Since it is, once again, fureeeeezing out, I don't feel so bad still playing with wool. I finally got around to making a cool little pincushion out of felted sweaters the other day. This little chunk is the Recycled Sweater Pincushion, a project designed by Meshell Taylor from my friends Larissa and Martin Brown's book, Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together.
It is such a cool experience to see a book come to life, and over breakfasts and barbecues in the year or so that I've known sweet Larissa, I've gotten to hear about and watch this one happen. Still, seeing the real thing is so different from seeing the page proofs, and finally getting to sit down and read the text is really inspiring — even for a sporadic knitter like me. This is much more than a book of projects, though there are twenty patterns here. It's truly an exploration and a celebration of the history of social knitting, as well as a mosaic of contemporary ways that knitters have come together around the world to knit with each other, even though they may be thousands of miles (and even generations) apart. I love Larissa and Martin's voices in the text — there is something incredibly soothing about this book. I've never done a knitalong, and I am a truly terrible, unreliable joiner, but this book makes me want to play with the group. L & M, you've really done a beautiful job with this topic, capturing the spirit of the individual knitter with her (or his) needles and skein in the context of this incredibly diverse and soulful community. I am so proud of you!
I was on the phone the other day with my friend Betz White, another genius with wool. We talked books, too, as it is so easy to do when you are trying to make a book and spending the vast majority of your time at home alone in your little studio, making things and making a book and not really talking to anyone about it, because it's kind of hard to explain what it's like. There are so many parts and pieces to the experience, it's hard to start from the beginning. If I get someone on the phone who has shared or is in the process of sharing that experience I begin to speed-talk intensely and at such length until the batteries on the phone die (this frequently happens to me). Betz's book Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects is so totally adorable, just like Betz. I frist saw Betz on Martha making these cupcakes and they are as cute today as they were the first time I saw them. The pattern is here, along with so many other darling things: a dog sweater, pillows, bags, kid stuff, book covers, hats, an apron. She is now working on her second book, and just updated her Etsy shop today if you want an original!
Inspired by the books, I went downstairs and pulled out my huge box of felted sweater scraps. Then I decided that I had too much, and I would pass some on, along with the calico scraps I mentioned a few weeks ago. So, tomorrow? Let's say, 11 a.m. PST? There are only fourteen half-pound bags of each, the wool and the calico, and there is absolutely no more wool. There is more calico, but I made as many as I could stand to. There's kind of an art to it — you gotta get all the pieces sort of facing out and you want all different pieces and, anyway, not my favorite thing in the world to do. But it always feels good to pass these on — I love the idea of people opening the bags and finding new little things to play with. I'm an inefficient cutter for exactly that reason, I think. I know my mess-ups will be shared and recycled.
Ooo — and I forgot to say thank you for all the kind comments on the tulip pics! Thank you! I wound up entering the tractor (16), the little girl with the hair in her face (3), and the one right below that (2). And if I could ever manage to get a link correct in this blog or on my web sites, it would be a miracle, but check these out — last year's winners. Awesome.