Sunday, July 24, 2011

Since when is Knitting Uncool???

So, last week, I spent the hours of 9am-3pm teaching 11 young girls, ranging in age from 5-14, many aspects of Fiber Art. They learned how to finger knit, finger crochet, knit and purl, macrame and how to turn recycled wool sweaters into art and accessories. They made their own needles, knitting bags, and turned out scarves, belts, ipod holders and purses. They felted raw fiber into beads and made their own clay beads to use in their macrame bracelets. It was a very successful week! So much so, that they had me marching them down with felted coffee cup holders that they made for the superintendant and principal (entirely on their own idea-I had nothing to do with it at all) in the hopes of convincing them to have a year-round "Knitters Club"-with me as their instructor. I know the girls had a great time b/c they told me so-repeatedly, as did their parents. But their parents also told me something alarming that I never really even considered, let alone thought about until last week.

One of the mothers had called me to ask if her child could stay on for the 2nd session b/c "she loves knitting with you so much." I, of course, said yes!! This is all that I wanted-to show the girls how fun and creative the world of fiber arts is and how summer can't possibly be boring once you know how to use yarn in many ways. My goal was to present many different aspects of the fiber arts world and hopefully one of those areas would click for each girl. They would latch onto knitting with their fingers, with needles, or even felting and that would be their go-to craft. It worked!! The younger girls ate up the yarn I provided for them and must've knit hundreds of yards of finger-knitted scarves. It actually got comical by the end of the week, b/c they were so proud of their knitting that they wore all of their projects at the same time. So cute The older girls banged out project after project on their needles with one of them making 3 Itouch holders in two days!!!.....But...I digress....this mother who called, told me that both of her girls were loving my class so much that they really want me to host the knitters club at school in the fall. I told her that I was working on a plan for the club and would talk to the superintendent soon about it. She then told me that her oldest daughter, who is going into 5th grade, "is worried about her friends making fun of her for knowing how to knit." "Whaaaattttt????" was my reply. She went on to say, "You know there is a stygma attached to knitting, I just can't believe that my daughter has picked up on it already." I was dumbfounded. Knitters, crocheters out here-do you know of this stygma?? I must really be naiive b/c I seriously never thought about it. Ever. I tried to defend us to this mother over the phone, saying that so many celebrities knit nowadays so I'm sure that isn't the modern thought of today, but then I got slammed again by another parent. She came in and said, "I used to crochet but these crafts are such a dying art. No one really does them anymore. Too bad it's uncool. Maybe you're doing this will bring it back for these young girls." Ok-someone wake me up from this bad dream-haven't these people seen or read of Julia Roberts knitting? Uma Thurman visiting Rhinebeck to shop for yarn and fiber? Have they not noticed the umpteen blogs there are out there completely devoted to this craft?

I went home stunned by all this and attempted to talk to my husband, who informed me that he always knew there was some sort of social stygma associated with knitting. He said, "C'mon, even our friends have asked you why you knit b/c they thought only grandmothers did it." Now he is right-I did get that a bit when I first started bringing around my knitting to weekend trips and such, but that quickly was squelched I thought, when I turned out pretty cool projects as gifts for them and started selling handknits at high-end boutiques in the area.

So, even as I sit here now, pondering all this makes me upset and feeling a little bruised up emotionally. Why on earth would such an innocent beautiful craft be subject to societal ridicule in this day and age? It's just plain crazy to me and makes me really feel cynical towards mainstream societal viewpoints. In other words, I'm just plain pissed off about it all....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summertime....and the knitting is....

Slow. as. molasses!!! Yet busy, somehow. I decided, over our very long winter, to start up and run a "Knitter's Camp" for kids at my daughter's school this summer. The camp starts up in two weeks and I've been furiously knitting up quick samples to show the girls to get them excited about it. We're going to be making our own knitting needles and designing our knitting bags to start. We'll learn finger knitting, knit, purl, cast on and bind off. The girls will be making bookmarks, bracelets, dishcloths, headbands and ipod holders. They have many choices so of course, I have to have many samples.....

Then, of course, I have my summer knitting project-this time of year, I always need a quick, mindless project to work on during my girls' swim practices/meets. This time, it's a cowl, using a terrific cotton tape yarn, who's name escapes me (I will post a pic as soon as I locate the camera). The yarn is smooth and cool and so nice to knit with in the hot stickiness of summer days.

And let us not forget that one of these days, I'll have to finish up my design for Knitcircus, using Malabrigo Twist, the most sumptious yarn ever!!! Too bad my head isn't into that right now with all this summer stuff going on!?! Must get my focus back soon-I've got work to do!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Designer's Block

So I've been designing a jacket for Knitcircus, using Malabrigo Twist yarn and knitting it has been so nice. The yarn is just perfect! It is so soft and is really showing off the stitch pattern the way I wanted it to. The problem that I have been having hasn't at all been with the design or the yarn, but the whole idea that this pattern is not for the beginner knitter. With every part of this design, I have been having the mental thought of, "Uh oh, are knitters going to understand that they have to 'read' the stitches and adjust accordingly?" I know from past patterns that it is so much better to be user-friendly and make things as easy and clear as possible, but does it always have to be this way? What about those knitters who want the challenge of a harder pattern? I am certainly not going to be able to write out line-by line instructions on this one-it would be forever and no one would want the pattern if it is umpteen pages long, right?? So the silly battle goes on in my head....

Hoping it all leaves soon though-I've got summer knitting to catch up on!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Catchin' up and Jammin'...

Phew. Disney was unbelievable and I can't believe I haven't posted since our trip. It was a whirlwind of fun and magic and it left me simply exhausted but thrilled that we really made magical family memories. Hoping to get back there in a few years to see more of that great world...

Onto summer! I went strawberry picking here in Sussex county, with the local moms group and my daughter. It was stifling-ly hot out there at 10:30am, but we managed to laugh it off and collect some really ripe strawberries! Finished the outing up with fresh icecream for lunch and it made for a great time! We went picking at Green Vally Farm in Wantage, NJ. Beautiful farm with great produce! They even have a very nice selection of organic beef and poultry and a CREAMERY!! My daughter got her new fave, cookie dough and I had my new fave, Jamoca Chip. It was a coffee based ice cream with nuts, coconut and chocolate in it-to. die. for. I'm still dreaming about it!!!

Yesterday, we went to a friend's house (a mom in the moms group) and she taught us how to make freezer jam with our strawberries. Freezer jam is quicker and easier to make than the traditional way of sterilizing the jars, etc. I love this way!!! It was so quick and simple that I went out to the store to gather supplies after we did it at her house and today I made more!! Her method used:
2 pints strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
4 cups sugar
1 package sure jell
Follow sure-jell instructions for quick set jam

My new method:
2 pints strawberries
2 cups sugar
2 pkgs. knox gelatin
1 pkg. strawberry jello

Mash up strawberries and add 2 cups of sugar. Blend well and let sit for 10 minutes. While you are waiting, mix 3/4 cup water with knox gelatin and jello and bring to a boil. Stir constantly while boiling for one more minute and take off stove to cool. Add to strawberries (after 10 minutes) and stir. Wait 10 more minutes to set. Pour into mason jars and cap. Leave out for 24 hours, then either store in fridge for up to 3 weeks (if you know you will eat it like I will!) or in freezer for one year (makes great gifts!).

I found that my way is more economical (sure jell is pricey) and it set up faster and firmer. Either way works great though!! We made this with blueberries and peach/mangoes too (need to add 1 TBSP lemon juice to peach mango). Each batch makes approx. 4 1-pint jars.
Good summer farm fun!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Disney, Here we come!!!

Yep-we're going!! I can't wait!! We leave at the un-godly hour of 3:30am on Friday for a 6:30 flight to Orlando...the kicker?? The girls have no idea!! We're not telling them until I have their disney attire all laid out for them the night before!!! I can't believe I've kept my big mouth shut!!?? Yay!! It's going to be a great time-our very first Disney trip as a family!! So looking forward to it! I even managed to quickly crochet these:mickey

I'm secretly packing us all while the girls sleep-I'm about 90% done-hoping to bang out the rest tonight and knit some of my fall malabrigo design too-that deadline is looming.....yikes!

Hope you all have a magical weekend!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Zumba knitting??

Yep-today, at my daughter's dance place, they also offered zumba class for adults. Have you ever heard the Latin music that they play for this class? It's GREAT!! What a fast beat! I sat right outside the class (my daughter's class, which is ballet/tap combo is right across the hall) and b/c they left the door open, I could hear the music pumping through the hall. It was great! I have to tell you-I never knit so fast!! There I was, all by myself, flying through the stitches for my fall design (the malabrigo jacket) and kind of boppin' up and down to the beat. It was quite silly, yet quite enjoyable at the same time. Zumba knitting, anyone??

What music do you like to listen to while knitting??

Monday, May 16, 2011

Knitcircus KAL and other stuff...


This is what is itching to get on my needles right now, despite the fact that I am designing a jacket for Knitcircus Fall 2011 with this and it feels like I'm knitting with BUTTA!!!! Malabrigo Twist is most likely the nicest, smoothest, most sumptious yarn I have ever had the priveledge of knitting with-thank you, Knitcircus and Malabrigo, for sending this my way! Holy Smokes, folks, once you knit with this yarn, you will never want to knit with any other kind of baby merino wool-ever!! So rich!!! Perfect for fall....wait for sneak peek pics on this design coming soon!

Also, taking up much time in the household here is the garden! I can't believe I have yet to post pics of the loveliness of it all but it is really blooming here in Sussex County!! I've got the raspberry bush in, the lettuce and peas are up and the spinach and herbs are coming!! I've got zucs, cucs, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and melon in waiting, and the carrots are even surviving-so far!! We'll see...

It is raining today and it's supposed to rain for the next three days-so much knitting to be done!-Thank God!!! We're surprising the kiddos with a trip to Disney for Memorial Day weekend, so I've got to sneak-pack everyone before Friday, the 27th too! Crazy, right??? Yep, just plain crazy....