Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Incredible Blogs

I like browsing around the blogisphere to see what people are knitting.  Since I'm usually knitting, reading and listening to music all at the same time, the blogs that draw me in quickly are ones with lots of pictures and color.  The blog I landed on this morning fit the bill perfectly, Seduced By Yarn

I also like to:
-- see projects coming together, especially if it's a fairisle sweater, a Starmore, or Kaffe Fassett, or maybe a Dale ski sweater, anything advanced and challenging as they are inspirational and awe-inspiring,
-- read about knitting classes, trips or events, e.g. Northern Lace and Shades Of Shetland,
-- see what designers and/or authors are coming up with next,
-- read blogs by knitters in faraway places, learning about their country and culture, and
-- educational blogs, as there is always something new to learn in knitting.

Do you know of an incredible blog?  If so, post about it in the comments.  One person, chosen at random, who makes a suggestion will win a prize, and an incredible prize it will be, the new Aran Knitting book by Alice Starmore.  I got mine yesterday and I think I'll have to have it laminated as I'm drooling over it!  More on the book later.

So, are you still reading?  Shouldn't you be off leaving me a suggestion for an absolutely fantastic knitting blog?  I'll post the winner on October 11th.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

UK Knit Camp 2010

Never let it be said that there is no drama in knitting.  Fortunately, most of the drama has to do with dropped stitches and incorrect gauge.

Last year I was very pleased (what an understatement) when I learned that I would be teaching at Knit Camp 2010 in Stirling, Scotland.  Not only was I going to teach, but it was in a country I'd never been to, shoulder-to-shoulder with amazing knitters/teachers/designers/authors.  Imagine my excitement when I found this ad in Yarn Forward magazine, with my name listed on the third row in amongst all these amazing people:

Clicking on the picture will make it bigger, use the back button to come back to this page.

Now I'm learning that all did not go as planned.  I've been reading a number of blogs, including one belonging to the organizer, another from a teacher, trying to get a balanced view of what happened.  What I'm getting from all of this is that it was an overly-ambitious undertaking.  There were problems with getting the correct stamps allowing overseas teachers to teach, classes that were cancelled, reduced or rescheduled, teachers who were not paid or not fully paid, airfare that was not reimbursed, paticipants who signed up, and paid for, classes that weren't to be, difficulties with organizers that were unavailable...and the list goes on.

I feel badly for everyone who was disappointed and out of pocket, financially.  I ended up withdrawing from the event and going to be with Mom during a difficult time.  While I had hoped to go to Scotland to teach, in the end, family came first.

I know the sick feeling that the teachers must be experiencing now.  In, I think, 2003, I taught at SockFest in Toledo, Ohio and had to fight for payment and suffered the insults of the organizer who called me unprofessional when I wanted to be paid.  After weeks and months I did get a check, but I'm not sure that the other teachers did.

It makes me appreciate the organization that goes into events such as Stitches.  I've been to Stitches West twice, in California, and had a good time both times.  I've already planned to go to Stitches South in Atlanta next April.  I'm looking forward to the day when the classes and events are announced and I can, confidently, sign up. 

If you'd like to read more observations about Knit Camp 2010 (no link - the website has been taken down), I found a few more blog posts here, here, here and here, on Ravelry here, and of course, you can Google for more if you like. 

The one thing that I'm taking away from all of this is that an event of this size cannot be successfully organized by just a couple of people.  I have plenty of sympathy to go around to everyone who was involved or affected.  I'm sure that it's going to be difficult to get overseas instructors to participate at future events.  This aftermath of this will be felt for years.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Guitar Heaven

Right now I'm listening to Santana's new CD, "Guitar Heaven, The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time".  I almost said "album".  Old habits die hard.  The guy is 63 and still rocks.  I haven't listened to all the songs yet, so my opinions may change as I listen to the rest of them, and play all the songs several more times.  The edition I have has two extra songs and a DVD.  There is a cool hologram on the cover.

It's fun to hear his take on familiar, some favorite, songs from the past.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I first ordered the CD.  I expected excellent guitar playing, but other than that, I didn't know what the album would be like.  I'd heard the quiet "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with India Arie, so I guess I thought that the rest would be similar.  I didn't expect such driving guitar riffs.  From the first note, playing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", I was hooked.

So far, my favorite song is #9, "Dance The Night Away" with Pat Monahan of Train.   Santana and Rob Thomas are back together again ("Smooth" is still one of my all-time favorites) doing Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love". 

Based on first impressions, I like the CD and I'm glad I bought it, but his versions of the songs won't ever replace the originals, but then, I don't think that they weren't meant to.  The music is the same but different.  This album(!) is a good one.  Great listening for driving down the highway, volume at max, or at home with the headphones on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Carmichael Aran - All Is Well

It appears that I was worrying for nothing.

The blocked back of the Carmichael Aran is dry and I love the results.  The size is exactly what I wanted, the stitches have evened out and there is no wool smell.  I've decided that I really like this yarn.  This back piece is now soft, without being limp, and very touchable. 

There's nothing so motivating as a bit of success and now I'm moving right along on the front piece.  I think I'll have to make myself a sweater with this yarn one day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Carmichael Aran - The Doubts

I'm at the part of a project where I have the most doubts.  I've soaked the back of the sweater and, of course, it's bigger than when it went into the bath.  Will it fit?  Did I ruin it by soaking the piece?  Will it come back to the size it was on the needles?  Will the wool smell go away?  Did I choose the right yarn? Are my knitting skills the reason for my doubts?  Did I just waste my time and money?  Should I continue?  Would I dare to give such an item to someone?  It's difficult to continue with all these questions going through my head. 

Excuse the crap photo.  I wish I had Dave's photography skills.  Maybe someday when I've put in the time to learn properly.  Check out his blog....such beautiful photos.  But, I digress....

The back is laid out to the size it's meant to be and, now that the picture has been taken, I'll add pins and let it dry.  That should take about 10 minutes here in Colorado since there is only 5% humidity right now!  I'll continue with the front and hope for the best. 
Can I be the only one who goes through all of this when making a sweater, or anything else?  It's a wonder I ever want to knit at all.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Carmichael Aran - The Back Is Finished

I'm working slowly and steadily on the Carmichael Aran.  I'm going to be project-monogamous for the next while and try to get it done.
I've just finished the back and the knitting gods were smiling on me today.  I had about 20 inches of yarn left after completing the final row, so I didn't have to join another ball.  It took me 4 complete balls of wool to do the back, which isn't bad in my opinion.

While I'm working on the front, I'm going to soak (I like Soak) and block the back.  I like to block each piece as I finish it so that it's not such a big job to do at the end, and so that the piece will be ready to seam when the last sleeve is finished.

I love to see the cables relaxed in the water, peaking through the suds.  It's very satisfying and a sign that the project is working its way towards completion. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blogging Again

Hi everybody,

I'm back, with a brand new WORKING monitor and I love it.  Except for the expense of buying a new monitor, I'm glad that the old one broke down.  This one has incredible clarity, 23" widescreen (great for watching those knitting or music videos!) and 4 USB ports.  I was so good to me!

I'm getting caught up on posting.  Here is a picture of hats and sweets that I sent off to a friend's grandson in Afghanistan, some things to share with his friends.  More goodies went in after I packed the hats.  The box was quite full.

An update on Compassion In Action (helping the homeless in Denver).  The cut-off date for donating is November 1st.  We're going to be handing out clothing, knitted items, etc. on November 6th.  Thanks so much to everyone who has donated their good new and used clothing; knitted hats, scarves and socks; and other miscellaneous items...as well as their time.  If you are in the Denver area and need me to pick up your donation, shoot me an email and we'll co-ordinate a time.

Click here for my original post.

I'm working on the Carmichael Aran and will have more directions for you very soon.

Until next time..... thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Musical Interlude

While I'm waiting for my new monitor to arrive when I can blog properly, I give you a little musical break. 


Sunday, September 12, 2010


This is going to be a short post because my monitor is so annoying and troublesome.  It seems that I've got a really weird problem.  There is a vertical stripe, about 4 inches wide, up the front of my monitor, just off-center.  It started happening on Friday night and I can't make it go away.  Everything under the stripe is fine, but there is this stripe, made up of strobing colors picked up from the screen blocking out whatever is underneath that section so I can't see everything.

I took the computor to be checked out, and it seems to be fine, so I'm assuming (hoping) that the problem is only with the monitor.  I'm going to get a new one.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  As such, I'm not going to be blogging for a few days, but I did want to announce the winner of the Yarn Forward magazine.

The Random Number Generator says that #6 in the comments is the winner of the Yarn Forward magazine.  "SusanB-knits" please email me with your address and I'll send it off to you. 

Congratulations!  I hope that you enjoy your new magazine.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  You're inspiring.

I also wanted to say thank you to Susan, "jellidonut" for my wonderful prize, and the bonus magazine, which arrived.  I'll write you a proper email once the new monitor arrives.

It's been quite a couple of days.  Yesterday I bought a new ink cartridge for my printer, the black ink one.  When I opened the package the ink flew everywhere, as if under pressure.  What a mess....all over the table (cleanable), clothing (now permanently inked), the carpet (oh no!!) and my hands, which are stained black beyond cleaning.  I've scrubbed and scrubbed, but I'm still nervous about knitting the aran sweater with the off-white yarn.

It's time for this weekend to end.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Do you Twitter?  I follow some fun and interesting people from everyday life, some I've met, some I've only talked to on Twitter and then through email.  I follow the news from CNN and the Denver Post.  Some of the people makes me laugh a lot, e.g. Zappos.   

We all know how thought-provoking and how funny the Yarn Harlot is, and even being limited to 140 characters doesn't slow her down.  A few hours ago she posted a comment that I totally agree with as I would rather be 3 hours early for anything than 5 minutes late. I really dislike it when someone is late, seems disrespectful and inconsiderate to me, unless they have a good reason, of course.  Here's what the Yarn Harlot had to say:

 Late people make me crazy- even when it doesn't have anything to do with me. Do what you say you will people!

I'm glad that the weekend is here and I can get back to knitting.  It's been a very busy work-week, but there was my guitar lesson in the middle which I enjoyed a LOT. 
I'll have some finished knitting projects to show you soon.  One is a scarf that I made months ago but I need to block it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Yarn Forward #20 Giveaway

What do you do when you have a duplicate of a nice British magazine, issue #20, Yarn Forward (their website doesn't get updated much)?  Well, holding a little blog contest seemed like a good idea to me.  Since the prize is small, the contest is easy.  Leave a comment, tell me what your main knitting project is (and a link, if you like) and you're entered!  That's all there is to it. 

I really like this magazine, not only for the patterns but also for the articles.  Maybe you'll enjoy it too.

I'll draw a name at random next Sunday, September 12th.  Good luck.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tuscany - Kim Hargreaves

Rowan Yarns are my absolute favorites, hands down, no contest.  It's been that way since I discovered them back in the late 1980s.  One day, I'd like to take a trip to England to visit Rowan "in person", and take a class, any class, while I'm there, just to be there.

Tuscany by Kim Hargreaves - Rowan Magazine #9:

The picture was scanned from an old photogrsph and it turned out slightly blurry for some unknown reason.
I made this cardigan in the 1990s exactly the way the pattern was written.  The yarns are all Rowan:  Wool/cotton (black), Mercerised Cotton (gold scrolls), Sea Breeze and Cotton Glace.  The only problem yarn was the mercerised cotton because it is a circular yarn and it was a bit difficult to weave in the ends.  Otherwise, I really enjoyed the challenge and liked the results.

The techniques were a combination of intarsia and stranding.  Each of the gold scrolls was treated as a separate little stranded section, so each scroll is both intarsia and stranding.  Everything else was intarsia, and yes, I do like the technique a lot!

I wear this sweater to this day and I still love it as much as I did more than a decade ago.

Rowan Magazine #9
Update:  I just had a look at the Rowan website and they have some free patterns from their magazines, including Tuscany.  You can get the pattern by clicking HERE.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Won A Blog Contest!

Back on August 22nd I entered a blog contest on jellidonut's "I knit. Any questions?" blog.  I just found out that I've won.  That is so cool. 

This is the first time I've ever won anything on a blog.  Well, actually, I did win something a few years ago, but as soon as the winner (me) was announced, the author stopped blogging and I never got my prize.  I don't mind that I didn't get it, but I do miss her blog.  It was a good one...and we were both huge fans of Pink Floyd.  I hope that I'm not a jinx.  "I Knit. Any questions?" better not shut down anytime soon!

Anyway, back to now.  I'm just tickled about winning.  Better yet, through her blog, and Twitter, I've talked to jelli and then met her when I picked up books that she donated to the book drive we had at work.

To enter the contest, you had to leave a joke, a link to something funny, anything that would cause a person to laugh.  I sent a link to one of my favorite funny moments:  Robin Williams singing a Bruce Springsteen song as Elmer Fudd.  How does he even think of these things?  You can see it here.

Thanks, Susan!!!

Now, I'm inspiried to pass along the fun.  I'll try to think of a contest in the coming weeks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This And That

Well, damn, and I was planning to go out and buy one this weekend.  I guess I'll have to re-think:

Ferrari recalls $230,000 458 Italia supercar

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ferrari is recalling its new 458 Italia model after several vehicles were reported to have burst into flames.  The heartbreaking story is here!

I like to collect life experiences, and next month I'll be adding another one.  I'm going to Southern California for a weekend get-away.  I thought it would be fun to see a TV show, so I requested a ticket to the Tonight Show With Jay Leno.  They have a lottery system where viewers are chosen from all who make a request.  Today I found out that I'm going!  At least I think I am. The show always overbooks in order to assure themselves of a full audience.  It's first come-first admitted.  I'll go early, but not crazy early. 

I hope that someone good will be on the show and not some politician or starlette.  One of my favorite musicians, Derek Trucks, is on the show tonight.  I wish he could have waited a month.  Oh well.