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Crazy for Ewe

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome
I had a rough start with my Koto.  I consider myself a good knitter, but this pattern is challenging me.  Nothing in it is too hard.  Not a complicated stitch pattern.  Shadow wrap short rows, which I know how to do.  The problem was in my understanding.  This is a very talented designer with a focus on details that make for a clean, professional-looking garment.  But for some reason the way she explained things, and the way I understood things did not match up.  It wasn't until nearly a skein and a Continue reading

You are always welcome here

Over the years we've has lots of people in the shop wanting to learn to knit. Some of them are actually beginners, but most are not, and the conversation usually starts with something like, "Well, I know how to knit, but I'm doing it all wrong. I want to learn the right way. The right way. In my universe, there is no right way to knit. And, the converse is also true: there is no wrong way to knit.  Some people hold their yarn in left hand, others in their right.   Picking, throwing, left-hand,.right-handed, whatever, it's all good. Continue reading

How I felt that day

How I felt that day

I got a call from my husband Saturday while I was at the shop.  I don't typically take calls while I'm teaching, but he doesn't typically call me while I'm teaching, so I knew something was up.

Me:        Hey, what's up?

Bill:         Um, I was putting the clothes in the dryer and there's something that doesn't look like it ought to go in the dryer.

Me:        What is it?

Bill:         I dunno.  It's a sweater-like thing.  It's white.

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Knitting math

Knitting math

There's a certain amount of math in knitting.  So much so that teachers have used knitting to improve math skills and make the concepts tangible. It's not hard math. While a modicum of algebra is helpful for changing gauge, knitting math is mostly what you learned in elementary school: addition and subtraction, multiplication and division.

But there is another kind of math familiar to all knitters.  This is the math by which we can justify $32 for a skeins of beautiful, soft, hand-dyed merino to make a pair of socks when our neighbor points out that we can buy a perfectly good pair at Target for $8.  We have no problem buying yarn that costs twice what a baby blanket costs in order to knit the baby blanket ourselves.  To our non-knitting friends, family, and partners, this math is totally illogical and completely irrational. 

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Three days in the wilderness

Three days in the wilderness
I have been listening to an article by Florence Williams called the Three Day Effect.  In it she suggests that three days outside enjoying nature can radically change your mindset and your brain.  To study the idea, she joins an excursion to a riverside wilderness in Utah, Her guide is charismatic veteran who leads a group of other vets on these camping, hiking, canoeing adventures to help them with PTSD and other after effects of war.  He believes strongly in the power of nature to soothe and heal, which sounds pretty good to Williams, as she herself is struggling with the Continue reading

It always seems impossible, until it's done

It always seems impossible, until it's done

Last week I had just cast on the front of a Triton sweater in dk weight yarn.   Tubular cast on, size 4 needles, 6 rows done -- a fairly time consuming effort, without much to show for it.  My husband saw it sitting on the table at breakfast.  "Pretty yarn, he said, what's it going to be?" 

"A sweater," I answered.

He sort of chuckled and said, "I guess you have to start somewhere."

Yup.  We do. We have to start somewhere.  My husband knows I can and will

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The price of perfection

The price of perfection
I talk a lot about how nice it is that we can go back and fix our knitting.  It's awesome that we can rip back as many times as we like, but there is a cost.  Depending on the nature of the yarn, how we knit, and how we rip there is wear and a certain amount of structural damage to the fiber.  You'll see it right away on fuzzy fabrics like mohair, and you'll see it plenty soon on softly spun fibers.  So, it's important to know whether the mistake you're going back to fix is worth going back and fixing.  If it's a glaring error that will prevent you from wearing the item, absolutely fix it.  Something that will impact the long term integrity of the fabric like a split stitch, by all means, fix it.  But if it's a little something that maybe only you can see -- probably better to just leave it, learn from it, and move on.   Continue reading

What could hockey and knitting possibly share?

What could hockey and knitting possibly share?
When my friend selected Beartown for our book club and said it's about hockey, I was pretty sure I would hate it. I ordered it anyway, because that's what you do when you're in a book club.  You read the stupid book even though you know you'll hate it.  But sometimes you are wrong.  In tiny Beartown, on the outskirts of nowhere, there is an ice hockey club on which the town has pinned all of its hopes and dreams.  Through this fierce sport Frederik Backman dives deep into each character, pulling you in as he gently unfolds their world and their reason for needing hockey like they need air. Backman tells a powerful story Continue reading

Why local yarn stores matter

Why local yarn stores matter

Saturday is Local Yarn Store Day, a day to visit and celebrate your local yarn store.  We have tons of fun things planned, from yarn tastings and trunk shows to new products and prizes all day.  and I invite you to come and see what's special for this day.  But first, why is LYS day even a thing?  I'm more than a little biased, but here's why local yarn stores matter.

Obviously, with a local yarn store you have a chance to see and touch all the yarns in real life.  You can compare colors and hold the skein up to your face to see what best suits your complexion.  Instant gratification too.  See it, touch it, and walk out the door with it. Right. Now.  Get help, take a class, take a moment.  Your local yarn store is a place to come and a place to be.  It's a third place

In his ground breaking book, 

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Knitting for the Win

Knitting for the Win
College basketball is a big deal in our house.   My husband  is a Duke fan, but as a UVA alumna, I'm all in for UVA and their handsome coach, Tony Bennett.  So, I was pretty happy when UVA won it all this year, the whole championship -- an especially sweet victory after last year when they were beaten early in the tournament by a team not even in the top 15.  It was a disaster, and UVA was widely ridiculed and pointed out as an example of what not to do. So this win, as I said, was sweet.  But how do you do something like that?  How do you get back?  How do you recover from that level of public humiliation and defeat? more Continue reading
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