Mastering Crochet the slow and steady way.

I had the most inspiring day today. I am giddy with pride and excitement.

I’ve hosted a monthly knitting/crochet group for a local service organization for the last year or two. In that time I’ve offered a few tips and gotten a few newbies started with either knitting or crochet and I love every minute of it. I love the camaraderie that happens when you get a group of yarn-lovers together to share their knowledge or show-off their WIPs (work in progress) with pride.

I love that I can encourage and motivate others to embrace this passion of mine.

Sometimes I am so busy jumping from student to student that I barely get time to chat. Other times like today I get to work one-on-one with a longtime student and finally help her break through a barrier.

My good friend, Sara Nantz, has been a consistent face at Knit Wits for the better part of a year now but has not been able to graduate from a basic single crochet swatch. At first her 10 stitch swatch would loose stitches on each row. Then she been to gain stitches and I could tell that although she wanted desperately to learn, she really struggled with her stitch count and turning properly after each row.

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I tried everything. I explained how to count her chains from the hook in order to find the starting stitch. I showed her the little “bumper” that appeared at the end of each row that would tell her to stop. Nothing was working. I was grateful that she kept coming back to the club but unsure how to help her past her hurdle.

Then it happened. She showed up at Knit Wits today with her starter project in hand. 4 inches of beautiful, consistent, and STRAIGHT crochet fabric. I was (sorry Sara) shocked. Completely flabbergasted and secretly dancing inside myself with excitement.

I thought I had better get this lady started on her first actual project before something happened and the magic wore off. She decided on a cowl in a beautiful deep purple and I wondered if I dare explain a double crochet. I knew it would make her piece softer and help her feel that addictive sense of accomplishment faster. After spending the better part of a year teaching her how to get 4 inches of single crochet straight would I overwhelm her and jinx the whole thing?

I decided to give it a shot. I showed her the double crochet over 3-4 stitches and then handed over the yarn and hook. A few “oh, don’t forget to wrap first” and “through the work and then through 2” comments during the first 3 stitches and she finished the entire row herself. I held my breath and watched her turn chaining two like I had explained, turning the work like the page of a book so she could count her chains and find her starting stitch for the way back and insert that hook exactly where it belonged. SHE DID IT!

Then I asked her if she wanted to work her cowl as a long rectangle and then sew it together or if she would rather avoid turning each row by working it as one long and (almost) endless loop. Can you believe she told me she wanted to keep practicing turning and she thought she should do it the “hard” way so she could make sure to learn it properly? I THINK I LOVE THIS WOMAN!

Today I feel like a Momma Bird who watched her little baby fly for the first time. It took her monthly visits for over a year and while other students came, mastered the swatch test and moved on to numerous project by now while she still had the original mustard-yellow swatch with wavy edges that she kept working relentlessly. I am so glad she never gave up. I’m so glad she kept coming back. I not only gained a success-story but I gained a friend.

Wollmeise Spring Sale – Knit Wits on location.

Wollmeise Spring Sale - Knit Wits on location.Today I took another lady from the Knit Wits (all were invited only one took the plunge) to the Spring Wollmeise sale in Pfaffenhofen Germany. It has been scheduled in my iPhone for months now. I see American knitters online wondering how to get ahold of some Wollmeise and since we live just over an hour away it would be a tragedy to miss the opportunity to attend a Wollmeise sale while living in Germany. Patty and I arrived just after 10am and as usual – parking was difficult downtown Pfaffenhofen. We finally decided to use the Norma parking lot and that worked well since the church annex is just across the street and a block down.

ad536-img_0787We entered the sales room before it got too crowded, I pointed Patty in the right direction and we split-up to immerse ourselves in Wollmeise color. The sale is made up of hanks with slight faults. The quality control at Wollmeise is so high that the “faulty” hanks have only minor issues all of which are listed (in german) and consist of a faulty color batch or a hank with knots in it. Each type of yarn (pure/blend/lace/twin/dk etc) is separated and the colors are overwhelming. It is a bit dark inside so some ladies will organize and examine their color choices by the window before settling and heading to the kasse (register)

Wollmeise Spring Sale - Knit Wits on location.It was wonderful. I had heard (through a Ravelry group discussion) that there were a ton of lace “multis” but I couldn’t figure out what that meant. It means variegated yarn. And she was right. Not very many solid lace colors this year but plenty of hanks with multi colored variegation. I noticed a beautiful shawl on the counter and was told that they have it on display so customers can get an idea of how beautiful the “multis” are. I have a feeling they had been asked about the lack of solid lace colors. But hey – it is a sale. You can’t expect to get everything you want.

I did though. I went to the sale hoping for a nice chartreuse yellow. I found something very close to what I wanted. Perhaps a touch further towards green than I would have liked but very nice. I spotted a blue and a nice grey/brown to go with it and then this strange variegated yarn caught my eye. It is called Aspentree and I got one hank of Pure/100g. I’m very excited to see how it works up.

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I did have to leave behind a few friends. I am a budget girl so I had to leave my group of blends behind but I set them out together and I have faith that some other knitter saw them and took them home together.

We made our purchases and I was impressed by the paper bag they gave us. Even the paper bag is awesome. It has german knitting terms translated into English. I loved it and I think I should frame it. I know, I’m a geek.

ae0f3-img_0798Patty was ready to leave but I convinced her to stay for coffee and cake in the next room. I looked for open seats at an already occupied table because half of the fun of the Wollmeise sale is meeting new friends in the coffee and cake room. It didn’t disappoint. We chatted (their English was better than our Deutsch) and discovered these wonderful yarn ball unwinders. The website listed on the bottom said: www.wollabroller.com.

When I checked it – I “think” the site said it was sold out or currently out of production but the ladies we talked to said they had JUST gotten theirs that week. They looked so neat but I wonder how convenient they are to travel with or take to a swim meet etc. I think I’ll stick with my center-pull balls and project bag.

Wollmeise Spring Sale - Knit Wits on location.We also noticed an abundance of Martina Behm shawls either on the ladies or on their needles. Patty was soon convinced to start a shawl project and headed back in to get another dose of yarn. After we packed up and really were on the way out we spotted a man waiting in the hall. I thought it was hilarious because I saw the same thing at the fall sale. Poor guy. I wonder how long he waited? It was more pathetic than a fella waiting at the shopping mall for his wife. In a way I guess he was.

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We couldn’t leave town without a trip over to see the Brick & Mortar store. It closes during sale days so we peeked in the windows and decided o schedule another trip back once we saw all the cool displays (and a coffee machine) inside. My favorite was the sock peacock. Maybe I should call it a “peasock.”

Wollmeise Spring Sale - Knit Wits on location.

You know you are in a knitting-town when you walk downtown and find a statue that has recently been yarn-bombed. That was very fitting.