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Knitter's Quarantine Survival Guide

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As I said in yesterday’s newsletter, the specter of COVID-19 is upon us, and it is like nothing any of us have ever seen.  Frightened and unsure, we are worried for ourselves, our family, and our friends.  We are already practicing social distancing, and most of us had already self-quarantined to some extent, but.  yesterday’s message from Maryland Governor Hogan closing restaurants, bars, and gyms, and limiting religious and social gatherings to under 50 people, reminded us that, as he said, “We are not fooling around”.   It’s kind of scary, but it’s the right thing to do for ourselves and our fellow humans.  Kind of scary, I know, but we knitters have an advantage.  I think knitters tend to be perennial optimists, always seeing the glass half full.  For us, and I may be stepping out on a limb here, but I the idea of a few weeks at home with hours and hours of basically uninterrupted knitting time has a certain appeal. I mean, who hasn’t thought about that - be honest now.  How many of you have queued up projects for your time in isolation, silently looking forward to a bit of quiet time? 

I’d be lying if I told you I hadn’t. 

So, what do we need to have with us when we embark on our quarantine?  Several things, most of which you probably already have in your possession. 

  1. Interchangeable needles-- We will all be very glad indeed for at least one set of interchangeable needles, and preferably two sets – one longer, and one for 16” circumference.  These fantastic sets allow us to rest assured that we have the  needle or needles we need for whatever project we’ve brought into quarantine with us.  There is comfort in the knowledge that we will not be held back by the lack of the right tool.
  2. A blunt, bent-tip darning needle – Otherwise known as a Chibi, these needles are invaluable for seaming pieces that will doubtless be finished, and weaving in ends. There is tremendous pleasure in finishing a thing once and for all, and these little gems make the process so much easier.
  3. A circular stitch holder- as you move forward on your projects, we may need to put some stitches on a holder to get moving on another parts. Have a couple of these handy so we don’t get stuck without someplace to rest our in=process bits
  4. A stitch fixer – this handy double-ended tool from Cocoknits allows us to easily ladder down and back up on stockinette or garter fabric, so we’re not stymied if we make a mistake.

While we're at it, let's look at what  kind of projects make for good quarantine knitting?  Honestly, I think there should be several. 

  1. Something simple –First and foremost, we need an simple project in a smooth, easy to knit yarn that feels amazing in our hands. This is the project we’ll want to have handy when we’re feeling stressed about all the things that we’re worried about bur are outside of our area of control.  In the rhythm of the needles, there is music for the soul. 
  2. Something challenging –Given that everything about COVID-19 is new, and we don’t know how long a quarantine might last, we’ll want something that will relieve the boredom when the days drag on and the novelty has worn thin. This is something with a lace bit of pattering that requires your attention.  Projects like this are not hard, but they’re not TV knitting.  They are projects that put you in flow, a state where the challenge of the effort exactly matches our skill level, and we are unaware of the passage of time.
  3. Something unknown – Again, given that we have no idea how long this will all last, we need to give ourselves a decent quantity of yarn that could be anything. The joy of poring over Ravelry patterns and considering all the options sparks our creative energy and gives us a sense of control which we all need so desperately right now.

So, there it is, a knitter’s quarantine survival guide.  If you don’t already have supplies laid in, I will be available from 12-2 this week to process your order and bring it out to your car.  If you need some other time, email me.  I only live 10 minutes from the shop, and will be happy to get you whatever you need and bring it out to your car.

Remember to reach out to me anytime if you need knitting help.  Again, email me you’re your question and I’ll get right back to you.  If you need to facetime me, send me your cell number and a good time to chat, and I’ll contact you.  As always, I am here for you as we weather this storm together.

  Stay safe and stay well, and create something beautiful  ~Ellen

Comments on this post (11)

  • May 09, 2020

    I just bought super bulky yarn. How long should it be quarantined before knitting?

    — Sandi

  • Mar 20, 2020

    Thanks, you know I always need help. Looking forward to finishing my sweater but need to be at the store. Luckily Sigrid is close by and going over today, sit on her porch while she fixes my mistakes. The yarn is Rowan 100g. I have two so any ideas? I’ll check with Sigrid also.
    I do miss being there and will really miss seeing Ann. Have talked to Jane and familt will probably take her ashes in May to where their parents are in Maryland.
    Take care and will continue to read your lovely notes and thoughts.
    I bought some yarn awhile ago for an easy hat. Not the brioche but I love wearing mine.

    — Kimberly Westcoat

  • Mar 19, 2020

    Hi Ellen, wonderful blog as always. I haven’t seen you in awhile, I had surgery in the fall and in recovery until the Christmas holidays. Then Coronavirus hit! I miss seeing you and Mary but feel your presence thru your blogs. Thanks for all you do. Ida Moore

    — Ida Moore

  • Mar 18, 2020

    I’m almost done with my sweater project and can see I do not have enough yarn. Is there any way I can pay for and get the yarn mailed to me in New Jersey? My cell phone number is 240-601-3963. Thank you for your time and stay well.
    Jean Ware

    — Jean Ware

  • Mar 17, 2020

    Very encouraging post! I rarely come in but you got me with the stitch fixer! I need one! Do you have a way to order by email?
    Another thought: is there room outside of the shop for a few chairs if some need to get out but keep their distance from others? The weather is warming up so what better reason and method to still get together, enjoy each other’s company but keeping it safe! My SIL just told me about an article comparing this virus to the Spanish flu in 1918 and it was reported that patients on cots out in the sunshine fared much better than patients in tents or buildings! Fascinating, isn’t it? 😁

    — Sheila Polhemus

  • Mar 17, 2020

    Thanks, Ellen, for being there for us. You are the bestest!

    — Dara Orkand Allen

  • Mar 17, 2020

    Yep made a que list…. went thru all my extra stash yarn and working on finishing all projects that I have in process! Love this post! You are the best!

    — Tara Neher

  • Mar 17, 2020

    Great optimism, I love this post! Thank you, Ellen, I hope to be seeing you real soon. Love to all of you hanging in there!!

    — Heidi Perriello

  • Mar 17, 2020

    So enjoy your encouraging thoughts. I am indeed working on a sweater to finish before we meet again.
    Thank you, Terry

    — Terry Wood

  • Mar 17, 2020

    Thank you Ellen, I don’t know what I would do without knitting! It calms me down and just makes me happy. So glad I stopped by the shop that day, years ago…

    — Andrea Swierczek

  • Mar 17, 2020

    Very positive words – makes me want to start up knitting again

    — Liz govier

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