, to be honest, I already knew this!)
      5) I'm not so crazy about that pricey yarn.  Despite its pretty colors, I think Regia or Berroco knit up much nicer.

I was tempted, looking back on my grand plan and the way it subsequently unfolded, to feel a bit of a failure.  But knitting, like life, is a journey (and so is a 2000+ mile trip!).  And any good journey offers many lessons we weren't necessarily looking for.  If I focus on what I planned but didn't accomplish I will miss the point of the lessons of the journey.

My final tally for the trip?  One completed pair of socks (pictured above), one half of a pair of socks, and a pretty swatch for a sock pattern that may never make it into a pair of socks. Oh, and lots of insight into myself and the nature of knitting.

Friday, June 01, 2012

June and July Knitting Events

Summer is knitting time! Be sure to join us for summer knitting fun at various locations in the Charleston area. Just click on the links for more info!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bean and Bug Babyknits

I have great news for all those who have asked me over the years to knit cute baby things. You know who you are, if my reply to you was, "I will teach you to knit it yourself..." (That offer was 100% serious and still stands, by the way!)

At the North Charleston Arts Festival I met Taryn Weatherholtz of Bean and Bug Babyknits and she would LOVE to make something for you.  Even better, take a look at what she's already knit and see if you don't find something to love in 30 seconds or less.  Cutest. Babyknits. Ever.

Taryn got to sit and knit during the Festival. Lucky!

Cutie booties!

Sweaters, hats, blankies, and more.  All beautifully handknit <3

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thrifty Sister

At the North Charleston Arts Festival I met a very talented designer named Amy Rogers at her booth  ThriftySister.  This inspiring artisan is a teacher by day who has turned her creative energies to taking old stuff and making cool new stuff. Her secret is repurposing thrift store finds like old neckties, wool sweaters and even soda cans into bags, toys, jewelry and more.
I love this!!

Button rings!!!

So cute!

 If you aren't lucky enough to catch her at a craft or arts show, check out her Etsy site.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Arts Festival 2012

A mostly free arts festival is an amazing thing.  It's like a goodwill ambassador for creativity, introducing the community to a whole new world.

I've been coming to the North Charleston Arts Festival for a few years now, and every year it offers a lot of the same things: dance, painting, photography, textiles, jewelry, music, and elephant ears.  Every year is different, though, as individual as the artists and performers who come together to make it a creative mecca.


It's so exciting to me to be able to submerse myself in this melange of creativity for a day.  My short attention span thrives in such an atmosphere.  Outside while munching on super greasy fair food, we caught a few numbers by local favorites the Shrimp City Slim Band.

Then we went inside and Presto! an Art Gallery, with both professional and amateur artists represented. Then we turned a corner and there was more music, and drums waiting to be played.

 Gallery: works by Elena Barna on the wall.
Ready for the next act.

And then we found textiles...
"Handed Down" by Susan Lenz
The gloves all have names embroidered on pretty, so touching. Love it.

"I've often wondered if I was the one who left the door open when Binky flew away."
There were several things by this artist, Ellen Byrd. I love the combination of whimsy, wistfulness, and fiber.  She totally gets it.

Hand knitted by elderly Brits, so help me.
Bell Gauge :)
Teddy bear trousers, in a sea of lovely linens.
I bought a vintage bell gauge, useful for sizing your knitting "pins." This one was made in England and a quick internet search dates it circa 1935.  That's pre-war, people!

There was so much more, including a jaw-dropping selection of vintage clothing for sale, none of which I photographed.  The dealer has an online shop, though, at Ruby Lane.

I'll leave you with a charming collection of buttons and lace, none of which I purchased...this time.
Vintage lace and buttons

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cabled Cowl Workshop

Sometimes a scarf is too much, and you wish, especially during Charleston's mild winters, for a little something to warm your neck. This cowl is the perfect solution! Knit with a combination of bamboo and wool, it's warm and soft and snuggly, without being heavy or long. Add buttons like my cute vintage ones, or just sew it closed for a continuous loop of cowl-y warmth. The cables are big and fun and really not that hard to learn (I promise!).

Come join us Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 from 1:00-3:30 as we knit this scrumptious cabled cowl at The Charleston Museum.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knitting Group a Go-Go!

After taking a long winter's nap of sorts, the knitting group formerly known as Monday Morning Knitters will meet again tomorrow, January 16, from 10:00 am till 11:30 am. Now there's a new name and a new location: First and Third Monday Knitters meet at the Panera Bread near the Tanger Outlet Mall. See the sidebar of this blog for the full 2012 schedule.

It's going to be a great year of knitting! I have lots of ideas for ways we can knit for charity and I'll be bringing that information with me, along with an unfinished project of two to work on--the hard part is just narrowing it down to one or two!

I look forward to seeing old knitting friends and meeting new ones. This group means so much to me and I've missed it over the holidays. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 06, 2012