Sunday, September 29, 2013

Road Trip - Yarn Along The Rockies

It was an amazing week in Colorado and, of course, it flew by much too quickly.  First and foremost, it was wonderful to see so many friends and to get caught up with them.  Some I had planned to meet, some I saw along the way during Yarn Along The Rockies.

The yarn crawl was wonderful and I'm sure that it was very successful for the shops and all the knitters.  There were 23 shops participating in the event and that's not all the stores in the area.  There are more, and yes, knitters in the Denver area are very lucky.

To participate in the crawl you were to pick up a passport at the first shop.  Optionally, you could purchase a bag ($7) on which all the participating shops were listed.  At each shop you get your passport stamped, pick up a free pin to add to your bag and enter the contest for prizes in the shop as well as the grand prize of one of the HUGE bags of goodies.  I believe that there are four grand prizes.  When you have stamps from all of the shops, you turn in your passport at your last stop and you are entered in the contest for one of the grand prizes.

Starting in the north, on the first Saturday, my friend Sheila and I visited three of the shops:  Mew Mew's Yarn Shop in Lafayette; Gypsy Yarns and Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder. We visited one other shop that wasn't participating - more on that in another post.

On Sunday I went out for brunch with a couple of friends and former co-workers.  It was so good to get caught up and see them again.  In the afternoon Sheila and I visited six more shops:  Fabric Bliss, Fancy Tiger Crafts, Lamb Shoppe and I Love Knitting in Denver; Knitty Cat in Englewood and Colorful Yarns in Centennial.  You can see the pins for these shops on my bag, above.

Monday was saved for non-knitting shopping, then an afternoon of knitting with the group at my old stomping grounds, A Knitted Peace, in Littleton.  It was so good to see everyone again.

Tuesday was a day for sightseeing, traveling around Denver and beyond but by the evening I was back in a yarn store.  This time it was for a dyeing class at Fancy Tiger.  I learned a lot and had such a good time.  The last time I was in Fancy Tiger it was in a small shop but it has moved to much, much larger quarters and is now one of my favorite shops.  I'm going to keep my eye on classes for future trips.  

On Wednesday I headed south with Pam, Louise and Barb and visited:  Stash in Castle Rock; Table Rock Llamas in Black Forest; Needleworks by Holly Berry, Green Valley Weavers and Woolly Works in Colorado Springs.  I don't know if we did more yarn crawling or more laughing during the day!

On Thursday Sheila and I headed west visiting:  Knit Nook in Conifer; Yarn West in Evergreen;
Recycled Lamb in Lakewood (another shop that has moved to a bigger and better location); Knit Knack in Arvada and Blazing Star Ranch in Englewood.

That left only 3 shops.  On Friday morning I joined Ann and her group in Parker for some group knitting and chatting....nice ladies, all.  This gave me a chance to visit and pick up the pin from Zen Knitting.

I never got to the last two shops:  Wild West and Bags By Cab in Denver.  I had heard that the parking was difficult at both places.  All in all, it was a blast.  I covered a large area of Colorado, more than I might have visited without the yarn crawl.  I went to some shops that I've never been to before, met new people, made a last visit to Knitty Cat before they close their doors for good.  Zen Knitting is also closing and ran into some knitters that I haven't seen for a while.

I'm already looking forward to next year's yarn crawl.  If all goes as planned, I'll be going back to Colorado for it.  I did buy some yarn, but not as much as you would think.  There were a lot of temptations but I have a lot of yarn already and need to use it. Most of the yarn that I brought home came from the first stop.  I'll tell you about that next time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Heading to Colorado

Vacation starts tomorrow and I'm heading to Denver.  I hope to be able to blog while I'm away.  I've never tried to do it with an ipad so we'll see how it goes.

I've got some fun things planned - visiting shops that are involved in the Yarn Along The Rockies yarn crawl, taking a dyeing class at Fancy Tiger, and best of all, seeing friends. 

My thoughts have been in Colorado this week and it's not just because of my vacation.  You've probably heard about the devastating floods.  There were floods here in Calgary in June and I followed the news and heard the stories of how people were impacted.  And now, Colorado is suffering.  According to the YAR website. all of the participating shops are safe.  That's a blessing.  So many are suffering.  If you would like to help out I'm sure that an online search will suggest ways that you can donate.
Stay strong Colorado

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let The Fun Begin

I signed up for Stephen West's mystery knitalong to make the Craving Color shawl.  The first clue was published last Friday.  I decided to go with Mardi Gras/New Orleans colors because they make me smile.  I picked out two shades of green but neither one was exactly the right one to my eye.  The yellow and purple are bright.  One of the greens was too spring-like and the one, below, is too dark.  I think it needs to be more emerald in color, more vibrant.

For the first clue you only use two of your colors and I decided to see if I liked the green any better once I started knitting.  I decided to use the green and purple to start but I wasn't happy with the results, although, in looking at this picture it doesn't look that bad.  It's just not what I was looking for.  RIP, RIP, RIP.

For my next version I knitted with the purple and yellow and the plan is to look for a better green for the third color.  Now, I have to decide if I like this version.  So far, I do.

It actually looks a little better than it does in this picture.  I'm liking the colors and with the right green, I think it'll be just what I'm looking for.  I'm s little past the halfway point of Clue #1, to the end of row 45.  Since switching to two long circular needles the knitting it much easier, especially when it comes to working around the arc at the top.  I've also added stitch markers after every group of 20 stitches to cut down on the counting on every row.  I don't know if I'll be finished by the time the second clue is published, but I'll be close enough so that I won't feel like I'm falling behind.

Now, the burning question is:  What the hell is this thing?  It's not like any knitting I've ever done before.  At this point, it's bizarre!  I'm looking forward to Clue #2.

Monday, September 16, 2013

We Have a Winner!

Thanks for everyone who entered the contest to win a copy of Jean Moss' wonderful book, Great Little Gifts to Knit.  Using a random number generator the winner is #6, Carmen N.

Carmen said, "Lots of babies among friends and family so I could make the "shower set", but I would love to make the "hugs" socks for my best friend."

I'm sure the recipients will love the gifts.  Lucky friends!  Carmen, I will be in touch with you very soon to arrange delivery of your prize.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Wooden Sorting Box

I can't remember if I blogged about this before.  Oh well. Better twice than not at all, I say.

If I needed another craft, which I don't, I'd be tempted by woodworking because of this box:

I think that it's just the coolest sorting box for straight knitting needles.  I posted this picture on Pinterest and have had a number of people repin it, favor it or email me to ask if I knew where they could get one, too.  I wish I did.

Wouldn't a drawer under the needle section be wonderful for those small items?  I have some glove needles that would disappear in this box.

I wrote to the Susan Bates company but never received a reply.  If you know where I can get one, or if you are a woodworker/entrepreneur and decide to make these vintage boxes, let me know.  I'm interested!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Great Little Gifts to Knit

I first discovered Jean Moss' designs back in the late 80s/early 90s and I've been a fan ever since.  Her Sculptured Fair Isle was one of the first sweaters of hers that I knit back then and I continue to wear it to this day.  It's a favorite, timeless and draws compliments regularly.  My blog post about this sweaters from August 13, 2010 is here.

When I heard that Jean had a new book coming out I got very excited and when she asked if I'd like to review it, I was thrilled.

Jean's new book is Great Little Gifts to Knit and it is very timely, given that many of us are about to start knitting for Christmas.

However, the projects are wonderful for any time of year.  There are 30 projects to choose from and a variety of techniques - something for everyone.  Having a 10-month-old granddaughter and 3-1/2 year old grandson, I was immediately drawn to the beanbags.  She would love to hold and squish them as she's getting acquainted with the look and feel of everything around her.  He is learning his  numbers and I envision playing games of catch, e.g. toss a "2" to me, or "how many ducks are on the beanbag"?  I also think these would make a nice gift for a person who sews, just add plenty of stuffing and you've got a pincushion - quick and easy gift.  The other thing that came to my mind when I saw these is that it would be a good project for someone who wants to try out intarsia, one of my favorite knitting techniques.

The Baby Shower set pulled at my heartstrings as it brought back memories of following my first patterns and making gifts for friends when they were expecting.  Back then I wasn't brave enough to attempt to knit a thumb in a mitten, and it's not needed for a newborn.  This is the perfect pattern for a new knitter, but also good for anyone who wants to make a charming gift to give to the expectant parent.  The added embellishment of the flower on the cap and shoes is adorable, and can easily be left off for a baby boy.

Shower Set
There are plenty of patterns for grown-ups, too.  They haven't been forgotten.  You can choose from shawlettes, leg warmers, berets, mittens, socks and more.  There are even projects for the home:  placemats and pillows.  I like the cushions and I'm betting that one of them will be on my needles before long.

Checkers Cushion and Seat Cover

And how you resist making a guitar strap that can double as a belt.  It's a fine way to hold your Fender or a cinch in a blouse

Hendrix Guitar Strap and Belt

There are so many other projects in the book and I could go on and on.  These were some of my favorites.  You can get a copy of the book for yourself at Amazon.

CONTEST:  I know that you're going to want a copy of this excellent book and Jean is giving one away by way of my website.  All you have to do is go to the gallery on Jean's website and look at the projects.  Then, come back here and leave a comment on this blog post.  Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you.  You can leave an email address with spaces inserted so that it can't be picked up by any automatic gatherer. Tell us what project you would like to make first, for whom, and what would be the occasion.  Perhaps it's a beret as a Christmas gift for a friend, or a tea cozy for a favorite teacher.  On Monday, September 16th a name will be drawn at random and the winner will have a choice of a hard copy or digital download of "Great Little Gifts to Knit", shipped directly from the publisher.  Good luck!

The blog tour continues and if you'd like to read more review of Jean's book, please check out the blogs listed below, and Happy Knitting.  Thanks, Jean, for allowing me to be part of your book tour.  I didn't want to read any previous blog posts until I'd written mine and know I'm off to see what other bloggers have to say...

Blog Tour Itinerary:

Mon 2 Sep       Wendy Knits Wendy Johnson

Wed 4 Sep       WEBS    Kathy Elkins

Fri 6 Sep          Getting Stitched on the Farm Kristin Nicholas

Mon 9 Sep       Stolen Stitches Carol Feller

Tues 10 Sep     Knittedbliss Julie Crawford

Wed 11 Sep      Black Bunny Fibers Carol Sulcoski

Thur 12 Sep     Rhythm of the Needles Joanne Conklin

Fri 13 Sep        Tiny Owls Knits Stephanie Dosen

Mon 16 Sep     Just Call Me Ruby Susan Crawford

Tues 17 Sep     Zeneedle Margene Smith

Wed 18 Sep      Redshirt Knitting Erika Barcott

Thur 19 Sep     A Friend to Knit With Leslie Friend

Fri 20 Sep        Craft Sanity Jennifer Ackerman Haywood

Mon 23 Sep     Connieleneknits Connie Lene

Tues 24 Sep     Knitsofacto Annie Cholewa

Wed 25 Sep      Ulla Bella Anita Tormoen

Thur 26 Sep      A Really Good Yarn Julie Schilthuis

Fri 27 Sep         Urban Yarns Alexa Ludeman

Sat 28 Sep        Linda Marveng  Linda Marveng

Mon 30 Sep      Yarnings Jen

Tues 1 Oct         Tentenknits
  Margaux Hufnagel   

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Never forget:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Travel Afghan Block #53

For my Travel Afghan I'm always looking for a yarn that is specific to the area or the shop I'm visiting and Charlotte Yarn had the perfect choice, a yarn called "The Girls". This yarn is dyed specifically for the shop and each colorway is named after someone who works there. 

The colors in the picture of the afghan block, below, are more accurate.

 Of course, I had to pick Remi's colorway, "Sweet Sunshine" for my afghan.


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

Yarn:  Charlotte Yarn's 'The Girls'
Color - Sweet Sunshine, for the owner, Remi
Heavy worsted weight, 17sts x 21 rows = 4"
250 yards

  Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm

Note:  This is block #53 of 55.

Next block:  Denver.  How hard will it be to pick out one yarn for the afghan during a yarn crawl that includes 23 shops, plus there are more shops that aren't participating in Yarn Along the Rockies?  I think I'm up to the challenge!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Charlotte Yarn

The visit to Charlotte, North Carolina was very nice.  It's a pretty city and I was most impressed with the people and also the way they drive.  During my entire visit I didn't have a single person driving within inches of my back bumper (a pet peeve of mine).  The people were polite and charming and I loved the accents. As for the heat and humidity, let's just say "thank goodness for air conditioning".  According to the weather report on TV, I arrived on the hottest day of the year - 96F.

Of course, no trip would be complete without a trip to a yarn store and I stopped into three of them.  My favorite was Charlotte Yarn.  I'd previously exchanged a couple of emails with the owner, Remi, and looked forward to meeting her.  She is the most welcoming person and made me feel right at home in her shop.  It was fun to sit and chat with her for a bit and to browse through her lovely shop:

I expected yarn shops in the South to be filled with cottons and linens and it surprised me to find wool, alpaca and blends.  I had that same surprise when I visited a shop in Macon, GA a couple of years ago. Travel Afghan block.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rockin' in Charlotte

As I'm writing this, it's Saturday night and I'm thinking back one week to when I was in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater, front row, center, listening to the Allman Brothers Band.  Earlier in the evening, opening the show, was Steve Winwood and his band. I've liked his music in bands starting with the Spencer David Group and then Traffic and Blind Faith.

It was so good to hear his hits, so familiar:  Gimme Some Lovin', I'm a Man, Higher Love, Dear Mr. Fantasy, and more.  The crowd loved them too.  He moved with ease between playing the organ and the guitar.  There were a number of songs that I didn't know, jazz pieces and a song with a very long drum solo.  I wasn't too fond of these, I'm afraid.  All in all, I enjoyed his part of the show and hearing his classic hits.  At one point I looked at the side of the stage and Warren Haynes and Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers were watching the performance.

Up next were the headliners, The Allman Brothers Band, one of my favorites.  This is the second time I've seen them and both concerts (the last one was in Columbia, Maryland in 2012) were excellent.  I've come to the conclusion, though, that if you want to see a band from the South, you have to see them in the South.  The crowd was amazing.  These were their boys and they knew every word to every song, every guitar lick.  When the band sang Whipping Post 19,000 fans jumped in and sang the chorus "Good Lord I feel like I'm dying"!!  Click here for a version of the song from 1970.  It still sounds just as good 43 years later, even with different band members.  (The Allmans have a long and interesting and sad history.)

About 3/4 into the Allman's performance Steve Winwood came out and performed a great version of the song The Weight and his and Gregg Allman's voices worked well together.

Members of Steve Winwood's very talented band performed with the Brothers on different songs.  At one point there were more drummers on stage than I've ever seen in one place before.  To add to the variety, the original drummer from The Marshall Tucker Band, Paul Riddle band played on the last song. 

It was a great night, with lots of wonderful music.  I only wish that they had played Trouble No More.  Maybe next time.

Next post - knitting.  And, be sure to come back on Thursday for a book review and give away!