Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Wheel Fairy

When I began knitting I didn't feel like I needed a group and didn't seek anything out.  Eventually I did appreciate the virtual ways knitters get together, either via podcasts or board chatting on Ravelry.  As I became more involved in the virtual I also started seeking out groups that met near me.  My local library had a nice group that met twice monthly but it slowly feel apart when it lost it's library support.  

The greatest way I've met knitters has been through Instagram.  Not too long after I joined, mostly to use the pic editing options, I thought to look for knitting pics.  Soon it seemed to me that knitters (crochet and spinning too!) had taken over!  Now I was chatting with names in the craft that were big!  

I finally took a step outside my comfort zone and went to a knitting retreat, Knitting in the Mitten (KitM).  I'd talked virtually with people who would be there so I felt like I knew them.  I only went for one day but that was enough to get to know some great people.  

One of the people I'd been lucky enough to met was KaRi.  She occasionally held a knit group at her house.  It was a little drive for me but I decided to go, then she let me in on some news.  She wouldn't be able to use her spinning wheel for several months and wanted to loan it to me!  What a dream!  A ladybug wheel with all the accessories I could ever imagine.  So I put spinning at the top of my to do and now at about 3 mos in I've finished 10 skeins.  

I'm always saving and trying to get to a point where a wheel I liked could be purchased.  Checking craigslist and eBay, finally thinking maybe a new wheel would be necessary.  

Then someone posted a wheel available on a Ravelry board and KaRi brought it to my attention.  Little did I know she did more than that.

I got in touch with the person destashing the wheel.  I saw pics and knew what it was worth with all the accessories.  It was going to be a squeeze getting that amount together on short notice but I thought I'd come up with a plan.  We talked on the phone for what I thought was arranging for me to try the wheel.  First, she told me this lovely story of how she came to have this wheel.  I might have some details a bit off because I may have gone into a bit of a shock during this call but I want to record the great story behind this so here it goes...

G knew a woman who had a farm with alpaca (? Sheep?) and she came up with the amazing idea to spin a fleece and knit her a sweater.  But she'd never spun and didn't have a wheel.  She went forward anyway, getting a fleece from the husband and processing it herself.  Then she took the fiber and went to an LYS and said I want to spin this, do you have a wheel I can borrow?  She had no intentions of becoming a spinner...  She spoke with Jo and she said she'd arrange it.  But when G went to pick up the wheel to borrow she got a note saying it was hers to keep.  She never intended to keep it but got to work spinning, planning to return it when she finished.  During the time she was spinning, her daughter had to see a doctor whom she recognized to be Jo's husband.  She brought up the kind act briefly and they went on to the matter at hand.  Months later, G heard that Jo had sadly passed away unexpectedly.  She started trying to get in touch with the family, thinking they'd surely want this piece of Jo back.  Getting no responses, G kept spinning and thinking of ways to get in touch with them, finally trying the husband's number.  A daughter answered and after introductions G told her she felt she needed to return this wheel as she only meant to borrow it.  The daughter told her, no, Jo put the wheel right where she wanted it to be.  Enjoy it, use it once a year and think of Jo as you spin.  Besides, Jo had 7 wheels and it would crush dad to bring back another!  

At some point G and KaRi spoke about me, my love for spinning and the struggle to save enough for this expensive equipment, as a mom with three growing kids.  That's when G became my Wheel Fairy.  Knowing she wouldn't spin, she wanted the wheel to go to a good home.  Somewhere it would be used, appreciated and not sold.  She wanted to just give it to me!  Absolutely refusing any sort of repayment.  

Just like magic, my Wheel Fairy arrived to drop off my (!) wheel.  Thoughtful as she is, she even brought cookies for my kids, who had to put off plans for me to receive this gift.  We chatted a bit and she again told me beautiful tidbits of info about this wheel's story.  We will surely cross paths again!

One of the last stipulations for taking this wheel was that Jo be thought of...  I know people often name their wheels, so it seemed to me the best way I could honor Jo and think of her often was to name my wheel Jo!

So here is Jo, my Ashford Traditional, on her inaugural spin!

The connections we make as knitters, spinners and such, even virtually, can become a community where we share, not just the love for the craft, but the tools as well.

I know when this story started it was perhaps a little difficult to see where it was going, but I hope it makes sense now.

I must also speak a bit about paying it forward.  Lately I've been trying to share the knitting love more.  I finally knit a blanket for charity, I began swapping items with others and giving away prizes on my podcast.  I gave away some of my designs for free and sent yarn & patterns to an amazing woman who knits chemo caps. Now, I know these things aren't necessary connected to my good fortune of having something gifted to me, but it certainly makes it feel more significant.  There are still parts of life that don't seem fair and no matter how much you pay it forward, you just don't feel the return.  But when you're least expecting it, I think it's most likely to happen. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

DenKnits 2.14 Hooked!

Celebrate my birthday with a FREE pattern or two...  Scrappy Stripes and Asymmetricowl are both free until the end of July.  Scrappy Stripes will come back with a matching mitts pattern included and Asymmetricowl will be available for paid download on Ravelry or as a kit at my Square Market shop!

Finished Objects - Log Cabin Blanket is completely finished!

Works in Progress - Bonny; Harvest; Leaf lace scarf of my design out of Darn Good Yarn Silk Cloud yarn

Hooked - I finally learned crochet!  Stashless podcast is having a New Discoveries Craft along so I was trying to learn this and debcquilts realized I might be left handed!  She sent me YouTube links to naztazia's channel for left hand crochet and I learned immediately.  I also used a link from ewecreekcottage for Granny Squares from iknitwithcatfur's YouTube channel.  My cousin also told me of a great channel for learning crochet, CrochetGeek on YouTube, who has videos for left and right hand crochet.  thehighfiberdiet was my back up for an in person lesson should I need it but I was successful with videos.  Thanks also to jadee666 and someryarns for cheering me on via Instagram :-)

Spinning - Finished the remaining ~2oz green fiber ball from the LYS, got presoak yardage of over 200yds in a 2-ply; Onto the last color of the Lunabud gradient batt, hoping to learn navajo ply for a 3-ply keeping the colors together

Designing - Working on items for FiberAddiction for upcoming fiber events.  Wool and Wine is at the end of July and Michigan Fiber Fest in August.  My free Twisted Rib Fingerless Mitts pattern is being extended and a shop sample was knit up in the Therapy base.  My Owl Netbook Pattern and Formulas has been revised to include iPad dimensions and a heavy worsted weight yarn, Emily's Medicated base.  This will also be a booth sample for her and she will have the pattern for sale.  Currently working through a hat design new for her in her sock base.

For sale, swap or barter - Still have items available for sale, swap or barter.  Some items are gone but they can be re-knit and current items can be requested in different colors and so on.  I've received many crochet squares from Akhila that are all amazing!  I look forward to a couple more packages of squares and would love to have more!

Thanks to everyone that shares their finished objects with the group!  Since I'm not doing a KAL and we are celebrating, I did a drawing from all the shared items so far (excluding people who are no longer group members).  If you shared more than 5 items you're name was put in the bag twice!  The two winners are chikwithyarn who is Donna from Wichita and KristiRose, Kristi from Louisiana.  Congrats!  Your options are either a $5 or less Ravelry download or a package of something fun we can decide on.  I look forward to doing this again in August.

I forgot to mention, and how could I?, that the Asymmetricowl was at the top of the "Hot Right Now" patterns on Ravelry!  Thanks to woolsundae for bringing it to my attention :-)

Sara Pomegranate from the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast is having a craft along for all things asymmetrical!  My cowl is perfect for this so I let her know and she shared it with her listeners :-). Thanks Sara!  Love her idea of using handspun for this cowl!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

DenKnits 2.13 - Birthday Month!

Are you on Instagram?  Do you want a little inspiration for the pictures you post?  Join the #trelizgoesdenmoma #trelizpadc !  This is a challenge to post a picture a day based on a prompt that you choose from a list of over 30 that is a collaboration between myself and Lise, who also has a birthday this month :-)

Designing - Scrappy stripes, hats made with less than 50g of different scrap yarns; Asymmetricowls, simple knit cowls with bulky yarns and a button; these will both be available for FREE in July!  Scrappy stripes is up now!  Scrappy stripes will come back with an accessory to go with the hat and Asymmetricowls will be back on the Square market shop as a kit

Finished Objects - Besides the hats and cowls I made a chemo cap for a virtual friend's friend

Works in Progress (still?!?) - Bonny by Tincanknits out of Dragonfly Fibers Squishy Lace; Blanket from log cabin squares; new cast-on Harvest by Tincanknits out of Encore Worsted Tweed for The High Fiber Diet's Autumnal Equinox KAL

Giveaway coming!  CoggieTM has offered up her soon to be released cowl pattern which I test knit for a podcast giveaway

Acquisitions - LYS final closing sale, 7 skeins of Encore Worsted Tweed for the Harvest sweater, 2 Tshirt cakes, 3 skeins of Encore Worsted Colorspun, 3 Jojoland Tonic for KISSy the sheep by CoggieTM, a locally made skein and an over 8oz ball of 80% wool/20% silk green fiber

Spinning - Set aside the Lunabud batt to begin the newly acquired green fiber as a possible gift for a (perhaps not capital 'K'?) knitter MIL whose birthday was in less than a week!  I finished singles of over half the ball and 2-plied until one bobbin was clean and the 2nd had less than half.  The skein has been soaked, thwacked and dried, to be gifted today if I can part with it!

Summer top KAL winner (by default) is Orange-Maid!  Congrats to Helen, we will work out a prize for you :-)

Available for swap or sale - Blog post has all my currently available to ship finished items that are available for sale, barter or swap.  I'm still collecting squares, preferrably crochet but I would love knit also, to put together for a fun blanket.  I am also trying to par down my current stock to make room for some more 'boutique' style items as I move from Etsy to Square Market.

Share with the DenKnits group - Project pages on Ravelry give you the option to share with groups you are a member of, share with the DenKnits group because I love seeing the finished objects!  Besides being inspiring to myself and others, they might win you a little something as part of my sharing the birthday love!