Betsey Do

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Knitzella in That Yarn Store

Knitting for charity.

Preemie hats.
Preemie hats.
Yeah. Got it.
Afghans for homeless.
Just a square.
A square?
Yeah, 10" by 10". It'll go into the afghan with all the other squares.
Oh. Okay.

About 5 years ago, Nine ladies in our Stitch n Bitch group stitched up an individual patch each (15" by 15") and gave them to Vicky. Vicky stitched them together into the baby blanket and sent it to me in a surprise package. I was floored. I folded up the afghan and put it on a shelf to look at every day.

Then, when Tyler was born, it got used. Used, used and used.
We just used the hell out of it.

Last week, I saw him snuggle into that blanket. Ty grabbed it after a long day at pre-school, still adjusting to a full day without napping now. I thought about those ladies. Vicky, Shannita, Ellen, Faith, Allison, Karen, (and damn, maybe I shouldn't be naming names because I'm not remembering a few after all these years. I would be so happy if you are one of them and called me on this!)

So, I was thinking how each one took the time to make a patch. A 15" by 15" square. How one of them, must have loved practicing that lace pattern in that square, and how another did some cabling which inspired me to learn cabling and practice it. How they must have planned this and laid out the color scheme of blues and grays - all wonderfully muted and working together and each picking out the fiber from her stash, or perhaps to try something cool in a shop in this 15" swatch. And how Vickie chose the blue print flannel to back it with and then wrapped it and shipped it to me. How much each part, done individually, meant to the whole piece.

Man, I just wanted now to really carry this forward.

I'll start with preemie hats to keep babies warmed and loved; imagining a nurse tending a newborn preemie with the warmth of a hand-made hat. The nurse would pick up on some good vibe while placing it on a newborn babe's head. And the babe would pick up on this tenderness and be warmer.
to knit a rad beanie for some older child, from a rough inner-city street life, who's hitting the mountains and seeing of what they're capable. Some of these kids can get a handmade hat made by some lady like me who wanted the kid to have something just for being there and trying something better. To put it on and get warmer.

So I took off and dug into the stash and knocked out a hat this week real quick. Then took off onto preemie hats. Oh wow.

Then . . .
today, I met Bug at That Yarn Store.
Bug knits and gathers knitters for KNITZELLA. She gets the word out so that people can donate their time knitting, or yarn so others can knit, things for people they don't know. Hats for those girls hitting the trails, in heavy backpacks, hiking, walking away from the city and discovering that they can do this.

When I gave Bug the hat I made, she handed me a purple little tag to label it. She told me that the girls really dig the tags and keep them on the hats while they're up there. They read each other's tags and start up conversations like "who's Karen?" or "what's alpaca?"
I'm buzzed by this. That my hat is going to this kind of thing. I want to make way more now.
Everybody, try this.

So many ladies showed up there today. Seating got scarce and there were little pamplets from "Stitches From the Heart," to give us ideas on making more baby stuff. I was making some preemie hats and pledged to make 2 by December 31. It took me 2 hours to finish both of them; so really . . .

By the time I had to leave, I swear I was gushing to Thea at That Yarn Store. The store has a homey nice relaxed air about it. Interesting mix of fiber and yarns including some bamboo in a really nice colorway that I had to swatch to see . Royal Bamboo from Plymouth Yarn. This yarn is incredibly soft and durable. The draping is like a drapey linen with a silky feel to it. The site recommends #8 needles. Use #5s. Really. I saw this yarn and figured it to be DK weight at the largest, maybe sportweight so I immediately went to my #5s and really liked the results. Tight but still drapey. Perfect for Baby things since it's natural, non-itchey and super duper soft.

I tried #8s (I wish I scanned this so you could see). Really not good.

The store can order other colors and they're really helpful here. They like knitters to stop by and knit awhile. I could tell. Just an easy going way. Softly playing in the back was some of the coolest spanish folk music. I almost felt like I was visiting my brother in Guatemala (and get this, they do sell, um, acrylic, but it's straight from Guatemala and I had to have some translating done to read the label. Not the hard yucky, with a slight sheen of acrylic looking type of acrylic. It looks more like the kind of yarn you see done in the yarn work pieces done from Guatemala. A great find for anyone who wants to do some South American folkwear and would like to get some of the real stuff used down there.

Anyone new to knitting or crocheting is invited to come by on Sundays at 3:00 pm and make their first scarf with them. But come by at 11:00 a.m. and sit around the radio for GARRISON KEILLOR'S Prairie Home Companion. More at their site for stuff they're always arranging. No charges here.

If you want to pay them some money, they'll gladly have you at one of their workshops as well. I'm diving in with spinning in January. Cool.

If you meet Evelyn, ask to see her yarn dolls. They're about 2 or 3 inches tall and incredibly cute in real life. This picture only hints at their cuteness.


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