Sunday, January 22, 2012

Knitting and Related Craftiness - and an Intro to Knitmas

My Secret Santa gift for Knitmas!
I'm way late telling you about Knitmas as the name suggests it's a Christmas Knitting Project with the totally terrific premise of a selective Secret Santa/KristKindle for the Knitting Online Community! I came across it back in October or November, on Twitter or Facebook, not exactly sure now, but the next thing I knew I'd signed up to take part in an Irish exchange programme via Elfster - a new (to me) website facilitating exchanges and gift-giving and sharing. It took a bit of getting used to, as I have been frustrated by a dinosaur laptop that keeps crashing and needs constant frequent CPR (Computer Processor Resuscitation) - so I'd been using my phone to stay online and in touch with the wider world. It has its limitations though - screen size does matter and there are some tasks the mobile apps don't do like the full version, so I let things lie for a few weeks after I was told who my partner in Knitmas crime was - Cathy who tweets as @cathyqtpi - (confusing until you say it, geddit?)

The sincerest form of flattery - my cowl copy!
Anyway I had been assigned to another Knitmas member so I had no idea what approach to take, getting a mild panic attack over whether I'd end up getting fab stuff and not sending my beneficiary anything she'd like, and quickly getting over it when I realised we were able to grill our partners and be grilled in turn by ours on preferences, likes, fave colours and so on. So I ascertained from my inquisition that Cathy liked purple and ladybirds. Sorted. I promptly hit our local craft dealer - Angela at her eponymous Lismore Design Workshop where she has a marvellous treasure trove of everything knitty and crafty. She had lovely haberdashery and I got delightful ladybird buttons, and then she had a soft toy kit for - yes, you guessed it - a ladybird! On the purple front I had some frilly scarf yarn from Lidl last year called Sanibel which I hadn't a clue what to do with, until one night at our Knitting Circle at the self-same Design Workshop Angela was making this wonderful frilly scarf with Tivoli Whirl and had other brands of scarf yarn on sale which looked just like my Lidl shoelace yarn. Finally I knew what to do with it - and I made the most beautiful scarf which I earmarked for Knitmas. It is a quick and easy yarn to knit as you only cast on 8-10 stitches and the scarf can be done in a couple of hours. I have one myself too as I had enough yarn to make two. So I got some colourful wool for my Knitmas package - Ocean I think it was, a lovely wool blend - and finished off the package with a Hope Charity Chocolate bar and there might have been something else I can't recall. I was a few days late for the 1st Dec. deadline but was forgiven as I emailed to say I'd been late. I got such a buzz when Cathy posted her gifts on Twitter and shared them with the Knitmas community. I think she posted a photo on her Tweets.

Assorted iPhone covers  from Monika's pattern.
As for my pressies - I got a lovely packet from Caroline (@Scattyhats) who made me a beautiful Silk and Alpaca Cowl in Debbie Bliss Andes, done in a lovely Feather and Fan stitch. She also sent some lovely stitch markers, chocolate, teabags, and best of all - wool! Well to be more precise, a Noro very fine yarn, and Araucania from Chile 100% cotton 4-ply which might be perfect for cotton socks!  I have yet to wind the cotton skein as I don't  have a winder so am a bit nervous about getting caught up in knots but then my mother used to wind hanks of Aran wool back in the home-knitting days of the 60s and 70s and that was a lot of winding with no winders - back of a kitchen chair or else my aching arms were the best she could manage!

I copied the Andes Cowl in Cotton blend Nadine from Lidl in Teal and it is lovely - soft and smooth (60% Cotton). I made a lovely Dora the Explorer jumper for my granddaughter Sofia for Christmas and she looks sweet in it; it was also made in the Nadine teal. Ive also made some funky cable iPhone covers from Monika on Ravelry - she's made a PDF of her pattern.

So altogether I am enjoying the creativity of this crafty world and I will tell you about  my Christmas knitting books next post. I think you'll enjoy and head straight for Amazon!


Máiréad said...

A fabulous haul. I got some Araucanian yarn in my package too - yum

wrapNturn said...

So glad you enjoyed the exchange! Sue

Stephanie V said...

That exchange sounds a lovely idea. I know what you mean about having a case of nerves around your offering. It always works out though.
Your cowl is lovely - as is the copy. I don't have a ball winder either but my swift really is better than the chair back...or my knees.

Sinéad said...

Knitmas was great fun, wasn't it? I really enjpyed it. It's great to spoil someone else I think. I'm looking forward to see what you make with your Araucania, i love their yarns.

Mimi said...

lol re cutie pie!
I too remember my Mum winding aran yarn on the back of a chair, till we mastered winding and holding at the same time!
Your knitting is lovely, I'm so very tempted to buy yarn, but seeing as I have a huge box of it in the attic, I can't really, can I?

Catherine said...

Sorry for not responding to your comments earlier - I feel bad as I make it a habit to do so - dunno what happened here, my excuse will probably be it was the weekend of Martin's going away party and I just got totally diverted.
Mairéad - glad you got some Araucania yarn too - I haven't done anything with mine yet but look forward to it - have to wind the skein in a ball yet! I've written another knitting related post just now. Hope you see it!

Sue - I loved the Knitmas - still raving about it (or ravelring?!) you are great to do it and I look forward to next year already!

Stephanie V - thanks and yes it seems to be a bit international as I see it in other countries too. So maybe you could arrange it in Vancouver if it's not going on there already! What's a swift? Have to get googling methinks!

Sinéad - yes, Knitmas was brilliant and I am so thinking about next year what I'll do already - it's like the frilly scarves, I have heebie jeebies already that the people I gave them to don't like them as I see some knitters hate them! I think they're fun and not just old-lady-ish!

Mimi - yes, Cathy QTpi is a mathematician! It helps if you're able to calculate when knitting or designing knitting anyway - I'd eat it first! Yes the chairback is familiar and my mother did use one when she knitted aran jumpers back in the day. Wow you've got a stash in the attic! You lucky thing - I'd love to get my fingerless mitts on it! go on, Lidl had sock wool this past week and did I pass by? Like hell I did!

Love you all, Catherine xxx