Knitting in Ninety-Five Degree Heat

Knitting in 95 degree heat is not fun. With a stash full of new wool yarns, I looked forward to starting my fall knitting soon. I planned two sweaters for myself, an attempt at my first cardigan-knitted-top-down, and socks for all the guys in my family. But the daily highs are in the mid-nineties, and working under a pile of wool does not appeal.

We keep the air conditioning set on 70 degrees and all the shades down to block as much sunlight as possible, but it’s still uncomfortably warm indoors. All I’ve managed to knit are socks. Not that I anticipate wearing handknit wool socks anytime soon, but socks are small enough that they don’t take up much space while knitting. The heavy shawl I’m making actually makes me sweat, the larger it becomes. I’m looking forward to casting that thing off double-quick!

I love to knit, but I’m thinking I’ll need to re-evaluate what I knit as the summers get longer and longer and as we get less and less snow here in Tennessee. After making several sweaters I felt really proud of last winter, I have to admit I stuffed them in a drawer at the end of January and haven ‘t seen them since. I wear cardigans quite a bit, and I’ve decided to re-route my efforts into garments I can easily peel off this season. While I love to knit pullovers, I have to acknowledge that they will get limited wear.

Will the pattern designers get the message that those of us in the South don’t need sweaters anymore? I was delighted to get a pattern and yarn for a sleeveless tunic from a knitting subscription company last month. A sleeveless sweater in October? Actually, it’s too warm for such a thing now, but in December, a sleeveless wool sweater with a cardigan over it or t-shirt under it will be just what I want to wear.

Patience, fellow knitters! Even here in Tennessee, it will get cool enough (I hope) to wear a hand-knitted wool sweater without melting inside the thing. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll soon see designers and yarn companies offer more goodies for us to knit that will be lovely and useful in warmer weather. 

Happy knitting, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. Available in e-book for US $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99. Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited! 

When Do You Pull the Plug on a Knitting Project?

In the past two days, I’ve pulled the plug on not one but two new knitting projects. First, I tried to knit socks with lace weight yarn. That was Fail Number One, due to utter unsuitability of the yarn to the project. Fail Number Two was more complicated.

I planned to knit a scarf as a Christmas present for Son#1. He recently moved to Nebraska and suddenly needs LOTS of cold weather garments. I miss him terribly, but this gives me a new focus for my knitting. Need a hat, cowl, or winter scarf? I’m all over it! 

But the pattern I selected for this scarf just didn’t seem right. Mind you, there was nothing inherently “wrong” in this pattern – a traditional Scottish horseshoe pattern. But it wasn’t right for son. And that bothered me. I kept knitting the pattern, but I still didn’t like it. Finally, I pulled the plug – or should I say, the yarn – and frogged the whole thing. I re-started the scarf with a tried and true pattern I enjoy and could do in my sleep. (And I’m reasonably certain my son will love it.)

Friends, knitting is something we do for fun and relaxation. We need to knit what we want. If you start a project and don’t like it – for whatever reason – pull that yarn and start over. Knitters have a huge advantage over other crafters: we can re-use materials if we need to start over, and no one’s the wiser. Plus, you get “extra knitting time” with the same yarn if you decide to frog it.

So knit what you want, what you really really want. If you don’t like it, remember this is a HOBBY for most of us. And the whole purpose of a hobby is to relax and do something pleasant. If you find yourself knitting something you don’t like – for whatever arbitrary reason – yank the end of that yarn and be done with it!

Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. Available in e-book for US $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99. Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited! 

Craft Dates – Will Someone Have One and Invite Me?

Hi Friends! A new book came out today, and I want to share the basic idea of it with you: a Craft Date– a party to get together with friends and make a craft within the space of a couple of hours, plus refreshments. 

The concept of a craft date is to have a get-together with friends, have some food and drinks, and everybody makes a craft together. Every attendee is given a kit of supplies with everything you need to make a craft during the party – yarn, needles, pattern, or whatever supplies needed to do the craft at one sitting. The hostess has everything ready to go when the party-goers arrive, so that everyone can get going on the craft, help each other, and have a good time.

I would love to attend a craft date, and on a regular basis. Of course, I realize someone needs to put in a good amount of work to plan a craft date, gather and purchase supplies, provide refreshments, and host the party. But I’m thinking what a great idea for women’s clubs of all kinds, church groups, and local yarn shops. As a former church program planner, I’m thinking this would be a great way to get people together, perhaps monthly, to form connections and invite new people into a community. The effort would be well worth the time spent planning and rounding up materials. 

Would I pay a fee to participate? Oh yes. Instead of attending a “class” at a yarn store, I would much rather pay to attend a “date” or “party” with an emphasis on building friendships and learning a skill I could complete and take home with me in the space of a couple of hours. Why didn’t somebody think of this before?!

In our polarized, often over-digitalized world, knitting and crafting offer a chance for people of all walks of life to sit down and get to know each other in a pleasant, non-threatening, enjoyable, and welcoming community setting. As an added bonus, craft dates – duh – teach people the crafts we love so much and open them up to newcomers.

So I hope those of you who own yarn stores, plan events, or host women’s groups will consider sponsoring a craft date soon. (And I hope you’ll invite me!)

Blessings, Cindy

A Year of Creativity: A Craft Date Planner to Meet, Share, and Createby Petra Hoeksema; Lidy Nooij; Miriam Catshoek; and Bregje Konings, is available on Amazon in paperbackonly, currently on sale for $14.01 in the U.S. I especially liked the usefulness and practicality of the crafts featured. All of the crafts can be done in the space of a couple of hours. A few recipes are featured, as well. I hope this idea catches on! Thanks to the publisher, Quarto Publishing Group, and NetGalley for an advance digital copy of this beautiful book.

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. Available in e-book for US $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99. Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!