Monday, November 30, 2009

One Of A Kind

Friday, son Peter and I took in Toronto's One Of A Kind show. For those readers who don't live in an area blessed by One Of A Kind shows, this is an annual show featuring 700 artist vendors selling all sorts of 'one of a kind' items; pottery, hand made jewellery, hand made clothing, hand made shoes, hand made leather purses, hand made knitted hats and sweaters, soaps, toys, and trinkets of all kinds.

I got my first taste of One Of A Kind shows when Peter used to have a booth at the show. Manning a booth by yourself for 11 hours a day, 11 days in a row is a daunting task. Doing the 'Mom' thing, I would come for a few days to help out.

I loved the atmosphere of the show. It is rare that I am totally surrounded by such creativity. Sure the ultimate goal is crass commercialism, but most artists and artisans live near or below the poverty line, so purchasing things at the show is a 'feel good' kind of crass commercialism.

This year, I set a goal of 'look, don't buy' but from the get-go hope for failure. And thankfully, fail I did!!

I only purchased three things, but three wonderful, one-of-a-kind things.

I bought a skein of yarn from a Newfoundland spinner, knitter. Her spinning was definitely one-of-a-kind spinning. Together with her own Shetland hand spun yarn, she spun
Newfoundland Merino, Heritage (which would be Briggs & Little, I think), novelty yarn and something called Angelina.
This combo made the most interesting yarn which she then knit into scarves and cowls or more aptly, with her creative touch, coat jewellery. She quickly rattled off her pattern, which I, with years of knitting pattern thievery under my belt, have memorized. I can't wait to create something as beautiful as she showed in her booth.

My next purchase was a coffee mug by a Montreal potter.
It is my habit to always buy a hand-potted, coffee mug at shows of this kind. The habit started years ago, when Peter, a fledgling artist, would have his work at these shows. Fred and I, showing our support, attended several shows each year. Naturally, I couldn't afford to purchase a painting at every show, but to return home empty- handed after being exposed to all that creativity seemed to cheat both me and the artist. Coffee mugs were affordable and practical, so I started buying a mug at every show. I now have quite a collection and drink my coffee from one of these wonderful mugs every morning.

At $40, this year's mug did not come in the 'affordable' category. (It actually came in the category my Mother would have stated as - "Some people have more money than brains.") But it is beautiful. Peter and I both were drawn to the little feet.

And lastly, I purchased a small piece of art. A black and white photograph of some winter trees from a Montreal artist.
Winter scenes always draw me in, and I love the stark simplicity of this piece.

All in all a great day. I can't wait for next year's show. I'm going for the shoes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Martini

Options for my next major project are still swirling in my head. In the meantime, I am knitting this.

I first saw the Martini Glass Dishcloth by Claudia Lang on Curliegirl's blog. How cute is that?

One of my sisters is a Martini lover. For her, I am breaking my own rule of never knitting for others. Another quick little project while my brain selects sweater options.

Today, I'm off to Toronto's One Of A Kind show. It's been several years since I have been to the show, so I am very excited. I am going to look, not buy. Just look, not buy. Look, not buy. I'll let you know how that goes for me. I'm expecting failure.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursdays Are For Knit group And Survivor

Photos are courtesy of Wilma today. The batteries on my camera died as I went to snap the first photo of the day at knit group. Such wonderful knitting and no pictures. Then Wilma offered to send me pics of her knitting from home later in the day. Thank you Wilma.

Here is the darling little sweater with the applied 'toques'.
Already winging it's way across the country to the western provinces for Wilma's grand daughter.

Wilma also finished a shawl.
Zieknits who visited us from Indiana earlier in the fall
was wearing this shawl - the Mini Weavers Shawl. It seemed like an easier knit than the lace- weight Alpaca shawls Wilma and I purchased at the Knitters Fair. The fact that this one is finished and the Alpaca ones are not, confirms it.

I can show you this picture of a couple of weeks ago
and tell you that Sharon has now finished her hubby's top down sweater. It's gorgeous and we still think it takes a strong man to wear 'Merlot/Claret/plum.

Gail has a lot more done on her top down that this picture of a few weeks ago shows,
but has discovered that her gauge is w-a-a-ay off. The sweater would fit a giant. Gail says that a frog is calling her name.

As for Survivor. That Russell, the guy I couldn't stand in the first few episodes, is growing on me. Or I've become inured to his nastiness. How many idols has he found now?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What To Knit Next

Now that my neckwarmers are finished, my needles are languishing. What should I knit next?

Christmas is a month today, but unlike many in blog land, I rarely knit for Christmas gifts.
This lesson, learned the hard way, was clearly expressed to me one year at Toronto's One Of A Kind show.

An exhibitor, with a booth filled with wonderful hand knit scarves and wraps talked to me about knitting. She asked if I knit for myself or others. That was many year ago and at that time, I knit almost exclusively for others. Not that anyone asked me to knit for them. Not that anyone truly appreciated what I knit for them. But my outlook on life, at that time, was to do for others and forget Brenda. Thankfully, that stage has passed. And the passing was due in no small part to that exhibitor.

When I told her that I knit for others, she told me the story of knitting her first sweater. She knit it for her Dad. It took months to finish and when she gave it to him, he looked at it and asked "What the H--- made you think I would ever wear something like that?"

A harsh lesson. Since that time, she informed me, she knit only for those that asked for something hand knit, or to sell. Her rationale was that if they paid for it, they wanted it.

Her words struck home. I have known first hand the disappointment of never seeing the gifted, hand knit article worn. Ever. So from then on, I have knit primarily for myself. At least I know the recipient - me - likes what I knit.

All of this is a long way of saying that I have no gift-giving knitting to do. So what should I knit next. Those waiting the longest in my queue are The Must Have Cardi.

The Waterloo Fairisle

from Knits From the North Country

EZ's seamless yoke sweater with Alpaca purchased at the 2008 Knitters Fair. Just to name a few.

Decisions. Decisions. Then of course, I could do some Christmas baking.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No Necks Shall Be Cold

Last week, at work, Karen asked me if we could come up with an idea for a pre-Christmas workshop that would help knitters with their Christmas knitting/gift-giving. Something current, trendy and that a knitter could accomplish in a couple of hours of knitting.

After mulling over ideas about scarves, mitts, hats - all the standard - we came up with Cowls. Cowls For Christmas. Call them neck warmers, or as I read on the 'net', Guy's Gaiters', or call them what they really are - short scarves. This year they seem to be hot, hot, hot. And as I've discovered this week, fun and fast to knit.

Look at what I've done in my spare time this week.
Most of these took 'a movie' to knit. Some took even less time. That thrilled me. Usually when the headline speaks about 'Last Minute Knitting' it's not minutes that I've ever experienced.

This one, in this colour, is for a guy.
Two toggles will finish it off and keep it in place around the neck. In a different colour, it could easily be a fussy and feminine cowl.

This too,is for a guy. An over-the-head, stockinet cowl. Done-before- dinner type of knitting.
This little one is my own creation.
A ruffle and to come, three large buttons across the end. Done in a lovely shade of lilac in yarn that has a bit of sparkle. None of which, unfortunately, was captured by my camera.

The green one is another ribbed cowl. Depending on colour, it could be either masculine or feminine. Many of these cowls have rows of increases (the increase I used here, is easily seen) near the bottom. This means they sit more comfortably around the bottom of the neck.

And last off the needles, this pretty, light-as-a-feather and fan cowl.
These were all such fun to make. Fast and so currently in vogue that I think I might have to make sure no neck in my family shall be cold this winter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Gift Made her Giggle

Today's post comes courtesy of Katie, my newly-legal niece.

You might remember that I knit her these mitts
with buttonholes in the thumbs so she can text and still keep her hands warm.

Here's what Katie had to say:

those are the coolest mittens I HAVE EVER SEEN...I think you could mass market those and make a lot of money..thank you so much, that is the most thoughtful gift I received..

At first I didn't notice the little holes and I was SO confused..and then I noticed them and I was still really confused until about 2 hours later I realized it and my giggle was probably very loud

I showed them to all my friends and my friend ....... emailed her Nanny and asked her to make her a pair just like them..and my other friend ...... just cut little holes in the mittens she already had

Thank you!
Love Katie

How heartwarming is that?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Great crowds gathered at knit group today. 14 is a large number for our small group, our small town.

Pat was out today. Her foot troubles have kept her house bound for some time now so it was great to see her back at knit group. The bad foot hasn't kept her from knitting. Here's our Pat.
with another toy for the women's shelter.

Nicki, too, has been MIA for some time. Her boss just doesn't seem to grasp the concept of - Thursdays Are For Knit Group. Nicki showed off her Cowichan. For you non-Canadian readers, Cowichan sweaters were knit and made famous by the Cowichan native peoples of Vancouver Island. They were mostly natural colours, as is Nicki's.

Vera (Nicki's Mom on Vancouver Island) this picture is for you. Look at that smile.

Nicki also showed us her lovely lace scarf.
Made from very fine cotton which arrived in Nicki's hands in an 'un-liked' shade of green. Look what some Kool Aid can do to green cotton.

Bonnie's Grandaughter called and asked if Bonnie would knit something for her. She added "Each time I wear what you knit, Grandma, I'll think of you." Of course Grandma couldn't resist. She's a bit worried about the size, though.

Joanne is working on a red scarf for her daughter.
Current styling dictates that scarves be worn doubled as Joanne shows here. Joanne calculates her knitting is half done.

Wilma is making this darling sweater for her Grandaughter
and spent knit group making those non-three-dimensional toques that decorate the sweater front. How cute is that?

And survivor. How about that Russell? You have to give him credit - he's smart. Some players look for the entire game and still can't find the hidden immunity idol. Russell has now found two!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interweave Knits

The Interweave Knits Winter Preview arrived in my email box today. All plans for my next few knit projects are out the window. As soon as I catch my breath from gasping at the beauty of almost everything in this issue, I will re-group. In the meantime, take a look at some of these designs.

I like this
Nora's Sweater, Pamela Powers, Interweave Knits Winter 2009

and this
Alpaca Pleats Jacket, Connie Chang Chinchio, Interweave Knits Winter 2009

and this
Braided Riding Jacket, Coralie Meslin, Interweave Knits Winter 2009

and this

Icelandic Star, Sarah Hoadley, Interweave Knits Winter 2009

and on and on. This issue is a far cry from the fall issue, where there was almost nothing I liked.

The story by editor Eunny Jang where she describes her first winter in a cold weather climate is icing on the knitting cake. She says
"This is my first real winter in Colorado. We've already had two major snowfalls, and the night temperatures are dropping quickly. I've put my beloved flats aside for lined, waterproof boots; I've put de-icing washer fluid in my car; I've bought an electric kettle, the better to make boiling-hot tea in a hurry."

She says theses things as if they are unusual occurrences. Oh, the innocence of those that dwell in warm climates. Do you suppose that kettle will last until spring?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Giggle Gift

I am calling my latest knit project 'The Giggle Gift'.

Katie, my niece, celebrates her 19th birthday, this Friday. A big day because in Ontario, 19 means 'legal'. Katie is in her second year at UofT studying to become an Actuary. Does she take after her Aunt Brenda, you ask? Not at all, but thanks for thinking it possible.

In my family, we stop the birthday gift-giving once the kids go off to university. So my little 'giggle gift' is not legal, but I couldn't resist.

Made with Vienna left over from Mondo Cable Cardi, I made Katie a pair of mitts.
39 stitches in a 2 x 1 rib, they look like ordinary mitts. But look at the thumbs.

There are buttonholes in the thumbs.

All the better to text with, while keeping your hands warm.
They are so cute they make me giggle.

Fred thinks I'm on to something. He says that once this blog hits the airwaves, the world will be full of knitters knitting mittens with buttonholes in the thumbs. That is such a grand vision that it too made me giggle. And, I am sure Katie - the queen of giggles - will giggle when she figures out what I have sent her. No better name then, for these mitts, than 'The Giggle Gift'.

Happy Birthday, Katie.