Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone

I know not all of you celebrate Christian holidays, but whether you go to your local Chinese restaurant on the 25th of December, or your local church, I hope you enjoy the day.

Gifts from the Far East (or Far West)

KiwiJames never ceases to amaze me with his thoughtful knit-related Christmas gifts each year.

Those lovely hand-knit stockinettes, are a bit distorted because they're filled with New Zealand chocolate.

Current Knitting

I finished the Cascade Scarf #4 project (with my modifications) and it turned out being a bit longer than 6 feet long.

I truly wish I could show you the soft, silky drape of this "garment"...it turned out as beautiful to feel as it is to look at...maybe more so if you don't like the look.

Finn is hoping you have a nice holiday season as well.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Craving the Quilting

A little while ago, Thaddeus and I had the good fortune to spend some time with quilting people, including Brandon and Kaffe at a little luncheon at Liza's (Kaffe raved about Thaddeus' apple pie...just sayin').

And Now...

...I either need to go to Morocco, or start quilting again (or both!).

Kaffe's latest masterpiece is Quilts in Morocco (check out the Amazon link and you can view many of the quilts in the book...they're amazing, which is no surprise).

It just amazes me that the quilts he and Brandon and Liza (and others) come up with can get better and better and come up with patterns and colors that are just sublime.

Two different versions of his Hexagon quilt from this book are advertised as kits at Glorious Colors and they're both...well, glorious.

Brandon is coming back locally soon to do workshops on color.  I've been to his workshops before and he his truly inspirational.

Life is a Party Cake…

Lecture by Brandon Mably
Brandon’s inspirational color  and design lecture.
Learn about Brandon’s knitting and quilting journey.
5pm-7pm: $25
January 20, 2015
Olde City Quilts, Burlington, NJ
Register & Info:  609-747-0075 or www.oldecityquilts.com

If you're more interested in interacting with him and getting in touch with your inner color-voice, you can actually design a quilt with him in Pennington.

Mad, Mad World of Color

Workshop by Brandon Mably
Design a unique color way within a traditional hexagon structure.
9am - 4pm: $120
January 21st Pennington Quilt Works, Pennington, NJ
Register & Info: 609-737-4321 or www.penningtonquilts.com 

Brandon's workshops usually sell out pretty quickly, so if you're interested, decide quickly.

Current Knitting

Finished my test hat, Stephen West's Westward design and it's a great hat design.

I'm debating on whether to add a pompom to the top of it or just leave it off and add it if my niece wants that hat and wants a pompom.  

I think I'll try to knit up two more of these hats before I see my niece and let her choose which she prefers.  I bought some yarn at twist the other night that I'll use for the two other hats.

I also got about a meter of edging finished for the kid alpaca blanket I've been knitting for a few thousand years.

Of course I'd choose an edging that grows even more slowly than the blanket (it's reversible, so it requires double the stitches for the cable section).

But truthfully, from a structural standpoint, I don't think I could have designed a nicer edging than this one.  Can't wait to see what it looks like when the blanket's finished.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Value of a Book

Having watched a number of my friends publish books, it was amazing to note how much work went into the project of getting a book into print.  Content, designs, photos, proofreading, etc, etc., etc.

P.C. - Pre-Computers

Can you imagine what it took to get a book published prior to the days of computers and digital images and e-mail?  That's what went through my mind when I found this little historical gem at my local flea market.

In addition to all the historical information Mrs. Lowes must have gathered, she would have also needed to gather a number of photographs or objects that could be photographed.

The display above shows that each illustration/photograph is covered with a tissue.  This one even has words printed on the tissue, but most others don't.  But you'll also note (if you look closely) that this book was printed in 1908...over a hundred years ago.  The printing, binding and finishing process must have been a lot of work as well.  You'll note below that some of the pages hadn't been completely cut during the finishing process, and not ONE of the readers of this book in the last 100 years found it important enough to cut this page open.

Given the importance of this book, I can fully understand why the author and publisher and all the contributors would have gone to such great lengths to get it to the readers.  I'll leave you with the first page of Mrs. Lowes' conclusions on Old Lace and Needlework.

Current Knitting

I did another few inches of work on Cascade Scarf #4 over the weekend.

I only have about 12 more inches to work on this scarf/wrap, so I anticipate I should finish it by the end of the week.  In fact, I might have finished it already, had I not started on a new test-hat project for my niece.

 This is the headband section of a hat by Stephen West called Westward.  Both the Latvian braids at the top and bottom and the chevrons both pint Westward.  I'll hope to finish the top of the hat sometime this week as well.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Everyone Should Have a Thaddeus

My husband is really quite amazing in a number of ways, but researching and learning on the internet is something he does better than most.

From Shopping to Computer Upgrades

Whether it's finding the perfect shirt to give as a gift to our brother-in-law, or teaching himself to upgrade the memory and hard drive in my lap top...Thaddeus is most impressive.

Recently, he noticed how slow my Mac Book Pro worked.  It's worked this slowly since we bought it in 2011, but since I do a lot of my computer work on my work lap top, it wasn't a big deal to me.  But it was completely unacceptable to Thaddeus.  He immediately set out to find out whether a RAM upgrade would fix the performance issue and how to find out how much RAM I actually had, and how much of it was being used.

He ended up doubling my ram from 4 to 8 gig and also replacing my hard drive with a solid state hard drive.  Even though he's never done this before, he was able to order the correct parts, determine he had all the tools necessary and install the new parts in my lap top.  The installation took about 20 minutes...it was quite surprising.

The result is, my computer runs like new...well...better than new...it's about 10 times as fast as it used to be.

And, he used the RAM he took out of my laptop, to add more to his iMac.  Like I said, amazing.

Current Knitting/Spinning

Zipping along on my current scarf/wrap project and thinking I may need to start a new project soon.

I've added about 15 inches since the last photo and I'm still enjoying working on this project.  My niece has asked me to knit her a hat, so I may add that in as a new project shortly.

I also started back spinning the mohair/romney blend I got from Mindy at Puff the Magic Rabbit.

I saw some brioche stitch knitting by Nancy Marchant on Facebook that I think would be a perfect use of this handspun yarn, so now I'm even more inspired to get some yarn made.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Selma writes, "Joe, you might really enjoy knitting the patterns of Hanne Falkenberg. Lots of color changes, fascinating engineering, and, often, totally garter stitch."

Actually, I used to love Hanne's designs when I was working in the yarn store...my current project kind of reminds me of her designs in a much simpler way.  I hated that you had to buy a kit to get her designs.  I thought they were too expensive for what you got.   Also, most of the women I knit for wouldn't have looked very good in her designs, so I never ended up doing any of them.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Stressless Knitting

Some folks tell me how peaceful it must be knitting and I usually tell them that I'm a pretty frenetic knitting and it's not peaceful or meditative for me at all.

This Project is Different

My current project is quite different.  Kind of.

Since it's all garter stitch, and requires very little shaping or color changes, my current Cascade Scarf #4 project is incredibly peaceful and meditative for me.

Don't get me wrong, I still aggressively work to get to the next color block and I want this project...like all my projects...to move along quickly.

But the actual knitting has been incredibly calming...I finally understand the Zen of knitting.

Current Knitting

I have gotten to the first block of the red color in the scarf, and I'm liking it more and more.

Just to give you a sense of scale, the center column is about 30 inches so far (and will eventually be about 72 inches.  The drape of the scarf is just beautiful and the fabric is soft and silky.

It's going to be a great scarf when it's finished.