Monday, December 24, 2007

Arrived on Christmas Eve! Perfect Timing!

When I got home from work, this was sitting in our living room. Yeah!!!!

I love getting things from overseas! This package was from Virtual Yarns.

Enclosed in this nice packaging was a book that I have been dragging my feet in purchasing.

It is The Children's Collection by Alice and Jade Starmore. I love the elephants design(reminds me of S.Africa). See Karen's latest blog post on December 24th, 2007. You will see the design I am talking about.

The next photo deserves a little explanation....

At my last monthly knitting gathering Melinda arrived wearing a lovely scarf. It looked so cozy and warm. It was just beautiful.

I was smitten. My brain said "I must knit this!".

Melinda was wearing the Seaweed Scarf. She did some nice blog entries on it. Here is what will be my Seaweed Scarf with 2ply Hebridean in the Wild Orchid colorway:

I absolutely love Virtual Yarns packaging. Even the tape is nice:

What? Nihon homework? Yes. I AM doing my homework! Just no details yet! I have to take photos.

Yes, I did knit something for Greg for Christmas. That photo to come as well.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

For Baby Harris

Who is Baby Harris?

Baby Harris is the baby of Tony Harris. Tony was an ex-WSU basketball player that was playing basketball in Brazil when he unexpectedly disappeared. You may recall the news stories of his sudden disappearance.

Ryan, of Dulaan fame, organized a Baby Harris project. Knitters and others answered the call to make something for this baby(and mom).

Here is what I created:

Here is a close-up of the eyelash detail I added for this elephant. For some reason I just have this clear picture in my head about the elephants I saw while we were in South Africa last year. I just recall their long eyelashes.

I hope Baby Harris enjoys this little blue elephant. I also hope that Baby Harris and his/her mom knows there are a lot of folks out there that care about them. I am one of those people.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Personalized Fair Isle

I'm taking a class from Janine Bajus at Churchmouse Yarn and Tea on Bainbridge Island called Personalized Fair Isle - Choosing the Colors you Love.

Our first session was two weeks ago and we have a follow up session this afternoon.

This class is to help you choose the colors you love and apply them to either an existing design or your own design based on a color inspiration. Your color inspiration could be a painting, a photo, etc.

Here Janine is showing her Acorn Sweater(?) with her inspiration for the color. This was an interesting case because if you look closely at the photo - she has one row of the pop color and it is a very bright green. Your eye/brain does not detect it right away(not even in person). It was interesting to see her other swatches for the pop color because how it looks really is dependand on how it plays with the colors it is paired with. This is the challenge of design!

When it comes to designing with color....well that big ugly thing called "lack of self confidence" comes out like a BIG DOG!

Honestly now. I go into the class full of self doubt, nerves and thoughts like "I'm not good at this". "I can't do this". Life is like that.

You have a fear. You can either go towards it or you run away from it. I'm more the type to go towards it because life is much more fulfilling if you tackle your fears.

Janine is the right person to take a color class from. You know what that day felt like? Well it was draining because I was working with my fear(which takes a lot of energy). Then things opened up. I felt like Janine was the person that came to my prison cell(of sorts) with a key to release me from my self imposed color prison.

My approach to playing with color completely changed by the end of the day. Oh! The possibilities!!! Wow.

I love her approach to color. Yes there are "rules". Her approach is more of a playful way to navigate this huge subject. She filtered the concepts to maneageable guidelines. A person can get overwhelmed with rules but this is about fun!

I'm a rule follower(because it is safe) . I just need the nudge to say it is ok to get outside the box. It is ok to develop your own sense of color.

I learned another valuable lesson - you just need to open your eyes to color. When you look outside, at a painting, a photograph you see color. Really look at the colors. What nuances do you see? Yes, it may look the main colors in a painting are blue, red, gold, yellow. But if you were to try to describe the would you describe it? (To me this is like taking the time to smell the roses)

This is my first swatch. I chose a very difficult design for my first attempt. This is Luskentyre from Alice Starmore's A Scottish Collection. I have always been drawn to this design but the colors she chose were just too yellow for me. To to Marina's finished items for 2006 and scroll down to Luskentyre to see how Starmore conceived this design.

Keep in mind this is my FIRST attempt. More versions to follow!

I gotta run to get to class...

One more photo. How cute is this? This is from a latte' at Trophy Cupcake.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Time? Where has it gone?

Obiously I have not blogged in quite some time.

When did I walk into that time machine that transported me a few weeks into the future?

I have been knitting a lot. On what?

Forest Canopy Shawl. Done! Doesn't Greg make a great model?

Modified Monkey with Socks that Rock lightweight. Colorway - Hollyday. I didn't like that the pattern and yarn were not playing well with one another. I decided to knit the foot plain. I like it better in stockinette because you can see the color nuance better. I also did Peggy and Rebecca's picot edge. Love the picot!

Kauni Cardigan. I feel the pressure to get this done before Madrona.

I finished the body, knit the shoulders together and finished one sleeve. I started the second sleeve yesterday. I am debating on re-knitting the sleeve over and working from the outside of the balls. I don't like so much yellow/orange. I have a devil on one shoulder saying I should tear it out and re-knit(me). Then there is an angel on the other shoulder saying "leave it". I must admit...the angel's voice is Ryan's.

Now this is the really, really good part. At my last Nihon session I learned this wonderful bind off for shoulder seams. Jean mentioned how it works well with fair isle. Take a look at this! Can you tell where the shoulder seam is? This is the "Where's Waldo" of shoulder seams! Pretty cool, huh?

Here is some actual homework. My v-neck swatch. The yarn is Berocco Ultra Alpaca. I just love this yarn. So soft. Although you can not tell from this photo, the stitch definition is good. It did blur a bit after washing/blocking. It is just yummy yarn and I am looking forward to working with it.

Yes, yet another NON Nihon project. Greg is going out of town "on business" for a couple weeks to Bonaire for diving. (Can you hear the sarcasm in my typed words? Cough. On business? Uh, yeah. Right. Honey - show me the money!)

This is his Christmas stocking. I said I *might* get it by the time he returns but....I have LOTS of Nihon homework to work on.

Speaking of homework....I just received a blocking board in the mail today. It is HUGE. It will be very useful. Waiting for the blocking board has been useful in procrastination justification regarding my homework. I say to myself "I can't do any homework because I need to block my knitting first". Unfortunately now it is here and I can no longer least not using that excuse!

The raglan is completely done and as soon as I block it I will post a photo.

I do have to get going on my homework.

That said....I do have other homework to do. I'm taking a fair isle color class from Janine Bajus at Churchmouse. Oh my goodness. She deserves at least a couple of posts! (I will do one on the first session, soon)

We need to have some FI swatches done for our chosen design done in colors from our color story(I feel another reason to procrastinate doing Nihon homework). I'm stalled out on that. I need some dedicated time to sit quietly. That will have to wait till Saturday. I drop Greg off at Seatac very early Saturday morning so I'm looking forward to having alone time to be with my inspiration and yarn!

Did I mention I'm also taking a spinning class? I have "homework" to do for that too. I won't have time before Wednesday night to do what I need to do. Well I might get it done if I just didn't sleep!

I could choose not to take so many classes.

Hold on a minute. I think a better solution to this time management challenge is to stop working!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I knit. I cruise the internet. I read. I connect with other fiber artits. I shop.

Do you remember that one TV commercial where the guy is sitting at his computer cruising the internet and this message comes up "You have reached the end of the Internet". This is just a funny memory that came flooding in as I thought about my internet travels.

When I cruise, sometimes I get sucked in. I see something way cool, then say to myself 'I must knit this" or "I want to spin like that!" which then leads to an action.

One week I had received a good number of packages in the mail, my husband looks at it and says "Honey, how could you EVER use all this?". (Mind you he says this in a curious tone, not a condescending one.)

I realized that for me, it comes down to Dreams.

When I see something that inspires me, that prompts me to want to take the extra step of reading, researching and eventually purchasing an item(s), it really is the act of going towards fulfilling a dream.

As a fiber artist, I have come to realize and look at my stash as bridge to my dreams. All those skeins of yarn, all those rovings, represent some dream I had in the past and continue to have for the future.

My stash and my dreams can not be separated. When I look at all the different types of yarns and roving I have I see my journey through my chosen art. It is like a tale of where I have been. I may take a different path with a particular yarn or roving in my stash than what I originally intended. This is where I see my growth as an artist.

It also means that taking some of my stash and selling it or giving it away is a way of fine tuning what direction I want my art to take.

When I explained this to Greg in this way, he said "I understand that. Ok. I get it".

Go for your dreams. They can come true.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Work has been a bear this week. A C-O-M-P-L-E-T-E pain.

I don't usually allow myself to get this stressed. I know I'm stressed when I don't eat. Most everyone that knows me knows how much I love food. I have lost 3 pounds this week...

I can't sleep. I've been up at 3am. What do I do at that time of night?/morning?

Handmaiden Cloche in 100% cashmere

A close-up

Just 2 days ago I cast on the Forest Canopy Shawl. I have knit this before(remember? For Ruth who is coming to teach at Madrona? FYI the class schedule is up!) and it is a mindless knit for me. I need a mindless knit! When I come home after 10 hours with no lunch break(or any break for that matter) this is the kind of thing I need to take me away. No "Calgon Take Me Away" for me, it is Forest Canopy Shawl take me away! I go from tearing it up on the database to tearing it up on the shawl. It is hard to de-compress after an incredibly intense day. (Wonder why I'm on the computer after I've been on it for 12 hours at work? Like I said, hard to wind down)

The yarn I am using is Sarah's (Plucky Knitter) 100% cashmere in Sea of Change colorway. You can find her Etsy shop HERE. It is so yummy and dreamy. Now if I were in Hawaii I wouldn't have to use this as an escape!

I think I have a pattern going here - luxury knitting with Cashmere. I think *Sea of Change* (aka retirement) is what I wish I was experiencing right now rather than what I'm experiencing right now.

I also cast-on for the.......Modern Quilted Wrap. Could not help myself.

Funny thing about me and overwhelm-itis? Well...after putting in a 12 hour today, totally burned from not sleeping...I just feel overwhelm all over the place.

I have too much yarn, too many UFO's, the dogs need a bath, I have homework to do but I'm too tired. I need to work tomorrow but it is my day off and I need to do homework but work is waiting for me to do what I need to do so that the project can continue to move forward.

Oh, it's just plain shitty. (Can you say pitty pot?)

I have Nihon Class this weekend but I really need to be working at work. Work will just have to wait. The thing that burns me is this. The team was put behind schedule a whopping 2 weeks because of a foreseen, preventable issue but it did not get addressed in a timely way(in my opinion). Now because we are in a bind, time-wise I have to kick butt to make this next deadline. Through no fault of my own I am being put in between a very craggy rock and a very hard place.

I am mad, tired and I miss my husband.

While all this has been going on with me, my dear husband has been partying it up and lounging in Hawaii with friends the past two weeks. Ahhhh....the luxury of being retired.

Well I am not retired and I'm cranky.

I want to be able to enjoy my class this weekend but it can be stressful as well. A full 2 days of intense learning, then add on top of that I will have to come home from class and work into the night for work. I am NOT looking forward to my weekend!

I've very cranky. Oh, oops I already said that didn't I? I realize I'm also being whiny too, aren't I?? I just realized I've been up for almost 19 hours. No wonder I'm on overwhelm.

I better go escape to my forest canopy shawl before I vent even more!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nihon Vogue Homework Update

As promised, I have photos of my Nihon Vogue homework.

What this Nihon Vogue Certificate Program? This is some information that was provided to the students in year one.

**The NAC Nihon Vogue Certificate program is a multi-year course of study accredited in 1961 by the Japanese Ministry of Education. This is a very serious course of study, similar to university study, for students wishing to become instructors or learn advanced techniques for personal satisfaction

**The Japanese techniques require drafting of patterns using metric measurements and graph paper for precise tailoring and fit.

**Our version of the first level or "Standard Course" requires 100 hours of instructional time completed in 10 weekend sessions spread out over a year's time. The students will be taught specific technical details and methodology in the Japanese way using standards set forth by the Nihon Amimono Culture Association(NAC).

**This rigorous course requires students to complete 8 different sweaters during the course. They will learn specific techniques that include measuring, drafting and adapting patterns for proper fitting, design specific garment types, knit special features such as collars, sleeves and necklines, and complete each garment with professional finishing techniques and details.

When I completed my sleeves today for the crewneck with set-in sleeves I was impressed how following the row/stitch guage along with my pattern drawing, how close and precise the finished pieces are. This is very exciting!

I am learning so much. A lot of this course is a lot of knitting. I have spent many hours getting my homework done. A LOT!

It may not be as fun or as *sexy* as what other people are knitting right the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, the Modern Quilt Wrap, Autumn Rose, etc. It is providing me with concepts, the confidence to design in the future.

I appreciate my friends and family that understand when I say "I don't have time to go out", "I can't do this" etc. because what I, and the other 14 students, are undertaking is an advanced degree of sorts. It is like going to graduate school. Any of my fellow students will attest, this a big commitment. Both financially and time-wise.

What I hate to hear from people is "its KNITTING". Can you hear the disbelief, the tone that this is ridiculous? Excuse me? I get frustrated that knitting is not considered an art, it does not get the respect it deserves. This is a passion not unlike other professions that in order to further your knowledge, skills, techniques you have to make the commitment to further your education.

Any of you that have gone to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee understand exactly what I am talking about.

Now onto the photos.

The raglan. Nearly complete. Next session we will learn about finishing the neck.

The vest. I still need to finish the right front neck decreases and short rows(thought this was already done! I also have a few more rows of the bottom ribbing to complete).

The vest back.

The crewneck with set-in sleeves. This has been a challenge - just a lot of knitting. I have learned a lot on this project. I am really jazzed about how all the pieces are coming together (both garment-wise and concept wise). This is very exciting to me. I am especially pleased with the sleeves. They actually look like sewn garments. I cannot wait to see how this garment will look when completed. I just hope it fits! :)

Here are the pieces on the drafted pattern. It is hard to see the pattern behind the knitted pieces. This particular yarn grows A LOT, width-wise, after washing but virtually no change length-wise. This is why the width of the pieces are smaller than the pattern and the legnth is just where I want them. This is another plug for why you ABSOLUTELY MUST wash/dry your guage swatches.

Crewneck back. I did not finish the neckline decreases for the back. I do not understand what I am supposed to do. I'm going to leave this as is and when we have class next week I will ask Jean about it.

Crewneck front. I think this looks pretty darn good.
Crewneck Sleeves. I love how these look. Oh, the anticipation to see if all my pieces will fit together! Oh, the excitement!
I'd like to show you some other *fun* knitting but I have spent virtually all weekend working on homework. I had to work on my day off Friday so that really put a kink in my schedule for getting all my homework done. I had laid out what I had to do and the amount of time I still have before next Saturday. Then work got in the way. So I have been buried in front of the TV (I love Court TV) all weekend long!

I still have to finish up the vest, knit and wash/dry my guage swatch for project 4 - a v-neck sweater with set-in sleeves. I am not doing a pattern on this project. I'm sticking to my prior strategy - keep things simple and do not choose fingering weight!

If any of you are interested in possibly embarking on this course, Jean Wong will be teaching some classes at Madrona in February 2008. I would recommend taking one or more of her courses so you can get a taste of what you will be learning. Her classes fill very quickly.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Do You Need a Dolce And Gabbana Knitting Bag??

I found this bag while surfing the Nordstrom website.

I had seen a very cute pair of slippers in Cannon Beach which I thought were perfect for the fiber enthusiast but didn't buy them and regretted it ever since. So I started looking for them. I found them on They are Haflinger Sheep Slippers. I got the black ones.

As I was surfing around(I love bags) I found the Dolce & Gabbana 'Miss Romantic Large' Knitting Bag. I got a good laugh at finding a D&G "Knitting Bag"! A must have for the fashion/designer conscious knitter! At the price tag of $2195 I think it is a pass for me.

Knitting must be making strides in the muggle world!

I promise Nihon Vogue homework post tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Local Supplier for Kauni Yarn!

I have been meaning to post for a number of days.

I was a model in a Louet Trunk show last Friday night- showing off a VERY cute swingy skirt called Sasha. I had seen the pattern this past summer and thought "who would knit this? I am so sure!". Well everyone...this was very cute on. Now I want to knit it. Unfortunately no one took pictures so you can't see all the very cute Louet patterns!

I don't have much spare time to knit "fun stuff" because I've been very occupied with Nihon Vogue homework. I need to take photos of the 3 garments before I do that post.

So on to the title of this post.

Village Yarn and Tea is now carrying the famous Kauni yarn. If you read blogs(especially Yarn Harlot) then you know how hot this yarn is. Melinda is the one that really got this Kauni Cardigan craze going. Once she mentioned this on her blog, I got on the bandwagon immediately. I had a hard time getting the yarn and I made friends with the designer, Ruth Sorensen. Through all the blogs and such, Margaret also got on the bandwagon and knit hers in short order. Well...she went to a Yarn Harlot event and Stephanie saw it and had to knit it as well. That is how this craze really got going. Once Stephanie gets a hold of out. That woman can move mountains!

Long story short.....

I actually assisted Village to carry this yarn. Ruth was the main go-between Kauni and Village as there were some language issues but it all worked out and now Village has that vendor relationship established. So go over there and buy them out so they can order more, you could probably even request certain colorways for their next order! (Deb, Victoria and Ellen - correct me if I am wrong on that!)

Ruth is coming in February to teach at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. She will be teaching two classes. Keep an eye out for the full Madrona schedule. Should be out on the Madrona website soon!

I am so excited! Ruth will be staying with me for a week after the retreat and we will do some local sighseeing. I am also trying to coordinate doing some kind of trunk show of sorts at Village Yarn and Tea to highlight her designs, as well as other innovative ways the yarn can be used. Although this would not be happening until February 2008, keep your eyes out on the Village Yarn and Tea website for details.

So if you live in the Seattle area and are looking for the Kauni yarn, head over to Village Yarn and Tea!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Evelyn Clark's Website is up!

I saw Evelyn last night and she told me her website is now up!

She is selling exclusive patterns and she has some other good information(tips) there.


I got to touch and see the Autumn Lace Scarf last night- so beautiful.

I bought two patterns today. The Hyacinth Lace Shawl and the Twining Leaves Lace Socks.

I'll have to add those two items to my queue in Ravelry!

Go support Evelyn. I love just about everything she designs....hence the large amount of lace yarn I have accumulated!

It is really easy to buy her patterns, isn't it? Now it is even easier because they are sent in pdf format so no waiting for it to arrive in the mailbox or trudging out in the rain to find them!

Have fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


A couple weeks ago I finally got my Ravelry invite.

Man...I can see this being a black hole. It is a good black hole but it is going to take time to put all my projects/yarn/books in there!

My username is gnomiejo.

Friend me so I can keep up with you!

Don't you think it is such a cool thing?

Annemor Sundbo

This past Wednesday night at the Seattle Knitters Guild meeting, they presented a special guest, Annemor Sundbo from Norway. Here she is signing my book, Invisible Threads. (Notice the darn water bottle in the way, again)

She spoke about the symbolism in knitting and how that has been used throughout the centuries. She had a wonderful slide show of the meaning in varying motifs as well as how certain motifs show up in knitting in x century in x country and then you see it centuries later in y country.

What I took away from this is how connected we are to all knitters-past and present. The motifs they knit all those years ago we knit today.

I'm a very sentimental person and I just eat this kind of thing up. I love being connected to those knitters from centuries ago.

These knitters knit messages into gloves or mittens. The receiver had to know what the symbols meant to understand the message and they did. This was a wonderful way to communicate.

Annemor said that even today in Norway, in expressing love to a suitor, a woman may not say "I love you" but she will express the sentiment in the mittens she knits for a man. I was surprised that this was still the case today but I think it is so touching.

Annemor's Invisible Threads book won a literary award in Norway. When she received her award, the man presenting the award said that he probably never would have read a knitting book but that this book was a fascinating read. He was happy to report that his marriage improved after reading the book because he had much more to talk to with is wife!

Annemor said we should give this book to our husband's for Christmas!

By reading Annemor's book(s) I know I will gain a whole new appreciation for the knitters that have come before me as well as knowledge of the meaning knit into garments.

Domino Knitting with Vivian Hoxbro

I know I'm a *bit* behind in my blogging. Last weekend I spent only one day at the Nordic Knitting Conference here in Seattle.

I have always wanted to take a class with Vivian Hoxbro and this was my opportunity.

I had taken domino knitting with Susanna Hansson(of Bohus fame) earlier in the year but I really wanted to take this class with Vivian. I sure am glad I did.

She was SO much fun! She is a comedian. The stories she told were very entertaining.

This class was very laid back. She handed out instructions to make either a hat or bag and you get started knitting.

We spent most of our time knitting on our projects. She demonstrated to us individually what "around the corner" meant and how to properly join the squares.

For some reason when I took Susanna's class I was unsure of what I was doing with the joins. This time I experienced a lightbulb moment. So easy. Why didn't I feel confident last time? Maybe it was just a different way of showing it. Maybe it was easy this time since since I had exposure to it before.

Vivian brought a suitcase full of garments she has designed and we got to try them all on. That was so much fun. Everyone was laughing, giddy. We were like little girls playing dress up!

Vivian will not be at Madrona in 2008 but she will be there in 2009!

Melinda has a good post about Vivian's color theory class she taught at the Nordic Knitting Conference. Check it out here.

Here is Vivian signing my books. As you can see, my Sigg water bottle is cluttering up the photo. You will notice that in my next post about Annemor Sundbo. That darn water bottle is in the way in that photo too! Maybe this water bottle will be like the sock knitting in Stephanie's photos!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cannon Beach!

Well we(Amy, Ellen and I) made it to our destination - Cannon Beach.

We made one stop along the way - Las Favorites in Kelso Washington(yes, its a yarn shop). It was a very cute shop and the owner was very nice. I bought some yarn for a very small Noni bag.

We reached Cannon Beach at 4:45 and the yarn shop here, Coastal Yarns, closes at 5. We were driving against time. We had to get there before it closed! We got there just in time. We wanted to check out the Socks that Rock yarns they carry. The store is about a block away from where we are staying. Forget checking into the hotel first! We have our priorities straight!

It was such a beautiful drive - sunny and warm.

We checked into our room. Our room has a deck that looks right over the ocean. So beautiful. We knew the weather wouldn't last so we went out to our deck and sat out in the Adirondack chairs. As knitters...had to take a photo of our hand made socks!

Here are my lovely friends in front of the Haystack.

Right now as I blog, Ellen and Amy are both knitting. Soon we'll go out for dinner and then come back and start a fire and knit some more.

This is a knitters heaven!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not Again!

I couldn't sleep so I'm up early.

I have to rip out my raglan sleeve. AGAIN!

I tried it on last night after I started the ribbing. Still too tight.

I had tried it on when it was at about elbow length. Fine.

Now. Too tight down the forearm.

I vow, to carefully measure, once again the finished width at the wrist against one of my favorite sweaters(I thought I already did this but I MUST keep in mind that this yarn/sweater is thicker - so I'll need MORE ease).

This is where knowing the amount of ease I prefer in garments is going to be very helpful!

Usually when this course is taught, the students meet weekly. Because Jean has to fly into Seattle from Vancouver, BC we meet only every 6 weeks.

In order to accommodate this schedule, even though we have been meeting since June, we have not yet completely finished a project. This means we have 3 garments going simultaneously and I don't know how much ease I prefer.

As I've said before. This is about learning.

I'm an expert at ripping out! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monthly Knitting at Naomi's

I am grateful to have such wonderful knitting friends. Once a month I host a gathering at my home and invite a bunch of fibery folk to come, eat, knit, spin, hand quilt or just hang out and chat.

After each event, I sit in my living room and just think about how lucky I am to have these people in my life. We are all different but there is one thing we share. A passion for fiber and friendship.
Thank you all for being a part of my life!

We had a smaller group than usual. It was nice and intimate.

Gail was working on Rona, a Starmore design. She came ready to c-c-cut her steeks!

Here is detail of Rona - gorgeous work Gail!

Here she is cutting! Remember to always place a magazine between the layers so you don't accidentally cut the other side!

Here is the progress I had made on my Raglan....but like magic, I took it all out!!! It was fitting too tightly. So I ripped the sleeve out, made adjustments on the finished width at the wrist, recalculated the decreases and started anew. It is much better. This photo shows it before I ripped. If I were to show it to you now, it looks pretty much the same....the adjustment was minor but it is enough to make it much more comfortable.

One thing I have learned with the Nihon not be afraid to rip out, recalculate if necessary and start again. It is all about the learning and I am learning a lot. I used to be timid about the calculations and would not want to change anything because it would mean re-calculation. I've moved past the fear and gained confidence.

Everyone was inspired by Gail's work on Rona. I took out all my Starmore books and we looked through them and then got a hair brained idea! Let's all take on a Starmore, together!!!!!

Now four of us there are taking the Nihon certification. Do you think we'll have time to make progress on a Starmore??? We are excited, optimistic and somewhat crazy! This is what I LOVE about this group!

For those of you that could not attend Saturday, wanna join us?? We are not going to knit the same design. We will each choose a design and then figure out what colors we want to do it in. So get your books out and start deciding!

We will be getting our yarn from Karen at Two Swans Yarns!

Oh! Sarah, Plucky Knitter, did a gallery post on her blog about socks people have knit with her hand dyed. Go check it out. I felt honored to be a part of this post!

While I mention being mentioned on other blogs, Ryan(who couldn't make it on Saturday) mentioned how much I laughed over her squirrel poop on her Olympic Squirrel Sweater. I get a nod with regard to my squirrel poop comment! Lovely.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Harlot and Evelyn

I began my weekend with a visit to see Stephanie, Yarn Harlot, at Third Place Books. Attending this event was a "game time decision". Ellen convinced me to go(thank you Ellen!) I had some other plans but then my common sense came back to me and I decided to go. How often, after all, does the Yarn Harlot come to town?? Hello Naomi!

Ryan,TMK and I got there around 5pm. They had not started setting up the seats yet. All of a sudden the seats were getting set up and we were busy chatting and didn't realize it. We didn't get over to the seating area in time to sit in the front row! We saved seats seats for Diana, Janine, Ellen, and Amy.

Here is Stephanie waiting to go up to the podium. I was seated in the second row and I had a very hard time getting photos. So excuse the angle and the photography. Plus I can't help it if Stephanie was not cooperating by not showing her best side! :)

She was such a crack up. I was laughing the whole hour. My cheeks were hurting by the end from laughing so much.

If you have not had the opportunity to see her speak you should check out her tour schedule and plan to go see her. It is well worth it. I even think Greg would have enjoyed her talk!

I got up bright and early Saturday morning to pick up Ellen. We were going to take a lace design class from the famous Evelyn Clark, sponsored by Madrona Fiber Arts. This class is based on her new book, Knitting Lace Triangles.

I learned a lot about how she goes about her designs. This is what I love about Evelyn and other designers like her. She doesn't believe she has the market on lace shawls or designing lace. She wants to give knitters the tools to create their own unique designs. The class was very informative and if I ever have the time, I would like to design a shawl of my own completely from scratch. I feel I could attempt it after taking this class. Somehow she makes you feel like it is attainable, easy and definitely fun!

The book is a very good starting point if you wanted to create a shawl based on four motifs, which are included in the book. She explains how to combine them, transition them into a shawl of your own design.

The class was held at Suzanne's which is the same place I attend my Nihon Vogue certification classes. Here are some photos from class.

Here is Evelyn. Looks like she is having a good time(because we are such a good class of students!)!

Here is an aerial shot of our classroom.

Here is Suzanne preparing one of our very delicious meals. Both breakfast and lunch are provided and they are always healthy and very, very yummy. Oh! She also includes afternoon snacks! I always look forward to the warm chocolate chip cookies with nuts fresh from the oven! YUM!

I know I have a lot of OTHER homework(can you say N-I-H-O-N?) to do but this is what I did the past two own lace shawl based on my own *story* of leaves and the sun reflecting off water. You cannot really see the motifs from the photo below. I am knitting with Suri Blue - a 50% suri alpaca/50% bfl mixture by Fleece Artist. This is going to make a very nice shawl. I am thoroughly enjoying knitting with this yarn! Note: Village Yarn and Tea carries this yarn if you are looking for a local supplier!

Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nihon Vogue

This past weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday in class for year one of the Nihon Vogue certification program.

As always, my mind was reeling with new information. After class Saturday I had to attend my sister Cheryl's 50th birthday party. Then Sunday night I attended this wonderful dinner at Mauro Golmarvi's home. He is the owner of Assaggio Restaurante.

By Monday morning I was wiped out and not feeling particularly well....but back to Nihon class.

We are working on 3 garments simultaneously. You have seen the top-down raglan in prior posts.

We learned the invisible bind-off and how to pickup and calculate the sleeve decreases.

Here is my progress so far:

Here is the invisible cast/bind-off. Isn't that lovely? For the next session in November, I have to have the sleeves done and bound off. Next session we will learn the techniques for the neck.

For the crewneck vest I have chosen to do a deeper neckline.

Here is the back, completed, along with the front. I am working on the neck decreases and shoulder short rows for the front. I am thinking I should do that work now before I forget how to do what I was taught!

In this photo you can see the very nice and neat, professional looking short-row. You can't even see where they were done(or can you?).

Project 3 is a crewneck with set-in long sleeves.

For our class this past weekend we only had to have the front and back knit up to the bust line.

Since we learned how to do the decreases and short rows for the vest, we will apply these techniques to this project as well. We have to have front and back completed as well as most of the sleeves! I need to get on this project because I think it will take me some time to complete.

Here is the front and back up to the bust line. One piece has one extra pattern repeat which I need to also do for the other piece. I decided to make it a bit longer than I originally planned.

I love this pattern. Here is the *right* side.

And the same pattern but on the *wrong* side.

Both sides of this pattern look nice. This particular yarn (merino, alpaca, silk) really grows width-wise after washing. The row guage does not change a bit but the stitch guage changes considerably.

So for all you knitters out there that hate MUST. Not only must you knit the swatch but you MUST also wash your swatch. Be sure to measure before and after washing. Believe me. If I hadn't washed this sucker, it would be very, very wide on me!

In fact, Jean, our instructor, would prefer her students knit two large swatches. One that will washed and one that will remain un-washed.

That said, I also need to complete my swatches for project 4 which is a V-neck sweater with set-in sleeves. I am going the simple route with this project. Stockinette only. I am going to use a 50% wool, 50% bamboo variegated yarn hand dyed by Myra of Fancy Image Yarns. I always stop by her shop when I'm at Bangrila. I bought the yarn when we were out there in August.

I'll keep y'all posted on my Nihon progress. I have a lot of homework to do in the next 6 weeks. I've also signed up for so many classes!

This coming weekend (both days) I am taking a lace design class with Evelyn Clark. During the Nordic Knitting Conference the first weekend in October I am taking only one class - Domino Knitting with Vivian Hoxbro. In late November/early December I am taking Janine Bajus' Fair Isle color workshop at Churchmouse!

That is what is so wonderful about the Seattle area...we are so fortunate to have so many artists locally that are masters in their particular area of expertise.

I have to vow to not take any other classes until Madrona in February. I don't know how I fit it all in!

That said, knitting is a true passion for me. Not only do I love this art, I love all the people I have met that share this passion!