Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Knitting Contrisstmas Day 24: Knit Group

It is Christmas Eve, can you believe it? Almost time for the main event! Grab a mug of Chai, a glass of eggnog, some hot cocoa, or your favorite libation and curl up with my Knit Group. I admit, I'm partial but my Sunday afternoon knit group is the very best in the world. We are a very diverse group in everything and it is always a great time to discuss food, movies, books, politics, sex and even knitting and crocheting!

A small group of us gathered around food and drink with projecto discuss what we thought were some of the hottest things in knitting 2008. Your list may well be different (and please share!), from the group I bring you bits of our chat. (Sorry, no politics, relgion, or sex---- maybe next time, ha!)

KC: What do you think was the hottest knitting pattern of the year or your favorite knit? No.... you didn't have to knit it, just recognize it for making The Buzz.

: (teacher, civil war reenactor, part time knit shop employee and knitter): I'd have to say Yoel's Kangaroo! That was such a cute pattern and a lot of people knit it!

Leonora- (retired, part time knit shop employee, rabid knitter and usually the senior member of knit group, to our delight): I'd have to say the lace top from the Summer '07 Vogue, or maybe the Elizabeth Zimmerman New Zealand sweater, a bit bastardized by me I'm afraid.

RMS: My entrelac beret. (Everyone nodded their heads as this beret has been a big Ravelry knit and is really cool!) I enjoyed the process and the product, the way it all had to be figured out to get it to knit up into the finished product.

Yoel: I think the February Lady Sweater. It is all over the place and seemed to spawn a whole cottage industry of February Lady items.

KC: I am going to agree with the February Lady Sweater. I have not knitted it personally but might someday. By then it will be out of the buzz loop!

KC: Process or Product? What is it about the knit (or crochet) that does it for you?

Leonora: Both!! I plan every detail and really enjoy everything from the yarn selection to the swatching to the tweaks in the pattern. And then I love to knit it and of course love the finished product. I'd have to say everything!

Deborah: I am a process knitter, all the way.

RMS: Product for me, I'm all about the product.

Yoel: Product too.

KC: I kind of switch mid-stream. I love the anticipation and the planning, and I love to start and get going. But somewhere along the line I want it done so I can move on to the next thing! My Ravenna Satchel is a good case in point.

Yoel made a very interesting comment that we all agreed with. That "Ravelry" has slowed down pre-production time. Yes, it is true, the many hours spent crusing Ravelry looking at everyone's projects, reading the groups or searching for patterns can be an enormous (but delightful) time sucker! The group consensus was that most of us use Ravelry more for the friend activity feature (to peek into the queues, stashes, and projects of those on our friends list) than for the group activity. Not that we don't all belong to a lot of groups and read them but when time is of the essence====== the groups go.

We talked about gadgets, if there were any really new or unique things that came along this year or what we'd love to have. The question came up "define gadget". Hmmmmm. If a gadget is something fun and useful then Ravelry was hands down the best gadget of the year. It does not easily fit into most definitions of gadget however, so going to more concrete things we thought that the new Sock Blanks seem to be along the gadgetty lines. Other than Deborah wishing for a wooden umbrella swift in the gadget world, we didn't think of anything that was really a slam dunk in the gadget arena.

Yarn of the Year? Much discussion here and I'm sure you have your own favorites.

RMS: Malabrigo Silky Merino........... or ArtYarns Ensemble......... or Alpaca With a Twist's Baby Twist

Leonora: Schaeffer's Martha!

Deborah: Malabrigo Sock Yarn, or Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn.

Yoel: Blank Stare. I smile and tell you that Yoel has been achieved a most notable thing in 2008, she actually knit up her stash. ALL of it!!!! Prolifically and wonderfully, a knitter not easily seen out in the world! Because she spent so much time in the stash, she didn't fall in love with a lot of new yarns, much less buy many of them.

KC: I don't think I even commented, being too busy scribbling!

Yarn Scandals!!! A fun topic to kick around a bit-----
  • the fact that D*ebbie B*liss cashmerino has no merino
  • E. L*avold silky wool doesn't have a lot of silk
  • The fire in the M*alabrigo factory causing them to now offer yarn shops no terms. Meaning a yarn shop pays up front for yarn they are not sure when they get. Surely this impacts not only the shops but us, the final yarn consumer!
And we sort of drifted into the discussion of yarn content. When you read a label, there might be luxury yarns on the label/band but sometimes the amount is so small as to be negligible, like=== don't waste your money! RMS shared that 12% is the magic number. Less than this amount in a yarn blend you won't even know it is there. Ahhhhhhhh.

How long have we knit?

Deborah has been knitting since 1993.
Yoel since small kid time (although she is in her 20's)
RMS- a long time. I want to type 37 years.......... did I get that right R?
Leonora: Since age 66===== 6 years ago. (and to see her creations you would think she has been knitting forever!)
KC: my mother taught me when I was a girl. I hate to say it but this number is larger than RMS's. That kind of thing shouldn't have to be said on Christmas Eve!

Who was it that popped up with the great magazine knitting scene debate? I don't recall but we all agreed that the demise of MagKnits was sad indeed and that Twist Collective is completely wonderful. Of course, Knitty continues to deliver. It was funny that there really wasn't a consensus about favorite knit mag---- in print anyway. I guess it falls under the 'different strokes for different folks' thing. It is pretty remarkable in this time where magazines are ceasing publication that we have had several new ones on the print racks. Guess that means that knitting continues to dominate and influence.

Intermission Soundbytes:
RMS: "I'm beginning to have the desire for pretty stitch markers!"-- whereby a lively discussion ensued (I told you, we leave no stone unturned).
-and RMS also delivered the definition and giggle for "schpilkes"======= meaning antsy. :) The online dictionary could not have delivered a definition quite as wonderful as the in person delivery of Yiddish comedy.

What yarn do you covet?
Leonora: Worsted Weight Cashmere
Deborah: A cabana boy. NO Deborah, while a cabana boy would be nice I suppose that is not yarn. And you don't have a cabana. --Well then, Prism Angora.
RMS: A mani pedi every week! Same thing R=== not yarn related, although you may knit or crochet while having a mani pedi you must choose from the fiber category! --Okay, ArtYarns Ensemble.
KC: a couple of balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze, in every color. Like, every color nothing held back now! Don't ask me why, I guess it is because I've always wanted just to own it! I bet if I had it, I'd figure something yummy to do with it too!

Fiber Resolutions for 2009 ladies?

Leonora: More of the same for me (says the amazingly prolific Leonora!)
Yoel: I want to do steeks!
Deborah: I am not making knitting resolutions yet.
RMS: Publish more designs.
KC: Actually knit on the socks that are in my small knit bag instead of dust it when I go by.

Are we project monogamous as a group?

KC: fairly. I might have a smaller mindless project going if I'm working on a sweater or something that requires concentration but for the most part I focus.
Leonora: I am not monogamous and actually might have several projects on the needles but I do finish what I have going!
Deborah: "NO". She says to underline "no" three times. :)
Yoel: NO, but I do tend to focus on one thing at a time even though I have something else going.
RMS: No. (yet she is also very productive!)

St. Louis Knitterly Pride:

We had TWO knit in public events this year at different locations
more than 5 good yarn shops
an active knitting guild
TONS of knitting groups and knit ins. At a local yarn shop (Knitorious) there is probably the largest weekly gathering of 20-30 rowdy knitters who gather on Wednesday evenings.

What do we DO while we are knitting?

RMS: I watch tv or movies
Deborah: I read or watch tv (Note from KC: it continues to amaze me that people can actually READ while knitting!)
Leonora: I listen to books on tape, NPR, love to watch Net*Flix movies, and of course I knit while I ride the bus
KC: I listen to my iPod, generally catching up on podcasts or watch tv/movies.

And with a sigh and another nod to watching RMS's mittens go from cast on to completion, and Yoel's fine gauge vest grow, or Leonora to knit another wonderful thing(s), or Deborah to work on her most magnificent chunky bag------ and me to drink yet another cup of coffee, take notes and do something about the awful mess that is the back of Ravenna Satchel.......... we drift off to our individual lives. I just love this group................. hope you have one that makes your heart sing no matter what your creative passion might be. It is truly a year round gift you give yourself!

And just in case you have not been in the kitchen enough........... or don't have enough sweets in the house--- a recipe for excellent Peanut Butter Fudge. Quick, simple and really, really good!
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bag of peanut butter chips
  • 1 tbs. of vanilla extract
  • and a handful of chopped nuts if you like them, I favor pecans but then I put pecans into everything~
into an 8x8 square pan lined with buttered aluminum foil and enough extra foil around the edges to grab-- melt the chips with the milk. Add in the baking soda, salt and vanilla and mix well. Toss in the nuts if you are in the mood. It should take 3 or 4 minutes. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and top with a few peanut butter chips on the top. Pop into the fridge to set up and when it is firm, remove from the pan and cut into squares.

**Back tomorrow, the FINAL (can you believe it) day of Knitting Contrisstmas with you know who. YAY! I love me some NORAH!!!

Happy Christmas Eve!


Anonymous said...

My first Knitting Contrisstmas has been a joy! Thank you for all the hard work that went into this gift.

I really enjoyed Christmas Eve with your knitting group, as I don't have a local one. I kept wanting to add to the topics.

Merry Christmas to all!

Rachel said...

I loved reading this! Merry Christmas!

RMS said...

One slight correction, KC. The Cashmerino has no cashmere!

How fun to see our afternoon immortalized!