Monday, December 30, 2013

Advent Calendar Scarf - Finished

I'm finishing off 2013 with, not 1, not 2, but 3 finished projects!  First up, the Advent Scarf from the knitalong on Ravelry.  Beginning on December 1st we were given a small part of the overall pattern, plus we were to knit the spacer section between each day's design.  I finished a few days after the last clue was published on December 24th, but given all there is to do around Christmas, I'm satisfied with my progress.

Click on the picture to enlarge it

THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Advent Calendar Scarf by Kristin Benecke
A free pattern - English version is found here und
die Deutschen Adventskalenderschal ist hier.

Yarn:  Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball
Approximately 1.5 100-gram balls
Color:  #1874 - Sugared Almonds (Ombre) -
a very gradual color-changing yarn:
brown/copper/orange and red.

  Needles: US 2-1/2 / 3.0 mm

Note:  The original pattern is more than twice as wide as mine.  On the Ravelry knitalong there were groups making various sizes, e.g. full size with 103 sts, or smaller with 58 or 49 sts.  Mine is the 49-stitch option.  The finished size, after blocking, is 72.5 inches x 7 inches.
Started:  December 1, 2013
Finished, including blocking:  December 29, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

After Christmas

I hope that all of you had a nice Christmas or whatever holiday or time you celebrated in the past few days.  Even though I didn't blog, I have been knitting.

About a month ago I found a knitalong group on Ravelry in which the participants were going to make an Advent Scarf.  It sounded intriguing so I signed up.  The designer published a bit of the scarf pattern each day, starting on December 1st, the last one being December 24th.  Each section would be different and separated by a Spacer section of 8 rows.

The scarf, as written, was going to be 20 inches wide (103 stitches), too wide for my liking.  I was interested in a scarf width, not a shawl width, so I knit with the 49-stitch group and my finished scarf will be about 10 or 11 inches wide when it's blocked.


As of today I'm almost finished.  I've completed to the end of Day 23, plus the next Spacer section...one more Day and one more Spacer to go.

I'm using Zauberball yarn, color  #1874, in a brown/copper/red combination.  It looks quite autumnal.  The colors in the picture aren't exactly accurate.  The scarf and yarn are more red, less pink, "in person"... and not nearly so neon/fire-y in appearance.

Unblocked Advent Scarf 2013
While I like the colors, I think that, if I was to make another one (which I won't), I would use a single color instead of a yarn with long color changes.  I like the yarn, but the changing colors detract from all the lace and cable stitches in my opinion.  

I've enjoyed the knitalong and would do a different scarf if the opportunity arose again next year.  I'd want to have my Christmas knitting done in advance, however, as knitting the scarf is quite addictive.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Time

Time is a curious thing.  If you're waiting to leave for vacation, or a child waiting for Santa, time seems to be moving at a snail's pace.  However, if you're trying to knit projects for Christmas, the same amount of time can just fly by. 

I was looking forward to some whimsical Christmas projects for this year.  One was going to be a Nativity scene.  I have patterns by Knitables and by Alan Dart and was going to use bits of each.  I also planned on making a cute decoration for which I have the pattern, now long-since discontinued.  It's called Santa's Clothesline:  Santa's laundry hung on a clothesline with little clothespins ... his longjohns, coat, hat, pants, socks, mittens and scarf.

As you can see I fell very short of my goal.

Click to enlarge.




On the right are Santa's longjohns. minus a sleeve and the buttons, and blocking, of course.  The item on the left is a little harder to distinguish.  It's one of the three Wise Men from Alan Dart's Nativity pattern.  That's the head at the top!

In my own defense, I did get distracted by a knitalong on Ravelry in which I'm making an Advent Scarf.  The pattern is also available on the designer's website, click here.  If you follow the group on Ravelry you'll find that there are options.  I'm doing the narrower version of the scarf, working with 49 stitches.  I think, for me, it will be more practical than the 103-stitch version which is more of a stole width.  Starting on December 1st a new section of the scarf is revealed each day for 24 days.  Each section is different.  It can be lace, cables or textured or a combination of any of these - separated by an 8-row spacer sections.  I've kept up fairly well with the clues, only one day behind.

My plan for the coming year is to leave the yarn and patterns handy and work on my little Christmas projects throughout the year, hopefully finishing in time for Christmas 2014. Check back with me at this time next year to see if I succeeded!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

'Tis The Season

There are lots of holiday parties going on these days and at work we had our annual potluck on Friday.  I made meatballs in sauce last year - a good choice and well-received, but I wanted to do something very different this year.  A couple of months ago I saw a picture online, can't remember where, of Penguin hors d'oeuvres that were so cute that they stuck in mind.  They looked easy to make so I got the ingredients:  a fairly large carrot, a tin of large black olives, a tin of medium black olives, cream cheese and toothpicks.  I made penguins!

Click pictures to englarge

They turned out well, in my opinion, and it's a good thing.  I didn't have a Plan B and it was too cold to run out to the grocery store for something else.

How to make the penguins:

1. Clean the outside of a large carrot.  I used a potato peeler to do the job.  Then, slice the carrot into thin slices for the feet.

2.  Cut and remove a little triangle from the carrot slice and save this piece for the beak.

3.  Drain the cans of olives and lay out on a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.  I found that one can of each size was all I needed. 

4.  Make a slice down on one side of a large olive, then fill the olive with room temperature (for easy spreading) cream cheese, any flavor you like.  I used plain but I might try a flavor next time.  Either is good.

5.  Insert the 'beak' into the large hole in the medium olive.

6.  I found toothpicks with a bit of festive cellophane on the top.  Put the toothpick through the medium olive (head), down through the large olive (body), then through the carrot (feet), letting the toothpick go all the way through and sticking out a little bit...about 1/8" inch is plenty.

7.  Using a wet paper towel clean off any excess cream cheese from the body.  For me, this was the slowest part as the cream cheese is rather sticky and wants to spread instead of coming off.  It got easier and quicker as I went along.

I made penguin after penguin after penguin, ending up with more than 3 dozen.  Next...how was I going to display them and be able to carry them to work?  A friend and I talked it over and came up with a number of ideas, finally settling on one that worked out very well.


At Michael's I bought a sheet of 1/2" thick styrofoam and cut it to snuggly fit inside a cookie sheet.  I didn't have anything to properly cut the styrofoam so I used scissors.  It didn't make for the smoothest of an edge, but it was okay.  I rounded the corners, too, to make a good fit.  Before I placed the styrofoam on the cookie sheet I covered it with plastic wrap, taping it on the underside so that it would stay put and tightly-covered.  This served two purposes.  Any possible bits of fly away styrofoam would be contained, and it made the surface shiny like ice.  I arranged the penguins in a single file, each following the other. The penguins were anchored on the sheet by the little bit of toothpick that stuck out on the bottom of the feet.  I didn't want them to fall out of line or fall over when I carried them to work.

At Michael's I also picked up a bit of greenery and berries and stuck this in the 'ice' to give a festive touch.  What you don't see here is the little sign that made  and put in the middle:  "March of the Penguins". I made the sign from a blank business card, folded in half lengthwise.


They were delicious and everyone seemed to like them.  As a matter of fact, quite a few people took out their cell phones and snapped pictures.  The penguins had paparrazi!  Some even took a penguin home to show their family.  It was a very rewarding, and an easy appetizer to make.

Now, what will I make next year?  I'd like to come up with something new and just as interesting.  I've got a year to think about it.  Suggestions welcome!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Listen To The Music

Well, crap.  I was going to wrap up my posts about Texas with pictures of the Doobie Brothers concert that I went to.  BUT, I conscientiously put the photos from my camera on my fairly new back-up external hard drive and now I can't access it - something about an I/O error.  I'll take it to the computer repair people next week but I'm preparing myself for the worst.

So, I have a few blurry concert photos that I took on my phone and I'll share those with you.  If I ever get my files (pictures, knitting patterns, music and more) back, I'll post some decent pictures at a later date.

The Doobie Brothers concert was held at the aptly-named Majestic Theater in San Antonio.  In the afternoon before the concert I went for a walk around the block that the theater is on and saw the tour buses and equipment van that was being unloaded.  There was a policeman watching the backstage door but he let me have a look inside where the stage was being set up.


Click on any picture to enlarge it
The outside may look rather plain but inside....what an incredibly beautiful venue.  This decor, below, is on both sides.  During the concert one of the band members commented that this was the prettiest venue they've ever played.  Perhaps they say that no matter where they are playing, but I tend to agree with the sentiment.  The theater has an interesting history.  If interested, you can read about it here.


 Patrick Simmons is the original member of the Doobie Brothers from when they first began decades ago.  He played a beautiful song called Far From Home from their new album.  I checked out the official video and it's very touching.  At the end of the concert, I got to shake his hand...very cool for a fan like me!

 
The show was sooooo good and the time flew by much too quickly.  Tom Johnston has a lot of energy and great interaction with the crowd.  It appeared that he was having as much fun as the audience.


Here is guitarist, John McFee and drummer Tony Pia in back.


The Doobies did a lot of their classic hits and had the crowd singing along with them.  By the end of the concert I was only a little disappointed as they didn't play a song that I particularly like:  China Grove.  Well, China Grove is the name of a little town outside of San Antonio (yes, I went there!) and they saved this for the encore and the audience showed their appreciation....loudly!

 When the sun comes up on a sleepy little town
Down around San Antone
And the folks are risin' for another day
'round about their homes.
The people of the town are strange
And they're proud of where they came.

Well, you're talkin' 'bout China Grove, wo, oh, oh,
Oh, China Grove


I hope I get a chance to go to one of their shows again someday.  It was fantastic.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scuderia Toro Rosso

I work for a very good company, NOVA Chemicals, and I'm constantly finding out that they have interests beyond what I see at work. One of those interests is its sponsorship of Scuderia Toro Rosso, a Grand Prix racing team. This is one of the cars in their stable:

Employees were offered a chance at a very unique experience if we were going to be in Austin on Friday, November 15th.  Since I wasn't that far away, on vacation in San Antonio, I was anxious to take them up on their generous offer.  We were given passes to the Paddock Club, the beautiful suite located across from the Grandstand and directly above the Toro Rosso garages.  Follow the Paddock Club link and click on the various parts of the site for some great pictures.  Amazing.  We walked along Pit Lane and saw the cars, crews and drivers up close and some company personnel were on hand to answer all of our questions.  There are garages along Pit Lane and the driver's name is above each one, along with a flag of his home country.  For the Toro Rosso team the drivers were Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Jean-√Čric Vergne of France. After a fabulous gourmet lunch we went behind the garages and saw the area where the break rooms were for the crews, the Engineer's office and more.  Then, it was into the garage where we put on headphones and listened to the driver talking to his teammates.

Click to Enlarge

It was amazing to see how fast the tires were changed - in 2.5 seconds or less.  The cars are able to go from 0 to 100mph and back to 0 in 7 seconds.  The sounds of the cars going around the track were deafening.  I learned a lot.

It was a full and exciting day and an experience that I never thought I'd have.  Now, I'm hooked on Formula One and watched all the coverage on TV from that weekend as well as the following weekend when the race was in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

If the chance to go again comes up again next year, I'm going to be very, very tempted.  I'm collecting adventures in life and this is certainly a favorite.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Travel Afghan - Block #55

The blocks of my Travel Afghan are finished, all 55 of them.  Now, I have to think about what I want to do for the border.  Right now I'm thinking that I will do one side at a time in garter stitch with mitered corners, getting the yarn from each of 4 more future trips.  It gives me an excuse to travel...like I need one!  This last block represents my trip to San Antonio and Austin, Texas.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations
Large block - started with 80 sts.

Yarn:  Wonderland Yarns, Fingering weight is called Cheshire Cat.
Color:  Barley Sugar
Yarn held double.
Purchased at:  Yarnivore in San Antonio
The skein of yarn was a generous 500+ yards so there is plenty left for other projects.


  Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm 

Note:  I chose this yarn as I'd never seen it anywhere else before.  If I think of a color that is associated with Texas it would be yellow for the "yellow rose of Texas".  Yellow is also the color on the sign on the yarn store.

Next time.... the Grand Prix...

Friday, November 22, 2013

President Kennedy

Like many, I remember where I was, how I felt and how the world changed after the assassination of the President.  It was a sad time for everyone no matter your politics and no matter what side of the border you lived on. 


Sometimes it does feel like it's been 50 years and sometimes it feels like it's much closer.  I wonder how history would have been different had this never happened.  We'll never really know.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yarnivore

Of course, I had to visit a yarn store while I was in San Antonio.  Visiting a shop or two during a trip is a must and I found a warm and friendly one called Yarnivore. I like the name and I do understand having an appetite for yarn.


I was welcomed by George who showed me around the shop, explaining how the yarn was sorted, which was by weight.


The shop is bright and cheery and there were plenty of temptations on the shelves, including books and notions.  I bought a circular needle called a "sock rocket", which is new to me.  It's lovely to work with, although I don't know the difference between it and the Addi lace needles.  Both have good points and a flexible cord.


George asked me if I was a spinner and I told him that I wasn't, that I'd never tried.  He was walking around the shop spinning with a drop spindle.  He explained to me how it was done and the next thing I knew I had the spindle in my hands and I was giving it a try.  I could tell that spinning could be very tempting to me if I didn't already have enough yarn to last me for a good long time, so I don't need to create more.


After I tried the spinning, he showed me how the yarn could twist back on itself, plied so that it stabilized.  I have to admit that I rather enjoyed myself and he is a good teacher.  Check out the picture from my instant mini-lesson.  I know that you're impressed!  He also talked about weaving and this is something that I've thought about for quite a while.  Maybe someday.  Maybe.  So many temptations.

It's probably a good thing that I don't live near the shop or George would have me trying out all kinds of new things.... just at a time when I'm trying to use the yarn that I already have.

I was on a mission to find yarn for my Travel Afghan to represent my trip to Texas.  I found it and will be blogging about it soon.  Did I mention how much I liked the shop? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas is a pretty and vibrant city, rich in history and culture.  I especially liked the River Walk with the paths snaking along the river, the restaurants, the music and general feeling of relaxation.

Click to enlarge.
It's very easy to forget that you are still in the US because of the strong Mexican influence, including the Mariachi band strolling along and playing songs.  It was a vacation to Mexico inside a vacation to Texas and I loved it!


Of course the city renowned for the Alamo. It was amazing to walk through the shrine and museum and see items that belonged to Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, among others.  The Texas Revolution and the year 1836 is brought to life


Pictures aren't allowed to be taken inside, but if you click here and then go to the Virtual Tour link you can see more.

The weather in San Antonio was gorgeous.  It was in the high 70s, low 80s - not bad for November!  It was hard to look at the snow when I returned.

No trip is complete without a visit to a yarn store.....next....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembrance/Veterans' Day

Tomorrow is Remembrance or Veterans' Day, depending on which side of the border you live.  I hope that you will take time to think of why we celebrate the day.  In Canada, people wear poppies in remembrance of the soldiers who fought for our freedom.  The poppies are sold by the Legion on street corners or can be found by the cash register in many shops.  Just drop in a donation and take a poppy.

I've bought several.  Somehow, they seem to work their way off my coat and get lost.  I also decided to knit a poppy.  I used the pattern by Laura Chau, which can be found by clicking here.  It's a free pattern but she is asking for donations what she will give to the Canadian Legion.  I made my donation.



THE DETAILS

Pattern:  A Poppy For Remembrance by Laura Chau.

Yarn:  Mary Maxim Starlette from my stash - worsted weight
Small amounts of #033 Dark Willow and $105 Berry Red.

The center of the poppy should be black but since the dark green was at hand I used it instead.

   
Needles: US #2 / 2.75 mm
 
Note:  I made a small change to the pattern, making the red section a bit wider by adding one more round.  Round 10: *(Kfb, k2) 3 times, Kfb. Repeat from * to the end of the round. 56 sts.Then, I went back to following the pattern as written.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Outside - Inside

In an earlier blog post I said that I disagreed with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably on one point that they made during their workshop and lecture.  Each of them said that knots are okay and that you shouldn't show the inside of your knitting.

I could not disagree more.  If you care enough to knit something, put the time and money into it, why wouldn't you want it to look good, inside and out.  It takes very little extra effort to join and weave in new yarns.  Besides, knots could come undone unless the sweater felts a little.  I believe that if you are proud of your knitted project, be proud of both sides.

If someone wants to see the inside of my sweaters I won't say, "sorry, but I don't show the other side of my work."

To prove my point, here are a couple of sweaters, designed by Kaffe Fassett, that I've knitted.  I'm happy to show both sides and make no apologies.  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Foolish Virgins
Icon

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kusha Kusha Finished

I realized today that I didn't blog about my finished Kusha Kusha scarf.  I started it in mid-July.  I was a little slow in getting started as I had to get used to knitting the very thin yarns, about the thickness of thread, on size 5.0 mm/US #8 needles.  Once I did, it was an enjoyable and fairly quick knit.  It was finished on August 7th. 

I was making this for a special lady in Denver who has been a good friend to me for more than a decade.  I liked the finished scarf but after I felted it, as it says in the pattern, I thought it looked more like a rag and I decided not to give it to her when I was in Denver in September.  One day, I was holding it and started pulling at the sides of the scarf, then the middle and the look was improving little by little.  It didn't have the heavily felted areas surrounded by open areas...it was more even.  Now, I like it. 

If I make another one, which is a possibility since I have the yarn, I would make a change.  The pattern has you working with the stainless steel/silk yarn at one end only.  I would do it on both ends.  This would also make the scarf just a bit longer, which I'd like.


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Kusha Kusha Scarf from Habu.  
The pattern was in the kit but it's also available free at The Purl Bee.
Kit #78 has been discontinued but the yarn is still available.

Yarn:  Habu Textiles A-177 Super Fine Merino
100% Merino, fine lace weight
Cone: 747 yards, didn't use the entire cone.
Color #28, brown, which I think has been discontinued.

Habu Textiles A-20/21 1/20 Silk Stainless Steel
69% Silk - 31% Stainless Steel, fine lace weight
Cone:  622 yards, very little remaining.
Color #2, black.

  Needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm
 
Note:  The stainless steel yarn is not at all difficult to knit with and gives the scarf scrunchability.
This kit has been in my stash for at least 3 years, so I've proudly earned another "Knitting From The Stash" badge for myself!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Royal Southern Brotherhood

A little musical interlude.  I recently discovered this band and like some of their songs, including this one, "Moonlight Over The Mississippi".  Enjoy.....

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Little Pumpkin Hat

I was in the mood to knit a small, whimsical project so I made a little pumpkin hat for my Bird Girl


Here's the pattern I devised:

Size:  About 9 inches in circumference and 3 inches in length.

Yarn:  Any DK weight.  You won't need very much.  I'm guessing that the hat used about 20 yards of the orange.  For the stem color, maybe a yard?

I used yarn from my stash.  Orange - Sirdar Snuggly DK - color #337.  It's a very bright, in-your-face color.  I can't remember why I bought this one!  Green - Rowan Calmer - color #6468.


Needles:  4.0 mm/US #6 double-pointed

Gauge:  5.5 sts - 1 inch, but gauge isn't important for such a small project.

Method:  With the orange yarn loosely cast on 48 sts.  Work in the round for 2 inches, or desired length:

Every round - *K4, p2.  Repeat from * to the end.

Decreases for the crown of the hat:

Round 1:  (K4, P2tog) to the end of the round - 40 sts. remain
Round 2:  (K1, K2tog, K1, P1) to the end of the round - 32 sts remain
Round 3:  (K1, K2tog, P1) to the end of the round - 24 sts remain
Round 4:  (K2tog, P1) to the end of the round - 16 sts remain

Change to the stem color:

Round 5:  K2tog all around to the end - 8 sts remain
Round 6:  K2tog all around to the end - 4 sts remain
Round 7:  K2 tog twice - 2 sts remain.

Put the 2 sts onto one needle and work 2 rows of I-cord, or more if you like a longer stem.

K2tog.  Cut yarn and feed it through the remaining st.  Weave in all ends.


Here is the link to the project on Ravelry.  If you decide to make one, I would love to see the hat and how you decided to use it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kaffe's Lecture

Brandon's class was at the Pudding Store.  For Kaffe Fassett's lecture the venue was moved to an Anglican church.  I know.  I was surprised, too.  It was very well attended and I heard that there were between 250 and 300 people in the audience.  There didn't appear to be an empty seat.  Even the balcony was full.

About half an hour before the lecture began.
The lecture and slide show were very entertaining.  Kaffe can be quite funny at times.  There was one story in particular about a woman who commented on his knitting, told him he was doing it wrong and that he should check out a designer named Kaffe Fassett as he could learn much from him!


The slide show was a blend of his knitting, painting, inspirations, fabric designs and quilting.  He's working mostly with fabrics and quilting these days.  As a matter of fact, he lead a quilting workshop the following day.  Brandon had handled the knitting workshop.  I would love to see something new in his sweater or garment designs.  In the Q&A after the lecture I asked if there would be another knitting-related book in the future.  He said that there were no plans to do one at the moment.  Too bad, but then again, maybe it's a good thing as there are many of his older creations that I would love to make.

One of the last pictures that he showed was a rose that has been named after him.  He seemed truly touched and honored.  It's a beauty...click here to see it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Trunk Show

It must have been a challenge for Brandon and Kaffe to decide what to bring for a trunk show and what to leave behind.  They have so many incredible designs to their names.

This was, by far, the most popular item with the group of knitters - partly because of the design, partly because of the softness of the yarn.  The yarn is Colorspun - a wool/mohair blend.  Brandon said that he took his inspiration from the chest of an owl.  Rowan named the sweater "Balkan", which he didn't care for.  If you're a Rowan subscriber the pattern is free, here.  For me, this design falls into the Irish Spring" category.  Do you remember the soap commercial?  Made for a man, but I like it too!

Sorry for the blurry photo.  Brandon was moving!
These are some of the other designs.  There were a few more but I didn't get pictures of all of them:


Next time:  Kaffe's evening lecture...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Day With Brandon Mably

Last Monday I took a day off work in order to go to an all-day workshop at Pudding Yarn in Calgary.  It's a class that I've wanted to take for ages - a color class with Brandon Mably.  Decades ago my knitting was hum-drum - mostly sweaters in a single color or with only a little bit of an accent color.  Then along came Kaffe Fassett with his theory that 20 colors was a good start and, when in doubt, add 20 more.  I was immediately smitten and my knitting changed right then  His partner, Brandon, continues this way of knitting with his own input.  I also discovered all of the beautiful Rowan colors and yarns.  To this day, it's my favorite yarn company - although I do wish they wouldn't make changes so often. 

I'd done some fairisle and intarsia but the newly-discovered designs were over the top and I jumped right in.  No one told me that it was going to be difficult to knit them, and so it wasn't.  I've knit several designs from these two designers, as well as others on the Rowan team and there are many more in my queue.

For the class we worked on making our own variegated yarns by tying lengths together and knitting from the poppies graph.  We all brought yarns from our stash and shared.  At the end, Brandon critiqued our work:

Click on the pictures to enlarge
I liked the results but I have to disagree strongly with one of the theories presented.  Brandon, and Kaffe, say that you shouldn't worry about knots and you shouldn't show the inside/back of your work.  I can't tell you how much this goes against the grain with me.  You will never find a knot in anything I knit.  Also, while the inside of a sweater will not look the same as the outside, it can be just as neat and tidy.  I've been asked by knitters to show them the inside of a sweater I've knit and I don't hesitate to do so.  I'm proud to show off both sides of anything I knit.  I will agree to disagree with the designers on this point.

Near the end of the class Kaffe came into the store and sat down at the table at the back and worked on a design. 


I have to admit that it was a unique feeling to be knitting away and to looked over and there was Kaffe Fassett knitting away, too.  He's been an inspiration to me for decades.

A number of garments were brought to the class and I'll post pictures of them in the coming days.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Travel Afghan - Block #54

For me, no trip would be complete without adding another block to my Travel Afghan. I found "the one" at FabricBliss in Denver.  It was a good choice for many reasons:  it looked like the colors of the Yarn Along The Rockies logo, I'd never seen this yarn anywhere else before and I got it at FabricBliss and I think that the owner of the shop is one of the organizers of the yarn crawl.



My afghan is getting close to completion.  This is block #54 out of #55.  I'll do a garter stitch border but I have yet to decide how I'll do it.  What I'm leaning towards at the moment is to do one side at a time and each side will be another trip.  So, here is block #54....


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations
I started with 80 stitches for the rectangular block

Yarn:  Abuelita 100% Merino Worsted
Color #111 - Fantasyland (I don't see it listed on their website)
220 yards/200 meters
3.5 oz/100 grams
 Single ply

  Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm

 Note:  I think that this is the first yarn I've knit with from Montevideo, Uruguay

Friday, October 11, 2013

Eye, And Ear, Candy Friday

My Grandkids, Makayla and Braydon, make each other laugh. Is there any better sound than kids laughing, and don't you laugh right along with them?

Click on the picture to enlarge.
 When this picture was taken Makayla was 10 months old and Braydon was just over 3-1/2 years old.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Demise of a Shawl

The Color Craving Shawl knitalong has been quite a journey, one that has now come to an end.

First, there was the excitement of joining a knitalong, wondering what each clue would reveal.  There was the anticipation of waiting for the week's clue to be released each Friday to see what would happen next.  The shawl design was by Stephen West, so I was confident that I'd like this new one.  I've admired many of his past shawl designs and had recently made Earth & Sky in Colorado Avalanche hockey team colors.

I had thought of a number of color combinations, but then decided to go a bit wild, have fun with this, and make the shawl in Mardi Gras colors:  green, purple and yellow.  I found the purple and yellow quickly but just could not find the right green.  Finally, I took a dye class at Fancy Tiger in Denver and one of the skeins I did was in the emerald green that I was looking for.



Right from the beginning, at the first clue, I was beginning to have my doubts.  This was the strangest bit of knitting I'd ever done and I didn't care for the holes.  Since this was a mystery, I was hopeful that future clues would show the shawl to be pretty, even with the holes.  At the point when clues 2 and 3 were published I was still stalled, looking for my green yarn.  I took a look at the spoiler pictures on the Ravelry group and was quite sure that this was not going to be the project for me.

 
Finally, the last clue was released and knitters were uploading pictures of their finished shawls.  I didn't like it.  Then and there I decided that I would frog the shawl, happy that I'd gone no further than clue 1, and use the yarn for something else in the future.  For non-knitters:  frog = when you take apart a project you are ripping out the yarn,  "ripit, ripit".  I'm not upset as this is the chance you take when you sign up for a mystery knitalong.  However, the idea of making a Mardi Gras-inspired shawl is sticking with me and I may do that one day in the future using a different pattern. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

More From The Denver Trip

One of the things I was looking forward to, even more than the yarn crawl, was knitting with the group at A Knitted Peace on Monday afternoon.  I've spent many hours knitting with these ladies and it was good to spend time with them.  I will always try to time any visit to Denver to include a Monday so that I can join them again.


On Friday night the store was holding a special event.  It was talk and trunk show given by designer Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits


Many tried on her designs, which were very flattering on everyone.  I think a number of patterns and the yarn went home with many of the knitters that night.  I was tempted, but I was good....this time!

Here is shop co-owner, Marsha, trying on one of Julie's garments:


She wears it well.  And here's Molly.  I don't think those two have ever taken a bad photo.  Molly jokingly said that she was wearing her Beetlejuice pants.  She cracks me up all the time!


One of the stops along the yarn crawl was YarnWest in Evergreen that had this yarn-bombed bicycle outside in front of the store.


By the way, here is what my Yarn Along The Rockies bag looked like after I'd visited 21 of the 23 participating shops and collected their pins:



You have probably read in the news that Colorado has made smoking marijuana legal.  There are shops all over the city.  I saw many on Broadway and pulled into the parking lot of one of them.  It wasn't to go shopping but to take pictures of the artwork on the side of the building.  Someone is very talented.

All in all it was a wonderful week in Denver and I'm already looking forward to my next visit.