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I have to tell you something strange — recently I almost stopped knitting. I knit some things here and there, but in general I don’t pick up my knitting every free minute, as I did before. For the last three months, I was spending every free minute online trying to figure out if my home country, Ukraine, still exists. I won’t go into political stuff here, but you can imagine that a question of that magnitude can distract from.. pretty much everything else.

That’s why I was happy to hear that Phoenix Community Center offered me to teach a knitting class to its clients. The class is scheduled for six weeks, every Monday morning. Some people who signed up wanted to refresh their skills, and some wanted to try knitting for the first time. I started thinking about a useful project that would allow my students to practice basic stitches. When I was buying yarn, Louise from LK Yarns suggested making wristwarmers. I thought it was brilliant, and made one when I came home that very day. (There is no pattern — I cast on 40 sts and knit all stitches until the piece wrapped “snuggly” around my wrist. Sew the seam leaving the opening.)

Wristwarmers
My students liked the idea and three of them already finished their mitts! Another idea came from an experienced knitter who showed up with a dishcloth in progress. Suddenly, everyone wanted to make one. So we got some cotton yarn and learned to read a dishcloth pattern called Grandmother’s Favourite.

Dishcloth
Teaching knitting techniques to a group of knitters with different skill levels is tricky. It’s a bit chaotic, but also very fluid. I am just trying to meet everyone where they are and take it from there. Making samples boosted my knitting mojo a bit, and I was able to finish a sweater that was a WIP (work-in-progress) for almost two years.

DinosaurSweater

I don’t know what it says about me as a knitter, but I have no projects on the needles right now and no interest in starting one. Which is good, because I am going to sew another Ukrainian flag.

Ukrainian Flag

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Meanwhile

Since this blog wasn’t meant to be personal, I kept my own knitting out of it. However, recently I decided to share some pictures here and there, while the charity projects are developing. I don’t use knitting patterns and design all of my creations, except a few occasional last-minute gifts. Here is a small collection of children’s sweaters that were knitted and worn this fall and winter, plus a bonus half-sock.

Rainbow Sweater 03

This is a rainbow sweater and a matching hat. I used two balls of yarn for the body to make the stripes the same width that those on the sleeves. Neat, eh? This happy acrylic yarn was sold by a bag, dirt cheap, and I just couldn’t resist the colours. It was my first bottom-up construction sweater, and it took me three attempts to get the shaping right. Never again. Top-down raglan it is.

Three Sheep Sweater 01

The Three Sheep Sweater. Mmm, sheep… I really enjoyed working on this project except it smelled like sheep, too. For whatever reason, natural undyed wool has much stronger smell in my experience. Maybe the colouring process and chemicals eliminate some of the farm aromas?

Three Sheep Sweater 04

Baa.

Small Dinosaur Sweater 3

This is a very warm Dinosaur Sweater. I was aiming for an Apatosaurus backlit by the sunset but if you are a paleontologist by trade, you might disagree.

This vest was supposed to be a sweater before I accidentally donated the third skein of yarn I bought for it. It was made with two skeins of Cascade 220, almost to the last yard, thus the 50/50 design.

Vest 1

I only managed to take one picture outside before the battery died, so this is how it looks in its entirety.

Vest 2

I love everything about these sweaters except the hand-washing, forever-drying part. The wool is lovely but next time I will go with its machine washable version.

And finally, please meet Footie, the cast sock. Named by the cast owner, it was used for a week to keep the little toes warm. And when the cast was off, it became a handy transportation device for small animals and marine life.

CastSock2

A knitter suggested that a cast sock could be a nice charity project. Personally, I think that knitting Footie had a therapeutic effect on me but it was also a necessity because it was freezing cold outside. I wonder if receiving a cast sock together with the cast at the Children’s ER or Orthopaedic Department will make any difference for hurt kids and their worried parents…

What do you think?

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