Work in Progress Wednesday: My Sister’s Cowl or Scarf

My sister just recently had knee surgery and will be at home for the next few weeks.  She’s staying at a place without Internet access.  She told me that she was feeling a bit stir-crazy so I volunteered to teach her how to knit.  She was happy & immediately asked if she could make a “circle scarf”, similar to the one that I had made for her for Christmas one year.  At first, I told her that might not be good for a beginner but then I found a pattern that suggested how I could make the project either a scarf or a cowl at the end.  I figured a project that would be close to what she wants to do would be a project that she would finish.  Finishing a project, no matter how large or small, is so critical when you’re first learning how to knit.

I visited with her the next day and showed her how to knit & purl.  I selected this project because I thought it would be beginner friendly.  It has enough changes to keep a beginner interested, while enforcing knitting foundations: repetitions of the knit & purl stitch.

I’ve found that beginners really just want to get going without much in the way of discouragement, and I remembered how hard it was for me to get past a cast-on and the first initial rows of knitting when I was first learning how to knit. I also figured that someone in a ton of pain from surgery might not want to spend much time fiddling with a cast-on, which is something she would end up forgetting anyway.  She’d have to learn it again for her next project. & there’s plenty of time for that.

To this end, I decided to knit the first repeat of the pattern for her so that she would have something to begin with right away, and so that she could get an idea of what things might end up looking like.  Here it is:

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This made me start thinking more about the therapeutic power that knitting has – I’m sure, if she ends up enjoying knitting, that it will prove to be a fine, productive distraction for her as she recovers from her surgery.

Get the pattern here: Beginner Friendly Cowl or Scarf

Work in Progress Wednesday: Of Feathers & Fans, part 2

With my completion of the Project Peace 2016 Cowl, I was able to return to my second blanket for a large hospice organization, the Feather & Fan Afghan:

This project is swimming along! I think I’ll do about 2-3 more color repeats and then measure it at least to see how the length is looking for a lap afghan.

The feather & fan pattern is always a lovely one. It’s a 4-row pattern and the row of lace is just enough to keep you a bit more interested to move on to the next repeat. Great project for anyone just starting out with lace knitting. Once you’ve caught on, it makes for excellent TV watching.

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Here is the pattern if you’re interested in grabbing it: Sweet Stitchin’ Betties Group Feather and Fan

 

Monday Musings: Where the Heck I’ve Been

The month of January didn’t have much for me in the way of knitting.  I was far too busy getting used to a new schedule, starting a new part-time job, and overcoming a trepidation with highways that it didn’t leave much time or inclination for knitting.  February wasn’t looking much better for me. However, I was able to finally finish the cowl last week and was so pleased with myself for doing so.  In the past, I wouldn’t have maintained nearly as much discipline with sticking to one project to completion.

It’s certainly a change from how I used to knit before – come to think of it, I was more of a “competitive” knitter due to my role as a knitting group organizer on Meetup.com.  I felt the need to keep progressing and challenging myself with knitting since I was in a position to teach and promote knitting to other people.  It’s so much more different now that I’m no longer organizing the group.  Now knitting’s more of a joy & a hobby that I can enjoy for the sake of itself.  I didn’t really realize it until after I stopped organizing for the group but it was honestly more of a “job” for me back then.

Finished Object Friday: Project Peace Cowl 2016

It’s with a sigh of relief that I can blog about FINALLY finishing this cowl! It started out as what I thought would be a quick knit but alas, a combination of life & a bit of boredom with the knit, combined with the fact that I was working with a 318 stitch pattern with sock yarn made it take a little while.

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All things aside, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  It will replace a cowl that I had the misfortune of misplacing before the end of 2016. Pretty happy with the stitch definition.  The pattern itself works well with variegated sock yarn, which is always a plus.

Get the pattern here: Project Peace 2016 Cowl

 

 

Work In Progress Wednesday: Project Peace Cowl 2016 Cowl, part 3

With parts 2 and 1, I started off with the confidence of this being a project that I’d definitely have finished by 2017 with all the knitting time that I was hoping to have over the course of my vacation.  However, this didn’t turn out to be the case.  I was far too busy with the holidays being what they were & between that and time spent dealing with some family matters over there, I found myself with little time to knit once I arrived to my destination.

Still, I got to get some knitting in while spending time on the porch with my grandmother:

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Love how these colors look.

I’m very happy with how this color-way is turning out with this project!

Monday Musings: Knitting While Traveling

I was away for a couple of weeks in the Philippines.  In my luggage, I had packed enough yarn & supplies to last me for months.  I had this vision in my head of getting ALL OF THE KNITTING finished on the plane trip or during miscellaneous periods and could not bear the thought of being without knitting supplies or yarn.  So I packed skeins upon skeins for a lap blanket I’m working on, and everything that I could for the cowl that I had started in early December.

I figured that I would at least finish with the cowl and get back to working on the feather-and-fan blanket but I was wrong.  I ended up finishing the cowl in terms of rounds listed in the pattern but found that the finished product was not wide enough for my liking.  Since it’s going to be something that I wear, I figured that I’ll keep going with the cowl until I’ve used up most of the yarn.  It’ll be a bit wider but that’s fine.  The project is good but a bit tedious at this point with fingering yarn.

Not sure what it is about traveling that makes me want to pack everything but the kitchen sink at least when it comes to my knitting. For some reason, the thought of going without while away from home… although a pragmatic circumstance that merits acceptance… just fills me with a bit of anxiety.  For those who do not knit but follow this blog: I suppose it would compare to any other hobby or habitual attachment that one might have while at home.  When away from home, the thought is to do what you can to have those comforts with you in a way that makes sense. (In my case, stuffing my luggage with skeins of yarn that I could not POSSIBLY go through in the time period that I was away from home.)

During times like these, I wonder about the merits attached to minimalism: the concept of going without many things.  Over the years, I have gotten a bit better at de-sentimentalizing myself because until very recently, I moved around a LOT.  Moving is a lot easier when you aren’t attached to a ton of your stuff.  There was a certain comfort to letting go of the “stuff” and the lack of attachment to certain things.  This trip has shown me that knitting is an exemption to this concept for me.  I may have a bit more to learn in that area.  Either that… or maybe in the area of overestimating the amount of knitting that I can get done when I’m halfway across the world engaged in family bonding time & settling a parent’s estate.

Happy Monday, all!

Monday Musings: Holiday Celebrations When Your Family Lives Overseas

As both an American & Filipino national, I fall into a category that many of us do:  I don’t have very much family nearby to spend time with for the holidays.  Most of them are overseas and are not easily accessible.

Tree outside of our home. The star decorations are parol, otherwise known as Filipino Christmas lanterns.

This circumstance has led me to think about the nature of holiday celebrations.  For many people in my life, they are a time to do the same thing every year, with the same people.  A time for traditions to happen over and over again.  A time for the same food & drink to be had… in the same location, with the same company.

Christmas in a hot country, where tropical trees meet the poinsettia.

Because many of my relatives live overseas, my perspective is a bit different. It’s nice to have the company and time while we have it. Location & having certain foods doesn’t matter.

I spent this Christmas overseas with relatives that I hadn’t seen in over a decade.  I did this after spending a great deal of money and time (23 hour flight!) to get over there. At that point, they were just happy we showed up at all and spent the time with me and my husband over a meal while the kids opened their presents:

Thinking about these things reminds me what this holiday season is about for me – more about gratitude for just the time that you can have with one another.  We may not have had Christmas cookies, apple pie or other Western holiday traditions that for some people, are incredibly important to have for their celebrations.  We had other things & but more importantly, just each other. After a very eventful 2016, I’m quite thankful for it.
Happy 2017!