Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent for Knitters from DROPS

Why did I not know about this before? DROPS Designs has an Advent calendar posted that will have a pattern a day for some little knitted something. Here's the link to the English version. And to the original Swedish, if that takes your fancy.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Selfish Swap

In preparation for the holiday season (yes, Mr. Bill O'Whathisname, holidays, holy days, inclusive of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and other winterish celebrations, making this a season of holidays), the Selfish Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry organized a selfish swap, officially titled the Secret Veruca WFT Swap.

(Miss Veruca being the patron yarn-grabber of the group.)

The theme was holidays, and we all picked favorite real or made-up holidays, as well as describing our likes and dislikes in thorough surveys and wishlists. It is a selfish swap, after all, so asking for precisely what one want was highly encouraged.

But there was nothing selfish about the loading up of boxes to send off! Upstream "swapners" had a whole lot of fun filling boxes of goodies for their downstream partners.

My downstream "swapner" gave me an easy theme: National Chocolate Day. Not a problem finding things to fit the theme. I went for quality over quantity, though the quantity was pretty good, too, and much of it was made by hand, but selfishly, not by me -- by artisans instead, some of them local:

The box I sent out contained a skein of hand-painted sock yarn from Three Fates Yarn in the closest colorway that I could find to mint chocolate, several bars of organic Dagoba chocolate (including one with chilies in it), hand-made Hood River Cherry Pinot truffles made at a wine bar and bistro in town, a big pack of I Dream of Chocolate tea from independent tea blender Tea Time Garden, a tea brewing basket, and handmade chocolate sandwich cookie stitch markers from The Winemaker's Sister.

Then I waited and soon came a box from my upstream swapner!

Holy cow, what a load of goodies! There's hand-dyed spinning fiber, hand knitted mitts and a cowl and a tawashi and a potholder, Tazo tea, a sample of wool wash, little Christmas decorations, some English toffee, shortbread cookies, and two skeins of Lorna's Laces DK. Score!

So what was my holiday? It was more of a holiday tradition: the coming of Father Time on New Year's eve. When I was a kid, we'd stay up until midnight to ring in the new year (literally -- Mom had a brass dinner bell that we rang with great enthusiasm). Then we set the table for breakfast, but everything was set upside-down, plates, bowls, cups, and all. In the night, Father Time came and set everything right again and filled the cups and bowls with candy, nuts, fruit, and small gifts. The gifts often went with things Santa had brought at Christmas, such as clothes for a doll or cars for a race track set.

My grandmother always said that the tradition was from England, but I've never met anyone else who even knew about it, so maybe it's something her family made up. Anyhow -- if anyone else wants to borrow Father Time Night, feel free!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

No, I don't do the war on Thanksgiving -- a.k.a. post-Thankgiving sales, a.k.a. "Black Friday." I don't do well at all in noisy crowds of strangers, especially in enclosed spaces, and I can't stand the greed-fest. I'm not opposed to shopping, but I am opposed to stores encouraging people to camp in their parking lots on Thanksgiving day instead of being home with their families, or that start their sales on Thanksgiving itself. I've noted which stores in town did that and will not be shopping there all the next year. Maybe, like Bill O'Whatshisname who yammers about the supposed "war on Christmas," I could start a movement about the "war on Thanksgiving." And I think I'd have a much stronger case. I did Buy Nothing Day instead -- at least until the kid from the local high school wrestling team came around selling wreaths. But that's a fundraiser, so it doesn't count.

I waited for Small Business Saturday and patronized Tangled Purls, one of two yarn shops in town. Not that I really need an excuse to check out the books and yarn, but I'll take one anyway. Came home with The Knitter's Handy Book Of Patterns and a skein of Madelinetosh sock yarn.

Then the family went to our locally-owned theater pub and saw The Muppets. Ah, a lovely feel-good holiday moving. Next we want to see Hugo, and we're really looking forward to The Adventures of Tin-Tin. Directed by Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson? Sounds good already.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Sheep's Clothing: Vintage Film from Shetland

Want to know where your genuine Shetland yarn comes from? Or perhaps, used to come from... check out In Sheep's Clothing, a rare vintage silent film of shepherds on Shetland herding and "rooing" sheep, then turning the wool into hand-knitted garments. The traditional Shetland sheep shed its wool, so had to be "rooed," or hand-plucked. The film dates from 1932, and is in the Scottish Screen Archive. Click on the picture to take you to the site.

I just love this image of a woman hugging and comforting an antsy sheep.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm on the Yarn Harlot's blog!

Squee! Yes! I'm going all squealy fangirl here. I'm on the Yarn Harlot's blog with my scarf, Katie and Ellie are on there, and a whole flock of other folks from Portland and environs are on there. So is Laia and her Kiwi, Agnes -- I met both of them at the spin-in at Stash LLC in Corvallis.

When Muggles Knit

Or rather, attempt to knit. Without instruction. You just take yarn and needles and go at it, right? Whip out that scarf, right?


I'm laughing AND want to slap him hard, at the same time. Honestly, I know a three-year-old who can do better than this, and is a lot cuter, but not quite as hilarious.

"Just use some tape. Some people say, you know, that's cheating, but I say, shut up. Because tape is like knitting for everybody."

"Now, if you you don't want to make a scarf, you can make a snake blanket. Because a snake blanket... is just a scarf."

"Sometimes you'll see people knitting in the subway, or in coffee houses, and... they're just jerks. Because they like to knit in front of people and brag they can do it."

All right, to be fair, we're always saying in my knitting group that whatever knitting method gets you the results you want, whether it's English or Continental or the Norwegian purl or whatever, is the right method. So Dan, my boy, if this gets you the results you want, carry on. Maybe you'd like to bring your project to my knitting group so that you can brag, too.

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