Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yarn along -- baby cardi and a thrift store read

The sun is shining, the thermometer is climbing and I'm itching to seed at least one of the cold frames -- but it's been a quiet day inside. Jack left for school at 8:30 and promptly returned at 9:30 looking greener than my yet-to-be-planted spinach.

He crawled back into bed and fell asleep almost immediately. I could have slipped outside but I had some editing work to do; besides, I wanted to stay close in case he needed me. He woke up a few hours later, said he was feeling much better and even asked whether he was well enough to go to basketball tonight. Then he threw up. A lot.

So while the poor lad is back sleeping, I thought I'd quickly check-in with this week's Yarn Along.

Here's what I'm reading and knitting this week:

I finished that baby cardigan, sort of. I cast off the main body but simply couldn't get myself excited about knitting the arms or collar. (I think it makes a pretty cute vest anyway and it still counts as this month's Year in Colour project, right?)

I'm happy with the pattern but the yarn (Lion Brand Homespun -- homespun my foot) was horrible! I only used it to see if this cardi would make a good quick-knit gift for a yet-to-be-determined expectant mama, but the bother just wasn't worth the savings. I am so done with synthetic yarn.

There you have it: I've officially become a yarn snob.

I think I'm going to begin my recovery by casting on some wholesome worsted-weight Shetland wool or perhaps that special skein of perfectly delicious baby alpaca. Yes, that will make things right in my knitting world again.

The book I'm reading is "Flight from the city: An experiment in creative living on the land" by Ralph Borsodi, which I recently picked up at a thrift store for 25 cents. First published in 1933, the book chronicles one family's move from the city to the country in search of economic and domestic security. It's dated: a decent salary then was $50 a week and their homestead was purchased for $4,000, with $500 down and monthly installments of $50, but it's a fascinating and thought-provoking read.

What I find truly sobering is to think how far society has come since then -- unfortunately, down the wrong garden path. But no rant today. I'm off to check on the bedridden boy and bring him some ginger & honey tea...

13 comments:

Mama Pea said...

First off, I agree knitting with icky yarn is . . . icky. But they sure do sell a lot of that stuff. I think making your little cardigan into a "vest" was a fantastic idea. When you think about it, sweaters on little ones often look and seem bulky with the tiny person's arms encased in rolls of bulk and collars riding up to their ears. A sleeveless, collarless vest is just right to keep them warm, but unencumbured. (Is that a word?) So there.

We have had Borsodi's book for about 40 years, I'll bet! Your copy looks much better than ours.

Hope Jack has just the 24-hour bug and is feeling much better tomorrow.

Tracey said...

I hope your little one is feeling better soon. It is so hard when they don't feel well.
I really like your sweater without sleeves. I would leave it just like it is.

Erin said...

You're not a yarn snob, you just like real stuff! I'll admit that I have never bought synthetic yarn, I'm afraid to because I know I won't like it. If it even smells "chemical-ly" I hate it. I know there are uses for it, but I guess I just don't want it bad enough to find out LOL. Even for people allergic to wool there are still so many lovely cottons and bamboos out there to try first. I hope Jack feels better, stomach bugs are the worst, for you too, mom! :)

KnitterMama said...

Oh I really really dislike acrylic myself. I feel the same way!... The book you are reading sounds very good. I am about to finish The Good Life and I am dreaming in more detail when we take the plunge to the country. Your journey sounds so interesting.

Fiona said...

First off -- thanks for your kind words re Jack. He is feeling better now, thank goodness. Stomach bugs are horrible...

Mama Pea -- you're right, there is lots of the icky stuff out there. But I've found two yarn stores that stock the most gorgeous wool (luckily, both are an hour away, in opposite directions, so I'm not tempted to just drop in -- that would get expensive! Of course, there is online shopping, lol...) so I'll be sticking to the real stuff from here on in. But yes, I like the vest -- enough to knit up another in some lovely wool.

Tracey -- thanks! I like the vest too. And after a rough night, Jack is feeling better -- thank goodness. Poor kid...

Erin -- when I first started knitting again, I admit to buying synthetic only because I was worried about "messing up" the good stuff and wasting money. But it's so much easier and nicer to knit with the real stuff and if I bungle up a pattern, I can frog it and start again.

KnitterMama -- thanks for dropping by! The Good Life is a great read. It was among the first back-to-the-land books that I ever read. It's amazing how many folks have been inspired by it!

Sherry said...

Welcome to the real yarn club! *hee hee* I think that homespun did it for me too! I have a few squares made up ready to make into a blanket and I just can't do it! I keep thinking about how this blanket will melt in a fire! (onto the person under it!) That book looks like a fun read. Maybe I'll have to hit the thrift store this week...you never know.

Anke said...

Poor Jack, I do hope he's feeling better by now.
When I started knitting (in 7th grade, a loooong time ago) I was knitting with a lot of synthetic yarns. Guess that was just what was available then... After knitting with the "good stuff" though, I will never go back to that.

mtnchild said...

I hope Jack is feeling a lot better. I have quite a bit of acrylic yarn that was given to me, but I usually make gifts from it. I'm just learning how nice it is to use "real" yarn, and will do so for all my own stuff (until the acrylic is gone). I knit for charity and they do like to have easy care yarn - toss it in the washer & dryer and it's good to go!

I do find wool skeins at the thrift store once in a while, and I grab them.
Hugs
Yvette

Fiona said...

Sherry -- thanks for visiting! It's funny how many people dislike Homespun! I love visiting the thrift store -- you never know what treasures you'll find!

Anke - Jack is feeling better - thanks for asking! Unfortunately, now I'm not feeling too hot, and I'm supposed to be going away this weekend -- my last 'break' before the busy season. Uh oh...

Yvette -- you are right about the easy care aspect of acrylic... wool is much trickier, especially with little ones. I love that you knit for charity -- that's very wonderful! I've also found some great wool at thrift stores. And I don't even feel so bad about adding to my stash!

Calling Ravens said...

Well, I guess I am the odd girl out, as I really love the softness of that Homespun. Yes, I find it difficult to work with (I crochet) but I persevere because I love how it feels. hey ho-LOL!
Glad to read in your comments Jack is feeling better!

Fiona said...

Calling Ravens -- you're right about the Homespun feeling soft and lovely... it's true! The vest does have a certain toastiness to it, but I just couldn't get past how tricky it was to work with. Straight knitting or purling was fine, but anything else... ugh! Of course, baby alpaca (yes, that again) is so soft too! Too bad it's really expensive, or maybe that's a good thing, or I'd really need an intervention! And thanks for your kind words re: Jack....

no spring chicken said...

Yarn snobbery is so expensive. But, you get what you pay for right? You did make a lovely vest none the less. So it was a hard lesson with a side benefit.

Calling Ravens said...

I'll give you a great big LOL Fiona. I just had my 49th bday and last year I made myself the softest crochet donkey with that Homespun. It didn't turn out like I wanted, but I still love it!
LOLAM!!!!!

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