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 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.


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 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....


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.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mardi Gras Ball

In yesteday's post I mentioned the talented Jackie E-S.  One of her whimsical designs caught my eye, the Stress Ball.  What really moved me from 'liking' to 'wanting to make' was when it morphed into a Mardi Gras Ball.  I couldn't resist and decided that I would make one a year, each different but sticking with the Mardi Gras theme.  I had the same yarn that Jackie used but that will wait for next year's ball.  For this year, I found another yarn that called to me.  I will be making my Mardi Gras ball soon, but the first one went to Jackie.


Pattern: Mardi Gras Ball, a variation of the Stress Ball

Color - Sour Grapes
Fingering/sock weight
80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon
400 yards - used only about 25 yards for the ball

Notions:  - Size 8/0 Duracoat Galvanized Gold Beads: 794
Purchased from EarthFaire
- 2.5" Styrofoam ball purchased at AC Moore in Concord, NC

  Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm

Note:  The pattern calls for the ball to be stuffed but I decided to put a styrofoam ball inside this one, and all future balls.  There are other variations for beading patterns on the HeartStrings site, here, and click here for the Ravelry link.
On the Knitting Enjoyment Scale, I give this project a 10!

My Ravelry Project Page is here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Loopy Ewe

While I was looking forward to the Yarn Along The Rockies yarn crawl, I was also anxious to see a friend that I hadn't seen in 10 years, and to visit The Loopy Ewe in Fort Collins.  The Loopy Ewe wasn't part of this yarn crawl but participated in an earlier crawl of northern shops.  Yes, there are a LOT of yarn stores within driving distance of Denver!

Click on the picture to enlarge.

It was good to see Jackie again after all these years and to get caught up.  She's been a busy lady with her fabulous designs, company, knitalongs, and much more.  I'm in awe of all she does.  She's so talented. Check out Jackie E-S at HeartStrings FiberArts. 

Unfortunately, the picture is a little blurry, but otherwise it's a good shot of the photogenic Jackie.

To say that The Loopy Ewe is nice is a gross understatement.  It's fabulous.  Maybe it's a good thing that I no longer live in Colorado as I'm sure I'd be making regular trips to the shop and my stash would be even bigger than it is now.  However, I'm already looking forward to the next trip to Denver and will leave plenty of room in my suitcase for "souvenirs".

The store is organized the way I like - by weight, then by color.  They carry yarns that I've never seen before from large companies and yarns from independent or small dyers - some I've only heard of, some were new to me.  The Loopy Ewe is clean and bright and the sales staff, the "elves", are very helpful.  They don't hover over you while you're trying to make decisions on yarn and colors, but are around if you have questions....a nice balance.  Even the customers are happy and friendly.  I was debating over shades of Dream in Color Smooshy and was joined by someone who was shopping and she offered her input, which was welcome. 

Don't let the empty shelves, bottom right in the picture above, deceive you.  The Loopy Ewe has more yarn than any knitter could possibly want in a lifetime. 

There is even yarn in the lamp base!

I really don't need any motivation to finish up projects that I have on hand, but knowing that I'll probably be in the shop again next year in the fall has me looking forward to new projects in 2014.