Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Egypt time again.

So why do I wait until November to start Holiday presents is my main question???   I do it every year and every year I get nuts.  Yarn does not spoil or mold as our stashes have shown us for many years so why do I think a knitted present will be old if I make it 6 months in advance?  Got any clues for me?

Here's my list:

1- hot pads for my mother  √
2- a specific something, maybe 2, for my sister but she reads this so I am not going to say.
3- texting mitts for one grand daughter - half a √
4- a felted bag for the other granddaughter - started
5- socks for Jim
6- finish my shruggy shawl to wear Christmas eve - half a √
7- a hat or a scarf for my DIL
8- a thank you scarf for Teri
9- there is/are probably another one or two hiding some where in the yarn room

I am not about to set a schedule as the Yarn Harlot does.  It would make me frantic.  Although it actually might bring home reality and save the cost of the cruise down the Nile.

Back to outer space.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh Baby!

At this point in my life I am thankfully well beyond having babies of my own.  Our children seem to be beyond that point as well, as the youngest grand is 8. Darn! As I do love making baby things and shopping for those cute tiny items.  However I hope the older grands, 16 and 18 wait a bit longer to procreate and not make some just so I can knit.

However knitting/spinning folk in my purview are currently creating little ones and that is just so fine. Even though I love making baby sweaters I really don't know how small to make them but just do my best and figure that at some point the dear little one will grow into them.

Aziza popped out fraternal twins in late June.  They are her third set, 2 girls, 2 boys and this time, a boy and a girl.  Aziza is also a twin as is her mom.

Sharon and I spun 4 oz Panda fiber for each project and then made these neat Presto Chango sweaters for Abram Clarence in Clematis Vine plied with Fern and, on the right, Zaylee Elaine in Butterfly Bush.

Meanwhile T was baking a boy for herself and DH Jeremy.  Little Theodore Joseph, to be known as Theo, was born on November 2 weighing in at 9lbs 10oz  of "total love muffin" to quote his mom.
Newborn Theo and his Dad Jeremy.

  The Garter Yoke Sweater and Berry Baby Hat was almost ready by that time.  Of course, it has yet to reach the tyke but hopefully next week our calendars will mesh.  It's knit from our new sportweight superwash merino yarn.

Next up was Kristin. She was was not due until January, but the docs decided the baby was in danger so were closely monitoring both Kristin and the babe. Instead of a prayer shawl I decided to knit a prayer sweater (another garter yoke). The Berry Baby Hat (my fav baby hat that has just a wee bit of fair isle at the tip and a top knot as well) was completed at 6:30 Wed evening, 11/24, and Julia Beverly was born at 9:01 by C-section.

Whew! I know a lot of people were sending love and prayers their way and am so glad to have played a small part in her safe passage to us here on earth.

She's only ONE pound 9 ounces in this picture.  Modern neo natal medicine is producing miracles but I am still sending love and prayers.

Hopefully by the time she is released from the hospital in January she will fit into this newborn sized outfit.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paying it Forward

photo by Bill Price, III

Ruth A, Kris C, Ruth C and I are teaching knitting and crocheting to a group of Cornell grad students at Cornell's Big Red Barn on Monday nights. Kris, who is a manager of this grad and professional gathering place, thought the idea up as our previous charity knitting group was dissolving.

The four of us volunteer our expertise and services while the students gets these classes for free but, in exchange, make one item for charity for every item they make for themselves.

Our local Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Task Force, along with other local services, is targeting Trinity Place as our current receiver of knitted goods.  There have been 4 public knitting sessions at Out for Health with local yarn shops and dyers donating yarn and goodies for the cause.

I am used to teaching middle schoolers so the level of continued interest and understanding while teaching knitting is uplifting to me.  These folks have come a long way in just a few short weeks. Of course we have some attrition, but the students who have continued are fabulous.

We began with basic knitting, learning to knit a garter stitch swatch the first night, all with circular needles.  By the end of the evening several of the women had also learned how to do a purl stitch plus a long tail cast on.  We have given no homework but since these folks have an incredible self drive they continue as time permits during the week.

For the second session several were ready to start a hat in the round, while a few frogged their swatches and became much better at keeping a consistent tension and number of stitches on the needle.

As the women ask questions we talk about knitting history and knitting language and knitting culture. The hour and a half flies by, and goes even faster when Ruth and I are treated to a glass of beer.

I made a Beginner's Hat sheet for them to follow.  Essentially, finding gauge from their swatch, measuring their heads and figuring out how many stitches to cast on.  Most came out with 4.5 st/in which is spot on for the yarns we were using (all worsted weights).  The majority started a hat that evening.  Basically a tube that is kitchenered at the top. Then the ends are folded down and held with a button.

Cute and simple.   By Session 3 we saw incredible progress.  One student had finished her tube and was waiting for kitchener instructions, but was so in love with knitting she went ahead and started a second hat with a ribbed bottom.  Another student made up her own stitch, which was really a version of basket weave 5 x5, only hers decreased  to 4 x 4, 3 x 3, etc as she decreased stitches on her needle, and then was stopped by too few stitches to move around the circ.  So that evening Ruth and I taught a few of them how to use dpns.
They are so incredibly into this!  I get so excited and high at these sessions just from the combined enthusiasm and joy we are all creating together.  Really, the beer is just an added bonus.

These are some of the crochet students.

Next week we were supposed to have a week off for Thanksgiving but our knitting students asked for a Field Trip instead.  We will be meeting at a local yarn shop, then going to Joanne Fabrics to look at buttons, then over to AC Moore for yarn shop contrast and then back to the original mall to have dinner or soft drinks and knit together for a while.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Announcing Estrella

I am pleased and proud to announce that my faroese shawl, Estrella, is now up on the Knit Picks IDP site.  This is the 5th pattern accepted by Knit Picks. They are incredibly easy and supportive people to work with.

I designed this shawl to start from the mostest amount of stitches and then decrease to the least.  My reasoning is:  I get bored or tired of a project after a while and if the amount of stitches is increasing then I have less chance of actually finishing the piece.  I am assuming some of you think this way too.
The instructions are line by line in a table format for ease of following.  

Check it out!

The other 4 are:

Butterflies and Kisses Leg Warmers - fast and delightful for any teenage girl on your gift list.

Sea Shell Socks as seen in the October Knit Picks catalog, p39.  A beautiful toe up sock that uses actual foot measurements to make sure this one fits the foot it is meant for.

Berry Pie Socks - a cuff down 2 color creation that is seriously easier than it looks.  Clear detailed instructions and pictures are included.

And the Linear Shawl - knit side to side.  This one is a good take along project.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here we go again.

I am in the midst of packing up the shop, so we can pack up the Uhaul so we can drive it to Fairport, NY (near Rochester) so we can unpack the Uhaul and set up our booth at the Lake Country Fiber Festival this weekend.

In the midst of this packing and printing of patterns and such I took a break to look at the Yarn Harlot's latest blog.  

November 10, 2010

Waiting Well

I am sitting in the Vancouver airport, waiting for my next flight, and knitting silk hankies into pretty mittens. 

I'm enjoying doing so in front of ordinary people, many who are perplexed and interested, watching me pull a single cocoon layer off  the hankies, peering while I draft and knit, then looking away quickly when I look up. The woman in the seat next to me all the way here was out of her mind with curiosity, but couldn't bring herself to ask. 

I didn't tell her.  They really need to take the first step before I go all missionary on them.
What are you doing? 
What a great idea!  I will have silk hankies, mostly undyed, available at the show for anyone wanting to try their hand at this neat project.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not south enough

I wanted to show you the inspiration for the Tamarack & Spruce Colorway.  It took most of the weekend and many almost shots to get any clear enough to keep.  The rain, snow, wet snow, sleet and greyness in the Adirondacks didn't help much but on Sunday there were patches of sun periodically lending not only some great light but hope for a clearing day ahead.
The above pic is on the other side of the 'Lake' from the cottage.  It really is no bigger than a good sized pond but the person who creatively named the lakes in the Fulton Chain - 1st Lake, 2nd Lake, 3rd Lake, etc chose not to name this one 3rd Pond (there's a First and Second Pond before the beginning of this chain) for some unknown reason.
This pic below shows a goodly range of the colors the Tamarack can turn as it sheds its needles.

The colors are about gone in the Adirondacks.  Peak was weeks ago and grey stormy November is settling in.  However I always find beauty in the area.  I especially love the Moose River and all its winding sections.  A number of years ago, when I was dyeing silk, embroidering on silk and in general making Art Quilts, I put this piece together.  It really embodies early November in the Central Adirondack Region to me.

We left the Adirondacks late morning with the temps at 30ish and and happily watched them climb to about 45 as we drove southwest, arriving home late yesterday afternoon, experiencing sleet, corn snow, rain, sleet, rain, snow etc along the way.  However we saw enough patches of sky to be hopeful for today (plus the forecast said it would be partly sunny).  I awoke this morning to this view out my bedroom window.  

Alas, 4.5 hours southwest is not enough.