Knit Inn 2k18

Every year I am so grateful for the SC Knitting Guild's annual knitting weekend. I get to see old friends, I get to make new ones, I get to TEACH! Plus there is knitting, wine, and fun. This year I taught my Sandy Scarf, named for my friend Sandy at last year's Knit Inn (Her: "What are you calling that new design you're working on?" Me: "I don't have a name yet." Her: "You should name it after me." [laughs] Me: "Ok I will!"). It's a fun pattern to teach and I'm glad to be able to honor Sandy with a pattern, since if it weren't for her, I might never have sold The Reversible Cable Wrap or the Carousel Hat to Red Heart. Y'all need friends like that your life, trust me!

Huge shout out to all the hard-working organizers who put this event on every year. 

And to whomever set off the fire alarm at 2am...why?? lol


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Top 10 Reasons to Keep Knitting This Summer

I know it's hot, and where I am, it's so muggy you tend to feel like you've been hit by a warm wet cotton bath towel, right in the face, when leaving an air conditioned building and walking outside.

Ah, Summer. Since I live in the South, Summer can end up being quite the endurance contest. About mid-July we begin counting down to that magical time when the Weather Changes....only 14 more Saturdays until the end of October! (Also, Fall Classes!)

A lot of people stop knitting during the Summer and I get that. It's hard to keep anything going when you just want to sit under the ceiling fan and drink iced tea. However, since I think it's worth doing, here are my Top 10 Reasons to Keep Knitting This Summer.

10. You're no quitter. Seriously, think about it. You made it through school, you have held down boring jobs, you've hit redial repeatedly for an hour to win concert tickets. You're no quitter--so don't quit knitting.

9. Knitting will help with Summer travel. Stuck in an airport? Facing a long car ride? Take your knitting.

8. Keep up your proficiency. This is especially key if you're a relatively new knitter. Your hands gain the muscle memory for knitting by practice and if you take the summer off, you'll get flabby. Your muscle memory will get flabby, that is.

7. Get a jump start on holiday gifts. Don't be like me and wait until November to realize you want to knit big gifts for your immediate family and not only have you not cast on, you don't even have the yarn yet. Pick a holiday gift to work on for each of the draining, mind-melting Summer months.

6. Knitting is fun. Just thought I'd remind you of that, in case you'd forgotten.

5. Learn new techniques. Pick a new technique you've always wanted to learn and make it a summer project. I know several knitters who wanted to train themselves to knit Continental instead of English so they made it a project to master it. Summer is a great time for that.

4. Knitting will help with uncomfortable visits. Have guests coming? Having to go visit someone else? Not entirely comfortable with these individuals? (hey, it happens)  Pull out your knitting and give yourself something to focus on that is positive and soothing.

3. Knit for those in need. Don't wait until the weather turns cold to start knitting warm hats for the homeless. Or until the Red Scarf Project deadline to cast on a scarf for foster kids heading off to college.

2. Beat the heat with an indoor activity. Yes, knitting is highly portable and you can take it with you to the park and the beach and all, but if you're in the middle of a heat wave with honest-to-goodness heat advisories being issued, you do not want to be outside. Also, drink lots of water.

1. Being a knitter is worth it. Even though it's hot and you're busy and the humidity makes your head hurt and you feel sluggish, it's worth it to pick up those needles. Being a knitter is what helps us stay sane and grounded and calm and engaged during the rest of the year. It connects us to our ancestors, to our community and to people on the other side of the world. Being a knitter has given us a reason to get out of bed in the morning when times are hard. It keeps our brains young, our hands limber and our creative juices flowing, no matter our chronological age. Knitting isn't just something we do in our spare time, when the weather suits us. We are knitters.

So keep on knitting, despite the heat. Stay hydrated, stay focused and we'll make it to Fall, I promise. It's only 14 more Saturdays, remember?

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The Knit Inn, 2015 Edition

For several years now I've been making the trek to Greenville, SC to attend the SC Knitting Guild's Knit Inn, and it's always a blast.

This year I taught two classes: The Vintage Winter Shawl and the Charleston Indigo Scarf. The only pic I snapped of the Winter Shawl class was Claudia and her tangle:

Poor Claudia!

Poor Claudia!

As you can imagine, with 250 knitters over the weekend, there were a lot of tangles.

I was treated to two completed Winter Shawl versions, which made me enormously happy.

Debra (top left) and Flo with their Vintage Winter Shawls

Debra (top left) and Flo with their Vintage Winter Shawls


I was a little nervous about my Charleston Scarf class, since it was only the second time I had taught it and I wanted to make sure we covered all the necessary stitch patterns before I turned the students loose. I needn't have worried, because they were awesome students who rocked it, big time! I can't wait to see how their finished scarves turn out :)

Charleston Scarf class and their great swatches!

Charleston Scarf class and their great swatches!

I took a couple of classes, including one on I-cords tips and techniques that was amazing. I also ate too much, knitted some, ripped out some more, and talked a LOT.

Our Charleston contingent was fun as always (you really can't take Micci anywhere, even if she looks really tame in the photo!)...

Charleston area knitters, road-trippin'.

Charleston area knitters, road-trippin'.

I got to see Sandy Huff, which is always a treat. And when I admired Gerri and Carol's amazing bags, I was told they made those in one of her classes. So much awesomeness.

She's really not that short!

She's really not that short!

Gerri (l) holds the distinction of being in all the classes I was in this weekend. I told her I am now spoiled and it will never be the same without her and we should plan accordingly next year. Carol (r) and I were only in one class together, but it's always fun when she's around.

Gerri (l) holds the distinction of being in all the classes I was in this weekend. I told her I am now spoiled and it will never be the same without her and we should plan accordingly next year. Carol (r) and I were only in one class together, but it's always fun when she's around.

I missed getting pics of a lot of people, including my friends Dianne (who introduced me to someone like this: "I admired her shawl one year and we've been friends ever since!" I love it.) Pat, Teri and Becky (whom I've known since high school, before I was a knitter!). Also, Tom, who freely shared some amazing tips with me for future blog posts, Krista, my new friend from Yarn and Y'all in the 'ville, Starr, who took a class from me and has been so sweet and encouraging to me ever since...and a cast of thousands, give or take a few.

I'll leave you with this--two of my biggest cheerleaders, Flo and Michele. They befriended me at a Knit Inn years ago (before I knew everybody) and have kept up with my exploits during the year between Knit Inns ever since. They're both like favorite aunts that you can talk to about anything.

Overall, it was wonderful, as always! Knit Inn weekend always leaves me tired but inspired and so very grateful to know so many lovely talented people.

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Summer Knitting: Knitting vs. Travel


Knitting vs. Travel:

Vacation!?!  That means: car knitting, or trying to take knitting on airplanes. Plus there might be time to knit while we are at our destination, and what am I gonna knit???

OK, don't panic.  I know that I have struggled with travel in the past (and will again, no doubt) because there are just so many variables and as a mom, we have to either pack for everyone or oversee their packing or worry that now that they are old enough to do it all themselves they will still forget to pack underwear.  Just take a deep breath and do the following:

  1. Know that they WILL forget to pack underwear.  Just accept it.
  2. Take your travel knitting plans one step at a time.  Make a list. Break all your travel plans into bite sized pieces.
  3. If you're knitting will be in a car (or train), look for projects that will work for your level of skill and your level of involvement with others in the car.  If you have to hand out juice boxes every 20 minutes, you might want to plan a project that can be set down and takes less concentration than an intricate bit of lace with beading.
  4. If air travel beckons, then confirm in advance the knitting policy of the airline/airport/TSA.  I've heard stories from both sides of the spectrum ("I take my knitting on planes all the time--no problems" to "OMG I had to pack my needles in my checked bag and had absolutely nothing to knit with for 15 hours in the air!!!"), so try to accept whatever comes.  Bring a good book, just in case.
  5. If you'll have time to knit at your destination, let me first congratulate you on planning The Right Sort of Vacation.  You're a knitter.  You should always plan time to knit!  Secondly, plan your project for the kind of time you have.  If you'll be catching up with friends and family, again, not a great time for projects that require a lot of attention.  Facing a lot of quiet time alone?  Take something that will occupy you.
  6. There is a chance that you will run into the problem my friend Mary Lynn recently encountered when faced with a 14-hour road trip.  She grabbed 3 knitting projects to take along and discovered that NONE OF THEM WORKED.  Isn't that horrifying?  This nightmare scenario is enough to ensure that I will always over-pack when taking my knitting. Which will be all the time because I will always take knitting on vacations.  Bonus tip: start at least one project before you go so you know that something works.
  7. Consider yarn shops when you're thinking about sightseeing and souvenirs.  Do you really really need another souvenir spoon/thimble/shot glass/t-shirt? Wouldn't it be more useful and memorable to take home yarn from whatever city you're visiting?  I have one scarf made from Plymouth Mushishi that I adore, partly because it is fabulous and partly because I bought the yarn as a souvenir on a visit to NC, at an adorable shop in the Grove Arcade called Asheville Home Crafts.  See? So many memories, plus I got to make something with the souvenir I purchased. 
The pattern is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's One Row Handspun scarf and is available free. Just click on the pic!

The pattern is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's One Row Handspun scarf and is available free. Just click on the pic!

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