On the Road with Alpacas

This weekend marks the anniversary of my love affair with knitting.  It all started at local event called Arts & Eats that introduced my daughter and I to the alpacas that are being raised near us and all the wonderful fiber artists working in our county.  We bought multiple skeins of yarn to be turned into my winter vision of cozy by my maternal grandmother, Grandma O.

Just a sampling of Grandma O’s knits at our house

My maternal Grandma is an amazing knitter.  I could fill a room with the afghans that she has made for me and my children (not to mention the dishcloths which are a staple in my kitchen).  You know you are in with my family when you get one of grandma’s afghans for your new baby.  If you’re really lucky and have married into the family, she may actually make you a full size afghan but her arthritis limits the number of these she’ll make.  She has been presenting us all with new fun fur scarves for many years.  But this year I wanted something more.  I bought some beautiful undied alpaca yarn for two spiral scarves for Daphne and I and some artisan spun wool/alpaca.  I printed off the patterns of what I wanted and shipped it off to Grandma.

Please note that at this point I knew absolutely nothing about gauge, weight or yardage as it applies to yarn.  The proprietress at PufPaff assured me there was enough yardage on each skein of her artisan spun yarn for a scarf.  About a month later, Grandma handed me one short fat scarf that wouldn’t tie to save your life, one slightly longer scarf that still wouldn’t tie and then she secretly gave the undied alpaca and spiral pattern to my mom so she could let me down gently.  It had taken Grandma about a year to make a pair of fingerless gloves for me and she just didn’t want to tackle another of my complex projects.  At 80 years old, she knows what patterns she does well and sticks with those, let’s not complicate things.  So Mom tackled the spiral scarves, of course.

Don’t think she was new to knitting; it was just always Grandma’s thing, not hers.  Just like everything she creates, I can’t go anywhere without getting compliments when I wear it or at least some knitter or crotcheter asking for the pattern.  We even had to return to a party store once for Mom to explain the pattern she had written down in our hotel room to the cashier who had admired my scarf over a bottle of Knob Creek.  But with my list of new items I wanted knitted growing every day, I knew I couldn’t impose on Mom forever.

Here I am wearing the completed spiral scarf with my knitting inspiration, Grandma O.

I hadn’t handled a pair of knitting needles since a bus trip to Chicago in the 3rd grade to see Cats when Grandma tried to teach me how to knit.  But as soon as my spiral scarf was finished, I started falling in love with cowls and I knew it was time to learn to knit.  Thanks to youtube and some old Time Life knitting books, I got started.  Did I mention I loved it!

Of course, the first big project I selected was the Big Herringbone Cowl.  Forget knit one, purl one, let’s jump right in with the herringbone stitch.  I decide to practice on a few other projects first but kept coming back to my desire for that cowl.  In the end, I made two!

One for me

and one for a friend

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