Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sock Mojo & Podcasts

My sock mojo is in full gear right now.  I finished up my March socks with the 2016 colorway from The Loopy Ewe for the little knitalong that my friend, S. and I are doing.  Then, last night I cast on for another sock that I've called "Verb" using the leftover yarn from block #15 of my Travel Afghan.  The sock went very quickly and I finished it today.  With the "From The Ashes" sock, I now have two single socks that need their mate.  I'll be working on them as my main projects this week because next Saturday is cast-on day for the April socks and I don't want 3 single socks.  I'd like to have full pairs!
 
While knitting I was watching a couple of video podcasts on You Tube.  One is Fruity Knitting that I've mentioned before and is my favorite.  I also watched Sticks & Twine.  The host talked about a Brooklyn Tweed knitalong that he has started as well as a visit to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and a side trip to Amsterdam and Stephen West's shop, Stephen & Penelope.  The Edinburgh Yarn Festival is on my bucket list.

Here are the Clickety Clack socks for March:


THE DETAILS

Pattern:  Cast on 60 sts, stocking stitch leg and foot,
short row heel, shaped toe.

Needles:  US #0/ 2.0 mm

Size:  Medium

Color exclusive to The Loopy Ewe:
"Clickety Clack"

Ravelry Link:  Clickety Clack

Notes:  The colors come from the picture, below.

I was pleased that there was no real pooling.  The yarn looked like it wanted to pool but the stripes helped to break it up.  While these aren't my favorite colors, the socks will get lots of use.



Next month:  Dancing Dandelion

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Voting Has Begun

Earlier this year I joined the Jamieson & Smith "Fire Festival KAL".  It was great fun to decide what to make using the colors that were required.  I made a cover for my hot water bottle.  There were so many creative projects from sweaters to scarves and cowls to hats to gloves to socks....the list goes on and on.

Now Jamieson & Smith has created a link on their website where you can see all of the finished creations in one place.  It's time to vote for your favorites.  Of course, I voted for my own.  How could I not?  And, I voted for one of the sweaters.  If I'd had more votes, I would gladly have picked some others items as I like many of them.

If you want to check out the finished projects, the link is here.

Now, I'm not asking you to vote for me, but..... if you do (and anyone can), this is what my entry looks like on the site... and, thank you for your support!

I wonder what goodness J&S will come up with next.  I hope it's nothing too tempting as I have a couple of sweaters to finish.  So much great knitting to do, so little time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Fair Isle Workshop

The reason for my trip to Berkeley was to take a workshop with Janine Bajus and it was fabulous.  I learned so much about color, design, techniques, hints and tips.  I was totally blown away with how much knowledge she has about fair isle knitting.

The workshop was held in her home and limited to 5 students.  We were made comfortable from the moment we walked through her door.  Introductions were made and we gathered in the kitchen to start each day with bagels and coffee and tea.  Then, we settled around the table and Janine gave us detailed information about fair isle, what it is, where it's from and what distinguishes it from other techniques.

Color is an important first step, so we looked at the inspirational pictures that we had brought with us, discussing the way colors work together, or not...how they might work in a photo but not in a garment.  The only way to be sure about your colors is to swatch.  Next, we were shown the "playpen" which contained at least one ball of every one of the 225 colors of fingering-weight Spindrift that Jamiesons makes.  Janine dazzled us with how she can remember the name and number of every one of the 225 colors and recognizes them on sight, even those that are close together.


We learned about values, color families, speed swatches, mirroring, color placement and the color tool.  Then we swatched, first a simple swatch and then more complex swatches.  We discussed, we analyzed and we learned from our own swatches and from each others.


It was a good group and, along with the knitting, there was lively conversations.  Sometimes we strayed a bit off topic but were gently guided back to project at hand.  It was all very enjoyable.

From there we started thinking about the motifs we'd like to try out and looked through books and magazines to find inspirations and to do some planning.  Janine taught us how to think about color and how to work it into our designs to best advantage.  She showed us her vast collection of sweaters and explained why the colors were chosen and placed as they were.  To me, the design process is fascinating. One of the techniques I'm going to use right away is how she does her steeks with a crochet hook...so much easier and better than using the sewing machine, in my opinion.

As a bonus, we met Janine's family, including Mason, the dachshund.  He charmed everyone!  Janine spoiled us with freshly-baked, warm cookies every afternoon.

On the last day, I excused myself just a bit early.  As I had such a short visit to the Berkeley area, I wanted to get in some sightseeing.  Janine planned out a route for me to take through the Napa Valley and the scenery was amazing and beautiful.  I even found time to take a detour to Fairfield and visited the Jelly Belly factory.

This is just a very small amount of the Jelly Belly candies that I saw.
I learned so much, had a great time, loved seeing palm trees and leaving the snow in Calgary behind.  I would not hesitate to recommend Janine's classes or workshops or designs to anyone.  She is an expert and this Master Class was everything I hoped it would be and much more.  I've only talked about a small fraction of the curriculum of the workshop.  I would definitely take a class with her again.

Oh, and yes, some wool followed me home.  I don't normally wear vests or a lot of pink but when I saw the Rosebud Vest "in person", I knew that I had to make it, so I bought the kit.  I'm looking forward to starting.

Janine, if you're reading this..... A huge THANK YOU from me.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Avenue Yarns and Lacis

Avenue Yarns is a wonderful shop in Albany, CA with lots of tempting yarns and supplies and friendly people in the shop. I enjoyed talking to Ray and Jody. I was surprised and impressed that they had copies of the book about Shetland Wool called "Oo". 

         
This is only some of what I saw in Avenue Yarns.  I'd be happy to pull up a chair and start knitting with the yarns on the left and work my way around the room. 


They had some gorgeous garments on display and ended up buying a pattern for a sweater for The Ropes by Graeme Knowles-Miller.  It's a fairly plain pullover with some cable accents - a practical and pretty design. 



If I lived in this area I would probably be visiting this shop often.


Visiting Lacis was a must while in Berkeley. I'd heard about this store for many years.  It's not a yarn store but a museum of lace and textiles as well as a retail store.  


If I ever find myself in need of the understructure for a hoop skirt I know where to come.  They are hanging from the ceiling like lamp shades. 


As well as lace making supplies, everything you can imagine, they have a huge selection of books for a wide variety of craft and textile interests. 


You can spend a lot of time just browsing in Lacis, and I did. I'm finding this shoos in the area to be varied and eclectic. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

California

It was a good first day in California. I saw trees. I saw flowers. I saw flowering trees. The weather is beautiful, sunny and warm and not a flake of snow to be seen anywhere!

I did lots of sightseeing and, of course, I had to visit a yarn shop - well, I actually visited two. The first one I visited is in Oakland - A Verb For Keeping Warm.

  

They carry yarn, dyeing materials, fabric, magazines and more. 


Dyeing is a big part of what the store is known for.  It's done in the yard behind the shop.


I believe that the owner is the dyer.  She dyed all of these swatches using cochineal.  It's hard to believe you can get so many variations in a color.


One of the main reasons that I wanted to visit this shop was to get a skein of their  hand-dyed yarn for my Travel Afghan.  I always try to pick something that is unique to the place I'm visiting and this is an ideal choice, and a very nice yarn..  


They've named this weight and fiber combination "Annapurna". This particular skein is a limited edition colorway, dyed with cochineal.  Even the dye date is on the label: 2.19.17, a recent vintage.  

The details are:  80% Superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. 385 yards/4 oz, fingering weight. I'm looking forward to adding it to my travel afghan. 

The second shop that I visited today is Avenue Yarns in Albany, CA., a very nice shop that I'll write about another time. 

Tomorrow is Day #1 of three of the workshop with Janine Bajus.  I'm looking forward to it.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017