Friday, March 06, 2015

The Color Genius of Koigu

The ladies of Koigu have always made an amazing product when it came to their yarns, but their designs are really starting to match the spectacular beauty of their colors.

Latest Koigu Pattern Book

If you're crazy about color (like I am), and you like/love shawls, there is a new design book you must get...even if you just use it for inspiration or to see brilliant ways of mixing stitch patterns with handpainted yarns like Koigu.

I was fortunate to have gotten an advanced copy of  Wrapped in Color: 30 Shawls to Knit in Koigu Handpainted Yarns, which ships in less than 2 weeks (March 17th), but can be ordered now.  The book is filled with 30 shawl patterns in varying weights of yarn.

I can't imagine anyone that wouldn't want to wrap themselves in the rich, vibrant colors (they'd say colours)...especially when they use multiple colorways and interesting stitch patterns that  show off the yarns to their best advantage.  A perfect example is the "Alligator" shawl in the book.

I've designed a number of items using Koigu KPPPM, and found the secret of blending multiple colorways of Koigu into one garment, is to use a stitch pattern that blends the colors by intermixing different rows of knitting (as with slip stitch patterns, or like Alligator above, with elongated stitches).  This book is chock-full of those kinds of patterns and shawl designs.

This is my favorite Koigu pattern book so glad to have it in my library.

Current Knitting

Finished the socks in Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn.

I couldn't have found a better project to complete for this color-filled blog entry today.  One thing I can say about Noro is that their colors are fantastic.

Adding the neon pink yarn as the contrasting toe and heel might have made this pair of socks a bit clownish looking, but I love them anyway and not many people will get to see the foot of the sock when I wear them anyway.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

QueerJoe Is Odd As Well

Am I the Only Person on the Planet That Doesn't Like Nutella?

Just Don't Get It

I've never been crazy about chocolate...I mean, I like chocolate because it's sweet and I like sweet, but I'd just as soon eat jelly beans than chocolate.  And I love peanut butter.  And I find it hard to find any readily available candy that I like better than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

But there is NOTHING I find appetizing or appealing about Nutella.

It's goopy texture is completely unappealing.  It has a drab dirt color.  And the taste is just plain awful.

What is it that I'm missing here?

I've seen Pinterest postings for recipes for everything from Nutella cookies, to protein shakes and even Nutella panna cotta.

I only have one word..."yuck."

Current Knitting

I got a bit distracted on my two current projects.  It seems Thaddeus found an old London Beanie that I made years ago.

Whenever his hair wasn't looking good this Winter, he'd throw on this old rag, and never fail, he'd get at least a couple of compliments on what a great hat it is.  Really!?!?

So his hairdresser went gaga over the hat and asked if he could buy I made a few more of them with Noro Kureyon I had hanging around (they take about 2 hours to make).

He loved the middle one on of the top three, and now Thaddeus won't have to tip him next time he has his hair cut.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Pros and Cons of Linen Stitch

When I first started knitting and I would find variegated yarns in Woolworths (yes, I'm that old), I wish I had known about Linen Stitch back then.

The Versatile Color-Mixing Stitch Pattern - Linen Stitch

I think the Linen Stitch is one of the most under-utilized  stitch patterns in knitting...especially when it comes to variegated yarns and issues with streaks and pooling of colors.

First of all, the pattern stitch (for those who don't know it and don't want to search further on the internet:

Linen Stitch:

 Cast on any even number of stitches.

Row 1:  K1, Slip 1 (with yarn in front), rep to last 2 sts, K2
Row 2:  P1, Slip 1 (with yarn in back), rep to last 2 sts., P2

Simple stitch with only a two row repeat
Creates flat, woven-like fabric that doesn't curl very much
Mixes colors well in variegated yarns, avoiding pooling
Works very well with striping different colors/colorways of yarns
Maximizes use of of yarn
Knit on needles much larger than what the yarn would normally call for

Like 1X1 ribbing, requires the yarn to go back and forth between each stitch
Grows more slowly than most knitted fabric
Has no seam that is invisible when joined at the sides

Current Knitting

As noted, I do have progress photos of what I'm currently working on.  And of course, the first is the linen stitch blanket.

I have a few more feet of knitting on this beauty, and as noted in the description of the linen stitch, it stripes nicely and works well with variegated yarns.

I've also moved right along on my Kureyon socks.

They obviously don't match, but I like that (with all the knots in Noro yarns, it's very difficult to get two matching socks anyway...I've given up trying).  But the colors are stunning.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Designer Obsession

Ever since I had the good fortune to have lunch with Lucy Neatby, I have been a huge fan (I can never thank Fredda enough for inviting me that day!).

My Latest Obsession

Have you seen the double-knit zinnia blanket pattern that Lucy has been making?

Yes...this is knitting...not painting or graphic arts!  I've written about Lucy's work in the past, but this latest design is by far, one of my favorites.  I just purchased it on Ravelry for CAN$9.00 (or about US$7.31). 

I'm hopeful that the yarn (Kauni) does most of the work, but I love how this blanket looks.  Can't wait to try one of my own.

Current Knitting

More progress on both the Unforgettable blanket and the Noro socks.

But not enough to show in photos...progress photos next blog entry.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spiritual Pursuits

Over the course of the first 55 years of my life, I've tried a number of different ways to access the spiritual, and while I have a long way to go, I thought I'd share some of the ways that have worked for me.

QueerJoe's Paths

Catholicism - My religion of upbringing, which has both shunned me and I have shunned back provided me with an incredible love of ritual.  I found an enormous amount of spirituality in the rites of the mass, communion, penance, the rosary, etc.  I still hate the organization, and I wouldn't lend my time or energy to such a hateful, destructive organization, but I did find a deep level of spirituality during my teen years.

Buddhist Meditation - a lot of the local teens starting hanging out with Tony, a local Buddhist, who had a great meditation room and allowed them to meditate there.  I tried it a couple of times, but my teenage mind was way too distracted to find any spirituality there.

est - The est organization was big in the 70's and a friend of mine convinced me I should do the est Training.  I took the two weekend training in 1979 and continued with seminars, and graduate workshops for about 7 or 8 years afterwards.  While it now exists in a very different format (called the Landmark Forum), my original work with est I attribute to much of the success I've had as a human.

Reiki - Back in the 80's, I had the opportunity to attend a demonstration for Reiki and ending up getting both my first and second degree in Reiki.  I participated in a Reiki Healing Network, providing treatments to people with AIDS and had some amazing experiences with energy healing.

Chiropractice, Massage, Yoga, Meditation - Over the years I've tried many different forms of bodywork,  massage, a little bit of Yoga and some meditation.  While I benefited from some of it immensely, I can't say I ever found a lot of spiritual value in these practices.

Rolfing - I was fortunate a few years ago to find an Advanced Certified Rolfing practitioner only 5 miles from my home, and I found this technique to be one of the most effective ways of dealing with an aging body.  But again, not much spirituality for me there.

Breema - My latest attempt at living soulfully has been my favorite so far.  If you have a Breema practitioner near you and you can afford to try this amazing form of therapeutic bodywork, I would highly recommend it.  For those open to the spiritual aspect of this practice, it can be even more profound.  The accessing of the spiritual through the body has finally allowed me to experience the peace and mindfulness that eluded me in meditation practices and I can't say enough about it.

Current Knitting

It's amazing how much progress can be made when I focus primarily on one project...even when that project is a blanket.

The Linen Stitch blanket for my niece in Lion Brand Unforgettable yarn is coming along very nicely. This is approximately 38 inches toward what will eventually be about 60 inches.

I don't think it's possible to stick with one sole project, so I do have a pair of socks on the needles.

These are the ones I'm photographing to use as a photo tutorial on the pattern for QueerJoe's Standard Sock Pattern, which should be up on Ravelry shortly after this pair of socks is complete.