Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why Do I Love Entrelac?

Why do I love entrelac? I don't know the answer. I just know I do. It seems to go faster. Of course, my other fave is lace, so of course, entrelac goes faster--don't have to think, just knit, backwards knit, pick up, purl 2 together; sl-k-psso--it all just happens. And although Noro is not my favorite yarn--compared to my favorite alpaca--it's scratchy and not soft at all--it works for entrelac. When I'm done with a project, I soak the finished product in water with some hair conditioner added, and that softens the entire thing.

My lastest project, a shawl and slouch hat, used Noro Silk Garden Lite in colors that reminds me of a pumpkin patch.

What I really need to do is combine entrelac with lace and maybe beads, too! I'll need to find just the right yarn to use, though. Maybe I'll just stick with a nice white or off-white alpaca!

I just ordered the new book by Gwen Bortner, Entree to Entrelac--I'm sure that will give me some new ideas.

In the meanwhile, last night I picked up a skein of 80% alpaca/20% silk "Paca de Seda" (imported from Peru) in some great autumn colors and started a quick and dirty Quant, which will be soft and silky, yet warm--a great combination (alpaca and silk)!
Some fluffy white snowflakes are beginning to fall outside. I guess winter is really here. Temperatures are going to drop to zero and below this week--a great time to sit in front of the fire with needles and yarn!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Knitters can Support Doctors without Borders

Knitters/spinners/crocheters who spend any time on the internet will be (or at least, should be!) familiar with Ravelry. As they say on the website, "Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration."

Free and easy to use, the folks on Ravelry definitely inspire me. I find out what others have done with the yarn I have and what yarn others have used to complete projects. I can ask questions, get answers, give and get opinionsabout practically anything under the sun, but especially knitting and yarn.

But last night, as I was seeking inspiration, I discovered that some generous creators of knitted patterns have donated their patterns to be used to raise funds for Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers), an "international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assiste people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe." For instance, by October 31 (according to their website), they have treated close to 3,600 Haitians with cholera symptoms.

Back to those pattern creators: they have donated patterns to a fantastic knitting fundraiser called "pennies per hour of pleasure" or for short, p/hop. On that site, you can download knitting patterns for free. All that is asked is that you freely donate pennies for the time you get pleasure from using those patterns. I was able to wish p/hop a happy second birthday today and write on their blog--you can read it here.

My church has an annual "Quilt Sunday" on which the PPQ (the Purple Paisley Quilters) display quilts, serve brownies, and have a service based somehow on quilting. Yes, quilting--but since so many of us PPQ folks are ceaseless knitters as well, the talk I gave a couple of years ago focused on the way both quilters and knitters are workers for social justice. It doesn't take much investigation to find out that knitters use their artistic talents to provide comfort and warmth to premies, cancer survivors, soldiers, the elderly, etc.

If you are a knitter, join me--download a pattern (and there are many great ones--I especially love Susan Pandorf's shawls (thank you Susan)--and donate! p/hop is at 73 percent of their goal of $5000--let's make it 173 percent!