Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing all a very Happy Healthy 
& Prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I think I'll start my annual New Years resolution early.

Health: No SUGAR!
Take a walk every day!

Use my yarn stash instead of buying new yarn or fiber!
Finish projects put on Hiatus or "frog".

Put a smile on my face even if I don't feel like it.

Ok I'm off for my walk now, my dog Lucy is ecstatic about this!

Location:Venice Beach, California

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What makes a good purse: My opinion Don't buy a Brighton!

If you type in "what makes a good purse" and search the world wide web, my blog entry I wrote about "what makes a good purse" comes up second of the many thousands of links around the world.

When I look at my blog stats one of the most visited page is the "what makes a good purse" entry. I am now revisiting this subject and in my revised opinion customer service is the number one requirement. When I purchase a bag that I've carefully chosen and it comes with a warranty I expect that warranty to be honored!

Here is my rant:
Many years ago I purchased a Brighton Bag, I loved that bag. It was when Brighton first started selling purses. The serial number is #1,580, I think we paid around $100 dollars for it about 20 years ago. It was sort of a sentimental bag because it was the last time my mom and I went shopping together and she actually bought this purse for me. She told me that each time I wear and touch this bag I will think of her. I really did not need a purse to remind me of her or think of her I miss her very much and many things make me think of her each and every day. 

My mom died but the purse survived cherished and put away and lovingly kept as that memory of her and I shopping at a mall that very last time. I have the original box and have kept it all these years. I loved the idea that Brighton guaranteed the bag and when the strap started to frey I sent it back and they replaced the strap as if the bag was brand new. That was years ago and I have not actually worn this bag for years. 

There is a Brighton store here in Marina Del Rey and I always like to look around at all the pretty shiny stuff. The smiling sales lady asked if she could help me and I mentioned how well these purses are made and that I had one from 20 years ago with the serial #1,580 which means it was the first batch of purses they made. She cheerily told me to bring it in and have it professionally cleaned. You know this is the guarantee that Brighton purses have for life. 

How nice I thought, great I'll bring it in and have it cleaned. Although I was a bit hesitant what if they loose it, oh I should not be that attached to sentimental things anyway. I promptly took out my camera and took pictures to have a record. The manager cheerily gave me a receipt and told me that they would call me when it was ready. 

They called me all right.....

This afternoon I got a phone call from Brighton, they want $45 dollars for cleaning my purse. Because they can not find this number in the system. I would think not, their system was not quite the same 20 years ago! I'm going over there to collect my purse and will clean it myself. 

I'll probably never wear this purse because it's quite heavy as most of Brighton bags and not that practical. Twenty years later I've become much more practical and have many more purse requirements than I did back then. Number one is the warranty and number two workmanship, light weight, easy to get into and a good closure. Made of hight quality long lasting materials.

My current very favorite bags are, U.S. made and the workmanship is beautiful and the customer service is superb. There is a Mr. Tom Bihn who still works at his store in Seattle and thoughtfully designs his bags for function and quality.

Tom Bihn makes knitting bags and many other styles. I now own several of Tom Bihn bags and love carrying them.

I have this bag in green, LOVE

I still like a bit of flash and have a new JoAnne Page bag in this wild color that seems to go with everything. JoAnne designs and makes her own beautiful soft as "butter" leather bags and her customer service is wonderful. 

Do you have a favorite purse? Tell me about it! Leave me a comment.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Still thinking about Swing Knitting

Happy Thanksgiving!
I am grateful for good health and happiness in my family. To all my U.S. visitors hope you have a wonderful healthy and happy day!

I am especially grateful this year that I do not have to cook! Sometimes I wish I loved cooking as much as I love knitting. But then again maybe if things were that way I may be more plump than I already am. We are invited to a good friends home for this thanksgiving feast! Yay!

My knitting.... update...

I'm totally in love with the Wingspan pattern, tweeking it different ways and have a ton of ideas for other designs. This is a little scarf or maybe a mini shawl or a cowl. It's really a combination of all those. I'm giving it a name "Clipped Wings".

I name most of my projects because it's fun to name things and when somebody asks me about a design they can refer to the project by name. No I don't remember all the names I've given things but no matter. I call this one "Clipped Wing" because it is a smaller version of the Wingspan pattern. Instead of the 90 stitches the original pattern calls for I cast on 44 stitches. And at the end knit 4 rows of the entire length of the scarf. I love the effect.

The yarn I used is some of my home spun odds and ends. The colors work

The next project I want to try is this same idea but in Freeform Swing Knitting style. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why I Knit

Cool Ball of Yarn
Image courtesy Plymouth Yarn Company via Hooker Leo

Combining a piece of thread with one or two needles into a piece of fabric. The word knitting derives from "knot" thought to originate from the Dutch verb "knutten".

Basic human need for clothing. But for me it is so much more. One of the things that fascinate me is how one is able to make a humangus piece of fabric or piece of clothing just with a couple of simple needles and a ball of yarn. Maybe even a small crochet hook can make a blanket big enough to cover a king size bed. Not that I want to take that project on but I could if I wanted to.

  • Most of all knitting calms me. The repetitious movements and counting is like meditation but getting something useful out of it besides calming the beast. 
  • I hear it lowers blood pressure and it seems that I need my blood pressure lowered these days.
  • Some say that it slows dementia and prevents depression! I need that for sure.
  • Hand eye coordination and math skills are improved! Yay for that, both are those are handy to improve upon. 
  • Feeds my need to create something. 
  • And last but not least the knitting community. My knitting friends! All the Stitch n Bitch groups and guilds I attend. That is priceless! 

In recent times knitting has become more of a hobby than a necessity.  We all know that a hand knit sweater can be bought at Target for very little money. I say Target because the other day while shopping there I saw some lovely cardigans with decorative beads added that I might wear. But only from a distance did they look good. Upon close inspection they did not "feel" the same as a hand made garment.

Unlike weaving knitting does not require much more than a strand of yarn and some needles. It's very portable and easy to learn.

You might say that this huge network of knitters is a tight-knit community. Thrives not only online with with a 1.5 million members. It's not Facebook but very unique and wonderful for knitters. Ravelry is really the center of the knitting universe world wide. One can get lost for hours and hours admiring and learning all about knitting, crocheting and other fiber related stuff.

My user name on Ravelry is BananaKnits. The membership is free and a must if you are a knitter online. But the greatest part of knitting is my many real live friends. The knitting events where we meet up and the love and being able to meet up with ladies and gentlemen from all walks of life.

I have made many good friends through knitting and feel blessed and lucky to have them.


From there is "History 101"
by Julie Theaker.

Where Julie starts out her article telling us that knitting is "mostly a big mystery".


Knitting 101 A Beginners Resource Guide from Paradise Fibers and Yarns. Paradise Fibers: home page link

This group is new to me but very colorful and fun, love their buttons.

Keep calm and carry yarn

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Years and Years ago

When I was a teen ager and my mom bought me a pair of half boots. I LOVED my half boots. I wore it every day. I wore it from the time I got up till I went to bed. My obsession with the boots was very happy and comfy. They seemed to go with all my clothes and if they did not match I did not care, I LOVED my half boots. It was the early 60's and I had never seen such cool boots before. (I was young.)

They kind of had pointy toes and came right to the ankle with a little zipper on the side with a buckle. It was a light brown sort of dark taupe. After several months of wear they started to be a bit worn out. I was upset already wondering what I will do when my boots get a whole and I won't be able to wear them anymore. Now I started not to wear the boots at home saving them for going out.

My sweet mother saw angst that I was having about the boots, so she went out and found a pair exactly the same. Same size and color but brand new. She put it away to surprise me when the time came to give up the old boots. That day came and I was complaining about what am I going to do? My boots are starting to wear out! She presented me with a shoe box with the brand new boots.

They kind of looked like these ...... oh I loved my cool boots.

I was happy, but not as happy as I thought I would be. The new boots were not as exciting as the original pair was. They looked the same fit the same but just somehow were not the same. I thanked her very much but actually felt like telling her to take them back to get her hard earned money back. She was so pleased and I did not want her to be disappointed. I put them away and  I thought maybe I would make friends with the new boots in the future..... I never did. I never wore the new boots.

If I was a teen today I wonder if I would be wearing these?

or a bit more funky...

 I better get back to my knitting.

Why am I telling you this story on this knitting blog? Because of the "shawl sweater" blue vs. the new "shawl sweater" brown. Sort of the same story. The blue one I can't get enough of and the new brown one is nice but not the same. It just does not speak to me the same way the blue one does. The same fiber the same style the same size the same but different. I don't have time to take pictures but I will post them later.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I love my glasses

I was

I need new glasses but somehow I don't want to give up my old ones. I usually get new frames when I need a new prescription but this time I think I am going to stick with the old. They are light as a feather, titanium with fiberglass. The design is really elegant, even the case is unique, wool felt with magnets.

I buy my glasses from my friend Cliff and Bianca at

Markus T
They even got the redot design award.
Minimalism of natural shape The Greek mathematician and physician Archimedes is said to have experimented with visual aids already, using a crystal connected to his head that helped him see better. For designers, creating spectacles is an interesting theme, because it involves a combination of stylistic sensibility and current trends with precise functionality and new technologies. The “horn by Markus T” eyewear collection by the designer Markus Temming interprets in a new manner the natural material of horn that has been used in eyewear design for many years. In an innovative design approach the natural horn is combined with high-tech titanium, whereas the characteristics of both elements define the wearing comfort and the look of this collection. Its design is made possible through a new process of cutting the natural horn and how it is processed: Two very thinly cut horn plates are connected with each other by means of a newly developed technique giving the glasses elasticity and stability. Thanks to a coherent bonding of titanium elements accentuating the harmony of the frame these titanium connecting-systems lend the collection its technical appearance and further underline its clear language of form. In contrast to this, the naturalness of the horn imparts the distinctive and organic structure of the material, making each pair of glasses original and unique. Complemented with fine mirror-finish polish, these models project the attributes of warmth and lightness, as well as a minimalism that is one of a kind.
The M3 collection is made of TMi, a synthetic material that is particularly lightweight, durable and flexible. A titanium bridge enables the lenses to be inserted without heat. In the case of strong optical correction, the slot located at the front and the somewhat more pronounced depth of material both serve to conceal the thickness of the lenses. The temples can be easily heated and adjusted, while silicone coatings provide a comfortable fit. Special screwless hinges connect the front with the temples.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Swing Knitting

What is it? 
A series of short rows "swinging"  or "dancing" of back and forth kitting making wave like shapes. There is an actual counting and mathematical system however I find it can be done on the fly. And as you would guess I'm of the do it on the fly kind of knitter. 

The right brain sort of artistic or inpatient, I can do it my way sort of person. The hat turned out well by just following the waves visually. From what I gather it's a method that was originally from Germany and  most of the knitting patterns you find are in German. One of the most requested search words on this blog is swing knitting. 

I like swing knitting very much and love the way it lends itself to "freeform" knitting. And utilizing different methods of short rows to create the shape you want is a lot of fun.

I was originally introduced to this method of knitting at the Skacel  booth at TNNA by Brigitte Elliott. She had this beautiful shawl displayed and invited us to sit down and try it. 

The very generous Skacel folks gave us needles and yarn and a pattern for a hat. The needle they supplied was a size 7 brass Addi lace circular needle, one of my favorites. A very detailed row by row instruction of short rows going back and forth looking like waves. As you may guess I got tired of looking at the pattern after a few waves, quickly figured out the rhythm of it put the pattern aside and finished the hat in no time. Great fun!

The example below done by a knitter on Ravelry shows how safety pins are used to keep stitch count and mathematical logic to it. I had a very difficult time mastering or actually having patience to place safety pins or counting stitches. But as I said above it can be done on the fly. I call it knitting to shape. Which means to stop frequently and visually figure out where the fabric has to "grow". 

Now that I've completed the two fronts of my Wing Vest I have to make a decision what to do in the back. When I found my Noro bin full of Noro yarn I also found a couple of half started projects. As usual I started something and either got tired of knitting or distracted so it got put in a bin on a time out. 

Do I use the back of a sweater I started? Or do I frog it and do a knit to shape swing knitting short row back?

What do you think? Leave me a comment I'd love to hear feedback.

Happy Knitting! 

And remember to Admire your work often!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm loving this new project!

I am fickle but this new Noro Wingspan Vest I'm knitting is turning out really nice and a fun knit! I love when this happens, I am re-energized and knitting up a storm. Went shopping at Wildfiber for more Noro in spite of my rule of shop at home first. Thank goodness I did not find anything that was even close to the colorway that would suit this project.

Then I went shopping at home and remembered that I do have a bin with Noro Silk Garden but not sock yarn so it's a little bit heavier gauge. But not that different so it's working out beautifully. Here is my progress....

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The I'm tired of knitting on this project blues.

Because this is a knitting blog most of it's content is about knitting.

I love to knit, I'm not sure why I like it so much but I always have. From the first time I was handed knitting needles and yarn, it felt familiar and sort of wonderful. I love the repetition of it I find it very relaxing and being able to create is very satisfying. I often knit just for the sake of knitting.
One of the more enjoyable parts of knitting for me is starting a new project. Casting on stitches seeing how a new technique or color or texture are developing. I mentally divide a project into quarters, first quarter is really exciting seeing this new project take shape and the next thing I know I'm half way to finishing. Then about 3/4 of the way to the end of the project it all kind of slows down to will this ever end?

At that point I often get tempted to start something new and put the 3/4 finished project on a time out. Most of the time somehow I do manage to finish projects in spite of myself. Well I'm at that point with several projects on needles. Because of my hand problem switching projects seems to help.

I've had my eye on this very popular pattern "Wingspan" for a while and ran across some Noro yarn I had in my stash ...... of course I had to cast on ..... a new project is started. The pattern is rather simple but a bit confusing at the beginning but once you read all the extra instructions on it's easy peasy. Short rows no wrapping, no picking up wraps or yarn overs, just turn slip the first stitch purl wise with the yarn in the back and keep going.

I'm getting ready to teach a class on "Shortcuts to Shortrows" so this project fits right into that class.

I'm running into a problem. Silly me I did not really look close at what yarn I had. It's Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn and I have 3 balls of it but I just noticed that they are all different color ways! Eeeks what to do? I have an idea.

If it works I will share it here. Here is a clue....

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Oops I've done it again....

I've knit too much and my right thumb is rebelling! I've done this before and it's ever so annoying. I really got excited with my "knit one Below" project and knit, knit, knit.... the next thing I knew is this sharp familiar pain in my right thumb. I've done this before and the only cure is to stop knitting for a while. Oh but I love knitting...

This is how far I got on my Knit One Below project. It is turning out really nice and I would like to get back to it soon. My thumb HURTS! 

The felted wool cuff seems to help. So I decided to decorate it with beads. It's not quite knitting but I enjoy adding beads too and it makes it sparkle! And I do love a bit of sparkle and color. 

Then over the weekend I went to a Fiber event, I just had to have this watermelon sock kit. Now I have to knit it. Yet another project added to my list.

I also bought a $2.00 Kumihimo disk and discovered that I had a large stash of Soutache, yippie I'm Kumihimo braiding. Surprisingly it is dead simple to do and makes an attractive braid. What I'm going to make I do not know yet but I know how to do it. And it's giving me a little break from knitting.

Great fun was had by all.