Mo Knits

She also gardens, bakes, reads and exercises. But mostly Mo Knits.

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St. John’s Women’s Shelter Volunteering

So tonight I went to teach knit and crochet skills to a group of women at a local Sacramento women’s shelter. Yes– St’ John’s–the one from the Oprah show highlighting Sacramento area homelessness. The shelter that turns away hundreds of women and children in Sacramento because it is full to capacity every night. I was feeling fine until I got the “volunteer orientation.” Then suddenly I felt apprehensive. Even reluctant. But I go. Because I said I would.

I could tell even in the dark  as I drove down the street  exactly which building it was. Stark, gray, institutional, not at all, like a place to call home. When I got to the door I was buzzed in, because everything is locked up tight. I go inside, and there are women and teen girls hassling the ladies at the desk. Wanting to get their needs met. Wanting to talk to somebody. I was instantly a little overwhelmed. I walk down the hallway by myself, unsure if I was headed in the right direction, hearing kids chattering and women arguing. Oh boy, what had I gotten into?

But I get to the room where the lessons are happening and everything’s a little different. More familiar. I go to knit and crochet groups at restaurants, coffee shops, libraries. This is just like that. We could be any women in the world anywhere. Sharing the tradition of craft. Learning, teaching, concentrating.  And then I see the really young women. Some there with their mothers, some there with tiny babies. They could be any young women anywhere. Full of promise and potential. Sitting together, relaxing, chatting. It was touching. I’m looking forward to next time.

BTW: They really need crochet hooks. Lots and lots of crochet hooks. I’ll be taking my duplicates. They’ll be put to good use.


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Stitches West 2009:

I wanted:
Yarn for a Clapotis shawl. Got it. Hand dyed. Yay.
Shawl Pin. Got it. Hand carved cherry wood. Rustic. Pretty.

Wish I had bought: quiviut (too spendy), funky sock yarn (nothing grabbed me), square needles (I’m curious), a skein each of the soft brown and soft orange yarn from a verb for keeping warm (like those lovely sample mittens, but there wasn’t enough yardage, and they didn’t have more…boo hoo).

The train ride with friends was the best! You all are SO MUCH FUN!

The marketplace was so enormous. OK, it was too enormous. I didn’t even see it all. It was as exciting to look at all the various booths as it was to find something to buy.

I’m already looking forward to Stitches 2010!


My DH made me do it.

Let me just get the whining out of the way. My back hurts constantly since August. And lately it hurts really a lot. And I have a sinus infection. Probably not contagious anymore, but won’t go away. So the idea of taking a two and a half hour Amtrak train to Santa Clara for a yarn convention just didn’t seem fun anymore. Sure, when I bought the Stitch ‘N Ride ticket to the Stitches West Conference it sounded like a great idea. But as the date grew closer I began to have so many excuses. And I whined about it to Paul. All the time. And he kept saying, “You’re going. Just remember how excited you were. You’ve been talking about this since last year.”

It’s all true. I joined a knitting group last year. In the weeks before the event it was all the women talked about. Then after they went, it was all they talked about. They said things like quiviut, and suri, and tops, and roving. I had no idea what they were talking about.

At this point I’ve been around yarn and fiber addicts long enough to know what each of these terms mean. But I had never touched quiviut (musk ox wool) or suri (superfine alpaca).

So this year when the tickets went on sale, the knitting groups were abuzz. People talked about the thrilling finds from years past. All the ladies talked about what fun they had on the train last year. Everybody was asking if was planning on going and if I had my ticket yet. It was pretty exciting. Still, I felt awful. I wondered if I would really enjoy myself. I thought It might be a miserable experience with my stupid sore back and my ridiculously congested sinuses!

But then, in the nick of time I started to feel better. On Friday night my back mysteriously hurt less (this is the way it is with my back) and the sinus infection finally started to get better. By Friday night I still felt a little wonky, but certainly well enough to enjoy the conference.

So I updated my needle checklist just in case I found needles I couldn’t live without. I scanned my favorite patterns to decide what kind of yarn and how much I would buy to make ONE project. (I know–massive self control here.) I decided to buy one skein of sock yarn, enough yarn for a Clapotis shawl, and a shawl pin.

Next time: Stitches West… Did I find what I was looking for?