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!