Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WiPs Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!  Two more days until the weekend!

I'm just going to show you my newest WiP today.  I cast on Friday night because I wanted something I could make a lot of progress on in a short time.  I want to finish something fast.  I should have pulled out my sewing machine and done some sewing.

In any case, I saw the Estuary tank in the summer 2014 issue of Interweave knits and wanted to cast on immediately.  I pulled out some cotton yarn that had the correct gauge and got started.

It's worked in panels and then sewn together.  Even after making sure I was following the directions, I managed to sew my panels on incorrectly.  And then didn't notice until I'd knit 4 inches past that point.  So my Estuary Tank is a bit different than intended.  I still like it.  And I will probably make another one.

I've reached the half way point and am about to divide for the armholes.

My lower garter panel should be facing the side-it's not.  I could have started this in the round and kept going instead of the panels and grafting.

The color is a bit more purple than it looks in this picture.

For more WiPs visit Tamis Amis' Blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Griffin Dye Works RETREAT

I want to tell you about the Griffin Dye Works Retreat and even though it is coming really soon, it's not too late to sign up and go.

This retreat is a fun and relaxing learning experience.  Or vacation at this great resort.  The people are great and always willing to teach you something whether it's a listed class or not.  But the best part is the all inclusive price.  Classes, lodging, and dining all included in the cost.  And to top it off this year the incidental cost or class material fees are being covered by Griffin.

The retreat is June 13-15th.  In Southern California.

An exciting weekend of classes in spinning, dyeing,
weaving, knitting,, friendly, fiber!

RETREAT FEE: $450 for accommodations, meals, snacks, tote, classes,
some supplies. Day-trippers welcome. Contact us for family and partner
prices. Download form to pay by check or just pay online at:

ARROWHEAD RANCH is in San Bernardino Nat’l Forest, near Lake Arrowhead.
The cabins hold 2 to 7 people, and have showers, flush toilets, TV, wifi.

The site also has a lodge, heated pool, and Jacuzzi. Photos of camp:

Class Schedule is Online!

Yahoo Group:

*This is my 100th post.  Happy Blog-versary to me.

Friday, May 23, 2014

FO Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. 

 Please take time this weekend to remember what Memorial Day is about.  It's a day when all of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are honored and remembered.  It's the ultimate gift and sacrifice to die for your country and the beliefs of that Nation.  Memorial Day is a great weekend to visit any National Memorials or exhibits; especially some of the decommissioned boats from WWII.  If you're lucky there will be some retired guys or gals that served and if you are respectful and polite, sometimes they'll chat with you and you will learn more and appreciate more than you ever did before.

For FO Friday I have a finished object.  The Shallows Cowl.  I knit this cowl for a friend who, until recently, did not knit.  She purchased the yarn and bought the pattern.  She choose the Mini Mochi yarn.  It was awful yarn for this project.  Really light and airy-but also splitty.  It's a single ply yarn that is close to really really thin roving.  In grafting the ends together the yarn broke at least five times.  I am so glad to be done.

It turned out to be really beautiful.

Here's Bessie modeling the cowl for me last night

The colors are most accurate in the top photo.

For more FOs check out Tamis Amis' Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2014

And so it begins...

I bought a spinning wheel.  I learned to spin last year at the Griffin Dye Works Retreat.  So many nice people helped me and let me use their wheels.  I learned how to use a drop spindle-on a borrowed spindle because the spindle I bought was too heavy for a beginner.  And then bought my own smaller spindle.  It was fun.  When I got home from the Retreat I didn't pick up my spindle more than a couple of times.  For a little while I looked for a spinning wheel.  And then got distracted by other things.

A couple of months ago I started looking for a wheel again.  I decided to go with the Ashford Kiwi Wheel.  It was suggested as a great beginner wheel.  The price can't be beat and Paradise Fibers had them in stock and offered free shipping.

It arrived in a tiny tiny box on a Tuesday.  Wednesday my friend Lisa and I opened the box and started painting.  It was a really hot day with high hot winds-and the plastic paint tarp kept sticking to the wheel and various parts.  Lisa's husband Alex saved the day by stringing up the wheel along side the house to dry properly.  Then sanding down the extra paint from the tarp and applying the final coat of paint.  We put together the wheel over the weekend and attempted to spin.  After countless attempts to get the leader to wind onto the bobbin and reading on Ravelry for tips I pulled out the instructions for putting the wheel together and discovered we put the brake band on incorrectly.  Once that was moved, it worked like a charm.

My spinning is bad.  Really bad-totally what you would expect from a newbie.  I'm currently making some over twisted rope with the softness of hard wire.  I know that with practice it will improve.  Last year I was spinning fairly consistently without over twist after a day or so.

So my plan is to follow the advice everyone has given.  15 minutes a day.  I'm keeping notes and by the time I work through 2 pounds of fiber I should be good to go.

Here's my wheel:

The tension knob isn't painted because it was wrapped with all the hardware.  I haven't decided whether I should paint that or not.

Some of the dragonflies got smudged-I think it gives it character.  Plus I'm way to lazy to sand that off and start over.  And I want to spin not paint.  I don't collect dragonflies.  I just liked the stencil over the others available at Michaels when I went looking for paint.  the colors of the flies are a little muted.  They are pink, purple, green and turquoise.

Have any tips for a new spinner?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WiPs Wednesday

Happy Wednesday Everyone!  Only 2 days to go until a three day weekend!!!!!  Yay!!!!

I have a pile of WiPs this week.  I ripped out the Ravello sweater because I decided to re-cast on using a provisional cast on.  Why?  Because the Ravello has a large boat neck.  I don't like boat necks.  Actually I don't like boat necks that show off my bra straps.  When I was growing up we would be mortified at our underwear or bra straps showing.  I could have revised the pattern from the beginning to knit a v neck or a scoop neck, but decided to do the provisional cast on.  When I'm finished I will pick up the stitches and do short rows until the neckline will cover my straps.  So the Ravello is currently an inch big.  Nothing to show you.

The Emelie sweater came with me on the train today.  It is about two inches of 3 x 2 ribbing.  Also nothing to show.

The Hitchhiker looks about the same.  I cast on a new pair of socks for my Mom and have about an inch of cuff past the ribbing.  More on those next week.

I am just about done with the shallows cowl.

The colors are a bit more muted in real life.  It is actually off the needles and blocking currently.  If it is dry tonight I will graft the live stitches and finish the cowl.  So you'll see it on Friday.

I received my copy of Interweave Knits summer 2014 in the mail this morning.  I love the color Tee.  And I am going to dig into my stash to see if I have yarn that will work for the Estuary Tank.  Tonight.  It looks like a fast knit.  Bulky cotton and wool yarn.  Size 10 needles and most of it is garter stitch.  I want to cast on something new.  I'm going to change the neckline in this tank too.  It's a really high scoop neck.  I want something a little lower.  Maybe v-neck.  Maybe just a lower scoop.  It's too warm here in Southern California to have a high neckline.

For more WiPs go to Tamis Amis' Blog

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Conversation with Miss Addi 5KCBWDAY4

It's Day 4 of blog week and today's assignment is to create a conversation between coworkers.  We are to choose a tool that we use and create a conversation between us and it.

Miss Addi is a lovely size 3 Addi Turbo circular needle with a 40 inch cord.  Mrs. Tweed is the gorgeous older, but wiser sparkly tweed project bag that Miss Addi is currently residing in.

Miss Addi: I've said it before and I will say it again I am the most important person involved here.  I think you should just admit it.

Mrs. Tweed:  You are important, but you are not the most important.  Everyone has some value.  For example without me, you would be lost or hopelessly tangled about and a complete emotional mess and you know it.  And without the yarn neither of us would have a purpose.

Miss Addi:  You just think you're important because you carry me everywhere.  Without me, there would be no end result.  So I am the most important.

Mrs. Tweed:  Why are you overly concerned with your importance?  Why don't you try to think about what is special about others?

Miss Addi: Everyone likes to think that they're special.  I know you have value.  And you're a lot prettier than I am.  But I still think I am the most important.  If I was gone and you were left, then what would happen to little hitch?  Think about that.  And until you admit I am the most important, I'm not making another stitch.

Mrs. Tweed:  Very well.  In this instance you can be the most important.  Now can we get back to work?

Google 5KCBWDAY4 for more conversations between tools...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WiPs and Experimental Photography 5KCBWDAY3

Happy Wednesday everyone!  It's works in progress day and day three of the Knitters and Crochet Blog Week.  Tag for today is 5KCBWDAY3.  Google the tag to find more posts on today's topic.

Experimental Photography is today's topic.  We were encouraged to use our knitting in a different way or to photograph our knitting with props.  I didn't have time to put together the post I'd imagined, so here's a quick and fast experimental shot of this week's WiP.

My Emelie sweater.  If you recall I've been working on this sweater for awhile.  Or not working on it as the case may be.  I've gotten almost two inches into the ribbing.  It is a 3 x 2 ribbing worked flat.  Takes forever and frankly bores me.

Here's my progress:

For more WiPs check out Tamis Amis's Blog and google the tag above for more Blog week blogs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fun loving playful spirit seeks someone to play with 5KCBWDAY2

Here's hoping that topic doesn't put me on the spammers radar...

Today is Day 2 of blog week.  Our topic-a dating profile.  Write a dating profile for a work in progress or a completed work.  Today's tag: 5KCBWDAY2


A little about me:

I’m 3 months old, from Orange, California, cute full of spunk and get feisty on occasion.  I love my job and, not to brag, I’m quite good at it.  I’m a social butterfly that has a great sense of adventure.  I believe that we’re all a “work in progress” that only get better with time, but in my case, I’m still growing.  

(Me in my "all together")

I love color and absolutely love texture.  Travel is so much fun.  In my young life I've traveled the country and if a lady had a bit of work done while traveling, who’s gonna say anything about it?  Not me.  Nothing wrong with a bit of work.  Everyone needs a little help to stay looking their best.

I love long walks in chilly weather.  I get out more often when it’s chilly or if a good movie is playing and some couch snuggling is in order.  I absolutely love the beach.  I know that seems silly, given my looks and all, but I don’t mind the sand.  And find that I can get a little work done while relaxing in the sun.  Rain doesn't bother me.  Snow can be fun as long as I’m not forgotten on the slopes.

(Me chillin at the beach-please excuse my undress)

I will tell you that I absolutely abhor bugs.  They are awful.  Moths are the worst.  If you have bugs in your house or apartment-it’s a deal breaker for me.  Only the truly clean and bug free should apply. 

I love almost everyone.  I’m willing to spend time with anyone who needs or wants me.  Other than summer evenings, I like to go out more in the winter or fall.  I see myself getting around a lot more next winter.  I share my small space with a lot of others.  So if you’re looking for alone time; it’ll have to be outside or at your place.  Keep in mind, though, that I am a good girl and won’t spend the night without commitment.  And you’ll have to ask my mother for permission.

If you think you can handle me, give me a holler.

Google 5KCBWDAY2 for more dating profiles.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Day in the Life- 5KCBWDAY1

It's the 5th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  Run by Eskimimimakes.  Seven unique tags were created to track the amount of traffic created by this blog week.  Take the unique tag and google it to find all of the bloggers talking about these topics this week. This week's tag is 5KCBWDAY1

Today's topic is a Day in the Life of your knitting.  Several people wrote narratives from the knitting's perspective.  I'm not feeling that creative today.  It is Monday after all and the fact that I am awake and functioning at work is a win for me.  (Didn't sleep well-which is not unusual for me-at least I wasn't sleep walking).

I thought about telling you about taking a project along for the yarn crawl this year.  We drove to 30 different yarn stores over the course of 2 days in Los Angeles County.  I cast on the Monsoon shawl and made it to the lace section as we drove.  (No knitting and driving-it's more dangerous than drinking and driving).  We had a designated driver.  She didn't knit and drive.  Although she did get to knit a little bit at lunch and in the evening at the hotel.  I decided not to go there, because I talked about it in my yarn crawl review.

Instead of focusing on any one project I'll talk about how I fit knitting into a regular day in my life.

I commute to Los Angeles for work.  I live in Orange County.  I'm sure you know (LA has a reputation for this) that LA traffic SUCKS!!!!  Big time.  It is horrible.  It can take me three hours to go 25 miles.  LA traffic gives me road rage.  I begin to hate everyone around me.  And I KNOW I just know that in front of that jerk in front of me is open road.  And he is just rolling along as if we have an endless amount of time to get to work.  See what I mean?  Road rage.  I don't yell or honk or even tail gate.  I steam.  Sometimes I call names-not loudly-just inside my car.  I vent.  I've heard that's healthier than holding it in.

So driving to work was a bad idea for me.  I lasted a month.  Then I found the train.  The lovely, quiet, speedy train.  Sure we stop at a lot of train stops, but there is absolutely no stop and go traffic on the train.  The worst experience I've had is being stuck for a couple of hours when the train hit a car (who doesn't stop for trains?  Really?)  No one was hurt btw-the guy jumped out of his car and ran in plenty of time.

The best part of the train is that I knit.  I get on the train and pull out the project in my bag and start knitting.  I stop right before we arrive at Union Station.  Then I knit for the ten minutes or so of subway riding before I climb to street level and walk the rest of the way in to the office.

Train knitting this week-Hitchhiker

I always always have knitting in my purse.  If I am waiting in a line, I'm usually knitting.  If we're waiting for a movie to start, I'm knitting.  If I have ten minutes of extra time while waiting for a call to finish, I'm knitting.  I don't knit in court, because Judges frown on that.  Even the ones that knit behind the bench (and there are quite a few of those).  And I don't knit in church.  But everywhere else I knit.

I also knit in the evening while watching TV or playing games or whatever else we may be doing.  On an average day I am lucky enough to be able to knit at least 3 hours.  I know I'm lucky to have so much time to dedicate to knitting.  It helps keep projects moving and getting things finished faster.  And knitting while commuting means that I can listen to a lot of knitting podcasts.

What's your Day in the Life?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday. It's FRIDAY!!! FO Friday

I love Fridays.  Two whole days of no work are ahead of me and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that.

Today is finished object Friday.  I have a finished Age of Brass and Steam to show off today.  It's made out of Madeline Tosh Merino a skein and a third.  I did a couple of extra rows after the last eyelet row and more rows of garter; so mine has a large wider garter ridge border than the pattern calls for.

I adore these colors.  And they look better in person. The colorway is Spectrum.  Kind of says it all.

I love love love it.  Today is all about the love.  With the extra repeats it is a little bit longer than the pattern dimensions.  Which is great for me because I'll be wrapping that around my neck when it gets cold here.  For those of you in the rest of the country that actually gets weather, cold means 62 degrees or lower.

For more Fo's check out Tamis Amis' blog

Have a wonderful weekend.  One, hopefully, without any work of any kind.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I have several projects in progress this week to show and tell.

First up is the newest- the Hitchhiker by Martina Behm.  This is a purchase pattern so I won't go into detail except to say that you have the option to make it as long as you want and that it is worked in short rows-repeating a sequence a certain number of rows.  Really easy.

So how did I get it to look like this?

I'm pretty sure that I knit a couple of extra rows or got off track somewhere.  See the right side of the photo.  It should be the straight edge.  Not so straight.

Here it is after I ripped it out and began again:

I've also put another couple of rows on my Emelie cardi.  What was I thinking?  Dark blue yarn, sock yarn to boot, and size 2 needles?

The ribbing is coming along nicely.  Its a 3x2 rib.  I'll love it when it's done and I'm sure that it will get a ton of use.  I just need some more motivation to work on it.  And I am forcing myself to knit the band to the specified length.  I always try to talk myself into doing about half the length-cause ribbing takes forever.   And then I'll be wearing it and think it sure would be nice if the rib section was longer.  So no matter what I will knit this one to the specified length.  Even if it is three and a half inches.  Ughh.

I started the Ravello sweater.  Also done in sock yarn.  Although after multiple swatches-I am up to a size 6 needle.  It's going much faster.  Raglan's always feel like they're going faster to me.

I've barely started:

And my last WiP this week is the Shallows cowl.  It's more than half way finished.

It looks less pink in person.  And less grey and more greeny.  I'll take outside pics when it's finished and blocked.

Check out more WiPs at Tamis Amis' blog

And come back Friday to check out my two, yes two FOs.

Friday, May 2, 2014

FO Friday and Back to Back Challenge

Happy Friday!!!!  I have a finished object to show you this week.

The Monsoon Shawl.  I knit this as part of a knit a long with my local knitting group.  It's a first lace project for many of the ladies participating (none of our male members are KALing with us).  I knit it in Cascade 220.  It's a fast shawl to knit.  Except the border.  That took longer than the shawl itself.

Here it is blocking.

 I ran out of t pins.  Next time I block it I am going to take care of that little triangle that formed at the center.
Here it is blocked and pretty:

I like the colors now that its done.  While knitting, I had some doubts.

For more FOs check out Tamis Amis' blog.

Last Saturday I trekked down to San Diego with a friend and her daughter to check out the Back to Back Challenge.  We were intrigued and we really wanted to see a sheep sheered in person.

It was a cold and rainy day for San Diego but the event was held inside.  As soon as we pulled up I knew that the sheep sheering wouldn't be happening on site.  The event was held in a small museum in a crowded parking lot between the library and a golf course with a grocery store across the street.  Not the type of place they allow sheering or live sheep to be present.

It didn't matter.  We still learned a lot and had a good time.

The event is an international challenge.  In the past there have been 13 teams that participated.  The event is not all on one day, but over a several months.  Each team has eight members.  One sheerer (also the only team member allowed to use scissors), 7 spinners-4 of whom also knit.  All of the sweaters knit by the various teams have the same number of stitches-the size various depending on the gauge of the yarn spun.

The San Diego County Spinners Guild is the group .  They took a ten minute penalty in order to sheer the sheep off site and ahead of time.

The spinning began at 9 am.  All 7 spinners spin until there is enough yarn to ply and then one stops spinning and begins plying.  This year the first plying began 9 minutes in.  Once that yarn is plied, then the first knitting begins.  This year the first knitter began knitting the back of the sweater 22 minutes into the competition.

All of the spinners and knitters were in a corner of the museum with tables and "talkers" in front of them to offer a barrier.  The "talkers" were volunteers who answered questions so that the competitors could concentrate without having to be interrupted.

 The lady in purple is the sheerer, the lade in maroon was the official time keeper.  Her job was to write down everything that happened and at what time.  The group then submits their time, pictures of the sweater, and the sweater itself to the officials.

Take a close look at this picture.  Do you see the glass of water with needles in it? (on the right)

It's not water.  It's vinegar.  Why, you ask?  To cut through grease.  The sheep is sheered without being washed, brushed or covered  for the previous 30 days.  The fleece is not processed.  It is dirty and greasy.  The vinegar cuts through the grease so that the knitter can knit without getting gummed up.  They alternate needles to let them soak and clean off.  The spinning wheels also get really gross and gummed up.

A sample of the fleece-see the dirt?

This is the sweater from last year-It was washed after the competition was over.  The brown swatch next to it was knit from the same yarn they spun the sweater out of.  The lighter swatch is the same as well-just washed.  See how much dirt and grime came out.

Close up of the same.

The end result is an Aran fisherman's sweater.  Because some of the grease will always remain the sweater is waterproof.  It feels a little crispy and a little greasy. Not sure that I would want to be wearing it.  But I suppose if the alternative was being wet and cold, you'd wear the sweater.

The team finished in 10 hours and 24 minutes.  A 10 minute improvement over their time last year.  The finished sweaters are sold and the proceeds benefit a local cancer center.

The winner will be announced in early June.  I'll pass that along when it happens.