Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Patterns on Ravelry, jpknits, and Charlotte Yarn

Encircle is a one skein project and perfect for jazzing up a Tshirt.
Top Cat is a sassy little hat which knits up quickly.

Both are available for download through ravelry or through jpknits. Remi has hardcopies for sale at Charlotte Yarn.

On my needles today are a pair of socks for DH. I taught a socks on magic loop class--Hey, guys!--and had to do the homework I assigned, so I took a deep breath and started some new socks with the Shelridge Farm So Soft Sock yarn I bought in Canada. Steve picked out a different pattern, but this one from Barbara Walker looked like more fun.

The traveling stitches carve out a ribbonesque design and there are diamonds of seed st at the curves. It's a 36 row pattern, 12-14 st repeat. You do have to refer to the chart most rounds, but you aren't glued to it.

31 more days until the Charlotte Knitting Guild Retreat kicks off. There are still a few openings and the price is great. Check the website for more details. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Sofas

We have received our new sectional sofas. I'm proud to announce that they will hold three knitters and two dogs, provided all are close friends. I'm ready for some serious group knitting.

Of course, new anything makes everything old look a little dingy--unless you are counting pricey antiques. Friday was a day off for Steve so he tackled putting a coat of paint on the end wall of the den. It's highly textured and I do hate to paint brick, but we have too many different textures in here and I was tired of my table art being lost among the bricks. My teak furniture really stands out now. As Steve painted, Henry and Jake supervised. I just stacked stuff and moved stuff and generally created chaos.

A new color scheme is under advisement. This fabric has chocolate, icy blue and hot green. It's a start, and quite a change from all the red. I really want to bring in lots of apple green. A ceiling guy comes Thursday to scrape the popcorn off the ceiling. Then it's pick colors (just open a vein) and hire a painter.

Big doings this weekend. DGS#2 spent the night without his parents. This was the first time. He's so young we didn't want to put him upstairs alone, so he slept in the back bedroom aka the closet. He loved it. I sneaked a picture while he was asleep, but that eye sure does look open.

Clearly from the pictures I need to declutter and symplify. Anyone want to come coach me?

Short Row Hat; Yarn Art

I was thinking about my short row class and wished I had a simple project to give them. Just sat and knitted up this little number. The garter stitch swallows the wraps and the possibilities for colorwork are numerous.

I also did the Idiot cord on a beautiful hard carved spool I bought in Mitchell, Nebraska at the Brown Sheep Company. A local guy carves them. Then I just sewed it on.

I will put a tutorial for the hat on my website soon, so that others might get a jump start on short rows. Can't fit a garment without them.

New Yarn Art
Click here for a treat. I'm loving this public yarn art. This appears to be crochet rather than knit, but who cares?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lucky accidents

I was trying to knit a sample for the shop so folks could see how beautiful this Elsebeth Lavold Bamboucle yarn is. So I just knit another Encircle, my collar pattern.

This yarn is a bit big for the pattern and I thought I'd have to pull it out and start over, but then I lay it down, then it slipped to the floor, and then I noticed how it naturally folded at the center of the lace pattern. Not only folded over but slid into a natural curve.

Now, just between us, the whole thing was an accident, but if I get compliments on this, I will just smile. No need to let the non-knitting world know. Keep them amazed and maybe they will learn to knit.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Free--Micheline, aka Michael

I've been playing with brioche stitch. Before you say "So what?" let me tell you my history with brioche.

My friend, Michael G., who took quite a few classes from me as he began his knitting career said--"Oh, I love the look of this two color brioche hat I found in this great new book of patterns, but I can't figure it out. --blah--blah--blah Wish you'd teach a class--blah--blah--blah.

Okay, I bought the ^&(^*(%^&% book. (Can you see where this is headed?) Tried the pattern--didn't work out--spent hours trying to figure it out--no help online--determined I could conquer this--worked, cussed, worked some more--Got it!!!

Offered the class and NO ONE, especially Michael, signed up. Forgive him? Hell, no! I will harass him forever about this. If you knew Michael, you'd know how much fun that can be.

RESOLVED: Never knit brioche stitch again.

Years pass.
Fisherman Rib, a cousin to brioche, becomes a hot new stitch pattern. I get an itch to knit the two colored brioche--a cowl scarf.

Research. Eureka!!! I find Nancy Marchant's website.

She is the queen of brioche and has enough tutorials online to keep me busy for years.
I-love-this-stitch. (Earlier resolution is null and void. Again, words are eaten.) Brioche is fast, fun, and the fabric is cushy and bouncy (kind of like me). I made three cowl collars.

Here is what I learned.

1. Start with two colors. It is so much easier to see what you are doing.

2. Needle size determines if the pattern is crisp (standard size needle for the yarn)

or slouchy (go up 2 or 3 needle sizes).

Both work well.

3. You only need about 75 yards of each color.---STASH BUSTER!
Here's how I did it!

To knit this project, go to my website.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year to All

It's January 1 and Steve and I are caulking the den pre-painting. It's never ending excitement at this house.

Just read Dani's blog about not doing resolutions. My only resolution is to try to make good choices. Not a bad life philosophy actually. I always taught that life was a series of decisions you make (That's why your homework wasn't done on time.) and you have to take the consequences.

I'm working hard on pattern writing. It's hard to divorce the teacher from the designer and left alone all my patterns would be 50 pages----and therefore never finished for publication. Curvaceous has done so well that I have Follow-up-itis about anything that comes out next. Top Cat, a silk collar, and the beaded handwarmers should come out in a week or so. This has so strangled my brain that I haven't even really published my class lists.

Deciding on classes hasn't been easy either. The smart business woman would just teach what people request. But I always THINK that what they request is not really what they need to grow as a knitter.

I still want to do a rather lengthy Knit to Fit workshop series. There is so much to know and none of it hard in order to custom fit your projects. It is so sad to see someone work so hard on a project and then never wear it because it doesn't quite fit. I've frogged quite a few in my time and it isn't pleasant. I've worked out an outline and may try teaching it as individual classes.

I'm still working on my version of Nicki Epstein's Matador Jacket. Also the jacket with the mitered squares lapels. I've added a top down raglan cardi for Meghan. No socks; burned out. Need to knit DGS#2 a sweater and DGS#! a Transformer hat.

Have several lace projects in my head and have done some swatching. I'm just bouncing all over the place.

Oh, I've lost 14 lbs. Thank you, Katherine.

Still meeting lots of former students on Facebook which is great fun. One I thought was dead turned up healthy and happy. Now that was a present.

Best wishes to everyone and thanks in advance for all the things you guys will teach me this year.