Sunday, November 30, 2014

Travel Afghan - Nashville Trip

In October I went to the Tenntucky Fiber Arts Retreat and extended the trip in order to spend some time in the Nashville area.  Of course, you can't just go and see the sights, like The Hermitage.  A knitter MUST also visit a yarn shop or two and pick up a souvenir, or two, or more.  From Bliss Yarns I found the yarn I needed for the third border of my Travel Afghan.


Pattern:  Rambling Rows Afghan from Cottage Creations

Yarn:  Rain's Obsessive Stitchery, Fred Sock
Color:  Nashville
Fingering weight - held double
75% Superwash Merino Wool
25% Nylon
100 grams ~463 yards

Needles:  US #7/4.5 mm

Note:  This is the third border side of the afghan.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nashville Area Yarn Shops

It’s such a joy to walk into a yarn store in a new city and made to feel like you’re very welcome to be there.  Unlike so many other types of stores that are impersonal, yarn stores are like that for the most part.  Such was the case with Bliss Yarns in Brentwood, TN.  I liked the shop immediately.  It’s friendly, well-stocked and low-key.  Months earlier I had picked my hotel at random and was thrilled to find out that this shop was just a mile away.  What a coincidence.  Maybe it’s a knitter’s sixth sense.

I was first greeted by Tyna who explained to me how the store was organized and asked if she could help me find anything.  

I like the Tennessee-orange table.
I told her about my Travel Afghan and said that I was looking for something that would make me think of this trip to the area, a yarn souvenir.  She lead me to yarn from a local dyer Rain's Obsessive Stitchery, a yarn called Fred Sock in a colorway called “Nashville”.  I use yarns in the DK to worsted range for my afghan.  This one is fingering weight but I doubled it and it worked out fine.  It’s perfect and so pretty.  I love the many colors all working together.  

I met the owner, Deb, and had a very nice conversation with her.  Talking with the two of them was like talking to old friends, even though we’d just met.  It further cemented my theory that when you’re around knitters you’re never with strangers.  She generously gave me a knitting bag with the shop’s logo on it and I’m carrying my current project in it now.  Thank you, Deb!
Tyna, left and the owner, Deb on the right.
The second shop I visited was one that I’d been introduced to a few days earlier while at the Tenntucky Fiber ArtsRetreat.  I knew Haus of Yarn because their yarn bus came to the retreat as one of the vendors. 

When I was back in Nashville I had to check out the shop.  It is another excellent yarn store.  Nashville knitters are well-served with this two shops.

The yarn selection is large and I was mostly drawn to the yarns that I've never seen before.  It's always fun to find something new.

Some of the new-to-me yarns were just too tempting and I'm sure that they'll work with my Talavera Dreams afghanThey certainly aren't subtle but they'll add the pop of color that I want in the afghan.  I was proud of myself for only choosing these skeins as I could easily have bought many more. 

Left:  Jill Draper Makes Stuff - Esopus yarn, color: Habanero
Middle:  Jill Draper Makes Stuff - Esopus yarn, color:  Stretching Sunset
Right:  Mrs. Crosby Loves To Play - Satchel yarn, color:  Toucan
Judging by the two skeins on the left I was in an orangey frame of mind that day!  It's a color I've always been drawn to.  They are very large skeins, 500 yards in each, so I'll be using them for more than the afghan, but what to make?

There were so many temptations at both stores. I liked both shops very much and I’ll be back if I'm in the area again.  Hopefully that’ll be for the Tenntucky Fiber Arts retreat in October, 2015.  If there is a knit night at the shops I’d love to sit in.

Next time…. my Travel Afghan.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING... all who are celebrating!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kaffe - The Knitalong

I've been knitting along with the Kaffe Fassett afghan in the past few weeks.  It started out as a mystery, but little by little, the mystery is being revealed.  The pattern is free but you have to register on the Rowan website to get it.

In the beginning we knew that there would be 63 squares and that each of the squares would be knitted 7 times.  We were given the 4 colorways for each of the 9 squares. We also learned that all of the 63 squares would be knitted using the same directions.  What we didn't know was the order of the 4 colors in each square.  We also didn't know how they'd be pieced together. We were told that there would be no fairisle or intarsia.

In week 5 (the current one), we were given a chart showing where the 63 blocks would be placed. What we still don't know is what clues 6 through 9 will look like.  Videos and tutorials can be found on You Tube, here, including a spoiler in the newest video, showing the finished afghan.  I haven't watched it yet and I'm not sure that I will.  Maybe.

There's been talk on the knitalong group on Ravelry about the placement of the squares:  some will follow the original, some will change them around.  Before I make a decision I'll want to see all the clues, but I am playing around with the squares we have now, and made a table so that I can do it digitally:

Following Kaffe's original design, here's what I see to clue #5:

Click to enlarge
Right now it looks like the brighter colors are collecting at the bottom with the darker ones at the top.  Perhaps they'll balance out more when new clues are released.  

If you want a copy of the blank table (it's interactive), along with the key and directions, message me on Ravelry with your email address.  I'll also send updates when new clues are released.  I've only created the template for the turquoise version, by the way.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Berlin Wall

It seems like all you hear is bad news when you turn on the TV these days.  However, 25 years ago today there was the happy news that the Berlin Wall was coming down.  I remember watching German news broadcasts and seeing the people chipping away at it.  I couldn't understand all the German words but there was no mistaking the joy on the faces of the people.  Finally, after so many years of heartache and death.

I have my own certified a piece of the wall, hanging on my wall.  It's a treasured piece of history.


Saturday, November 8, 2014


Nashville is a city that I never expected to visit.  When I went to the knitting retreat in October I flew into Nashville, so it seemed only natural to spend a couple of days exploring the city.
As much as I love almost all kinds of music, I don’t care at all for country and western, and that’s what I expected I hear all over the city.  I did hear a little from a couple of street musicians, but that was all.  While sightseeing I saw the Grand Ole Opry but didn’t go in. There is a very nice mall across the road that I did visit, going for a wonderful dinner at the Claim Jumper restaurant, a favorite.

Click to enlarge
I found that there is more to Nashville than just country music.  There is blues – not as much as in Memphis, but it’s there.  There is a B.B. King’s Restaurant.  

I liked the decorations – from the artwork on the walls ...

... to the painted tables honoring blues legends such as Robert Johnson.

I expanded my knowledge of US history.  I admit that all I knew of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, was that he is on the $20 bill.  His home, The Hermitage, is outside Nashville and well-worth a visit.  It’s fascinating to see how people lived back in the early to mid-1800s and to hear about some of his policies and how he fit into the nation’s history, good and bad.  

If you’re ever in the area I can recommend a drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway.  The entire highway runs for 444 miles between Nachez, MS to near Nashville.  

It’s a pleasant escape from interstates and a historic link to the old South.  There are no billboards, gas stations, stores, houses….just miles and miles on a road running through the beautiful countryside with very little traffic.  It’s an excellent place for bicyclists. I'll bet it's breathtaking when the leaves start to change color.

What would a trip be without a visit to a yarn store?  I found two that I liked very much …