Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just Right

Brent's Sweater
Originally uploaded by RiverKnits
I feel a little like Goldilocks. You remember the story of the Three Bears?

First I knit Brent a sweater that was TOO SMALL. (It's on the wall at River Knits - it's is lovely in every way with the perfect color of colonial blue and oatmeal with detailed stranded colorwork - except that it doesn't fit my husband.)

Then I knit Brent a sweater that was TOO BIG. It has cables that cross and meander all over the seed stitch textured background. It took at least 3 years of my life. I am not sure what happened. The gauge was ok, but when I blocked the pieces and put it all together, you could've put two Brent's in that sweater. All I could do was fall to the floor and try to stop laughing.

Last year I combined forces with Margie to make a sweater for charity. It turned out nicely and Brent said, "Could I have one like that?" He must be the eternal optimist. Or maybe he just picked the perfect sweater.

Finally, I have knit Brent a sweater that is JUST RIGHT.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tally and the Teaching Sock

I've been thinking for a year or so that I needed to knit a "Teaching Sock"...a sock where each separate piece of the construction was a clearly distinct color. I wanted to be able to help beginning sock knitters to visualize what piece of the sock each section of the pattern instructions would create. I don't know why it took me so long, but it's finally done. I'm sort of sorry I made it in a size too small to wear...wouldn't this be a wild pair of socks to wear among the muggles?

And if you look closely at the picture, you might see some white cat hair...because Tally loves to cuddle up with wet wool.

Have you been thinking you'd like to join the ranks of Sock Knitters? Have you been wishing you could join Sock Club, but haven't met the "completed one pair of socks" requirement? Join us for our Beginning Sock Knitting class! The class starts April 8 and is a four session class. Call or stop in at River Knits for more information!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Headed to Akkol...

14 boxes from River Knits!

But what is Akkol? It is a place in Kazakhstan. And there happen to be about 240 kids in the orphanage there. Several of us have been knitting for them for a while now through the group Mittens for Akkol. Usually the founder of that group, an adoptive mom and fellow YSO from Kentucky, hand carries the knitted items there herself. That method is costly and allows us only to focus on the most needed of items: wool socks and mittens, sweaters and vests. It gets bitterly cold in Kaz and the wool clothing really helps provide needed warmth to the kids in the orphanage. Even more so, the handknits send a deeper message of care to some kids who could really use a boost. The group also supports kids in the orphanage in the nearby town of Urupinka.

But we are always wishing we could do more...

About a month ago Nanci, the founder of Mittens for Akkol, announced that we could send boxes on a shipping container being sent from Indiana to Kazakhstan.

Now we had the chance to send the things that would be greatly appreciated but usually too costly to ship: toys (the kids just don't have access to toys because they aren't available), pants and shoes, art supplies like crayons, paints and colored pencils, personal care items like toothpaste and shampoo. All I had to do was put out the word...

The amazing folks at River Knits did the rest! Bags and boxes started filling up the classroom and eventually I couldn't walk through the back storage room. Today some of the charity knitters took a break from knitting to box and organize the donations.

In addition to knitted hats, mittens, sweaters & vests, there were jeans and sweatpants, shirts and jackets, LOTS of underwear and socks, as well as the art supplies, toys and personal care items mentioned above.

In all River Knits is sending 14 boxes FULL of wonderful things. Margie's car is loaded down with about 287 pounds of donations, including 191 toys!
Tomorrow these donations will join the ones that are coming in from around the country to Muncie, Indiana, where they will begin their journey to the kids in Kazakhstan.

Thanks to everyone in the River Knits community for your abundant generosity. It's wonderful to be a part of such a great group of people!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A New Favorite Thing (Should be titled "True Confessions")

A friend of mine once told me about a relative who grew up on a farm where they raised beef cows. You would think that he would have had steaks and roasts every day. But no, they sold the beef and only had pork themselves. At my house this has come to be an inside joke when we need a reminder that we need to enjoy life a bit and let ourselves have something nice.

Being a beef farmer that only eats pork would be like being a yarn shop owner who only knits with Red Heart; well or maybe Wool Ease. (Pork isn't THAT bad!) Not wanting to be that farmer, I decided to treat myself to one of these:

It's a Denise Interchangeable Needle Case.

I know, you might be thinking, "They already come in a case; what's the big deal anyway?"

That's where the true confessions part comes in...

The plastic case that the set comes in is perfectly adequate; IF you only have one set.

I did have one set. In 1994. I ordered it from a yarn shop in Maine when I lived here and didn't know where else to find good knitting supplies. I fell in love with my trusty Denise set and loved having nearly everything I would ever need in one box.

But then I opened River Knits and they started making Denise needles again. That's when it really all started. Eventually my one little set in the trusty powder blue case grew to look like this:

I told myself I needed a set to use at the shop at first; I didn't really even need an excuse when the third set joined my life. But I found out that it was a lot harder to keep track of the needle tips and especially the end buttons on three sets. I had discovered the joys of multiple projects and all the commonly used parts were always somewhere else. And when I did finish a project I invariably had the wrong little plastic case at hand and there wans't an opening in the right spot to store the recently liberated parts.

Imagine my joy when everything you see in the 3 cases above, plus an extra 40" cord, my extra 7mm needle tips (as yet unused), and my secret cache of end buttons, was transformed into this:

I feel like it's Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one! I love it! No more beef farmer eating pork! I am happy to have this one just for me!