Monday, August 27, 2007

What I have been up to lately

I am long for some Fall weather. I think Spring and Fall are my most favorite times. When the temperatures are mild and the trees and flowers are beginning or almost ending.

I left a Starbuck's cup in my car Saturday and this is how it ended up. Poor cup, it did not have a chance.

Here are my latest Trekking socks. I have had the yarn for some time and have just gotten around to making them up. This pair when pretty quickly. Not sure if I am getting faster or if the pattern was just so simple that the time needed to complete was short. Nonetheless, I like them a lot. I made them with just a simple 1x1 rib since the yarn is so colorful. lovely little niece, Alexis,who is 4 and soon to be a kindergardener. Isn't she beautiful. She took her test to determine if she could go to school this year even though she will not be 5 until November. There was never any doubt that she would pass with flying colors. Indeed, she did pass in the 95th percentile. She is ready and excited about going and even has her backpack.

She is pictured here with her wonderful big brother Erik. He is starting Middle School this year. I can hardly believe that he is a 6th grader. Boy how time flies. He is a gamer who loves to play all kinds of video games . He is also a musician, playing the big bass in school. He is a good looking young man, with a kind spirit. He is a good brother who loved his sister and watches out for her. I think they will always be good friends.

Well, it is about time to get started on Christmas things for the ones I care for. The list of items to be made includes some sock, sweaters and who knows what else. It all depends on how much time I have how many things get done. Will get started very soon now. Stay tuned for progress reports.

Hopefully I will get my invite to Ravelry soon so I can place items there as I get them done.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A couple of more things from my notes

I looked at my Russian Continental notes and had a couple more tips.
  1. Always...Always slip first stitch purlwise when doing garter stitch. It makes one loop for each two stitches. This make counting rows much easier and gives a nice smooth edge. Perfect for picking up stitched. This works great.
  2. When picking up stitches, loop the second needle through each loop along the edge then knit the loops. This makes a nice smooth seam.
  3. For a smooth bindoff-bind off on the purl side. This makes a nice edge to pick up stitches.
  • Begin by purling two together
  • Place the stitch back on the left needle lengthening the loop
  • Continue these two steps until the last stitch then pull the tail through and cut.

I hope you find these tips and helpful as I did.

On another note, I had heard of this the John C. Campbell Folk School some years ago but had lost the information. Just happened across it again and wanted to share it. It is on my list of places I want to go some day.

I never got to go to summer camp and I think this is the closest I will get. Just another thing to look forward to.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What I learned at Stitches Midwest

In addition to all of the Stitches fun in the Market, I did actually take a couple of classes. I am glad it was only two because I am not sure I could have sat through more than that and really absorbed the information.

I took Russian continental knitting and Russian grafting. I thoroughly enjoyed both. The instructor was Galina Khmeleva . I loved her no nonsense teaching style. For those of you who do not knit continental or do knit German continental this knitting style is just another technique to add to your skills. I have tried to do German continental but have not been very successful but I did find the Russian style much more comfortable. I am a thrower from way back and can knit pretty fast so it will take me a bit of practice to get up to speed with Russian continental but I think I am going to like it. I think switching still will help my hand.

Additional tips and tricks Galina imparted:

Selecting the correct needle size for the yarn being used. Here it is in a nut shell.
  1. Double the yarn then give it a twist loosely.
  2. Lay the needle along side the yarn.
  3. The needle should be the same size as the twisted yarn. Basically, the needle should be twice the size of the strand of yarn.

To determine the length of yarn to begin casting on, for instance for a sleeve, wrap the yarn around the wrist then fold the yarn over that length twice. This should eliminate running short of tail yarn with doing a long tail cast on. This works for hats, sweaters, etc.

The Russian Grafting was great also. In Russia the knitters do not join seems using Kitchner stitch or any other form of sewing. They graft sock toe and sweater seams. The beautiful shawls the knit that have the fancy edging are all grafted. It make a seamless presentation and looks though it was knitted as part of the shall. Due to the weight of some of the shawls they are knitted in pieces then grafted. If you are interested I would suggest taking a class if available in your area. I can see were I will use this technique a lot.

Another little tidbit someone else shared that is one of those "why did I not think of that." You know how when you do a knit in front and back increase you sometimes be a bump like a purl? Well, here is the great tip. Knit in the front of the stitch then rather than knitting in the back, slip the stitch onto the needle. It makes a nice smooth finish.

That is what is so fun about going to an event like stitches. Knitters are such sharing people.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What I did at Stitches Midwest

Well what can I say. You just have to be there to get the full affect. There is so much going on that it is hard to describe.

Here is our group before the Friday fashion show and banquet. Some of the group took the bus trip organized by The Studio in Kansas City and the others flew in on Thursday. I for one flew, since I did not have the extra day of vacation to do the bus.
I would love to post some of the pictures I took at the banquet but unfortunately blogger is being stubborn about uploading pictures tonight. Maybe everyone else with blogs who were at Stitches is trying to upload at the same time.

This is only a glimpse of what the Market looked like. There were 10 aisles of vendors with some across the back and front. Much fiber was felt by many hands during the time it was open. Those of us who were registered for class were able to get in Thursday evening for a preview purchase. It was nearly too much to take in. I only got through about half of it and had to go in several trips. I did not make any purchase the first night. I pretty much wanted to scope out the vendors and make a game plan. I had come equipped with patterns so I could make wise choices.

I ended up with yarn to go with some of the patterns I had selected. Here are a couple of my purchases. The Socks that Rock blow were not among the patterns but you know what? Socks are socks and a pattern is not always required.
The worsted my Gracie kitty is interested in is for a specific sweater. This yarn was on sale for 50% off so I felt good about purchasing it. As you can see Gracie feels good about it too.

A really neat thing that I did was some resting and knitting for Linus Project If you have not heard of Linus Project it if a group that knits blankets and sews quilts that are donated to children who may have had a traumatic event in their lives. It provides comfort at a time when it is most needed. The lady who was attending the booth explained that intitally she has approached Stitches to see if the group could pass out information. Stitches got on the bandwagon and provided a corner booth of the exhibit hall with tables and chairs. They contacted Plymouth Yarn who donated yarn for the cause. Knitters were welcome and eager to sit and rest then knit for a bit. What a great idea? There were enough squares knitted to make 15 + blankets.

At the same convention center was Wizard World. Basically a Scifi, comic book, video game convention. Here we ran into a few of the characters attending. There were many colorful people. I think this convention and was almost as big as ours. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

This Super Man can save me any day. I think Robin was just hanging trying to pick up some tips.
Best of all were the Star Wars Characters. They almost made wish I was going to that convention too.

Well there you have it. It was a great time and I did not want to go home, even thought I was exhausted. I definitely will do it again. Maybe not next year (not sure I could afford to do it every year) but soon. Hope if you have not attended that you too will think about going.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


HiHo HiHo it is off to Stitches Midwest I go. The day is almost here...I have been waiting for so long. I have vision of beautiful fibers and gadgets dancing in my head. Taking the class in Russian Continental and Grafting will be great fun but that is only a small part of the anticipated experience.

I am excited about getting into the Market to see what is new in the way of patterns, yarn, needles and well...everything else. My inital notion was to take an extra duffle to bring back all the yarn purchases but have changed that a little. I am only going to buy yarn I have not seen in KC. No sense hauling it back if I can get it at home.

I am off to finish packing now. Stay tuned for Stitches details.....

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bad Blogger Repents

So...once again I have been a bad blogger. It has been some time since I have posted anything. Why? I don't know other than I just have not been in the mood. Rest assured that even though I have not posted...I have been knitting in preparation for Stitches Midwest. I have several things ready to go and a couple that I may have to finish while I am there. If not, I will get them done eventually.

This is the mutil-directional scarf that I started on the way back from North Carolina. I really enjoyed doing this. The patttern is so versitile since the size you make the base triangle determines the size of the scarf. It would be very easy to make it a shawl. The concept is very similar to entrelac. I think that is going to be an addition to my to do list, maybe for next year.

This scarf is just a simple stockinette done in ribbon. Not sure I want to used that again. It is kind of a pain to use and gets twisted very easily. I do line the colors alot though. They do not show very well in the picture but they are jewel tones. I think It is something I will use a lot this fall.

And now...drum roll please. This is the yellow sweater made from Lion Brand Microspun. It is very soft and should be comfy to wear. The only thing I did not like about the fiber was that I split all the time. I had to fix stitches a lot. I must say it was very forgiving when I needed to to that. It still did not make up for the difficulty factor. The other thing I learned is that if I ever use it again, I need to go to smaller needles. It seems that the sweater is pretty heavy and therefore, it stretches when worn. I do like the color.

On another note. I did listen to the new Harry Potter. Although many may have either read the book or listened to it as I did, I will not be a spoiler and tell anything except that I did like the way the story ended.

Well I am off Thursday to Stitches Midwest, finally. I have been counting the days. It is unreal that the time is almost here. I am excited about being with my knitting friends and meeting new ones. The two classes I am taking should be interesting. Russian Continental and Grafting. I hope to learn these new techinques and be able to share what I have learned.
That being said...let me at the market. I am anxious to see what new fibers are there and hopefully make some great purchases.
Will let you know what I fine.