Community and Comfort

Whoa — it seems that just mentioning a subject (community) opens the universe to all kinds of messages and new awareness. The homily at mass at my church this morning was all about it; the recent losses and crises among several friends and acquaintances have highlighted its importance; reconnecting with people on one of my communities has made me appreciate it all the more. OK, cosmic forces, I get it!!!

Like the knitting community, the spinning community (much overlap between the two) is fantastic. Spinning itself is such a meditative practice, in some ways more hypnotic and automatic than knitting. One of the clearest expressions of how comforting spinning can be is Franklin Habit’s essay in Episode 42 of Cast On. The episode is entitled “Home for the Holiday.” Franklin tells of his youthful fascination with a nursery rhyme containing the line “Cross patch, draw the latch, sit by the fire and spin. / Take a cup and drink it up, Then call your neighbors in.” In his eloquent way, he hypothesizes it’s about a grumpy spinner, overwhelmed by holiday stress, who feels the need to lock out the world. But she takes enough comfort in spinning by the fire for awhile (with perhaps a dram or two of sherry) to unlatch the door and let the world in once again.

My photos below are not of FOs, but of influences. The first is of the Louet S-17 that I rented for a few weeks from lovely businessowner Wendy pictured in the second, demonstrating on her Lendrum. Renting felt better to me than borrowing because I could elect to spin or not to spin, to keep it longer, etc. at my own leisure. Introducing myself to spinning in this relaxed way got me addicted quite quickly. The third is of my own Ashford Joy, selected after trying several wheels in various shops, then scouring the spinning lists for used wheels for sale. I WUV MY JOY!!

Coming attractions: my first skein and my project from my first skein.

Have a happy Super Bowl Sunday! May you stay connected to your community. (Today I plan to attend part of a SB Party with my dh, then come back and finish out the day with the Knitty Gritty Super Knit Sunday TV marathon!)




Several people close to me have recently changed jobs and are really happy about it. One commented that he now spends more time with his friends. He wasn’t feeling that his old job was a community any longer. This morning, Saturday, I (happily) zipped over to work for a rehearsal from 8 to 9;30 a.m. for a show that my colleagues stage every three years as a fundraiser. It’s so important that one’s work be more than just a job, but a community where one can feel one truly belongs.

The same is true of other aspects of life — a family that is a community, a neighborhood, a circle of friends, etc. We sort of take it for granted when we have it, but we sure appreciate it when we regain a sense of community after feeling its absence (a new, happier job) and in times of trouble. I’m reflecting on this because I just learned that another friend’s parent recently passed away. Also, a friend who thanked me for the gift of a knitted item called me late last night with such words of appreciation. I hadn’t realized how her community had dwindled as she got more ill. She’s been very lonely and my gift helped her to feel more connected. It’s humbling….

The knitting community is incredible, both in person and in cyberspace. Witness the amazing donations reported to Knitters Without Borders on the Yarn Harlot’s blog, the growing donations to the growing numbers of charities to which knitters donate their labors of love. Some of my best friendships began with a knitting connection. As a community, we rock!

My FO is one of the only “charity” or community-related items I photographed before delivering to its intended recipient. It was a “commissioned” piece for a client of a colleague who is a therapist. Bottom line: the client had lost a lot of hair and wanted a soft, fuzzy, comforting, beanie that she could feel pretty wearing. I offered to knit it if the client provided the yarn, and she did and I did. The color is not to my own taste, but it’s a lovely soft acrylic novelty yarn that I ran with a more solid strand for strength. I wish I’d written down info from the ball bands. Oh well….


about to cast on another charity/gift project to keep feeling good!


Commissioned BeanieCommissioned Beanie on

Container Love

Is it a knitter thing or a crafter thing or just a clutter-challenged person thing? I absolutely LOVE fun and weird containers. I have all kinds of ceramic and hardwood and exotic paper and (of course) knitted boxes and bowls and pouches around my house.

My husband bought a grownup wallet from the Coach store last week and was ready to stick it in his pocket and ditch the amazing and classy LEATHER gift box it came in. Fortunately, I rescued it — what was he thinking?!?!?!?! You can see from my photo how way kewl it is. (I love the irony of storing shells and paperclips in such a classy container.)

For Christmas 2005 I knitted gift bags like the pink one below for each of my husband’s sibling’s families. You have to understand he is one of 15 kids. I knit A LOT of bags. The ‘rents needed one, too, and of course I had to save one for myself. The pattern came from one of my favorite books, Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. What kept this pattern fresh for me was (1) it was a quick knit, (2) I had lots of stash yarn that worked well, (3) I could match the yarn to the personality of each family and indeed the contents of each bag (mostly candy, but some gift cards).

My personal pink pouch, in my favorite Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (left over from the Hopeful sweater — see entry entitled “Subversive Knitting…”), holds my precious video iPod, my Bose headphones, my Shure earbuds and the car charger.



News, Happy and Sad!

July 21! That’s the date that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released! I’m not sure how to feel. I’m desperate to discover the fate of these wonderful characters I care about, yet I’m desolate at the idea the series will be over. Reserve your book and buy it from an independent bookseller!

I learned the date from an online HP list, then confirmed it on one of my favorite podcasts, PotterCast. They are SO excited over there. It’s so fun to obsess with like-minded folks….

Remember the NY exhibit called “Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting”? Here’s a great review of the exhibit from a knitter’s perspective. I want to go and “sit and knit” in one of their exhibition rooms!

My FO for today is a Twisted Rib beanie I knit for my sister’s boyfriend in Lamb’s Pride Worsted, black and gray. The pattern is free on the internet. It creates a wonderful, dense, but stretchy fabric.


Harry Potter Obsessed

I spent a long time working at home at my desk last night. Ever since high school, I’ve needed “white noise” in the background. Too much silence (like in a library) and I absolutely cannot focus. My favorite background noise lately has been any of a variety of podcasts. Last night I had a PotterCast marathon. If you’re a fan of the books, you probably already know about it — the podcast of the fansite “The Leaky Cauldron.” If you’ve never heard it, listen to a few new ones, then get the back episodes so you can follow all the inside jokes.  You can download either from the site or from the iTunes music store.

My FO is a Hogwarts Scarf in Gryffindor colors, pattern from Atypically Knits. It’s in Lamb’s Pride and has 19 stripes. I tried to finish it in time for the release of the last book, but at 3 minutes a row, knit in the round, it wasn’t gonna happen.


Afghans for Afghans NYC Event

I have a kewl event to share! I’m on the yahoo list for a charity called “Afghans for Afghans” which sends warm handknit/crocheted items to Afghanistan in a huge container several times a year. Here’s some info about a public event to benefit the group. Again, I wish I lived in/near NYC!


Afghans for Afghans is a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and garments to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.



Dear Knitters and Crocheters for Afghanistan,

We think you will enjoy reading about this knitting-related exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City:

The link should work for a couple more days for free (then becomes available to subscribers).

You will read about artist Sabrina Gschwandtner, who created an installation where knitters are knitting for Afghanistan and for convalescing troops. The finished wool blankets will be donated to afghans for Afghans. We were surprised to learn that we’re part of her art work! Something different! A creative and unusual way to get people involved and to promote discussion.

Would you like to be a “performer” in Sabrina’s art piece?

For those in the NYC area … Sabrina invites knitters to email her to
schedule a time to stop by the museum and knit squares to be assembled into blankets for Afghanistan. Sandra offers free museum admission to participants. Themuseum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm and until 8 pm on Thursdays. You’llhave to talk to Sabrina to find out more! Please email Sabrina directly at:

In addition to being an artist, Sandra is founder of KnitKnit magazine. Sheis lecturing on the evening of March 15. The museum’s website has more details:

And, if you do attend, please email us! We’d love to hear all about Sabrina’s installation and the other works in the show.


My FOs for the day are the two pairs of Crusoe socks I knit in different yarns. First, the pastel: idena Bambino Ull 100% merinoull Superwash, “spunnet Italy for AS Knapperhuset” (Swedish? Norwegian?)



The second: my go-to Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), P102, lot 122, 100% merino, not superwash but machine-washable nonetheless. The pastel’s cuffs were a little too short (I got impatient), so I made a “do-over” with longer cuffs in the Koigu. Both fit like a charm and the stranded pattern shows off the color varigation.


RogueTess, happy it’s sock-wearing weather…

Knitting from Stash

I’m being bombarded with messages from the universe to STOP buying new yarn and knit from my stash! OK, so maybe I’m just projecting…. (1) I listened to the latest Cast On podcast in which Brenda Dayne (whom I admire on so many levels but mostly for her knitting wisdom) talked about this issue. She said there are even contests on various blogs to commit to knitting from stash for a month, 6 months, a year. In a nod to human nature, most have some kind of escape clause, such as the sock exception and one get-out-of-jail-free pass. (2) A knitting group road trip to a warehouse sale appears to be postponed until further away from payday, so as to minimize temptation. (3) I tripped over some of my existing project bags trying to get to my desk for some essential work. (4) And the guilt simply surrounds me….


This is actually a GOOD thing, right? I mean, I love my stash — I should pay attention to it and not allow my eyes to stray to seductive new yarn. OK, just to get myself motivated, I’m posting a picture. No, this is not my stash. This is not even my projects already on the needles (the ones I tripped over). It’s just the corner near my desk of project bags that already have a pattern in a page projector and the necessary yarn in center pull balls inside of them. I resolve to complete at least two before I buy more yarn. Pinky swear….


Rogue Tess