Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Delegation Knitting

I teach a felted bag class using the Booga Bag pattern by Black Sheep Bags.
This darling little bag is the best first project I’ve found so far. I know it’s downloadable for free on the internet, but I buy the patterns and give them to my students. The original patterns are on heavy paper and there’s a photograph of the Booga on the front.

This is, after all, the beginner knitter’s entrance into the intoxicating world of actually making something after the pain and anguish of learning how to cast on (are you playing cat’s cradle?), how to knit (you’re baby finger is controlling the yarn how?), and how to purl (I give up). Six hours of instruction and regular recommended practice and everyone, I mean, everyone is ready for the Booga Bag.

And so ready was Melanie. She graduated from Knitting 101 in June and immediately signed up for the Felted Bag Class. She chose her favorite Kureyon and left the shop a happy woman. Everyone is to knit the bottom of their bag prior to the first class – cast on 34 stitches and knit for 34 rows.

Melanie came to class. I asked, “So how did you make out with your homework?”

She said, “Do you want to know the truth?”

I said, “I most certainly do!”

Melanie said, “Well, I had my friend, who by the way only knits mittens and we call her the ‘Mittener,’ do my homework for me. Since she only knits mittens, she didn’t know how long it would take to knit my homework so she took the day off yesterday to do it. I only had her do it because I’ve been so busy at work and I really wanted to come to this class.”

I taught Melanie how to pick up stitches – there were 66 to pick up in all. When I instructed that after all stitches were picked up, 64 rows were to be knit, Melanie looked at me and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s a lot of knitting! It’s taken me forever just to knit once around.”

We did another round or so and moved on to I-Cord. Everyone got the hang of I-Cord and knit quietly for 6 or 7 rows of 5 stitch I-Cord.

“See how it turns in on itself to make a cord,” I said.

Melanie said, “I do see that!”

I said, “So you have to do the I-Cord for….”

The shop was silent; everyone was hanging on my every word. I glanced at Melanie cautiously and then said,

“Six feet!”

The pin dropped and it sounded like an atomic bomb.

“Six feet! You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said, “Six feet! You’ve got to be kidding me!”

I said, “It’s only 5 stitches! I know it’s mind-numbingly boring, but it’s such good practice! It will go quick, I promise!

We sat in silence again making I-Cord for several minutes. The rows continued to curl in on themselves and Melanie said,

“This looks like what we used to make as kids using that wooden tube with the nails on the top.”

“I said, “You’re right, it was a ‘Knitting Dolly’ or a ‘French Knitter’.” Every kid had one and it does make I-Cord.”

She said, “Yup, my niece has one, and I’m going to have her do the six feet!”

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Roman Holiday, Baby

Sarah B.: The first time Sarah walked into my shop, my mother immediately said to me in my head, "My goodness, isn't she a tall, beautiful drink of water?" My mother used to call me a tall drink of water, but at 5'5", I learned pretty quickly that it wasn't true.

But Sarah is indeed a tall drink of water. The Summer Vogue Knitting came out and as I perused it, I saw Roman Holiday. Other than Shannon (who is also making this dress at my urging), the model wearing it in the magazine, and Audrey Hepburn, there are far too few people on Earth on whom this dress would look more perfect. I EMailed Sarah immediately and told her she had to come to the shop.

She came in and bought the yarn for it. Ah, Cascade Fixation, one of the few yarns in the world from which you can make a dress and not have a butt poof the second you sit down. And so affordable - the whole gorgeous dress cost $79 with tax!

Well, Sarah came in today with her prize dress, the back almost finished. WOW! (Shannon has the back of hers done too!)

Sarah perused the shop and stumbled upon a little bootie that I had made as a model from the Debbie Bliss The Baby Knits book. Sarah doesn’t have children yet, but knits for friends who do.

She opened the book, came upon this darling little suit, and said, "This is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Oh, my God! I'M OVULATING RIGHT NOW!"

She bought the book, she bought yarn and I said "Tick, tick, tick."

What comes first the darling little things you can knit, or the little darling?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What's on Your Needles?

Here’s the run down on what’s on the friends of Nana’s needles:

Chris: during the recent sale at Nana’s, we reviewed all of the projects that my dear friend Chris has going and believe me, there are many; we decided there was no way more yarn could go home with her. This multi-talented artist knits, crochets, beads, cross-stitches and embroiders. Here’s a partial list of the knitting projects Chris has on her needles: Outback Shawl, Lady Eleanor Stole, Ruffles Scarf, etc., etc. The most beautiful has to be the Lady Eleanor which she is making from the melt in your hands Schaefer Helene – a silk/wool blend that makes you want to cry when you knit with it.

Eileen: this perfectionist knitter is working on two projects - this adorable Obsession Shell and the Fiesta Famous Shawl. This self-proclaimed obsessive compulsive will rip without shame whenever it’s not absolutely perfect. Needless to say, her gauge is what we’d call “tight.”

Lauren: this plucky little knitter is spending time with Icarus. Unfortunately, Icarus flew too close to the dog and melted. Undaunted, Lauren began anew. She’s making this fabulous shawl out of Jade Sapphire’s Lacey Lamb in a lovely dove grey. Despite how delicate this gorgeous fingering weight lamb’s wool looks, it has stood up to the rigors of a tossing, turning, sleeping dog. In defense of the dog, she makes up for her destruction by eating moths – every yarn lover’s nemesis.

Deb: this tenacious knitter is working on the tank and shrug by Filatura di Crosa. Competitive by nature and a dear friend of Eileen’s, she can’t bear it when a project lies unfinished. She came to Nana’s a scarf knitter and almost fainted away when she found out she had to use size 1 double pointed needles to make socks. She’s since finished her first sweater, a beautiful Debbie Bliss number that she made in concert with Eileen. They took the sock class together and used the same yarn, just in case they couldn’t finish two. Who would end up with the pair was a mystery, but alas, they got into the spirit of things, overcame second sock syndrome, cheered each other on, and; in the end, each have a pair!

Sarah: What can you possibly say about a young woman who took a beginning knitting class four weeks ago and is working on her second garment? Her first, the Sasha sweater from the ever classic Penny Straker using Atacama and her second, the not so easy Prairie Tunic using Madill's Eden 100% Bamboo. Knitting a month and already knitting lace with a yarn that takes experience to work with – that’s ferocity I respect.

Joanne R.: Joanne will try anything. She enthusiastically tries any new technique, no matter what the level of difficulty. Her knitting thirst is insatiable and her bravery is admirable. What’s on her needles is the Lady Eleanor, the Jazz, and a King Tut sweater. The Jazz can be a frustrating project – two handed knitting, weaving in ends as you go, color changes, bobbles and cables but Joanne has mastered the technique and is well on her way to finishing it!

Nancy W.: this avid knitter has more yarn than I have in my shop. She wants to know every technique and will also try anything. She gets up way too early to go to work; however, and she’s tired all the time. Get up later and spend more time at Nana’s is what I say! Nancy makes lots of things for the loves of her life and it makes me ashamed that I am such a selfish knitter. Obviously, the loves of her life appreciate her dedication.

Judy: Judy is Nancy’s sister and what’s on her needles? NOTHING! Judy doesn’t knit! If my sister had the stash that Nancy does, I’d learn to knit in a heartbeat and steal all of her beautiful yarn! COME ON JUDY, COME IN AND LEARN HOW TO KNIT!

Sheila: Sheila is a far, far better knitter than she gives herself credit for! She always goes for the hard stuff and everything she makes turns out beautifully. Sheila came to Nana’s with a gorgeous sweater she had knit years ago and it wasn’t finished for lack of a few buttons! Buttons in hand, this precious cabled number was finally finished. Sheila and I are knitting this Intarsia cardigan together beginning in August with Debbie Bliss’ soft as silk Cathay yarn.

Joanne C.: Joanne knits like crazy and takes lots of classes. Joanne has lots of things on her needles – the Lady Eleanor, mittens, and socks. She just finished the Ruffles scarf and will be making the mitered square kimono jacket in September.This will be Joanne’s first garment, but surely not her last!

Tina: Tina the beautiful Gypsy is making her significant other, Dan, a sweater. She too knits for those she loves. She made her friend Marcy a beautiful Fair Isle slipover, her Mom a yummy Noro Kochoran sweater, and is now working on Dan’s sweater. Tina is a very calculating knitter which I love. She started Dan’s sweater with the sleeves. Who makes the sleeves first? We all should since they are usually the pieces that invoke the most dread. The back is done! The front is done! Hooray! Oh, that’s right, there’s still the sleeves…It’s always around that time that I consider making a vest.

More on this another day!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! I am Tricia, a life long knitter and new yarn shop owner. I’m big on dedications; my shop is dedicated to my paternal grandmother, Nana Farmor, who taught me to knit when I was seven, and this blog is dedicated to all of the wonderful people who come into my shop and have touched my life in ways I can’t begin to describe. Each and every one, whether they want it or not, deserve their fifteen minutes of fame, and with this blog, I intend to give it to them! Hooray for knitters everywhere!