Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Bit of Finish

So, every once in a while I get to feel like I am accomplishing something. This is why I love knitting. At home I am surrounded by a lot of people who take up or grab a lot of personal space and I never get the house clean and I could easily go nuts... if it weren't for knitting. Knitting helps me feel like I am completing something. It helps me to feel like I can have a bit of beauty around me. I can feel creative and be nurtured at the same time. How cool is that?! So on that note, I finished some things...

Socks! Here are the Mad Weave socks from Sock Madness. It is a fun pattern, although I tinkered with it a bit...

Oh, wait... you wanted to see the socks! Is this better?

Here is the full on top view...

Lovely bit of cable down the side, don't you think?


I also finished something else. Well, actually I finished knitting it while on the Bobaknit retreat and somehow had the sensation of it going on and on forever, and ever and ever and...

But it is finished!!! I blocked it...

I just love the stitch definition and color of this yarn...

And finally, I think it looks absolutely beautiful on it's recipient... my mom!

My mom is awesome!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Catching up...

I know, I know... I never finished telling you about the rest of the Bobaknit retreat, let's just say it was a lot of fun. See...?





Then I had an expensive plumbing problem. (%&*@#$! *&%^$)

Then I had to clean the house. (%&*@#$! *&%^$)

Then I went to see Bjork (and we knit and she sang about a ball of yarn!)

Then I went to the Maker Faire!!!! Lots of fun.
Mad Max meets Martha Stewart.
Awesome.

An Art Car

A Human powered (
see hamster wheel) Nose picking sculpture

"You're going to blog this, aren't you?"

I want one!

My rocket boy and friend (note: "rocket boy" is over 6 feet tall...)

And finally, Survival Research Labs. Kinetic remote control walking machines that...
destroy things and set them on fire...

fun is over for the machines...

Now, I am going back to my knitting. I have something to block so that I can show it to you and I have something else I want to finish up as well! See you soon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bobaknit Retreat - Day Two!

Saturday: Calistoga is nice because although it is in Napa Valley it is at the Northern end and has a bit of a funky character. This was evident as we were walking back from our morning coffee and we spotted this labyrinth in an empty lot. It was surrounded by words like LOVE, TRUST, FORGIVE, FAITH, although my favorite was probably OY!

I would much rather stay some place that has a little "character" and Calistoga did not disappoint in this area. Although the Napa Valley influence was certainly present in the local grocery store as well. There was an incredible selection of wines, cheeses and even an olive bar.

But really it is just beautiful. the weather was lovely for most of our visit, not too hot or too cold and the ability to walk into town from our Inn was greatly appreciated!

But we are also here for the wine... right? Well, we went to Mumm. I really like good Champagne and Mumm has some nice ones, yes- I know we can't really call it "Champagne" because it isn't made in the champagne region of France, but I can never remember how to spell that other term so we're just going to go with it. Right now that that is settled- champagne, Mumm, good. I bought some.

We went to Rombauer and saw many photos and autographs of famous people. I wold take that to imply that the wine is good, and it was. I only bought a bottle of Chardonnay, although I was really tempted to get a bottle of the 2001 PS Cabernet, but at $80 a bottle I took a pass. But check this out... they had an old Cushman bike on the porch! These are so cool!!!! You have to understand that I used to ride what would now be called a vintage Vespa ('74 Rally 200 for those who are interested) and I have an appreciation for old motor bikes. These things are pretty rare.
We headed next to Clos Pegase. Jeni and Becky are members there and are quite enthusiastic about their wines. They also have quite a lot of art on display at the winery as well. It was pretty impressive really. I would do that if I ever owned a winery (hey- we can all dream... wine making and knitting would be a nice combination I think!)



There was a lot of sculpture outside and we were told in advance about "The Thumb". Have to take a picture with it Jeni said. And as we walked up towards the tasting room, there it was! A very enthusiastic man volunteered to take our picture and so we obliged...

But inside we were even more impressed. Real Art co-mingling with Real Wine and a real good time. How awesome is that?!

This is Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon, people! Just hanging there on the wall of the tasting room. I couldn't believe it. Wow.
I had the "premium tasting" which meant that I tasted three Cabernet's that were absolutely divine. If I had purchased all three of them it would have been about $250-$300. The $15 tasting was a deal... Pretty though, isn't it?

Jeni, Jill and Becky enjoying a taste...

And here are our lovely and appreciated designated drivers, Kristi and Cookie, enjoying some knitting time in a beautiful setting!

Then it was time to head back to our Inn and enjoy some fiber arts!
Competitive spinning...
Relaxing knitting...

Inspiration...

(This is a shawl knit by Gene Beugler I can easily say that this is one of the most beautiful knit pieces that I have ever seen. This is a lousy photo of it that in no way does it justice but let's just say that I am now committed to becoming a better technical knitter.)



Enjoyment...

"Wish you were here!"

Bobaknit Retreat - Day One

Okay, I always knew that my fellow Bobaknitters were fun, but this last weekend I was able to discover just how much I truly enjoy them. We had an absolutely awesome time and I can only say that I am greatly looking forward to the next one! Now really, I don't think that there is even the possibility of NOT having fun when you combine knitting with a visit to the wine country, but just in case you aren't convinced...

Friday:
Jeni and Becky picked me up at about 10 o'clock in the morning and we went to pick up Margit. We had to do a bit of shuffling with our stuff to get everything in the car since we had not only luggage and knitting, but also had a skein winder, ball winder and three spinning wheels! But our diligent chauffeurs were able to fit everything in and we were on our way. We were fortunate that we didn't run into too much traffic and in almost no time (about 2 hours with good company) we were in Napa Valley. We went to V. Sattui and waited for our fellow retreaters who were late because they stopped for Boba! After some tasting and picnic-ing we were on our way to Prager Port Works. All I can say is that if you appreciate good port you would greatly enjoy this place! Finally we were on our way to our retreat destination in Calistoga. The particular place we stayed wasn't the most beautiful or swanky place, but it was reasonably priced and with us there- who could go wrong! We gathered 'round the pool for some knitterly and spinnery relaxation...


Cookie starts a SECOND SOCK!

Jill works on her Clapotis and Tina works on a sock...

Margit is crocheting a purse...

These "dudes" were a source of much amusement as they drank their Bud Light and sucked on their cigars...

Anabel gets to relax after swimming with her daughter...


Kristi makes spinning look easy!

Tomorrow - Day 2 and ...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Stealth Knitting 101

How to knit a stealth project:

1. Define your intended knitting project.
a. Who is it for?
b. Is there a specific purpose for the item?
c. What is your timeline?

2. Evaluate your materials.
a. What's in your stash (or your LYS) ?
b. What is your target color and gauge?
c. inventory your needles

3. Establish your plan of attack
a. Recruit help as needed
b. Divide materials and assign sections
c. Hope for or create a decoy

4. Execute knitting order
a. Everybody knit!
b. Everybody graft!
c. Block and pray.

You see, Hannah and Dan are getting married this weekend. Hannah is like, my best friend and Dan is - my ex-husband.
Since they are "running away to Vegas" and Hannah was supposed to be with us this weekend for the BobaKnit Retreat, as my room mate no less (ahem!), I decided that we had to be with her in spirit and that I would like to knit something for her. A shawl! She could wear it during the ceremony and it would be beautiful! But wait... it is in less than two weeks! I can't knit a shawl that fast!!! Wait,... "Hey Jeni, what if we knit a shawl for her together? What if we recruit some help, each knit a section, and then graft it together?" Would it work?

Enter the Fearless Five.
Able to knit large objects in a single- well maybe a couple- sessions
With needles at the ready they tackle projects with courage and skill
They are

Jeni
Cookie
Kristi

Margit
Me

Of course we have challenges. Have you ever combined several different pieces of lace and grafted them in pattern?
Yeah, I hadn't either, but somehow we had to do it because I had bought the yarn and was committed to doing this for Hannah.

So while Cookie and Kristi were doing this in Margit's back yard, Margit, Jeni and I were dividing up the yarn inside. Then Cookie went to Chicago, took yarn and pattern with her and we all stayed around here and got started knitting. We all made pretty good progress and within about a week everyone was done with their sections, of course we had to occasionally lie and distract Hannah so that she didn't know what we were up to.


Cookie had finished hers and got it back to us and in the meantime we had the bridal shower for Hannah and distracted her with more knitting and felting goodness. She has no idea what we are up to!

We got started with the grafting. That's a lot of Kitchener stitch.


There were 7 pieces total that had to be grafted together, we got together and passed pieces around while it slowly grew and came together.


I blocked it.
It looks great!

Tonight we gave it to Hannah.


It looks beautiful!

Tomorrow? Bobaknit Retreat!!!!!! Woot!