This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting Out the Needles and Using What I've Got

Using up cotton yarn. Two hand towels down, more to go.
The stripes make them related, from the same family.
by Kathleen Blease

I'm on a cleaning kick. Actually a cleaning out kick. There's a difference, no?

My idea of cleaning is scrubbing toilets and mopping floors. But cleaning out, that's another matter, and I'm starting with my knitting bag. Today, I'm on a tear to gathering up my bits and pieces of yarn and using what I've got--getting rid of the yarn stash. My mom and I just sent off some hats for Knit for Japan!, and now I'm stitching up cotton hand towels. My husband watches and says, "I can't believe you can turn these out so fast."

Yes, indeed, I can! I love to knit and crochet. My grandmother taught me many moons ago when I was just eight years old, and every time I take the needles into my hands, I think of Grandma clicking away as she talked. Talk. Clickity-Clack. Talk, talk. And like magic, after just a few visits to her house, another sweater would appear on her blocking table.

A whole bunch finished and topped  with
a washcloth that's made from the very last bits.
Charles' Yarn Shop was a treasure trove--the colors stacked on shelves, the needles in the glass case, and books upon books of how to do this and how to do that. It was a creative haven in Grandma's basement...and that jar of sugar cookies was a great draw, too. You might enjoy my post, called About Rose and Yarn.

Grandma didn't waste time. As soon as I was old enough to get bored, she called me into the breezeway and sat me down with a hook and my very own skein of yarn. The chain stitch came first. Nice and even. Grandma sat next to me on the glider and instructed: "Hold that hook like a pencil, Kathleen, just like you learned in school. That's how you can crochet fast with an even hand." Then I was on my way to the single crochet and the double crochet. Then on to how to read a pattern. Zoom!! The days flew by.

I'm still knotting together yarn with a hook and clickety-clacking with needles. Recently, my mother gave me a huge bag of fisherman's wool, the real thing, 100% merino. At first, I planned on making an afghan, but I have so many already. Then I thought about an aran sweater for my husband. I love knitting cables, but the fisherman's white didn't appeal to him. I already have a genuine aran sweater expertly handknitted in the round, so I'm not in need of one for myself. (I found the sweater under a pile of clothes at a thrift shop. I paid just three bucks! It still has the distinct scent of lanolin. It's an awesome find.)

With the wool, I decided to experiment. The picture below shows a test run. Believe it or not, I've decided to knit kitchen curtains.

Wool curtains? Only if the wool is free.
Made in mock baby cable on size
15 needles.
 Yes, I know what you are thinking, "Merino wool curtains? Are you crazy?" Well, I guess it's better to be crazy with something I got for free than to spend money. But isn't the curtain lovely? It's made with a mock baby cable on size 15 needles, which creates an airy lace. After it was blocked, it took on a very natural and lovely drape, and it's so light the breeze easily pushes it back and forth. I think I will treat it with Scotch Guard to make cleaning a little easier. But I'm not set on this. So far this is only a test run. I decided to try knitting the curtains since we have several windows in the kitchen and fabric alone would be well over a hundred dollars, even with bargain hunting. Besides, I am much more skilled at knitting than sewing.

To tell you the truth, it's the journey that I enjoy, too, so I'm not afraid of taking on a large project. Or experimenting. In fact, my husband marvels at how I can freely and happily rip out row after row, then to try again later.

I'm on board for the ride, and I really like it. And for a frugal nut like me, the great thing about knitting and crochet is that if my project runs off the tracks, it's easy to rip it out and save the yarn for something else. (Ever make a mistake cutting fabric? It's a heartbreak that really doesn't happen with knitting or crochet.) There is no waste, especially if you enjoy the time with needles in your hands--even if a project is a complete failure. For me, it's all time well spent.

In fact, the completion of a project is not my favorite part. I like working through a pattern and feeling the project come to life in my hands. There's something special about creating row after row of a lovely design from what is basically just a single piece of very long string. Okay, there are times I become frustrated, mostly when I know a pattern should be working for me yet I can't quite grasp it, but I know after all these years that it's a matter try, try again. Patience is a virtue that has never let me down. Take it like a big spoon of medicine, and lo-and-behold everything works out, right down to the correct stitch count--yes! It helps, too, that I'm not in a rush to get to the end. When a project finally gets blocked, I feel like I just finished a good book. It's time then to reflect and decompress, then off I go looking for more.

Grandma's mother crocheted and knitted, as Grandma did, as Mom does, and now as I do!

One more thing I'd like to brainstorm is a Rosary pattern, perhaps for a pillow or blanket. It would feature stitches that represent the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Our Father, the Fatima Prayer, the Creed, and the decades that recount the mysteries. Well, Peggy Bowes found a way to beautifully apply the Rosary to working out, so surely--somehow--we can find a way to apply the prayer to knitting and crochet. Wish me luck!

Do you have projects you would like to share? Please feel free to leave a comment and link up.

God bless!

1 comment:

  1. I love those cotton washcloths! I am a big fan of the cotton knitted things. I wish I could find a cotton knit sweater for the winter- mine always pill up so fast.

    Good luck on the stitching!


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