Saturday, June 27, 2009

How knitting can change the world

While doing community outreach for a nonprofit organization, I ran into someone passing out cards with an equation for finding the carbon footprint for the things you can buy on it. Basically, they compiled it down to a few numbers and you did an equation to figure out how much habitat you would save by not purchasing something.
It then occurred to me just how much energy I was saving by making the scarves and sweaters and potholders, better yet, how much energy I was saving by using a spinning wheel to make the yarn.
This is just one example of how knitting can change the way things are going for our environment but, more importantly, knitting brings many different people together from all different walks of life. Knitting circles are an integral part of any community, as they are where people from many different backgrounds are drawn together and share stories, ideas and thoughts. It is said that in the nuclear age, dialogue is one of the most important contributors to peace and prosperity.
Copyright (C) 2009 Sara LeMaster

Knitting on the bus

As much as I love kipping, it does get excessive when people just want to know what you're doing. I've had people ask whether I was doing cross-stitch before when I clearly had a pair of bamboo needles in my hand and was working with bulky yarn; other times people just want me to make a sweater for them or finish an Afghan that a great aunt or grandma never got the chance to finish.
What I'm trying to get at here, is the fact that it never seems to occur to people that this is my quiet time: I'm knitting because I need to think, to meditate, to draw on conclusions to the questions that life brings me. Knitting is a release, more than anything.
Yarn spans the roads of my life-- I would knit in the car on road trips with my dad, on airplanes to different cities, it is woven into my spiritual life like thick wheft. So, naturally, my purse does not leave the house without at least 100 yars of something and 2 needles in it. However, I find it awkward when turning out a 3-foot piece which any Joe 6-pack can tell is a scarf, and then people ask me what I'm making. I never understood this.
Copyright (C) 2009 Sara LeMaster

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This is WAY too goofy

These were sent to me by my friend Susan Cohn, who is in a guild in Memphis. I thought these were ridiculous.
I wish I had the free time to do this, but alas, I don't. This bike looks like its way comfortable, as all the sharp ages have been crocheted over.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rainbow-knitted scarf

"Rainbow" knitting is one of my favorite ways of getting rid of scrap yarn, or just making a scarf that gives you texture. Its also a great way to learn how to turn heels if you're a beginning sock knitter, or if you just want to expand your horizons. Here's how to do it:
1. Figure out how wide you want your scarf to be, and cast on the according stitches
2. Knit the first row.
3. Knit the second row to 2 stitches before the end. Wrap and turn by bringing the yarn to the front, slipping the next stitch, then taking the yarn to the back and slipping the stitch back on to the needle it came from (your wrapped and turned stitches will stay here)
4. Turn the work around
5. Knit the other way
6. Knit to the stitch before the stitch you just wrapped and turned, and wrap and turn this stitch.
7. Continue in this manner until you have 1 stitch left.
8. Knit the next row by knitting the first stitch, then picking up the wraps "under" the following stitches- work to end in this manner.
9. Repeat from step 2
Continue in this manner until you have reached the desired length, ending on row 8. Bind off
Copyright (C) 2009 Sara LeMaster

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to do Mosaic knitting

Mosaic knitting first intimidated me, but once I got the hang of it I found it to be really enjoyable. Its a nice way of doing colorswatch in that it keeps your tension fairly normal, and it adds shape and elasticity to knitted garments. Mosaic knitting is always done using two colors at any given time, which you can vary as you please. Here is a basic how- to for mosaic ribbing. Note that there are many mosaic knitting patterns out there, most of them using charts, but to get your feet wet you might want to try this.
1. Figure out which is going to be Color A and which is going to be Color B.
2. Knit with Color A first for 2 rows even
3. Attach Color B and knit the first stitch, then slip one, then knit the third stitch, then slip the next one and knit the fifth stitch, and so on and so forth. Do this for 2 rows. If you want a Stockinette Stitch, you will need to purl on the wrong side, but slip all slipped stitches as knit stitches with the yarn in front (to avoid twisting).
4. Pick up Color A and knit the even stitches, slipping the ones you knit with Color B. On the wrong side, continue as for step 3.

Copyright (C) 2009 Sara LeMaster

Knitted Tank top

I started this little beauty when my coworkers told me to get a drink, and I decided to do something more productive and go to the yarn store. It began the way most of my projects do--I had the right pattern, the right yarn, even the right needle size ( a stretch for me) and I began knitting it on car rides and bus rides alike. Halfway through, however, I realized I'd made a grave mistake: I didn't like it. This yarn was too beautiful to force to the bottom of my stash, and I needed a tank top for the summer. So (thank goodness my mother wasn't watching) I ripped out the hundreds of yards of bamboo and cotton and started over. I started from the bottom in the round-- I hate seams almost as much as I hate weaving in ends-- and gave it a lacy rib border, then decreased gradually to give it a loose-around-the-hips fit. once I got to the point just below the bust, I wanted to accentuate this part, as I have a fairly small chest and need all the help I can get, so I added the color I used at the bottom and worked in a mosaic rib for a few inches. This gave me the shape I wanted. For the top part of the front, I used the criss-cross top pattern, giving the piece some movement around the neckline. For the back, I just did a deepish v-neck. The finished product: something I can pair with jeans (or a skirt to be more elegant). This is absolutely gorgeous.
Copyright (C) 2009 Sara LeMaster

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Llama and the Wheelbarrow: stories from the knitting circle

There are many reasons to work at a yarn store. Discounted yarn brings lots of people; for others its the prospect of working the business side of things; others want to teach and help others, but I did so for the stories. For a young person, there's nothing more entertaining than a bunch of women sitting around trading stories. The following was told to me by "Dr. Stitch", a knitter and spinning extraordinare who had a knack for telling outlandish, real-life stories.
"We had a llama who fell head-over-heels for a wheelbarrow we accidentally left in its yard. The llama would cuddle with the wheelbarrow, try and copulate with the wheelbarrow. At one point we tried to remove the wheelbarrow from the llama's pen, but it fought us off and refused to let the wheelbarrow out of its sight. We thought the llama was just lonely, so we bought a second llama and they ended up fighting over this wheelbarrow. We got rid of the second llama, and to this day the original llama is still in love with this wheelbarrow.'

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Berry-dyed roving into yarn

This is the berry-dyed roving turned into yarn. Its a nice, muted color, perfect for matching with earthtones. One of the nice things about crockpot dyeing is that it doesn't disturb the composition of the fiber-- I've had a handful of experiences where I felted my roving because it boiled too long or I agitated it in the dyepot too much. It will be great to knit with and I'll post the pictures of the final product up here when I'm done.
Copyright (C) 2009 Sara LeMaster