Thursday, June 26, 2008

Istanbul or Bust!

The time is drawing very is the moment that packing for a trip is looming so near that I get queezy. I have done everything possible to postpone this (as usual) and am hoping that tonight's yoga will rest my mind for at least that hour.

Salina Shawl is finished! Yippee! It will be a nice addition to a sundress in the ever cold air-conditioning or a little protection from the Mediterranean sun. It was going really well until my monkey mind became too overloaded. That was the period of knitting that found me reversing the pattern row, skipping stitches, losing yarn overs, you name it. A little swearing went into this sweet and innocent looking accessory. I hope that I don't lose it on the trip!

I am planning the knitting project that will come with me on the journey. Anyone had recent experience with British Air and knitting? I was planning a small project with cheap needles in case of confiscation and a spare pair in my checked baggage for the hotel. What will I knit????? Probably socks since I have at least 40 pair in yarn waiting for the effort. I have books, but they don't keep my hands busy and long flights require knitting. I would even settle for crochet, just to have the comfort of yarn and repetition of stitches to occupy me.

I will do my best to post my where abouts, but if it doesn't work out, I will be back in about 10 days with plenty to show and tell. Wish me luck, the yarn shop in the bazaar is on my map and I have been looking at some awesome Turkish socks/slippers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Going Green, and meaning it!

In this time of conservation, recycling and environmental awareness, it is great to see that the words are being backed by actions! Too often, catch phrases and concepts come out of ulterior motives and the real effort is temporary or limited to a few hard-core advocates.

My school has been making the Green effort and we teach our children what is needed to save the earth. In each country that I visit, I take pictures of their recycle efforts to pass along and share the solidarity with those who share our planet.

This green thought process is a major part of my daily thinking, particularly when it comes to creative uses for things that might otherwise be tossed or wasted. Which brings me to my current and previous couple of projects.

The market bags are fun and fast and, happily, being used! My daughter was just over and saw the tan bag and oohed about how she could use that to shop and save the fee for bags at her local store. Yeah! A child of mine is actually WANTING something that I knit and for such a good reason. (Although, I have to say, this child has liked the fingerless mitts, scarves and various other "hip" knits that I have produced, but this is still good.) Needless to say, she is the proud owner of the bag that she even offered to buy from me!

Project #2: The vest that was in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I used the yarn that I swapped, saving money and the reusing someone else's stash in place of buying new. There were no measurements on the sizing in the pattern, and the directions were a bit off, but the vest worked out and is in need of buttons. The daughter previously mentioned is wanting this too. I am a soft touch.

Project #3: I certainly cannot leave for a trip without one last effort to knit something to take. It is usually at the last minute and a bit uncertain, but it always happens. This effort is the Salina Shawl. I was going to use the swap yarn to make it, but the texture was too competitive with the patterning. Ah ha! I had a linen sweater from Banana Republic that was knit with cream linen tape. I did not wear it much and it was too big and boxy to be current. But the ribbon was in great shape. A little unraveling produced all of the materials necessary to knit the shawl and away I went! Hopefully the weekend will find it finished with only the fringe to be done while I chat with the Black Sheep on Tuesday night. No need for new yarn on this one, recycling the ribbon worked out well!

Don't get me wrong, all of the recycling and reuse does not interfere with my shopping the LYS, but it enhances the stash, gives new life to old fiber and saves a little processing from the big companies.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Teaching, a Noble Profession

I may have mentioned in a past post, I was not originally consciously destined to be a teacher. By way of interests and personality, I guess, I was drawn to the call.

The reason that I begin with this thought has been inspired by Saturday's Family Day and WWKip Day event at Cranbrook.

The opportunity arose to share our love of fiber with the general public, and all that I needed to do was ask. The Black Sheep Knitting Guild was ready and eager to participate in all different ways. We had graphic design input and physical products created. There were suggestions for ways to let others know what we do, who we are and how they could get started with their own fiber life (for those participating in the day who had not thought about it? or maybe thought about it but did not know how to start!) Such enablers! Better yet, such natural teachers.

The best teachers that I have ever had, and still remember, were those who had a passion for what they taught. They were not doing a job, they were sharing their enthusiasm. I witnessed and shared this common passion on Saturday when our guild came together and shared their time and excitement with one another, from set-up, all day long until take-down.

Sure, we have some teachers in the group, this helps with planning and organization. But we have other "teachers" in the group who are naturally drawn to sharing with others. This generous spirit kept our tent busy throughout the day. Young, old, boys and girls, you name it, they tried it.

Don't underestimate the power of your passion. Teach someone to knit, share your enthusiasm! Our yarn stores will stay in business, our hand made items will be appreciated and our circle of friends will grow from the effort.

If you missed the excitement on Saturday, and really wished you knit, or would like to meet with a great group of knitters, check us out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

WWKIPday!!!! It is almost here!

I am hoping to see many of your knitting projects and share in the excitement for WWKIP (World Wide Knitting in Public) Day at Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, MI! Our details are on the WWKIP Day website and it is part of such a great fun family day. Even your family will enjoy wandering the grounds, visiting the science institute (for FREE) and looking at the unique artistic pieces that the museum is sharing (also, FREE!!!)

So, stop in! The Black Sheep Knitting Guild will have two booths and some chairs so we can knit, spin, or just chat in a beautiful atmosphere.

We even have some great coupons to give-away from Ewe-nique Knits in Royal Oak, I know you need more stash....this is just a little nudge in the right direction!

Come knit with us, would you?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Knitter's Attention Deficit (Disorder?)

In everyday life, when witnessing someone who is going in all directions at one time, it is often described as a lack of focus. Could it be that some of us have a greater range of focus, and can pinpoint their direction better by taking in many experiences and winding down into the ones that seem most applicable for the situation?

I work this way. Go wide and slowly focus in on the most important aspect of what I am doing.

This month has found me working yet a 3rd version of my market bag in a different yarn altogether. The trial and tweaking of these versions are to the benefit of those who may use my pattern, so no problem here. I don't need 3 market bags, but the experience has been good and the end products varied in size and shape.

I am also picking along at the Hanami, but have decided to shelve the project momentarily while the other more pressing issues of my life are screaming in my ears.

After the Black Sheep Swap, I found that my newly acquired stash would be suitable for some summer knitting. I was not actively looking for a pattern, but will need something to cover my shoulders in Turkey (later this month). Have you any Wool? in Berkley has a terrific little shawl on display, and guess what???? I just happen to have the pattern in my collection. (what a surprise, not.) It is the Salina Shawl from Lana Grossa. I tried working it out in my new stash cotton blend (Monte Carlo from Queensland Collection). Too varied a texture, it did not show any of the pattern. I am a visual person, so not being able to see the pattern to read where I am in the lace was not too great, either. But I can still do it with stash or a few balls from the shop.

I saw that the Detroit News posted Laurie Hanna's vest pattern in the paper. It takes under 600 yards and I have that. This project is currently on the needles and I hope to have it done in a couple of days.

The idea of knitting summer items is new for me. I am not a fan of summer knits, nor the yarns, usually. But the more I read about the Mosques and Temples that I will be visiting during the tours in Turkey, the more I felt that it would be a good thing to have. Why not make it? I will report back on the success (hopefully) of the summer knitting endeavors.

Only a few weeks until I leave. I met the other grant recipients and was treated to a historic and cultural information day at Wayne State University just yesterday. The trip is seeming much more real now that I have met my counterparts and have gotten more specific information. I am so excited and am probably making everyone so sick of Turkey that we will be having meatloaf in November for fear of saying the word!

Along with all of the knitting, I have been doing my travel research, and reading recommended Turkish authors for a better sense of the journey. If you are interested in a rich cultural area with a history that beats the best novels, try Orhan Pamuk (I am reading his non-fiction book, "Istanbul", and his novel "Snow" that gives a great sense of the area and the people). He is a Nobel prize winner for literature, and the smooth, visual sense that he imparts with his words would clearly explain why. That and the historic and local background are fascinating. The man has lived in Turkey his whole life, even in the same childhood home, and his books are translated from Turkish. I love it!

I must be really excited about the trip, since the books are not on tape or cd. You all know what this means, competition for knitting time. I feel like I am "cheating" on my knitting, or maybe just indulging in my KAD(D?).

As I always say, "We only live once, as far as we know."