Purl me

I love to knit.  Knit and purl, and slip one over. 

In the big process of packing up our house for Kenya, Ian inadvertantly packed my knitting….just in the wrong place:  a huge box and NOT my suitcase.  I thought about digging it out until I saw the box it was in the bottom of.  Ian replied, “I’m sure you won’t be knitting in Africa.”  Famous last words.

I even have a sweet case for all of my needles that my awesome sewing sister-in-law made that looks kind of like this except in pink and black (at least I think it’s pink and black, it’s in the bottom of that box you know):

Every once in a while I get the need to knit, and then I knit like a fool for a while, and then leave it for a while or longer.  I have started many a sweater only to finish it after my child is too big for it, and thus I have to find another use for it:  like donating it to the Women of Vision silent auction.  I took a picture of the “Lucy sweater”  before I sent it off, because I thought it was an especially cute sweater & I was especially proud of learning the new technique to get the lacey edging look:

Isn't it cute?

Isn't it cute?

I think I got the pattern for it from this book, but course the book is in that darn box, so now I’m not sure:

Needless to say, I thought it would be pretty easy to find some knitting needles here.  Not so.  I am sad.  I spent yesterday afternoon scouring the  Makongeni Market with Esther, my house help, but to no avail.  I could tell what the shopkeepers  were saying by their nonverbals and gestures in other directions. “Not here, no I haven’t seen them, try down that way.” 

I’ve googled about every different configuration of knitting and  Nairobi, and haven’t found anything yet.  I know that there must be women knitting here!  I see pictures of African women posted on the web spinning and dying wool for yarn.  And, they wear sweaters and knitted hats when it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit out here for goodness sakes!  Our night guard (yes, they are different from the day guard people)  even has a sweet knitted ski mask that he wears, except that it looks like it was sized for a baby.  He’s not the only one I’ve seen wearing something like that.  I’ll ask him if it’s ok for me to take his picture some night.  It’s quite a sight:  him in his professional “security guard” uniform and then the baby ski mask thingy.

If I can’t find some needles soon, I might be having one of you back home making a run to the knitting store (if you craft, sew or knit–knitting shops are a visual paradise) to grab a couple pairs of needles and some cheap skeins of yarn.

I think I’ll be working on a pair of these to wear here in Kenya:

Or maybe these:

Or, I’ll just stick to this kind of thing (yes, I think this is cute):


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kori on June 16, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    If I see any photos of you in a stripy knit, jumper I am personally going to come to Africa and take you back to the U.S. because obviously something is not right in your head! I have some things ready to go for a package for you guys, what size needles do you want? Any color preference for yarn?


    • Posted by mayfamily on June 18, 2009 at 9:17 am

      true Kori, if I turn up in that jumper, something is seriously wrong.

      Maybe size 10 knitting needles, the longer type. And some bulky yarn: royal blue, brown, bright green, fushia. Anything really!

      That would be awesome.


  2. Posted by Grammy on June 17, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I vote for the ankle collars.


  3. I just learned to knit a couple months ago! I still havent finished my first dish cloth. I love it though. My friend is planning on having a small group over once every couple weeks to knit together, drink some wine and chit chat.


  4. Posted by Eve on June 17, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I vote for the one piece outfit. It fits the Jack LaLanne style you like so much.


  5. Posted by AMERIKA on June 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    What are those ruffly sock things? I think they would look great in green.


  6. Posted by AMERIKA on June 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Ok. LOL. Just clicked on the picture and got this hilarious comments from the original poster. Ankle spats. RIGHT.


  7. Posted by Bonita on June 18, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    OK. I vote for Anne in flip flops with ankle spats. I agree – in green:

    Found the pattern at: http://www.theanticraft.com/archive/lugh08/alia.htm
    That web page also has All charts for Alia (pdf format) which would be very helpful in making these spats for Anne and Lucia.

    * Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino [55% merino wool, 33% microfiber, 12% cashmere; 137yd/125m per 1.75 oz/50g skein] color #300/black, 1 skein (MC)
    * Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino [55% merino wool, 33% microfiber, 12% cashmere; 137yd/125m per 1.75 oz/50g skein] color# 012/light gray, 1 skein (CC)
    * US 2/2.75mm knitting needles
    * 6 pearly buttons (preferably the kind with a shank or peg on the back)

    Gauge: 30 st per 4″/10cm and 36 rows per 4″/10cm in stockinette stitch.

    Design Notes

    You will need less than half a skin of the light grey and a less than three-quarters of a skein of black.

    Read the pattern through once before attempting. Then read it again.

    The directions for this pattern are written for size medium. The changes for small and large are given in parentheses.

    Special stitch
    Llinc (pronounced “La-Link”) left-leaning increase: Knit the stitch. Lift up and place the left leg of the stitch below the one you just knitted onto the left-hand needle, ktbl.


    Work the button holes and increases at the same time as these instructions. Reminders are included. (Instructions for Button Holes and Increases follow this section.)

    CO 65, (55, 71) in MC. Work all pinstriping in stockinette stitch.
    Row 1 & 2: Work 2 MC, *1 CC, 2 MC, repeat from * to the end. That is 21, (19, 23) repeats.
    Row 3 (RS) Continue in pattern, remembering to place a button hole per instructions below.
    Row 4 – 8: Continue in pattern to the end of each row.
    Row 9: Follow the Increase Chart for Row 9 (also see Increase Shaping instructions below).
    Row 10: Continue in pattern to the end of each row.
    Row 11 (RS) Continue in pattern, remembering to place a button hole per instructions below.
    Row 12: Continue in pattern to the end of the row.
    Row 13: Follow the Increase Chart for Row 13 (also see Increase Shaping instructions below).
    Row 14 – 16: Continue in pattern to the end of each row.
    Row 17 (RS), (the last pinstripe row) Remember to place a button hole per instructions below and follow the Increase Chart for Row 17 (also see Increase Shaping instructions below).

    Button Holes

    At RS rows 3, 11, and 17 (the last pinstripe row), start the row with k2tog, yo and continue in pattern.

    For the second ankle wrap, k the buttonhole rows (3, 11, and 17) in pattern to the last 2 st, yo, k2tog.

    Increase Shaping

    Work the Increase Shaping Chart on the following rows:
    Row 9: (RS), work the first row of increases.
    Row 13: (RS), work the second row of increases.
    Row 17: (RS), work the third row of increases.
    All increases are done in MC sections.
    To increase from 2 st to 3 st: k1, LLinc, k1.
    To increase from 3 to 4 st: k2, LLinc, k1.

    Arched Lace

    Rows 18 – 20: Work three rows Stst ending WS.
    Row21: K3, (1, 3), *work row 1 of the Arched Lace Chart, p1, (0, 1)* 7 times (6, 8 times) total to 3, (1, 4) st before the end. K3, (1, 4) st.
    Rows 22 – 31: Repeat, working up the Arched Lace Chart until you have completed it.
    Rows 32 – 36: Then work rows 10 and 11 of the Arched Lace Chart two more times. Work row 10 once more while you bind off loosely.

    Weave in ends. Block. You can block it so the ends are pointy (like mine) or so the edge is straight.

    Sew on the buttons. Put on your best heels and new ankle warmers and go puddle stomping.


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