Becoming Intrepid

class workbook with sample stockings and a just-started stocking on double pointed knitting needles using white, red and blue yarns.Even though I’ve called this blog and by extension, myself, The Intrepid Knitter, I wonder if the title fits. Intrepid conveys a certain bold fearlessness, and while I go forth with new projects and techniques like a kid in a candy shop, I can find myself in a sort of “knitter’s remorse”. Case in point, I signed up for the Ethnic Sock weekend because I hoped it would be fun, I would try something different and a weekend away would do me good. Even so, as I was packing, my thoughts stuck on a certain line in the class description.The little part of me which wants to follow all the rules, get everything right and be pleasing started to obsess:

You must know how to knit circularly with double-pointed needles and have two-color knitting experience.

The “circularly with double-pointed needles” part was okay. I’ve done it and like having 3 or 4 needles sticking out every which way. It looks pretty cool. Yeah, that part was fine.

What gave me pause was the little phrase “two-color knitting experience”. Did I really have any? or enough? Did that two-color Norwegian Sport hat which I “frogged” (“rip-it, rip-it” out) because it was going to fit some guy named Gulliver, and not my son for whom it was intended…did that count? What about the legendary Bi-color Cabled Brioche* hat? Surely, since it was bi-color which means, well, two colors, it would qualify. But, I was pretty sure the type of two-color knitting called for in our stockings was would be more like the hat I ripped out. There I was setting off to spend two days doing some pretty fancy two color knitting! Really?

Just when I was ready to bag the whole idea, I asked myself what was it? What was I afraid would go wrong, because this had to be about more than a couple of strands of yarn and some sticks. And there it was. The real worry sprang right to mind. Not that I wouldn’t be able to do the project (although that was a possibility.) Not that I would make mistakes (not too fond of that either). Really, I feared might be in over my head and too slow or far behind the rest of the class. I didn’t want to cause a “problem”.

As you might surmise, I can be my own worst enemy. I have learned to question these worries of mine. I make myself get realistic and consider how I’d treat a friend who was having these doubts. And I came up with “plan B” for the worst case workshop scenario. I packed my spinning, my knitting and a notebook, so if I wanted to bail on the class, I could do something else. After all, I was going to be spending a couple of days in a yarn shop located in a big barn with comfy chairs, access to food and drink, tons of colorful yarns and fiber in plain sight, a fabulous collection of inspiring books, plus llamas and alpacas and big friendly dogs, and best of all, a group of knitters who would support and encourage, no matter what.

So, bright and early on Saturday morning, I sat down, took up my needles, introduced myself and began my first two-color stranded stocking. Step by step, and stitch by stitch. Laughed and talked. And made mistakes. And ripped them out. And asked questions. And got help. And learned. Boldly or timidly, with or without worry, I created that stocking! Because for me, becoming intrepid is not about doing things without fear. My intrepid-ness comes from facing my fear, and going forward in spite of it.
Green toe and heel, red and white patterns in three different combinations, and green, white and red cuff bordered with a green and white braid.

*Ed. Note: Someday, they assure us, the Intrepid Knitter will be able to tell the story of her Bi-Color Cabled Brioche Hat. Just not yet. (The hair is still growing back in that little spot.)

See what we made! Ethnic socks to make Irma proud!

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Christmas stockings made at the Ethnic Sock Workshop in Pendleton, Indiana, at the Trading Post.

Alpaca inspires a zoning variance

Sue: did you buy one? 😉
Wylie: Wouldn’t fit in the car. Crap.
Ann-Marie: Not from lack of trying, I bet.
Sue: They are so freakin cute. I thought about being an alpaca farmer at one time- who knows….
The Intrepid Knitter: You would be surprised at the price of an alpaca! I’ll stick to spinning the fleece for now.
Sue: Oh, I forgot to mention what stopped me…..
Wylie: “‎Pat K” wouldn’t let me.
The Intrepid Knitter: I don’t believe it. Pat K and I have been scheming on our suburban alpaca farm for a while. We”d call them “Gradoodles” (cross of Great Dane and Poodle) and shear them. Getting them to bark instead of making alpaca noises is a sticking point. (Editor’s Note: Pat K assures me she has a line on a barking dog burglar alarm to solve this problem.)
Sue: I have seen goats and chickens in the city. Surely alpacas cannot be more of an annoyance 😉
Ann-Marie: Oh, “Intrepid Knitter”, this has GOT to be a blogpost!

The Intrepid Knitter : @ Ann-Marie: consider it done!

Packing for the road trip?

Sign hanging at the driveway to the farm with llamas feeding in the distanceThis weekend, I am heading to Pendleton, Indiana, for a workshop about “Ethnic Socks” at the Trading Post for Fiber Arts. Thus the question, what to pack?

You might think that’s a simple question. I can throw a couple of changes of clothes and personal care products in a bag and call it good. But that’s only part of the equation, and the simple part at that. The tricky part is choosing which knitting and/or spinning projects to bring. It goes like this…

I’m pretty sure I need to bring

something to knit in the car (hope driving will be shared)

something to knit while talking (something at a point not requiring full attention)

something to knit “in case” (road delays, weather delays, or I finish something)

small project to knit in a restaurant (start new socks? no, it’s a sock workshop, silly!)

something to spin if the mood strikes (spindles or wheel? both? spinning tool basket?)

needles and knitting tools for above (plus spares “in case”)

-all of the items on the class materials list

camera for photos of class, yarn, fiber, alpacas and llamasclose up of a llama looking into the camera with curiosity
snacks and water for sustenance in the car
lunch so we don’t have to leave during the workshop
maybe some wine for the end of the day

Yeah, that might cover it. No TSA regulations to consider. Thank goodness this is a road trip!

Come join the adventures of the Intrepid Knitter!

Valais Blacknose Sheep

Let’s jump into the wide world of knitting and its sister realms of fiber arts. We’ll see what’s on my needles, my latest knitting road trips, workshops and classes. If we’re lucky, we might meet other members of “the Cult” and the various things they make…and bake.

I’m excited to have you join me on this fun and fearless exploration of all things fiber.

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