Knitting or Candy Crush?

Can I knit and be addicted to Candy Crush?

The jury’s still out.  A friend (or at least she used to be a friend – haha) invited me to play Candy Crush Saga.

Candy Crush is the most addictive game I’ve played yet.  Even worse than Spider Solitaire.  That’s all I need in my life; another distraction.

Candy Crush or knit?

Candy Crush or knit?

Time is precious; contrary to what we might like, there really are only 24 hours in a day.  And some of them have to be spent sleeping or at least pretending to sleep.  That leaves only 16 or so hours left to knit, teach others how to knit, market Learn2Knit, be a mother to my adult children (yes, even adult children need a bit of mothering from time to time), be a daughter to my parents and a sister to my siblings and a friend to my friends.   Phew.  And then there are my volunteer commitments but let’s not get into that now.  Of course I knit while watching TV so I don’t need to separate that out, but somehow I can’t figure out how to knit and play Candy Crush at the same time.

Now’s the time, people – time to speak up.  Does anyone out there know how to play Candy Crush AND knit at the same time?

Knitting Gauge – A Necessary Evil!

The Words “Knitting Gauge ” Strike Terror with Inexperienced Knitters

Aahhh, gauge.   The word looks so innocent… it’s not a 4-letter word, it’s accepted in polite society.  But when we put the word ‘knitting’ in front of it, gauge becomes downright sinister.  That’s because it leads to the other nasty knitting nuisance – a swatch.  Yes, my friends, in order to determine gauge we have to do a swatch.  And we can’t use a swatch from the sweater we just knit.  Oh no, we have to do a fresh one with each project.  And we have to figure out what the pattern wants – a swatch in stocking stitch, garter stitch or in pattern.  And if it’s in pattern, is it the cable part or the diamond piece or neither or both?  Then comes the kicker – do we wash it and block it or just measure it as knit?   Well, let me share some answers with you.  The rule of thumb is to knit the swatch in the pattern unless the writer specifically tells us otherwise.  There’s really no point in straight knitting 16 stitches and 20 rows to 4 inches if the bulk of the project is made up of cables.  If we want the sweater to fit, we need to measure the cable part or else there’s just no predicting the final size.  As to washing?  If it’s acrylic you’re working with, then washing isn’t necessary.  If, however, you’re working with anything else, then take the extra time to wash your swatch according to the instructions on the label.  Much better to watch a perfect 4 x 4 shrink to 2 x 2 than to see your entire size 14 sweater shrink to a size 2!  It could happen the other way too – some wools stretch to unimaginable proportions and if you don’t figure out the washed gauge then that body-hugging top becomes a football player’s favourite comfy sweater!

The next challenge is to figure out what to do when the swatch doesn’t match the required dimensions.  If it’s too big, try the next swatch on smaller needles.  If it’s too small, go up a needle size or 2.  And remember, keep washing and measuring.  If you absolutely can’t get rows and stitches to match up at the same time (my usual problem), then you’ll have to use your higher math skills and add or subtract a couple of stitches.  Be consistent throughout, and good luck!

The Joy of Finding Hidden Yarn

I really need to hide more yarn…

The most unbelievable thing happened this week.  I did not find even one ball of hidden yarn when I cleaned out my office to magically transform it into a bedroom.  Not one.  The only thing I actually enjoy about moving, consolidating my possessions or cleaning out closets is the delight I feel when I find forgotten, but beautiful, yarn stashed away.  It’s inevitable – whether it’s under the bed, tucked in an innocuous grocery bag or camouflaged in a briefcase – I always discover something.  But this time, nothing.  Not one skein, not one unfinished knitting project, not even an unraveled ball of yarn decorating the bottom of the closet.  OK, so I did find an unfinished make-your-own-carpet which will one day hang on my wall.  And there did seem to be so many loose patterns that it felt like my favourite patterns had been having triplets.  And yes, I found some single knitting needles.  Alas, I had finally given up on ever finding them and had just tossed their mates the day before.  But none of that made up for my disappointment at the end of the day when, exhausted from watching my kids move my desk and other furniture, I sat down and realized that my stash was no different from when I had awoken that morning.

So what have I learned?  When it comes to yarn, I clearly have not been inventive enough about tucking it away.  I also clearly do not have enough of a stash if it hadn’t spread into the office.  Oh – that’s great news!  Off to buy more…

Love to Knit

My Passion is Knitting

I love to teach and I love to knit.  I’d love to teach YOU to knit!  I’ve been knitting since my grandmother taught me when I was 10 years old.  My grandmother could knit anything – from wire to beads to wool to acrylic.  She knit baby clothes for all of her 12 grandchildren and sweaters for us as we grew.   Her hands were always busy – moving so fast that we children couldn’t differentiate one click from the next.  I was fascinated.  So I asked my grandmother to teach me to knit.  And she did.  One step at a time.  Truthfully, I stank.  My scarves were the weirdest shapes imaginable with too few and too many stitches from row to row.  (Remember that in the 60’s scarves were supposed to be straight – and we thought we were rebels – how ironic!)    So much for my knitting career.  I picked up needles every now and then over the years, but nothing serious until I started having my own children.  Much as I loved to watch Sesame Street, Mr. Dressup and The Friendly Giant, my fingers itched to do something while I enjoyed time with my kids!   My choices were limited – knit or eat!  So my knitting career resumed in earnest.  And I’ve been knitting ever since – for over 30 years now.  Scarves (straight AND weird), afghans, lap blankets, sweaters, baby clothes, shawls – you name it.

I’ve been teaching women of all ages to knit for the last 8 years in a non-profit – you may have heard of us: the Shaar Shalom Mitzvah Knitters.  I am very proud of the fact that we have gifted over 8,500 items to date.

I’ve taught children and adults to touch-type and to use computers in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and I’ve taught newcomers to Canada to speak English.

While teaching English and typing had its own rewards, nothing compares to sharing my love of knitting and watching a non-knitter become a knitter.  There is nothing quite like the thrill of watching a simple string of cotton, wool, acrylic, bamboo… become a gorgeous item of warmth and beauty.  I really do love to teach and can’t wait to share my passion for knitting with you too.