Friday, June 26, 2009

We Are in Greece, but ...

our luggage stayed in London. We missed our connection at Heathrow, and got to Athens via Vienna (sic!) just in a nick of time. But now we are on the island of Alonissios and it has been 54 hours without a change of clothes.
Tomorrow is the wedding and I will knit 1/3 of my Athenian Holiday to have to cover my shoulders. I have a dress that I bought from the photographer, but it is sleevles. The other two hanks of cotton are - you guessed it - at the airport either in Athens or Skiathos. So onlye 1/3 of a shawl for me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Off to Greece for a Fortnight."

I just finished packing. Two adults and two kids means a lot of luggage. We are travelling through England and will have a 3 hour wait in the middle of the night at Heathrow, so I need to plan for entertaining two cranky and tired kids. Then the flight to Athens, then a 4 hour drive to Kamenavourla from where we shall take a ferry to Alonissios on Friday morning.
Yes, it is very far, and yes, it borders on insanity to do this with two energetic and high maintenance kids, but Jimm's friend is getting married there and we were invited. No, they are not channelling Mamma Mia! - he is Greek and wants to get married in Greece. But it is pretty far...
We will stay on the island for five days, then spend four days in Athens and London each (that's why the non-direct flight, something I stay away from as much as possible; it is such a waste of time to change planes).
I packed some knitting - Athenian Holiday (duh!) and Turcs & Caicos II. I may take Soozn Bramble as well, but can't seem to find it right now.
So here we go.

PS. The title is a quote from "Shirley Valentine".

Monday, June 22, 2009

Margaret’s Moss Scarf.

This is a simple crochet scarf I made after I discovered the versatility and beauty of the crochet seed stitch (also known as moss stitch). I like that there are no obvious rows or lines as happens with single or double crochet. Switching them up in this pattern blurs the lines and produces a lovely thick fabric with a wonderful drape.

I whipped up four and stopped only halfway through the fifth, blue scarf. I guess at that point I was just spent. I used Lion's Brand CottonEase, but it should look great in any yarn. The IC Stone City Scarf uses seed stitch and Noro Kureyon sock yarn and it looks dreamy.

Moss Stitch Pattern:
Chain a multiple of 2 ch plus 1.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, dc in next ch, *1 sc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch; rep from * across. Ch 1, turn.
Row 2: *Sc in next ch, dc in next ch, rep from* across.
Repeat row 2 for pattern

One skein of Cotton Ease, cotton/acrylic, Aran / 10 ply (8 wpi).
Hook: 4mm/G.

Cast on loosely 21 stitches using the hook recommended for yarn or go up 2 mm in size. Otherwise the cast on will be too tight and the scarf will narrow at one end. Turn, make 1 sc into the second stitch from end and work in pattern to the end.
Work in pattern until scarf is 60“ or desired length, or until you just about run out of yarn.

Rnd 1 (RS) Single crochet around evenly, making sure the work lies flat, working 3 sc in each corner, join rnd with a sl st in first sc.

Rnd 2 (WS). Do not turn, working from left to right (opposite from normal crochet) sc in each st around, join round with a sl st in first sc. Bind off.

Cut five 10” strands of the yarn. Attach a single tassel in one of the corners (Margaret’s trademark!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knitting for Baby.

I am knitting a baby blanket for our former baby-sitter. I have already finished a kimono jacket and a bib. I know the sex of the baby, but am not allowed to divulge it so I chose white, yellow, red and taupe.

I am knitting gifts for this baby – a child of a woman I like. I am not knitting for some baby that may be born at some time in the future and for whom I might need a gift at a short notice. If I care enough to give somebody something, it should be knitted/bought/prepared just for that person/baby/relative.

When my first son was born, a friend gave me a hat and sweater set. They were lovely, in a nice blue yarn and in an intricate lacy pattern; but it was quite a dated design and not very flattering (yes! there are things that are flattering and not flattering for babies). It turned out that the set came from a stash of baby clothes that she had knitted over the years “just in case”. No, not just in case she got pregnant and needed a layette, but just in case somebody she knew had a baby and she needed a gift.

Now, the thing about babies is that they come with about nine months’ warning. If you cannot make a baby gift in that time you should probably consider buying something – for that specific baby, at this specific time. Buy a hand-knit, if that is your desire. I am sure that the mother will appreciate it more than a gift knitted “just in case” for just any nameless baby. My friend knew about my pregnancy and the sex of my baby for as long as I knew – about 28 weeks.

The same goes for buying gifts in bulk when travelling. I was a recipient of a nice printed batik place mats and a runner brought from India. The giver went on and on about how she always brings loads of stuff from her trips “just in case she needs gifts” in the future. I am not complaining about the gifts that I have received, but this “gift preparadness policy” irks me. It is quite popular, I know. But I do prefer something bought or knit for me, because it shows that the giver was thinking about me at the time of purchase or about me and my baby during the many hours of knitting the baby gift.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Knitting Reading.

You can read about knitting and you can read knitting.

A few years back I read Barbara Delinsky's "Family Tree". It is a good book about a family confronting its prejudices and biases in the face of their baby's genetic destiny. Driven by the plot I read it very fast, and I did not notice at all that a huge part of the story was set in a yarn store! The protagonist's grandmother runs a yarn store where the girl grew up. There are descriptions of knitted baby clothes, a baby blanket made by the yarn store regulars, yarns' being unpacked at the change of seasons, a Feroese shawl pattern. There are calming knitting rituals. A stash is mentioned by name. And I missed it! I picked the book up again, because I saw it displayed at a yarn store I visited recently and wondered why it was there.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TTC Knitalong

I was in the West Team led by Yvette, Lisa and Susan - thanks ladies! I brought my camera, but was too busy to take pictures, sorry!

Visited: The Village Yarns, The Yarn Boutique, The Knit Cafe, Americo (wonder of wonders!) and Romni. Also run into Mokuba ribbon store and run out because of compete sensory overload.

Bought: Debbie Bliss Eco Yarn for sister (2 balls), Louet Euroflax Sport in charcoal (4 skeins) and Cotton Flame from Americo in taupe (3 skeins).

Got as a gift: 15mm battery powered needles for knitting in the dark, small ball of green Smooshy and one ball of fun yarn in dark orange - my favourite colour! From the lady at Village Yarns. Thank you!

Met: Kerry, Holly and Yun - three really fun ladies with sticks!

See you next year!