Friday, May 30, 2008

For Cristi and JP

This is my cat dog Jake. He's the newest and weirdest one.
These are the Charlotte boys--Jake acting like a cat; Henry on guard duty; and Thor, who really misses his family, but loves to be able to get on the sofa.
Here are ALL my boys. DH and my two wish I would take the camera away; Thor is just enjoying the sofa. They are quite a pleasant group.

Good luck to JP as he continues his efforts to move here to our knitting nirvana.

See Jane Teach

Yep, that's me showing my Knitter's Math class diagrams of necks and armcyes.
Everyone was transfixed. Well, Frances and Rose were. Robin is wondering what she's doing in this madness and Jeannie is sure I've lost my mind.
Dani, my computer mentor, is doing the geek thing--taking notes. But Corey--ah, Corey, she is a true knitter. She's listening, she's questioning, but most importantly, she's knitting.

I always take my knitting to classes in case there is some wait time or a break. Never waste a moment when there is knitting to be done. Ask turtlegirl76 about her socks for knitting in traffic.

What is it?

This is my newest FO. What is it?
Here's a finished view. What does it look like to you?
Here is the best hint. Got it yet?
Here it is in use.

Here it is after. At what point did you get your mind out of the gutter? Sorry if you are disappointed.

This is a free pattern from Crochet Pattern Central

I used Lion Brand Lion Cotton which is worsted weight, size H crochet hook.
I changed it a bit. I crocheted in a spiral instead of rows, and I made a different pom pom top. I didn't want all the cut ends to drop lint on my clothes in the washer.

It works really well and took about an hour to make. I will make more because they are so useful. I do dust, but I don't do . . . much of anything else.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Who's stoopid?

I took the test from Yea I Knit's blog and I promised to post the results. It has one of those train questions we used to hate in Algebra class. I still hate them. Try your luck. says I'm 12% Stupid! How stupid are you? Click Here!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Patternworks Catalog Came Today

Of course, I found things I had to have. My den is a clutter trap of knitting items. I have a huge space upstairs for my yarn, but it all keeps creeping downstairs. How does DH put up with it?

New resolution: Den yarn must be kept in one place only.

Found just the thing.

Okay, it isn't exactly pretty, but my chair will hide it. It is raised so that I can easily access it to find what I have lost. I may embellish it with knitting things. I will certainly tie a pair of sciissors onto it. I also foresee a small tray across the top to hold a drink when necessary. It looks like it holds a lot and with the top I can smash more yarn into it.

Description from the website: Carry projects from room to room in this polyester-canvas caddy on folding metal legs. The 23 3/4" x 15 1/2" x 25"- high caddy features a spacious interior with eight pockets, a sturdy bottom, plus a handy storage shelf and hook-and- loop-closure cover. $49.00

I also ordered some new sock yarn made by Patons.
I bought the Sugar colorway. I'm really into pink socks lately. ???

It was only $6 per 50 gr skein, and it came with a free pattern for pedicure socks.

Here's the skinny from the catalog.
Put a little spring in your step with a pair of socks knit in a light-weight combination of cotton, wool, nylon and elastic. This fingering-weight yarn is breathable ,making it suitable for year-round wear. The elasticity provides comfortable snap-back shaping and the tweedy shades offer something for everyone. Two balls make a pair of adult-sized socks.
• 41% cotton/39% wool/13% nylon/7% elastic
• 7 sts = 1" on size 3 needles
• 239 yards (50 grams)
• hand wash

I really needed this yarn because it is new and I have none of it in my stash. Besides, it calls for a #3 needle. Fast socks.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Short Row Shaping Class

I can't believe I forgot to post this picture. I teased Aimee about it today and she said that she hadn't seen it. I think she thought I was too kind to put this on the web. Wrong! Actually these pictures are all about the short row shaping class I taught a few weeks ago. I made Aimee be my model for how to measure for short rows. And here she is--immortalized in pixels.
The rest of the class was normal folks . Judi , Kate, and BJ deserve the Great Concentration award.
Heather's got it and will help Mom (Joanne).

It wouldn't be class unless Lynda dropped by. Where was she Sunday?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Seaworthy Capelet--I love it!

Even thought I designed it, I'm still going to scream how much I love this. Remi gave me the new Fibra Natura yarn Sea Song and asked what I would make from it. Many missteps later, this is it.

Love the drape of this yarn. It's made of 80% cotton and 20% Seacell (Kelp fiber).

DD#2, Meghan, posed for this. I promised I'd cut her face off. Naw. It's too pretty, even without makeup.

Total project took 4 balls at $8.00 a ball. It's a bargain.

The pattern will be available shortly.

Spin, Ply, Knit--Pretty pictures

Blame turtlegirl76 and knittingdiva. Turtlegirl76 talks spinning as much as knitting. Made me feel like I wanted to get out the wheel. Knittingdiva shows up several places showing off her first skein---a great thick and thin 2 ply. Wait! I own some of that same roving!

Gale's Art -- Merino Wool---Colorway Deep Blue Sea--a whole 4 oz.

So I got it out and spun my usual DK weight 2 ply. It's beautiful the way the colors interact. A single ply would have been Noro-ish (see bobbin). I managed 297 yards which will make---well, it will make something.

I think Knittingdiva's was more wow, but I like the possibilities from mine better for me.

Enjoy the pics. What would you make with 297 yds?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Design Group Fun

Want to have a lot of fun for an hour or so? Well, just drop by Charlotte Yarn. It doesn't matter who is working, you'll have fun.

I stopped by on Tuesday and found Sandy manning the place alone for a short bit. She had a new sample on display--a shrug, wrap, shoulder shawlish thing. It was made of Nostalgia, a Berroco yarn that just sings summer tunes. I raved over it, and she gave me a copy of the pattern.

Cat and Remi came in and then the fun really began. Praise the shawl, talk about the shawl, and then---Cat said, Well, you could add one of my buttons as a closure and wear it this way.

We went nuts from there. Cat wins the prize for most creative when she turned it around backwards. We tried it on many ways and then Sandy pushed us out into the parking lot and started making pictures. It was amazing that tall, thin Cat and short, round Jane could both look good in the same design. Sandy also said Patsy had worn it on Monday and looked great in it. Here are my high fashion photos---

Notice that in the back view the "tails" of the shawl hang in such a way as to cover any unsightly thigh bulges. How lovely.

The pattern is called Charlotte Yarn's Summer Shawl and is free with purchase of yarn. I'm knittng mine out of Louet Euroflax linen, but I recommend (other than the Nostalgia) Noro's cabled cotton yarn, Mission Falls Cotton, Ty-Dy, or any of the DK or worsted Debbie Bliss yarns. Lots of pretty cottons are available.

I've also thought of several different ways to get similar effects. Cat even figured how to quickly attach her buttons or remove them. Just whatever floats your boat.

Kate Jacobs Writes Again

Remember Friday Night Knitting Club? I love that book. I know every knitter in it many times over. I loved the different ages represented, the sense of community which I feel every time I get together with other knitters, the finely drawn characters that I connected with so strongly, and the wealth of emotion and integrity in the plotting.

Well, the great Kate Jacobs has done it again. This time it's the world of food TV.
The ages and stages of women are still there to teach us all some lessons. The characters are real and complex; the prose smooth and readable; and even though it's not knitting, it's a fantastic world to visit.

How does this young woman know so accurately what it feels like to be perceived as old and no longer with it? We all have or will go through this in our careers; it is very hard because so few people around you recognize what's happening. She has so described it, the frustration, the pain, the fear. Lord, this woman can write.

I had the chance for Kate to guest blog here and I sent her a question to try to ferret out how she does this character thing so well.
The book is Comfort Food, and here is my question:

I’m guessing Kate hasn’t always hung out with TV personalities or chefs. So what I would really like to know is how she researches the worlds she writes about. Her characters are all so real; like the group that I knit with. How does she create them or allow them into her stories?

And Kate replied:

KJ: Thanks, Jane; it’s a huge compliment to hear that the characters seem real.
Research is a peculiar thing – it is necessary, to some degree, but it can also get in the way of telling a story. It can constrain you. And because my background as a journalist demanded objectivity and accuracy, I prefer to run loose with my fiction. I want to live in my imagination. Though certainly there are some aspects that demand research; health issues are a good example. The rest of the time I like to wing it!

Work matters very much to us these days – it takes up most of our days and a good deal of our energy -- and that’s why I spend time in my novels on that aspect of my characters’ lives. But that doesn’t mean I could do their jobs: No one is going to give me a cooking show like Gus in Comfort Food! And, trust me, they shouldn’t. I didn’t try to spend time on a cooking show when I wrote this book but I did watch a lot of TV. It was a great excuse: You know you have a fun job when sitting in front of the TV counts as research. But it was quite helpful and I often took notes when I watched, trying to get a feel for how the hosts behave. They each have their own style but there are certain things they always do: Tasting the food at the end of the program is key. Mainly, though, I focused on my own emotional experience as a viewer and thought about how Gus would want to create a similar response. How would she do that?

I used a similar approach to my first novel. I knit but I don’t own a yarn shop, unlike the main character in The Friday Night Knitting Club. And I didn’t spend any time hanging out with yarn shop owners, either, because I wanted to create an Everyshop, a place that would remind a reader of her own local store and all that is welcoming about that place. If I had spent time researching one store, I feared I would make Walker & Daughter, the fictional yarn shop in FNKC, too much like that place. And I’d feel limited. That’s what I didn’t want to do. Still, when I’m creating characters, it’s all about listening. I have to try to get to know them – which I realize sounds a bit odd about people who aren’t real. But that’s how it works. I do create back stories and bios for my characters, often giving them details and experiences that don’t make their way into the book helps me have a fuller understanding of their personalities.

Because my books, even as they have a backdrop of knitting, or a backdrop of a cooking show, are all relationship stories. My stories are about people, why and how we love and live and make connections, and that’s how I am able to write about people who are so different from me in terms of age or background, and whose professions are so different from my own. I just think about them, first and foremost, as human beings.

Jane says -- Go buy this book and snuggle down for a great read.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Teaching, Designing (Oops), Dyeing

Mitered Hat class was small but loads of fun. Dear friend of many years Pat was there. I don't get to see her often, but every once in a while she takes a class from me. She doesn't need the class, she just needs the excuse to leave work and have fun. Type A doesn't begin to explain Pat.

Davey, my Mac guru, also came. He's only been knitting 10 months and has already produced two pair of wonderful socks. Now he's thinking about modular stuff. Notice how quiet he appears and studious, even taking notes. Just a momentary lapse. He's still hyper Davey. He won the New Knitter award at Guild last night. :)

The lace class from last weekend inspired me to want to teach more, so I designed a capelet with some interesting, but not too difficult lace patterns. These pics show the early part of the design. Turtlegirl76 spent her time taking awesome pics of it last night, and dummy that I am----I erased them. I thought they had loaded. I'll take more today of the finished product. I love it and may not be able to give it to Remi for the shop.

This is Diros Cave in Greece. We visited here on our trip to Greece with Knitter's Magazine. Unbelievably beautiful. Why is it here? Well, I still have lots of the ugly peach Galway that Remi gave me to dye. That color is in this picture--but the other colors make for a pretty effect. Inspiration!!!! I'll try to dye this.
Travel is never a waste of money.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Summer Lace

A few weeks ago I taught a class about lace designed for new lace knitters. Basically we used variations of Feather and Fan, different weight yarns, variable numbers of repeats to design whatever we wanted to knit.

Judy took to it instantly.
Carla and Judy concentrated and Carla has been to Charlotte Yarn recently to buy more yarn and knit more lace.
Dinah had some cobweb lace yarn burning a hole in her knit bag. We decided to double it to prevent insanity.

I had so much fun in this class that I immediately began to think about how I could do this again with more and different lace patterns. Remi and I spent several hours at Universal Yarn last week, and I was inspired. I haven't been a fan of their yarns in the past, but the new Fibra Natura line has some nice yarn. Remi contributed the yarn and I have designed a capelet that will serve as a sample for Charlotte Yarn.

The design is driven by the desire to teach a new lace class. I've chosen several laces and some other techniques which give me a wealth of topics to teach and will create something pretty. I'm still test knitting the pattern, but it will be done soon. Here's a look--
Yep, I started with the old F&F to get the scalloped edge. (The yarn bowl came from KnitWitch and is amazing.)

The yarn is Sea Song which is 80% cotton and 20% Seacell (Kelp fiber). The Seacell makes this cotton drape beautifully. I'm not sure how or even if it will block, but unblocked it looks good and feels great. I think I'll close it with a big blue ribbon. Maybe.

Anyway this designing so I can teach what I consider a great class is a bit different from my earlier designs. They have usually been to teach ME something.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hillary comes to Charlotte; New Noro on needles

Chelsea introduced her mom in glowing terms. She smiled and looked at Hillary with so much love and pride. What a lovely young woman.
Hillary spoke for at least 45 minutes. She was strong, articulate, very specific, and very warm. I had heard many sound bites from her stump speech, but hearing the whole thing was wonderful. I'm nervous about the Tuesday primary; I do so want her to win.

Do you think the reason she looks so rested, energetic, and calm after all these months might be because she is a secret knitter? Speaking of knitting . . .

This is the new Noro sock yarn in a very bold and tropical colorway. Think parrots in the Amazon forest. The jury is still out on whether I like it or not. Of course I love the color, but there are some issues. It is a single ply as is most Noro. To be strong enough for a sock, it had to be really overspun; that's why it keeps twisting back on itself. I never pull more than a yard and a bit off the ball at any time and this helps the kinky frustration.

It feels a bit stiff, yet I think the above is going to be fingerless gloves. When I slide it down over my hand, it feels very nice, not at all scratchy.

I'm knitting a Twisted Austrian Traveling st pattern on the front and back. These st patterns are never easy, but they are even more difficult with this yarn. It has so very little stretch. I was a dork for even trying this with this yarn, but sometimes you get so far along and it looks really pretty and you just refuse to give up. At least I do.

I've started adding on the thumb gusset. I'm just winging it so I may wind up with a teapot cozy. I just love knitting on the edge---it's really not a steep one.

More new projects are coming soon.

Friday, May 02, 2008

What about this?

This is a tank designed by Ann Budd and free on the Interweave Knits site. I looked at all the projects on Ravelry. Lots of disatified folks; most found they knit it too large. They also used a soft spun cotton like Blue Sky Organic Cotton and it knits big and has no memory. I'm thinking something like Cascade Fixation with that bit of elastic to give it memory. Maybe a cabled cotton yarn.

Kate B. has a sewing pattern with this pointed front and it is very flattering. The trick is to keep the point shorter than the sweater above. Several people wound up with the point in a very risque position. The bias knitting also can round the belly and make you look pregnant. So why am I even considering this?

I think you could shape the waist area by knitting that section in a needle about two sizes smaller. I don't want an extreme shape, just to control the shape and skim the body. I also think a DK weight would look better on me. I do like the striped yarns with it. It would be possible to knit it to fit the sewing pattern and use a drapey stitch pattern instead of the bias knit.

Like I said, I'm just thinking about it. Any advice?

UFO report
Central Park Hoodie is at present a vest with no hood. I have bought a zipper and will decide about sleeves after I try it on with the zipper. I'm sure the hood is a non-starter.

Nova yarn lace socks are at a stand still.

I'm playing with Noro Sock Yarn and I think I'm making hand warmers. Only a few more rows before I have to commit to those over socks.

I have some seacell yarn from the shop and have designed a summer lacy capelet. It's about half finished and will go to Remi at Charlotte Yarn for a shop sample. The pattern is my property, and I will offer a class on it. It's a fun thing to wear and I've deliberately chosen some fun lace and stitch patterns which I will enjoy teaching.

A Finished Object!
I've finished the baby faux cable socks for DH. I'll post picks here and on Ravelry later. They aren't on this computer and the home network Davey and Dani created for me isn't working. We'll fix it later. They are working with an adventurous computer user who has large, significant holes in her knowledge.