Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Beginnings

Now that I am home, I have startitis. I ripped out the minisock and started a new, plain sock to show off the fabulous colors of my new Socks that Rock. (Puck's Mischief) I also started the long anticipated green felted bag, which will be in the style of the Noni Bobble Bag. I will put squiggle on the top instead of bobbles.

Both of these projects do nothing but knit knit knit, which is amusing since I spent last week learning to become a complicated knitter. But since I am about to embark on a road trip with the family to see Mr. Mickey Mouse, brainless knitting projects will do quite nicely.

I will be away from the blog for a few days, so try to carry on without me. I will miss you!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Twelve little socks all in a line

Here is how day #3 started:

with a lot of vintage socks.

Taking a class from Nancy Bush was a great experience. She was very down to earth and well spoken, and had a wealth of knowledge to pass to us. I am very lucky to have my only sock class be from the sock master.

Here she is with all her socks (not the best photo of her),

and here are the socks again, along with the copy of Weldon's practical Needlework, the 19th century book that she used as inspiration for the vintage socks.

We made a little sock in class, enough to do the cast on, (double yarn long tail caston, which makes the edge very stretchy) do a few rows in pattern for the leg (using a "seam stitch" down the back that was common during those times), heel flap, Welsh heel (lots of holes), picking up stitches (now I know how to do this better), foot, and finally, a three pointed toe. This sock predates kitchener stitch,so the yarn is just pulled through the final stitches to end. I chose not to end becausing I was using my new Socks That Rock in Puck's Mischief, and didn't want to save this little creation.

The Student Banquet was fun. I met some fun people, Brenda and Cindy and Frank, who I sat with at the table along with Lily Chin (who was dressed as Madeline). For those of you who don't know, Lily Chin is a knitwear designer and also the world's fastest crocheter (she was on Martha) The banquet featured a fashion show by anyone who wanted to show off what they had made. There were some very incredible creations to be seen. (Lots not on the runway too). It was a fun night.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Russian Lace

Day 2.

Six hour class on Russian Lace. Taught by the expert on Orenburg shawls, Galina Khmeleva. It was very interesting and I enjoyed it throughly. She has a heavy accent, which I loved, and told stories that made the day feel like you were transported out of California and into Russia.

I even made some lace. Here it is along with my cable samples from yesterday I forgot to show you.
I now want to become a lace expert. Yesterday I wanted to become a cable expert. Tomorrow is sock class, I will I'm sure want to become a sock expert. I'm fickle, yet predictable.
The Market is very overwhelming. I try to carry on, despite the temptation lurking around every bend. There are lots of bends to lurk around too, it is huge! I found some potential lace shawls disguised as yarn today at lunch time. They give you 2 hours for lunch, just in case you want to pop in to the Market for a spot. Or skein. Nice of them, really.
Tonight is the fashion show and dinner. I will try to take my camera, but they don't allow photography in the market, but maybe they will at the show.
Anyhow, wish you all were here with me. Spending money is more fun with a friend (or sister or mom). I really need someone to steer me away from the purple and green. When I step back and look at the photos it is funny. Did anyone else notice it?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lace, yarn and two monkeys jumping on the bed

I'm so tired.

I've seen Jane Sowerby talk about Victorian Lace Today. Beyond awesome. Fabulously awesome.

I've seen Melissa Leapman teach cables. Wow. I want to make everything in her book (that she signed for me).

I had lunch (I needed the protein boost like you wouldn't believe). I met Karen, a knitter who had made a beautiful lace scarf. It was incredibly beautiful.

I walked back and forth a lot. I saw a lot of knitters. Lots. I waited in line to preview the Market.
I found a little yarn there.

I saw Cookie, designer of mind blowing sock patterns. She signed them for me.

I got some SeaSilk, some Socks That Rock, and a few other things.

I finished my Monkey socks (I will graft the heel after I post this).

Not bad for day number 1.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Look What We Found

The two sisters set out for Santa Clara. Carey was my driver, as we were spending the day doing "sister" stuff on the way to Stitches. On the agenda was a trip to the Stanford Mall and an adventure to check out the store that bears the name of our blog.

We had the name first. Honest. We had no clue a store would open a few months later three hours from home that would be very like the store we would have. A good supply of yarn, a good supply of paper, and a heck a lot of creativity.

It was nice. They had a nice open space for scrapbooking, a cozy space for knitting, and a sewing room and lockers for use. Interesting concept.
I did not buy any yarn. I bought a little thing for Tracy, and a cable needle.
I would add more yarn to their stock (of course), but they had a lot of kits (including a Noni bobble bag kit for $85) and interesting things. They did not have a lot of paper.
They do have a cool name.
Along the roadside today we saw an abundance of creatures. Sheep, cows, goats, chickens, alpacas, horses, long horn cattle, deer, two dead skunks, and vulture-like birds circling over something. It was very entertaining. Also along the roadside were dozens of daffodils. I love spring. Especially when it happens in February.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bad Blogger, Busy Knitting and Packing

I'm so sorry I have been absent from the blog front for a few days. I am getting ready for Stitches, which is the first time in over 13 years I have been away BY MYSELF. Which means I spend 20 percent of my energy getting myself ready, and 80 percent getting everyone else ready to be without their "personal assistant".

I am ready. I think.

I am excited. I am knitter, hear me, uh, click.

I will hopefully be able to blog from the road. I'm taking the laptop, camera, and cord. I don't know if they allow photography, but I will hopefully be able to post some highlights, and at the very least, photographs of yarn purchases and other spoils.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Half a Pair of Monkeys

It is very hard to get a photo of your own foot!
I finished the first Monkey sock this morning. I really enjoyed this pattern, and I think it looks lovely in this yarn. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Color Douglas Fir, Size #1 needles.
Project Spectrum Project #2 halfway done.
I want to wear these to Stitches. Cookie A., the designer, is going to have a booth there, and I'm so excited!
I just have to hurry and do the second one.
I have been spending some time working on finding patterns that I want to make so that I can look for yarn with a purpose at the Stitches Market. I got the new Interweave Knits today and I have been cruising the old magazines and books on my shelf for inspiration. I did see a very nice cardigan pattern in the new No Sheep for You book. I have my eye on that book! It had some very nice patterns in it.
Decisions have never been easy for me, and I have a feeling I am going to be very overwhelmed by all the choices I will see, but I'm trying to go in with a game plan.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Anemoi #1

The mitten is done. It is too big.
They have disaster written all over them.
Pattern - fine. Knitting - fine. Yarn - not good. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby. It fuzzed out too much, and didn't keep the distinct colors very well. It would not wear well. Disappointing.
Gauge - WAY off. Should have used a size 1 or 2 needle. I think when I started the first time I should have stretched the ribbing out and it would have fit. I didn't and then switched to bigger needles and that was a mistake. The row gauge is off more than the stitch gauge. They are mittens for vikings.
They will be back, not right now, but at some point they will return, lovely mittens for normal handed folk. Trust me.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Still Sewing on Sunday

I FINALLY finished my new knitting bag.

Pink and chocolate. I love this fabric. I had a problem finding coordinating fabric. I had purchased a couple of other prints, but they looked icky with this one, WAY too busy, so I set out to find solid fabrics, and that was actually much harder than it should have been.

You can't really tell, but there is beaded trim on there. I made the pocket on the front in the same fabric and matched it exactly to make it disappear. Sneaky, huh? I put a magnetic closure on this bag, and changed the needle holder pocket and made it smaller, and added a second pocket next to it. Details.

I also made the matching needle holder roll. I have been putting my needles in this ceramic pitcher next to my spot of the sofa (don't mess with mom's spot) but this needle roll is to transport my needles to stitches and Naughty/Knotty Knitters. Must be portable you know.

I'm taking a break from the sewing machine now. I still have a few items left to do, but enough is enough. I'm going to concentrate on the mittens. I'm a few rows away from starting the decreases, so if I get to work, I may have one finished today.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sewing for a Saturday

Someday I want to do a post about why knitting is better than sewing. That would be fun.

I have spent my day sewing, wishing I were knitting.

I did make a cool knitting bag and matching needle holder for my mom. It was supposed to be for Christmas, but thankfully Moms allow grace periods for slow crafters.

The bag features a zipper pocket inside, as well as slots for knitting needles inside. The needle holder has three pockets for different length needles, as well as one larger pocket to tuck accessories or circulars into.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Felt Flying from the Fingers

Here is the felt needle case I made. It is approx 3 x 4 inches (hard to tell in the photo). It was fun to do embroidery again, it had been a long time since I did that.

Knitting tends to take over the urge to do anything else. I do enjoy working with a needle, in many forms.

This is from the book, Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor, which is a very interesting book. I am not really into fairies, but the handwork in the book is really exquisite. It makes me want to make a bunch of little felt dolls with acorn hats.

I went to Ancient Pathways today. No, I did not buy any yarn. (I did fondle a few skeins). I was there because Meg called me that Lace Style had come in.

I never said I wouldn't buy any knitting books. I LOVE knitting books. Everywhere you look in my house you see either knitting books or knitting magazines. Can't help myself. It's a disease I don't want to recover from. There is something delicious about the potential of a knitting project, and a good book is full of them. Lace Style follows my favorite book Scarf Style. I really admire the books from Interweave Press. They do a quality job.

I also came home recently with their new sock book, Favorite Socks. Another book full of potential. I wish life could be long enough to knit everything I have on my wish list.

I guess I will have to take it one project at a time. Or at least a few at a time.

Grace tied her own shoes today. Sat down and worked through it. Once her mind was made up, she sat down and did it. Hooray!

Furry Finishing Friday in February

Cuppy and I got down to business and finished the corded bag I knitted a few weeks ago. I tend to put off sewing, but today got busy and added a lining and zipper to create a fabulous bag that I can use for makeup or knitting goodies or something.

Cuppy thought the lining looked great.

For some reason, she hasn't left me alone all day and really wanted to be my model.

Remember the fabric from Tracy's bobble bag? So frugal, I am.

Check another thing off the finishing list.

On the Anemoi mitten update -- I got home from the kids orthodontist appointment (Alex gets his braces off next time!) and was missing a needle. Argh. Fixed that situation this morning, so I'm off and running (or knitting) again.

I have also been working on my swatches for homework for Stitches. Not hard, just need to get them ready. I'm SO excited.

Tracy, Mom, and I (Crafters Gone Wild) got together yesterday and played with felt. I'm close to finishing a little needle holder that I will photograph soon. It is cute!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Project Spectrum Begins!

I had waiting time at the hair stylist yesterday. I knit a quick scarf while I was "processing."

It was a fun yarn that changes as you knit. It was three different yarns, a mohair fuzzy type, a wool thick/thin, and a nylon nubby type. I chose gray since it would fit into the Project Spectrum assignment. I like it and it will go with a black sweater nicely, but I'm not really crazy about it. The yarn comes in other colors too. (I think I would like them better). I'm too lazy at the moment to find the ball band, but when I get a moment, I will post the name of the yarn. It was very inexpensive, and one ball made the scarf. I knitted it on the diagonal. Here is the quick pattern:

Cast on 15.
Row 1:Knit1, yo, knit to three stitches before the end of the row, k2tog, k1.
Row 2: Knit entire row, knitting into back loop of the yo.
Repeat row 1 and 2.

That's it!

Close up of the yarn:

On another note, here is a photo of Grace in the Watermelon Cardigan. It is big, but will fit her next year, I'm sure. She wore it to church last Sun. Don't you just love the smile?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mini scrapbooks

As much as I love just sitting down to create something of my own, there's a great enjoyment that can come from making a kit. All the pieces are there, there's no need to stress that it won't look good. It is just a fun time working with paper and color to create something you know will be great when you finish. Well, Mom and I have done two Bo-Bunny scrapbooking kits recently. Yesterday, we took a class at Reflections of the Heart. The class was "You make my heart sing" and featured a mini accordion-style scrapbook in a metal tin. I mostly followed the kit, but made adjustments along the way.
Here's the cover and a glimpse of the inside:

We had another kit, a scrapbooking calendar of sorts, that was also from Bo-Bunny. The kit has a page of sayings that went along with each month of the year. The idea is that you could put one picture from each month and at the end of the year, have a great memory of 2007. Because we only had one kit, Mom and I decided we would just use it as guidance. We could find our own paper and each do a calendar album. Well, because we own just about every printed paper known to mankind -- like only knitters have stash? I don't think so! -- we went shopping in our scrapbooking rooms. It took us about a million years to find just the right paper for each page, but I think our finished projects turned out a zillion times better than the original. I put my completed pages in one of those 6 by 6 SEI mini-albums. I just love those! Here's the cover and a couple sample pages.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Say Goodbye to the Ugly Monkey

I love the Monkey Sock Pattern. Cookie A. designed it, and it is a very easy and attractive lace sock pattern.

Unfortunately, the Tofutsies yarn looks HORRIBLE when made into this pattern. The colors pool in very unattractive ways. I tried to go with it. I can wear a wacky sock. Then, when I got to the heel flap, and it started striping, it looked good. If I had a pattern with a different gauge, maybe the colors would stripe like that and wouldn't look like blobs of color.

So the Monkey has to go. Shame, too, since the knitting part was going splendidly. Very splendidly, in fact, or I wouldn't have let the ugliness go on so long.
I'm not going to give up on this pattern, though. I am going to use a plain yarn, in this nice blue in honor of Project Spectrum. I had this yarn in my stash, and I think it will do nicely.
All this monkey business will have to wait until the Anemoi mittens are done. Or at least until they are more underway. I am still working out the kinks on the needle size. I have started over, AGAIN, and am now using size 3 needles.
I am working on patience to weather the latest knitting crisis. I am hopeful the Super Bowl will yield much knitting time, in between commercials and guacamole, and Monday will bring photos of knitting progress.