Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I'm reading everyone's summaries of what they did in 2012 and how they did against their goals.  The message there is don't set a goal of reducing your stash.  It is just not physically possible, no matter how much you knit.  I know mine didn't go down due to the yarn crawl and going to two TKGA shows, DFW FiberFest and Kid N Ewe.

We had an eventful year.  Moved to a new house.  Worked like the dickens at three different consulting clients, until finally joining one as a full time employee in November.  Got my Master Knitter's.  Was published in Vogue's Ultimate Hat book.  Had two other sweaters accepted for magazine publication for 2013.  Won two ribbons at the State Fair.  Survived my son getting his driver's license.  Finished 18 projects during the year - some were small.  Joined the Master Knitter Committee and realized how much I have to learn.  Conquered my fear of Knitting Socks (toe up is the secret).  Hurt my hand but managed to find a way to knit through the pain and healing process.

I had really wanted to be published this year in three publications.  I didn't quite make that but I'm happy with what I did accomplish.  My goal for this next year is to knit what I want to knit - not get distracted by knitting for publications.  My other goal is to improve my skills for assessing Master Knitter submissions.  I was working on one yesterday, level two, from a very good knitter who wasn't getting it on picking colors that go together for Fair Isle.  I ended up doing a bunch of research on color theory and importance of values in Fair Isle knitting.  It was so much fun and I learned more than when I did my own.  If I learned a tenth of that amount with every submission, I would be thrilled.  And my other goal is to get back to my Beekeeper's Quilt and do a hexipuff per day.  It is sinking in that my son will be going off to college in 18 months or so (don't make me do the math) and it is probably the only knitted thing he has ever expressed interest in.  How could I not make one for him?

One last picture from the beach, my favorite place.  Along the coastline, by the remains of some very old and decaying boat, with the state flag hung in distress mode, someone painted this sign.  It translates to "while I breathe, I hope."  Here's hoping you have a safe New Year's and a joyful, healthy and creative 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday - Holiday Version

Merry Christmas!  I hope you had a great holiday however you choose to celebrate.

We went to church on Christmas Eve, woke up to a terrible rain storm and by time we were finished Christmas dinner, we had snow!  Where many of you live that isn't a big deal but this is North Texas and snow on Christmas is not a given.

It was a fluffy, wet, heavy snow.  My poor roses were laden down - they were blooming a week ago!

In total we probably had three inches.  The snow has now stopped but it is very cold and the roads are icy.  Unfortunately I have to go to work but I'll wait an hour or so.

I did get a lot of knitting in over the last four days.  Unfortunately I don't have a lot to show for it.  The socks still look the same.  I'm working on a sweater that has been accepted for publication and that means I obsess about it being perfect.  I have started over twice now, hoping that the third time is the charm.  My mother did love her socks and they fit perfectly.

I'll skip the pictures of WIP because they haven't change.  Head over to Tami's  to see great projects in progress and have a great day.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finished Object Friday

I did manage to finish one Christmas Gift for my mother.  Socks!  She picked out the pattern and tried them on as I went so it won't be much of a surprise, but I'm happy with how they turned out.

I don't have a good picture of the lace pattern once they were finished and now they are wrapped.                                                                                                      I hope you have a great day and a wonderful holiday.  Check out the great finished objects at Wisdom begins in Wonder  and Tami's.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday - Healing!

The good news is after six weeks of having my ring finger taped, strapped or otherwise immobilized, I am now able to return to normal activities.  For the next three weeks, if I'm doing heavy activity (lifting, moving furniture, exercising, gardening) I have to put the straps on but the rest of the time I am free.  I still have to do my exercises three times per day for six weeks, but other than that I am basically healed.  The doctor says I will still have daily pain for three more months and then occasional pain for a year.   Yeah!  this is a big step forward and will speed up the knitting!  Also typing is much easier so I don't have that excuse on not blogging!

I finished a pair of socks for a Christmas present.  I started a new set for me.  Toe-up and with a mock cable.

Have a great day - hard to believe it is a week before Christmas.  Go check out the great projects at Tami's

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

So the last three weeks have gone pretty quickly.  I went back to the doctor yesterday for a check up on my finger.  The sprains are healing well and I'm on to phase two of the process.

These are called bands and it is 24x7, take them off only to do the exercises three times per day.  Typing is a bit difficult.  Knitting is tough but I think it will get easier.  After three weeks of not bending a joint, it doesn't like to do that.  I'm considering knitting to be physical therapy.  It just might take some building up.  Oh, and yes, it does hurt.  The doctor said that "you must not confuse healing and pain."  So a little pain is necessary.  Actually I'm feeling much better about the prospects.

In the meantime my socks are slowly progressing.  I also did some swatching this weekend for some new designs.  Thank you all for your encouragement on my hat design.

You know the drill  - check out Tami's to see lots of great projects.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Finished Object Friday

I hope everyone in the US survived Thanksgiving.  We had a great time cooking and watching football.      Today I have something to share that I am very thankful for.  About a year ago, actually maybe longer, I saw a call for submissions from Vogue for a hat book they were planning.  As a lark I sent in my design for my Masters Level and I was completely shocked when it was accepted.  The book came out several weeks ago, Vogue Knitting, The Ultimate Hat  but the pictures of patterns were just uploaded last week.  My hat was selected as their Beret example.
I am so honored to be in this book.  It really is a very complete guide to hats, describing the patterns and shaping of all types of hats.  It is definitely on my list of things to be thankful for.  And if you are a close reader of my blog, you will remember that my Masters Hat (in different colors) won the ribbon at the state fair.
Shows the difference color makes.

Have a great Friday, especially if this is a holiday for you and check out the great projects at Tami's and     Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday - Thanksgiving Edition

It's almost Thanksgiving, the weather is beautiful, new job is great, family is all good, and I'm still able to knit with my finger in the splint.  All in all, so much to be thankful for.

I find I can knit lace and sock weight yarn; thicker hurts my hands.  So my cardigan has made no progress even though there is less than a week of work on it.  So it is a good thing that I'm on a sock kick.

My second pair of socks with a self-striping yarn.  Going very well.

and my third pair for my mom.  This is in a great tencel/wool from Alicia Goes Around.  Great hand dyed blue color that this picture doesn't do justice.

 Wishing everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday, with food, family, and lots of yarn!  Check out Tami's to see all the great projects.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Combination Work in Progress and Finished Object

I started this post on Tuesday night.  It is now Thursday night.  I have a bit of an excuse.  My big news is that I hurt my ring finger on my right hand back in July.  Why would that qualify as news you ask?  Because I just ignored it for four and a half months because I was afraid that they would tell me not to knit or that I had arthritis  or needed surgery.  So I said nothing, knit through the pain and told no one until two weeks ago at my annual physical.  The doctor sent me to a specialist. The good news is no surgery, no weird shots, no bone damage, no arthritis.  I sprained a tendon and a ligament and need to wear a splint for maybe three weeks.
The doctor was very apologetic of how this will be a long, three phase healing process and I will have pain for at least four months.  Hey, I've lived with it for five months with some pretty serious pain when I did a lot of knitting.  No surgery - great, I can live with some pain.  I can knit, though it is slow.  Typing is also difficult.  An excuse for poor spelling.  Two days later, I'm getting a better idea of what he meant by pain.  This is going to be highly annoying.  If I don't hurt one of the other fingers in the process it will be a miracle.  By the end of the day, it hurts pretty much.  Of course that is when I want to knit.  This work in progress stuff will hang around for a very long time I'm afraid.  

But here is what I have in the works.  My second pair of socks.  Toe up and two at a time has been a revelation.

My Sophia sweater is progressing slooooowly.  I'm almost done the sleeves.  

For a finished object, I never shared my first pair of socks.  I'm wearing them now.  Very plain but I love them.  

I'm excited that this weekend is the Kid 'n Ewe fiberfest in Boerne TX.  I'm going to go on Saturday for the first time.  It is supposed to be great.  I might not be able to knit much but I can buy yarn!

So, tomorrow head to Tami's and Wisdom begins in Wonder to see great items.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Finished Object Friday

Today I can share my latest pattern for Knit Picks, Heritage Mittens and Hat.  It just went up yesterday and I'm very pleased with how they came out.

I actually did it in two different color ways, the purple, pink and grey and the red, yellow and black.
This was a lot of knitting that I wasn't able to share here for several weeks, but now I can.  I have to say that I love when they do the pictures because their models are so cute and their pictures are so much better than mine.

On other fronts, I started a new job this week and am very excited about it.  But it has cut into my previously free-wheeling schedule and knitting time.  But it is all good and I'm thankful for it.

Since it is Friday, head over to Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see lots of great inspiration.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Work in progress Wednesday

Yeah, I finished my deadline driven knitting yesterday.  Hopefully I will be able to share some of them soon but one will wait until February.  It is very nice to be able to just knit to knit.  And I have all that yarn crawl yarn to work on.

My Sophia Cable Vent Jacket is actually making progress.  Fronts and back are done and I'm a third of the way through the sleeves.  No pictures but it is moving along.

And I may have conquered my dislike of making socks!  I don't want to jinx it but the secret for me is toe up.  This means I'll have something to share on Friday but till then here is what I have started as my second pair.

I have had this yarn for YEARS and I like the way it is knitting up into the stripes.  This will be just a plain toe up, slip heel sock.

While taking pictures of yarn and projects, I tricked my camera shy cat into a pretty decent picture.

Enjoy your Wednesday and check out the projects at Tami's

Monday, October 15, 2012

Yarn Crawl Update

Over the weekend I went to six stores on the Yarn Crawl.  Three were very close to my house and the others were ones that I hadn't ever been too.  That is the great thing of the Yarn Crawl, it is the encouragement to get out of my rut.

On Friday I went to Yarn and Stitches, which is close to my house but I had never shopped there before.  I had stopped in once to pick up a door prize donation they were making for Guild, but had never had time to really shop.  They have a very nice selection of different yarns and brands.  I realized that I need a plan before going to a shop like this.  I got some black and grey yarn for boot toppers.  There were lots of other wonderful yarns but I didn't have a plan.

I also stopped at the Wooly Ewe, the closest shop to my home.  They have had a change of ownership over the summer and they are rebuilding their stock and have a great selection.  I bought some cool, hand dyed sock yarn.

Saturday morning it was off to Fort Worth and Jennings Street Yarn.  I had never been there but they are know for their wall of color where they display the yarn by color versus brand or fiber.  This time I went with a plan - I had bought some very cool vintage buttons in Manchester made in the 40's from Maine Green Snail Shells.  They are very cool and I found some very great silk/cotton yarn that matches the buttons.  No idea what I will do but I have plenty of yarn to play with.  Linda at Jennings Street is fantastic and gave out these great yarn bags to the crawlers.

I then went to Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie.  Alyssa does a lot of programs with our Guild but I hadn't been to her shop.  I picked up a large magnetic board for holding large charts.

Final stop of the day was the Artful Bead which is a great store for jewelry and beading and they understand how knitters love beads and lace.

 Sunday afternoon, I went East to Farmersville, a small Texas town with the brick main street and public square.  What a great shop!  Diane has a great selection of yarn for knitters, crocheters and weavers in a old store on two stories - balconies, wide front sidewalk with chairs, tin ceilings, vintage clothing and jewelry and more yarn than you can image.  The name is Fiber Circle and believe it or not, Diane knows where everything is!
  I wanted yarn for a grey skirt and got some in linen and wool.  Then there was some more yarn for a different color of boot toppers. On the way to the counter, I saw some Juniper Moon baby alpaca that was just too good to pass up.  I will definitely be going back there and probably often.  They have a knitting group every other Sunday afternoon that sounds like great fun.

So that was my Yarn Crawl Adventure.  We meet up at Jacob's Reward Farm next Saturday for their Harvest Celebration and give aways.  I wouldn't have believed it was possible but I think I have seen enough yarn for awhile!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Love Yarn Day - It's a Yarn Crawl, Y'all!

Today is the day that the Craft Yarn Council designated as I Love Yarn Day.

And don't we all love yarn.  I'm planning to celebrate all weekend.  The wonderful folks at Jacob's Reward Farm have done a huge amount of work to organize a yarn crawl through about 15 different yarn shops in North Texas over a two week period of time.  In the first week, I've only managed to hit two stores, but have plans to end work early today and hit one or two and then go further afield on the weekend.  I'm going to head west to Fort Worth on Saturday and then east on Sunday to Farmersville.  

The crawl goes through next Friday so I won't come close to getting to all of them but will do more than half.  Next Saturday everyone meets up at the Farm for their Harvest festival and prizes and general yarn fun.  

To date I have been to two local Dallas shops:  Holley's and Shabby Sheep.  Both are great shops and of course I had to buy yarn at each.  That is the down side of a yarn crawl.  A little difficult on the wallet!

 At Holley's, I bought some great recycled yarn, Remix by Berroco.  Great sale price and I just love this yarn.  I'm thinking of a striped tunic in shades of cream, grey and rose pink.

At Shabby Sheep, I bought enough yarn for a cowl or scarf out of Classic Elite Mountaintop Chalet.  It is a chunky alpaca/bamboo in a chainette construction.  It feels just great.

So, I am celebrating yarn by supporting my local yarn shops.  Such a sacrifice!  Have a great weekend and I hope you have time to celebrate with yarn as well!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Finished Objects - State Fair

This year is just speeding by.  It's already State Fair time and I haven't even mentioned it here.  So I'm combining FO Friday with State Fair.  This will be my last State Fair (after this I'll count as professional by the official rules) and I did well.  I submitted three items and won two ribbons.

 A Blue Ribbon (first place) for my hat from my Masters Level Three.  Trust me that the hint of blue at the bottom right is my ribbon.

A Red Ribbon (that is second place) in the category of original design for my sweater from Masters Level Three.  I was a little annoyed that first prize went to someone who is by my definition a professional.  Hers was definitely superior to mine, but still a bit frustrating.

My third entry was my Shetland Tea Shawl - I came in tenth and they gave nine ribbons in the shawl category.  Granted, I flubbed the final grafting of the edging after dropping a needle and not being very careful on putting the stitches back on before kitchenering, but the rest was pretty darn near perfect.  10th place, really!  There were several stunning winning shawls and many had ambitious beading schemes.

I do have to say that the displays and layout were much better done than in years past.  The judges take a lot of flak in the online forums so lets give credit for a big improvement.

Hard to believe it is Friday.  Head over to Tami's to see lots of great projects.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finished Object Friday and Update from Reno

The Knit and Crochet Show is terrific.  I'm not a big gambling person so being in Reno at a casino is just a place to have great knitting classes.  I have no idea how many people are here, but there are some really terrific knitters.

Master's Day was a success.  We had 50 people and 11 committee members.  I met everyone who reviewed my level three and several other committee members I didn't know.  Watching Binka and Mary review swatches was an education!  There were some very good knitters working their way through the program.

I took Candace Eisner Strick's Strick-ly Sock knitting class and learned how to do a toe up sock where the toe and the heel are worked flat.  You can see my lovely toe here.  I need to get Candace's book to make sure I have it down, but I'm feeling more confident.  I also bought amazing silk and merino hand dyed sock yarn from Redfish Dyers to encourage me to follow through.

I took a class from Laura Ferson on Scandinavian trims.  She is a lovely person and had great samples.  My sample is not so lovely but I really like the single color trim.  Mine is the white, black and red.



I'm taking three classes from Gwen Bortner, who is amazing.  First was a class on jacket fabrics.  Amazing ideas for using hand dyed, multi-tonal yarns (which has always confused me) and using a stash.  I picked very distinct colors of red, grey and white to bring to class and while it was very different from her work, I am thrilled with how it turned out.  The difference between the top and bottom are the order in which the colors are worked.

And I did finish my sweater and the pattern is almost done.  Here is the sneak peak.  I haven't decided what to do with the pattern yet.                                                                                                                                                                               Have a great Friday.   I have no classes today, have to catch up on some work hopefully and will help out with the fashion shows today.  Tomorrow is a big class day so good to rest the brain.  out Tami's and Wisdom begins in Wonder for lots of inspiration.   Have a great weekend.                                                                           

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Greetings from Reno!  I am so excited to be at the Knit and Crochet Show this week.  Today is Master's Day and will be my third one, my first after receiving my Master's pin.  I know that I will learn so much today from the swatch reviews.  I'm also taking a sock class today because I have to conquer my dislike of knitting socks - well I suppose I don't have to conquer it but I'm willing to make another try.

And I do have progress on my knitting.  My Sophia Cable Vent Jacket now has a completed back and I made good progress on the plane on the Left Front.

I also knitted in a frenzy last weekend to finish a sweater in time to block it and bring it to the conference.  It needs some embellishment and I always planned for doing embroidery around the neck. Playing with it yesterday, in a jet lagged state but I can't blame it all on that, embroidery was not too successful.

Daisy stitch and running stitch in embroidery floss was not as successful.  This is not the sweater but the swatch from the beginning that I am practicing on - another reason to make swatches.   After playing with it, I came up with a simple chain stitch embellishment with the same yarn in black.  This is a silk cotton blend.

Starting to look better and more similar to what I see in my mind.  One more sample and then later today, or more likely tomorrow, I'm going to give it a try on the sweater.

I will try to blog about the classes I'm taking but my past history at these conferences tells me there won't be much time for that.  But I'll try.  

Check out Tami's to see lots of great fiber projects.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Color Lessons

Last week was our first guild meeting of the year and we were very fortunate to have Amy Hendrix of MadelineTosh yarns.  If you are not familiar with her yarns, you are missing a treat.  Great fibers and really striking color ways for hand-dyed yarns.

I can't do justice to her talk here, but a few points she brought out.  She did describe color in terms of value, hue, saturation and temperature.  If you have had a basic color class or art class, you have heard these terms.  She also talked about how our perception of color is altered by light and what surrounds the color - the Albers Theory.  This is demonstrated by some of his color studies like this one:

The small squares are the same color but we don't perceive it that way due to the colors around them.  She also showed a series of Monet paintings of haystacks where the only differences were the season they were painted in and time of day.  The series on Rouen Cathedral shows the same thing.

She also talked about how everyone has a personal color palette that is more sophisticated than the winter, spring, summer and fall we all learned in the 80's.  She strongly believes that everyone can wear any color based on what you put around it.  That was comforting.

Like most of us, I struggle with putting colors together.  She had advice that was a revelation to me.  She said to think about the colors you are combining in terms of their hue, value, saturation and temperature.  She finds that if she selects colors where they are the same in two of these elements and different in the other elements, it will be a pleasing combination.  If you want it to be more conservative, then maybe tweak only one element.  If you want to be bolder, change three of them.  She had people stand up next to each other to show combinations of what they were wearing and knitting to demonstrate this.  I don't have great pictures of this, but I'm letting the concept rattle around in my brain for awhile.  I'd like to use this concept in choosing my next fair isle project - who knows when that will be!

Next week is the Knit and Crochet Show by TKGA in Reno.  I'm getting there on Tuesday and am very excited about it.  But it did really put me in a time crunch this weekend.  I really wanted to finish a new sweater I've been working on and it took a marathon of knitting over the weekend to get it to where it is upstairs being blocked.  Hopefully it is dry enough to put in the suitcase by tomorrow night. My fingers on my right hand are actually sore - not a good sign so I'll take it easy until Tuesday and hopefully be okay.  You would think I would learn about deadline knitting.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Like many of you, it is hard to remember today is Wednesday and September - our hot weather came back when we thought it was gone.  School is in full swing, work is busy and I have self imposed deadlines on knitting.  I'm fitting in my blogging early in the morning before going to exercise.  It means the pictures could use a lot of help.

My Sophia Cable Vent Jacket has not gone very far.  I decided I wanted my other project done before a trip so this has been relegated to a corner.  I think I am ready to start shaping the armholes.  I never know when I am going to walk away from a project, and therefore don't put down good notes about where I am. Starting back up is then a pain.

My other project is a sweater I am designing.  It is a top down, set in sleeve project.  I took JC Briar's class on set in sleeves last spring and it was great.  Combining what I learned in that and Ann Budd's new Top Down Sweater Book with the classic Barbara Walker Knitting from the Top, I am very pleased with the result.  I always found Barbara Walker's book a bit inaccessible, but with the class and the new Ann Budd book, I think I understand it much better.  The pictures don't do it justice.  The sleeve join looks great.

My cat loves the yarn - a silk cotton mix.  This did not help the photo session.
Got to run to exercise.  Go check out Tami's to see lots of great projects.