Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mrs. Tucker

Mrs. Tucker,

I was so delighted to receive your comment on my blog the other day. I have so many fond memories of the times when you would babysit me. I went to publish your comment and the computer ate it up! I can't figure out what happened. I even thought that perhaps I was just dreaming! =)

But anyways -- since I'm not too sure how to get in touch with you, I thought I would just say, it was so nice to hear from you and I do hope all is well with you and your family!

With love,
Christina

Socks in a Thunder Storm

Well, did you make it through the storm last night (those of you in Indiana)? I tell you it was a bit of a hairy night.

JK and I were quite happily arranged with our reading (and knitting for me) when all of a sudden the storm struck.

I dashed outside to save all of my lovely flower pots -- there were reports of 1.5 inch hail and I didn't want to loose them.

After that we high tailed it down to the TV room in the basement where we made fun of the TV crews who were talking about their "Dopler 2000" or their "Viper Clearview" radar systems and how accurate they were.

We had to stay in the basement for several hours. Each time we came up we found that the trees were bent over and the rain was hurling buckets of water against the windows.

I was quite content to knit away for .... I had purchased some Nature Spun on Thursday from Stitches & Scones. Friday morning I prepared wool into skeins and stuck them in my crock pot in the section of the garage that is fast becoming my "dye studio." So, I had some lovely variegated sock yarn to work with last night.

I tell you, being able to dye your own yarn opens up so many possibilities. It's unbelievable!

But, just so you all don't get jealous.... I have some sock yarn in the dye pot right now. I think there might be a bloggie give away coming up in the near future... so stay tuned...

Stash or No Stash -- that is the question

After reading Gina's post on cleaning out her stash I was a bit envious -- I found myself wishing I had stash. Then I began to question myself, "Well, maybe I do have some stash." So I threw all my bits and pieces and odds and ends out on my knitting room floor and went to town. As it turned out -- I did have a bit of stash and it got a thorough cleaning.
I organized all the wee bits into baggies by color. I think I should start making granny squares with it.
I found a basket to hold all my lonely single skeins of handspun (above).
Also, I put all of the odd skeins I have been dying into a display basket (below).
Organized my spinning fiber (above)
And found some fiber I had dyed that I wasn't really excited about (below)


So I ran down, put it in the crock pot in the garage, splashed some dye to to the mix and left the whole thing for two hours.

Now, I am much happier with it. It looks like last summer's rose petals.




So, Gina, thanks for the inspiration to clean out my stash! I discovered I do have some! What fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Knitting In Public

I was just reading On the Hill this morning with my cup of tea. She mentions a recent episode where she knitting in public with a few friends. It was really quite hilarious.

It just so happens that I had an interesting "Knitting In Public" experience yesterday. My husband and I can walk to our local Starbucks. It's quite a nice walk and it's fun to do on holidays. So, with my knitting tucked under my arm and an umbrella tucked under JK's we set off.

We ordered a french press and received our two, "dining-in mugs", picked up a copy of the New York Times and settled ourselves down for a few hours of reading, knitting and sipping.

I knit without looking at my knitting -- if it's an easy piece so I would pull out a section of the paper and read while I knitting along. The times I looked up while I sipped my coffee I noticed I was getting odd looks.

After a while I finished the bits I was interested and JK started to read to me the bits we both were interested in. It was then that I started to get really really odd looks. People could not figure out whether or not I was really knitting or just pretending to knit. Women stared and men gave me quizzical glances.

But then came in incident that made my day. One particular lady was just about to step out the door with four coffees in hand when she glanced at me, hesitated (I smiled at her) and she stepped back in the door and came over.

"Can I ask you a question?" she asked very quietly.
"Sure," I said.
"I have a problem with my knitting and I don't know how to fix it. I've had to put it away for a while." She said.
"Oh, dear, that's too bad." I responded.
"I had three stitches come off the needle and then the yarn is in the wrong place."
As she spoke I let three stitches slip off my needle and put the yarn on the front side of my work.
"Yes, just like that." She said eagerly this time.
"Well, all you do is slip those three stitches back onto the left hand needle. Move your working yarn to the back and then work the three stitches again. If you have trouble getting them back onto the needle, use a smaller needle or crochet hook to pick them up and then put them onto your working needle."
"Oh, that's great." she said. "My mother taught me how to knit but she has passed away so I couldn't ask her."
"Oh, I'm sorry." I said
"Well, thank you." and she was off.

It continues to amaze me how the smallest thing can stump a knitter. It is even more amazing how people are afraid to ask for help. I love helping people with their knitting. I guess because knitting makes me so happy, I want others to experience that same pleasure!

Well, Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cotton Comfort Update

Guess what? I had a really nice conversation with David from Green Mountain Spinnery today. He was so helpful! He had taken the time to research what would have caused the "wash out" in my sweater.

The color of Cotton Comfort Winter Beech comes entirely from an organic cotton that was bred to be that nutty brown.

However, if you wash an organic cotton that is naturally colored you can sometimes fade the color if the water is too acidic.

But you might be able to revive the color if you wash it in an alkaline solution.

I am so thankful to learn this. He is going to send me the information and I am going to experiment with my sweater. I have nothing to loose.

I am really impressed by how Green Mountain Spinnery has worked so hard to help me understand the product I purchased. Not too many yarn companies do that -- believe me, I know.

So, hats off to GMS for all their effort and I'll have to report back on what happens!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Cotton Comfort Disappointment

My Cotton Comfort Sweater is finally completed. I thought I was going to have some rave reviews about this yarn. I really enjoyed knitting with it and had fallen in love with its soft woolly feel.

But then I dunked the entire sweater in warm water and to my horror the water started turning brown. No, not dirt brown but the color of the yarn. I was heart broken. There was nothing I could do. If I didn't let whatever was in there rinse out it would eventually stain my shirt. But I was loosing the lovely nutty brown I had loved so much.


I talked to Green Mountain Spinnery about it. They said it wasn't dyed, that was the natural color of the yarn. I was flummoxed. What had happened?

So.... if you intend to buy Cotton Comfort in the future, beware. You will love working with it, but you might have a washed out sweater in the end.

Ugh... the trials of a knitter. Guess what, I should have washed a big swatch before I made my sweater. Please, learn from my mistake.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Swallowtail Shawl

So what piece of knitting got me through the last two weeks? Believe it or not it was the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits Fall 2006.






I have working on sweaters and cables so I thought a good diversion would be the popular Swallowtail Shawl.
I used two skeins of Classy Happy Forest by Dream In Color. I have been wanting to work with this yarn just to see what it was like. It did not disappoint me. Classy is a soft, superwash wool that is just thriving with color. It blocked well and did not bleed at all (unlike some yarn which I'll warn you about a little later).

I really enjoyed working with the color, "Happy Forest", during this time of the year. The new spring leaves were reflected in the colors of the yarn. I loved it!


If you have been wanting to make a lace shawl this is a fabulous one to make. The pattern is very clear and easy to read, just take it one step at a time.

In fact, I think this pattern is addictive. I'm already planning on trying to make one out of a single skein of Dream In Color sock yarn. Hmm.... anybody want a shawl for Christmas?

Happy Knitting!

More Resting

My little sister graduated from IUPUI this past weekend. She had this week as a rest between school and her new job at Wishard. She had some thank you notes to write after all the graduation gifts she received. So....


I agreed to accompany her to the Eagle Creek Coffee Co. While she wrote away I sipped some coffee, knitted and read the summer issue of Interweave.

While I wasn't impressed with most of their patterns, I really enjoyed the articles. The article that marked the anniversary of Schoolhouse Press was interesting as well as inspiring. Who doesn't love E. Zimmermann?

I also loved Interweave's "Top 10 Picks For Summer" page. I think it is a new format but I really like it.

Color mixing 101 is an article not to miss. I am going to enjoy incorporating that into my yoked sweaters in the fall.

And last but not least I relished and savored the article on Ellen Brys, a designer in NYC. Oh, if only I could draw like her....

So, if you haven't picked up Interweave because you don't think you'll knit any of the sweaters, pick it up anyways; it is definately a good read.

After coffee my sister and I looked around Zionsville and then ended with an ice cream at the new ice cream parlor. Believe it or not, they make their own ice cream and it is quite good.

I think summer is trying to peak through the spring rains!

Master Hand Knitting Classes, Level I

I am so excited! I am finally signed up for the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Classes, starting with Level I. I have been wanting to do this for a while but have never taken the plunge.

I have heard that it is harder than you think it is and that you shouldn't expect to pass on the first try. Ahh.....! But what an adventure! Now I need to go shopping for my "school" supplies!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rest

It has been a very long two weeks. In many ways I feel like it has been one terribly long day just because things have been so busy. But last night JK and I walked over to Starbucks and had a bit of a rest.



We ordered a french press which was prepared with skill. I was amazed how yummy the coffee tasted -- I think things taste better when you don't make them!




We sipped our coffee while JK read aloud the New York Times and I knitted. Ah, there is nothing like a bit of a rest.


If you want to know what I was resting from, my sister blogged it all at Blackberry Rambles!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bayside

I just finished "Bayside." This is another pattern in my "top-down tank" series. Bayside has more shaping in the torso for comfort and ease. It is for sale at Stitches & Scones.



The idea for the nautical blue and white stripes came from my mom. Therefore I named the tank "Bayside", the town in which she lived as a child on Long Island, NY. Thanks, Mom, for the inspiration!

I am working on a cropped swing cover up to go with "Bayside" for those chilly, air conditioned buildings. I'll let you know when that pattern is completed!

Happy Knitting!