Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Knitting

How many of you knit in lines while waiting to check out during the holidays? This time of year everywhere I go is crowded, so I always have a sock bag with me with a pair a ongoing socks in it. The nice thing about the sock bags I use is that they have a handle on them. That makes it easy for me to put it on my wrist and knit while standing in line. My favorite socks bags are like these:

My friend Mel makes these for me. She's such a talented seamstress, I keep telling her she should open her own Etsy shop, but she hasn't done it yet. The handle is large enough to fit over your hand and it tends to stay on your wrist while you knit. So everywhere I went this holiday season, the sock knitting went with me. Standing in line at the grocery store, at department stores, wherever. It's amazing how much sock knitting you can get done that way!

There were places that I stood in line as much as forty-five minutes, and instead of getting all stressed out, I just stood there and knitted on my sock. Which garnered quite a few comments, as you can imagine. Children especially seemed quite fascinated by the whole process of my standing there knitting. And, surprisingly, a lot of men seemed quite intrigued by it as well. Especially older men. I actually had a man about seventy-five years old ask me when his socks were going to be finished! He was quite funny and we chatted while I knitted and we waited in line.

The thing that amazes me about knitting in long lines like that is how much conversation it can generate as well. There is nothing like fun or funny conversations to make the time go faster and to remind you that is really is a special time of year. Slowing down and doing something to de-stress can really make you feel much happier about the holidays instead just upset about all the things you still have to do.

I hope you all had a great holiday, and I wish you happiness and lots of knitting in the new year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today is the day for us to feed all the neighborhood children too much candy and allow them to run wild through the streets dressed as their favorite character. I don't know about where you live, but for me I can't possibly get any knitting done with the constant having to answer the door to give out candy. I love the really little kids. They are always so darling in their little costumes, many of them too shy to even say Trick or Treat, so Mom or Dad has to say it.

I did finish my Halloween socks. Every October first I start a pair, and it is the knitting I carry with me all month while I'm waiting at doctor's offices, etc. I don't know about everyone else, but I don't do well knitting socks at home. I find it tedious to knit them for more than an hour or so. I generally work on larger projects at home, like sweaters or shawls, and carry socks with me as my outlaw knitting. They are easy and portable. I knit Halloween socks in October, since people always comment on my knitting. So when people ask, it's fun to say that I'm knitting Halloween socks and show them. I'm calling this particular pair "Frankenstein's Brew Socks". The yarn is from Dyelectable Yarns http://dyelectableyarns.bigcartel.com/ and the color was one of a run of self-striping Halloween colors she did. This one was called "Radioactive Brew". It reminds me so much of Frankenstein, that I've taken to calling them my Frankenstein socks. These are the socks I was knitting at the Pumpkin Festival, you can just barely see the colors of them in that post, in case you were curious.

Here is a close up of the pattern. Don't you just love the way it makes those little up and down ridges with the little yarn overs down the row? Very clever pattern and it was a really fun knit. The repeats of the pattern are easy to memorize, and they literally felt like they flew off my needles. The pattern is a free one from Knitty.com called Broadripple http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer03/PATTbroadripple.html.

I hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Friends, Knitting and Pumpkins

Located in Southern California, in a suburb of the San Fernando Valley, lies a small city called Calabasas. They are famous for their annual Pumpkin Festival. Having lived near the city for more than twenty years, it's not something I go to regularly. But this year was special. A friend that I "know" from Ravelry was traveling through our state while on vacation with her husband.
She lives in Chicago, so she was a long way from home, and this may be our only chance to actually meet face to face. When she found out about the Pumpkin Festival, she scheduled in a Saturday of her vacation to go and for us to meet up there, in person, for the very first time. You see, Michelle has a serious thing for pumpkin. It's one of her favorite foods, so the idea of a festival with food booths and pumpkin themes was a wonderland to her.

Saturday dawned a little foggy and cool, but being Southern California it burned off by ten am or so. I arrived at the gate of the Pumpkin Festival, excited to finally meet up with her. We were texting back and forth on our phones trying to locate each other. We finally found one another and we were off on our adventure of exploring every booth, exhibit and pumpkin food concoction ever thought up.

One of the most interesting food items that we found was a pumpkin whoopie pie. I just had to take a picture of it to show people. Isn't it amazing what food creations people can come up with when there is a theme involved? I didn't try the whoopie pie but Michelle did. She said it was good but very rich. We also sampled pumpkin cakes, pies, cheesecake, cookies, scones and a score of other pumpkin goodies. There were even things like Pumpkin Olive Oil, Pumpkin Spice Vinegar, Pumpkin Salsa and other oddities.

When it came time for lunch, we weren't all that hungry, but the food choices were endless. I don't know what it's like where you live, but in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, Food Trucks are big business. They have competitions, cook offs and you can actually get a Twitter feed from your favorite food truck so you can find it when you have a craving for it. Every time they change their location during the day, they post it on Twitter. (Just for the record, I don't follow any food truck tweets.)

The Pumpkin Festival had scores of Food Trucks. They were all parked toward the back side of the festival, so we headed that direction. There were so many choices! Besides the typical Fair foods, like funnel cakes, kettle corn, and deep fried items, you could have Thai food, barbecue, Mexican food, pulled pork, smoked tri-tip roast or chicken, burgers and fries and endless other choices. Michelle and I settled on splitting a Chicken Quesadilla from the Mexican food truck and were fortunate enough to find an empty table with an umbrella for shade. Which was a good thing, because at this point it was about ninety degrees and we were hot, thirsty and needed to sit a bit.

We also met up with another Ravelry friend while we were there. She and her family go to the Pumpkin Festival every year, she lives right there in Calabasas. So Dani met up with us while we were eating and took a few minutes away from her kids and the rest of her family to chat with us. I met Dani on Ravelry several years ago, and when we realized we only lived ten minutes from each other, we have been best friends ever since.

Of course, being good little Outlaw Knitters, we both had sock knitting with us, so after we ate we sat in the shade, resting and chatting and knitting on our socks. Both of us had cast on Halloween socks a few days before, which we thought was amusing.

After our rest we went and explored another section of the festival. Here we bought matching Calabasas Pumpkin Festival tee shirts. That's Michelle in the picture holding hers up. That was at the booth for the City of Calabasas. I also bought a canvas bag with a pumpkin on it because we all know that you just can't have too many knitting bags!

Sadly, before we knew it, the day was over and it was time for us to go.

We had a great time, even if it was hot, and said our goodbyes. Is there anything better than meeting up with friends and spending the day chatting, eating and knitting? I don't think so.

Friday, October 14, 2011

National I Love Yarn Day!

October 14th is national I Love Yarn Day! This year is the first year of this declared holiday. Who thought it up? The Craft Yarn Council. Yes, there really is such a thing. According to their website the purpose of I Love Yarn Day is to: Show it off, tag with it, carry it, gather with friends. Declare your LOVE! Get involved. While I Love Yarn Day is a time to share your passion by knitting or crocheting in public and teaching others how to engage in your craft of choice, it is also a time to get more involved in charity crafting and use social media to share your wares and love for yarn.

Whoever thought this up deserves a medal. Who loves yarn more than knitters? So go out in public with your knitting and show everyone you support this commemorative day brought to us by the Yarn Craft Council.