Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I've jumped down the Knit one Below Rabbit hole!

Send help!

There is nothing like the energy and excitement of starting a new knitting project. Even though I've hit a wall on the existing umpteen projects I'm working on and feel that I should finish something. ... "oops I've done it again". I started a new project before finishing the one I'm knitting on.

As I've confessed many times and if you know me you will gather that I'm not a monogamous knitter. For some folks knitting one project at a time and actually finishing that project before shopping for yarn for another is fine and satisfying. But for me not so much.

I'm trying to rationalize that I've started a couple of new projects before I've finished the current "darling".  And suddenly something catches my eye and I'm off searching for yarn. Thank goodness I have made a conscious  effort to stick to my new years resolution to shop at home first. I have some wonderful yarns that are just waiting for me to knit something.

What caught my eye? The knit one below technique. I find this easy and fun! Love the look and it's a great way to stash bust. Using up different colors from your collection of left overs or odd balls is a great bonus. I first started with a test swatch. I cast on 19 sts. this technique calls for odd number of stitches. Once I got the idea and the rhythm it turned out to be quite easy and fun. 

Size 7 Addi Turbo circular lace needle, cast on 19 sts. Using two different color yarns. Color A is light blue and color B is the dark charcoal. 


Next I wanted to test it out in the round, so a hat was born.

When I finished the hat I decided that this was great fun and I am ready to start a "major" project like a vest or a sweater. Perhaps a ruana, well let's not go crazy. I settled on a vest knit in the round with a 10 stitch "steek". Knitting in the round is the easiest for me I prefer to knit all the stitches. 

I stuck to my new years resolution of shopping at home and using up some of my massive yarn collection. I found just the yarn that I've loved looking at and the colors but did not quite know what to do with. I bought this yarn a couple of years ago when I attended a "Sock Camp" organized by Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fibers and Stephanie the "Yarnharlot". The yarn is called "Twisted" 8 oz to a skein and I have 4 skeins. Two skeins of "Sea Scum" (Tina names the yarn color ways.)  and two skeins of "Jabberwocky". Each of these colorways look wonderful but together they look even more wonderful ...... at last I have a project to knit out of this yarn that I've been saving! It's a vest.... or it's going to be a vest. (fingers crossed)

I found this tutorial on steeking 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saran Wrap Saves the day.

It happened! I was busy working and it was time for a little break. I made a great cup of coffee and was looking forward to sitting down and taking a break. Just then my computer beeped "I had new mail"! The curious person that I am I reached for the mouse and the next thing I knew in a split second the coffee was all over my desk!

(I hate when this happens!)

My keyboard!

My beautiful white Apple keyboard! Soaked! Not to talk about the rest of the papers and stuff on my desk. It was not just a little coffee but a full cup of hot delicious coffee!

A large cup of coffee! I am now running around cleaning up the mess instead of sitting down taking a break and having a nice hot cup of coffee! 

My keyboard was saved because I was clever enough to put saran wrap around the keyboard to keep it clean. The saran wrap is really thin and it does not affect my touch typing and it really keeps things clean and in this case dry.

There is another great use of saran wrap when traveling. I always take some saran wrap with me and I cover the tv remote control with it. We've come to find out that one of the dirtiest things in a hotel room that seldom gets cleaned is the tv remote. Yuk! A little saran wrap and you never come in contact with the remote.

Do you have a clever use for Saran Wrap?

(Yuck Alert!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It was 56 years ago .....

A day in history that changed my life. The Hungarian revolution broke out October 23, 1956 about 3 pm. I remember it well the images that I saw that day and the next month and a half are etched into my memory forever.

War is ugly!

My family and I escaped by the end of November and arrived in Los Angeles by January 1957!

My life changed forever. 

At last it's cool enough to start wearing wool!

First thing in the mornings I usually stumble out of bed and head to the front door to let Lucy (my little faithful doggie) out for her morning "tinkle". Just to make sure she does not get lazy and try and do it in the house. My eyes are half open and usually I get up early and it's still kind of dark outside. Lucy did not want to get up this morning and refused to go outside! I knew it must be raining! She hates rain!

I don't know about you but I like to see pictures in blogs because I will confess I don't always read all the blog content. So if you are like I am here is a pictorial collage summing up this post.

Yay! The weather has changed and it's starting to get cool, it's time to wear my sweaters and woolens. Last winter I loved wearing this and I carefully laundered it ready for the new season. The wool held up really well, I think it got softer and more cozy. I'm thrilled with the results. Sometimes projects work out well and it's very satisfying.

This project started out with some wool roving I got from "The sheep shed studio"
It was basically a huge box of odds and ends 5lb of it. The fiber was really nice but the color! White with a black stripe running through it a very nice texture and I saw potential. So I decided to dye it in the pot just "Willie Nillie".

I took about a pound of fiber shoved in the pot added water and a bit of vinegar then squirted dye. The dye I'm using is Jacquard Acid dye. No measuring just sort of eyeballing the colors.

The letting it simmer on very low heat for about 15 minutes.

Then some much needed spinning lessons from Judith McKenzie. Love Judith she is just one of the high priestess' of spinning. Her classes are relaxing and she dazzled us with her knowledge of fiber and spinning weaving knitting etc. Loved her stories about living on a ranch and her life experiences in the love of fiber. I learned a lot and her materials fee was low and she was very generous with her fiber samples. We got enough fiber to actually make something. 

We learned how to control our spinning gauge and I loved the thick and thin stuff also. I finished enough yarn in class to make this little shawlette.

When I got home I plied all the fiber and already had this "shawl sweater" in mind. Made a "Swirly Swirl" neck piece to go with it for those extra cold days. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ending one project... What is next?

When I start to get to the "almost" finished stage of a project, I'm already thinking about what project comes next? I have a lot of projects "in waiting" or as my friend Peggy Baxter put it "They are in a time out!" as if they were misbehaving. In a way maybe they were misbehaving for some reason I lost interest and jumped to the next project. There is always something new that catches my eye and I want to make "that".

Sometimes a knitting project is just not turning out as I had hoped and I think maybe if I let it rest for a while next time I pick it up with fresh eyes it will be different. Sometimes it never gets any better and "frogging" is the only answer. (Frogging is a term used by knitters because a frog says "rip it" and we are unraveling or ripping our knitted stitches.)

Frogging is not to be confused with "tinking", that is when you un-knit. Tink is knit backwards and you are un-knitting stitch by stitch to get back to where you made the mistake or something you did not like happened. The knitters are very funny and have their own vocabulary and shorthand. k2, k2tog, p1, k1, ssk, etc. Each of those symbols means something. If all these terms were written out the patterns would become extremely long and hard to follow. When I first saw this it was daunting but I learned this language rather quickly. After all it's not rocket science even though it seems like an impossible language that these weird knitters all understand.

Nice texture and shaping: 

Yesterday the knitting guild I belong to had a field trip to Trendsetter Yarns. 10,000 square feet of warehouse full of yarn. Barry Klein gave us a preview of their Spring 2013 collection. I really like him, he is always smiling and is very gracious. Some of the items were very nice and other pieces were just not me but lots of work goes into all this. I think a good time was had by all. Oh yes I bought a couple little balls of yarn, sparkly yarn. Adding a little pizzaz to something, now just to figure out where to use it. So many projects ...... so little time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Target has these for $19

The Value of Not Planning

Some people like to plan their work, others don't. The learning theory is that the planners are sometimes called "left brained" and logically the others are "right brained". When I attended a talk at Madrona Fiber event given by Betsy Hershberg the main speaker, with a wonderful power point presentation. Betsy started with this graphic showing how the "left brained" people are so very organized and the "right brained" people, well more creative "knit by the seat of their pants" than those organized pattern following folks.

I definitely belong to the the "right brained" side but often take a visit over to the "left". I like to organize my tools and stash and can get obsessive with all that but when it comes to creating a garment I am for sure a right brained approach. I often take the "what would happen if....." approach.

With this philosophy, I teach others to let go following a knitting pattern as if you were painting by numbers. Don't take me wrong there is nothing wrong with painting by numbers, I've done it and loved the end result. As they say it's all good.

I often have to give "permission" to students that they do not have to follow my patterns exactly. I actually encourage making changes, the more changes the better. But you may say at the end it will not look like your pattern. All the better it will be YOURS!

Having said all that, my current project is called "Nether Garment" by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I love her approach, it's not a line by line instruction but the outline of how the garment is constructed. She too encourages the knitter to make changes, customize till it fits.

I call the project Long John's or to some it may be leggings. They are a long stocking without feet and at the hip joined to make them pants. I'm knitting them out of some good strong sock yarn from Germany. So far the knit has been fun and rather surprisingly fast.

The details: size 3 needle, 56 sts. cast on. Ribbing k2, p2 for 2" then another 2.5 inches of stockinette. Calf increases are what EZ calls Make 1 but it's not what I learned as M1 but simply looping the yarn over the needle. First with the index finger and k2 "anchor stitcher" then with the thumb. This makes a very nice right & left leaning increase. Easy Breezy just as I like.

As I go about my everyday life and often knit in public, the question I'm always asked is what are you knitting? My answer is long john's! A lot of the times I get that look, "But why"? When you can go to Target and buy one already made? Have you ever had fresh home baked bread? The smell the taste vs. that packed stale old bread you get in a plastic bag. 

I did buy the fair isle style colorful leggings and yes from a distance they look really good but they do not feel the same as my hand knit wool ones. Oh and for sure they do not fit the same way either. Just like the home baked fresh bread vs. the plastic bag of stale old store bought bread.

And there is another benefit my state of mind and the relaxation of the act of knitting. I've read that they have done studies that spinning wool lowers your blood pressure. I think knitting lowers my blood pressure also. Go ahead bake some bread and while it's "resting" keep on knitting. But in case you are in a hurry Target has these for $19 dollars.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall update

I keep starting to update this blog and get half way when something distracts me and I've ended up with 4 or 5 "draft" postings. Here is one of them and this time I'm posting whatever I have and not obsess about it's perfection.

The summer went by so fast now winter is just around the corner. As the old saying goes where does the time go? There are not enough hours in the day for me to finish all that I would like to do. I do keep busy sometimes with great rewards and other times just had a great time.

One of the highlights this fall was teaching at Newton's 25th Annual Fall Festival Seminar. September 28-30 2012 
(The class was sold out but we've already talked about me teaching at the next seminar at Newton's.)

 "Design Your Own Shawl: Shape, Color, Texture and Lace"

I love to teach and always enjoy the experience. I especially love it when I get positive feedback. I put a lot of work and thought into the classes I teach and I always learn so much in the process. 

I just saw this graphic on Facebook and loved it.