I sometimes think that my spirit animal is a labrador retriever. I just want to help, whether it’s by fetching the ball, rescuing Timmy from the well, or getting you through a tough spot in your latest project. If I can’t help you, if I have to send you away disappointed or frustrated, I often feel disappointed and frustrated as well. That’s why this post is called “Help Me Help You”: I want you to feel happy, so that I can feel happy. Don’t you want me to feel happy?
Photo by Brooks Winner
Here at the shop, we offer drop-in help times (Monday and Thursday evenings from 5-7 pm for $15) as well as the option to book your own 15-Minute Mini Class (also $15) whenever it works with your schedule. I know that life is busy, so here are three tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your help session with us:
Bring your yarn and needles. If you’re already underway, bring your half-finished item. While I have occasionally helped a knitter over the phone, it is so much easier for both of us if we have the item in question in our hands. That way, we can see where you’re getting stuck, and set you on the right path before you leave the shop. If you’re anything like me, it’s better to try a new skill right away, rather than trying to hold it in your head the whole drive home.
Bring your pattern. If your dog ate your pattern, please make a note of the name of the pattern (and the designer, if possible) so that we can try to find a copy of it. Sometimes, the problem isn’t that you’re doing something wrong — sometimes the pattern has an error! Wouldn’t you rather know that right away, instead of beating yourself up over something that isn’t even your fault? If we can examine your pattern, we can also try to decipher the problem in context. Perhaps the designer just used an unusual turn of phrase, or perhaps we can veer slightly from what they wrote in order to find a more elegant solution.
Bring an open mind. This is just as important as tips 1 and 2. Whether it’s learning a new skill or fixing a mistake, you will have much better luck if you approach it with a positive, can-do attitude. The more worked up you get, telling us that you “can’t” do something, the harder it is for us to help you, because your brain doesn’t function as well when you’re in panic-mode. (Trust me, I learned this the hard way with my taxes.) Be kind to yourself, take a deep breath, and be willing to learn.
I really want you be happy with your project, and I certainly don’t want your knitting to cause you high blood pressure or depression. We all have moments where we need to consult a more qualified knitter, or just have another pair of eyes take a fresh look at a problem. It warms my little people-pleasing, labrador retriever heart to see a knitter overcome a challenge and complete a project that seemed out of reach. Here at Over The Rainbow Yarn, we want to see you succeed — help us help you!
I’ve been working on a speech for a dear friend’s wedding, so my head is full of wedding cliches, like the title of this post. The Goldfish baby sweater continues (not enough progress made this week to show you a photo update — maybe next week), the fridge is overflowing with glorious produce from local farms (I have grand plans to freeze stuff for winter), and this speech of mine just refuses to write itself. I even left it alone through all of last week, and the darn thing didn’t grow by a single word. I really wish that my brain could apply some of the creative energy it expends on my dreams to the speech instead. Recently, I dreamed that I urgently needed to find a suitable retirement home for a beloved elderly flamingo. In Wyoming. And my phone wouldn’t work. Since I’ve got a bit of brain drain going on, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet; I hope you’ll forgive me.
In the theme of “something old”, The Siberian Times recently posted an article about the archaeological discovery of a 50,000 year old needle! (This news is also “something borrowed”, because I am borrowing it from a recent email from Erin of Yarn Market News — thanks, Erin!) The bone needle was found in Denisova Cave in Siberia, and scientists are excited because they believe that it was made by Denisovans. If this is true, it would seem to indicate a greater level of sophistication than was previously attributed to these extinct hominins. This beautiful, delicate needle was made by a pair of hands not that different from mine, and used to sew something over 30,000 years before the stunning cave paintings of Lascaux . Now, when I sew patches on my jeans or put a button back on a coat, I will think of that fragile bone needle, and find new wonder in a mundane task.
For our “something new”, I decided to pick a new pattern that has arrived in the shop. Conveniently for my theme, it also happens to be “something blue”. This gorgeous shawl is called Viannette, and was designed by Pamela Wynne for Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled, though you could absolutely also use the solid color Findley or a combination of the two yarns. The pattern is available in our store, on Ravelry, or through our webstore. There’s just enough going on to keep you interested, but not so much that you throw it across the room in despair put it in time out. This is the kind of project my brain needs right now: something that will occupy the squirrelly side of things, to leave room for the creative speech writing flow.
I picked Goldfish by Alexa Ludeman of Tin Can Knits, and I’m using Berroco Vintage DK in Bird’s Egg #2136 for the main color, and Fuchsia #21176 for the fishies! The needles are Knitter’s Pride Dreamz, my favorites. So far, all I have is the collar edge, but I’m already loving it, and can’t wait to get to the colorwork section.
The most exciting part about this project is that my amazing partner is knitting it with me. (Honestly, I never get tired of talking about how great he is — but tell me if you’re getting sick of hearing it.) He knew how to crochet when we met, and quickly learned to knit so he could make a great scarf for his mom. It seems that we knit to about the same gauge, so we’ve been taking turns with the project. If there’s enough yarn left at the end, I’ll translate the goldfish motif into a matching baby hat for winter!