Stitches Recap Day 1

I’m feeling snarly this morning.  I am definitely a night person.  I love staying up late, knitting, reading or watching tv.  I just love the house when it is dark and quiet and I know everyone in tucked inside where they should be.  However, I’ve been working really hard to get up at an insanely early hour early to work out several times a week.  I’ve been attending a class, but when I can’t make it to the class I try to run at the YMCA instead.  This morning a got up, and since it was an off day for the class, I planned to hit the elliptical machine.  People had the gall to be at my YMCA taking up all the elliptical machines.  Even the one that I don’t like that has the handles that move back and forth as you run.  I didn’t want to bike and the one treadmill that was open just looked sketchy.  So I decided to do the Nautilus machines instead.  Humph.  I just don’t feel like I got that cathartic, lung searing workout that I wanted.

I’ll get over it.  Let’s talk about something more fun.  Like Stitches.  Like my Bohus Stickning Class at Stitches.  By the way, I learned how to say Bohus.  It’s Boo-hoose and it’s a county in Sweden.  (I’m assuming that if my notes are incorrect, someone will nicely correct me on all this.)  The very condensed version of how Bohus started was that in the 30’s in Sweden they were in the midst of a Depression just like we were.  Most of the men of that county were workers in the quarries. Since quarry production was down due to the invention of asphalt, families were desperately poor and didn’t know where to turn to.  Several women got together and went to the governor’s wife, Emma, for help.

Emma, brilliant woman that she was, came up with the idea of knitting haute couture sweater for fashionable European women.  Each knitter earned 1/3 of the purchase price of the sweater.  The sweaters were distributed all over Europe and the United States for over 30 years.  Now, imagine being a woman in the 1930’s, whose husband perhaps isn’t real crazy with the idea of you earning money.  You’ve already put in a full day; cooking for your family, washing the clothes by hand, milking and perhaps making butter.  Now you have to knit a sweater with laceweight yarn on size 00 needles in poor lighting.  And if you don’t finish this sweater in 3 months, it will be the last Bohus sweater you make.  That’s not a threat, it’s just that Emma figured that if you can’t finish a sweater in 3 months, you don’t really need the money.

Suzanna Hansson was an amazing teacher.  She definitely has a passion for the subject and was able to convey that passion to us.  I loved that we started out the class knitting a sampler.  We each got enough yarn to knit wristers.  I’m hoping to make mine into mittens eventually.  Although I did rediscover that I need reading glasses for fine work like this.  I ended up borrowing a pair from the very nice knitter I sat with because my eyes were killing me.  Now all I need is to discover the money tree in the back yard so that I can buy a kit directly from Sweden.

Sorry for the orientation on this one.  I’m rushing off to get to work.  🙂

Knitting for Babies

There’s a lot of baby knitting going on at my house right now.  No, I’m not pregnant, I just happen to know a lot of women who have recently given birth.  Around here, babies tend to come in groups of three. 

The hat above is the Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap, this is my third time knitting this cap.  It’s made out of sock yarn and goes incredibly fast.  Plus, the little points over the ears and forehead help to keep baby warm.  The booties are from Knitting for Baby and are also a favorite of mine.  I’ve knit so many of these booties that I pretty much can knit them without reading the pattern.  I believe they’re called the Stay On Baby Booties, and they really do stay on.  They look a little like Moon Boots at first because the sides are so high, but when you think about how round a newborn’s foot is, it makes a lot of sense. 

Yarn:  Aslan Trends, Santa Fe – colorway 1324.  Machine wash in cold (but if your name is Darla, tell your hubby to hand wash in cold because we’ve been through this before).  One skein makes both the booties and the hat. 

Modifications:  The only modification was to the strings on the cap.  I find I-cord insanely boring, so I cast on stitches and then bind off in the next row.  It works just fine for me and is less boring. 

This little hat is to use up some leftover yarn that I had in my stash.  It’s headed to SMDC’s Birthcenter to warm the head of some little newborn. 

Pattern:  Thorpe.  I’ve been dying to try this pattern since Halloween when a group of trick-or-treaters came to my door decked out in Thorpe’s.  I recognized the hats as being most likely handknit and then searched out the pattern.  It’s easily done in a variety of sizes. This is worsted weight yarn on size 6 needles. 

Yarn:  Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton.  I bought this at Yarn Harbor probably 2 years ago with baby knits in mind.  The only bummer to this gorgeous yarn is that it’s hand wash only.  I think this is due to the way the yarn is plyed.  Cotton has very short fibers so it generally is spun very tightly and then either cable plied or you’ll see lots of plies together.  This is a two ply yarn and frankly, I’m a bit worried as to how it will wear.  For newborn items, since they won’t be worn for long, I’m not going to worry too much. 

Modifications:  The only modification I made was leaving out the ties.  Mostly because it’s being donated to the hospital and I know people get a little worried about strings and babies.  Heck, I get worried about strings and babies.  My husband likes this hat so much that he requested one in his size.