Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pam S.

Rest in Peace, my good friend Pam, who lost her battle with cancer this morning.

She is gone much too soon and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.  Our knitting get-togethers at the Corner Bakery will never be quite the same without her.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

News Bits - Week of February 22nd edition:

I saw this quilted wall hanging on Facebook last Sunday and it made me laugh.  I love the sense of humor of the quilter, Denise Bursey-Penny.  I'm not a quilter, but if I was, I'd want to make this!

(c) Denise Bursey-Penny

The vendors list is now up for the DFW Fiber Fest.  I recognize a few of them:  Webs (of course), Bijou Basin Ranch, Brooks Farm Yarn (I have some of their yarn in my stash - purchased at the Estes Park Wool Fest several years ago), Madelinetosh, Kookaburra Products, Alisha Goes Around and Signature Needles, but the rest are new to me.  It'll be fun to explore and choose a yarn for the next block of my Travel Afghan.

If you're in the UK and able to see BBC4, check out a TV show called "Fabric of Britain" (you may have to look online).  It's very interesting and entertaining.  It covers knitting, spanning from the 1920s onwards and features people such as Susan Crawford (currently working on a book about Vintage Shetland), Kaffe Fassett, Mary Quant, Coco Channel - and the one that I found the most entertaining, Gyles Brandreth.  I saw him several times in the late 80s/early 90s on morning TV in Britain and he wore the craziest intarsia sweaters.

That's him wearing the teddy bear sweater (below, top right).  In my knitting library I have the two books:  Wit Knits and Knitability.  They are a hoot and I wouldn't part with them for anything!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Knitted Peace

What would you make if you suddenly received 58 skeins of wool in the mail?  That's my delightful dilemma.  The yarn is all Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight (fingering), a favorite. I've been having fun looking at all the colors and letting my mind wander to possibilities.

This is a VERY GENEROUS gift from A Knitted Peace, a yarn store in Littleton, CO.  I worked there for many years.  As a matter of fact, I was the first non-family-member employee.  I love the shop and always felt at home.  I can't begin to count how many classes I've taught and how many wonderful knitters I've met along the way.

That's the good news.  The bad news is that the shop is closing at the end of March.  It's been around for about 15 years...approximately.  If you have a chance, drop in and visit while you can. It's a warm and welcoming shop and will be greatly missed.  Tell them that Joanne sent you!

The problem is not 'what should I make', but 'what should I make first'?  I have many ideas and will continue to search Shetland sites as well as Ravelry for more ideas and inspirations.

Marsha and Jane....THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU... for the yarn and for all the years that I was part of the shop.  It was a pleasure and I wish you well wherever the future takes you.  Stay in touch.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Conquering Machu Picchu

No, I'm not climbing Machu Picchu in Peru, although I wish I could.  That would be amazing.

Instead, I'm knitting Sunday Knits' Machu Picchu pullover.  It is knit using their own yarns which are rich in color and wonderfully soft.  My hands are loving the feel of them as I'm knitting.

Click on the picture to enlarge.
In the picture, the neckline is at the bottom as this is where the knitting starts - working neck down.  I've finished the colored yoke and now I'm doing the diamond shapes in duplicate stitch.  There are 36 diamonds and so far I've completed 16.  I've made one change to the diamonds:

The color repeats after every 5 diamonds, then you're to do five more in the same sequence, except that upper diamonds become lower diamonds.  By doing this, however, I would end up with two of the same color next to each other.  Instead, I've added one more color option and I'm repeating after every 6, ignoring whether they are located on the upper site of the zig zag or the lower.

Soon, I'll be working plain black for the rest of the sweater.  It should go fairly quickly.  I have quite a bit of the colored yarn left over...maybe even enough to make a pair of fair isle mittens.  Not for this winter...but maybe for next.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fair Isle Friday - Winter Snows Mittens

I'm told that Fridays are Fair Isle Fridays.  I'm good with that.

I've knit quite a bit of fair isle (stranded knitting) over the years and I've been in a fair isle knitting phase since returning from Shetland last September.  In Shetland I visited Jamieson & Smith's, Jamieson's (not related to J&S), toured the mill, met designers, took classes, checked out patterns, met some knitters and visited a couple of  museums.  I don't know if I'd say that it's changed my knitting life exactly.  Instead I would say that it has profoundly intensified my appreciation of the Shetland fiber culture, and Shetland itself.

I have two projects on my needles at the moment, using wool from Shetland.  One is the Mini-Mitten Advent Calendar Garland..  This was a knitalong which ended in December but I started late.  My goal is to finish by the beginning of December 2016.  I've completed 11 of the 24 little mittens and the project is very addictive.  I'll finish up one mini-mitten and immediately want to cast on for the next one.  I don't foresee any problem finishing in time this year.

The other project is also a knitalong, created by the same designer who made the mini-mittens.  This time the mittens, called Winter Snows, are adult-sized.  I've also been calling them my Snowflake Mittens.  I have the right mitten completely finished and blocked and I love it.

I made a few alterations to the pattern as I wanted a more close-fitting, snug mitten.  I started the decreasing on the thumb and at the top of the hand sooner than called for in the pattern.  I cast on in the blue to add a bit more color to the cuff.

Now, like socks, I have to make the left one - no second-mitten syndrome for me.  I made good notes on the modifications so it shouldn't take long to finish up the other mitten.  With the weather we've had in Calgary lately, I might not need them this year, but if I do, I'll be ready.

I can see myself using this shape and the directions as a template for more mittens in the future since the fit is just what I want it to be.  It could be a good stash-buster...something to use some of the small bits of yarn leftover from multi-colored sweaters.

I am so drawn to Shetland that I've made the decision to go back again this year.  Last time I was with a tour group and we were there during the week before Wool Week, which really was fabulous.  This time there will be just four (maybe five!) of us and we will be in Shetland for Wool Week itself.  I'm excited and looking forward to taking some classes with fair isle experts, seeing more of the island, exploring.  I have already planned to bring back enough yarn to make a fair isle cardigan.  I'm thinking about using red as the main color.  That's all the wool that I plan to bring back.  Really!