Today’s quick blog post (before we see another rep) is all about pincushions. Yes, pincushions — those squishy things you stick your pins and needles into for safe keeping. I recently visited my sister and got a chance to see her workshop where she makes her amazing bags (coming soon to Archipelago in Rockland — I wish I could show you how gorgeous they are). While picking my way between the rolls of leather and fabric, I happened to notice that the floor was littered with pins! For my sake and hers, I’ve decided that she needs a pincushion. It’s going to be knitted, and it needs to be cute/fun/pretty so that it makes her smile when she uses it. To Ravelry!
I’m a sucker for traditional nostalgic designs, so this little tomato designed by Gari Lynn caught my eye right away. I remember seeing fabric versions of these by the sewing machines of my friends’ mothers and grandmothers. Pattern available here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heirloom—tomato-pin-cushion
Since my sister shares my slightly kooky sense of humor, I was considering this adorable (but slightly grim) voodoo doll pincushion by Amanda Berry. Perhaps it would come in handy for those days where the sewing machine spits oil onto an almost finished bag, or when an order of leather gets lost in the mail? http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/voodoo-doll-3
But my favorite pincushion so far is the cactus. What a perfectly adorable item! There are several on Ravelry, some tall, some short, some knit in chunky yarn, some with flowers… The tiny terra cotta pot is a great touch. I especially love how the pins add to the cactus-y appearance, though it looks fine on its own, too. I really think that my sister needs one of these, and it seems like a super quick knit. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pin-cushion-cactus
I’m a cautious person. Once bitten, twice shy; that sort of thing. Generally speaking, while I wouldn’t consider myself unduly superstitious, I don’t walk under ladders (dripping paint), nor do I skip saying, “Bless you” when someone sneezes (seems the polite thing to do). So when it comes to the Sweater Curse, I generally don’t mess around. You’ve probably heard of it — the idea that if you knit a sweater for your boyfriend or girlfriend before you’re married, the relationship is doomed. There’s even a Wikipedia page on it, with some statistics. Did you know, for example, that 41% of knitters think of the Sweater Curse as “a possibility that should be taken seriously”?
In another lifetime, when I lived in Boston and was a competitive ballroom dancer (fake tan and all), I did knit for a boyfriend. Not a sweater, because I lacked confidence at that point, but a long scarf in black yarn. I knit at home and on the T (Boston’s version of the subway), occasionally chasing my runaway ball of yarn down the train car, under the feet of my fellow commuters. That winter, I proudly presented it to him. The scarf was done! But, shortly thereafter, so was the relationship. (Don’t grieve for me, loyal readers. It’s really for the best.) Was it the scarf that did it, an extension of the Sweater Curse? I doubt it, but it sure didn’t help that he only wore it twice and then stuffed it in the closet.
You can imagine my trepidation, then, when I somehow found myself knitting a scarf for my current partner. I made him pick out the yarn and test it for softness against his neck, (bless his heart, he chose a gorgeous variegated green in Malabrigo Rios, which was a joy to knit) and even got him to help choose the pattern. Still, as I knit my way through the scarf, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was dooming my relationship with each stitch. Superstitious drivel, right? But… Just in case, I decided to try to outsmart the Curse by asking my guy to crochet me a hat. If the Curse was real, an exchange of items should cancel it out. And if it wasn’t real, he’d still get a lovely scarf, and my head would be warm all winter. Win-win, right?
I’m happy to say that he still wears the scarf (and the hat he made me gets compliments all the time). I’m even happier to say that we’re still together — so I didn’t ruin everything by tempting fate. Sometimes I look at men’s sweater patterns, and think about which ones would suit my guy. But then I think about the Sweater Curse, and wonder if it’s worth it. Maybe I’ll just wait.
What about you? Do you believe in the Sweater Curse? Have you experienced it firsthand?
Like a thirsty cast away, adrift in a featureless ocean, will be redeemed by shouts of, “Land, ho!” I am pleased to remind myself and everyone else that there is still yarn in Bangor. And I’m not talking about the box stores, either.
I got a message, not in a bottle, from Jodi Clayton, the owner of One Lupin on Park Street in down town Bangor to remind me that they are still very much alive and thriving. A bright and vibrant hand dye studio, they have such a beautiful collection of yarn to choose from you might be tempted to bypass all the other wonderful things they carry. Hand printed tea towels, tie dyed hoodies, beautiful scarves and pretty things for your home. I actually have some One Lupin yarn in my stash and a beautiful hand-blown glass humming bird in my kitchen window. As they say on their About Us page…
“One Lupine Fiber Arts is a special blend of working fiber studio, gallery, boutique and yarn and fiber shop. We began as a fiber arts studio, creating pieces of wearable, fine and function felt art sold throughout the USA and beyond. We have grown to incorporate a fiber supply and yarn shop, complete with our our line of hand dyed and painted yarns and roving, and a gallery/boutique specializing in fine handwork made in North America. Within our walls you will find fine art, jewelry, ceramics, glass, sculpture, woodworking, apparel, accessories and more.”
I also have to admit that I didn’t know about the expansion of One Lupin’s space and collection. When I was there last, all the yarn was One Lupin branded and came from Jodi and was housed in her basement dye studio. She now carries other Maine connected yarns, fibers, tools, accessories, etc. in a renovated upstairs space full of light and color. No longer a single studio, One Lupin and Maine Yarn and Fiber Supply are an enticing side by side full service shop in a sunny and welcoming new space.
Jodi herself is an artist, a sheep lover and a fiber evangelist. Her studio and shop are beautiful and her yarns exquisite, and her warm and welcoming heart make her an angel of The Church of Yarn. I didn’t mean for a moment to discount her.
I’m going up to Bangor on other business tomorrow and will be stopping in the see the new space first hand. Anyone want to join me?