Along for the Ride
The internet is an amazing place. Twenty years ago when I got married and wanted to learn how to cook a dish or make a quilt, I went to the library and checked out books. Today, I don’t even have to leave my house to learn just about anything. It’s also a great place to connect with other people who have the same interests. Chances are, if you have a hobby or interest, there is an online group for it. Many of those groups even “gather” to do a particular activity together, such as baking through an entire cookbook or knitting a particular project together. For me, the pull of these groups is strong and I am almost always tempted to join in on anything I find remotely interesting, which is quite a lot, actually. Maybe it’s because I am at home all the time and I need to feel like I have some sort of semblance of a life outside of my children or maybe it’s because I am an introvert that really wants to be an extrovert. I don’t know. All I know is that, recently, I have found myself joining in on several new online group activities.
The first started a couple of weeks ago. SusannaIC’s mystery shawl knit along is a must do for me every time she runs one, which is roughly once or twice a year. They are always fun, well paced, and turn out beautifully. Here’s the one I made from the last mkal:
The next one coming up for me is the Stopover sweater knit along that is being hosted by the funny ladies over at Mason Dixon knitting. This one starts on Monday, February 1st. Now, I have no business starting another sweater right now when I am deep into some test knitting (which is another type of group knitalong that is quite fun, but kinda exclusively so). However, when I read about it, I just happened to have a leftover skein of Cascade Ecological Wool hanging out on the table that I was thinking of using for a hat. The gauge for the Stopover sweater is 13 stitches over 4 inches, which happens to fall in the same range as the Ecowool, so I thought I would try a swatch.
Lo, and behold, the swatch was an exact match for gauge and it felt light and fluffy and nice. So, I did what any knitter does when faced with a pattern and a swatch that yields a perfect gauge. I gathered my yarn and then asked Instagram and Facebook to help me a pick a blue to go with my neutrals.
Opinions were pretty evenly split, so I decided to go with Plucky Scholar, mostly because it has some cashmere in it and since I intend to use this colors for the hems and neck, I thought it would be less scratchy. After going to the store to buy size 10.5 needles, I now have everything I needed for the project and, though I was tempted to cast on immediately, I am waiting until Monday to cast on with the rest of the group. Because of my other commitments, I may not exactly Bang Out this Sweater, but I will do my best with it and it will be fun to be following along with the rest of the group.
Which brings me to the most recent group that I have joined recently, the Splendid Sampler. This one is by far the biggest and most intensive group thing I have joined. It’s 100 quilt blocks, done over the course of a year; two a week. The blocks are supposed to all be different and they are a mystery until they are posted. The nice thing about this one is that I feel that I can pick and choose the ones I want to make. I will probably start with my scraps, which I have started to try to organize, and see where I go from there.
Honestly, I am not sure that I could keep up with that pace even if I wanted to, but this quilt along is a great example of how wonderful the internet can be. There are thousands of people taking part in this from all over the world. Just seeing the pictures of people’s fabric choices has been interesting and inspiring. Also, the blocks are supposed to cover just about every piecing technique out there and will be a great learning experience, even if I just read them. Best of all, it’s free! The organizers will start posting patterns on February 14. Right now, everyone is picking fabrics. I have not decided yet on my level of involvement, but I am excited nonetheless for this project!
Phew! I think February is going to be a busy month. What about you? What are you working on these days?