#60 Beach Knitting

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I’m not really a beach person despite that our family vacations were always to the beach on St. Martin.  We no longer go there after Hurricane Irma destroyed the island a few years ago.  Even when we went to Naples this past winter we never went to the beach.

But our good friends, Jim and Barbara Cleary, own a wonderful beach house in Duck, NC.  It is literally on the beach.  So much like what made the resort in St. Martin tolerable for me, I can easily walk back to the house for a bathroom break or a drink.  We are so fortunate that they invite us for a visit each summer.

Now that I’ve become a knitter, I enjoy knitting on the beach.  I even created a “beach” knitting bag.  I found that the wine bags that grocery stores give you when you buy 6 or more bottles of wine, never a problem, is perfect for storing a project on the beach.  It keeps sand from getting in and on my “real” knitting bag, a quilted tote.  The ball of yarn can unwind easily in it’s section of the bag.  It also stores my wireless ear buds and an old phone I use as an audiobook player.  It’s a perfect beach tote.  It’s also a little fun to do something different for vacation knitting.

#59 YouTube and Zoom Knitting

The pandemic caused by corona virus has certainly changed my routine.  But it has actually been nice and I will be sorry to see things go back to “normal”.  Under “normal” circumstances I would get together on Saturday mornings with my 4 knitting friends at a local coffee shop.  That is fun and I do miss it.  But we have continued to get together via Zoom.  I definitely prefer getting together in person so I am looking forward to that getting back to “normal”.

I also enjoyed watching a knitting podcast by “The Grocery Girls”.  It was usually every two weeks and I could watch it whenever it was convenient for me.  With the pandemic they have been podcasting every week and they have been podcasting live.  It really does almost feel like fountain the room with them.  I have really enjoyed it and try to watch live instead of watching it later.  So I will be sad if it goes back to every two weeks.

My Naples crochet group normally meets every two weeks at Panera.  I would not have been able to join them until I returned to Naples in Jan ’21.  Instead they now Zoom weekly!!  So I will get to stay in contact and it’s weekly not every two weeks!  I don’t know what they will do once things go back to “normal”.

Finally, a nationally recognized knitting teacher, Party Lyons, started doing a weekly podcast which I enjoy. Again she does it live which makes it more fun.  I don’t know if she will keep doing it once life is back to “normal” .  I think she did it partially because she was bored and as a means to stay in contact with her “fans”.

So my knitting life has actually been richer because of the pandemic.  Most of the activities I couldn’t do in person anyway so YouTube Live and Zoom have been great.  I will be sad to see them go as life returns to “normal”.  It’s funny how my calendar is filled with Zoom and YouTube “meetings” .

 

#58. Best Row Counter!

IMG_20200429_155913_087I’m so glad a knitting friend found these wonderful row counters by @twiceshearedsheep.  How freaking clever!!  This is absolutely perfect for my sweater knitting!!  I have been using a wrist abacus which is beautiful but I sometimes forget to advance the bead as I reach the BOR marker.

This is a simple string of beads from 1 to 0 with a loop prior to each number.  A pretty charm is at the bottom.  I’m my case it’s a bee with crystals on the wings but she has many choices.  I use it as my BOR marker.  Not in the picture is a pretty gold clip that I use as the tens counter so I know if I’m on ones, teens, twenties, etc.  I’ve added the red pin to track if it’s an increase (odd) row or not.  This one only fits up to size 4 needles so a second one that fits size 5-8 needles is in my near future.  (The charm I want is sold out so waiting till back in stock).I

I still use and like my cheap cylinder twist row counter that I got at Hobby Lobby for magic loop two at a time socks.  But this is a good example of how different knit projects need different tools.  It also shows the value of having knitting friends.  I have so many “tools” because a friend found it.  I’m also excited that after 3+ years of knitting I’m still finding new “toys”.

#57. Circular Needle Holder

20200426_104926Over a year ago I saw a wall banner that could be made for hanging circular needles instead of curling the cords in a circle and stuffing them into the back pocket of my interchangeable needle case.  I have a lot of small needle circulars for knitting two at a time socks.  There are lots of cute cases out on Etsy but I really didn’t want to curl the cords during storage.

I have been hanging them over a light fixture with leftover yarn balls to try to keep kinks from developing in the cords.  But then I have to search through all of them to try to find the size needle I want.  The banner lets you sort the needles by size.

Thanks to making masks for corona virus, I finally got my sewing machine out.  So after all the masks were made, this morning I finally sewed the banner with Charlie Harper cardinal fabric I bought last year from Silk Road Textiles.  It is definitely not hard to basically sew one piece of fabric onto the other.  I used plain black fabric as the border piece made into a rectangle slightly larger than the rectangle of the cardinal fabric.  I did put iron on interface on the back of the cardinal fabric to give it some rigidity.  Then I sewed through the fabrics 2″ apart to create pockets for the needles to be threaded thru.  I put all my size 1 circulars in the top pocket, size 1 1 /2 in the second, etc.  I didn’t even realize I had circulars from size 1 to size 6, although with different cord lengths.  I ended up needing to put iron on interface on the bottom back of the border so the banner wouldn’t fold in on itself.

I’m happy with how the banner looks and especially happy to have my needles organized by size so I can quickly find the needle I need.  I picked Charlie Harper fabric because he is a famous Cincinnati artist.  His style of animal drawing is very distinct and fits my more abstract preference.  Someday I may have my friend Sandy embroidered the needle sizes on the border.  I’ll wait a bit to be sure I don’t need to change/add sizes.  The advantage of a homemade banner is that I can easily rip out and make changes!😁

#56 FibreShare

This was my first time to try FibreShare.  It is a global craft share that I heard about from a friend.  It’s a way to “regift” stash yarn as well as purchase new items for your “partner”.  You are paired with a person that is going to send you a gift and also a person that you are going to gift to.  They are not the same person.  I thought it would be fun.  It’s also a way to meet other knitters.

I did enjoy both receiving and giving.  I met two knitters, one from Connecticut (my giver) and one from San Diego (I gave to).  It was fun to find out about each other so that hopefully the package is tailored to the receiver.  My gifter did a wonderful job of sending yarns with an accompanying pattern.  She also sent me some stitch markers since I love them and peanut M&Ms since I also love snacking on them.  But I ended up keeping only one of the skeins of yarn.  The sock yarn she sent me was ok but I wasn’t excited by the colors so I passed it on in my package.  Also the cowl yarns were not colors I liked and the yarn was much thicker than I like.  I passed those on in a different stash share.  She did send me a beautiful fingering weight yarn with a lace shawl pattern that I will enjoy making.  The package I sent did probably exceed the $100 limit since I did regifting in it.   I spent $45 on new stuff then included items I already had on hand.

Truthfully, I don’t know that I’ll do it again.  It’s probably a good way to “destash”.  While the person gifting to me really tried to make me a great package, I’ve already bought so many knitting “toys” as I call them that I already had the circular needle protector she sent me and prefer the fabric ones I bought at VogueLive so it got regifted.  I already had a set of the cute yarn ball stitch markers and didn’t want a second set so it got regifted.  I do love the ity bity stitch markers she sent me.  So perfect for my sock making!!

The ladies that run the exchange do it three times a year.  I think at best I might consider doing it next year if I need to reduce some of the knitting stuff I’ve bought.  I appreciate it can be a way for knitters to connect.  But I’m happy with the knitting connections I have in Cincinnati and now in Naples.  I wasn’t looking to make new friends and the distance makes it “pen pals” at best.  But I’m glad I did it.

#55 Zoom Knitting During Quarantine

I am so lucky to be living in this digital age during a pandemic.  We have basically been semi-quarantined since 3/18.  Now the full quarantine starts.  Ohio went to full quarantine on 3/22.  Florida started today, 4/3.  We are lucky to have been in Florida.  Even without the full quarantine of Ohio, all activities have been cancelled at the condo clubhouse since March 18.  The knitting group still got together on the 19th by the tennis courts but that was the last time for the Huntington Lakes knitting group.  The North Naples knitting group I was trying to start had to stop till next year when we come back.

So thank goodness for Zoom, a video conferencing website.  My Cincinnati group, JOHNs, started video calls in place of actual meetings on 3/21.  Before the Ohio quarantine but some folks no longer felt comfortable meeting in person.  My Naples crochet group also decided to try it.  In person meetings had been cancelled since 3/17.  So had our first video meeting on 3/27.

The Zoom sessions have gone very well.  Not as good as actually being together but a pretty good second choice.  We can still “show off” our work and catch up with each other.  There is no doubt this quarantine is going to be long and boring.  It has just been extended into May.  I won’t be surprised if it’s extended till June.  Being stuck at home with only each other gets boring.  So I look forward to my Saturday morning JOHN’s session and my Friday afternoon “crochet” session (I’m the only knitter).  I’m thankful that Grocery Girls do a live webcast on Thursday at 1pm.  So that’s some knitting time for three of the seven days.  I really need something to make one day different from the other and a chance to talk to someone besides Tom!!  With the quarantine, time seems to stand still.  A week feels like a month.  It’s going to be a long month but thank goodness for Zoom!!

#54. Summer Yarns

20200308_194853On my “bucket list” was to try some summer yarns, ie. not wool.  This beautiful linen/hemp/silk blend was irresistible to me.  Beautiful colors with a sheen from the silk.  So I bought some to make a cap sleeve top.

But it is indeed rough on my skin.  I’m developing a sore spot from abrasion on my right ring finger. 😢 Maybe if I was a Continental knitter this wouldn’t have happened.  I don’t plan to give up on this yarn.  I love the colors and sheen too much.  I already have another pattern picked out.😁  And I’ll keep working on my Continental knitting!!

#53. Charting

IMG_20200301_161950_hdrPatterns are great but I find that a row by row chart is MUCH more helpful.  Telling me to repeat rows A-D five times is nice but a chart that tells me how many stitches to increase/decrease in each section (sleeves, back, sleeves) is much clearer and helps me make sure that I have the correct number of stitches.  Plus it helps me visualize what is going on, where the increases/decreases are.

I have been spoiled.  I usually knit projects as part of a class or with a friend.  Usually one of my friends creates a chart to track the number of stitches in each section and/or row.  Then gives me a copy of her chart.  This time I’m on my own so I had to create the chart.

I would normally generate it on an excel spreadsheet but we don’t have a printer with us here in Florida.  So I bought a cheap composition book and created a chart.  Much better than counting how many times I’ve repeated a set of rows.  I really appreciate that the pattern I used for my advent sweater came with this type of row by row count chart for each size.  This pattern obviously didn’t.  But on the other hand, I guess it was good for my visualization to generate a chart for the size I am knitting.

Maybe some day I’ll find an easy way to generate row by row charts, but for now it’s pencil and paper (or maybe excel😁).

#52 More Cute Markers

20200302_200623As stated many times….I love markers!!!  Here are some ridiculously cute increase/decrease markers.  The little sweaters are M1R and M1L.  It’s kind of hard to see because I added a drawing to the back to show if the running yarn goes front to back or back to front.  Kinda wish I hadn’t added the drawing.

These cute markers are available on etsy at knit bits boutique.  Warning, it ships from Canada which isn’t bad per se but it means there is no tracking info on the shipping.

#51. New Toy – Yarn Spinner/Butler/Unwinder

20200229_16030720200229_152610I absolutely love knitting toys (tools).  I confess that this purchase is due to an article that popped up in my news feed.(😣  So guilty.)  The knitting article talked about yarn twist while knitting.  So it recommended using a yarn “fill in the blank”.  Seems there is no consensus on what this tool is called.

It is apparently particularly good for yarn on cones.  My next sweater will be made from yarn on cones so I planned to buy it once I got back to Ohio.  But I felt I was getting twist in my yarn as I started to knit with my new Daisy yarn for my “Florida” top.  So I ordered one.  They are pretty cheap.  $10 if I could have waited a month, $15 for one in 2 days.  With corona virus disrupting everything from overseas, I went with the more expensive one; plus I could use it now.  So I’m not wasting a lot of money if it turns out I don’t like it.

The negative is that it pulls from the outside (which is why it helps prevent twists) so I can’t use my beloved yarn socks.  The article warned that I may need to add some slip resistant material to the bottom to help prevent tipping it over while pulling off yarn.  Right now I’m using a wooden serving tray to hold all my knitting stuff next to the couch I sit on so it’s very secure standing in the corner.  Will have to see if modifications are needed once I get to my home knitting nook.