Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Daisy Mae Memorial Inverness Cape

I just lost my 18-1/2 year old Burmese cat, Daisy Mae, to old age. I was there when she was born and I stayed with her until the end. When I called my sister, who has been with me on other, similar occasions, I told her that I just wanted to knit myself into oblivion.

I found the perfect project in "Simply Shetland 4 at Tomales Bay." It's the Inverness Cape, a lovely, simple design with a slight ruffle around the neck, a warm collar, and 21 inches of ever-increasing seed stitch, ending in a 544 stitch, 6-inch seed stitch ruffle.

I even had the yarn - 19 skeins of a defunct Knit Picks yarn called Shamrock, a heavier 4-ply yarn, in a green/blue color called McNamara. The yarn is slightly over-dyed. It leaves a blue line on the finger I use to tension the yarn, and I've found that my fingernails have a blue tinge, too - thankfully, it washes off.

So far I've put about 35 hours of knitting into it. I figure that the cape will take roughly sixty to sixty-five hours to complete.

The collar fits closely aroud the neck and needs three buttons to close it. Finding the right three buttons may be a challenge.

Back to my knitting.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

UFO's and Yarn

I've been trying to get my yarn organized. It would go faster if I didn't constantly procrastinate, but I see all the yarn and all the UFO's and have to go and sit down.

The first task was to get all the yarn and projects into one area. My small living room off my kitchen is now unaccessible, except for a passageway from the front hall to the kitchen.

I had "organized" some of my yarn by color awhile back, but realized that such a system wouldn't work for me. I don't look for yarn by color, but by type or weight. So after some delibertions, I started by putting a lot of the worsted weight yarn on a set of rolling dispay shelves, except for the giant sized zip-lock bag for Cascade yarn. Then there was a bag for all sorts of Knit Picks yarn, one bag for both Noro yarn and bamboo and bamboo-blends, 2 bags of not-worsted-weight yarn, and three (!!!) bags of Unfinished Projects. This does not include 7 very large glass jars full of sock and lace-weight yarn (I like to look at all the colors). There's still yarn lurking here and there, but not enough to worry about.

As I gathered unfinished projects and stuffed them into bags, I did realize that there were some I wasn't ever going to finish, so I could frog them and re-use the yarn; many were near completion; and I could decide what to do with the remainder at another time.

Tonight I started actually separating out some of the bags and putting the yarn into stackable plastic pails with covers (kitty litter bins - I have 11 of them. I've had cats for a long time).

Eventually, this task will be completed, and by the time the yarn is all sorted and put away, I might also have finished some of the UFO's.

One can only hope.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ah-Ha Moment

Last Thursday I showed up at Anova again to have a follow-up knitting class. I wanted to ensure that the kids could cast on and, possibly, move on to the knit stitch.

There was an interesting mix of knitters. Some of the students were comfortable with the long-tail cast on and went smoothly on to the knit stitch. A couple of them needed a little more help, and one or two were still at the beginning of the learning curve and I worked with them further.

After I got home and had a chance to think about the class and how to present the knit stitch, I had an "ah-ha" moment. I realized that knitting a stitch used the same moves I had taught for the long-tail cast on.

So today, at our second 'official' class, I presented that concept, and the students understood what I was telling them. Even though they were still 'knit-stitch-challenged,' there were proper knit stitches appearing on their needles! I was as pleased as they were!

I am insistent that they all knit continental-style, at least in class, since it will make other knitting skills easier to perform - like the purl stitch and stranded knitting. So there was a support group of knitters, sitting together working on their 'picking,' rather than 'throwing' knitting skills.

Next week we're starting on our first class project - knitting 3 small squares. Each student will put their initials on each square and have a little banner that they will add to as other projects get swatched.

Stay tuned, pictures to come.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A New Class

Today I started teaching a knitting class at the Anova School...this is going to be fun! The class consists of 5th & 6th graders, some of whom are already familiar with knitting.

Of course I had to start out with the most difficult move - long-tail cast-on, but by the end of our first class, most of the students had picked it up. I asked them to cast on about 25 stitches, and then, as they used up the tail end of the yarn, I taught them two more new things: Knitter's slang - "frogging" - and how to slide stitches off the needle and pull them out. This gave me a chance to talk a bit about how knitters often had to undo their knitting to correct mistakes or to make changes if they didn't like how things were turning out.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rhinebeck Bingo

I'm pretty sure I signed up to play Rhinebeck Bingo. I'll be there both days. Most of Saturday I'll be helping out at the Bijou Basin Ranch (Yak yarn) booth - the benefits of being a yarn rep...otherwise you might find me wandering through the animal barns giving out samples of Unicorn Fibre Wash and Fibre Rinse (another benefit of being a yarn rep). If not there, then fondling fiber and yarn!

See you at Rhinebeck!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fiber Revival 2010

There is an historical working farm in Newbury, Mass., where this year's Fiber Revival was held. There is also an alpaca farm down the road that brought over a couple of alpacas for people to view - no touching or climbing on the fence!
But the horse didn't mind getting some attention, and there was this turkey wandering around, as well as some chickens. It's a farm!

It was also a gorgeous day. The vendors provided thoughtful opportunities to enhance your stash...

There were classes throughout the day - I took a class for spinners on the difference between woolen and worsted spinning, with lots of interesting tidbits thrown in for good measure. Barbara, the instructor, brought many bags of fleece, and showed us the differences in the fleeces from different breeds, and how these differences resulted in different types of yarn. Several of us were caught sniffing the fleeces, and had to admit that we really liked the scent of the lanolin in the unwashed fleece...

I don't have pictures of the class because I was too busy spinning and sniffing.
There was a shady area where spinners set up their wheels...

Notice the custom-made cup holders on each wheel!
After all, it's summer, and spinning is thirsty work.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer of Lace

My Icelandic Shawl languished on the needles for over two years. Now all it needs is blocking, but all the knitting is done. I like shawls that will actually keep me warm, and this one will be put to good use!
I changed the browns in the original pattern to purples and teal. The yarn was orderd from Sarah's Yarns - she offered to put up a kit of the necessary yardages for knitters - and there is enough yarn left for several other projects. I'm actually using the white and greys on another scarf/shawl - Clover Fields Scarf, which is part of a knit-along on Ravelry.

I used a skein of lovely silk yarn from Yarn Sonnets to knit 198-yards of Heaven, a small shawlette/kerchief that I've been wearing as an accent piece, and pinned in place at the shoulders to cover a neckline that plunged a bit too much!

This is a picture of the Dancing Cranes Stole actually blocking! It's done! I used two skeins of Jojoland Cashmere for this stole, which was also a Ravelry knit-along. I seem to do better at finishing if I'm part of some sort of group. The stole was knit along its length, which made for long rows, but the repetition of knitting the pattern repeat made it easier to remember. I could just keep knitting the row. I find that knitting lace requires more concentration to keep the pattern in mind, but that patterns with multiple repeats go relatively quickly. Especially since I seem to make fewer mistakes, thereby avoiding the frustrations of tinking or ripping back.
Most of my knitting this summer has been on lace patterns. It's like something clicked on in my brain that said, "Lace, lace, lace!" I'm fine with that. I've finished several projects and am almost finished with my Clover Fields Scarf, and there is something very satisfying about finishing a project!