Friday, 30 December 2011

Latest Northern Loops Blankets to Maternity Ward

I just had word from our local Project Linus UK coordinator --now down south with family--that she delivered our most recently knitted blankets to the maternity ward in Caithness General (In Wick for those reading this from abroad) where they were much appreciated.

One of the busiest blanket knitters will be at a funeral today. It will be a sad time, of course, and I hope that the news that her blankets are bringing joy and comfort to people celebrating new life will bring a little cheer into a difficult time.

It will help me face the day. One stitch at a time to a blanket, a baby, a lifetime of stitches.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

News from the Rest of the NESTAlings

Well, since we have all been fledged, nestlings is not exactly the way to describe the cohort of applicants to the NESTA Age Unlimited program. But Northern Loops and all their projects were hatched together, so I think I'll stick with it.

Rosie at Better Balmedie started it out with an update email to all the rest of us.

Both those who received funding from NESTA and those who didn't had success stories (if you or someone you love snores, check out this project by retired GP:

It was great to hear from Rosie and all the wonderfully creative people. It also prompted me to reflect on the progress of Northern Loops and my own growth as an organisational person. We have had a very successful year, but if we are going to grow, I am going to have to (continue) to stretch myself. This holiday break has given me some much needed battery recharging and the news from those who started the process at the same time has focused my mind on upcoming goals as well as reflecting on the process to get here.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

"Mindin' My Own Knittin'--Sock Lessons

My first pair of socks--completed with a great deal of help were successful enough that I could wear them, but not give them as a gift as intended. Turning the heel felt as momentous for me as rounding the Cape of Good Hope. So with all the zeal of an intrepid explorer, I started on another pair from the same wool (merino wool with possum fur from New Zealand) for my friend. My beginner's luck still held; I prevailed upon my friends to help me steer around the heel once again, and best of all--the socks fit and my friend liked them ---hooray all around.

OK, next socking adventure: socks from a lovely soft bamboo wool--yup the same thing our pandas eat but made into yarn rather than panda food. They knit up like a dream and fit like a charm--size wise. Bamboo is very soft and drapey--lovely for shawls and tops and --well, things unlike socks that need to be more socky. I still love them and wear them with my clogs.

So duly chastened with my exotic wool adventures, I started a pair in --sock wool (blue mostly wool self-patterning). Sometimes I am conventional, honest. I followed the ball band directions for needle size, checked my gauge and went to town. I even did a tension square and checked sizing as I went along. Turned the heel by myself and carried on into the toe, but the fabric was not satisfactory--loosely connected. I made a mid course correction and added another strand of very fine wool. Much nicer fabric--stiffish but more sock like but the sock when done was listless, at best. Having learned all I could from this little sock, I began ripping it out with none of the remorse usually associated with ripping out. The pretty blue tight knit fabric will make a lovely little purse in which I can keep, what else? sock needles.

Happy knitting.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas- Mindin' My Own Knittin'

"Therefore, as we grow older, let us be more thankful that the circle of our Christmas assocations and of the lessons that they bring, expands! Let us welcome every one of them, and summon them to take their places by the Christmas hearth."
----Charles Dickens

While I summon my Christmas associations to my hearth, I will be tending to my own knitting--a variation on the things we said as children--"mind your own beeswax" was a particular favourite at some time for some obscure reason. At any rate, I look forward to a week or so of pulling out my own knit projects. I have a pair of socks for me and an unfinished shawl and all the wool and a pattern set aside for --a jumper, was it? I look forward to digging into those projects--if you stop by this blog, send me a note to let me know what you are working on. I'll make a note of tips and tricks.

Northern Loops picks up again in January. Thank you to all the wonderful folks who made this year possible.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and happy knitting!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

A Letter from America--triangles and squares connecting

On a day when there was far too little sun, I got this email from a friend back in the States, which cheered me considerably, so I want to share it with you all. Perhaps in time we'll have photos of the American triangles to share on the blog as well.

Hi, dear,

I gave the Knit Calendar to a good friend of mine. Here's some background so you can appreciate the significance. I met her at First Friends. She's kind of like a mother to me. She's in her eighties and has been thru some awful times. Having volunteered at hospices, she supported me with notes and conversations when Dad was dying. She often writes supportive and appreciative notes to people. She crochets and knits and makes her own gorgeous clothes and does all kinds of creative things.
She asked me over to her house on Monday. I brought out the calendar and she did indeed want it. I told her briefly about Northern Loops--young and old teaching each other what they know. Last night she called while I was at the Y. Then she called on my cell this morning and left a message. That told me she REALLY wanted to talk to me. What she wanted to tell me was that she figured out how to make the triangles. Then it occurred to her that she could make one part smaller and another part larger, or something like that, and she made a square. She'd never used that stitch in that way before. She was very proud of herself for figuring out all that.
She's going to take the calendar to a monthly craft group that she's in charge of at First Friends, called the Gathering Group. I told her you'd appreciate that, since you're a "Pass it on forward" type of person. Obviously she is too. She is glad young people are involved in the knitting and calendar. I told her I'm glad the shawls are used not only for comfort but also for celebration. And I am. She has lots to celebrate now, whereas a year or two ago she needed comfort.