Friday, December 28, 2007

Good Feeling

This is a cross-post, so if you read both my blogs, you don't even need to check the other one.
Among the several charity organizations for which I knit and donate, Afghans for Afghans is one of the ones I have very warm feelings for. They are a wonderful group of committed, caring people who have figured out a totally non-partisan, peaceful way to make a difference in the face of war. They have rallied knitters and crocheters all over the US and Canada to make wool blankets, hats, mittens, sweaters and other items for the people of Afghanistan. I know there are lots of needy people right here in the US, and I know that it might seem like a small knitted item from a stranger far away would not make much of a difference, but my heart tells me differently. I just feel good about helping the people of this particular country. They've been at war for so long, and I have been aware of their struggles in a major way ever since I was about 14. The mission of A4A goes along with my attitude toward the current political climate in the US. Frankly I'm tired of it, and my motto is "Shut up and do something." I can't stop the wars, I can't totally understand the reasons behind them, I can't always know what's really true, and I can't stop the media from making everything so scary. But I can send a pair of socks to a lady in San Francisco who will put it on a plane to Afghanistan. And some little kid might have warm feet this winter. Maybe that kid will get a good feeling and pay it forward someday. And on and on. Maybe.
Over the past couple of years, I have tried to knit something for them every year. This year it was socks and hats. Here is a slide show of the kids receiving the socks that were sent over in the spring. In the very last picture, the pair of socks 2nd from the left on the front row is a pair I sent! Now I can put that little face with my socks and think of that boy or girl wearing them. I think she's a girl, but most of them seem to have their heads covered, so I'm not sure. This just makes my day. I share this not in the spirit of self-aggrandizement, but in the spirit of the pride I feel for the good people who do this, the love I've developed for the people of this nation, and the little light of hope that it plants in me to have this tenuous but now tangible thread of connection between me and a child so far away.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I've finally been invited to Ravelry! I had just heard about this a few weeks ago because I'm such an on-again, off-again blogger. I read few other blogs but I am aware of the power of this type of networking. Anyway, Ravelry looks really fun. I am looking forward to playing on it and using it as a another way to catalogue, record and share my knitting life.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Getting the Tree

We took the family out to Triadelphia Lake View Farm for a Christmas Tree. That is Sara in her knitted Santa Hat. I've made many of those hats. Evan can't find his, so I may have to make him a new one. On the way out of the farm, without my camera handy, there was another knitting sighting. The Mrs. Claus on the farm sign was knitting. I wish I'd gotten a picture.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ya Just Never Know

I wore my Buenos Aires Jacket in Manos del Uruguay yarns in Forest and Woodland to church this past Sunday. It is a dead simple sweater made in fabulous yarn. No fancy shaping, the stitch is a variant of garter stitch, it doesn't even have buttons.

I got more complements on that sweater than I have ever gotten on any knitted item that has graced my frame. Everyone I passed, including men, for crying out loud, complemented me. Of course it was gratifying and I enjoyed it, but I kept thinking of how simple the sweater was to knit.

What this shows, of course, is the power of a great yarn and a classic design. One doesn't necessarily have to jump through hoops as a designer to come up with something really amazing. My hat goes off to Judith Shangold for her great work pairing Manos up with good architecture.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Overheard at My House:

Tonight, Eric was doing the dishes, including the handwashing of the big stuff. He doesn't usually do that so he commented that maybe he was buttering me up because he dented the car. So we got into a conversation about how we are pretty low-key about stuff like that-he has never gotten upset about car things, or spending money, etc. When we got to the spending part of the conversation, he said, "I've gotten upset a few times about spending," to which I replied, "Well, at least I've never had to hide my yarn, like half the knitters I meet. " My daughter, listening from the other room said, "Um, mom, it's not like you could hide your yarn." My husband started laughing really hard at that one. I don't know what's so funny...


Cloverhill Yarn Shop, my beloved professional home for the past 7 1/2 years, is for sale. I am taking the news quite personally because this place means so much to me. Chris's reasons for selling are personal and important, and because she's become a friend, I totally support her in this decision. I have been associated with it since before it was Cloverhill. When I started working on Saturdays to save my sanity during Eric's law school years, it was The Weaver's Place. It was Terry Flynn who first thought I could teach and gave me that opportunity. When Chris took over, thanks to Ginger's influence, I ended up back in my old classroom with a new name. Chris took over where Terry left off and continued to build the shop (which has been around in some form for about 30 years I think) into a place customers love to be. She changed things, such as refocusing the shop from weaving to entirely knitting with spinning on the side, but the atmosphere stayed cozy, unassuming and welcoming. The amazing education program continued, with fabulous teaching and a wide array of classes. Customers and students have become friends. It is so much more than a job to me. It has been the ticket to personal growth beyond my role as a stay-at-home mom, but within the confines of that first and most important focus. Teaching there gave me the confidence to teach at Stitches, which has grown to mean just as much to me. Chris has been a generous mentor, patient employer and great example to me of what a business woman should be. The other women who work there have become important friends in my life as well. I have no idea what will happen with the eventual new owners, but for some reason it feels like an ending to me. I was going to take a leave of absence from formal teaching in the winter anyway, so the news coincides with my own realignment of my professional goals. I certainly would still teach at the new shop if I find a place there, so I am not closing the door, but it is certainly the end of an era for me.

Please contact Chris through the shop if you are interested in acquiring this little gem of a place.

Friday, November 09, 2007

On the needles

Okay, okay, trying to post more often here. My knitting life is not my primary focus, as I am still very much in the middle of raising my kids. I have one out of the house, but 4 are still home and with me every day. But, here is what I'm up to.
I finished teaching my perfect sock class. It has good bones, but needs some focus and refinement. I have been reworking the handouts and class outline for that. I thank my intrepid students from the bottom of my heart for being my guinea pigs. They all did wonderfully.
I am working on Stitches West classes. I am very proud and excited to be a part of the Market Sessions there, and am beefing up my classes for that sector of the conference.
My short-row intensive class went really well. It is intense, but everyone stayed with me and did great.
Wrestling season starts next week, so I am knitting furiously on Sam's vest. (He has to wear a shirt and tie every day during the season and likes a sweater vest. He outgrew his favorite cotton one and requested one in his high school colors.) He finally decided on the cover vest of Meg Swansen's Woolgathering #77. It is coming along beautifully in Hammond Maroon Galway wool.
I am working on the appearance of this blog and getting the settings back to rights.
I am still teaching 2-4 hours of private lessons per week. I have some lovely students who have passed beyond the realm of clients to becoming friends. That is one of the most satisfying parts of this little part-time career of mine.
So, all is good in the knitting part of my world. Hope it's the same for you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Stitches East

I am just hours back from teaching about 18 hours of classes at Stitches East. It was so much fun in so many ways. I just feel all goose-bumpy when I think that I am among such a group of teachers, let alone all the amazing knitters there.
I like this show the best because of all the familiar faces I see. I saw many of my students cum friends from Cloverhill. That was just so satisfying. The absolute highlight of the entire weekend for me was watching Karen Porter of Children in Common and one of those dear friends made through my teaching, be named Knitter of the Year. She started a wonderful organization to help children in Russian and Eastern European Orphanages when she adopted her own children from Russian and saw the challenges faced by the people trying to care for the children there. Being Knitter of the Year will mean loads of good publicity for the organization as well as an award that Karen will put to good use as to help the kids. It was such a lovely moment. I was overcome. When I saw Karen in the market today, her comment was so humble and gracious. She said that for herself, she would never want this kind of recognition, but for the kids, she'll do it. Watch for the write-up in a future issue of Knitters.
Another highlight was meeting a wonderful gal from Seven Valleys, PA who is starting up a yarn shop. It will be called Sweitzer's Countryside Fibers and Gifts. I will post a link when her website is up. She is just about ready to open, and I told her I'd love to come up and teach for her. It sounds like her shop will be really nice, with a selection of yarn, felting supplies, and gifts as well as classes. I wish her much luck.
As for shopping, there were a few treasures to speak of. I found some beautiful hand-carved needles and crochet hooks at Mangham Manor from Virginia. I should show pictures of these things-absolute beauty, and carved from one piece of wood. They are formed into exquisite spirals, with rings around them or tiny cages with tiny beads inside. I found what may become my new favorite sock yarn--from Green Mountain Spinnery! It is not even up on their website yet, but it is so lovely. Yes, I know, more photos I have to take. It is not superwash wool, which I like. I have no trouble taking a bit of extra care of my socks. It is wool blended with either mohair or tencel and it is quite yummy. I can't wait to design with it. I succumbed to a few skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts stuff, mostly because the dyeing is so incredible. Their socks do feel great upon being placed upon grateful feet. I fell head over with this bit of genius brought to life in yarn. I was good though, and didn't buy it. Maybe when I finish the La Lana kit I bought at West. Uh Huh.
I got to spend time with my friends Gwen, Beth, Jeanne and Cindy, which is always enjoyable. It is great to continue to get to know the other teachers better as well. I discovered another blog to follow along that line, the lovely and talented Karen Alfke's. Her blog is everything mine is not: spare, elegant and brief. Check it out. My roomie, Debbie, and I are a perfect match and being with her makes the weekend even better.
My stitches experience gets to last one more day as I will be picking some friends up at the hotel tomorrow to go for lunch then giving them a ride to el Aeropuerto de BWI.
I am exhausted, but it is that good kind of tired, the tired that comes from giving your all. My mind is energized even though my body is the opposite of energized. I always know that teaching is my calling because the teaching itself never drains me, it always makes me feel happy, capable and excited. I am happy to be part of Stitches and happy I get to interact with knitters I would never have met otherwise.
To bed now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Knitting for Others

The body of Raveneli is done. I still need to join the shoulders and knit the armhole edgings. I have a lot of extra yarn, so I am contemplating sleeves. Hmmm. Anyway, I am taking a short break to comply with a request to special to ignore. My coworker, Dawn, has a sister fighting the good fight with Cancer and sis needs caps for her tender, newly bare head. So, I am working up my Sophia hat in Cream-colored Classic Elite Premiere-one of the softest yarns I've ever used-cotton/tencel worsted weight. I am making another hat for her in a soft pink, but this one will be a one-off original. There is nothing so fun as just letting a had design itself. I think I'll do some cables.

I also just got the word about Afghans for Afghans latest campaign. I'm a little behind the times on this one, so I started a hat out of some old, mystery yarn. I have a vest almost done that didn't make it into the last shipment to them. A student gave me a big bag of bright read Lopi, so I am considering making a blanket from that. The deadline is October 12 I think, so my eyes are getting quickly bigger than my knitting needles, but I'll give it a go. It is so satisfying to knit for them. As I've said before, my creativity just blossoms when I forget about designing for retail. When I ask "what is beautiful and what will I love knitting?" instead of "what will sell and what will be a simple pattern for users?" my work is much better. Hmmm, there's a lesson there. I do need to free myself from trying to please others and just find my voice. I struggle with the same process in photography. I'm a reluctant artist. I just don't think I'm good enough to call myself an artist and give my work its proper due. I must change that mindset.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I am working on a design that I think approaches the elegant genius of the classic Baby Surprise. A bold claim, I know, but I can honestly say that nothing I've knitted of late (that was designed by someone other than me) has captured my interest like this. It is by a local designer who has become a friend named Jeanne Abel. (So yes, I am biased, but this gush is completely from my knitting teacher and designer point of view.) Many of her designs, especially the most recent ones, focus on really nifty and imaginative architecture. She has managed to put into action a lot of the things I've been swatching and experimenting with over the years. It's that old principle of parallel discoveries. More power to her for bringing it all to the light though. I will happily honor her talent by buying her patterns.

This one is called Raveneli. It is a vest or jacket that starts from the outside circumference-you cast on a ribbing and work it just like the bottom of a circular sweater. But wait, there's more! With a few strokes of genius, this circle of ribbing gets turned on its side as stitches are put on hold for the back neck, then the knitting continues down from the shoulders for the fronts, underarms and the beginning of the back. They are knitted back and forth all in one fell swoop while doing beautifully sculpted shaping under the arms. All of a sudden, you're done with that and a few more stitches are put on holders. Before you know it and can really recognize it, you're working up the back! This is where I am now. I realized that I need a photo of me wearing what I have so far so you can see how cool this is. Stay tuned...Just think, all your outside edges are done and finished! All that remains is the back, some careful joining and an armhole finish.

A vest, you say? Why yes, and quite a clever one. Here is the whole thing viewed with the full outside circumference spread out. Back Neck stitches are at the top on a spare needle and the front and bottoms of the armholes are on the holders at the sides. The bit that's left on the long needle curving round the center opening will become the back. Whew! The funnest part is that it is bulky-3 strands of dk weight yarn ( I'm using Lucy Neatby's Celestial Bluefaced Leicester in African Violet) and knits up in a flash on big fat needles. This one has already kept me up late because I can't wait to see what comes next.
Here it is folded in half so you can begin to imagine how it might fit on the body. Compare it with the pictures of the finished jacket on Jeanne's website. I will try to get someone to take a photo of it on my body tomorrow. It might be done by then though, because I'm pretty anxious to start working on it again. Do I sound just silly with excitement? For this sometimes jaded knitter who has gotten a little frustrated with the sameness of a lot of the patterns out there, this one has me psyched! It is everything I love about knitting: Organic shaping, great instructions, and a unique design based on sound knitting principles. It requires skill to execute, but mostly it requires imagination. Any knitter can muster enough of that to make something as delightful as this.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I am such a sucker for gimmicks and pretty things and fair trade and well, sheesh. I went and spent 22 bucks for size 0 Lantern Moon Sox Stix knowing that it was a mistake, but oh, they're so pretty and those folks in Viet Nam are benefiting, etc., etc.. Of course 3 out of 5 snapped like toothpicks after 10 rounds of my grandma's green socks. But, not being willing to give up and not wanting to bug Chris at the shop with a return, I thought about it for a while and decided to give them a manicure. Having a teenage daughter around, I dabble in nail stuff occasionally. So, we had a kit to do acrylic nail tips and I decided to try fixing the little suckers. I glued them together, coated them with the acrylic and am in the process of sanding them down. So far, so good. The join seems strong, and the coating of acrylic seems to be doing what the glue couldn't on its own. I'll keep you posted if this appears to be a viable fix. I always keep one of those 4-sided file blocks sold for manicures in my knitting bag because you can get a silky smooth finish on any fingernail or wooden or bamboo needle that needs a little help.

But here is my official "I made this mistake so you don't have to" injunction: Leave the tiny little wooden needles alone. The only ones I've had survive reliably under size 2 are Crystal Palace Bamboo. They bend, but they don't break. Some don't like the curving that happens, but that is what allows them to stay in one piece. Of course, your mileage may vary and needles are so personal. Take my advice with a grain of salt, but consider it before you plunk down your hard-earned cash for a novelty.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nametags and New Friends

I returned from Knitting Camp to find the house tidy, the children glad to see me and Eric in reasonably good spirits. Thanks them all for supporting my in the World of String and to Mom and Cathy for being there for Eric and the kids in my absence. Here is my very simplistic camp summary. Later on I might put up the essay I started on what it meant to me to be there, but it's pretty personal so I'll probably save it for my other journal.

Things I Really Enjoyed:
My roomie, Angela from Toronto-20 years old, incredibly bright and talented and just as excited as me to be there. She has more great photos on her blog, so check it out.
The nametags everyone made. This was an unexpected pleasure-what a master stroke of genius to break the ice and give others a snapshot of yourself. They were varied and beautiful and many had wonderful stories behind them. Here's mine.

Hearing Meg's soothing and cultured voice in person.

Sitting by Kris, Jane, Liz, Katie, Nancy and Darcy-what fun we had. Knitting should always be combined with laughter.

Seeing most of Elizabeth and Meg's sweaters from the books and newsletters-wow what a body of work. Here I am vamping with the masterpieces.

Talking with Barbara, Michael, Sam, Greg, Suzette, Willi, Lin, Alice, Gail, Frances, Lisa, Stephanie, and everyone else.

Listening to Lin play the Celtic harp in the evenings-soothing and beautiful.

Finishing my circular entrelac tam. The mysteries of circular entrelac begin to unfold to me, and even though mine is too big, it was a valuable project. You can see it in the above photo. Natty, eh?

Being the student. Most of it was review for me, so even better, having a truly re-engerizing break from everything usual about my world.

Being among my tribe. That's how I felt when I first walked into a yarn shop. I think I made some real, new friends, and I am looking forward to cultivating those friendships.

Here is Sam's amazing Pi shawl made from the most
beautiful tencel yarn. We swiped tablecloths and blocked it right on the
floor of the conference room. Is it not a thing of beauty?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Holy Cow!

Oh dear, I can't believe its been so long since I've posted. I've been keeping up on my personal blog and I wonder sometimes if I should just combine them, but as a mom of 5 with a fairly packed life, there's a lot of non-knitting stuff in the other account. So, I'll post here when I can and keep trying to add more content. Teaching is great right now. I taught the moebius lace class on Saturday. As I expected, the cast-on took most of the time, but I was, as usual, impressed by the pluck and determination of the students. I taught the two principle methods for making a moebius from the inside out to the edges. This is instead of the EZ method of making a strip and grafting together with a half-twist. The demo with the strips of paper went well, and I think it helped show where the cast on would be located in the finished piece.
Inspired by a private lesson, I started and finished a lovely lace shrugg for Sara out of Sunsette-a really nice cabled rayon-synthetic blend. It turned out great. She wore it the next day. I am thinking of making one for my neice Beth while she's here. She might be able to use it out in Arizona.
I finished teaching the socks on two circs class last night. It was delightful. I came home and got my first demo sock done and started the other while watching Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. It was cute and made good background for knitting.
I've also completed a baby blanket out of nice, unmercerized cotton from Bernat that came in giant 14 oz skeins. I used the good old Encore 8 hour checkerboard pattern that I can do from memory. I have another one on the needles in a smaller checkerboard pattern. I have also begun making booties for the many expected babies in my church community. I have been using several different patterns. My favorite so far is this one from Knitty. Pictures will be forthcoming.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Knitters and Spinners Have the Solution!

I thought this was a diverting thought for those of us who love wool.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Knitting Camp!

A long-time dream has come true. I made it into Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I still have to make travel arrangements, but come July, I will be trekking to The Middle of Nowhere, WI (actually it's Marshfield, but it kinda is, uh, that) for 5 days of drinking at the source. At least my source. I have been so deeply influenced by the work and writing of Meg and her mother Elizabeth Zimmermann, I can hardly express it in words. I am looking forward to being the student-I have no doubt I'll learn new things. So, stay tuned as I prepare and anticipate my first ever camp experience.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Continental Knitting Photos

Here are photos of some of the processes of Continental Knitting. As I have taught this class over and over, I have come to have some strong feelings about it. I believe it is a useful tool to have in one's knitting toolbox, but I do not believe it is the best way to knit. There are so many wonderful ways to knit that there simply cannot be one best way. It can be faster, but not for everyone. It is definitely useful and worthwhile, but it is no more superior to throwing-style knitting than chocolate ice cream is to vanilla. My class today was fabulous, as all classes truly are, because everyone was open and enthusiastic and worked really hard. Everyone was sucessful and I hope you will all keep at it! I am working right now to start adding video to my blog, and the Norwegian Purl is the first one I'll post. Stay tuned!

The Knit Stitch

Above: Wrapping the yarn for tension. Tension is essential to having control and building speed. For additional tension, wrap the yarn around the left pinky. Finding the right system for you starts with something like this and evolves as you practice.

Above: The position of the needles as the working yarn is picked through the stitch on the left needle. Notice how the needle bosses that stitch around so you can see the working yarn to pick it through.

Above: The working yarn comes through the existing stitch to form a new stitch on the right needle.

The Purl Stitch:

Above: Purling with the yarn in the left hand. Notice that the yarn must be completely in front of the whole set-up.

Above: The yarn must come from the front of the right needle around to the back of the right needle so that it is between the needles before being scooped out the back of the existing stitch.

The Norwegian Purl:

Above: The working yarn is behind the needles-in the same position as for the knit stitch. The right needle comes in behind the yarn and into the stitch purlwise.

Above: The right needle "scissors" around to the back of the work.

Above: The right needle picks up a stitch from over the working yarn, just as for a knit stitch.

Above: The right needle "scissors" around to the front of the work, rotates counter clockwise, dips below all strands...

And Voila! The stitch almost forms itself before you realize it. Try it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting Ready to Teach!

I am getting excited to teach my summer classes. I am working up the Homage design in another yarn to test and refine the directions, and its going well. The other yarn is called Bonsai from Berocco. It is a bamboo ribbon with a tiny, shiny strand of rayon wrapped around it. Luscious, with a little bit of just-right glitz. Lovely texture, but the stitches don't get totally lost. Photos to come. I have the Homeward Bound socks just about done and the pattern writing is coming along. I am still working through old projects and am just about finished with a square poncho called a pelerine and a prayer shawl. I am absolutely exhilerated by all this finishing I'm doing. Next in the queue is a Philospher's Wool kit to prepare for fall's Philosopher's Phinishing Phrolic class at Cloverhill. After that, I will get to my Magnum Opus--the Alice Starmore Rona jacket with 20 exquisite colors that make me happy just looking at the 6 inches of it I've done over the last 6 years or so. I will wear that jacket this fall and you are my witnesses!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Preview of my Summer Tee Shirt design for this summer's class at Cloverhill

Here is my latest design: "Homage". It is designed around the concepts Elizabeth Zimmermann used for her designs, principally the percentage system. It is indeed an homage to Elizabeth herself, because it is from her writings that I gained the confidence to design. In that spirit, it is knit in the round all the way to the underarms, the sleeves are joined and it continues in one piece using EZ's brilliant shaping to give the look of set in sleeves, which for me is more flattering than a raglan. It continues in the round to the neck bind off, then after the neck is started it remains one piece, but is knit flat for a few inches, then a few short rows are added to the shoulders, the shoulders are bound off together, the underarms woven and voila! It is ready to wear. I chose not to steek the neck because of the cotton/acrylic yarn, and that presented some interesting engineering challenges, but I loved the process of figuring it out and can't wait to share what I learned with my students. Best of all, I genuinely like the sweater-it fits perfectly.

This is my Summer Tee Shirt design for the class I'll be teaching this summer at the shop. These pictures are me, with no special effects, so this is what it looks like on a real, 40-year-old body (size 10-12) with a real tummy and upper arms that, shall we say, reflect my age. I like the way the elbow length sleeves are cool enough for spring or summer, but are much more flattering than a short or cap sleeve that falls right in the middle of that aforementioned area that, shall we say, reflects my age.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Back from Seattle with Two, count 'em, TWO finished projects!

I finished the erstwhile Rainbow Jacket by Vivian Hoxbro! I think I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Halleluja!"

The photos show how nicely the shadow effect shows up. I started this three(?) years ago to support a class and was in sight of finishing when I had to take out half of it and start that half from scratch. I was bogged down with other things, sick of the tiny stitches and slightly boring knitting, and so it sat. But now, it is done and well worth it. I wore it everywhere on my trip to Seattle and got many compliments on it. It's a brilliant design. It fits well, is a perfect weight, and goes with lots of things or jazzes up plain black trousers and a black top very nicely. I found a beaded necklace and earring set in a craft consignment shop in Port Townsend, WA that picks up all the colors.

I also finished the Lacy Moebius out of Mama E laceweight. It is very pretty. Here is a little taste of the lovely bit of delicacy that I ended up with.

Because I finished the two projects I had room to bring, I indulged in some Artyarns merino and started the Homeward Bound socks on the plane. I got this far already. I am totally designing on the fly, just a couple of cryptic notes and charts, and I really like them so far.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Finished Blanket

Here are some shots of the blanket I made for Christa, Jeff's ex-girlfriend. She is still a friend of the family and I had started this for her high school graduation almost 2 years ago. I hang my head in shame. Anyway, I finished it, sent it off and she likes it. It is made with three strands of Wool in the Woods yarns. I love the way they shimmer. The colors remind me of Monet's garden maybe or a wisteria bush in bloom.

Summer Tee and Moebius experiments

Photos to come...
but I am working hard on my two big projects for spring classes-an original summer shell based on the work of Elizabeth Zimmermann and a lace moebius made of Mama E yarn. More on that later. My blogging life has been put on hold lately, but I'm ready to get back in the habit. I have tons of photos of FO's and other things, so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sweet Skills

I plan on petitioning the TKGA for a special dispensation of the Master Knitter recognition after tonight's lesson. No, just kidding. I am pretty proud of myself, though. I sucessfully taught a left handed knitter who knits from left to right (the opposite direction that I knit) the Armenian/Philosopher's Wool/Extreme Trapping method of two color knitting tonight. I was able visualize the whole process in reverse, get her going and completely mirror image the usual way of doing it. It was, I just have to say, a pretty scha-weet experience for a total knitting geek like me.

Everyone else she has approached has told her she knits wrong and to change. I can understand that, and I have no criticism for her other teachers because not everyone can reverse their knitting. I can. Don't know why I can, but I can. Not bragging, just stating the facts. Anyway, she was creating a lot of twisted knitting and was very frustrated. She taught herself to knit the typical way, but it never felt comfortable. She has taken to the mirror image knitting like a duck to water. Even the motions to trap the yarn in tonight's lesson made sense to her. When the hard-wiring of the brain is respected, the student attains flow. They gain confidence and start to feel like a Knitter. I salute my student for sticking with it and not settling for less than satisfying knitting. You go, girl.

So, do you think I could convince the TKGA??

Monday, January 29, 2007

Spinning Report and FO's

The Journey to Yarn:

Above is the hand-dyed top from Interlacements. Top is a very thick rope of prepared fiber. It is pretty much impossible to spin from unless you spin from the fold, but I am not experienced enough yet and have not tried that. So, I split the top into halves or even thirds or fourths and then I....
Pre-draft. Above you can see that the colors have softened a bit, and the strand of fiber is thinner. This is now spinnable. Just for comparison...
Above is a section of the top with its sister section pre-drafted. I doubled up the pre-drafted fiber to match the color changes in the original top so you can see how much longer it gets. Sort of. Next comes....
Singles. Here is the pre-drafted fiber spun into singles. I was really going for a softer, thicker yarn this time around. I got better at the softer, thicker thing as I went along, and here is what I came up with after plying:
It reminds me of Colinette Prism-a thick-thin hand-dyed confection that combines a very thin binder yarn with a softly spun core yarn. I am happy with it, even though the other yarn I've spun from this top is totally different. I'll combine it somehow and it will be great fun.

As for FO's, I finished the dead-easy Transitions jacket this past weekend at the cabin. The yarn does the talking, and I've already gotten tons of complements on it, but for the dinero that yarn set me back, I don't know if I'm happy enough with the finished item. I am actually considering ripping it out and doing it over at a smaller gauge or making a smaller size. I have finished 3 blocks for Erin and Michelle's project, and I've pulled out all my "circus colors" for Afghans for Afghans. Click on the link to see what their latest need is. I teach Big Easy on Wednesday. I decided to leave that where it is so I can show people how it will look when it is divided for the fronts and backs. I also finished the scarf I started for my stash project. I am very excited. So far the stash count for balls of yarn used in appropriate and beautiful ways: 3!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Here are the completed matching hat and mittens that I sent to the mitten tree at the elementary school They were soft and really fun to do. Mittens have become like socks for me-must be from all those arm-covers I did-and I can knit them up without a pattern or anything. That is definitely the most enjoyable kind of knitting for me. Big Easy is coming along. I may actually finish it before class starts next Wednesday. I have tons of great notes, though and I am entering the 21st century by using my blog to post tidbits for my students. We'll see how it goes.