Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow Day Foiled

On the week where the worst N'orEaster was supposed to cruise up the East Coast, I had to drive up to Albany for work.


Since Tuesday was supposed to have over a foot of snow, I figured I'd be working from my hotel room, and I'd be able to both knit and post a blog.

Hardly any of the predicted snow happened until Tuesday afternoon, but I was already at the office and had to wait to blog until this evening.

And it's just a quickie update.

Current Knitting

At our favorite local restaurant, where the family that owns the business treats Thaddeus and I like family too, the mom was talking about a hat one of here relatives had given her as a gift from Thailand.  She showed it to us, and it was a nightmare of stripes of novelty yarns.

Thaddeus' comment summed it up with, "That hat screams 'homeless woman'"!

So I set to work to try and make her something we could give her the next time I saw her, and this is what I came up with.

It had to be soft and warm, so I started out with a "lining" on the lower band.

The green yarn is a very soft and warm alpaca yarn, and th upper part is a nice soft wool

I even look less than awful in it.

Hopefully she'll like it!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Yarn Bombing

Recently, I've been asked to coordinate yarn bombing for two different events.  To both, I declined for a number of reasons, but I did wake up at 2:30 this morning wondering exactly how one goes about yarn bombing.

Photo of Kaffe Quilt exhibit yarn display on

Fiber Terrorism - Not For Me

Mostly, I don't have the time to knit up fabric that will drape over public structures.  In addition, at least in one case, I didn't think I'd have enough creative vision to make something spectacularly beautiful...I was afraid after all was said and done, it would look dumpy and stupid.

But how do you yarn bomb?
  • Do you go and measure all the surfaces you want to cover with knitted/crocheted fabric beforehand?
  • Do you have to make all fabric in acrylics?
  • Do you bang out rolls of knitted fabric on a knitting machine?
  • Do you need to coordinate colors and fabrics if others are helping to create materials?
  • Do you sew the fabric on?  Crochet it on? Use duct tape?  Plastic ties?
  • Do you do it in the secret, dark of night?
I should have known someone would have documented some of these answers.  Bali of "Twilight Taggers" details here some of the answers and tips to getting some public items covered in  yarn.

Even more so, I don't think this is an activity for me.

Current Knitting

I worked like a dog, and finished knitting up the pair of socks using ScruptuousPurl yarn from Espace Tricot in Montreal.

I'm more than pleased with how they came out.  You'll note they pretty much match (not one knot in the 400 or so yards of yarn

Friday, January 16, 2015

Heels Toes and Koigu

While work is keeping me extremely busy lately, I've still had time to obsess on color and knitting design ideas.

Two Design Tips from QueerJoe

Here are two of the many general rules I try to stick to when I'm designing something new:
  1. When using Koigu's handpainted yarns, I always try to use a slip-stitch pattern and at least two very different colorways of yarn.
  2. When knitting socks with different colored heels and toes, I like my contrasting heel and toe color to be vibrant and the point of garish.
I know these are two very specific rules, but if you're planning on designing with Koigu, or knitting socks with contrasting colored heels and/or toes, it might come in handy, no?

I discovered the first rule when I was designing my first Koigu Cross Stitch Scarf years ago.   I found this stitch pattern that I thought would work great for a scarf, and was too lazy to get up to find to "matching" skeins of Koigu and ending up using two colors that I KNEW would look terrible together (one was pastel-ly with lots of grays and the other was bright an purply/red).  What I found was that the mixing of the stitch pattern melded these two disparate colorways in beautiful ways, and whenever I tried to find matching yarns to make this scarf, the result was much more boring.

Similarly with sock heels and toes, I find loud contrasting colors work very well to show off the subtleness of the sock yarns I use.  Plus, even if it's a complete mistake (which it never has been for me) hardly anyone ever gets to see the toes and heels of my socks when I'm wearing them.

Current Knitting

I found another stitch pattern that I thought would work really well with multiple colors of Koigu, but I think I'm quite wrong.

Since I wasn't sure, I decide to knit up a small girl's top and use that as my test swatch.  I'm going to finish the garment, but I don't think it's going to turn out how I envisioned it.

I also bought some new sock yarn that I'll use as the heel and toe yarn for every sock I knit until I run out of this stuff.

This is Hot Socks Neon yarn and it's a wool/nylon blend.  Can't wait to start my next pair of socks.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Student Becomes the Teacher

It's always nice being known as the knitter...people are always asking me questions about knitwear.

Annual Friends

A good friend of ours hosts a holiday party every year, usually the first or second Saturday in January.  Each year we get to see a group of people we almost never see other than at this party.

As it turns out, a number of years ago, I was telling one of the guys there about the benefits of wool fabric as a far superior fabric than those made out of cotton.  Since he's an avid cyclist, he went out and found out about a whole line of merino wool workout clothes, and now he has been extolling the virtues of this wonder-fabric.

He goes on to tell me there's a whole line of Merino wool workout clothes and that's all he ever wears.  It's lightweight, durable, naturally odor-resistant, keeps him warm in the cold and cool in the heat.

Icebreaker is the company he buys from (select items pictured above), and he says that while the clothes are more expensive than some of the more popular brands, they last a lot longer.

I love being able to be taught new things.

Current Knitting

I was a bit all over the place in my knitting over the weekend.  I did some more work on the Scrumptiouspurl socks, and I also started a new design that I'm not sure I like yet.

I also completed (almost) the first edge of the never-ending blanket, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Hard to believe, the to give you a little scale, the border shown above is just shy of six feet wide.  Here's how much I have left to do (on this edge anyway).

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Openings and Closure

With the beginning of a new year, I've had a lot of things going on in my knitting universe.

When One Door Opens...

It's hard to believe that the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat is going into its eighth year, but it is.  We just opened up registration for the 2015 retreat, and it's already almost full, which is great news.

I think I've gushed enough about how amazing it is to be around a group of guys who all share a similar passion, and in the past two years, we've invited new knitters to help encourage their passion for fiber arts as well.  So far this year, we have 35 guys registered (we start a waiting list at 40).  30 of the guys are returning retreaters and 2 of the 5 new guys are relatively new to knitting. 

If history is any indicator, we're in for an amazing retreat in May.

If you, or someone you know had plans to join us this year, make sure you move quickly.

...Another Door Starts to Close

I just began the process of "finishing" a project that has been in progress for over 10 years.

Yes, the kid alpaca blanket is starting to be finished.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not sure I won't be adding a bit more length to it, but I thought it was time to at least start attaching the edging to the bottom edge of the blanket to make sure I liked it before I knit up yards and yards of it.

Fortunately, I love the edging...I think it finishes off the blanket in a very smart looking way.  Plus, it's nice have this soft and warm blanket covering my legs while I watch television on cold Winter nights.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Welcome to 2015

Numerologically, 2015 is an 8...not a great number for me, but I've never found numerology to be a very strong indicator of my fortune...good or bad.

2 + 0 + 1 + 5 = 8

Annual Reset

Historically, I've always taken the week between Christmas and New Year's to clean up, get organized and try and tie up loose ends.  I honestly didn't get a chance to do that this year, so I'm trying to intersperse those tasks with work.

It's going a bit more slowly, but it's starting to get done.

I figure if I get my 2015 calendar hung up in my office space by the end of January, it will be a success.

Current Knitting

Texted a photo of the three hats to my niece and she chose the purple one.  But of course, my sister showed the photo to a client of hers, who said she had to have a purple one too and she has a big head.  So now I've made two of Stephen West's hats (called Windshief) and added a pompom to both.

It's a nice little pattern using worsted weight yarn and knits up pretty quickly.

I also made some progress on the latest pair of socks in Scrumptiospurl yarn.

Almost finished with the first sock and just started the ribbing on the second one.  The yarn is lovely...but I've mentioned that before.