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March 2004
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May 2004

FRIDAY!

Here is one more pic from the trip last weekend…Balance Rock. It was a sacred place to the Fremont’s and there are pictographs around the site.  This is right off the road and an awesome sight. Some say it looks like Porky Pig.

balance

And here are my ‘boys’. 

boys

Moxie is on the right (he was not happy about the trip and didn’t speak to us for 24 hours after we returned home) and Murphy, in front.  Murphy is curious, boisterous and not very well…he’s 12 this year.  We hope we have him a bit longer but at this point we’re just hoping. 

Goals by Monday are to finish the second gauntlet by Sally Melville, the neck on the Kestrel Fair Isle (almost done now) and a piece of needlework that needs to get to the finisher. Pictures of all when (if) I reach the goal.  If that all happens I can start the Spotlight Tank so you can see how cool it’s going to be.  Great button, Nathaniatank


Fair Isle

If you are working on a sweater with a zipper front you must go to Mary Beth’s blog to see how to do it step by step. She took the suggestions from my experience and put them to use with pictures and a detailed explanation. What a great job you did of both teaching and knitting, Mary Beth!

Now about Fair Isle…just think about this. The whole garment is knit...knit with maybe a little purling in the bands. It's all in the round and you don’t have to turn and work back plus, the sleeves (if there are any) are also picked up and knit down. Really, it’s very easy. The hard part might be following a chart but that isn’t too bad if you pick a sweater with simple repeat motifs (that you can memorize easily) for your first project and use a magnetic board to keep your place on the chart. If you blow up the charts so they are easy to read that will help, too.

Every row on a true Fair Isle is only two…just two colors and if you knit with one color in each hand (that might take a little practice) you can easily get into a rhythm. Grant Avenue has 16 stitch repeats (after the bottom section)…easy to memorize. It might take a little getting used to but Fair Isle is so beautiful with its mix of colors and patterns that it’s worth the effort to learn. It does take awhile to knit, usually around 3-4 months for me as I like to work on other things at the same time.

Remember the bit about having several things on the needles? That’s something portable, something easy, something challenging (for yourself!), and something for charity. Fair Isle is that perfect challenge for your knitting self. But a bit of warning about Fair Isle knitting…it can be addictive. If you want REAL Fair Isle help you should check out Nanette’s blog (and contest)…she’s a Master Knitter, you know.


Time

The trip to the LYS, Black Sheep Wool Company, was so much fun! Two Stitch ‘n Bitcher’s were there (we’re seen everywhere) getting ready for our group last night.
There was so much yarn to choose from but, armed with a load of patterns it was easy going. I’ll try to get pictures for you to see the choices made.

Grant Avenue from Pacific Coast Highway is now my next Fair Isle project. LYS had all the colors in Jamieson Shetland and they are so vibrant and exciting. This is fun and easy knitting, grrls! And, very rewarding.

Also, Classic Elite Spotlight will become the tank for Nathania’s Tank Along! The pattern is from Vogue Spring/Summer 2000 and is by Adrienne Vitadini. The yarn is 100% cotton and sky blue in color. During SNB I swatched it, washed it when I got home and it was ‘to gauge’ this morning. You’ll have to wait to see what it looks like as it is knit up.

Speaking of SNB we had a great time last night. We are a riotous group and at times could barely hear each other for the din. Larisa came and showed her wonderful sweaters some of which she creates from her head! Hopefully Laurie will have a picture on her blog of Larisa in her Audrey. It’s just marvelous!

Our talk last night was often about the blogs and what great friends we have made in Blogland. We also spoke of the time it takes to read everyone you like as there are so many. You can learn, laugh and find support at so many blogs but, it does eat up time. This train of thought was on my mind as I left work last night and had been too busy to visit many blogs during the day. Then Annie had the same thread on her blog yesterday. It must be something we all struggle with….time.

Busy people are always the doers, those who will always keep moving, giving more and more time to others, fitting more and more into a day. We go to bed tired, fulfilled and happy (at least that’s the goal). We are never bored and wish we had more time to give (and more time for ourselves). We all have so much more in our lives than our blogs tell but sharing this little slice of our lives and our knitting sure creates a wonderful community of friends.


State of My Knitting

So here it is…

Nothing major on the needles!  The Kestrel FI is almost finished. Only the neck band is left.
fifront2fiback2 (See the Kestrals?)

gauntlet2This is one of Sally Melville’s gauntlets from the Purl Book for a friend who suffers from chronic carpal tunnel.  The other is about half done.

Marta’s Spring Forward sock has been in time out as I just couldn’t remember to ‘sproing’ the springs forward enough so, it has been frogged twice.  Just a little determination and I should get through it. mart1

And Willow?  It’s a pile o’….
will2

It doesn’t fit…won’t ever fit.  The body is done but, if I frog it the yarn won’t hold up well. When I see my sister next week it will hopefully fit her.  It’s on the back burner for now.

The charming Suede shawl (I think I talked Deb into making one), is moving along beautifully but is rather mindless.

That’s IT!!!

What’s next?  Not having much of a stash (mostly sock yarn), some wonderful Beaverslide Yarn like Annie posted about last week,  (which is too heavy to knit right now and will become a winter coat in the future), plus some Merino Frappe that may just have to be swatch,  there just isn’t anything to do.  The small projects on the needles will be finished shortly and I’m feeling a bit at sea. Nothing challenging to keep me in port.   What to do?

Nathania’s Tank Along is tempting and I might find something at the LYS that would be nice under a shirt or jacket.   

Wendy’s Ingeborg knit along is tempting but, the LYS has a Norwegian class in the fall and knitting along with ‘live’ people is more tempting.  A Fair Isle pattern is calling me so, that might be next.

Oh dear, oh dear…the dilemma of a non-stasher.  I’ve learned my lesson and making a trip to the LYS as soon as I’m off work!


Castle Country

This was to be a post about our weekend in Castle Countrycastles

with pictures of our trip up Nine-Mile Canyon out of Wellington in eastern Utah.  Pictures of the fauna and flora
faunaflora
colors and texturestexture  color  of the canyon, plus the pictographs, spires

spires1 pictographs
and ancient ruins the Fremont's left thousands of years ago.

BUT!!  Man, truck, dirt road, mud....

After stopping for directions and maps (which took some begging) we headed up the canyon.

Dear, about .5 miles from here is an ancient grainery....
dear, watch for some pictographs near here.....
hey, stop!! There's something....
1.5 miles from here, damn it, is another chance to see a grainery.

BUT!!,
Man, truck, dirt road, mud!!!  Big smile rarely leaves his face. Mud puddles left by the recent rain are driven through fiercely, throwing mud all over the truck.  Can you see the silly grin on his face?!?

Here is one of the pictographs we DID see. Its a very famous hunting scene and right on the side of the road (only my quick eye found it!).

hunting

DH was impressed by the hunter's ‘dong’.   dong

His truck is covered with mud...and he left it that way to show friends today.  Badge of courage? For a dirt road!?

Next time I'm going with girlfriends!!!!


Westerns

In this household you’ll find fans of the “Western”.  So when HBO started “Deadwood” we thought it might be worth a look as they usually do great shows.  First show…eeewww! Not impressed.  Welll, usually it takes a couple of shows to get you familiar with the characters and what’s happening.  So, one more time, yuk….still didn’t click.  The third time I sat and ignored it while DH watched…who cares what’s on when you’re knitting? 
Now, I’ve seen about every Western made at least once but, more likely two or three times.  Had a shoe box full of horse pictures cut from magazines when I was a kid (have barely forgiven my parents for not buying me a pony!).  Watching TV shows with Roy Rogers, Sky King, Hopalong Cassidy, Zorro, and more was a must as a child. Westerns are a big deal...this is the West!  This is not a small matter.
Looking for some solace took me to the LYS (where else!) and of course, THERE was the answer. 
On the shelf was a ball of Suede by Berroco. It looks like the real thing.  The pattern of a garter stitch shawl, named Oakley
oakley
looked like a perfect companion for a Western gal. It would keep the shoulders warm on cool summer nights while cookin’ barbecue or it could cover a winter coat to give more protection from the cold. How do you resist yarn named after every Cowboy and Cowgirl you loved as a child!?  It was hard to pass up Zorro, as he was my favorite hero but, Hopalong was a close second so, that’s the color that tied me down.  It seduced me…lassoed me in. 

So, here is the ‘kerchief’ shaped start. 

suede

Ah, back in the saddle, again.


The Passion of Needlework

Teresa and Nathania are two of the knitters that I’ve found on the blogs who also do needlework.  I was taught at the age of 8 by my mother to embroider and shortly after I tried to knit and failed.  Crochet was easier and became a main diversion. During the 70’s learning to knit was a big attraction as the patterns were wonderful and the yarns were becoming better all the time (I gave up crochet after learning to knit).  As years pasted and there was time to give to pursuits of leisure, needlepoint became a big part of my life. That led to Japanese Embroidery. This is a piece I did after 4 years of study.

je.jpg

Then a freind taught me to stitch on fine linen with silk threads (Counted Thread) and that became a passion. So, in the last 30 years I have been knitting and stitching needlework as much as possible.  Membership in every guild in the area (and many around the country) can keep a girl busy.  But that didn’t stop me from starting another.

On April 8th the entry on this blog was about an historic embroiderer named Martha Edlin.  It is fortunate that her work was cared for over the centuries and now is in the Victoria and Albert Museum where thousands can see it daily. That is not the fate of many samplers.  Many museums do not have the funds to care for, house or show the schoolgirl samplers in their collections.  Many are trying to do so but with limited funds.

The fate of these little pieces of history, the schoolgirl sampler,  was the main drive in the creation of the Swan Sampler Stitchers.  The guild started small with a few local members but, when Carolyn Webb (the person responsible for introducing me to linen and Counted Thread) designed a wonderful Quaker Swan Box our membership grew quickly. We had over 100 members the first year.  Membership is now almost 300, in our third year, because of the wonderful designers we have and exclusive projects we do.  Many friends have stepped up to help with the large task of running this organization and it couldn’t be done without their help. Thousands of dollars have been given to museums to aid in the endeavor to protect and preserve the samplers in their care.   This is one of the most important accomplishments of my life. 

If you would like to see an online exhibition of historic antique samplers you can go here. They are truly fine pieces of women’s history.


I’m NOT saying Goodbye!

Dear Judy is moving to Boise! I’m so bummed at seeing her go! We had a fun night of knitting with friends at Black Sheep Wool Company last night in honor of her and how sweet and caring she is to so many. We will ALL miss her horribly. It’s not that I’ll never see her again, because I will! But, the almost weekly knitting buddy contact will be kept to a couple times a year or so. We have too much fun together and while it’s only 5 hours to Boise, it’s going to be tough to see each other often. At least we’ll have email, free long distance and this blog!

I WUV you Judy! judyheart1.bmp

Now to further enable you with knitting paraphernalia.

Beth at the Knitting Freak has some wonderful T’s and a large Tote that you can purchase. The picture featured is of a hand in a peace sign with knitting needles behind. Very cool! Remember, you can never have too many bags...er...totes.
Also Rachel is heading to DC on her vacation to join THE March with a group known as Knitters Against Bush. You can also buy their T-shirts.

KNITTERS UNITE!


Yarns

Kerstin had a wonderful post yesterday about guilt. You really need to read it if you haven’t already. "No guilt" has been a favorite mantra of mine for some time. Thanks Kerstin for a great post!
In the 80’s I had an extensive stash of beautiful, trendy and expensive yarns. It was a time when knitting was a big part of my life. As the 90’s approached, stitching became more my focus and knitting was only a small diversion…mostly socks. At that time one of the LYS decided to send boxes of yarns to Bosnia to help the people there get ready for winter. My stash was just a big obligation that I knew would never get used so, I packed it up and gave it to the shop with only a few exceptions. I didn’t feel guilty about given up all that expensive yarn but did hope someone was warm and ‘stylin’ in Bosnia that winter. It actually felt good to have the closets empty and the weight of that stash out of my life.
There are lesson learned with an experience like that and Kerstin’s post made me think about that episode and what it means to me today. It must be the reason my stash is small and why I hesitate to purchase until there is time to do the project. Knitting is my main focus now. There are always at least 4 projects on the needles (they all get some attention) and little waiting in the wings. BUT, as far as my needlework stash, you would be stunned! at the amount. I will NEVER live long enough!!

Sock yarn is my weakness still. How can you walk away from the beautiful, exciting and colorful yarns on the market today when you only need one or two skeins for a project?! It’s easy to rationalize. So here is something wonderful from an ‘independent’ yarn person….right from the source. Check this out!

Click on “Items For Sale” to see what “bizyhands” has on Ebay this week. Terry is spinning sock yarn and selling it on Ebay. This is my purchase, “Gemstones”.

yarn2.jpg

The little skein in the center is spun with nylon so you can reinforce the heel. How cool is that!? It’s a large skein of about 450 yards. It feels so soft and yummy. I can’t wait to start another pair of socks. Has anyone on the blogs found a web site that sells extra time!?


Zip Me Up

The zipper on the Neck Down Jacket went in pretty well.  Here are a couple of things that helped make it work.

First you need to get this book (if you haven’t already), “The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques” by Nancie M. Wiseman.  It is an invaluable resource.  The Slip Stitch Crochet Stitch, on page 104, helps to stabilize and even out the raw edges.  It blends in with and looks like stockinette stitch so it doesn’t really show, especially on PF.  You will have to see how many slip stitches you’ll need per number of stitches on your edge to make it smooth but, with a little trial and error you’ll get a clean edge with no buckling or wavy edges.  It worked out on mine to slip 1 stitch to every 2 rows of knitting. Make sure you have the same number of stitches on each front edge.

Nancie’s instructions on page 100 were just right for sewing in the zipper except I added a step or two. Before you begin pinning the zipper in place, mark every inch down the front on each side of the jacket with a safety pin or marker. As you baste in the zipper line up each marker across from the opposite one and when you get to the end it should meet exactly.  Try it on and make sure everything is ok and then securely stitch the zipper in place permanently, as per Nancie’s instructions. 

One more finishing idea that makes the inside of the garment a little nicer is to cover the inside zipper edges with a decorative ribbon.  It makes a very professional looking garment. 

ribbon1.jpg