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!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Chase!

Today is Chase's 13th birthday. That makes him 91 in human years!

When I brought him home 13 years ago I didn't know what I was in for. I had never raised a puppy before. Let me tell you about my experience! Yorkies are known for issues with housebreaking so I had braced myself mentally and was armed with plenty of puppy pads.

Chase was housebroken within 2 weeks. I was working during those two weeks but he just is very smart and could understand what I was asking of him. He somehow knew how to communicate to me when he had to go out - he'd scratch at the door and look over at me. Housebreaking Chase was so very easy.

This one is a very special Yorkie and I'm so very thankful he's here to celebrate another milestone. You were all with me when he was in the hospital earlier this year. This milestone means so much to me and Greg.

I can't imagine life without this guy. He cheers me up when I come home from work, he makes me laugh with his never ending search for food. I treasure him. He's such a wonderful part of my life.

I love watching him sleep. When he dreams sometimes he sort of barks and moves his paws rapidly. I can only imagine what he is chasing in his dreams.

I also love hearing him drink water. I know. WEIRD. That's ok. I love him so much. In the absence of having human children, he is one of my kids.

Because it is so late(we went to the Mariner game tonight), I just quickly looked through some of my photos of him. I'd love to share them with you

Lounging with Mama.
Riding in the boat at Bangrila.
What is this snow stuff?Happy Birthday baby Chase. Mama loves you!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bad, Bad Blogger!

I've been absent for quite some time.

Why have I been absent??

First I was working too many hours! I usually work 36 hours a week and I was putting in 60.

Then my life was just so darn full and fulfilling.

Then I had blogger's block because I had finished projects but just hadn't gotten photos taken.

I finished the Angel Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clark about 2 weeks ago. Here she is:

My first attempt at adding beads to knitting.

Oh! I saw my *boyfriend* , Michael Buble' a couple weeks ago. I LOVE Michael Buble'.

Why is he my boyfriend? My friend Jamie terms him my boyfriend because...he just is! :)

He is a showman. It was so worth the $$. So worth it. I'd pay up the you know what to get into the first 10 rows. Damn he's good. Very satisfying!!

I love Michael Buble'. Friends, family members think I am in love with him because he's good looking. Well, that is a side benefit, but honestly I just love HIS VOICE. There is just something about it, the tone, the charm and charisma that comes through that just sets him apart from other artists for me. He conveys emotion, fun and vitality. Ok, enough about my *boyfriend*.

On to other passions in my life:

Here are my Monkey socks on the sock blockers. The yarn was dyed by Plucky Knitter. Sarah, Thank You. I love my yarn and it goes so well with the pattern!

I bought this colorway because I needed socks to match my Dansko's. Cute, huh?

Here the monkeys are lounging out on the deck enjoying the last few summer days.

Other project updates(other than the Nihon Vogue projects):

Memories of Ukraine. Remember this? I was working on it when I was in Bonaire. Amy calls this my Chase sweater. This is because I was madly knitting on this to cope with being thousands of miles away from my baby Chase when he was in the hospital. This was put on the very back burner when I started the Nihon Vogue course which began right when I got back from Bonaire. I picked it back up recently and the first sleeve is almost done. This will be done just in time for fall. Its a linen sweater...uh, wrong season. Oh well. It will be ready for next spring/summer! :) I was really down last week(because of work- I almost quit) so to treat myself I started the Autumn Rose Pullover by Eunny Jang. I I don't have enough going. I had to cast-on for something of pure pleasure....(those that know me know I do this VERY often). Karen terms this startitis. We both had startitis...she cast-on for this recently as well.

One last thing...I have also done some spinning. This spinning was done during high stress and I just needed something to relax me. I didn't worry about it being even. I just wanted to spin so that is what I did. This is Dragonfibers - 50% wool and 50% bamboo. It really is pretty. I'm thinking of a knitting a simple scarf with it.

Thanks for being so patient! I'm still here. Next post- updates on my Nihon Vogue projects and course.