Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stitches Hangover

Is it possible to get too much of Stitches? I didn't think so but I spent the whole day today trying to figure out whether I was sick or not. I feel fine now, but this did of course mean that I spent the majority of the day knitting. Kind of nice really. And Stitches? It was amazing. Fun, informative, refreshing and a really great way to spend a weekend. My classes were very good, I learned some great new techniques:

I know how to make a traditional Shetland Scarf
I know how to do Twined or Two-ended knitting
I can knit Fair-Isle style with a color in each hand correctly (Really! I can now knit "English!")
I know how to assemble a Fair Isle and Norwegian sweater

Now I feel like I can tackle the Philosopher's Wool and Dale of Norway sweaters that I want to knit. Cool, no more intimidation.

Now, do you want to see what I got? I knew you would!

This is Black Water Abbey yarn for a cabled vest. This is a WOOL replacement for the Alpaca vest that I started last Spring... It shall be lovely!

Sea Silk. This was the "hot" stuff of the weekend (well this and Socks That Rock which disappeared very fast! I am going to make a wrap with this. Yummy!

Cashmere. Belisa Cashmere from Australia. Sold by the sweetest couple you could ever imagine, even though they will never read this blog because they live in the middle of nowhere and have dial up.

Sock yarn and patterns from Cookie (Kristi was there too!) via the Bay Area Knitters Co-op!!

A cone of Jaegerspun for a shawl.

New, non-alpaca yarn for a husband sweater.

I picked up a few more odds and ends that I had been wanting; books, patterns, a few tools. But that's it. I still can't believe what an amazing weekend it was. It was just so much FUN! I met some really wonderful people and had a relaxing, rejuvenating, inspiring time. Knitters are awesome! It started on Thursday in my Shetland scarf class, I had forgotten to bring cash for the yarn kit that we needed. The woman sitting next to me, another Cookie, quickly offered to lend me the money. Wow. How often does that sort of thing happen in the non-knitting "muggle" world? It continued all weekend long. I can easily say that every one I met this weekend, or simply got to know better, is truly a wonderful person.

oh yeah, Hannah got to model some socks for Cookie. Luckily she wore a l-o-n-g shirt...!
But aren't the socks cool?!

Ari also came with me on Sunday. She has been making noise about wanting to knit something. I was a bit skeptical, but I thought that if she was really interested that she could probably find something to knit at the marketplace. Well, I followed her down row after row... But she did finally find a pattern and some yarn (alpaca of course) that she liked. And when we came home she started knitting... she has made progress:
Now we just need to work on Conner. Dude. Boys knit too. (And girls like them...)
Phew. Long post.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finished Objects

I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas. Stitches starts today and I woke up at 6:30 A freakin' M. I know, I know. I don't even wake up that early on Christmas, not to mention any other day of the year unless I have to to for some torturous reason. I absolutely could not stay in bed another moment. Don't laugh (okay, go ahead, I'm laughing too)

No here is something else. Remember this (and here)? I finished knitting this some time ago. I started sewing it together and then it got put aside. I was concerned that it wouldn't fit well, I was concerned that because of that my mangled attempts at finish work it would look awful and that I would be embarrassed to show it to anyone let alone wear it on a regular basis. Well, I decided that I really wanted something to wear to Stitches that would actually make me look like a knitter and so I finished it!

Now I feel really stupid because I LOVE this sweater. It is warm and comfortable without being heavy. The colors are great and I think it fits really well. I should have finished it ages ago. Now I need to finish one more that is sitting in a bag just waiting to be pieced together. (Do you see why I am trying to move towards doing sweaters in the round?!)

Now I also need to post my dear daughters' finished object(s). Her mittens!

I am actually really proud of her on these. She really did it all on her own. I offered very minimal help and only when she asked me specifically. Go Anna! You did a great job!!!!! she made them to match the scarf that Brianna made for her for Christmas last year.

As to the rest... you will hear from me again AFTER Stitches!!!!!!!!! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stitches West is almost here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Countdown time for Stitches! Yipeee!!!

I have been looking forward to this for months. An entire weekend filled with knitting and knitters. Awesome! I am fortunate that this event, which they have in three different locations in the entire United States, takes place in my hometown! Yup the Santa Clara Convention Center is a mere 6.2 miles from my home. Of course, the UN-fortunate part of this is that I cannot justify staying in a hotel and escaping from Casa de Teenagers for the weekend. Major bummer, dude. Still, it will be a real treat to be surrounded by like minded fiber-nuts for a few days.

It all starts this Thursday with the "Traditional Shetland Scarf" class with Candace Eisner Strick. Then afterwards a group of us are supposed to meet for dinner before we go to the MARKET PREVIEW. The Preview was a lot of fun last year. A large group of people headed straight for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth so that we could stock up on Socks That Rock yarn. I'm trying not to buy too much more sock yarn until I have used a little more up, but we'll see how I hold up when faced with the beautiful colors and textures before my eyes...

On Friday I have an all day "Twined Mittens" class with Beth Brown-Reinsel. I think this is the class that I am most looking forward to since it will involve learning a completely new technique. That is always exciting, unless it is frustrating because I don't understand (erk!), help wish for the former, okay?

Saturday I have two classes with Beth Walker-O'Brien, one on "Fair-Isle Knitting" and the other on "Flawless Finishing: Norwegian and Fair-Isle Sweaters". I have heard that she is an awesome teacher and I have a couple of projects that I hope to take on this year that would benefit from a little more skill in these areas.

(Why do all of my teachers have three names?! hmmmm)

Sunday I have reserved as Market day. Most of the yarn lust should have worn off by then (? I can wish can't I?!) and I can enjoy a leisurely day of wandering the aisles and deciding what I want to spend my limited budget on. I still would like to get a husband sweater going since my last years' attempt had to be abandoned. But I haven't been able to really decide on a pattern. He really wants a cardigan, but I would a) really prefer to knit in the round and b) can't find a knit-in-the-round cardi pattern that we both like. Well, in the meantime...

I have homework for Stitches that I should be doing, a house I should be cleaning, work-work I should be doing, cooking... Dang.

OH yeah! Hannah (aka blog-mooch) now has her own blog!!!!! Go say "hi"!

Hope to see you at Stitches!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More of the Same

Yeah, I haven't posted in over a week.

I have been knitting. It's just the same 'ole things I am knitting. I wish I could knit at double speed or something. I really want to finish the Spanish Christening shawl and I am approaching the home stretch, it is just a l-o-n-g home stretch. (sigh). BUT, it is really beautiful, see:

This picture was taken after I had turned the first corner. I am about halfway done with the second side at this point, but yeah... the phrase, "miles and miles to go before I sleep" comes to mind.

I am also working on a scarf of my own design. I will publish the pattern once I am done. I am also going to work up a related pattern for a less wide version. Of course, by the time I am really done with them, Spring will be fully here and I won't wear them till next year. (double sigh) But, she is beautiful, no?

Pine Forest Scarf

I have been having fun (understatement of the year!) doing some social knitting, and Hannah (aka blog-mooch) would like me to post the following completed project:

The Bunny Hat!
Now, I could tell you where she got the pattern, except that I don't know where she got it. And, you could contact her and ask her, oh yeah... except that she doesn't have a blog..... well. Maybe she will post a comment with the site for the pattern. Hannah...?

(Pssst. Stitches is coming!!!!!)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

We Knit

Why do we knit?

I was thinking about this question today as I was relaxing in my living room, yarn and needles in hand, surrounded by some of my favorite people who also happened to have yarn and needles. Yes, it is an addictive activity. Somehow we feel compelled to continue knitting, one more row, one more round, a few more stitches. We feel awed by what we create with our hands. We enjoy the feel of the yarn as it glides through our fingers and makes neat little rows of stitches that magically become a hat, a scarf, a sweater, socks. We take pride in our work, (or become confused, make mistakes and hide it away while we start something new!) My, what fun!

But there is also the social aspect. I remember when my children were young, really magical things happened when I pulled out my knitting. It's like they could sense the spirit of creation. They would come, one by one, with their books - their pencils or crayons - their Legos or blocks. They would build, create, make. Somehow this playful but quiet, serious but fun energy would surround us. We make magic.

Of course now, the social aspect is different. I spend time with my knitting peers and comrades. Sharing our current projects and laughing as we get to know each other deeper and more intimately. Somehow as our fingers work, or hearts and minds open to each other and we become friends.

Jeni shows off her new shoes! Tre Cool!

Thank you all for being my knitting friends!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Without further ado

Here is Tyler Dean Johnson.

He and Danielle are doing well. They are now home and getting to know each other. He is such a sweet baby!

And I have started the lace edging on the shawl! yipee!