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.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Yarn Tasting

Last week Holley's Yarn Shoppe did a Yarn Tasting sponsored by Cascade Yarns.  Mike, their salesman extraordinaire, brought probably 20 different yarns that you could sample.  I've heard of such things, but not been to one before.  It was lots of fun.  I brought my own needles, but they had some.  When I think of Cascade, I think of Cascade 220 and Master's swatches.  Perfectly good, serviceable yarn in over 100 colors, but after years of working on Master's swatches, it doesn't sound inspiring.  But there were some very inspiring yarns.  I played with four.

This one is Alpaca Lace.  It was the last one I tried (I was running out of time so it is short) and it is nice but not really different from any other baby alpaca lace.  I did like this color a lot though and they do have a wide range of colors and hand paints.

Second, was Heritage Silk, which is 85% super wash merino and 15% silk.  I was intrigued by the combination.  I don't use super wash that often, actually not at all.  They had a sample mitten in it that was adorable, but it felt a bit scratchy.  Maybe they didn't block it, because mine swatch feels pretty good.  The stitch definition was very good - Master Knitters, do not pay attention to my tension - not ideal circumstances.  On size two needles, I got 7 sts to an inch.  I have a mitten template at 6 sts to the inch, but I don't think I would want to go up an needle size.  Their mittens were lined for warmth and with this yarn, that would be advisable.  It comes in 28 great colors so this is a definite possibility.

Third was Cash Vero, a merino, cashmere, acrylic blend.  It feels great and much more cost effective than some of the yarns I have been using.  It would be perfect for knitting for teenagers.  Lots of great colors and the picture doesn't convey how great it feels.

The fourth was my favorite and it was actually the first I played with - Eco Alpaca.  It is 100% baby alpaca in 24 natural, undyed colors.  Some are blends of colors, what I would call marled.  This is so soft without the scratchiness of some alpaca.  Great stitch definition.  On size four needles I had a gauge of 5 sts to an inch.  This yarn is going to haunt me until I buy some and start knitting.  (Unfortunately, it isn't one Holleys carries.)

All in all, a fun evening of playing with yarn.  Thanks to Holleys and Cascade for doing this.  I even won a door prize.