Thursday, 27 October 2011

Drunk Knitting

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend the annual knitting retreat hosted by my favourite LYS (local yarn store), Wolseley Wool.  It was my first time going, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I ended up having a really great time.  A recap of the classes I took and the things I learned is coming in a future post but I have to finish up some things first!  Anyway, the retreat was everything I hoped for and more.  There were lots of good classes, lots of knitting, and lots of... well... adult beverages.  You might think that drinking and knitting don't go together but once you get to know knitters you may be surprised.  I had heard that people brought alcohol with them to the retreat, but I don't know if I was expecting the amount of alcohol that was there.  I had brought a reasonable amount in my own suitcase due to The Enabler's encouragement (always be prepared!) but I was somewhat embarrassed by it.  I had a six-pack of Rock Creek Dry Cider, and a 26 of... wait for it...


All the punch of vodka with all the deliciousness of cake.  I mixed it with coke zero and from the first sip, I was sold.  I had bought it on a whim, it was the first thing I saw when walking into the liquor store and it felt like it was meant to be.  I think this will become a staple in my liquor cabinet from now on.

So, giddy on cake and knitting and the company of other knitters, I gleefully drank my cake and knitted too.  We drank and knitted until the wee hours, and the combination of these factors led to the birth of...

The Knitting Drinking Game

1. Take a drink when you drop a stitch.
2. Take a drink when you have to tink.
3. Take a drink when you finish a row (or round, don't think you sock knitters can get off so easily)
4. Chug the rest of your drink when you have to frog the whole thing.  Make sure to do this before you frog, it'll help give you strength for the task ahead.

Those are all the rules I remember, there may have been more.  However, a good drinking game doesn't have so many rules that you can't remember them all when *ahem* non-sober.

Happy drunk knitting!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Origin of an Obsession

I have no recollection of learning how to knit.  As best as I can figure, my mom taught me to knit sometime between June and December of 2003.  I can only assume that the experience was so traumatizing that I've blocked it out of my memory. At the time I was no stranger to crafts of various types.  My mother is an avid quilter and involved me in her process from an early age.  She taught me how to embroider and do cross stitch, neither of which I took much interest in.  I did latch-hooking and spool knitting, and she tried really hard to get me to enjoy quilting and I did for awhile but it never quite clicked.

Sometime in 2003 then I suppose I either asked my mom to teach me how to knit, or she offered and I accepted.  If I made anything in those first attempts they've been long lost or tossed in the garbage where they belong.  I do remember my first real "project" though.  It was a scarf made out of blue variegated 100% acrylic.  Mostly garter stitch, but with two bands of stockinette at each end because my mom thought I needed to know how to purl, too, and I hated purling so I couldn't muster more than a little of it.  I also put a bunch of fringe on each end to hide the uneven cast on and too-tight bind off.  I remember the first rows, they took forever and I couldn't understand how anyone could make anything wearable out of this tedious process.  My mom remembers me remarking "I guess you've gotta really like someone a lot to knit them a scarf."  She responded by saying that the idea is that the relationship needs to last longer than the knitted item took to make.  She then dug a black mass out of a box in the basement and showed me what was intended to be a scarf for my dad that she had knitted when they were dating in university.  It was black worsted weight acrylic, 14 inches wide, and about 8 feet long.  It was so big that my dad couldn't even wear it.  And 31 years later they are still happily married.

After that first scarf I made a few more scarves here and there, and even an afghan, but I went through many periods where I didn't knit at all.  And of course the only place I knew to buy yarn was Michael's, I only bought sale acrylic, and I only knew how to knit flat rectangles.  The turning point finally came last year when my husband (The Enabler) mentioned that a new wool store called Wolseley Wool was opening in the city.  I went to the store and was completely blown away by all the beautiful wool.  I signed up for the store's newsletter and found out that they offered classes.  At that point I knew I was pretty hooked on knitting but needed something to push me into making things other than scarves and dishcloths.  I signed up for a sock knitting class and thus, a wooloholic was born.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Everything has to start somewhere.

I've been thinking about starting a blog for awhile, but kept putting it off because it's not like there aren't 80 billion other blogs out there, and why does the blagosphere need another one?  And then I said to myself, Self, it doesn't matter if everyone else is doing it.  It doesn't matter if nobody reads it.  And it doesn't matter that you didn't start a blog before it was cool.  What are you, a hipster?  And then I stopped talking to myself and started writing instead.

I am not a writer.  I enjoyed writing short stories when I was a kid and I thought they were pretty good but now they're just pretty good to laugh at.  I haven't written anything in a few years and before that it was for university and only because I had to.  I HATED writing papers.  Good thing I got an arts degree, eh?  Generally a good way to guarantee that I won't like doing something is telling me I have to do it.  That's why I'm not even sure how long my desire to write this blog will last.  As soon as it feels like a chore it will probably fall by the wayside until enough guilt builds up inside me and I finally break down and write a pity post.  Not to get ahead of myself though, that's all yet to come! (but hopefully not)

So basically, I love wool.  I love the way it looks, I love the way it feels, and most of the time I love the way it smells (what, you don't smell your wool?).  I love knitting, and crocheting, but mostly knitting.  It is pretty much the only thing I ever want to do.  Another part of the reason for starting this blog is so that I can do something with my time other than knitting, while still involving my love of knitting.  Trying to trick my subconscious isn't easy.

I also love things that I can do while knitting, such as watching television and movies, listening to audiobooks, and going on road trips (however I only knit in the passenger seat, never while I'm driving.  Safety first!)  But of course every knitter needs fuel to maintain the energy to keep those fingers moving and their eyes open, otherwise the knitter may get cranky and tired and that just leads to dropped stitches, tangled yarn, and frustration.  This is my roundabout way of saying I also love food and caffeinated beverages.  Never knit on an empty stomach!

Speaking of which, my stomach is growling and I think this is long enough for a first post.