Groomed goats, sheep herding, hand-dyed yarns, lobster rolls…the trip to Deerfield for the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival is worth the 2-hour road trip on the weekend of May 12th and 13th. I wander somewhat aimlessly, appreciating the garments everyone wears to exhibit their skills, admiring the beautiful goats and sheep, delighting in the fibers, watching with respect the relationship between people and their animals in the competitions and the shearing and herding demonstrations. If you have never been, treat yourself and your family to an outing. The demonstrations and classes are free–you may be like me and want to learn how to darn your socks! Check out the schedule https://nhswga.org/lecture-and-demomonstration-schedule
We’ll be carpooling from the shop at 8:30 on Sunday if you’d like to join us!
The other morning on my walk with my dog, I was thinking about something I couldn’t solve, and I shrugged. I laughed out loud, as that little shrug, with a slight tilt of the head, I learned from a little two year-old that comes in the shop with her mom. I was retelling the scene to a customer, who shrugged, her turban delicately twined about her head. “Oh, that feels good, right here,” she said, indicating the spot between her shoulders. Sometimes it does us good to shrug, to say, “Okay, I can’t solve that one,” and let it go.
This reminded me how important it is for knitters and crocheters to take a break every 1/2 hour or so and do some stretches. Shrugging is one of those exercises. Tilting the head from one side to the other, and looking over the shoulder, first one side, then the other, also help relax the muscles in the neck and shoulders.
Another place we unwittingly carry tension is in our hands. Sometimes on my walk, I pay attention to my hands, which are fisted up, and deliberately relax them. Taking a break from holding the needles or hook, stretching the hands out, shaking them, and pulling the hands and individual fingers back, in the opposite direction they’ve been while you worked, will relieve tightness. Link your fingers and push away from you, palms out, then lift your hands above your head. This will not only stretch the hands, but will stretch the muscles in your back. Even just rubbing some hand cream into your hands will give them a break and loosen them up.
If your project is particularly intense, you may want to remember the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain for people who are on their screens a lot. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds, and focus on something 20 feet away. If you find yourself rubbing your eyes, you know it’s time to make a change. At the very least, get up, make a cup of tea, pet the dog, and smile. After all, you are doing what you love—knitting!
Knitters are showing support for the March For Our Lives march against gun violence on March 24th by knitting/crocheting “Evil Eye” fingerless mitts. Krista Suh, who designed the Pussy Hat, writes, “Individually, to show the eye on the palm, you can put out your hand in a “stop” gesture – as in, we must stop gun violence, enough is enough. In a group, you can raise your hands above your head to show the eyes – this is the universal gesture of “hands up don’t shoot” and a reminder of how vulnerable our children are in a country with weak gun control.”
We’ll be knitting the mitts at Love.Yarn.Shop. (in the new location at Beannacht Books across the street from the Colonial) on Saturday, March 17th at 10:30. You can find the easy pattern here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/evil-eye-glove
The mitts can be worn at your local march or sent to the following address for the Washington marchers:
How perfect to have my yarn housed in Beannacht Books, kitty-corner to LYS, while the shop is under construction. I had forgotten that my first love affair with yarn began while I was working in Chapter and Verse in Bristol, England. It was an academic book store, so in the summer, my colleagues taught me how to knit sweaters (I didn’t make hats, scarves, or mittens until many years later). There was a to-die-for yarn store right across the street and that is where I bought my Rowan Yarn and Kaffe Fasset patterns. Those were the days of drop shoulders and oversized sweaters…the eighties. I have made a laptop case from fulling one unfinished Kaffe Fasset sweater. I still have the turquoise Lopi sweater (very popular color at that time!) and haul it out on appropriate wintry days. I regret donating two sweaters to a local second-hand shop, not because of the yarn, but the cool buttons I had used. I still have the fair-isle vest I knit for my father, fulled and fitted for me now that he has passed away. All these fond memories of the book store and my colleagues and the pubs are flooding back as I sit here with a view of yarn and books. Come join me in the cozy sitting area. My shop hours are the same: 10-5 Tuesday through Saturday and I’m selling both yarn and books!
That’s what I said when I looked through the new Interweave Knits. The cardigan by Sarah Solomon on the cover is so beautifully designed for me: long, loose, with cables and pockets, I wanted to cry, knowing how long it would take to knit it. Then there are these fabulous men’s cardigans and sweaters on gorgeous models and the tears started welling. Why can’t I just knit all day? This collection poses some interesting combinations—a linen stitch, zippered motorcycle-style jacket, a cable and fair isle sweater, a drop-shouldered sweater with a long sculptural hem, a truly elegant poncho. Even if you never knit one of these patterns, you’ll enjoy suffering and sighing as you linger over collection.
Saturday, December 2nd, is Christmas in Bethlehem, an annual kick-off for the holiday season. This year at Love.Yarn.Shop. we’ll be making Ann G.’s simple gnome ornaments from 1-2, so grab some friends and come on down! We’ll have cider and cookies for a little mid-afternoon refreshment. The festivities begin at 10:00 with the Methodist Church Bazaar and Santa Claus at the Heritage Center. Find out about all the events at Christmas in Bethlehem. This year in Bethlehem, we are offering for the first time special discounts at local shops, so make sure to pick up your card at local businesses and get it stamped. The entry deadline is Wednesday, December 20th, and with 6 stamps from participating shops and restaurants, you could win a $100 shopping spree.
Fidget lap blankets and Twiddle Muffs are both terms for sensory blankets for dementia patients. Often patients’ hands and fingers are continually in motion. According to Brenda Avadian, the person with dementia often has a desire to be useful, to “fix things,” and keep busy. Many people with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease are disconnected from the world around them. Sensory stimulation can be in many forms, from objects not normally found in their environment, like seashells, to hand massages, or trips outdoors. The stimulation can reconnect the person to a memory or to the present and can lead to smiles, words, and eye contact. The sensory blankets provide soft textures for the person to stroke, with buttons, strings, and braids, that may evoke pleasant memories and give the hands something to work. Blankets can be quilted, crocheted, or knit.
Here is the pattern I use for knitting at Fidget Muff. You can leave it unseamed for a flat blanket or seam it for a muff.
Fidget Lab Blanket or Muff
Cast on 30 stitches with #17 needle and bulky yarn.
Knit 3 rows.
Switch to another yarn every 3 rows, leaving yarn ends with four inches to make fringe.
Alternate weights and colors to make an interesting texture; incorporate bobbles or eyelash yarn, sock yarn, ribbon yarn, etc.
Make muff 10 inches long. (If making a flat blanket, you might want to make it 12-14 inches long.) Bind off.
Tie the ends and make extra fringe.
Fold in half and seam.
Sew on buttons, i-cords, crocheted flowers, or any item to fidget.
We’ll be working on fidget muffs and fun hats this Sunday from 1-3 at the shop. Come in you can!
Many of us love to knit with a combination of alpaca and wool–it certainly is my favorite–but finding an American combination has been challenging, especially hand-dyed. The Alpaca Yarn Company has just launched “Symmetry”, a 50% baby alpaca, 50% fine wool, in sport weight, kettle-dyed in 18 beautiful colors. This is a perfect yarn for garments that are soft to the skin and warm to wear. You have to see it to appreciate the colors, with deep and pastels partnered for those two color projects. Join us on Friday the 10th from 5-7 to check it out.