Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Addition

A few weeks ago, Grant and I added a new member to our animal family. We are the proud parents of another hedgehog. I wracked my brain for weeks trying to think of a name but was vetoed by Grant every time. Then the day she was to arrive, Grant casually states (after I ask of course) that he thinks he's got a great name: Mina. I agree because I don't really think that Gertrude is all that great for a hedgehog and Bertha was just not cutting it either. This occurs quite often just when I feel like I can't think anymore, Grant pulls a great idea out of thin air and I'm crazy about it. He's a trickster like that and I love it! So now we have Mischa and Mina. It's been great funny getting to know Mina and seeing the differences between the two is interesting. Can you tell which is which?
Mischa is on the left and Mina is on the right....                    
A Mina close-up.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Yarn Harlot- Revisited

Stephanie posted pics from her trip to Minneapolis and Ann Arbor. The babies are the cutest part- as I'm sure you can imagine. At any rate, I found the one that shows the Borealis gals and added a special note....

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I attended Yarnover this year for the first time when I found out that Kate, one of my college professors, would be teaching Naalbinding. This is an ancient netting technique that creates a sturdy cloth that cannot be unraveled despite wear or even cutting the fabric in two. The workshop was an all day event and even then the technique has so many variations that we could have used more time. Kate is a great instructor and this was a very helpful review of my previous instruction from my college days. 
A single needle is used with a strand of yarn that is wrapped and twisted in such a way that it creates a type of herringbone single chain. These chains can then be put together to create a variety of items including hats, mittens, slippers, tea cozies, and shoe covers to help reduce slippage on ice.  Traditionally in Scandinavia, naalbinding was used to create everything from a sieve for beer and milk to mittens in a dowry. Naalbinding is found throughout the ancient world and is often confused with knitting or crotched items. Kate stated that naalbinding was replaced by knitting when the technique moved north from Africa. In knitting, a standard gauge could be created based on the needle size whereas naalbinding depends greatly on the thumb size of the creator. Because of this, patterns cannot be written with specific instructions as in knitting. She also stated that naalbinding is much more intuitive than knitting...  You trace your hand and then begin. When the "pattern" gets larger, you increase. Add a thumb? Just leave a hole and come back later to pick it up. Come to the end? Stop picking up new and old stitches and slowly decrease until you simply weave in the end. Full a little and viola! You have created a netted piece. Sounds simple, right? Check out the basic steps....
Need more details? Check out my Flickr pages for step by step pictures. 

The Yarn Harlot

The Borealis gals and I had gotten our tickets, finished our scarves, and created our plan. It was a very fun evening. The event was very well planned. A group from the Y*&^%#$ sang a few songs, the audience all welcomed Stephanie with the Canadian National Anthem, and then the laughter began. We listened intently to her speech relating knitting to the repetitive drumming motion that Buddhist monks do. She raised a lot of interesting points about the brain's response to this repetitive movement. It's been proven to increase brain activity from 10% to 20%, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's,  and protect the mind from experiencing traumatic affects from devastating events. In short, the repetitive motion makes the brain happy. Drumming could be knitting, right? If so, I'm going to knit forever!
Stephanie had us laughing when she told the story about her beer/toilet paper expedition in 3*C late afternoon weather, her ever increasing stash size, and her desire to prove to her mom that she really can support herself by her knitting habit. The evening was topped off by some great door prizes and the book signing. Maya and I got our books signed and Stephanie held Meg's sock. A fun end to a great evening. 

Great Reds

A year ago, Pat, my yoga instructor, commented on my hand knit socks. As I took my shoes off, she walked across the classroom where other teachers were stretching trying a few downward dogs and getting ready to relax by talking about the latest antics of our junior high kids. She spotted those socks through all this and came right over and picked my foot up off the ground and started petting it. (She really must like hand knit socks! I had worn those things all day long for goodness sake!) When she was diagnosed with cancer last fall, I decided to make her a pair- after all everyone deserves a pair of their own. I chose the yarn, (Happy Feet, this would definitely send good karma), asked if other yoga'ers wanted to chip in a bit, and then spent the next few months creating an amazing pair of socks. I wanted an interesting stitch pattern but also something that would be comfortable on her feet during all those chemo treatments. The final results: Sensational Knitted Socks- Baby Cable Rib