Monday, September 30, 2013

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long

When I suggested to my husband that we go attend the Sound of Music Sing-a-Long at the Hollywood Bowl he was horrified.  He said some not nice things about sing-a-longs, people who attend them and the Sound of Music in general.  He wasn't interested in attending.  It's not a manly event.

So I asked the Twisted Stitchers (my local knitting and crochet group).  A few said yes right away and several others couldn't go because of prior commitments.  And one said yes because she wanted a night out and didn't really know what to expect.  I was the only one who had been once before.

I know it sounds lame.  Definitely not something a group of teenagers or hipsters would want to go to.  The thing is that it is actually AWESOME!  It's turned into a cult classic, kinda like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

To start you are at the Hollywood Bowl.  This is an iconic spot.  Historical in Los Angeles.  Great shows have been performed here for a long long time.  The Bowl is an outdoor auditorium that sits in a natural bowl between some mountains.  The Hollywood sign is on the mountain behind the stage.

I know these are not great pictures.  They're using my cellphone because I forgot my camera.  

The night starts with a costume contest.  Hundreds of people dress in a lot of traditional, interesting, original and wacky costumes.  They line up next to the stage and are paraded across.  They get a second to give their name and what they are.  The best and most original or cutest costumes get to stay around and the Judges decide on first, second and third place.  I'm not sure what, if any, the prizes are.  

If you look really really close you can see people lined up on the right with the host on the stage.  To see pictures of costumes and things that happened at the event from others go to: Sound of Music pics

As soon as it starts to get dark, they start the movie.  And everyone in the audience starts to sing a long.  In and out of tone.  The first scene is Maria in the Hills, singing the Hills are alive.

It's impossible for me to explain the feeling you get sitting out in nature with hundreds of other people singing the Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music.  I got chills.  It's awesome.  The HB hands out little goodies bags as you enter.  These contain a couple of cards to hold up during parts of the movie, a popper, some edelweiss and a couple of other things.  My favorite parts of the movie/sing-a-long are: whenever Baroness Schraeder enters the screen the audience hisses, same hiss for any Nazis, when Captain VonTrapp and Maria kiss for the first time everyone pops their poppers, and whenever Edelweiss is sung cell phones are held up as lighters and the crowd sways.

At the intermission, one of the ladies that came from Twisted Stitchers, told me that she didn't really want to come.  That it sounded lame and that she was trying to think of ways to ditch when I walked up earlier in the day and said it was going to be a lot of fun.  She decided to come.  And was so happy that she did.  It's hard to explain how much fun this really is.  You can put aside your self consciousness and sing loudly off-key and no one cares, you can dress up, you sway and knock shoulders with perfect strangers.  Everyone is having a blast.  The guy next to me was drunk and very amusing.  He had a ton of comments.  This is not a movie where you quietly watch.  It's too loud to hear what most of the actors are saying.  This is a movie for audience participation-but anonymously unlike a comedy show where participation typically means you are the butt of jokes.

I love the part of the movie where Captain VonTrapp and Maria get married.

This is one experience that you can't just read about it.  You have to experience it.  If you're ever in Los Angeles in September you should go.  Everyone will enjoy it.  (Even my husband if I can get him to go).  Just buy your tickets early.  This is a sell out every year.

Of course we each had our knitting or crochet with us, although none of us actually used the time to knit or crochet.  That's one way to know that its an awesome fun event.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiber Frolic

What is a fiber frolic you ask?  It's a day of fiber related classes and activities.  The Griffin Dye Works puts on the frolic twice a year.  They have classes and spinning circles and a lot of wonderful people willing to teach you all about fiber and the various activities you can partake of relating to fiber.

This years options: Beginning knitting, card weaving, looms, spinning, duffers, knitting with beads, braiding, dying, and more.  There were also quite a few vendors (tons of roving and fiber to buy) hand spun and hand dyed yarns, a little bit of commercial yarns and some odds and ends).   I'll show you what I purchased another time.

My favorite part of the fiber frolic are the dye pots.  Bjo Trimble, amazing knowledgeable dye expert, teaches a class on natural dyes and then sets her students free to play with the dyes and see what we can create.

This was our designated dying area.  Outside, well ventilated and with plenty of room to drip freely.

Bjo instructing

Before dying fabric, fiber or yarn each piece has to be tagged and then soaked.  Dry items just don't accept the dye as well.  These are a couple of friends, Bessie and Betty, tagging and prepping their items.

Everyone loves the indigo pots.  Indigo Crystals (Indigofera tinctoria) are added to boiling water to create various shades of blue.  See below for Indigo.

Indigo looks bright or neon green while in the pot and oxidizes once the air hits it and turns blue.  The pre-oxidized green is an awesome color, unfortunately it doesn't last.

We also had logwood which produces purples, Tesu which produces a yellow, cochineal, for red and walnut for brown.  I played mainly with the logwood and Indigo.  I did dye a piece of cotton fabric in the walnut and got a nice cocoa color, but decided to over dye it in the logwood.  Over-dying just means placing a previously dyed material into a new color.

Some finished logwood dyed scarves:

And some finished Indigo:

All of my dyed items still need to be rinsed and set.  I dyed three or four skeins of yarn and still have a couple of skeins that I need to set from the fiber retreat this summer.  I'll show you the caked yarns when they're dry.

Griffin Dye Works sells their dyes and will ship internationally.  They've got quite a bit of information online and are always willing to answer questions.  If you are local to Southern California you can arrange for private lessons or a private dye day with a few friends.

Check out their website: Griffin Dye Works

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Arlin Sweater

Loving this sweater:

It's the Arlin Sweater by Bonne Marie Burns.  Check out the Ravelry page here:

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Fall-so I hear

I hear that it is fall.  At least in other parts of the world.  Here in Southern California we're still having 90+ days.  The thought of sweater knitting or scarf knitting makes me sweat.

I am almost jealous of those people who get to enjoy fall.  The lower temperatures, the fun fall sweaters and hats.  Mostly the lower temperatures.  I am not jealous of the awful flooding hitting Colorado or the snow and other fall/winter related weather issues that are heading towards the non-tropical parts of the world (I include LA in that category even though we aren't tropical.  We just don't get much colder than the high 40's).

In any case the Fall 2013 issue of Interweave Knits is out and available.  I like a lot of the patterns, hate others and love and will cast on a few others.  (I'm not including pictures and am linking to the project pages on Ravelry because of copyright issues.  You can get the patterns from Interweave knits and see pictures and details on Ravelry.)

Some of my favorites:

Dressage Cap by Bethany Hicks:  This is a cute little cap.  It's knit in Knit Picks Pallette and has some cute buttons on either side of the bill of the hat.  I think that if I knit this one I will be changing the bill.  It's a bit too small on the models face.  Just something to keep in mind and know that I may be playing with the fit and look.  I really like knit caps.  They're fun and a bit more grown up than slouchy hats.

Bryn Mawr Dress by Alex Capshaw-Taylor:   This dress has some really interesting detail.  The silhouette looks like it would be slimming and attractive on most body types.  It's just a long tube dress that flares slightly at the knee.  I don't think I would go the mock turtle neck at the top. That's just too warm for Southern California.  But I love the length of the sleeves and the zigzag pattern.  It's knit in Rowan Wool Cotton.

The Barnard Raglan by Angela Hahn:  I like the look of this raglan sweater.  The cable detailing is subtle and the pockets are cute.  I think I'd have to add more waist shaping and watch that hem line to make sure it wasn't turning into a potato sack or bell shape.  I'd probably adjust it to be slightly baggy, but close to the body instead of too loose.

And my last notable from the Fall Interweave Knits:

Cornhuck Pullover by Agnes Kutas Keresztes:  This is my favorite.  I love this pattern.  I would make the waist a bit longer and would choose different colors because white and yellow together make me look ill.  But I love the detail.  The lacy look combined in the cables.  The designer choose Kauni wool to knit the original.  I'd use a cotton blend (again sunny weather makes wool a poor choice).

Grab a copy of Interweave knits here:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day of Remembrance and What's on the Needles

Today is September 11th.  Like many people, for me the horror of that day has faded a bit.  I will always remember how I felt that day.  I was living in Oregon and had a trip to the coast planned.  I was up early and turned on the news, which is not something I usually do.  The first plane struck the first tower and the newscaster kept showing the footage over and over again on a loop.  It was horrific.  It was made worse as the day went on and we saw the second plane strike, saw people falling or jumping from above.  And then the news of the pentagon and the last plane taken down by the brave people aboard before it could reach it's intended destination.

I spent that day glued to whatever news source I could.  I wasn't worried about a strike in Oregon.  Oregon tends to be a state that isn't a focus of terrorists (thank heaven for that).

As time went on, we healed and the memory has faded; but it's not forgotten.  I've always believed that the best revenge is to keep living and keep living as we did before.  We can be smarter about our security and we can fight back.  But the best way to get revenge is to live our lives as we want to live and not in fear like terrorists want.

Take a moment today to remember and then go on with your day and live.

Today is What's on the Needles Wednesday.  I haven't finished or changed much from last week.  I've got one finished hat to show you and I've cast on some boot cuffs for my niece (special request).  The boot cuffs have barely begun.

I haven't been able to find a design I liked and am working up a fun cable design that can be done two at a time.  I'll post the pattern when it's finished.

The hat is just a basic stockinette hat in bulky yarn.

I'm still working on the Tee-shirt, two pairs of socks, and one hat.  All except the boot cuffs are being put on hold while I whip up a few pairs of duffers in various stages for a class I'm teaching about Duffers and felting for the Fiber Frolic for Griffin Dye Works on September 21st.

I also received a swap package today.  The theme was August Book Swap.  I received a couple of books on my list and some yarn, roving and new scissors.  The yarn is gorgeous and I can't wait to make something with it.  That will happen-it'll just be later this month or next.  So many things to make and no time to make them.

Here's a few pics of the swap package:

Have a great afternoon and make something you'll love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Natural Light

I miss natural sunlight.  I've been sitting at my desk in Los Angeles and although it is right next to a window, the blinds have been shut and the harsh office lights have been on full force.  We've been having a slight heat wave-typically of LA in September.  The buildings air conditioner has not been up to the task and I've closed the blinds for the last week and a half in an attempt to cool down the room.

I miss sunlight.  Having to work inside all day instead of knitting or doing other things I'd rather do isn't as awful if I can see outside.  I'd like to sit outside and just soak in some sun.  The most I get is walking to and from the subway.

I have fallen way behind on my long list of WIPs.  Life just has been getting in the way.  Last weekend our garage was broken into and the thieves stole more than just our stuff.  They stole a lot of my time and good will towards the world.  I have been looking at people on the subway, wondering if they too are thieves.  I don't trust my neighbors or the other people living in our neighborhood.  Any one of them could be the culprit.  I'll get past that.  I don't feel personally violated as I am sure I would had they broken into my home.
The Police are investigating and hopefully they find the individual(s) and lock them away.  Having your belongings stolen is bad; feeling like I've been robbed again because of insurance deductibles and depreciation sucks.

So instead of knitting and doing other fun things, I've been dealing with insurance and police officers and tracking down receipts and getting estimates.

I did take a break Saturday and spent the day with my buddies from my local knitting/crochet group and had a blast.  We did a bit of shopping, lunching and sewing.  We're working up project bags to sell as part of a "one day we want to own a yarn store and need a ton of capital to make it happen sooner rather than when we're retired" fundraiser.

I'll post a link to our Etsy shop as soon as I've got it.  Here's a preview of one of the bags in progress:

Try to get out and enjoy the sunshine while it's still around.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's on the Needles Wednesday and Catch Up

It's been awhile since I've posted.  We've had a really busy schedule over the last month.  I've finished a few projects, started others and have completely stalled on my Tee shirt knitting.

Have you heard about the My Mountain Hat design contest for Schachenmayr yarn?  They provided the yarn and the contestants created a unique hat design and submitted a photo of their finished hat design.  I signed up late in the game, received my yarn, started my design and knit furiously until I ran out of yarn.  Here's what I've got so far:

You can sort of see where I am going.  It's still on the needles and waiting for the new yarn to come in so I can finish.  I'll show off the finished hat when I get it done.  It was fun to participate and they're letting me enter my partially completed hat (deadline was Sept. 2nd).  

I've working as fast as I can on a pair of socks-two at a time because let's face it.  I have second sock syndrome.  I confess.  I hate working on the second sock.  I feel like I just made that and I don't want to do it again so soon.  And really why should I?

So I learned how to do two at a time and I LOVE it!.  Yup, total love.

Here's the socks in progress.  I've just reached the heel turn:

In catching up news, a group of my buddies from my knitting and crochet group went to the Blues, Brews & BBQ event at the Fullerton arboretum.  It was a ton of fun.  Neither Mike or I are drinkers, so we grabbed a couple of designated driver tickets and went for the Blues and BBQ.  It was really good BBQ.  Not quite up to Texas BBQ standards, but it definitely blew California BBQ and some rather pitiful Colorado BBQ out of the water.  Yum.  Of course there was knitting involved:

Here is a rather dark and pathetic picture of the Blues band:

And a picture of a beer bottle cap (check out the sheep).  The yarn enthusiasts of the group voted this beer as the best of the event-based on the cap logo rather than the beer.

Even though this is a short week and we're almost to the end, the weekend cannot come soon enough for me.  Our week started out roughly with a rather nasty surprise.  Some (excuse my language) Rat Bastards broke into our garage and stole some of my favorite things, including our beloved beach cruisers.