Friday, November 21, 2008

Kudos & Clarifications

Last night Tia (my daughter) and I went to our guild meeting. It was the date set for turning in our charity knitting projects for donation to the Salvation Army. The local chapter has been getting a lot of requests for warm clothing from families who are experiencing severe financial crisis due to the suppressed job market and the mortagage industry troubles.

What a fabulous bunch of ladies make up the Woolgatherer's Knitting Guild! There were three 6 foot round tables heaped high with sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, lap robes and afghans. What a sight it was! All kinds of colors, all kinds of yarns and more love than can be measured by anyone but God. The guild also passed a resolution to donate cash from our guild fund and envelope was passed for additional monetary gifts. Here in Michigan, we are already experiencing some very cold weather and the Salvation Army tries, when it can, to stave off shut-off of heat for families in distress.

Well done, ladies, well done, indeed!

Now on to the Clarification portion of this post.

I think I may have confused people with my post regarding the Basic and Master Courses put out by the TKGA. Some people think that you MUST be on-line and attend meetings and many people cannot do both. So I will try to clarify here:

Anyone who wants to go take the TKGA Basic Course should sign up through and get your materials in January.

Beginning in February we are going to start going through the course, setting goals and deadlines so that we stay on track and finish.

IF you live local to us, roughly Plymouth/Canton area of southeast Michigan you will be welcome to attend meetings at my daughter's home. We anticipate meeting at least twice a month and will determine which days after we get a consensus of who signs up.

IF you do not live locally you can still go through the course with our support by signing up for Skype on your computer. You will need speakers and a microphone or a headset with a microphone (my personal preference as it leaves me hands-free). We will set up a Skype chat room for our class mates and we can meet "virtually" on-line. We can see dates and deadlines and also have the benefit of logging on at anytime to see if anyone else is in the chat room, sort of a rolling Sit-n-Stitch.

If you live locally you can participate either way or both ways. Its all up to you.

Please be sure to sign up with TKGA, if you are not currently a member. In January, be sure to order the Basic Course from them so you will be ready to start off the first week in February. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here, or email me at either of the following addresses.... or If you leave a comment here and want a response you must include your email address.

We hope to see you there!

As always,
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The yarn just did not want to be SOCKS!!!

Every knitter knows that sometimes yarn talks to you. You fondle a lovely yarn, feel its loft, its softness and immediately your mind is full of potential projects to make with it.
I bought some lovely Imagination sock yarn from Knit Picks in a colorway called Looking Glass (as in Snow White and the 7 Dwarves). Its all blues and cool and soft and relaxing. It is an alpaca/wool blend and very, very comfy. I was going to knit a pair of socks for myself as part of the Knit Picks sock knit-along.

I chose my pattern and cast on. I worked on it for a while but it seemed like the pattern just was not working the way it should. I checked the pattern, checked my gauge, checked my stitches. Check. Check! CHECK!! Everything was exactly right, but the whole thing was...wrong!
Undaunted, I tried another pattern. Again, it fought me. I've knit enough pair of socks that these should have been a piece of cake. No go!

Ok, this yarn does not want to be socks even though it is fingering weight and should be perfect for a nice pair of toasty warm socks. I got tired of fighting it. I wound it back into a ball and let it sit in a box and think about its transgressions while I moved on and used a different yarn and made socks.
This is Knit Picks Bare yarn that I had tie-dyed with Kool-Aid. I like the way it turned out.
Then I went back to the Looking Glass yarn and just petted it for a while. Eventually it spoke to my and told me it would behave if I wanted to try that SpiroGyra pattern from You know the one....the beautiful fingerless mitts in the over-lapping lacy, spirolling fans pattern. I had been wanting to try it, but since I am not an experienced lace knitter I was a bit hesitant. The yarn, on the other hand, was quite compliant (perhaps sitting in a box and contemplating its poor behavior made it want to co-operate a little more...). So, I plucked up my courage and knit a pair of SpiroGyra's.

The yarn was thrilled...Iwas thrilled. It reveled in the soft lapping of the pattern and gentle spin around my wrists and hands. Its lovely shades of blue flowed coolly through the pattern. The mitts knit up with surprizing ease. The pattern is much simpler than it looks and the yarn was becoming just what it wanted to be!

Now these are my favorite pair of fingerless mitts. I wear them at work when typing. The cubby where I sit tends to be a bit on the chilly side and the SpiroGyra's along me to type away, unhindered, on the keyboard and my hands are warmer.

If you want to try out a small lace project I highly recommend the SpiroGyra pattern by Lynne Vogel from

I have made other, more simple fingerless mitten patterns (see the next photo), but, hands down, I love the SpiroGyra pattern.

Sometimes, it pays to listen to the yarn! (Just don't tell the yarn I said that! Please!)

Have fun knitting, crocheting, spinning or weaving, just listen to the yarn.

Hugs & Prayers

Serene Knitter

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Naming Contest for Ravelry Group

Good Morning Friends and Fellow Crafters!:

Please refer to the November 6th posting for the TKGA Basic and Master Courses. It explains everything about our plans.

That said: I need a name for our Ravelry group. It needs to define who we are and what we are doing. I am looking for something short and sweet that says it all.

As an example: Knitting Rose suggested "UnderGrads", which I like, quite a bit, but it does not define what we are doing and I am afraid that it would make people think we are a group of co-eds. Sorry, Rose, it was a great name, though.

So this is the contest. Come up with the most definitive name for out Ravelry group and win a prize. This lovely pair of Regia cotton/wool/poly sock yarn. Both matching skeins are 100Grams and you will get at least one pair, possibly 2 pair of socks in a cheerful self-striping colorway of pinks, oranges and blues.

How to submit an entry - Email me at, put "Undergrads" in the subject line and your name suggestion in the body of the email (keep the name clean, my grandbabies ready everything on my computer screen). Make sure to include your email address so I can get in touch with you if your entry is selected.

DEADLINE: December 31st.

Number of entries: As many as your fertile imagination can produce.

Good Luck.

Hugs & Prayers

Serene Knitter

Thursday, November 6, 2008

TKGA Basic Course Plans for 2009

Good Morning Friends and Fellow Knitters:

My daughter and I are interested in going through the Basic Course for TKGA (The Knitter's Guild of America). I am committed to continuing on through the Master’s Courses. This is our game plan:

If you are not a member of TKGA sign up as soon as possible. It's a simple process and not terribly expensive. For the price of a magazine subscription you get the TKGA quarterly magazine and membership.

Then, in January, request the Basic Knitters Course from TKGA, there is a charge for this program and the fees are available on the TKGA website.

Beginning the first week in February we will begin the course with any other members of our guild who also sign up. At that time we will agree upon a specified pace to get through the course and arrange to meet regularly. For those of you on Ravelry I would plan to open up a Ravelry group for those who would like to get into a Skype chat room and go through this program with us. This would be in addition to any guild group meetings we might establish for this course…sort of a virtual class room.

After the Basic Course has been completed I plan to move onto the first section of the Master's course. I have been knitting for over 49 years, nearly half a century, and there is so much that I do not know. I am opting to go through the Basic Course for three good reasons:

1. The Basic Course (if I understand correctly) is structured the same way as the Master's Program. This will give us a heads-up, clear understanding of exactly what will be expected of us. I am thinking that it is better to fumble a bit and "get our sea-legs", so to speak, in a course that we feel reasonably founded in already. Better to bumble a bit here than in the more advanced courses.

2. I want to be absolutely sure that I have all the skills that the Master's Program assumes that I have. That will save back-tracking and wasted time when into the more advanced program.

3. I would like to use this time to gather together a group of knitters who are serious about the Master's Program, (get us all on Skype with headsets and mic's, for the virtual participants) and for us to have the opportunity to get to know each other, form bonds and establish a group that knows what to expect from their fellow participants. I feel that this element will help us all to stay on track and stay the wasted time, no procrastinating and no wasted money because we started with good intentions and did not finish. Additionally, I am sure that a natural leader or two will probably emerge, as in all normal group social behavior. It is better to establish the leaders and iron out any minor dramas in the Basic Course arena before we move on to the more difficult Master's Courses.

What do you think? Did I forget anything? Are you interested? I am totally committed to doing this. Please give me some feedback on this because I respect your knitting opinions.

Hugs & Prayers
Lee Mitchell
Serene Knitter on Ravelry