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Thursday, January 19, 2017

VKLive NYC an Inspirational Weekend

 While I was on the train home I wanted to catch my thoughts and feelings of the weekend while they were fresh. 

I was able to stay with a dear friend and in between VKLive and home, we were able to catch up on all things knitterly as well as life, the universe and everything.  (Points if you know the reference.)

The first word that comes to mind is inspirational.  From the classes I took, the people I met, samples and yarns in the marketplace, to knitter's in all their best fibery, there was inspiration and food for thought everywhere I looked.

The second word that comes to mind is thoughtful.  I spend much of my days/life speeding along and often I feel as if much of what I do is at the eleventh hour.  On some levels, I think I like the adrenaline rush.  Yet on other levels,  I think I would feel better if I took my time.  It would mean completely stopping the train (proverbially - and I say this because I am currently on the train home). Taking stock of what/how I want to do/spend my time/etc.

My first class was with Franklin Habit ....

I learned a lot of interesting things about cameras, general photography and tips with regards to photographing fiber.  Heretofore I shoot my pictures on the fly. I know they could be better. I learned that it takes time, practice, thoughtful preparation, and play.

Practice to learn my camera and learn how to use it 
Preparation to consider how I want to lay out a picture and do I need props,etc.
Play by taking many many pictures - you just don't know where the best shot will be.  The more photos, the more options.

Franklin's dry wit was a pleasure, the information was at the right level and totally met my expectations.   I like how he encouraged us to use items we have at hand and to play to learn.

My second class with Joii Locatelli was incredible. Sitting in her class, learning her approach to sweater design, I felt validated where I did things she does, inspired by her methods, and freed to think outside to box, She is delightful, encouraging, grateful, thoughtful and honest. I left her class raring to go (and design).

My first two classes were more theory/applications than hands on.

My third class was an all day immersion in Sequence Knitting with Cecelia Campochiaro.  It was fascinating. Cecelia brought all the samples from her incredible book (a 5 pound tome).

The different fabrics you can create based on different repetitions, fibers, weights, solid colors versus variegated, tonal/hand dyed, and any combination there of, was mind blowing as well as inspiring. Again, I left raring to go (and swatch).

One of the great things I find in taking classes as well as teaching classes is the wealth information that comes out that does not necessarily have anything to do with your class content.  It's the kind of information that adds to (what I consider) a knitter's mental toolbox of techniques.  The kind of techniques that make your knitting easier.  Little tips and tricks that we pick up along the way that empower us to modify patterns and infer knowledge when it is not spelled out.

The song "Bang on the drums all day" by Todd Rungren came to mind this weekend although I would edit the lyrics to I just want to knit all day.

And at the end of the day (and train ride) my chariot awaited with my Prince Charming and Tucker (riding shotgun).

Friday, January 6, 2017

Let's get back to the knitting at hand.

Nan is knitting Mom's Cabled Mitts and wanted help with the instructions for the thumb gusset, specifically Make One's. Yarn: Falkland Aran (Aran: 100% Falkland Merino, 197 yards).

Eleanor finished Jason's Cabled Hat for her husband in Falkland Aran. Now she's going to knit another one for her son in navy.  I love the stitch definition in the cables.

Cindy is nearly finished knitting the Baby Hat with Top Knot in Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash (Worsted: 100% Merino Wool, 218 yards).

Eileen finished her Fallen Halo cowl in Artyarns Cashmere 5 (Aran: 100% Cashmere, 102 yards).

She got a special request for a hot pink sweater for her granddaughter and Westport Yarns had just the right yarn/color.

Connecticut River Artisans
Check out this terrific ornament Cornelia's daughter gave her.  Instead of having it out for only three weeks every year, she's going to find a place to have it out year round. It's charming.

The Azel Poncho she knit for her granddaughter was a great success. Yarn: Rasta (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 90 yards). Cornelia said that "her daughter, Sarah (her aunt) got her the same poncho in a different wool while she was in London last November. This pattern must be world famous!" How cool is that!

Now that the holidays are behind us, she is continuing with her Vivacious Hi-Lo sweater
knit with Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% Superwash Wool, 220 yards).

Jane has finished knitting 12 squares for the Building Blocks Afghan she is knitting for her husband's (March) birthday. She's going to knit three more squares to make it longer. Yarn: Jade Sapphire 8 ply Cashmere (Aran: 100% Cashmere, 100 yards).

Calann picked up for the button band on Garter Yoke Baby Cardigan knit with Baby Cashmerino (Sport: 55% Wool, 33% Microfiber, 12% Cashmere, 137 yards).

Next she went onto her Flat Foot Floogie.  She finished knitting the head, redid a foot and then it's ready to be finished! Yarn: Cascade 128 (Bulky: 100% Superwash Wool, 128 yards).

Allison finished knitting the Lucy cowl for her niece. Yarn: Mini Skein Fun Size Bundles DK.

She also finished knitting her Guernsey Wrap in Anzula For Better or Worsted (Worsted: 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 200 yards).  She doesn't like the way the garter edge is sticking up, so she's going to have it blocked. It is truly magnificient.


She started knitting the Ring of Kerry infinity scarf in Anzula For Better or Worsted,

 Doggie selfie.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Hand Knit Holiday

Bitemoji courtesy of Thing #2.

I feel it is my "knitterly duty" (to offer) to knit my family gifts for the holidays.  I would not be heartbroken if they said now.  This year everyone said yes.

My oldest let me know early enough in the year that she completely forgot about it and kept sending me other things to knit. Those were interesting conversations. Every time she sent me a picture I would gently remind her that I was knitting her a sweater already.  She would ask for a picture to remember and say, "Oh, yeah - I like that one".  Good answer wouldn't you say? Yarn: Berroco Cirrus (Bulky: 42% Mohair, 40% Nylon, 18% Wool - Merino, 114 yards).

Her boyfriend got a striped hat, a new version of my Flap Happy Hat that I am testing out.

Yarn: Cascade 128 Superwash (Bulky: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, 128 yards).

Joe got socks.  The socks I knit him in Berroco Comfort fit him like gym socks and he's a happy camper (Worsted: 50% Nylon, 50% Acrylic, 210 yards).

Thing #1 got a Tucker Hat  knit with Cascade Spuntaneous (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 109 yards).

Then as a surprise a Mermaid Blanket in progress, knit with Caron Simply Soft Paints (Aran: 100% Acrylic, 200 yards). Yes, that's right, I wrapped it up (still on the needles). I couldn't finish it because she lives at home and every time she came into the room I had to hide it from her.  Once I measured her while she was sleeping for the length!

Thing #2 asked me for a bulky shrug about a week before the holidays. She prefaced the request with, "Is it too late to ask for something knit?". How could I say no?  At any rate, she knew it wouldn't be ready for the Holidays. The yarn is Cascade 128 Superwash.

As for me, my family and friends know me well.  My gifts encompassed a few of my favorite things: knitting bags/accessories, wine, the color purple, and dogs (and not necessarily in that order).

A few more of my favorites things.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Random Act of Kindness

The Granola Bar of Westport
Early one morning, I was walking across the parking lot to my favorite coffee shop. I greeted a man leaving the coffee shop (he had a cup of coffee in each hand and an envelope).

He headed towards me and held out the hand with the envelope and asked if I could help him out. I answered, "of course".

He asked me to take the envelope.  I did and he walked away.  Puzzled, I asked what he wanted me to do with the envelope. He answered that I should keep it.

I opened the envelope to find it was a gift card to the coffee shop.  I shouted out to him, "Thank you! What's this for?"

He answered, "you smiled and said hello ~ that made my day".

I was gobsmacked. What a wonderful experience. A purely random act of kindness. I later learned that someone had given him the card. As he is a regular at The Granola Bar, he decided to pass the gift along. The gift card originated from the Daly Method.

Whatever its origin, I was delighted by the experience and plan to "pay it forward".  Like the line from Candid Camera, "Smile ... somewhere, someplace when you least expect it, someone steps up to you and says ...."

I think we get complacent and normal civilities like saying hello get lost in the speed with which we go through our day. This was a reminder to remember the small stuff.  You never know what a small, random act of kindness might mean to the other guy. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's all in the details.

Jane has completed nine of the 12 square patterns in the Building Blocks Afghan knit with Jade Sapphire 8 ply Cashmere (Aran: 100% Cashmere, 100 yards).

She couldn't get 10th square right (top left of collage picture), so we ripped it back to where it was last correct.

At some point she made an illegal u-turn; she must have knit back in the wrong direction.  See the long loop. No ticket, ripping back the square was penance enough.

Cindy treated us to delicious homemade cookies, complete with bags to take home (if there were any left).

She is ready to begin the the elephant section of her Elephants on Parade Blanket. Yarn: Rowan Softknit Cotton (Worsted: 92% Cotton, 8% Nylon, 115 yards).

Trammi started her  Manteau Capelet over because her count was off.  We both love the pop of gold amidst the neutral tones. Yarn: Ensemble Light and Beaded Silk and Sequins Light.

Calann finished knitting the body of #396 Bergere Poncho, cuffs are knit separately and grafted or sewn on. Isn't it magnificent?  We all want her to keep it for herself rather than gift it.

She has moved onto finishing her Flat Foot Floogie. She realized that she knit one leg on a smaller needle. It is hardly noticeable. The village voted on whether to take it out. It was unanimous. Just keep knitting - it is not noticeable and certainly the baby won't notice. Yarn: Cascade 128 (Bulky: 100% Superwash wool, 128 yards).

Mallory made enormous progress on her latest stocking. The blue angora yarn we chose last week worked out perfectly for the bear's sweater.  She's going to make a tiny pompom for the bear's Santa hat.

Check out this picture of all the Christmas Stockings she has knit to date!  What incredible family heirlooms.  By the way, the Angel has a diamond necklace. It's all in the details.

Eleanor wanted to confirm that the sleeve depth of looked right on her Emerald Isle Child's Pullovers. Grandmothers in attendance felt confident that it was right.  Yarn: Plymouth Select Superwash Merino (DK: 100% Superwash Merino, 130 yards).

Her customfit sweater is up to armhole shaping.  We discussed whether to work the decreases at the beginning of the row or 1-2 stitches in.  Personally, I prefer to work them as follows: K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2. It's tidy and easier to seam if the decreases aren't on the edge of the garment. Yarn: Moonshine (Worsted: 40% Alpaca, 40% Wool, 20% Silk, 197 yards).

Cornelia has named her Vivacious Hi-Lo Pullover her "pepto bismol" sweater. Each project has it's own nickname based on the color of the yarn. It appears she's headed for a medicine cabinet them 😉. Yarn: Cascade 220 (Worsted: 100% Superwash Wool, 200 yards).

Allison is enjoying knitting her Lucy Cowl from Mini Skein Fun Size Bundles DK. 

I see a pile of cushions, Harry sees a perfect chin rest.