Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Knit Two

I'm reading the fabulous follow-up novel by Kate Jacobs to her best-selling "Friday Night Knitting Club," called "Knit Two," (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $24.95) which revisits the characters of the first book five years later.

Georgia may be gone, but Walker and Daughter still bustles along with our favorite characters: Lucie has five-year-old precocious Ginger; Darwin is pregnant with twins, Dakota is in college, Catherine is running her antiques shop, and Peri is in charge of the store and still working on her purses; poor Anita wants to marry Marty but her sons object.
I'm on chapter eight. It's snowy and so blustery that the big fluffs of snow are actually funneling upward outside my window at work. I'm headed home to cozy up on the sofa with a warm blanket and perhaps some honeyed tea.
The two things I love most in the world (family excepted, of course): knitting and reading are combined in this delightful hardcover.
Don't tell me how it ends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A manly project

"Knitting With Balls" has three variations on the basic washcloth, or utility cloth as it's called here, illustrated with a handsome young man polishing the chrome on his Harley with a mustard-colored version.
I used Line 12 Clip by Online in an navy blue color, and chose the basketweave pattern.
As you can see, it's coming along nicely. And it's an easy pattern to manage when you're devoid of much cranial space from the stress of the impending holidays.
Just remember to count eight stitches and alternate between knit and pearling or you'll end up taking out a number of stitches.
Happy polishing.

Ode to a simple cap

I started a little project a week ago - a type of palate cleanser - after spending far too many months knitting my crimson sweater.
My 11-year-old needed a hat for the winter - which swirled in so fantastically with one big Nor'easter, a follow-up day of snow and sleet, and now we're anticipating another storm tomorrow during the day.
Hello, Winter.
The snow is solid now; and icicles dangle from housetops, growing longer and more like sicles daily as the melted snow drips along the length, then freezes.
This little cap was knit with two colors of Farmhouse Yarns Fat Sheep on a size 10 1/2 double-pointed needles.
I love the neatly increasing rows, how the cap sits tight along the head.
My son wears it indoors only, to keep him warm against winter's drafts. He says he doesn't like it otherwise.
Oh, but I do.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter lace

Just got the word on this amazing workshop coming up next month. The Arts Center at Killingworth is offering a Designer Fashion Knitting Workshop Jan. 25 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Graphic artist and designer Kimberly Conner will guide people to create an elegant lacy wave scarf. Experiment with new colors and textures to create a one-of-a-kind fashion accessory.

Basic knitting skills, such as casting on, knit and purl stitches, and binding off are required. The cost is $50. To register, call (860) 663-5593,e-mail or see

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Tomato

Finally, this past Saturday, I finished my short-sleeved sweater, Tomato. What a long project this was, lasting from mid-summer to nearly winter. I’ll attribute that to the size 8 needles, not the knitter’s lack of dedication.
If you feel the need for inspiration or camaraderie from fellow fiber enthusiasts, as we’re so often referred to as, here is a roundup of local knitting clubs.
In Middletown, The Russell Knitters meet the first and third Saturdays of the month at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Meeting Room 3 at Russell Library, 123 Broad St. No registration is required. For information, call (860) 347-2520. It’s Only Natural restaurant, 386 Main St., Main Street Market, offers a free Stitch n Bitch with Amy on Thursdays at 6 p.m. For information, call (860) 346-9310. In Cromwell,
The Adult Knit Club meets at the Cromwell Belden Public Library Arch Room on the third Friday of the month at 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Enter through the Town Hall entrance, since the library is closed Friday nights. Call (860) 632-3460 for information. The Nutmeg Knitters Guild meets on the third Wednesday of the month, September through June, at 7 p.m. at the Bethany Covenant Church, 75 Mill St., Berlin.
On another note, Stitches East is coming to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford Oct. 22 to 25. You can request a brochure listing events and classes offered at:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fancy little projects

She's much loved by fiber enthusiasts around the world, gives weekend and weeklong workshops between Connecticut and Florida - and spends much of her time right here in Middletown. Charlene Schurch's newest book, "Little Book Of Sox," ($19.95, Martingale & Co. Inc.) which she co-authored with Beth Parrott, has received nothing but raves online, even inspiring some knitters to say they love her and want to kiss her!
I have her books of hats, "Hats On!" with folk-inspired hats, and even tiny ones for ornaments on the Christmas treet.
A lifelong knitter, Schurch has worked as a knitting, spinning, and dyeing instructor for 10 years. Her work has been featured in Knitter's Magazine, Interweave Knits and Piecework.
Perfect for last-minute Christmas gifts.
Get your size 2 needles ready.

One thing in life that's free

Wondering what to do for that special person on your Christmas list? I’ve been making small gifts this year for close family members. It began with a pair of fingerless gloves that I made for my mother in wool/mohair on chunky needles in a dusty rose color. Now that I’m minutes away from finishing my current project, there is just enough time to eek out a couple more gifts. And ... if you need inspiration, the local yarn shop, Connecticut Yarn and Wool, in Haddam and Madison, is offering free classes for the remainder of December.
Friday is a potholders class from 5 to 7 p.m. Once relegated to the kitchen drawer, potholders can become wall art when not in use if you choose a yarn with striking colors, chunkiness or sheen. Quickly knit four of them and tie like a present with grosgrain ribbon and voila! Instant gift-giving from the heart.
Saturday, the class is a Chain Link Scarf from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday is Larn to Knit from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, make a Last-Minute Ski Cap from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Dec. 18, learn to make a Nordic Ear Flap Hat from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 19, the focus is Mittens from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 20 is Last-Minute Gifts, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 22, Learn to Knit from 2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 23 is a Finishing Workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 26 is Learn to Crochet from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Connecticut Yarn and Wool Company, LLC, is at 85 Bridge Road, Haddam, (860) 345-9300; and 25 Boston Post Road, Madison, (203) 318-8787;

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shop locally

I just ran downstairs to the first floor of our building and found local artisans setting up their booths in the expansive former It's Only Natural supermarket space.
The Creative Juice Holiday Gift Shoppe is open in the Main Street Market, 386 Main St., Middletown, today. There are wares, including Judyth Crystal Arts, Ray Ross Photography on Dec. 13 and 20, Curtis Studio of Photography LLC, and Karen’s Kreations — offering fine arts and crafts, photography, concert tickets, young children’s music, hand-knitted items, beaded jewelry, mixed media paintings and cards. Hours are: today all day; Saturday and Dec. 13 and 20, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Look for the week before Christmas, when the Shoppe will be open daily.