Saturday, 24 December 2011

A wooly Merry Christmas!

I showed this video to my husband and he said, "Oh no! You're not going to put that on your blog!" Alas, I am honey! If you can't be silly at Christmas, when can you be? What I really like is the "making of". That's the second video, reminding us that nothing in the media is as easy as it looks.

I am signing off for 2011 today. I want to thank all of you for following along on this middle-aged woman's Internet adventure! A special thanks goes to my new and wonderful friend Sonya for her support in all of this! A very heartfelt God Jul to you and your family, Sonya!

I received a large box of yarn this week filled with all kinds of fiber : Icelandic wool, llama, alpaca, silk, musk ox, bufffalo, camel, yes camel! I am going to be knitting these up and sharing their stories with you in 2012.

So, from me and the lambs, a very Merry Christmas to you all! I hope this time will be filled with love and laughter. And, why not, in the words of Tiny Tim,  "God bless us, everyone!"

Friday, 23 December 2011

The fifth secret of the Laidback knitters

We are half-way in my series on the 10 secrets of the laidback knitters where I share the secrets with you and how they have fuelled my fiber fetish!

Secret number five:
See the souls of fibers
and become a more confident and happier knitter

If this is not your first visit to my blog, you will understand that this secret is THE secret for me! This chapter speaks to exactly what I am doing as a knitter and with this blog: learning about fibers! As I have mentioned before, there is no such thing as a bad fiber. We just have to choose the right fiber for the project.

Before choosing a yarn, ask yourself a few questions:

Who is the item for? Babies, adults, pets?
Do they have specific needs? Skin problems, overheat easily or the opposite?
Where will it be worn? Next to skin, inside, outside?
Does the wool felt? Do I want it to felt?
Is the wool elastic? Will it stretch too much or not enough?

These are just a few of the things we should consider when choosing our fiber. I know, I too go straight to color and feel, but none of us wants to spend weeks or months on a project to be disappointed by the final result or worse, find that the garment isn't wearable.

My son, yes, the physicist, told me, in no uncertain terms, at the age of 15 or 16, "Do not knit me anything. I won't wear it!" I was a bit sad, but the message was clear and it just gave me more time to knit for my daughter who DOES like my knitting! So, you will imagine my surprise just about this time last year when this same son came to me, appropriatley contrite, and asked me to knit him a scarf! I was thrilled and of course said YES!

What I didn't know was that he wanted the Dr. Who scarf. We are all big fans in my house of the new series since 2005, but I haven't watched the old episodes. The scarf in question is over 10 feet long! It took me three months to make, not because it is difficult (couldn't be simpler - garter stitch all the way) but because many other things were going on during those three months. I finished just in time for his 21st birthday. He loves the scarf!
The kitties love to help with blocking!

After a few wearings however, I was disappointed. Since this was "an event" for me, I spared no expense. I bought a beautiful, single-ply merino. It was a challenge too to find these "lovely" 1970 colors! The scarf is soft and warm, but has pilled. Now, pilling is natural and doesn't effect the strength of the garment and you can shave them, but I know my son won't do that. He hasn't noticed the wear, just me. When I think about the hours that went into the scarf, I would have chosen a different yarn.

The other extraordinary thing in chapter five is that Vicki Stieffel introduces us to Linda Cartright. This is another milestone in my fiber journey. Linda Cartright is "a truly international soul, who not only is the architect and builder and essence of Wild Fibers magazine but a passionate advocate for all creatures - particularly those that bear fiber." p. 72

I just received three issues of Wild Fibers (I subscribed and ordered some back issues!). What a fantastic magazine! It has been described as the National Geographic of fibers and rightly so. The pictures are breathtaking! Linda Cartright takes us on a real fiber journey, introducing us to animals from all over the world and to the amazing people who care for them. It's fabulous!

There is a beautiful light snow falling here in Quebec City today. Plan A is to make Christmas cookies with the kids and then cuddle up with my cats and my fabulous fiber reading. If not today, at some point during our two weeks of vaction. That's the key to being Laidback!

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