Sunday, December 26, 2010

Poster for Craft a New Year 2011

Craft a New Year 2011!

Join us Saturday, January 1, 2011
from noon to 4 pm
at the Ike Box
299 Cottage St NE!

See demonstrations of all kinds of crafts from knitting to tatting to beading to scrapbooking! Watch a magician work his magic. Enjoy Hot and cold drinks and snacks at the Ike Box Snack bar.
Call the Ike Box at 503-581-6154 for more info.

Please repost to publicize this event, thanks!

Helen

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas catchup!

Merry Christmas everyone! Been a while since I've posted here, except for pictures of projects, so I thought I'd take a few minutes this morning and write a bit. DH and I will be taking Christmas dinner to my Mom at her assisted living facility later today, so she can enjoy a home cooked meal on the holiday and we can spend some time together. I have two weeks vacation coming up in January and one task I have then is to find her an Alzheimer's transition facility. She is beginning to need more care than the current facility can provide, within her budget, and my brother said if I can find a good place near me, he has no objection. I've been driving 50 miles each way to see my family for over 30 years now and he thinks it's time I was able to see Mom more frequently. Also, we're hoping costs will be lower away from Portland. I have two possibilities to check out so far. 


I need to update my finished projects list on the blog. I realized the other day that I hadn't actually listed anything for a while now. Hope you've been enjoying the pictures, though! Let's see, I finished DH's Christmas socks on the 23rd, after he hinted that he'd like something to open under the tree this year. He picked the yarn out while we were on vacation in August at Websters in Ashland. He usually says no rush so I was using his socks for a mindless knitting project, but a week ago he made the comment about wanting to have a present under the tree so the socks got put on the front burner. I also was rushing to knit a tam for my friend Margaret in Scotland. I had knit her Fair Isle mittens when she moved back to Scotland in February to care for her sister, planning to knit the coordinating tam over the summer. But then I made the decision to start my next career as a knitting teacher and designer and the tam kept getting moved back in the queue. When I got a Christmas card from her, I decided it had waited long enough (she didn't know my plans about it), got the bowl of yarns out and got busy. I mailed it off to Scotland on Wednesday and she should have it in a week or so. 


In this next week I need to decide on the January Monthly Mystery Project and get started on it. I have the yarn to use, bought it a week or so ago when I had a chance to chat with Vivian about which yarn she would like me to focus on. I also need to write up and print out the sign up sheets for the two Fair Isle classes I have planned for February and March at Tangled Purls. February will be Design Your Own Tam using five colors and March will be Fair Isle Fingerless Mitts. Both will use Jamiesons Shetland yarns. Vivian will be bringing more colors into the shop to give a wider color selection. I'm planning to coordinate my tam and mitts to make a set. I might even make a second set to have on hand for a gift.


We started a new Christmas tradition last night. Last year my SIL announced that that was the last year for the family Christmas party at her and my brother's home - she wanted to be in Hawaii this year (didn't work out). My sister piped up and said she wanted to be out of town for the holidays as well (also didn't happen). Several other traditions went by the wayside - Mom was in the hospital and missed the family Christmas for the first time. And there were other stresses that came up - work, NWRSA, among others. All in all, it was a really rough time but with God's help and lots of support from friends I got through it. One of the results was my decision to start some new traditions this year to carry on. So we invited friends in for a family style Christmas Eve dinner and ended up with 9 folks at our table enjoying a huge turkey dinner with lots of food brought by our friends - simply wonderful!


The first one came about kind of serendipitously. A customer at work told me about the Holiday Express at Oaks Park in Portland. Turns out the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation has been doing this for 6 years (now 7) and it's quite the event. I went to the website, www.orhf.com, and signed up for two shifts as a volunteer so I could ride for free afterwards. I invited my brother to come ride with me on the 6 pm run, not knowing that it was sold out until I got there on the 5th. I had signed up to be a loading host, but the volunteer coordinator emailed me that he had too many for that and would I be interested in being an Outreach Associate? I said sure and so I asked folks four questions when they arrived, to check the marketing effectiveness of the ad campaign. I wore my Dad's Conductor hat from Southern Pacific RR (SP) and dressed in my new uniform dark blue slacks, a green shirt and DH's bright red sweater. I became an unofficial greeter while doing the surveys, answering questions, directing folks to the port-a-pottys, the snack bar, the boarding line, etc. The woman who was my boss was thrilled, she told me she knew when she met me I would be perfect for the job and apparently I was so good that she was able to not assist with the surveys but do others tasks that needed doing, confident that I was the perfect person for the job. Really awesome compliment!


Anyway, I got to chat with the other volunteers who have been doing this for a while, exchanging railroad stories and such. I told one that I had invited my brother to ride the 6 o'clock run with me and he told me it was sold out. Oh, rats, what was I going to do now? He saw the look on my face and told me to hang on, that he needed to go talk with someone. He came back a few minutes later and told me he had arranged for my brother and I to ride in the cab of SP X4449! Oh. my word! Talk about excited, I could hardly contain myself. Picture a little kid excited about Christmas morning and you'll get an idea of how I felt. I texted my brother with the good news and he got excited. For those of you who don't know my brother, he's a business exec and usually pretty reserved. He got there just as I was getting off the train after walking through the restored vintage passenger cars, so I invited him on board and gave him the tour. There was no 5 pm run, as the train crew was eating dinner and taking a break then. We went to get in the cab for the 6 o'clock run but it was full, so they asked us to wait until 7 if we could (are you kidding??? no way am I missing this chance!!!!).


So Paul and I walked around and chatted while waiting, until X4449 pulled back in and folks got off. We strolled down to the head end and climbed aboard, checking everything out as we went. We took pictures of the inside of the cab and of each other, now I wish I had handed my camera to someone to take a picture of the two of us together but maybe next year. 

I was in bliss for the next week and even signed up for one shift the next Sunday. Paul and I decided this is something we want to do together every year from now on as a new tradition. Awesome! I keep telling my friends about it and some are planning to also ride next year - wonderful!


Okay, now a few pics of some of my knitting projects to share with you. Enjoy!


This is my St. Enda cardigan, with the right sleeve started. I'm looking forward to getting lots of knitting done on her in the next few weeks, possibly even getting her finished to be able to wear while it's still cold enough out. I love this pattern, it's easy to work with and pleasant to knit, even in public. The Cascade 220 yarn in Christmas Red (much brighter than the photo shows) shows the cables crisply on size 5 needles.


This is Three Fates Terra sock yarn, for a KAL which begins tomorrow. The pattern is by Ariel Altaras and called Isaz. The yellow is brighter in person, being a luscious hand dyed yarn. I've seen several of Ariel's patterns being test knit by members of my local Ravelry group and they are all gorgeous. 


This is a tam I designed for my friend Margaret, using left over Hebridean 2-ply from DH's Oregon Autumn vest kit from Virtual Yarns. I really love the depth of color that Alice Starmore has in her yarns, it makes them so interesting to knit with as I watch to see which colors bring out other shades in the adjacent yarns.


This is the Autumn Tam, by Sandy Blue, the second tam class I taught at Tangled Purls. After being on display for two months, I'll bring it home and it will be a niece's Christmas present for next year.


These are my brother's Escher's Cube socks, using custom dyed Three Fates Yarns eponymous sock yarn. The color variations in the yarn and the knit/purl patterning meant I had to work on these only when I had good light available. 


This is the Aragorn sock pattern converted to knee socks for my friend Katie to wear during labor with her latest wee one. The yarn is also a custom dye from Three Fates Yarns - I love being able to special order any color I want!


This is the December Monthly Mystery Project for Tangled Purls Yarn Studio - Mini Mittens in Storybook colorway of Three Fates Yarn sock yarn. I added beads to the cuffs for a little glitz for the holidays.


This is the Midnight Sun tam, also by Sandy Blue, the first tam class I taught at Tangled Purls. This one will also be a shop sample for two months, then become a niece's Christmas gift next year. So nice to have gifts made so early!


This is the November Monthly Mystery Project, Mini Mittens using Mini Mochi yarn in the Rainbow colorway. The yarn is a singles, meaning there is only one ply and it is softly twisted. But it's like butter to knit with and the color changes mean every mitten will be different - a great way to get a lot of ornaments from just one skein of yarn!


Okay, enough pics for now, I need to get off the computer and head to see my Mom for Christmas Day. I wish everyone a wonderful Blessed Christmas, hopefully with family and friends, and a fantastic New Year!


Helen

Friday, December 24, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Margaret's tam 2


Margaret's tam 2
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Margaret's tam1


Margaret's tam1
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Autumn Tam


Autumn Tam
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Paul's Escher socks 3


Paul's Escher socks 3
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Aragorn Knee Socks


Aragorn Knee Socks
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Aragorn pattern converted to knee socks for MendyLady to wear during labor this month.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mini Mittens 2


Mini Mittens 2
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Left front finished


Left front finished
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Midnight Sun tam


Midnight Sun tam
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Sunday, November 07, 2010

St. Enda back started


St. Enda back started
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're all having a great weekend, even if it's raining from time to time. We had dinner with a friend from out of town last night who needed time away from caring for her mother. Dined at Marco Polo, which promotes itself as a global restaurant. They offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options for diners and their chef has a delicious touch with spices and herbs. They started with a space that had housed a number of businesses over a short span of years, after the original restaurant had gone out of business, and have done remodeling in stages to now have a beautiful, comfortable decor that welcomes all sorts of diners, from casual to formal. Our friend and we really enjoyed our talk over dinner, just relaxing and enjoying the experience. Too often we just dine and dash on to our next obligation, so last night was an especially nice treat.


I started working on my St. Enda on Thursday night, picking up the stitches for the back in the shoulder straps which I had knit when I made DH's St. Enda in 2007. I had forgotten how much I enjoy knitting this pattern, the cable stitches are very beautiful to watch form on my needles, the yarn is crisp and a rich Christmas Red Cascade 220, and the gauge is comfortable to work at. I'm leading several KALs for the new 'Aran Knitting' book reprint by Alice Starmore, on Ravelry and yahoo and at a local yarn shop. There is so much pent-up excitement over this book, it's amazing to see all the newer knitters who have done their share of scarves and hats and are ready to move on to knitting a full size sweater who are digging into this book. I love it!


I'm still working on my Ingvold Aran sweater, have done the shoulder cap shaping on my first sleeve and am working on the decreases on the sleeve. I'm promising myself to rotate among my  larger projects to keep them moving along, while working on a friend's labor knee socks. I'm almost done with the heel shaping on the first one, which means I'll have the easy sailing on the foot coming up shortly - yes! I've knit knee socks before, but not twisted stitch cable ones on size 1 needles! I've planned simple small projects for the November and December Monthly Mystery Projects for Tangled Purls as my time and energy are short and I expect my students are in the same position. My students yesterday loved the Mini Stocking pattern using Mini Mochi yarn which has color changes about every foot or so, so every stocking is unique. The pattern is an actual sock pattern, so it can be used for baby or toddler socks besides the decoration option. The kits included six glass beads to decorate the stockings with and they were a hit with the students, as well.


I have several other pairs of socks on the needles, one of which is for my DH for Christmas using Mountain Colors yarn he picked out on vacation in August. They're simple K2 P2 ribbed socks, so I can work on them when I need a mindless project. 


Happy knitting!
Helen

St. Enda back started


St. Enda back started
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ingvold Aran KAL progress

I've been stuck for a while pondering how I wanted to do my shaped sleeve caps. Friday night I decided I would try Option 1 in Janet Szabo's 'Aran Sweater Design' book to see how I liked it. I picked up the stitches Friday night, got up Saturday morning and recounted, then started knitting it.


Okay, final verdict - I like this technique! Here is how it works - after working the front(s) and back down to the bottom of the armhole, pick one sleeve to start with. Place the body in front of you, with the chosen armhole away from you so you can pick up stitches on the right side. Using the needle you have decided on for the body knitting, and starting at the right side of the armhole, pick up the number of stitches on the first side (for me, it was the left front), work across the shoulder strap stitches in pattern, then pick up the number of stitches on the second side. 'The number' being the number of stitches that you want to have on the front and back sides of the sleeve, less the number of stitches in your shoulder strap. Turn, knit back, placing markers for any cable patterns you want to have flanking the shoulder straps. For Ingvold, I chose 4-stitch rope cables turning towards the shoulder strap braid, and single lines of knit stitches on purl back grounds. 


Turn, work across 2/3 of the stitches, turn, slip the first stitch and work back. Each row, work one more stitch at the end before turning, slipping the first stitch, and working back. I worked until I had 20 unworked stitches on each side at the bottom of the armhole. Then I finished the row I was on (a right side row) and took pictures to post. Later today I'll join the sleeves into a round and finish knitting them as I usually would. The background stitch I'm using is sand stitch, which is P1 K1 across, ending with a purl 1 next to the K1 edging the rope cable. On the back side, knit across. 


Notice that there are no wraps for the stitches, which, to me, makes a much neater looking garment. I've never really been fond of wrapped short rows, never could get them to look as neat as some other teachers'. So this is a perfect technique for me to learn. I can see other applications for it in smaller projects. By slipping the first stitch of each row, it gives a nice slope to the shaping. 






Also, notice how I have the right side of the sweater rolled up and tied with a piece of yarn to keep it out of my way and to prevent it from being fuzzed as I move the sweater around.


Tomorrow the Aran Knitting KAL starts and my project is my St. Enda, to match the one I knit for DH several years ago using the same Cascade 220 yarn in Christmas Red that I used for his. When I was setting up my knitting bag for it, I discovered it that I had knit the shoulder straps for mine at the same time, so I am a little ahead of the curve on this. If anyone is doing this KAL and needs some help, please feel free to ask and I'll be happy to help.


I've been posting pics of some of my current projects to share with you, hope you enjoy looking at them. 


Happy knitting!
Helen

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cattywampus socks


Cattywampus socks
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Finished second sock 10 miles north of Sutherlin - now on to my mittens!

Monday, October 04, 2010

My St. Enda!


My St. Enda!
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Preparing to wind skeins into center pull balls. KAL starts November 1st so I'm getting ready now, instead of at the last minute, lol.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saturday news

Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far! I've been posting some pictures of my current projects from my cell phone and thought it would be a good time to add some words to the pictures to round things out. The latest picture is the left sleeve in progress on my October Frost sweater. I'm knitting it from the top down and turning it into a cardigan as I go. I much prefer to wear layers, so as I go from inside to outside I can add or take off layers to stay comfortable. I'm using the stitch patterns much as they are in the book, but modifying the stitch layout to suit my fitting preferences. I finished the first sleeve Thursday night and started the right sleeve last night. I got about 6 inches worked on it today at knitting and will do some more tonight while watching TV. I'm knitting the sleeves flat for about 6 inches before joining them to finish in the round, as I want the sweater to fit as a jacket. If anyone wants more detailed photos of how I'm modifying the sweater, drop me a note and we'll work on it.


The next picture is one of the two STR Rare Gems skeins I got at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, now I'm looking for the best shawlette to knit it into. Anyone have any suggestions besides Ishbel, which while pretty has been done a lot in my town.


Then comes a picture of my first STR Cattywampus sock, which is now done, but I ran out of yarn just after the heel on the second sock. I put out a call for help on Ravelry and someone has already offered a partial skein to me. She will have it in the mail on Monday and it should be here about Wednesday. I'm on vacation and should be able to finish the socks in time to wear them when I go back to work. Love coming back with a new pair of socks!


I took a picture of my Dream Coat as I was working the right cuff, which I changed from the original flat knit separately and sewn on to a ribbed cuff. The knitting and running in of ends is now done - yay! I'll meet with a glass artist later this month to order custom made glass buttons for my coat. I'm going to get 6, I'll put 5 on the coat and have one for a spare. The original pattern calls for only 3 buttons, but I studied the photos in the book and on the cover and noticed that the stylist had pinned the coat shut between the buttons - not something I want to do when I wear it. So I changed it to 5 buttons down the front. The artist puts sterling silver shanks on the back of the buttons, which I'll put several coats of clear fingernail polish on to prevent tarnish from damaging the sweater. One more item crossed off my 2010 project list!


Then comes the first of my A Step Above socks, using Dicentra Designs sock yarn. I'm using the Pellenor colorway to match my Dream Coat. The pattern uses a lot of yarn, even on size 0 needles, so I had to get a second skein at OFFF. I'm thinking that I'll do the second sock totally from the second skein, so the color repeats will match along the entire sock. 


On November 1st, I'll be starting the 'Aran Knitting' reprint KAL on Ravelry and on yahoo on the Mara_class group. I'll also be teaching a class on it at Teaselwick Wools at Mission Mill Museum in Salem. We'll have two classes in November and then two more classes in January. The month of December is usually so busy for folks that trying to hold a class then is insane, especially with my job. It will also give folks time to work on their sweaters so they have a chance to finish them during class. 


The final project is my Ingvold Aran, which has been neglected this summer for multiple reasons. I'm hoping to make some progress on the first sleeve while I'm on vacation and get the first sleeve done by the end of October. The first one will be the hard one, because I'm not only knitting top down, I'm also shaping the top of the sleeve and I haven't done it before. Once I do the first sleeve and write down my notes, the second sleeve should go more quickly. 


Happy knitting to everyone!
Helen

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First October Frost sleeve

Knitting first October Frost sleeve, just switched to dpns.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

STR Rare Gems


STR Rare Gems
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Two skeins of STR Rare Gems bought at OFFF 2010.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cattywampus socks


Cattywampus socks
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Dream Coat cuff


Dream Coat cuff
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Step Above socks


A Step Above socks
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
First sock finished, I don't like the afterthought heel for two reasons. First, you can't try the sock on as you knit, and, second, it's very tight across the top of the ankle, even though I did two even rounds between each decrease round to add room. They fit well otherwise. Definitely special occasion socks!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Step Above socks


A Step Above socks
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
First sock working on foot.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ingvold Aran progress


Ingvold Aran progress
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Back and right front on holders, left front started.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Traveling Daze

We're at the Talent Cafe, in Talent, OR, about 5 miles south of Medford, having lunch and using their WiFi. This week has really gone by fast, for the most part, and I am not particularly looking forward to going back to work on Monday. But I'm consoling myself that I'll have two weeks in October, so I'll be able to get more done then, like camping at the coast.


We came down here Tuesday, after dropping our items off at the Oregon State Fair that we had entered. We also brought in DH's sister's handmade jewelry (gorgeous work!) and a friend's knitting and spinning items. There are several folks in my local Ravelry group who are entering items this year, and I'm really excited to see who gets ribbons for their hard work. I entered my Amphora sweater, my Eye of the Helix socks, my Annemor #13 mittens, and my swatch cap from Ingvold. I don't really expect to win any ribbons with the hat, I just wanted to have lots of entries in the Fair to encourage others to take up knitting (and crochet and spinning, etc.). 


DH and I are demoing spinning at the Fair on the 29th, so we'll be able to see if we won any ribbons then, and take pictures of our items in the display cases. We had been demoing on Labor Day weekend for the last couple of years, but the spinners won't have the booth then so we are going the first weekend of the Fair. It's a good excuse to sit and spin for several hours, in between chatting with folks and walking around the Fair.


I finished my orange entrelac hat Tuesday night and the top technique I had in mind worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself (and folks who saw it at Middleford yarn shop in Medford thought so, too, lol). Catgrins, a Raveler we met there, named the hat for me as 'Entrelac Star' which I like and I told her I would give her credit for the name. 




I didn't want to do the usual finishing of making smaller rectangles or changing to stockinette and I wanted a swirl effect at the top of the hat. It took a bit of thinking and pondering but I finally came up with a process that works nicely. I hope lots of folks like it enough to take the class for it!


I'm also working on my A Step Above socks, using Dicentra's Pellenor colorway sock yarn. But I've ripped out the first sock back to the base triangles and am knitting them on size 0 dpns, as they were just too floppy on size 1's, even when I knit tightly. They still might be a bit loose, but I don't plan on them being everyday work socks, so it will be alright. It's not the yarn, it's the technique that's causing the looseness. Most of us are used to having negative ease in our socks, so they fit close and don't slip in shoes. Entrelac, by the nature of the beast, is looser because of all the diagonal knitting. 


I've started the labor socks for a friend in my local Rav group who is due at Winter Solstice. I'm converting a sock pattern she likes to knee socks, with the help of the designer. I'm not mentioning the name of the socks, as she reads my blog and checks the new projects we all post on our pages, lol. Stephania of ThreeFatesKnitting custom dyed the yarns for me in the mother-to-be's favorite colorway. At the moment I'm about halfway down the first leg and the twisted stitches are going surprisingly quickly. I knit Bayerische and really burned myself on twisted stitches, mostly because I used a yarn with very short color repeats and it was incredibly hard to see the stitches as I worked. This pattern only has cable twisted stitches on the front of the legs, with twisted ribbing on the back, so it's going a lot faster.


Today being our last full day on vacation down here we're planning to visit some cemeteries and historical societies to research DH's family history some more. He's getting antsy so I'll close for now. 


Happy knitting!
Helen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ingvold back to armholes 1

Ingvold Aran back down to armholes, stitches put on a piece of yarn to hold.

Web-dyers!


Web-dyers!
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Monday, August 16, 2010

Top Decreases Started


Top Decreases Started
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
First few rounds of top decreases done, showing small bulges in top tier of rectangles.

4 Tiers Done


4 Tiers Done
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
4 Tiers done, ready to start top decreases.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I'm still on cloud 9!I

I still can't believe what happened this past weekend! Friday the owner of Tangled Purls Knit Studio texted me to let me know there were four students signed up for my free class on Saturday and one person who just wanted to buy the kit. As a precaution, I set up two more kits Friday night and took them with me Saturday to the shop. I went into the classroom and started setting up for the class, greeting each student as they came in, and came in, and came in. I ended up with seven (7!) students, the number of kits I had made up and all of them had a great time starting the chatelaine pocket in Fair Isle stranding. 


Towards the end of the class we started talking about our next project and the group decided they wanted to knit a tam for their next project. I brought in the two tam patterns that Vivian carries that use Jamiesons yarns and they loved them both. I took a count of who preferred which pattern and I got seven for Midnight Sun and five for Autumn. So we decided we would pick the pattern each person wants to make and teach a class on techniques, with yarn kits being set up for each pattern. It would be just too expensive for each student to buy all the skeins needed for a tam individually. The classes will start the end of September and go for three alternating Saturdays. 


Now I'm working on a hat for a fall project. I had been thinking about a shawl using some of ThreeFatesKnitting hand dyed yarn but just couldn't find a lace pattern I liked. On the way to see my Mom in Portland yesterday, I was working on a pair of entrelac socks and it suddenly came to me - an entrelac hat for the fall project! So last night I did some calculating and cast on using my skein of Creamsicle I had gotten from Stephania a few months ago. This project is really getting me excited to design it and I have some ideas floating around in my mind as to how to work the entrelac rectangles and the top of the hat. I'm not going to do what a lot of designers have done and make smaller and smaller rectangles to the top, or a flat top. I have to do some knitting and see how my ideas work out before I write about it here, but it looks like it will turn out a cute hat.


Okay, back to knitting while watching 'Stargate Atlantis' - have fun everyone!


Helen

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday meanderings

Hope everyone's Sunday is going well. DH just left to go fishing at Detroit Lake, which means the dogs and I have the house to ourselves for a few hours - whee! Party time! 


Actually, what it means is that I will get the dishwasher loaded and started, find a good movie on Netflix to watch on the computer, get my Ingvold cardigan and knit on the couch with my feet up while the dogs nest around me for a few hours. Ingvold is the summer Aran KAL for the Starmores From the Top group on Ravelry and I need to make some progress on the back so I can send the instructions to my test knitter before publishing them on Ravelry later this week. 


Yesterday at knitting I sat down in a nice comfy armchair with a table next to it, started to spread out my knitting stuff (cable pattern printouts, notepad and pencil, yarn, needles, shoulder straps, .... toolkit? What? I left my knitting toolkit, with my stitch markers in it, at home because I had a long list of things to do before knitting and had been rushing around trying to make sure I had everything in the car before heading to Salem Saturday Market. Turns out my toolkit never made it into my knitting bag for the trip downtown. 


Now, I'm an experienced knitter, right? So I know that I can make loops of some other color of yarn to put on the needles between the different cable stitches. Except that I have tried this several times before and I tend to knit the marker loops together with the stitches and don't notice it until an inch or two or three past the point. So that option won't work. 


I could wait for another knitter to show up and borrow markers, which any of them would be happy to do, except that it's a good hour before any are expected and I don't want to sit twiddling my thumbs and waste precious knitting time. So, I figure, I'll do what my ancestors would have done and just count the stitches as I knit them, right? I hadn't counted on several things; 1. two knitters brought cute little babies that needed cooing and smiling at, 2. a woman came in looking for a knitting class supposed to be held at the restaurant, 3. I'm using dark purple yarn sitting on a dark blue chair, and 4. I'm visiting with folks. 


So I ended up having to tink and reknit the first two rows of pattern four or five times before the stitch count came out the way I wanted it to. But I am happy to report that the Black Water Abbey yarn withstood the fuzz test, although impromptu, just fine. I am having an issue with this lot of the yarn having a lot of knots in the skeins, so far a minimum of three per skein and a maximum of five in one skein. I have checked with other folks using this yarn and they report at most one knot per skein, so I think it's just this lot of yarn. 


But I am now making progress!



Oh, the lady looking for the knitting class? Turns out she is from Greece and needed help with her pattern because she doesn't read English well enough to figure out the abbreviations in the pattern. She learned to knit in grade school back in Greece and we got to watch her do a sort of tubular cast on, then an interesting knitting style where the end of her right needle rests on the inside of her right elbow and she throws the yarn with her right hand. By the time she left, she had the back of the baby sweater for her granddaughter's baby done and the back half of the sleeves almost done. She had to knit one more inch, then divide for the neck. Very fast knitter and so interesting to watch her style. I'm hoping she is able to come to our Wednesday evening knitting session, so I can study her style some more.

I have also finished the August Monthly Mystery Project for Tangled Purls Knit Studio, packed up the yarns and grosgrain ribbon for the project, printed out my pattern and the pattern for the Knit Camp Vest as I used a chart from it (with permission!), made the sample, and taken the whole kit and kaboodle to Vivian so she and Sharon can decide on what swag to put in the kits to sell. The free class for the project is Saturday, August 7th from 11 to 1 and I'm hoping to have more than one person at this class. I need to get hold of the person from the last class and see how she's doing with her project. Hopefully she's done and enjoying using it now.

The August project is a chatelaine with Fair Isle pocket and is called 'Goin' Shopping!' The pocket is used for cash, credit/debit cards, id, and cell phone while one is browsing at a yarn shop, fiber show, fleece show, etc. Pins can be put on the grosgrain ribbing that it hangs around the neck on to show off, swap, or collect. Folks have seen me at shows with the one I made last summer using leftover Hebridean 2-ply yarns from DH's Oregon Autumn vest. It's a quick and easy project, even for someone new to FI knitting, and I hope Vivian sells all five kits I made up for her. What folks won't know is that the dark blue yarn in the kits is discontinued Scottish Campion yarn, because that was the only dark blue I had in my stash to match the chart. It's left over from DH's Marina vest and I have the yarns to use them, so figured I'd just go ahead and do it. If any of the kits don't sell, I'll take them back and gift them to knitter friends later. Win-win in my book.

The September project is done and I'll be sending the pattern by email to my test knitter today. I did my original one in the purple Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted yarn I had left over from the tea cozies for July, but stopped by the shop yesterday and bought a skein of Universal Yarn Worsted Tweed in Apricot Nectar for the shop sample. It looks like orange and should appeal to OSU Beaver fans. Vivian had pointed out that she had the orange and a green in that yarn for OSU and U of O fans to knit with. I woke up this morning thinking about a shadow scarf in each school's colors that said "Go Beavers" and Go Ducks" - wonder if they would sell?

The only other knitting I've been working on is starting to plan a scarf in Stephania's Three Fates Yarn hand dyed sock yarn. That will be a two month project for the shop and I'm still weighing whether I want a garter stitch triangle with lace edging or the entire scarf in lace. I'm hoping to get some books down from the shelves today and look at some more lace patterns to see if anything catches my eye. I have the skein of yarn I want to use wound up and sitting here on the coffeetable waiting for me to start knitting. Need to do more cogitating on it.

Happy knitting!
Helen

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Heat wave!

I reallllllllyyyyy hate when the temp gets over 80 degrees, I want to just sit down, drink iced sun tea, and doze. But it's only Thursday so I have to work today and tomorrow before I can veg out. Still, I'm very thankful I have a good job that pays well and has good benefits (oh, and air conditioning!). I've been asking my customers to clear the door scanner area so the doors stay closed more and the air conditioning works better.


I am getting some knitting done, though, slowly. At the moment I"m working on a swatch cap for the Ingvold Aran KAL I'm leading on Ravelry and yahoo. We postponed the KAL for a few weeks while my test knitter cared for her mother as she fought her disease and then passed away. Karla's back to her knitting and expressed her appreciation to everyone for giving her the time and space to care for her mother. 


Of course, I also have other projects that I'm working on in rotation - my orange Mystery socks, my October Frost cardigan, my Escher Cube socks, and so on. I've entered four items into the Marion County Fair - my Amphora pullover, my Pacific Northwest shawl, my Latvian Lace socks, my Annemor mittens. DH entered two items - a skein of his handspun yarn and the shawl he wove from it for his cousin in Washington state. We'll be demoing spinning on Sunday at the Fair so will be able to find out then if we won any ribbons on our items. We might hear earlier, because a member of my local knitting group is demoing spinning at the Fair today. DH and I will also be entering items in the Oregon State Fair in August.


Hope everyone stays cool and hydrated!


Helen

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Celebrating our Nation

Happy 4th of July to those who celebrate it! My neighbors have been setting off fireworks for several nights now and are really going to it tonight. We had some friends over for a barbecue and hanging out. At one point we had four spinning wheels running at one time - I was spinning Dicentra roving in the Pellenor colorway, B was plying some pink top, K was spinning natural grey pygora roving, and DH was spinning Romney in the grease. C was knitting on a sweater for her son and N was knitting on two pairs of socks alternately. After our friends left tonight, we had a DVD from Netflix to watch but about 3/4 of the way through it, it froze and we discovered a break in the disc. DH emailed them to let them know about it and we'll mail it back on Tuesday. They'll replace it as quickly as they can - it's happened before.


I'm designing Monthly Mystery Projects for the new Tangled Purls Knit Studio here in Salem and the first one is ready to go. It's a small tea cozy called Cozy Tea For One, designed to fit those tea for one sets or small teapots. The kits will include the pattern, yarn, needles, beads to top it, and a bag of Tea Time Garden tea. The default color of the yarn is a heathered green, but folks can exchange it for a color in the same yarn if they choose. I'll be teaching a free two hour class on the project next Saturday, July 10, from 11 am to 1 pm at the shop. 




Tonight, while we were watching the movie, I was working on my October Frost cardigan. I haven't worked on it for a month or so, so it took me a while to figure out where I am in the pattern. I'm modifying the pattern to be knit from the top down in one piece, instead of in pieces from the bottom up. I'm not in a hurry to finish this sweater, but it's a nice change to work on as it's on size 8 needles, much larger than I usually use. 

This past week I three-plied the first skein of my Border Leicester x Corriedale fleece I bought last year at Black Sheep Gathering, washed and dried it. I left some of the lanolin in it to be traditional and it feels so silky.




Since the fleece is 8-1/2 pounds, I'll be working on it for quite a while, lol. It's going to be a self-designed Aran cardigan for me, eventually. 


I finished spinning the Dicentra roving before our last guests left and will Navaho-ply it later this weekend. It's the last hank I need to knit the cuffs and front bands for my Dream Coat and I am looking forward to finishing the sweater. One of my customers was telling me yesterday that one of his customers makes custom blown glass jewelry and might be able to make me custom buttons for my sweater - cool! I really prefer to support local artisans and this way I can get just the colors I want for the buttons, the size and shape I want, and no one else will have the same buttons because they will be hand made one at a time! After the time and money I have put in on this sweater, getting custom made glass buttons to finish it is totally worth it.


I finished the first orange sock of the May/June Mystery sock for the SolidSocks group on Ravelry Thursday night and promptly cast on for the second one Friday morning. I'm really enjoying this pattern, even though each section has its own chart. I did make some changes on the foot, to fit my long feet the way I prefer. But the first one looks good and I might get the second one done this week. That is, if I get the charts done for the Ingvold Aran KAL first.


Tomorrow I'll redo several of the charts which gave me problems last weekend. I bought a copy of Aran Paint Plus software to make the charts with and had some problems figuring out how the software works. One restriction that I personally don't like, because I'm a pretty experienced knitter, is that the program creates two rows at a time. The developer told me this is to keep new designers from creating designs impossible to knit. It also means I can't do seed stitch in the middle of cables, which is a limitation I don't like. I'm investigating other programs and might get a different one to use. I also had to reinstall Open Office, as the two programs had conflicts I had to figure out and resolve. 


July is the stranded sock month for Sock Knitters Anonymous on Ravelry and, when I finish the orange socks and the grey Escher Cube socks, then I'll cast on the Nordic Lights socks by Janel Laidman using the royal blue yarn I got at Yarnia with the Socks That Rock Mill End I got at BSG. 




The top pic shows the true colors of the STR yarn and the bottom one shows the royal blue. I think they will look great together, just hope there is enough to make the stranded socks with tops long enough for me!

And one last beautiful photo to share - this is the Julia rose that my first MIL bred. It was the first tangerine rose registered and I really love it, the fragrance is delicious. Sorry for the lack of detail, the pic was taken with my iPhone. 



Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Magical Monday

Hi, folks! This last weekend was Black Sheep Gathering at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene, OR and it was awesome! So many cool things happened that I'm not sure where to start. Let's see, Black Sheep Gathering Bingo, a way to meet new folks from Ravelry. I was both a player and a card, so I printed out my card, gathered some stitch markers I had made last year to give to folks on my card, along with some stickers, and headed out to meet folks. As I was strolling around, checking out the booths to see what I might want to buy and looking for folks playing, I met a young woman who was on my card. I told her she was on my card and she looked at my pin with my name written on it and about fell over! She said, "You're Bluedragon!" "Yes, that's me and you're on my card." I set my bag down to get out a stitch marker to give to her and she told me my Starmore knitting was awesome. It was like she had met a star, she was so excited to meet me. I've never had that reaction before so I was a little nonplussed as to how to react, except to thank her. Wow, I have a fan!


The Ravelry Meetup was at 4 pm and there were some wonderful door prizes donated by members. I think there were at least 20 prizes and folks had a wonderful time cheering and clapping the winners of the prizes while spinning, knitting, or just visiting with each other. 


I bought a skein of gold Socks That Rock in lightweight, to go with the special STR SS09 yarn I got with the pattern  at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. DH and I were looking for a pair of sock blockers so I can put my CookieA Mystery Socks on them to enter them in the Oregon State Fair. Would you believe the usual vendors didn't bring any? We stopped at Blue Moon Fiber Arts again after the Fleece Sale and DH asked one of the clerks, who asked the owner and she disappeared for a moment and came back with a beautiful pair of wood blockers with the trademark crescent moon and star cutout. She even autographed them for me! They're going to hang on the wall of my den so I can admire them, in safety. I also picked up two skeins of mill end yarn- one a lightweight and one a Rare Gem medium weight. They will either be socks or small shawls, later in the year.


I chatted with Joan Schrouder for a bit, then saw JC Briar while she was on a break from her class teaching. We stopped at the Spindlewood booth to visit with Connie and Steve, admiring their beautiful spindles. There was so much fibery goodness we actually went around the booths twice, just to try to take more of it in. We took a break for lunch about noon and then cruised over to the Fleece Sale to see how it was going. It wasn't open yet, so we got in line to wait. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Tina, from Blue Moon, was standing right there in front of us! This is the same person who, along with Stephanie Pearl McPhee and a small army of volunteers, put on Sock Summit 09. And I was standing next to her, casually chatting about fleeces and wool and spinning and such. I pointed out to her that I was wearing socks made from her yarns and she bent down to pull up my pant leg to check out the yarns I had used, while I told her they were my favorite pair of socks and I only wore them on special occasions. 


We didn't buy any fleeces, because we still have several at home and, while DH is good about spinning them for me to knit with, I don't want to push my luck with him, lol. After the Fleece Sale, we stopped at the car to pick up our wheels and headed over to the Spinning Circle inside the main building. Since it had been sprinkling off and on, we didn't want to sit under the tarp outside to spin. This past week I had plied the three bobbins from my Hitchhiker with the Border Leicester onto a bobbin on the Louet, as I want a 3-ply yarn and only have three bobbins for my Hitchhiker. It's so nice having the Louet with its 8 ounce bobbins. The yarn will be used for an Aran cardigan later this year or next year. The fleece is 8-1/2 pounds, so it will take me a while to spin it up, in between knitting, teaching, and designing. 


I started spinning up the Dicentra Pellenor roving I need to finish my Dream Coat with and it was so nice, I just zoned out with my spinning. Later this week I'm hoping to get some more spinning time in on it. Folks came over to admire the roving and ask where I had gotten it, then dashed over to Lisa's booth to get some for themselves. Laurie and her kids from the Salem Area Ravelers group stopped by and I showed her the STR skeins I had bought. She wanted some so I took her to the booth and showed her the sale yarns, including one I wish I had seen earlier. She ended up buying three skeins, for socks for her and the kids. I love enabling!


After the Meetup, DH and I headed outside and sat in the dining area to spin for a while as we waited for the potluck to start. The wind made it chilly so after about half an hour I put my wheel up and knit on DH's Father's Day socks. Tonight I'm hoping to get about a third of the way done on the foot of the second sock. The potluck started at 6:30 and, as usual, everything was great. We ended up stuffed with lots of good food. On the way home, I knit some more on the socks as we talked over our day. Ah, bliss, a DH who spins and understands fiber obsessions!


Now let's see about photos!
This is my Dream Coat, the one I'm spinning the roving to finish the cuffs and front bands on.











Happy knitting!