I haven’t blogged for an entire DAY. (Do you think I’ve forgotten how? Let’s find out.)
Deep Winter Kindness: Week Two Giveaway
Let’s have something for the knitters, shall we? The Deep Winter Fairy has found another goodie (or two…) for this week’s giveaway drawing.
Brand new, in-the-plastic-wrap copy of Eunny Jang’s DVD tutorials on Fair Isle knitting. This isn’t just a vest pattern, it’s Eunny doing what Eunny does best: teaching and giving her secret tricks for stranded knitting, sweater knitting, and even (gasp!) STEEKS. Yep, if you are scared of steeking, Eunny shows you how.
And, like last week, because it was so much fun, I will have a surprise gift for a second person. Let’s just say it is from my personal stash and you can use it whether you are a knitter, a crocheter, or a weaver.
The entry rules are the same as last time, but here they are again so you don’t have to go clicking.
How to enter this week’s Giveaway:
Leave a comment on this post between now and Thursday January 13th, and you’re in! I’ll stick the names of everyone who comments into a random number generator, and announce the randomly generated winners on Friday, January 14th. First name drawn gets the DVD set; second name gets the Thing From Stash.
What if I already have this DVD? If the random number generator picks your name, and you already have the DVD, I have a couple other goodies here you can choose from.
What’s the catch? You have to leave a comment on this post. That’s it. That’s the catch. Oooooh, scary.
What if I live overseas? If you live anywhere outside Canada and the U.S., and the random number generator beasties pick your name, then why shouldn’t you get to play, too? DVDs are light. Big deal. The Deep Winter Fairy can handle it. (Last week she sent a prize to Germany.)
Look! I make stuff!
This is a mitten.
It is a FINISHED Cheery Fletcher Mitten, complete with finished lining. This finished mitten has a finished sibling, but the sibling is already in Sir Nicholas’ coat pocket. It was 14 degrees F when we left the house this morning to take Buddy to the vet. Even one warm mitten was better than no warm mittens at all.
Now Sir N has a PAIR of finished warm mittens. And I get to mark off Item #2 of the 15 UFO’s on my 2011 Must Finish list. HOORAY!
Next: This is my latest progress photo on #7, Wheatgrass Truffle Cardigan.
This is the bottom of the Right Front; you can see the pattern panel beginning on the right. (That little odd bit sticking out will eventually be folded to the inside to become a facing.)
I’ve been weaving!
That’s the first 14″ or so of the fabric for the Pick-up Tote bag (#9). The photo is a little dark, but you can see that overnight the lovely cotton yarn sprouted some cat hairs. When I first got up this morning, I noticed little dents in the fabric, little dents shaped like…cat paws. And one big dent shaped like a cat butt. Later on, I walked in and found Tim napping on the newly woven fabric.
Clearly, he thinks I am weaving him a cat blankie.
So that’s weaving and knitting.
How about a spinning project?
That’s a lovely, drool-worthy cashmere silk blend I bought at the NHA Gathering last November, being spun on the oddest spindle I’ve ever seen: a Trindle. The little spokes-with-beads come out so you don’t have to worry about them getting bent in your spinning bag, and then they just pop in and stay put when you are ready to spin. You can choose different beads. I thought it was just a gimmick until I spun on one. Dude. That spindle can SPIN, fast and true. It’s awesome. I love it. (If I didn’t love it, it wouldn’t get to spin project #11, that captivating cashmere/silk.)
It felt good to give some serious time to my crafting this weekend. I finished warping the loom, then did the weaving above. I finished the mittens, worked on the Baby Surprise Jacket (#5), and spent a whack of time writing up some more stuff for the Wheatgrass Truffle KAL (plus doing the knitting above). I worked on the Karmic Geese sewing project; I cleaned house (just a little, OK, don’t go into shock or anything).
One thing that has been really lovely has been that both Nicholas and I are trying to stay off the computer after 8:30 or so at night; we’ve spent the time talking (to each other! actual conversations!), or else he’s gone into the other room to practice his guitar while I work on something crafty. This has brought a quiet peacefulness to our evenings that was lacking before. It’s taken both of us some time to adjust to this: We have to be a bit more vigilant in terms of getting our computer work done before dinner; we have to put off things like wanting to look up some juicy tidbit of information during a movie or a conversation. It means I have to delay gratification in terms of reading your comments, which has been the hardest, I think. (I LOVE reading comments.) But overall, the increase in peacefulness and the extra time to do important things like crafting and talking has been truly wonderful.
Today’s Random Good
While finishing up Nicholas’ mitten, I watched a film called The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters.
Coast Salish is a tribe of First Nations people who live in British Columbia; they are the creators of the gorgeous sweaters known as Cowichan Sweaters.
The film was entrancing. The film’s Métis producer, Christine Welsh (on right in the first photo above) interviewed three generations of native knitters, and filmed all aspects of the making of these unusual garments.
Included is some extremely rare footage of spinners using the large-whorl spindles often seen in museum collections, and spinning on so-called Indian Head spinners (motorized spinning machines powered by foot-treadles ganked from old sewing machines).
There are loving shots of the knitters knitting the bodies of the sweaters on what appear to be eight or ten large plastic double-pointed needles; on closer examination, you realize that these are simply long straight needles with the knobby stop at the end sawn off.
It’s a very well-made film; the stories of the women (and some men) who knit these complex sweaters into the wee hours in order to buy groceries the next day are riveting…especially when they reveal that, although the sweaters often sell for $300 in the tourist shops, the knitters themselves were sometimes paid as little as $5 for them. (Up until very recently, the going rate was still only about $50.)
My favourite story is told by the elderly woman who wanted to take out a bank loan to buy a mechanized carding machine for her village to help speed up the sweater-making so the women could make more money. (The women were all hand-washing and hand-carding the fibre, then handspinning it…and then knitting it. For $5-$50 a sweater. Yeah.) But the bank wouldn’t loan her the money for the carding machine…because they didn’t loan money to Indians. Our hero, Grandmother Carder, went to the bank and sat in the lobby every day for a week or so until the bank men finally gave her the loan, more or less to get rid of her. She bought the carding machine (room-sized, mind you), paid off the loan before it was due, and increased the productivity and well-being of her entire village. Go Grandmother Carder!
I’ve read articles and books on these sweaters, all from a European perspective. This was the first in-depth look I’d had at this important native fibre heritage through native eyes. Wonderful. Try to find it if you can; it’s fascinating whether you love spinning, knitting, fibre, women’s stories, or native studies.