Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I’m Knitting and I can’t Shut-up
Have you ever seen the T-Shirt that says “I’m talking and I can’t shut-up” ? Well, right now, I am knitting and I can’t seem to stop. I finally downloaded the pattern for the Kauni cardigan and I can’t stop knitting. Every row there is another color change and it is so exciting to see. I love, love, love knitting with this yarn. It is so forgiving. If I have to rip (it’s inevitable), the ripped out stitch actually stays in place, so I don’t have to worry about it running down the ladder and then picking up with my knitting needle, I mean crochet hook. The yarn actually seems to soften up as you knit along. It may be because we got the Kauni on cones and it may still have some spinning oil in it. I understand that after you wash your project, it will soften up even more. And did I mention the color changes? I am using the “Rainbow” colorway, and there are subtle changes along the way, but looking at the project from a distance it doesn’t look subtle at all. This cardigan is a great introduction to fair-isle knitting, since there are only 4 rows out of 10 that require you to change yarns every few stitches. The rest of the time you are doing stockinette and letting the yarn do all the color change work. It’s a pretty basic sweater wth some steeking involved – sounds like a great class – eh? Will keep you posted.
Of course, I have absolutely no business starting yet another project. So, instead, I started two more new projects.

Last week I posted a picture of my Hemlock Ring blanket. I just started a new one out of Jojoland’s Rhythm for our knit-along which starts Friday and Saturday.
We will be getting a new yarn from Mountain Colors called River Twist and while we were at TNNA

in June, we bought a skein and a pattern for this lovely scarf.

With the summer and my kids being home from school (we'll never see this picture again, allergy tests show that Zach is allergic to grass), I don't have as much time to dye. I know that everyone thinks when I'm not at the store I get to sit at home and knit, but usually on my so-called days off, I dye, dye, dye. Driving kids to camp and too many doctors and dentists appointments have kept me from the dye pots. I did however get to dye up some new sock yarn last week. This is from Plymouth Yarns and is called "Happy Choices". We bought a lot of undyed blanks and are going to town. You knit straight from the machine knit piece, unraveling as you go. I can't wait to see this colorway knit up.
Since many of you have asked, I will sign my posts from now on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beautiful Things and Blue Ribbons

Gwen finished the Northern Lights Shawl in four days. I'm sorry, but I couldn't finish anything in four days. She found that the colors used are truly those found in the Northern Lights. It is a work of art.

Sabra entered her socklettes that she is knitting for her future daughter-in-law and the members of the wedding party in the Burlington County Farm Fair. She explains, '
The blue ribbons for the sweater and footies were both in the Knitting Division, Women's apparel class ....... The pink ribbon for the socks was for "Best in Class" .... The sweater is a top down pullover that has a basket weave pattern through the midriff. Myra dyed the yarn for both projects.

Kelly knit the baby blanket from Muench Big Baby. She said it was a quick and fun knit. Her Great American Afghan is coming together!

Barbara Jean felted the balls out of Lamb's Pride as a gift for her grandsons. They are great!

Gwen has one sleeve left to finish on her February Lady Sweater.

This group is our Bung's Tavern SnB. Overheard; Guinness and socks don't mix. Don't try this at home.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It’s so neat to see my student’s finished projects – especially when it’s been a big project. Here are some pictures of Jill’s Adult Surprise Jacket all finished. She knit it out of Plymouth Royal Bamboo, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and Woolbearer’s Hand dyed cotton. (that's Jill's hubby in the background)

Speaking of finished – I actually finished the Hemlock Ring Blanket in record time. It was so much fun to knit and I loved using the Vermont Organic O-Wool. It only took 2 1/2 skeins and is abut 36" around. It isn’t quite as large as I had hoped – I was going to add a few more feather and fan repeats, but then I decided if we are going to do a KAL in the shop, I might as well make another one out of something variegated. I can’t decide between the Kauni or the Jojoland Rhythm. I’ll keep you posted. Those of you looking for the pattern, go to Brooklyn Tweed's blog and you'll find all the info you need. Just a warning -- there is a mistake in the pattern and I found this yahoo group really helpful. There's also a group on Ravelry working on the blanket.

While Joan wasn’t one of my students, she did take a sock class with Sabra last winter and can’t stop knitting socks or this beautiful shawl out of Woolbearers Hand dyed Cotton.

Dori is a prolific knitter and when she is not flying off to Paris or Jamaica (she is an airline pilot), she is knitting up a storm. Here, her daughter is showing off Mom’s knitting.

Hannah is another gal who always has something on the needles . Here is her shawl from Victorian Lace out of Kid Silk Haze.

Another clapotis from Kathy out of Woolbearers Hand dyed Pima Cotton.

Joann is another amazing weaver, crocheter, knitter --- you name it, Joann can do it. Here is her crocheted Infinity Wrap and a piece of woven fabric

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of some of our hand dyed roving.

Friday Night Meetups have turned out to be big gatherings of a great group of women! Here are some pix.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

More Cleaning

Going through some projects in my basement this past week brought to mind an article I read in a weaving magazine not too long ago. A weaver friend was visiting and noticed an unfinished project on the loom that had been there a year ago. "What you have there is a dog", she said. The woman agreed and cut the piece off the loom and threw it.

I think there is some criteria for throwing away UFP's. If the needles that the piece is on aren't made anymore, and were new when the knitting was first started, that qualifies. This includes those argyle socks your grandmother started on bakelite double points. Why pass them down to your kids? So they can feel guilty and not be able to throw them, too? Find a relative that loves to hoard and give the socks to her to finish.

How about socks for a friend you know longer speak to? (Ouch.) Throw. An unfinished afghan that has some mouse chews. Throw. If moths have gotten to the parts of a sweater that you intend to finish before you pass, it's time to say goodbye. You will feel so free, and there will be room for more new yarn.

Tola and her great friends from PA met at Woolbearers for lunch and a shopping spree.

Mary's newest tapestry, hot off the loom. Wish you could see it live. It's a real work of art.

Alice's Simply Shetland masterpiece, inspiring all of us to start our fall projects!

Karen's gorgeous shawl of SWTC Melody and Oasis Bamboo.

Everybody's looking for something, something to fill in the holes...
Van Halen

My husband happened to be sitting with me while I was watching HGTV a couple of years ago. Featured was a woman who collected vintage wedding dresses, and she modeled a lovely piece that she confessed cost $10,000. Jim paled, looked at me and said, "Just keep buying yarn." I have been happy to oblige.

Gas cost $4.00 a gallon in my neighborhood. I went to the Acme yesterday and bought three little bags of food and my bill was over $100. I know a gentleman who goes to Atlantic City every weekend, and it isn't for the buffets. Buying a little yarn isn't such a bad thing.

Knitting, but more specifically, yarn, satisfies me. When I quit smoking a few years ago, I noticed that my yarn consumption increased dramatically. For purely health reasons, I have had to alter my diet. No more sugar or white flour. I really and truly don't miss it, but I again, I noticed that I take more yarn out of the store than is returning as finished projects. I'm filling in those holes!

We sell a lot of yarn for sweaters. Today alone several gal's bought sweater yarn, and this was high end stuff, some of it our hand dyed, which isn't cheap, and their bills surprised them at the reasonable amounts. For under $60, two of them got hours of relaxing pleasure. A mediocre meal at the diner cost that much and whatever satisfaction it gives is soon gone.

So what I am trying to say is try to stop feeling guilty because you are doing something so healthy, safe and creative for yourself.
This group of women came in on Sunday and knit up a storm. It was just an impromptu gathering. They helped each other, laughed and generally had a great time.

Millie's Ty Dy top is gorgeous!

Below, new yarn, including all the Manos colors needed for the Autumn Aster Sweater, designed by Michele Rose Oren.

The other pile is Big Baby by Muench; the only 100% acrylic yarn we ever bought. But it is beautiful, soft, real bulky so baby projects go fast, and inexpensive.

The baby surprise, below, is knit of Cherry Tree Hill by Tola. Cate's sweater designed by Cottage Creations will have little buttons with Scotty Dogs on them!

Sharon is modeling her beautiful February Lady Sweater below while she and Sarah contemplate more yarn purchases.....

The hat and scarf are Leila's and beautiful. She'll be all set for winter.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Why is it that every time I knit in public, someone has to come over and tell me a better way to do my knitting. Now mind you, I have been knitting for 45 years now and while I do not profess to know everything there is to know about knitting (no way!), I do know what I like to knit and I do know what works for me. I was taught to knit continental by my bubbe who hailed from Eastern Europe. Now, I teach knitting and while I do teach continental knitting, I also know that folks may have learned English style throwing at a younger age (probably from their bubbes) and that muscle memory takes over --- so I tell them to knit the way they most feel comfortable.

So why is it when I knit socks in public, (oh, that is such a rarity to begin with, and mind you, I knit them on 5 double points because THAT IS WHAT I LIKE), do some people have to come over to me and tell me I should be doing magic loop, or that my socks are too big (these socks in particular are for my 90-year old dad who is wheelchair bound). Oh, I just don’t get it! Yesterday, I was sitting in the waiting area in the gym for my husband to finish his workout and I was knitting his sweater (another rarity). I noticed that I should have purled where I knitted one stitch a few rows down, so I dropped down a few rows and started to pick up the stitch. A woman came over and promptly announced that she is a knitter and that I should use a crochet hook to pick up my stitches. I looked at her. Yes, I could use a crochet hook, if I wanted to, but was perfectly comfortable using my size 15 needle, thank you very much. Then she got a little flustered and said I must really love my husband if I were knitting a wool sweater in the middle of summer for him and walked away. Well, it was air conditioned in there for god’s sake. What better time to knit him a wool sweater – so he’ll be able to wear it this fall. and winter.

Which brings me to the fact that I do actually finish some things. Ravelry is so wonderful because you can actually see the progress you have made. Here are a few items that I have actually finished in the last few months:

Adult Surprise Jacket out of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran

Diamonds and Pears Lace Shawl out of Artyarns Silk Rhapsody

Man's Vest from Classic Elite Summer Book 1 out of Four Seasons

Now, I did have to sneak in another new project -- the Hemlock Ring Blanket from Brooklyn Tweed. I've been wanting to do this for a long time. I'm using Vermont Organic O-Wool Classic in plum after I heard the gals from the Stash and Burn podcast talking about it. Love working with this yarn and it will probably only take 3 or 4 skeins. We will do a KAL at the shop --- I know there are some new lace knitters who want to try this and it's a great project for anyone who likes to do lace.