Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Snitting. Again. Ü

I’m a snitter. (Sit+knit=Snit. Right?) I might have  mentioned that a time or two in the past. (Cough.) The thing is, though, I’m a winter snitter. I love to knit with wool during cold weather.

Once in a while, I like to have a project to work on in the summer, too. So the other day while I was in T-Town, I decided to buy yarn to knit a prayer shawl.

I love the idea of knitting prayer shawls for people. In my imagination (which is often so vivid, it gets me into trouble) I can see people I’ve been praying for and with, wrapping up in these shawls as they go to the Lord in prayer.

But when I got to Loops (my favorite knitting store) and started looking through the yarn, even acrylic was too hot for this break-into-a-sweat-at-the-drop-of-a-hat woman to use.

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Snitting For a Friend

Illustration from "Vivilore: The Pathway ...

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We have a little problem at work. Some of us are hot much of the time.   The rest, well, they aren’t. (We’re not discussing age here. Or weight. So just don’t do there. All right?)

So one day, Mendy says, “Can you knit fingerless gloves?”

Can I? 🙂 (Is there an emoticon that looks like an eyebrow wiggle?)

Ask an ice cream addict if they can eat a gallon of the cold stuff.

Ask a carnavore if he wants a T-Bone.

Ask a fish if he wants to go for a swim.

What do you do if you were asked to do something you enjoy to pieces?

Oh, yeah, baby! I’m there!!!

I didn’t have a pattern, but I’d just seen a pair made on TV (Knitty Gritty) that morning. I cast on twenty-five stitches, long tail.

Here’s what it looks like.

Then I started my favorite kind of knitting. If you’re a knitter, you know what I’m talking about. The kind where you knit going one way and pearl going the other. Never have to count. Rarely have to rip.

Mindless knitting. Zombie knitting. TV knitting. No remembering to wrap or count or knit two together. Just working away. Whatever you want to call it, I love doing it.

So I’m knitting away with this delicious yarn, watching TV and I finish one. Oops. Well, that was fast. 

Then, Saturday afternoon we watched two (2!) football games (I’m not the worlds biggest football fan unless I have nephews playing) so I knit, knit, knit.

And guess what? (You ready for this?)

I finished! In just two days, I knitted two fingerless gloves. 🙂

What do you mean it’s only two little squares? Are you saying anybody could knit them in two days?

Actually, it’s two RECTANGLES. Not squares. But it’s true, anybody could have knit them who wanted to. But there’s something else I do when I knit for someone.

I pray for them as I work.

If I put a tag on things I knit for other people (I don’t) it would say, “A PRAYER FOR YOU IN EVERY STITCH.” But I don’t sew in tags. I can barely make the recs into tubes to slip over her hands. I have no idea how I would attach tags.

  If I had it to do over, I’d buy an elastic yarn to make them. (Maybe.) I might even sew on a little bling when I got finished.

And I’ll definitely take a class to learn how to put things together. (Close the seam.) 

But my friend was thrilled with them, so I’m thrilled.

In case you’re wondering, I did teach her how to knit, but with two little boys, she doesn’t have time.

(I’m not sure she watches football at all.)


Meret Beret

I might have mentioned I like to knit. (grins) I’m not a fantastic knitter, but I enjoy the process.

Usually, I knit a lot in the winter, and not so much in the summer.

Nikki and Nicole’s Christmas stockings.

(Too much to do outside to spend a lot of time knitting when it’s warm.)

When we go on vacation, no matter what time of year it is, I like to have a project to take along. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s all that down time with little to do if you aren’t reading, driving or navigating. Or maybe it’s an “idle-hands” and “devil’s-workshop” thing. Who knows? 😉

The first time I remember feeling as if I “needed” something to do while on vaca, we were visiting my cousin Liz in Texas. That time, I bought a kit and did embroidery. After that when the fam left the state, I found myself looking for shops to buy busy-work.

If you’re in a place like a ski resort, hobby shops aren’t inexpensive, although they often have really, really cute patterns and ideas. All the newest and latest!

So to head off high prices (and give myself something to do on the way where ever we’re going) I started finding something to take along. For our two day trip to Paola, Kansas, I found a cute beret I wanted to knit at Loops in Tulsa. I knew I couldn’t knit the entire hat while we were gone, but I thought I’d get a good start on it.

The yarn and needles came from Loops, but the pattern came from Ravelry and is by Woolly Wormhead. (Don’t you love that name?) It’s knitted in the round. That means either double pointed needles

That’s kind of hard to see. Check this one out. More visible but simpler.

or I could use a circular needle.

Since a circular is only one needle to deal with and dpns have five, I chose the circular. (I know. Duh, right? LOL)

So I cast on, just like with straight needles, then the tricky part. You have to make sure there are no twists or turns, then you join the circle so you can’t tell where it begins. The joining isn’t hard. It’s making sure there are no twists or turns that’s killer.

   This isn’t my picture. It came from a website called Knit Simple .

The object is to get all the stitches going the same way

like this. Then join.

So I thought I had all my stitches going the same way, like the pic, and I joined it. I knitted for an inch, then did a 1 x 1 rib.

Can you see it? Think about the bottom of a sweater. That’s ribbing.

Here’s how 1 x 1 ribbing is made: Knit a stitch, pull your yarn to the front and purl a stitch, take your yarn to the back, knit a stitch, etc. Not hard, but you can’t just zone out and knit as I did the first inch of the hat. I knitted and purled for nearly an inch when I got a funny feeling.

I had a twist in the stitches when I joined the circle. 😦

My excuse was I didn’t have room in the car to spread it out and the road wasn’t the smoothest, yada yada. But the bottom line was, I had to rip. No fun.

But I ripped and put it all back in nearly by the time we got to Payola.

Here’s where I am now.

 With all the stitch markers, it reminds me of back in pre-historic times when I slept in hair curlers. 🙂

I think you can see it better here. I’m nearly finished with the first layer. Here’s what the “real” Meret Beret looks like–

Pretty, isn’t it?

Front view.

These last three pictures are from Ravelry. Someone can really make a gorgeous hat.

I doubt mine will be that perfect, but at least I’ll enjoy making it.

One more picture.

This is what I’ve done so far. It’s sitting on my Bible to remind me to tell you about zoning out as I knit. When the pattern is simple enough that I’m not repeating each step, stitch-by-stitch in my head, I pray for whomever I’m knitting it as I go. When I give it away, I call it, “A Prayer in Every Stitch.” (If I had a knitting biz, that’s what I’d name it.)

To be brutally honest, I should probably change that to, “A Prayer In As Many Stitches As Possible,” but that just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? 🙂


Love that Weekend!

Finally! G-Man and I had a weekend where we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. A wonderful, stress-free two-day vaca! It was great!

And to make it even more special, it was less than a hundred degrees and we got rain. Not just a passing tease, either. We got a whole tenth of an inch! I was thrilled. (Especially after I got my water bill. OUCH!)

So, what did I do?

I knitted. Weird for me to knit in the summertime (I really like to garden) but I just had to grab my needles and finish a couple of thing. Besides, it’s too hot to be out in the garden. (I have a cantaloupe that’s almost ripe. I’m so excited!)

So I finished this chicken, which I started last year on vacation. She’s blind right now, but I’ll get some eyes on the girl one of these day.

And I finished an “Effing” scarf. (I didn’t give it that name. It’s on the pattern. Honest!)

Looks like a nest for the chicken, doesn’t it? LOL! It’s not. It’s a scarf.

See? It’s kind of like a mini-shawl, but it’s too small to wear around the shoulders unless you’re a six-year-old girl. I didn’t really enjoy working with this yarn. It’s the size of thread and you use big needles (13 or so) to give it that loopy look. I’ll like it when I wear it, but the yarn didn’t feel good in my hands.

I had no idea that I cared about the feel of yarn as I work until I had this skinny stuff in my fingers. The brace on my pinky didn’t help either. I usually wrap the yarn there to provide even tension, but had to change my wrap because I need to be able to feel how tight or loose the wrap is.

So I finished those two projects and went back to work on another one. Remember this from last fall?

It’s called the Shalom Cardigan. I think I showed it to you in an orange color last time. Anyway, this is the project I’m on now. I love the yarn I’m working with! And the pattern is just challenging enough to hold my attention.

It might be a good idea for me to take a class on blocking so it’ll look good when I finally get to wear it. I really don’t enjoy finishing projects, but if I knew how to finish them correctly, it might help. 🙂

I went to church, of course, and G-Man and I went to see Harry Potter the Last. I thought it was a great movie, although I didn’t know what was going on through much of it. I love seeing Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) all grown up. Now I want to go back and see that first movie again, so I can remember what he looked like back in the day. <G>

I heard JK Rowling has “something else” in the works. One person told me that it’s a new series. A fantasy, but not Harry Potter. All I saw online was a place where you could read all the backstory (aka “BS”) about Harryworld.

I don’t know if JK will write more books or not. Her work was a big deal when it came out. Very imaginative and original. But everyone wanted to be original like her, which isn’t original at all, so there were lots of wannabes. (In the fashion world, that’s called knock-offs. In the writing world, it’s sometimes called rip-offs.)

Will JK write more books? She has plenty of money now, so she doesn’t have to write to survive. I think we’ll find out whether or not she was a writer at heart.

So a better question would be, can she stop writing books?

The big-guns tell me, “Writers write.” Guess we’ll just have to see.