My Bae: Knitting 

According to the Urban Dictionary, the  word “bae” means “before anyone else.” It is usually a pet name for someone with whom one would cuddle up.

Lately, the only cuddling up I do is with a hot water bottle, on the sofa, binge watching Prison Break with my latest W.i.P.  and a cup of mocha—

And this pleases me greatly.

In an age when instant gratification seems to be the end-all-be-all of our mortal existence, the sublime little happiness of spending days/weeks/months on a single garment is lost on so many people. Knitting socks or crocheting a blanket is a long love affair. Each stitch or chain grows with our affection for the person for who we are making the thing. But not everyone gets it.

Case in point, the following is a transcript of a conversation between me and an old colleague.

Roger: “YOU knit?!”

Me: “Yeah.”

Roger: “How many balls of wool do you need to make a jumper?”

Me: “Depends on the jumper.”

Roger: “Like… for me. How much?”

Me: “Depends on the pattern… depends on the size needles… depends on the yarn…”

Roger: “Guess-timate…”

Me: “Let’s see… for this pattern, your build would need something like 12 skeins with this particular wool would be about £52 maybe more.”

Roger: “How long would it take?”

Me: “Depends, again… I got work…I got stuff to do… books… kids….etc…”wp-1464102803138.jpeg

Roger:”So a long time?”

Me: (nods and makes an emoticon-worthy scrunchie face).

Roger: “I could just go to the cheap shop and buy one for half the price tomorrow.”

Me: “Yeah.”

Roger: “I don’t see why you would bother.”

Me:” I wouldn’t bother… for YOU anyway.”

Obviously, the guy I was talking to was not my “Bae”. People who mean the most to me are the ones who get showered with my time, affection and my knitting. I think of all the things I have knitted up since I first learned how to knit almost 10 years ago, I have only knitted a handful of things for myself. The rest go to those that come before anyone else. Which is a beautiful thing.

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Of Knitting Circles, Eclectic Abyss & The Project of Shame

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Il Knitterati, IlumiKnitty & Knitting Knijas logo Sponsered by Yankee Yarns Stitch & Bitch courtesy @BakerHobbies

You would think one would be satisfied with being a member of one crafty club. After speaking to several of the ladies in my milieu, I realised I am not alone in the fact that sometimes one circle is not enough. Most of the ladies belong to spinning guilds, sewing bees, craft groups as well as regular knitting circles. The ladies I know may as well create some kind of logo inspired by the olympic rings with all the clubs and organisations they belong to! The knowledge and inspiration that comes from such associations are truely mind enhancing.

“I think my next thing is to get a loom,” said Rachel Williams of the Knitting Kninjas and W.I. I never thought about using a loom until just that moment. Rachel talked a bit about it as she crocheted, ruminating out-loud on where she would fit a loom in her house. Lizzie Vershowske, member of the Knitting Kninjas and The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers said she often thought of getting a loom. 20170215_185215However, as the owner of four spinning wheels and a handsome stash of yarn, she would not know whether she would be able to compete for space in the house she shares with her husband (who has his own sizable hobbies). These ideas flowered in my head rendering me into an eclectic stupor as I sat knitting my third pair of socks. The conversation meandered into knitting and crochet holiday destinations like Cornwall, Scotland and France. I snapped out of a dreamy trance, as I enthusiastically shouted “Let’s do this!” as if I was on some kind of adventure party. Roll that dice, we are on a side quest!IMG_20161019_142611

Of course not all the ladies were present that night. Sometimes life with its endless tug of responsibility does keep us from our crafts. One very lovely lady (who shall remain nameless and blameless) had a credible excuse for not being able to attend. She and her partner were to go car shopping because they have been cruising with the devil in their deathtrap of a car. However, she did drop in the fact that she hoped to attend the next months session with a different project and not the one that she has been working on for the last three knitting circles. Her Project of Shame is the one that she just cannot seem to finish for one reason or other.

“It’s only the tiniest of jumpers and I have only got this far,” she said indicating a measure of about 40 rows using her hands. I think we all have a project like this. Mine is wallowing in what I can only describe as My Project Oubliette.

So many of us work on multiple projects. The thing is, eventually we are meant to finish them. I know that many of the ladies I know actually DO finish their projects to perfection. But then, here is me who has been working on the same sparkly gold Christmas jumper for the last three years. It has languished in my Project Oubliette all but forgotten as I go on to buy more and more interesting skeins of yarn and print out all sorts of someday projects. Yes. I have a Project of Shame.

I think it is time to go down into the dungeon and pull out the sparkly Christmas jumper and get working on it again before I start any more projects. I currently have three on the go as well as looking for time to knit poppies for November. I am now resolute to finish it at my weekly knitting circle. If you would like to check up on me and my progress, do come to Yankee Yarns on Mondays at 7:30. 

Let Them Knit Cake!!!

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There is not much I take seriously. What I do take seriously is cake. These days the cake has taken our shop by storm in the form of Caron Cakes.

The colours are so rich, you just want to eat them up. The best bit is there are no calories in this kind of cake.

Let me shoot you some stats on this multipurpose yarn:

  • Can be used for knitting, crocheting
  • Multi-Project Versatile that grows quite fast!
  • Variegated (five vibrant colours in each ball)
  • Weight: Medium Worsted ( like 10 ply, Aran)
  • Contents: 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
  • Skein Weight: 7.1 oz./ 200g
  • Yardage: 383 yds. / 350 m
  • Knitting Gauge: 18 sts – 24 rows = 4″ (10 cm)
  • Crochet Gauge: 13 sc – 14 rows = 4″ (10 cm)
  • Suggested Knitting Needle: 5 mm, US – 8
  • Suggested Crochet Hook: 5 mm, US – H/8

You can find lots of ideas and patterns to crochet or knit on Ravelry. Alternatively, you can just come into the shop and our Resident Designer, Jenny, will be happy to help you out.

Before I heard of this yarn, I had no idea that the term “cake” was in reference to the yarn ball type. Every day is, indeed, a school day! I found out on Interweave that yarn comes wound up in one of  11 + 1 ways! I had to look them up but here is a list with my take on each one.

YARN BALL TYPES 1

Hank– Sounds like a cowboy with a lasso. It’s basically just yarn wrapped around and tied. This is the best way to use it when you are using hand looms.

Folded Hank- a neater version of the cowboy. This cowboy is going courtin’. But when you need to use it, you will need a partner who will hold it for you looped on their arms while you gossip and wind it into a ball.

Twisted Hank or Skein the cowboy with his knickers in a twist because he needs the bathroom and has crossed his legs… Skein is the generic term we all seem to call any ball of yarn. But I especially like it when it is twistd up like this. The wizards who hand-dye sell their works in this manner. It really captures the colours and how they blend and work into

Pull Skein- Basically, these are ready to use as you pull the yarn from the centre and just knit. But they do get a little sloppy towards the end so you end up winding it into a ball.

Bullet Skien- quite possibly the most common way we see our yarn for sale. Incidentally, this is the best way to stash them in a pillow cushion so your husband has no idea how much yarn you actually stash…. shhh

 

 

YARN BALL TYPES 2

Ball-  In the words of William Butler Yeats from his poem The Second Coming, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” So you wind this sucker up tight, plop it in a lovely in a yarn bowl in a decorative part of your living room near your Yarniverse!

Donut Ball- I just got a mental image of two cops in their patrol car parked behind a billboard knitting away with fluffy cashmere doughnut balls in a box between them. Oh, the joy!

Hard Core Ball- So this type of yarn ball has nothing to do with Basketball’s Goon Squad like Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman or Philly 76ers Charles Barkley. It has to do with skinny yarn like the kind used for making nets and wound up tight. Booyeah.

Cone- this is often associated with cheap granny yarn that you find up in the loft. You get lots and lots of yardage on this bad boy. It’s not old-fashioned anymore, however. Sugar ‘n’ Cream has lots of its cotton yarn in fresh new colours on cones with names like Ahoy or Faded Denim.

Cake- Ah ha!!! Remember those Hanks? Well, you get cakes from them when you wind them up. Click to see a video HERE!

 

These are the 11 types of balls. According to Interweave, there is one more that lurks at the bottom of your stash called the ***Hankenstien***

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Though Poppies Grow…

It may seem a bit early to talk about Remembrance Day. After all, Armistice Day is in November. We have only just started to do our merry dance into spring! Oddly enough, it was in the spring of 1915 that a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in the razed fields. The poppy was one of the only plants to grow in the fields after the war ripped through it. His good friend had fallen in Ypres in WWI and the sight of the scarlet flowers waving in the breeze moved him so much that he wrote his now famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.

The Mansfield District Council is organising a Poppy Parade for Remembrance Day. This is unlike any yarn bomb I have ever seen. The Council is calling on all local (and not so local) Knitters and Crocheters to make poppies.

REMEMBER POPPY PARADE All the knitted and crocheted poppies will be gathered in October and sewn together to create an enormous curtain in Mansfield town centre. Your poppies can be dropped off at the Mansfield Civic Centre. Alternatively, you can either drop them off or send them to us at Yankee Yarns. That’s right! We are working along side of the Council to make this happen! After the last yarn bomb to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, we are committed to making this bigger and better.

“This will be HUGE,” said Sara, our Fearless Leader. “We were approached and we are stepping up!”

You can click here to download and print the free patterns.

REMEMBER CROCHET

REMEMBER KNIT

Then again, you may have a favourite poppy pattern of your own. These are very welcome, too!!! Join us!