Sunday, February 28, 2010

The End of Socks

Socks in Progress at the Arabian Sea


First, the sad news. I wasn't able to get together with the Zippy Pins people this last week, we are going to try again this week. I will post their interview after we can finally connect.

Then, the happy news. I get to tell you about my most Courageous Knitting - ever! But before I tell you about that, I should mention why this post is entitled "The End of Socks." I've recently been grieving over two pairs of hand knit socks that have holes in them. Add to that, a little bit of tendonitis hanging on, and you have someone who doesn't want to do knitting on small needles. So I've decided - I'm just not going to knit socks anymore (at least for awhile). I get sad when my socks have holes, and I really don't want to fix them either. Although I love the sock and lace yarns, I think I'd rather go with larger projects now. So I am declaring, THE END OF SOCKS for me. Which will also tie in somewhat to my knitting adventure which you will find out about as you read on.

A year ago, I was either on my way or had just returned home from India. I had been gone for two weeks to go to Goa, India and teach knitting. I had never taught a formal group before and never in another language. What would I start with? What would I bring? Why do they need me to come all the way over and teach?

I found out that the women in Goa did not know how to knit, mostly. Because it is a more tropical area, they didn't have sheep and a fiber community. Also, being from America, I would draw people to come to learn that normally would not do so. Ladies came from as far as two days travel, took time off work and came from different class levels.

At one point, one of the leaders stood up to say that they were women, and their jobs were just as important as men. They needed the support of other women and hoped that they would continue to get together. In the end, they formed their own group that would continue to meet once a month in each others homes. The significance of this is that there are not many groups for women in their area. Much less one that crosses class levels. I felt as if I had a glimpse of a women's revolution that started simply because I showed up with yarn and needles. It didn't matter if I was a good teacher or not, it was only that I came and shared my joy of knitting.

While in India, I of course had brought several projects to work on. One project was a pair of socks. A few of my advanced students were curious about these 2-at-a-time, toe-up, magic loop socks. Not one had seen circular needles before! I showed Lydia (who knew how to knit already) how to knit on the socks. I let her do a few rows, thinking that I could always rip back later. But to my surprise, I could not tell were my stitches ended and hers started.

Lydia trying out sock knitting

I didn't finish the socks on that trip. In fact, I couldn't bring myself to knit on them for months. Each time I would bring them out, memories would surround me. I felt that if I finished the socks, the trip would truly be over. But a couple weeks ago, I found the socks again and found to my surprise, that I could work on them again. I cast off last Friday at Silver Creek Cabin. I wasn't sad to have finished them, because I had made plans. See, I had already decided that I wasn't going to knit socks anymore. These didn't count; they were just finishing work. These socks were going to be framed. I am going to find a shadow box and print some pictures including Lydia knitting on the socks to put in it. It shall be a remembrance of my time there, the wonderful women I met, and an honorable way to end my sock knitting. This is truly the end of socks (at least for now).

The Knitting Class

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Thank you to everyone who responded this last week on your courageous knitting! I hope that you are each inspired to try something new. And now, the winner of the egg! I have ran the RNG and it picked #1. So, Congratulations to Andrea! Please send me your address and I will mail it out to you.

The giveaway this week is a skein of sock yarn. This is Colurophobia Superwash Merino Sock yarn in the colorway, Crazy On You. Just because I'm giving up knitting socks, doesn't mean you have to!

In order to enter for this prize, please reply to this post and tell me where was one place that you knit/crochet/spin that was memorable, or where would you like to? Post your reply by Saturday March 6th midnight, CST. I will use a RNG to pick a reply at random. You are welcome to reply more than once, but only your first reply will be entered. Good luck, and have a fun fiber week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

March Goals

From now until March 1st (I need a little more time for my goal this month) I will do the normal cleaning:
- kitchen
- living room
- entry way & stairs
- bathrooms
- dusting/vacuuming, etc.
- upstairs bedroom

Updated list:
January - upstairs bathroom, hallway, entryway
February - upstairs bedroom
March - craft room
April - laundry room
May - garage
June - downstairs bedroom
July - downstairs closet under the stairs
August - downstairs living room
September - downstairs bathroom & area outside by furnace/hot water heater
October - office
November - kitchen
December - upstairs living room and hall closet

Bedroom...Done!

I finished the bedroom, at last! It wasn't a hard room to do, just took a little excavation. This room used to be the guest room/library/storage. Then, we moved into it to make it easy for my husband after he had surgery. What with the cold weather coming, we didn't want to move back downstairs and we were still sleeping in the library/storage. It has been cleaned out now! Even the dust bunnies under the bed have been rooted out.

The house has lost:
Recycling: 6#
Garbage 3#
Giveaway 22#
= 31 pounds lost.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Courageous Crafting

Festive spinning project

Conversation heard at my house last night:

Me: (click, scroll, click) Ooh. (click, scroll, double click) Wow.
Hubby: What are you doing?
Me: (looks up from laptop) It's true.
Hubby: What is?
Me: Yarn really is the gateway drug
Hubby (rolls eyes and shakes head sadly)

And it really is true. I've been knitting since pre-teenage years and recently have accelerated due to all this fun online stuff. In the last year, I've tried weaving, dyeing, spinning and needle felting. Next, I'd like to try nuno felting and drum carding. Is there any end to the madness?

Happily, no.

Once upon a time I was afraid to branch out beyond knitting. My excuses were futile; not enough time, don't need to add another addiction, it'll cost more money. But in the end, I'm glad that I've become more of a fiber addict and enjoy the variety of the crafts more and more.

However. My kitchen has a small side table with yarns that are ready to dye and a basket of fiber that keeps coming in the mail. There's also a couple bags of various yarns and things hanging off the backs of chairs. Oh, and there's a shelf in the china cupboard filled with my etsy shop inventory.

Then, the living room has a little corner (okay, not so little) area that has a spinning wheel, fiber, and some other things on an end table. There's a basket of fiber related magazines and a few stray skeins of yarn that seem to wander around.

Finally, there's the craft room itself. Put on your biohazard suit and take your life in your feet, all ye who dare enter. Yeah, yeah, I'm supposed to get to cleaning that out as a March project.

Do I really need all these things? Do I really need all these craft? Do I really need to look at trying more? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. These fiber crafts are pure joy (except for certain stupid fiber moments) and therapy. They are an expression of myself and keeps my creative current electrified. And looking at the other people around the fiber craft circles, I am not alone. In fact, it looks like I'm positively sane compared to many.

So, what is the point in this rambling? It is a resounding YES to you - who have held back at starting a new craft, the next step in your current one and the encouragement to get out there and just try something new and different. For everyone who goes forward in their arts and crafts, it causes ripples that affect us all. Picture us all as a long strand of split spliced fiber wound up into one lovely skein.

A couple years back, Interweave's Knitting Daily said to make this the year of Knitting Dangerously. My word to you - is to make this your time of Crafting Courageously.

Excuse me a moment while I go look up those classes on numo felting.

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Next Sunday, I'll be featuring Jamie and her daughter who started their business selling Zippy Pins. They have plenty of fiber related pins to needle you with as well. Find out the wonderful story on how they started and what they are doing next. Plus, they'll be giving away some pins to some lucky readers!

Speaking of giveaways, I promised one for this week.

This week's giveaway
Reply to this post and tell me what you'd like to craft courageously or are already crafting courageously. One entry per person. If you want to include more stories, that's great! But the first one will be the one that I count.

You have until Saturday, February 27th midnight CST to post. After that time, I will use a random number generater to pick one person at random to win the prize.

The prize will be a needle felted egg made by me.


Happy crafting to you all.

Needles Norman

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Birth of Needles Norman

It all started one night when our book club R.E.A.D.D (Read, Enjoy, Analyze, Discuss, Desert) hosted author Susan May Warren and her friend Mary for a fun weekend of shopping, eating and a movie. Susan talked about a book that she wanted to have her main character into a roller derby gal but her publisher told her that it wouldn't work, so she became a softball player instead. Anyway, we decided to come up with roller derby names for ourselves. Since I was knitting, I became Needles Norman. You can read about this on Susan's Blog here.

Welcome to the blog of Needles Norman; unrepentant fiber addict. Watch this space for Sunday updates on what and who I'm needling, for contests, giveaways and all kinds of fibery love. I'll also be posting a Wednesday short to tide you over until Sunday. Since today is Wednesday, I'm doing my intro instead.

I'll have info on my first giveaway on Sunday. Don't miss it! Or I might be Needling you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Shelf in the Bedroom


I'm doing more cleaning out of the bedroom today. Tucked in the corner, is a low book shelf that I've had since childhood. My mother picked it up at a garage sale and we covered it with contact paper. I don't know why I still have the shelf. Sentimentality? Usage? Whatever the case, it's going out now. I don't need this and frankly, it's not my style anymore.

Fare thee well, little bookshelf! May a fellow freecycler enjoy you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Interim House Knitting Ladies

New thing for the New Year! When I add a blog to the sidebar that I like, I'll post a little bit about it.

Awhile back, I listened to a Cast on Podcast and Brenda Dayne talked about a place called Interim House and that you can donate your yarn. There was a story about someone who donated some yarn that was moth eaten but someone was desperate enough to tie it together and knit with it.

Here's info about the Interim House from their site:

Interim House Inc. is a 6 month drug and alcohol residential and outpatient program for women located in Philadelphia. In 2004, Interim House began a knitting program that has been very sucessful. Because of the community's response in donating yarn and needles we thought that having a blog would be a way to showcase our projects and express our thanks. Yarn donations are always welcome, appreciated, and put to good use.

Welcome to my sidebar, Interim House! I hope to have a box of yarns going to you soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How to Make a Magic Ball of Yarn

First, assemble a skein of yarn and an assortment of items. I prefer to have a medium weight yarn. Lace or sock weight will have you at this forever. Bulky may not be enough to wrap - unless you have more than one skein. I like to have 7-15 items, depending on what the person likes.


Wrap the bulkiest or roundest object first. Whatever you think may be harder to wrap in later. I chose the