Knitter Extraordinaire Celebrates a Special Birthday

Happy Birthday Bonnie. May your special birthday be the beginning of a happy new year. March 24th is the day!

When Bonnie was preschool age, her mother gave her fabric and a needle to work alongside her while she sewed. Various aunts and relatives taught her to crochet and then later to knit. being a crocheter first, she knits Continental, holding the yarn in her left hand. Her skill is exemplary.

Last week I photographed Bonnie and many of her lovely knitted things- I met Bonnie a couple of years ago at an in-person Sunday Afternoon Stitch Group held at McWalker Yarns store in Millvale Pennsylvania. This past year during the Pandemic we have “met” online a couple times a week on the Zoom Sit and Stitch groups sponsored by McWalker. Some of you from the Pittsburgh area may have shopped for yarn more than a decade ago in her former store – Bonnie Knits in Monroeville. She has a vast knowledge and experience and is always willing to answer questions or help another knitter decipher pattern directions. Need a little math assistance to figure out gauge? Ask Bonnie.

I haven’t been inside anyone’s home for a long time. We spent a couple of happy hours together and she gave me a peek into her knitting life and home. There are drawers, bins and closets filled with beautifully hand knitted sweaters, skirts, dresses,socks shawls, mittens , gloves and hats Handmade rugs from her mother and a gorgeous quilt made by her great grandmother were heirlooms to admire.

Bonnie welcoming me to her home.
Knit in Rowan Felted Tweed.
Heart Leaf Boxy Jumper by Dee Hardwicke
Four generations photographs. Bonnie is the baby in the middle photo. And the dark haired mother on the right in the far right photo. What a treasure to cherish. Her daughter Kate framed the three photographs together.
Here’s the tile -now look at the rug her mother made below.
Bonnie’s mother made this hooked rug, based on the above tile’s design.
Bonnie showed me her current project.
An Oslo Hat by PetiteKnit -Fibernymphs Grant Avenue colorway Bedazzled Yarn paired with Rowan Kidsilk Haze Mohair from McWalker Yarns
Bonnie’s Bell Collection
Her great grandmothers 48 States quilt embroidered with state flowers.
Pattern
Y-680 Ladies Jacket by Eisaku Noro & Co.,Ltd knit in 2different color-ways of Noro Kuryeon
State Flower Quilt detail
Meet one of her cats- Kisa. Loki was in the basement waiting until I left to come out and sniff where I’d sat on the couch.
Wonder what pattern Bonnie will knit next?
Planted in 1971, her crocus return ever year,

Woolswap Chat Episode 3

Most people who follow the blog know I like to knit. A lot!

I joined Woolswap in 2018. Gayle Stone, of Australia, created the international program in 2016. I have “met” the loveliest woolswappers in many different counties by participating in the program. Gayle does a great job matching up fellow knitters with similar interests.

This evening Gayle filmed our Woolswap Chat -an interview filmed at McWalker Yarns in Millvale Pennsylvania. It’s about 40 minutes long. You can click the link to view if you wish.

Here’s a quick pic of Gayle in Brisbane and me in Millvale at the yarn store. Thanks Amy and Gayle.

Woolswap Zoom interview
Brisbane,Australia/ Millvale Pennsylvania

I’m in Pittsburgh but Photographed by Friend in Australia, Guest Blog

Friday night McWalker Yarns hosts a Sip and Stitch Zoom meeting. A great way to connect during the Pandemic.   While we were knitting and chatting, we started talking Halloween.  One of our participants lives in Australia, so our evening meeting is her morning coffee time.  Gayle was saying it will already be Halloween for her at next Friday Night’s Sip and Stitch Zoom meeting. I thought, wait I will don the mask that is on my dining room table.  I sewed this costume for my son Mark in the early 80s.

So here I am sporting the ET mask and Gayle in Australia photographed me and sent it.  With her gracious permission I am sharing her photo of me.

I “met” Gayle through the Woolswap program she runs, as well as many other knitters around the world, sharing fiber, creativity and inspiration with one another.

 

It’s me. You can see my knitted shawl peeking.

Star Wars Spectacular Handknit Socks

Monday afternoon I popped over to McWalker Yarns store in Millvale.   Robin was working and helped me get a pattern and some Rowan Felted Tweed yarn to make a sweater for the NaKniSweMo Challenge -to knit a sweater in the month of November.  I’ve seen Robin on Zoom Stitch meetings for several months but it was great to see her in person.  AND lucky for me she had the Star Wars socks with her, the ones we’ve been watching the progress on as she knit them during our virtual meetings.

All I can say is WOW. They are something to see.  She is an advanced knitter, clearly.

Meet Robin, attorney by day, knitter extraordinaire on her days off.  Here she is showing her pair of hand knit Star Wars socks.  Amazing work. She says they are a true labor of love and the recipient is a real SW fan so they are going to be thrilled when they unwrap them at Christmas.  Don’t think the recipient will  be seeing the blogpost but want to keep the details vague.  Look at her expert knitting letters with tiny stitches May the Force Be With You. Alas, she created the designs herself by finding a multitude of charts on the internet and adapting them for the scale of socks but perhaps they will inspire you to design your own Star Wars socks.


Posted with gracious consent. Thank you.

 

 

 

Doll Hair Gone Wild

I heard from a friend a couple of weeks ago that her daughter’s doll was having some wild hair and could I possibly knit a doll hat?  Of course. They came to the front porch, masked,  the other morning and brought the dolls so I got to take a before and after photo.  We even had an impromptu knitting lesson with some worsted and those kid needles, where one needle is red and one blue.  I am sure a followup lesson in is our future.

Our favorite hairstylist Lauren suggested a good Dawn Liquid shampoo and a drop of conditioner MIGHT help revive the doll hair.

 

Purchased My First Sock Blank

Wednesday afternoon, Amy at McWalker Yarns in Millvale PA, unboxed several Pittsburgh designs and also Rainbow Sock Blanks created exclusively for McWalker Yarns by Yarn over New York. 

I bought this one- Pittsburgh Skyline with Landmark Bridges snd Buildings 
Will I hang it up as ART or unravel and knit a pair of Pittsburghy Socks?  If you are a knitter, have you knit from a sock blank before?  

From Bluprint Website

“What is a sock blank?”

“A sock blank is a long, rectangular piece of knitted fabric created by a knitting machine and then dyed or stamped with color. The edge of the sock blank isn’t bound off — it’s loose so that you can knit from it, pulling the stitches out as you go. The basic idea behind the sock blank is that you’ll get an amazing yet unpredictable colorway when you knit with it. “

Socks in a Basket

As I folded the pairs, I realized all the hand knit socks I’d made (plus one spring green pair knit my Sabine Bornemann at Die Wollnerin in Berlin) were clean at the same time. It’s the second time I’ve washed all of them since shelter in place started. I read that Sabine’s hand dyed yarn store in Berlin has now reopened, allowing two customers at a time

Lots of places and friends represented by the different yarns from Alaska, Germany, Norway, Arizona, New Zealand, Florida. Can you find the yarn I received for my July 4th birthday? (thanks Joanne). The sock monkey pair? There’s the desert plant dyed yarn and gifts from woolswappers halfway across the globe.

A sense of accomplishment

My new method is the hand wash setting on the machine and hung out to air dry in my bathroom. I used to hand wash them and roll in a towel.

My daughter’s sock drawer she texted me pic a year ago. I see Wonder Woman and Good and Plenty

So You’ve Always Wanted to Knit a Sock? or Not.

So you’ve always wanted to knit a sock?  or not. If not, I hope you’ll return to the blog tomorrow.

A math teacher friend and former colleague is preparing to knit her first pair of socks.  She inspired this hand knit sock post. My friend in Florida who is finishing a pair of socks she started knitting for her son about five years ago and now she has the time to knit the second sock.  I think she is on the toe already.

When I first thought of knitting a pair of socks, I thought it looked too difficult. Now I average a pair a month.   My friends say” it’s too much trouble” but the way I see it, I’d be in trouble if I didn’t have sock knitting in my life.  Especially now as we are staying at home.

A blog post by knitter, author and designer Susan B. Anderson describes in detail  How I Make My Socks and is a great start. There are patterns on Ravelry and videos on YouTube.

These striped socks are knit with some very smart yarn that knows how to stripe all by itself, it’s the way the yarn is dyed.  Looks complicated, doesn’t it? The following 4 pairs of socks are knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Yarn from UK bought at McWalker Yarns in Millvale PA.  Although their physical store is closed you can still order online.  (and if you are out of work you can apply for a $50 mini-grant for yarn to knit a project during isolation due to COVID-19 click name of store to get details or order knitting supplies, sock or otherwise)

This first pair is knit by a friend and neighbor who just started knitting in December.  Her first pair of socks.  She knit them on 2- 16″ circulars, one at a time.  She is a very tidy knitter.  I helped her along the way and she watched a couple of videos but she is now finishing her third pair.  Every once in awhile she needs reassurance she is doing the knitting correctly but she’s got it all by herself now.  I am proud of my excellent student and I think her socks look great!

All West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Yarn

 

You have a smart phone? a smart TV?  Here’s some other smart yarn. And you can wash these socks in the washing machine. There is a handwash setting on my machine  I air dry mine.

There is Regia Yarn by Schachenmayr and cotton yarn Tutti Fruiti II,Regia Design Line or Regia Pairfect by ARNE & CARLOS 4-ply (fingering weight). 75% Virgin Wool and 25% Polyamide. I finished both pairs that are shown  completed. Kid socks (in the middle photos)_are fun to knit and take less time.

 

Allergic to wool?  Here are two skeins of cotton sock yarn and a pair I knit for a friend

If you’re a blog follower, you might remember my poem The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting on an April post four years ago.  

A Handknit Sock

There’s a math to it. The cast on. Count
the multiples of four.
Last year it was hats and cowls.
This year, socks.
I want to try the fish lips kiss heel.

It’s a simple thing. How a sock is knit.
You start with yarn.
Needles as slim as toothpicks.
Terms like toe and gusset and cuff.
My friend says, "it’s too much work."

There’s a rhythm in the repetition.
The making. Clockwise circles.
Some throw, some pick.
Row after row after row.
In time you get length and warmth.

There’s the calm you long for,
around and around and around.
Turn heel for a path to Zen.
You think of those you love.
The grandmother who taught you.

The wet squeezed out,
pairs hang to dry. Later fold
their softness, admire the colors,
ignore imperfections.
Find comfort, hidden in shoes.
My squishy hand knit socks.

or my page on the Comparative Analysis of Knitting Socks when I started six pairs before Christmas using all different methods- two at a time on a  long corded (32″) single circular needle – Magic Loop, there was a single sock on an 8″ circular (that took a few inches to master) a single sock on two 16″ circulars, the set of sharp double point needles- one at a time, and then wooden and metal needles to add to the mix. Toe up, cuff down.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel, Flap and Gusset, Afterthought Heel and Eye of Partridge.

Maybe someone reading this blog post will get some needles and sock yarn and give it a go. If you decide to try it, please share your photos and experience as you start knitting socks.