Thursday, July 31, 2014

Peace Is Where You Find It

Life is filled with both soaring moments and with valleys of despair.  Success exercises the smile muscles and a slap in the face settles a frown in place.  This week I needed to find peace.  Not a high nor a low.  Just peaceful harmony from which to move forward.

I've found my somewhat secret peace place.  It is outdoors and in the shade.  A calm place for knitting calmly.

Well, except for the squirrel who hangs out overhead and tends to nibble bark and then drop little chunks of it into the yarn.

Does that squirrel drop tree bits on the metal table with a melodic ping?  Nope.

Does the wild creature take the treasures away and store them for winter.  Not in my wildest dreams.

That uncivilized yet highly focused fuzzy tailed critter rips off tree bits and then takes aim for my yarn and drops the chips like a guided missile determined to destroy the integrity of my silk/mohair/wool blend.

On second thought, it is possible that I have finally figured out how Noro gets the organic matter into its yarn.

Yes, I'm certain that is the secret.  Don't you agree?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sewing Air

Lace knitting is not really my thing.  Oh, you might see me add an edging or work eyelets and pretend.  Occasionally there are lots of yarn overs surrounding decreases/increases.  But "real" lace.  Nope.  Not me.

Until now. 

I offered to knit a little pullover sample for the store.  Annette & Bruce thought I was being nice.  I offered as a way to force myself to sit and get over the fear.  I fought the lace. . . .I WON!

Not only did I knit the wispy stuff (that thinks it is sport weight), I actually managed to seam it into a final product.  There is no FO photo because Annette put it on and commenced to twirling and modeling as only she can do and I was too mind numb to think about going click with a lens.

If you are interested, the pullover is this cute sassy thing.  Or, if you are in the L.A. area, drive on over to The Knitting Tree, LA and pick up the pattern and the yarn. 

Yep, there just might be future posts all about my adventures in lace.

I'm as shocked as you are.  This could become a sub-obsession.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gonna Be Really Clean

Hopefully you read my post about making the felted soap.  The whole point of wrapping soap in wool is so that exfoliation and cleaning become one.  No additional supplies needed.

Except that a friend tipped me off to a very hilarious wash cloth pattern.  At least I think it is hilarious.  Oh, come on now.  A washcloth for knitters that is knit like a cabled sweater complete with ribbing, a cabled cable, and just enough lace work to make it look tres chic is quite the funny thing.

Here it is, fresh off the needles and looking like something that I'd love to knit in real person size with a back and everything.

Lacey Cabled Sweater Washcloth available here on Ravelry  Don't worry, its a free download.

Fibra Natura Good Earth yarn from Universal.  The yarn is 47% linen/ 53% cotton in a worsted weight.  Each skein has 204 yards which translates to enough to make this fancy cloth and another one in plain seed stitch.  [Notice how I spared making you look at a seed stitch square?  Didn't want to bore you.]

Have you noticed a trend lately.   It is too hot to work on anything large.  So, my hands are in warm bubbly water making felted soap (which is relaxing) and my needles are making little items.  The thought of working on a sweater or finishing the afghan causes me to experience brain melt.  So, for the next little while, items that are small, cool and quick will move to the top of the To Do List.

Whatcha doin'?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Still Learning After All These Years

 Pardon the old towel and the shadows from the desert sun, but pat me on the back and clap enthusiastically for my new skill.  That's right, I have learned the basic art of making felted soap.  Yippie!

This was a fun and bubbly class at the recent membership meeting of RKG.  The best part?  It was member taught.  I love learning from my friends and acquaintances.  It makes it so very personal, don't you think?

Caroline taught the workshop; the guild purchased the roving.  And we, the members, learned how to make this for no additional fee.  We did each bring our own bar of soap.  That's a very personal choice and it would have been impossible for the guild to take orders and be responsible for buying something so personal.

There are many videos and tips for felting soap available through your favorite search engine.  So I'll let you investigate on your own.

This is the other side of my soap.  I can't decide which side looks better - in my eye, both are perfect.  And considering that this was my very first effort, I am mighty proud.  That's why I want you to clap for me. 

Hopefully, the combination of the tea tree oil soap with the scrubby wool will be a winner.  If I like the result, there is much felting to do before the winter holiday season. 

Now, who want's to be on gift list?

I'm kidding, right?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Still The Best Pattern Ever!

Perhaps you want to argue, but I am convinced that Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket is absolutely and hands down the best knitting pattern ever!  Period.

It has been four years since I taught this pattern in a class setting.  All teachers of yarn things will agree that class samples are necessary.  During my recent re-organization of the studio I revisited notes and samples from several classes.

This is my newborn size BSJ.  I love it for several reasons.  First, the shoulders are not sewn which makes it easy to show students how to fold the swath into an actual jacket form.

Second, the icord bind off - complete with inline button holes - is ready to demonstrate "how-to" and thus I never have to finish this one.

Clearly, I had some thought of finishing it because two options for buttons were rolled up inside.  But for  the life of me I can't recall who was having a baby four years ago. 

This is another teaching sample.  Although this photo has no scale to prove it, it is not a Baby size.  This one is of worsted weight and knit on a larger needle so that students can see how gauge really does matter. 

I have a third sample that is completed.  That one is light blue with black stripes that make it easy to see whey the rows go and help plan color work.  Where that particular jacket is hiding is a great mystery of the yarn studio.

HMMM.  More cleaning and organization might be required.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stealth Work

This is a post about nothing.

'Cuz nothing can be said about the current work.

Shhh. . . .

It's secret and can't be seen.

But it might include this yarn.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good Morning Starshine

A pattern that can be easily adapted to multiple uses makes me happy.  Enter the star. 

 This star happens to be crochet.  There are many that are also knit.  So make yourself happy and think about the options available.

Make a little star from sturdy washable yarn and call it a drink coaster.  Or string a whole bunch of little ones together and decorate the front porch, the mantel or a holiday tree. And here I am thinking making a whole bunch in purple, green and metallic gold for the Mardi Gras Tree. 

Consider making a special place mat for celebrating a child's birthday.  Go up to 36" - 45" and you've made a baby blanket or table cloth.  Are you understanding my point?  Totally flexible based on the size and the fiber and the color.  This could even be a rug!  

The little star blanket that I made is part of my charity donations for July.  It is the size it is because the yarn ran out.  As in this specific ball of yarn simply ran out of yardage.

I did not run out of yarn.  I still have plenty and I've got my eye on that Mardi Gras decor!

There are lots of free links out there.  Here are a few.
Crochet Star:
Blanket - this is the pattern that I used

Knit Star:
Basic Star

Gliddy glup gloopy
Nibby nabby noopy la la la lo lo

Sabba sibby sabba
Nooby abba nabba le le lo lo

Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
Early morning singing song

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Walk With The Forest

 Forest is finished.  Thank you Myra Wood for your     fabulous inspiration.

In constructing this satchel, I left live stitches on each long (side) edge.  A life line held things securely during the final blocking and while the lining was sewed in.  
 The sides were then finished off by doing the following:  
*fold bag in half and return each half of the stitches to needles
*using a contrast yarn (something already in the fabric) work a 3-needle bind off to secure the sides

This is the back side.  The family was allowed to vote on which side was the front and which was the back.  

 The lining stops short of the sides by three rows on each edge.  This way, the side edges have no lining and flex so as to add depth to the satchel.  On the back side, it allowed easy access to the bound off stitches where I picked up and knit a flap for closure.

Here is the front with the short - and unlined - flap.  Finding the leather beaded bobble was pure fluke.  It is the perfect finish to a wonderful and functional satchel.

The family chose the correct side to be the right side, don't ya think?

Friday, July 4, 2014



Please celebrate safely and with style.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Pause That Refreshes

Watching me sew in lining for the new satchel is not exciting.  To entertain you whilst I finish the thing - which is now named Forest - I offer up this bit of neck wear.

 At least I think it is neck wear.  It even went over to the market and was indeed wrapped about my neck at the time.   But, and I think you will agree, it looks fine as a mantle scarf. 

This is one skein of Swirl from Delicious Yarns.  This particular yardage is put up in the "magic ball" style and was a souvenir collected from the LA Yarn Crawl.

Because the yarns are just tied together, I decided to hold back a bit of two different yarns and tie additional strands randomly about the shawl.  All of the ties are on one side.  This way, the knots from the skein become part of an intentional design element.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Period.