Monday, 30 May 2011

Blocking an old piece

As I was looking for another ball of yarn for my shawl, I dug up this old piece that I had knitted from cat hair and silk. Alas, Deja is no longer with us, but it is nice to have a memory of her.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Off to Delaware

It was a bit rainy our first day on the road, but the trip went well and we were able to drive into Ohio before stopping for the night. We found a great deal on a hotel and it was inexpensive but still had a pool, a whirlpool a refrigerator and everything one could want in a hotel room.

Our neighbor had an interesting car. Not only was it riddled with phony bullet holes, (paste on type ones) but it had a whole bunch of antennae!

The next day was short and except for a tiny bit of rain went well. We arrived in the late afternoon. The next day we met with Aunt Pauline at her beautiful house.

The decor was amazing and the setting also gorgeous. Aunt Pauline showed us around. Here she is on her back deck.

Aunt Pauline was a designer in New York and it showed in her home. She used to visit the theater quite a bit and she has decorated the bath room with the play bills she collected over the years. What a sentimental journey to go in and look at all the stars from Broadway. (Click on an image to enlarge and see some of the many famous people represented.)

It was great to see Katherine Hepburn, Zero Mostel, Ingrid Bergman, Barbra Streisand, Rosalind Russell and so many others that we have loved over the years.

We went to a delightful Asian Fusion restaurant called Nectar.

It had a lovely decor that featured a lot of Orange. It also had a huge screen with an image of Buddha above the bar.

This is a view from the opposite end of the room.

We had a marvelous time chatting with Aunt Pauline and a fantastic meal!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Update on the Pups

I haven't posted an image of the pups lately. Aimee has been annoyingly playful (and demanding) but I still have to post this image where she is being completely angelic (because she is asleep!)

Knitting Beads

So, I'm out of beads for my current shawl project and although more are on the way, for the moment I can't work on it, so I decided to play a bit with the beading technique I learned from Betsy Hershberg. Here are four new beads I have made.

I don't have any of the fancy tape yarn that she told us about, so I used some tape yarn I got from a grab bag/freebie. Unfortunately it is a bit too big to fit easily through my cheapo beads, so I am not willing to work any harder to make an additional red knitted bead. The beads are actually about the size shown. (My experiments with a smaller bead were disastrous.)

The gold ball is made with some gold colored crochet thread and gold beads. I put too many stitches on the needles for that one and it is lumpy and has a mobile skin. The green (moldy cheese) beads are made with some soy-silk tape that I got as a sample with my last yarn order. I just can't tell if these are the tackiest looking things I've ever seen or whether the right person can carry them off. (Maybe both are true!)

Friday, 6 May 2011

My Beautiful Flowers

My sister sent me these beautiful roses for Woman's day. (Since neither of us have children, we don't celebrate mother's day. I have something in mind for her too, but so far have had difficulty finding what i am looking for!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Playing Around with Twined Knitting

Okay, In the late evenings just before bed, I've been playing around a bit with the twined knitting technique that I learned in class. I didn't like the mistake in the middle of my reversible scarf . (You may remember it looked like this):

Well, I decided to rip it out. One of the problems that occurs with the twined back and forth knitting is a tendency to curl. L. Farson had added a knit/knit row every so often in one swatch that created a horizontal line across the pattern and it stopped the curling, but I wasn't crazy with the effect. decided to see what else could be done. Here is my first attempt - a completely reversible pattern that involves a kind of 4 stitch basket weave.

As you can see the two different sides look very similar (although the zigzags are straight on the back and vice versa).

I like the original effect better, but I have certainly learned something form trying this combinaton of stitches.

I also picked up a much finer yarn and decided to see what little tiny twined knitting would do. Using gosamer /fine lace weight on size 7 (!!!!) needles, I produced a pliable fabric that looks like this.

I reversed the wrapping midway through in the hopes that I would get a mirror image design. On the "front" it is barely noticeable. Halfway through I reversed all the wraps on the back to see how the pattern would change. On the reverse side you can notce just a bit that instead of dong a herring bone I now have columns of vertical hash marks that form diagonals across the fabric. It is very subtle, but it is there.

Here is a slightly larger view that shows the three different (barely) patterns. The bottom third is garter stitch for an edge, the next third has a herring bone effect and the last third has the diagonals.

Of course I've got some more ideas coming, so stay tuned!!

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Okay, here's what I scored at the Yarnover. (I tried to restrain myself, but I did do a little shopping!)

The first place I went had really cool jewelry. I was enthused. I only had 15 minutes to shop before my class, so I power shopped all this really great stuff!

I'm a pushover for fused glass. .. and look at these sweet earrings!

It turned out the artist lived in St. Cloud and is the wife of a colleague! Small world! After classes we had another 45 minutes of shopping time, so I raced through the crowded market and scored these adorable little wooden tops.

I looked at the woman who sold them to me and realized she was in my spinning guild (in St. Cloud!) I knew I'd better find some "foreigner" to spend money with or I would feel guilty for bothering to come! (Not really but it is a great excuse to spend money, right?)

I had noticed a gorgeous red yarn before my second class and decided if it were still there when I got through with my twined knitting I would go back and adopt it.

I was almost seduced by some bright green yarn instead, but the beauty of the red was too big a draw. My door prize was a couple of odd balls of yarn:

I think it was a pretty good haul!

The Dog Ate my Class work!!

I'm pretty sure it was a conspiracy! I think the cat had something to do with it and the dog probably finished the deed! Last night when I went to bed, my class work from the Yarnover was safely on the table. My beautiful silver beads were nestled on their swatch, gleaming and looking beautiful. (see blog post below for image). This morning I got up to find this horror before my eyes!

Yup! That's my beautifully gleaming silver bead I did in class yesterday. Oh well!

Minneapolis Yarnover 2011

Yesterday I got a chance to go to my first Yarnover event. I'd been considering gong for several years but the inertia of the end of the school year had always kicked in and made it difficult for me to seriously contemplate the 90 mile ride into the Big Cities. But my beloved teacher from the Craft Cruise, Lily Chin, was going to be there and suggested we do lunch, so I mustered up my energy, made the trip and even participated in a few classes. If you don't know Lily, she is probably the best knitting and crochet teacher out there. She is energetic and enthusiastic and you will learn so much form any class that you take with her. (Sign up if you have the opportunity!!)

We had a very pleasant lunch, chatted about the good old days, caught up a little on our sisters and their activities, chatted about upcoming craft cruises and everything fiber and cutting edge.

The Yarnover was a lovely event with lots of local Minnesota vendors and excitement. In many ways I liked the shopping better than at some of the bigger events because there were so many independent producers. There were lots of beautiful, one of a kind crafted items (stitch-markers, needles and home spun wools, for example) and it was pure delight to walk through the highschool commons area (where everything was set up) and inhale the colors, ideas and excitement. This woman was particularly welcoming.

Of course there were many celebrity knitters and designers teaching at the event and it was fun to walk around and see what and who was there. This attendee turned out to be quite popular.

I couldn't resist snapping a few images of the market and the wonderful people that one sees as they browse the booths.

I really wish I had had more time to shop, but the classes and the market conflicted with only a little time in between to look at the wide variety of merchandise.

If you are a knitter and have never come to Yarnover, then I highly recommend it. Of course if you like to shop, it could be detrimental to your "Pocket book" (A word they don't really use here in Minnesota. I wonder why.)

My classes were fun. (Short digression here). My sister and I try to arrange to go to Stitches Midwest whenever we can (as you may know if you read this blog regularly) and this year we arranged to take our classes together, but as we signed up the first class we agreed to do The Beaded Knitting Sampler with Betsy Hershberg, it turned out that the class was already full. So, when I saw Betsy was teaching at the Yarnover, I decided to sit in on her class there. I had visited her website before and decided that I was much more interested in the beaded knitting than the knitted beads, but I was curious about her techniques and regretted not getting into the class at Stitches Midwest, so I signed up anyway and am glad I did. Betsy is a delightful person and a good teacher, who explains her process well and is kind to the students that are struggling. She is somehow able to rein in the precocious and encourage those that tend to trail behind. I think we had all finished the two beads that were our goal for the end of the class. Here is Betsy in action.

She was wearing a lovely knit jacket with a drapey front. I don't know if she planned it to match her hair so nicely or not, but isn't she well "put together"?

The woman across from me in class turned out to be from St Cloud (and I would meet several people from out my direction throughout the day.)

The woman on the left was just delightful. We had a delicious chat about dogs and snowshoeing. (And look at her felted bag!)

Betsy's jewelry turned out (in my opinion) to be much more beautiful in real life than in the pictures I had seen on blogs. For this reason I am a little bit hesitant to show more images, because the fascinating qualities of the pieces just don't come through. (Also my auto focus was out of comission again - so sorry for the blurry images). Nonetheless, I do want to show some of the kinds of things that this creative woman makes.(She claims to be an active artist as opposed to a creative one, saying her sister calls her "concrete linear sequential" in her "creative" process. (Are you listening SLS? I think this may be the way you create too!!) )

The red and black necklace below uses a base of large mahogany beads.

Betsy was wearing these. I very much like the wavy line of smaller beads on the larger bead on the left.

This gorgeous piece used resin beads interspersed with some of Betsy's knitted beads. As you can see there are lots of possibilities with this technique.

My afternoon class was on reversible twined knitting with Laura Farson. Laura is such a gentle and kind person and another excellent teacher. To me this technique was really new. (I had done a little bit of playing with twined knitting after reading about it's rediscovery in one of my knitting magazines.)

She wasn't thrilled with me taking a picture of her with her glasses on, but doesn't she look adorable there - very teacherly. (And she is an excellent teacher. Not only did we learn reversible twined knitting, but she reviewed German twisted cast on and Elizabeth Zimerman's sewn cast off with us, for use with our scarf project. )

Here are some of our class member busily at work.

Laura has modified standard twined knitting in several ways including changing it form circular to back and forth (hence the possibility of reversibility.) Below are some of the stitch patterns that result from playing with the direction of the twining.

This was our class project - a reversible scarf in worsted weight yarn of two contrasting colors.

Below are some modified versions of the basic pattern.

And here is what I did! (I think I finally found a purpose for the free ORANGE yarn I got with my last order from DBNY !!) The front turns out like this with a slightly zigzagged pattern.

The back has a more exaggerated zigzag or herringbone effect.

If you are good at finding waldo, you willalso see my mistake where I started twisting the other direction!

Below you can see the beads from Betsy's class on top of my swatch from Laura's class.