Feb 24, 2011

Drive By Blogging. . .

I'm on vacation this week, but have been spending less time at the computer than I'd hoped.  Here are a few pictures of what I've been up to!

A hat for my hairdresser. . .she wanted a slouchy hat in brown--I'm hoping this is brown enough for her, it's Blackstone Tweed Chunky, and a pattern by Ysolda Teague, the Icing Swirl Hat.  A super fun, super fast knit.  It has interesting decreases, so that all of the slouchy-ness is at the back of the hat, leaving the top relatively smooth. . .I liked it!

A crocheted summer scarf. . .washed and drying. . .

The beginnings of another cotton scarf. . .

I'll tell you more about those when they're done and ready for their own posts.


We were hit with another huge storm on Monday, I spent a good part of the morning shoveling out, and then we got another few inches last night.  From the looks of it, it's going to be heavy and wet.  My back is already complaining.

The no-name hat has a name!  I've decided on Wall Flower.  The name is a combination of things that have been posted in the comments or emailed to me over the last couple of weeks.  It will be available on Ravelry later today.  For those of you following the blog, I'll get your discount code emailed to you as soon as the pattern is posted! This version was knit out of Rowan Felted Tweed, and apparently, I was a little tense as I knit it, as the gauge doesn't match so well, and it's a bit smaller than the one out of Cascade 220 superwash.  Meh.
 I'm starting to chart some mittens to coordinate.  But I'm wondering. . .do you like afterthought thumbs, or gussets?  Let me know!

Feb 20, 2011

Shopping (or Stash Aquistion Beyond Life Expectancy)

The annual Chelsea Spinner's Flock Winter Fleece Fair was yesterday. . .here's your peek at what you missed.

It was fun to bump into friends I hadn't seen in a long time at the sale, and to catch up with local friends during our drive.  I can't tell you how many times I said, "This is the BEST day!"  Check out this yarn that Linda found with feathers spun into it. . .how cool is this?

I was surprised to see handspun yarn and hand dyed fiber from Happy Fuzzy Yarns there. . .I'm working on a lacy beret/slouchy hat with some of her fingering weight yarn, and I love it.  The fiber was pretty great too.

There is always a surprising amount of hand spun yarn for those of us who don't spin. . .

And used wheels at great prices for those of us who want to learn.

After the sale, part of our group ate at The Red Pepper Deli, and to my surprise, it was owned by an old friend.  I was treated to a special sampler plate, but everyone said their food was amazing.  If you're in Northville, you'll want to stop in and try it out!  I don't know whether to recommend Carolyn's Pizza or the Vegan Tacos. . .you'll have to order both and decide for yourself.  A friend was pretty happy with the cup of soup she ordered too.

After lunch, we stopped at Center Street Knits, Knitting on the Fringe and Knitter's Cove.  My pocket book survived. . .I came home with only modest stash enhancement.  Center Street Knits is a beautiful store that makes you feel like you're in a gallery.  They carry Spud and Cloe yarn, and I'll probably head back there next week while I'm on break to pick up some of their sweater weight to make a baby sweater for a friend.  I'd never been to Knitting on the Fringe, and their new location is PACKED with yarns and interesting sample garments.  We were only there for a brief moment, as Knitter's Cove was closing and we wanted to get there before they locked up for the day.  They are closing for good soon, and have their yarn at 50% off, so we got some great deals.  All in all, it was an amazing road trip.

Once home, I discovered Joanie's phone was in two pieces--not exactly the manufacture's recommended way to use it. . .So we headed to the store and found a new phone, that will hopefully be as durable as the last one was.  She's pretty hard on her phones, and the broken one has lasted nearly three years.  Some day soon, we'll head there and get a new iPhone for me.  I want one so badly I can taste it.

Feb 18, 2011

Still Kicking

My "hat with no name" pattern hasn't seen much editing time, and is STILL not ready for publication.  Vacation starts today at 3:30, so there's a possibility that I can make it happen by Monday, but I'm not pressuring myself.  To those of you who I promised a discount coupon to, please know it's coming!  You'll be able to use it on any of the three patterns I'll have in my Ravelry shop.

This week has been filled with trips to the Lutheran Home of Livonia.  My grandmother has had some health issues of late, and is doing a stint of rehab there.  It's a lovely place, but not too close to home for me.  My daily routine this week has been to get to school early, leave as soon as I can, race to Livonia, and then race back home in time for my evening obligations here at home.

I always think I'll be able to knit when I visit Gram, but she has such reduced hearing, that any conversation with her must be written down.  That means, I've got pen and paper in hand, and we're passing my notes back and forth, while my knitting sits in a bag.  Gram turned 93 this January, and has lived a full life. . .and we think she has some years left in her.  I"m not sure she believes the same thing any more.  Her comments last night were that the Lutheran Home was "depressing"  and that I needed to get her out of there.  Her memory has been lapsing for awhile, and being in a strange place has just put a spotlight on it.  I pray that she takes a turn for the better in the next couple of days.

I know Gram misses her daughter, Gloria, and when Gloria is back from a quick vacation we'll probably be able to get a better schedule together for her as Gloria coordinates Gram's care.  (That's Gram and Glo in their Indian Princess apparel--I guess it was for mom's and daughters at one time. Gram was also a Girl Scout leader and a Den Mother, her kids weren't ever lacking for activities.)  Trying to do that from hundreds of miles away via cell phone is tough on everyone.  I just hope that Glo is able to come back somewhat rested and relaxed from the time away.

Meanwhile, I'm still here.  I'm still kicking.  The radio silence isn't intended to be another of my disappearing acts.  I actually have some pictures of a Shalom Cardigan that Fritzie is making in my Monday night class, as well as some thoughts about how to make it for yourself. . .remember when Kim got that idea started a few years ago?

Fingers crossed, I'll have no-name up early next week. . .and if you're local and looking for a knitting class, there are spaces in my Monday night group starting in March.  Send me an email or comment if you'd like the details.

Feb 13, 2011

Hand Knit Socks and a Free Cowl Pattern

My Friend Sally is a fabulous knitter, and is great about keeping her Ravelry projects updated, and sending inspirational pictures of her knitting to her friends.  Recently, she sent out a picture of her socks hanging to dry, asking if she had knit enough socks yet. . .my answer was, "NO!'  I say, there is no such thing as too many hand knit socks.

Around here, we wear hand knit socks just about every day.  At the end of the day, we throw the socks into a wicker basket, and when the basket is full, we do a full load of socks.  And I mean, a FULL LOAD!  Our house is somewhat modest, and our utility area is small, so we've purchased hangers from IKEA to clip our socks to and hang them to dry.  This is what wash day looked like yesterday.

On the knitting front, I feel  like it's been two steps forward and three steps back.  I've been working on a couple of designs to submit to magazines, as well as swatching for my Sneaky Sheep exchange for our guild.  The design work seems to have stalled a bit while I do some math to calculate for shaping, and I just can't seem to find the right project for my secret pal.  I thought I had the perfect pattern, but my yarn was a bit too heavy, so I frogged it.  I began working on yet another, and didn't like the color combo, and the pattern was a bit annoying.  I started to work on a second color way of the un-named hat (still taking suggestions, if you're feeling clever!) and didn't like the way the colors at the top of the hat were working together.  My net knitting for the week is a very small amount.

In rooting around for interesting things in my sewing room/craft studio, I found a couple of cowls I made this winter and haven't put together "official" patterns for. . .I thought I'd send them out to you.  They were made with one skein of luxury yarn, and intended as a quick gift.  I had them at the ready, and then decided to keep them for another year.  Often we think of Valentine's Day as a time to give chocolate and red hearts to those we love, I'll encourage you to knit one of these up quickly for a good friend who warms your heart. . .wrap some luxury yarn around their neck, and they'll love you even more!

I love this stitch pattern and have used it on a number of socks that I've knit.  The ribbing makes for cozy, cushy socks, and a quick knit.  I think you'll like it for a cowl too.

Garter Rib Cowl Pattern:

Using a size 9 needle and heavy worsted weight to aran weight yarn, cast on 88 stitches and join to knit in the round, placing a marker at the beginning of the round.

Round 1: *K2, P2, Repeat from * around
Round 2: Knit

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until you are nearly out of yarn, bind off in pattern.

Weave in ends, block and give to someone you love.

Mine measured about 20 inches around and 9 inches tall.  If you have more yarn, make it longer and cozier. . .smaller gauge?  Use smaller needles and cast on a multiple of four by taking the circumference you're shooting for, and multiplying that times the stitches per inch you get in your gauge swatch, and adjusting up or down to get a multiple of four.

Feb 8, 2011

Color Work Anyone?

This blog post may not make much sense to those of you who didn’t attend the Black Sheep Knitting Guild meeting, but I felt it was easier to include hot links here for our members to reference than it was to print out paper copies to get lost in the piles of yarn and knitting patterns we all have at our homes.

For those of you who were struggling to grasp the volumes of information that I spewed at you, here are some resources that will help!

A video for knitting continentally :

I particularly like this one by CraftSanity featuring Lorilee, who used to own City Knitting in Grand Rapids.

If you want to see again how to trap your stitches as I demonstrated at the meeting, you’ll find a wonderful video at Philosopher’s Wool located here.

Knitting Help also has a video to help you out located here.
Knit Simple has an article with varied ways to trap your yarn located here
Knitting Daily just had a quick tutorial on trapping yarns yesterday, if you haven’t signed up for their newsletter, you may want to consider it!  I’ll bet if you look through their archives, you’ll be able to find it easily.

Eunny Jang posted a whole series of blog posts about steeking in “The Steeking Chronicles” a few years ago.   
Another article you may find helpful is “You Want Me to Cut What?” written by Wendy Johnson on Knitty.com

Great pictures of crocheted steeks can be found on the Bowerbird Knits blog here.

A resource for fair isle charts can be found here.  Be careful when you use them, many have more than one color per line, and would be best suited for intarsia.

If you’re interested in a more in depth class or private lesson on color work, I’m happy to help, please just let me know!  Paula and I have tried to schedule fair isle classes at PK Yarn Over Knit in the past, I’m sure she’d be happy to include one on the schedule if we let her know what the sheep are interested in using as a focus project and we can schedule it.

I’ve uploaded another Fair Isle Hat pattern to Ravelry if you’re interested, and one more should be coming before the end of the week.

We’ll have this month’s free pattern KAL posted on Ravelry in a couple of days, feel free to suggest patterns!

The Hat with No Name

I've just finished a proto type for my third fair isle hat pattern, and am in need of a name.  I've had a few suggestions, but still, am not sure what to call it.  The colors in this version are bright and summery, but I have a darker and more subdued hat planned prior to publishing.  Want to help name it?  Submit a name suggestion in the comments, and if your name is selected, you'll will a free copy of the pattern.

My hope is to have the pattern ready to go by Monday, so I'll announce the winner then.  If you become a follower prior to Sunday evening, I'll be happy to send you a discount code for a pattern purchase of your choice in my Ravelry shop.

I teach tonight at the Black Sheep Knitting Guild. . .are you joining us?  Here is a quick picture of still more Woden hats in progress that I'll be using tonight:

I still can't get over how different they look in different colors.  Seriously.  It's amazing to me.

PS. . .Thanks for the help naming "No Name"

Feb 7, 2011

Camera Malfunction :-(

The best laid plans of mice and men. . .anyone know the poet?

I had loads of things to bring to Knit Michigan on Saturday, and planned ahead.  I had my bags and boxes packed and sitting on the porch when my ride arrived to pick me up, and that included my camera!  I'd hoped to take loads of pictures of the knitters, and shops, and contest entries, and contestants in the knitting contests. . .I had extra batteries, and I even remembered to grab the memory card out of the computer!  I was all set!

When I pulled out the camera for photo ops during the speed knitting contest, I got a message:  Memory Card Error  It seems that when I use the card in multiple cameras, only the nicer of the two likes it.  My inexpensive point and shoot camera was on strike!

Harriet (of the comments) took plenty of pictures, and promises to send them to me, or at the very least post them in the Black Sheep forum on Ravelry.  Suzanne has a few posted on her blog, too.  Me?  I've got nothin'

I did win the design contest (Whoo Hoo!) and had a great time teaching people to knit and chatting with friends all day.  The three to six inches of snow we got didn't bug me a bit!  I was cozy and happy all day long.  Hope you can join us next year!

Tonight is the first night of the Knitting class I'm teaching at my house.  There are spots still available if you're interested in joining us--we can figure out a prorated cost if you are--or make plans to join us in March.

Tomorrow is the Black Sheep Guild meeting, and I'm teaching a color work lesson as well as giving a demo on steeking.  If you've been interested in how either of those things work, join us!  I have my post-meeting post filled with all sorts of links ready to go already.

Feb 5, 2011

Looking for Prizes?

Me too!  Today is Knit Michigan. . .and I'll be running the knitting contests at 11:00.  You'll be able to try your hand at speed knitting, knitting blindfolded, with a partner and all sorts of other silly things.  We have a couple of events cooked up for spinners and hookers too!  Prizes abound!  There a some really great knitting bags as well as lovely fiber and interesting books. . .all you need to do is compete!  I can't win, so I hope you show up and show everyone just how quickly you can knit with garden gloves on. . .

Have you been to Knit Michigan before?  Our guild sponsors the Learn to Knit area every year, and it's an event many of us look forward to.  This is the fourth year of Knit Michigan, and they've donated over $80,000 to local cancer charities.  I love the philanthropic part of it, knitters giving back to the community.  The vast majority of the food sold, classes taught and items auctioned are donated by local folks or solicited from vendors across the country, and last I knew, even the school we meet at cuts Knit Michigan a deal on using the space for the day.  The overhead for this fabulous event is next to nothing, so nearly ALL of our money heads right to the people who need it.  However, it's not without benefit to those of us who love fiber.  For me, my donations get me a full day of fiber fun with my friends.  The day is packed with classes for you to choose from, many vendors tempting you with samples, kits and new products (several vendors are from the opposite side of the state so we can see all sorts of things we rarely do), a silent auction, LOADS of hand knits, contests, meet-ups, and more!

An event that was new this year was a chemo cap design contest.  My friend Matlie and I designed two cute hats and are hoping you'll come and vote for us today!  She fell on Thursday and broke a leg. . .and could use some good news!  This will be her first year missing Knit Michigan and she's feeling a little blue! A fibery prize would be just the thing to perk up her spirits!  One more thing to put on your list for the day:  Vote for Matlie and Tanya. . .

The entire day filled with fun is yours for only the $10 it costs to get in the door.  If you're in southwest Michigan today, I'm not really sure why you're still reading this blog. . .get in the car and join us!   You'll find directions here.

Feb 2, 2011


One of the perks of my job is taking advantage of snow days. . .Today I slept in, since our superintendent called school off yesterday around 3:00pm.  Usually we're one of the last districts to get the call, but this time we were in the lead.  Most of my morning was spent shoveling the seven or eight inches that fell in our neighborhood, just north of Detroit.  I think the world was expecting "Snomageddon" and all we got was a heavy dumping.  Our city services are spectacular, and our streets are pretty clean, but friends report that streets in neighboring communities are still pretty snow covered and slick.  My gram--"Beazer" taught me to take pride in a well shoveled driveway. . .I think I can hold my head up today, as ours is as clean as can be.

 Our dog, Toshi, is part Husky and part Akita, and LOVES the snow--but she wasn't so sure about the massive amounts she saw this morning when we opened the door.  She's had a good day sleeping on her mat in front of the heater while I knit with a friend, and checking out how large the snow piles have become.
I realized I never showed you a picture of the blue version of Woden. . .it's been great to wear while outside for the past week or so. . .nice and cozy!

 It's sort of shocking to me how different it can look knit up in different colors!  I can't wait to see what others choose to knit for themselves. 
 My next version will be a combination of these colors, and I have another fair isle hat or two that I should be publishing soon--so if you like Woden, you'll have more coming your way!
 I pulled a sock from my UFO pile, and may work on that a bit in between some of the design work that I'm playing with for some upcoming submissions.  It seems somewhat unfair that now I have some interesting things to blog about and I have to keep them from you!

I hope you've been warm today, and didn't wear yourselves out cleaning out from under the Blizzaster.