News from Double Ewe - Issue 22

January 2009

Happy 2009! Hopefully most of you have finished your Holiday knitting. Now is the time to exhale deeply, relax, and knit what you really want to knit; the pressure’s gone, at least for a while. ;-) Personally, I’m working on a sweater for myself, fiddling with designing a hat, and also finishing up a silly little knitted toy.

Read on for some upcoming events in the Twin Cities, new stuff we’ve got at the shop, this month’s guest writer’s article, and upcoming classes at Double Ewe. I just wanted to mention that we’ve got a new teacher in February. Some of you know Terri from our Friday afternoon or Saturday morning open knitting. She’s going to be teaching a class called “Don’t Ask What This Class Is About, Just Sign Up! (Design 101)”. Looking at the outline she’s got planned, it looks like a great, empowering class! Read more about it below.

In this issue:

  • New Stuff
  • Guest Writer - My Afghan Square by Cary Robinson
  • Upcoming Events in the Twin Cities
  • January & February Classes & Activities

New Stuff

Mini Mochi from Crystal Palace Yarns
This will be arriving sometime this week. It’s a gorgeous self-striping fine, single ply yarn. Perfect for socks, scarves, and any fine knit projects. 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon. I can’t wait for this one!

Burly Spun from Brown Sheep
Until recently, we didn’t really have a really super-bulky yarn at Double Ewe. Now we do! Burly Spun is thick, single ply yarn that knits up at about 2 ½ stitches per inch. It’s available in solid, heathered, and handpaint colors. Great for quick, thick accessories or sweaters. And the skeins are gigantic – over 200 grams, around 130 yards.

Encore D.K.We now have the very popular Encore available in a DK weight. A soft, machine washable & dryable acrylic blend – great for babies & kids. 5 ½ stitches per inch

Harrisville Heathered Bulky on Sale
To make room for our new Burly Spun, we’re closing out our current stock of Harrisville’s Heathered Bulky. Knits up at about 3 stitches per inch, beautiful heathered colors. 25% off.

Guest Writer

My Afghan Square   By Cary Robinson

I’ve often read stories about women who knit while in the midst of a crisis. How knitting saved their sanity and they came out on the other side with a valuable lesson learned. I wondered how something as basic as two sticks and some yarn could accomplish what appeared to be a life saver at times. Little did I know that I would soon be able to get a taste of that myself…

Many, many months ago I started the Great American Afghan. I knit three squares and put it down for a few months. Recently I decided to start it again and am now working on good old square number eight, the one with an incredible amount of cables. A lovely intricate square, but never having accomplished cables previously, was a bit to trudge through at times.

On Tuesday, December 30th I am at home in the afternoon busily working on my afghan square. The square is about half done and I am looking forward to the finish. The phone rings and my mother is hysterical saying that my 77 year old, very active, father has fell at the end of the driveway while walking down the hill to get the mail. My brother is taking him to the emergency room. My father doesn’t recognize my mother.

The snow is falling hard and I am the farthest sibling from the hospital. I can’t go fast enough and I can’t go fast. I see 5 cars in the ditch and the road is ice. It takes me an agonizing hour to get to the hospital. I get to my father and he is flat on the e.r. cart and staring into space, he doesn’t know me, can’t seem to move much and is not the father whose eyes light up when he sees me and who smiles with love when we are together. My god, I can’t believe this, I love him immensely and I can’t bear to see this.

C.T. scans show a large 5” fracture in his skull, a subdural hematoma (a bleeding brain) and another fracture which has moved and has ruptured his eardrum, another few fractures in the forehead area. Blood is draining copiously from his ear. Seems to me he got hit with a baseball bat rather than a fall.

The evening passes and he will be transported to another hospital where the neurology unit is better equipped to handle head injuries. A neurosurgeon will be consulted and I have asked it be the doctor I have worked for up until one month ago. I trust him and he is the best I know. The evening passes and I am told we wait and see if things change….

I call my family to report and go back to my father. It’s just he and I in this cold room, with glaring lights and medical equipment. I hold his hand and wait.

I go home and try and get some rest, of course none comes and I decide to go back to the hospital, I grab my Double Ewe knitting bag that always has the current project in it. It goes just about everywhere with me, kind of like a diaper bag to a new mother.

I get to the hospital to find that my father has lost his hearing, but nothing else has worsened. He is on medication because of the pain from his head injury, and slips in and out of sleep. I wait and pick up my knitting.

How in the world can I do anything with this square? It is much too complicated to try at a time like this! I can barely think, let alone try goofy cables and count at the same time. I start a cable and it works, I then P2, K2, 2/1 LPC, 2/2 LC and look at my work, it looks good and I continue on. I keep going and keep looking up to check on my dad, he is the same, but my knitting is growing in length. I stop to go and get a drink, when I return my knitting is laying on the bed/couch in his room and I notice something doesn’t look quite right in one tiny spot. I pick it up and notice on the back side of the square a line of about 10 stitches where I knit instead of purled and purled instead of knit. Damn. It looks horrible and sticks out like a huge caterpillar. I stare at it and wonder when this happened and how come I didn’t notice it 15 rows ago? Should I rip out and fix it? That’s an awful lot of crazy cable rows to tear out and redo. I realize this must have happened either at the time of my father’s accident, (could it have happened when he fell and I was sitting at home and felt this in my heart) or did it happen the first row after hearing this awful news. I decide to leave it. To me it looks like a fracture. It’s ugly, it’s wrong in amongst all of these beautiful rows, and I don’t like it. Same thing for the fractures in my father’s head. I leave it in and turn the square to the right side and incredibly you can’t see it from the front. In looking at the square further I see the cables as the veins and arteries in my father’s brain, the pattern inside the diamonds looks like the uneven surface of the brain. This square has unknowingly become the “My father’s battered brain” square. The afghan has taken on new meaning.

Which square shall I work on next? I need a square with meaning and hope and something much more upbeat. A recovery square. I will knit and mend at the same time. I will knit and focus on making something which before was just a past time, but currently will have much more meaning. I will knit and see my father’s brain repair itself.

The square is almost done. With his set back today, after walking yesterday, 4 days have come and gone. Maybe when I finish this square he will be able to come home. Bruised and battered, but alive and walking and talking. I need my dad, and I needed my knitting to get me through a horrible time. Back to the hospital tomorrow with the infamous blue Double Ewe knitting bag that seems to sometimes be attached with an umbilical cord to me.

I never realized the importance of two sticks and some yarn, but when I look at my afghan, I will know just how significant they were for a couple of days in my life.

Upcoming Events in the Twin Cities

Knit Out & Crochet at Mall of America
February 14th – 15th
This is a huge and very popular event put on by the Craft Yarn Council of America, and oh my gosh, they’ve got a ton of stuff planned. Check out their website for details: www.craftyarncouncil.com

The Bohus Knitting Exhibit at The American Swedish InstituteJanuary 23rd – March 29th
Details on their website: www.americanswedishinst.org

Yarnover by Minnesota Knitter’s Guild
April 18th, 2009
It might sound like it’s a long ways off, but you’ll want to sign up for classes early – they do fill up. Watch their website for details: www.knitters.org.

January & February Classes

*To register for classes: stop in, send an email to kelly@double-ewe-yarn.com, or call 763-780-2465. If you need to cancel, please notify us as soon as possible. Private group classes: If you and a few friends are interested on one of our classes, we can set up a private class for you that fits your schedules. Also fun for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4H-ers, Homeschool groups, etc! Private individual lessons: If you’d like to schedule a one-on-one lesson, just ask!

Knitter’s Choice (Instructor: Kelly)
Ongoing: Tuesday mornings 10:30 – 12:30 -or- Thursday evenings 6:30 – 8:30
Price: Pay as you go for $10.00 per class session, or $48/6 session punchcard
Instructor: Kelly
Description: This is an ongoing class; jump in whenever you want! Knitter’s Choice is just that - YOUR choice: you pick the project, we provide the support. Even if you’ve never knit before, we can teach you! Mittens? Socks? Lace? A sweater? Knit what YOU want, but if you get stuck, don't worry, we can guide you along the way. This is a great option if you want to take a class with a friend, but you knit at different levels. Come to just one or all of the classes – knitter’s choice.

Knit Along with Ann: The Rambling Rows Afghan
Note: This is an ongoing group – you can jump in any time. It officially started last week, and from the laughing I heard going on in the back room, it sounds like they’re having fun.

Ann has a long list of projects she wants to do, and she’s invited you to join her for a knit along! First on her list is the Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations. It’s a very popular mitered pattern, and from what I’ve heard, lots of knitters start planning their next one as soon as they finished their first. A great stash-buster project, or it can be knit with five planned colors on circular or straight needles. If you’re on Ravelry, you can see a lot of examples here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rambling-rows-afghan/people (If you’re not on Ravelry, why not? It’s free to join at www.ravelry.com)
Dates: Wednesday afternoons, starting January 7th
Time: 2:00 – 4:00
Cost: $5 per session; because this is a knit along, you’ll only pay for the sessions you attend.
Instructor: Ann

Zig-Zag Bag: Intro to Two-Color Two-Handed Knitting
When talking with people about what they’d like to learn, we’ve heard that a lot of people are intimidated by knitting with more than one color. Crank up your skills a notch while making this cute two-color bag. You’ll learn how to do stranded knitting (Fair Isle style) using both hands. Really, it’s not hard to learn! And once you’ve do it, it opens up a whole lot more possibilities.
Dates: Monday evenings, January 19th – February 2nd (3 weeks)
Time: 6:30 – 8:30
Cost: $30
Materials: 1 skein each Frog Tree Brushed Suri and New England Shetland
Instructor: Kerri

Fixing Mistakes
One of my most popular classes, probably because it’s so empowering! Even expert knitters make mistakes…the difference is that they know how to deal with them. In this class, we’ll learn some techniques to fix a variety of mistakes, and how to avoid them, too. We’ll cover how to “tink”, unravel, and do vertical fixes. You’ll learn to recognize twisted and skipped stitches, accidental yarnovers, and other knitting snafu’s. You’ll leave class with some new skills and a great reference: Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus. If you already have the book (or would rather not buy it), a reduced class fee is available.
Date: Thursday afternoon, January 22nd (1 week)
Time: 2:30 – 4:30
Cost: $30.00 with book (a $20 value), $15.00 without book
Materials: You’ll need to bring a couple of swatches knit up but not bound off for this class. You’ll receive a list when you register. Needles & crochet hook.
Instructor: Kelly

Finishing Techniques
Finishing can make or break your project. In this class we’ll be learning a variety of finishing techniques, including: shoulder, side & arm seams, set in sleeves, 3 needle bind-off, the kitchener stitch, picking up stitches, buttonholes, and weaving in ends. These are great skills to have, and they don’t just apply to sweaters. You’ll need to bring a some swatches to this class - I’ll give you the details when you sign up.
Date: Thursday afternoon, January 29th (1 week)
Time: 2:30 – 4:30
Cost: $10
Materials: You’ll need to bring a some swatches to this class - I’ll give you the details when you sign up. You’ll also need needles, a darning/tapestry needle, and a crochet hook.
Instructor: Kelly

Sock Repair   Learn to rescue those precious hand knit socks that you've spent so much time making. We'll learn to duplicate stitch over weakened areas, use old fashioned darning to cover holes and, gasp, even cut them apart and re-knit parts of the sock. Bring in your holey socks and some matching yarn if you have it or as close a match as you can. You'll also need a medium size tapestry needle. This rescue mission is not so perilous that you can't accomplish it and you will have saved valuable socks.
Date: Wednesday evening, February 4th (1 week)
Time: 6:30 – 8:30
Cost: $10
Instructor: Ann
Materials: Holey, worn socks, matching yarn, tapestry needle

Baby Surprise Jacket
Knit the classic! Designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman in 1968, this cleverly constructed sweater is still very popular today. Knit in a single piece, just two seams turn it into a cute sweater: that's the surprise part! Cute in a solid or self striping yarn, or try good, old-fashioned "manual" stripes. Ingenious. This is a great introduction to Elizabeth’s “patterns”.
Dates: Monday evenings, February 9th – 23rd (3 weeks)
Time: 6:30 – 8:30
Cost: $34
Instructor: Kerri
Materials: Light worsted or sport weight yarn, approx. 3 oz; Needles size 4 - 7, depending on yarn choice

Radar Cap
Remember Radar from M*A*S*H? And do you remember the hat he wore? The Radar Hat was designed by local designer CiD Hanscom and is super-cute and a popular style. The hat and brim are knitted in one piece and the clever design uses short-row-shaping to make the brim. Knit it in one color, or you can choose to add a little bit of colorwork.
Dates: Wednesday evenings Feb 11th – 18th (2 weeks)
Time: 6:30 – 8:30
Cost: $24
Instructor: Ann
Materials: Worsted weight yarn…you caught me! Materials list is available at the shop.

Don’t Ask What This Class Is About, Just Sign Up! (Design 101)Do patterns seem like mysterious, intimidating things, handed down from the Knitting Goddesses? Well, they’re not -- they’re made by knitters just like you. Anybody who’s ever designed a pattern started with something simple, and this class will walk you through the basics of creating an easy, unique scarf. Why bother learning to design when there are so many patterns to choose from? Because it helps you see your knitting from the inside out -- and that means that mistakes are suddenly far less scary. Plus, it’s fun. Try it and see. You’ll surprise yourself and feel like a Knitting Goddess in no time!
Dates: Saturday afternoons, Feb 21st – March 7th (3 weeks)
Time: 2:00 – 4:00
Cost: $30
Instructor: Terri
Materials: needles in at least 3 sizes; 2 or 3 different yarns, any weight, at least one should be enough yardage for a scarf; notebook & pencil; stitch dictionary if you have one; a few pictures of designs or images you particularly like (not necessarily knitting!)

Other Things Going On

Knitting with Ewe – free, no-strings-attached open knitting
Join us for a fun social time while working on whatever you want. No registration required – just show up. We now have three times each week you can join us:

Tuesday evenings: 6:30 – 9:30
Friday afternoons: 1:30 – 4:30
Saturday mornings: 9:00 – 12:00

Mother Bear Project
The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit bears. Join us as we knit bears for Mother Bear Project – we get together twice a month. We have yarn available, so you’ll just need to bring your size 7 needles. No registration required – just show up.
When: The first and third Thursday each month, from 2:30 - 5:00
Cost: Coming to our group is free. However, we need to contribute $3.00 to The Mother Bear Project for each donated bear. The $3.00 goes directly to Mother Bear Project, where it goes directly into shipping the bears air-mail through the US Postal Service and taxes and duty on the receiving end in Africa. For more information plus some cute pictures of kids with their bears, visit: www.motherbearproject.org

Hours

Tuesday 10 am - 9 pm
Wednesday Noon – 8pm
Thursday 10 am - 8 pm
Friday 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm
Sun-Monday Closed

Once again, I want to thank y'all for your support!

Kelly Judson

Double Ewe Yarn Shop
9201 Lexington Ave N #5B
Circle Pines, MN 55014
763.780.2465
www.double-ewe-yarn.com