Monday, March 30, 2009

Yarn hangover

I went to Newton's parking lot sale this weekend. It was a hunt but I think I did come home with something I can work with.

A sea of yarn......

It all starts to blur

Now what to do with new yarn?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

creative knitters

I got to meet Lisa Ann Auerbach at Amano this weekend ("Bad Girl Night"). She showed us her work in a power point presentation. What a kick, she is so creative and a huge body of work. She knits on a knitting machine an does the same style of sweater with different designs and "words" statements, mostly controversial political opinions. We all had a great time, lots of great food & drink and a little bit of knitting.

I'm getting ready to teach "Short Rows: the long version" lots of short row methods and how to apply them in your projects. Thursday 6-8pm at Amano Yarn Center. ... I love short row shaping so does Hanne Falkenberg here is an example of a short rowed sweater I knit

But why? Because she had to.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

7/11 Gypsy Sweater progress & book report

One of the great pleasures for me is to be able to listen to an "unabridged" book (now on my iPhone) and knit. Somebody to read me a story and I can knit, knit, knit..... lots of stitches in a row and I'm in heaven. Time slips into that magic "suspended" zone where it just glides along like a sailboat on a beautiful lake. Somehow I can never really tell how a knitting project will turn out to be, it evolves and sometimes turns into a fun great knit with ease and well other times not so much.

It's the same way for books, sometimes a book turns out to be excellent and other times a bit disappointing or downright a "dog" and I don't even want to finish. Knitting projects are the same, some I have not finished and others knit up fast and with great pleasure. When I first start a book or a knit I can never tell how it's going to be at first until I'm into it a bit and realize that it's going well or not so well. This new sweater I'm knitting from the top down is going well, it's a fun knit, maybe it's all the festive colors or the feel of the wool sliding through my fingers and it is starting to fit nicely. I think I will finish this one and get some good many years of wear out of it.

The book I started listening to thanks to a recommendation from my Audible listeners group on Ravelry is "The English American" By Alison Larkin and Narrated by the author. This book was wonderful and charming and Ms. Larkin is not only a talented writer but a great performer. She even sings beautifully. Just enough singing when appropriate not to become annoying "musical" but fit into the story. I was sorry to have the book end.

Then somebody recommended "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" they said that if I liked the "English American" I will probably aslo like the:
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows. Quite a title but it sounded intriguing and it's all written in letters and correspondence between the characters.

What a great follow up to the English American. But this one was sometimes a bit tough to listen to although performed and written well but the subject was painful at times. It takes place of life right after the Second World War in England and how it affected people during and after this great horrible event in history. It brought up memories of my childhood in post WWII Budapest. But a wonderful pleasurable "read" I sometimes laughed and I sometimes cried. The readers were great and I'm not quite sure who they were because Audible does not list them? Juliet Mills is the main character but that is all I can remember. All the readers did a great job. I usually don't like too much dramatization in my Audible books and don't like music added etc. I just like a good reader to read me the book. However if it's done well it adds to the book.

But my sweater is not finished! I need to browse around for a new book. I finished one of the sleeves and did a successful i-Cord bind off. This is one of the bind offs' I'll be teaching this coming Thursday during my class at Amano Yarn Center. This is one of the nicest edges it gives the piece a "finished" look and a straight edge. There is instructions all over the internet or search this blog for it.

I think I've made a decision about the neck opening I'm going to use a short zipper.

Got to go now, I have a busy day today.

Happy Knitting & Listening

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So I now snore SHE says!

What of it? You may snore too when you reach the ripe old age of 98. Yup in human years I'm going on 98 years old. I'm not sure if what they say that each dog year is equal to 7 human years but if that is correct, I am 97 and in August I will be 98. Actually 14 in calendar years but no matter how you slice it I am a senior dog now. I like to rest up and sleep a lot and sometimes I may snore a little. SHE has been complaining.

Can you imagine how inconsiderate SHE is? I'd like to see how loud SHE will be snoring when SHE reaches my age? I am a bit slower now too, what's the hurry, I know what's happening and if I don't know about it I simply don't care. So life is pretty good sometimes when I first wake up I kind of limp a little bit and am a little stiff but usually I can walk it out. The best part of that is that SHE starts feeling sorry for me and treats me with some good chewy or a special massage. At last SHE kind of treats me like I've been training her to do.

The training has been tough, SHE is an "old dog" and you know what they say about old dogs, you can't teach them new tricks. Now let me tell you about this little "miss full of energy" puppy they adopted to cheer me up. I was so content at last that I had the house all to myself after Makenna my brother died and I was enjoying the peace and quiet and slept a lot. SHE mistook this for depression, SHE thought that I was depressed and mourning my brothers death! So somehow in her twisted mind SHE decided to get this mutt to cheer me up. I'm not sure what breed she is but I think part Tazmanian Devil.

The amount of energy this little mutt has is enough have you whirl around like a whorley gig. I think she does speed when nobody is looking. I'm not sure where she gets it but I'm convinced that no normal dog can have this much energy. Did I tell you she is crazy too? Like a wild animal runs around here bouncing off the walls. I'm tired sometimes just watching her do all this, then she runs out of energy and she is down. When she is resting there is nothing that can wake her or get her to move. It's either petal to the metal or shut down. I don't get it.

Well SHE is giving me the evil eye and I must go, she wants the computer so SHE can shop for Apps for her new fancy shmancy iPhone. I'm not sure whatever Apps are but SHE is really into this one. You see SHE always has something that is so annoying to all of us and most of all me. 

Thank you for listening as always
The Bitch

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I LOVE my iPhone!

At&t or not, phone function good or bad, battery not lasting as long as some other phones.... I don't care. The other functions of this phone way outweigh the any of negatives in my opinion. And the Apps! One of my very favorite app is the "Stitch Minder".

Wow! How did I ever manage without this? How was I able to count rows and increases and all those stitches that need to be counted before? Well yes I used to use a piece of scrap paper and pencil and just mark or write down the count, then I have one of those clicking stitch counters, oh yes not to forget the kind that fits over the needle. But eventually I would misplace the paper the clicking thing and those little tiny thingies that slip over the needle well who could ever keep track of those tiny things?

But now I have my iPhone with the StitchMinder installed. I always have my iPhone I carry it with me at all times much like a Panda bear who carries it's tiny young in her paws. The movie "The Gods Must be Crazy" comes to mind, if you've seen this great movie about a Coca Cola bottle that is tossed out from an airplane in Africa. It lands in this primitive village and they suddenly fall in love with the glass bottle. Everybody wants to use it, they find so many uses for the bottle they just don't know how they ever did without the bottle. I've embeded a clip from Youtube, just because this little movie was so wonderful and one of my all time favorites. But I digress.

Did I mention the KnitGauge? This cleaver little app measures the gauge! You just move those little pins to the spot and voila it shows your gauge! Oh yes there are many many apps I could talk about but I know how boring it was for me before I had an iPhone so I won't bore you any further.

I love this movie:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comment envy....

I wrote all this on Monday and was planning to post it all but somehow I got sidetracked and here it is Thursday and I am just now getting back to posting. Tonight I start a 3 week session teaching "Gypsy Knitting", Classes at Amano Yarn Center to teach how to knit without a pattern, knitted from the top down. This has been a popular class and I look forward to teaching it again.

I have turned over a new leaf.
I am changing my ways. There are a number of blogs that I visit regularly, well sort of regularly, and follow yet I have seldom left comments. When I read something interesting about a blog friend I smile and keep all my comments to myself. Yet when my visitors do not comment on my pages I complain. My immediate thought goes to nobody really likes what I write except maybe be the few friends who regularly comment (thank you, you know who you are).

My traffic meter tells me there are visitors and yet I think all those people who come and look just accidentally land on my blog. So I have decided that others may feel the same way and if I visit a blog I will make every effort to leave a comment. That is my new resolution. You see I would love to hear back from my blog visitors I look at some blogs and they have comments I mean lots of comments and I'm having a "comment envy" moment.

Just in case you only look at pictures here are some pictures from the weekend. I know it does not have much to do with knitting but it's part of my life so I thought I would share.

Woodley Park

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The iCord Bind off?

Some nice demonstrations on YouTube. The web is just wonderful for knitters, we have a huge community and may I say generous "I want to share this with you" kind of knitters. I love this when I'm trying to figure out some knitting puzzle I go surfing around and it always inspires me.

The dilemma is this, what bind off should I use for the bottom of my 7/11 Gypsy Sweater? If you can just imagine this steam blocked which will add to the length I think it's time to bind off. I took the stitches off the needles and tried it on so far so good.  I've made the back just a few rows longer because all my sweaters turn out too short in the back. This is one of my pet peeves'  I'm always looking at how sweaters fit people and often I see the back too short. Then I got a "rear view" mirror and realized that MY sweaters are too short in the back too. Now I always add a few rows to compensate for this mystery.

or this one which is not really a bind off but an iCord border:

Gypsy Knitting

I call it 7/11 Gypsy Sweater. Why 7/11? Because some of the stripes are 7 rows and some are 11 rows. Why Gypsy? It's my affectionate way I call colorful, festive "make up your own pattern" sort of knitting. I discovered Kauni yarn at Madrona. The Colors! I loved the vibrant vivid hues of EQ "scratchy wool".  Similar to New England Shetland wool that Vivian Hoxbro and Hanne Falkenberg like to work with and design for. Most knitters I know love the colors but do not like the scratchy wool, I like it. It feels so familiar to me and the wool holds it's shape and wears and launders well. Perhaps it's my European background it kind of feels like my childhood sweaters and yarn I was used to. 

When the yarn is too soft the garment kind of feels "jiggly". It does not feel like it has body to it and it seems like it's going to stretch out and not behave properly. With the exception of Cashmere, I'm not sure why I have this perception but I do. The inspiration for this sweater came from Vivian's "Lolli" I saw this sweater in person and it looked really nice. I wanted one. This picture does not look as good as the one I saw but the design is good, well except for the collar I think I need to modify the collar a bit..... and the drop shoulders..... I have to modify that ... the length I will have to make it a bit shorter...... other than that ..... I guess I'm redesigning the whole thing.
I thought the Kauni EQ would lend itself really nicely to this, and I especially like the button opening to the side. I could not wait to start knitting. The pattern? Well I'm making it up as I go, I call this my "Gypsy Knitting" style. Top down provisional cast on 88 sts place my markers and go.... knit.... knit .... knit.... The colors surprise me the rows are sort of counted for the stripes but not all are perfect some are 7 rows and some are 11 rows. 

I look forward to sharing this with my next "Top Down Gypsy Knitting" no pattern needed class I'm teaching at Amano Yarn Center.

ps. I love to knit and listen to a book on my new iPhone, and the book I've been listening to while knitting the 7/11 Gypsy Sweater is "the English American" by Alison Larkin. What a charming "read/listen". Ms. Larkin reads the book herself and she is a wonderful actress and can sing too! I give it  ★★★★ four stars. I liked it and was sad when it ended. The sweater is not finished so I have to search around for a new book....