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June 2004
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August 2004

Secret Pals and Flower Baskets

alpacagr In the latest Interweave Knits one of the most beautiful projects was the Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark. In the stash is a beautiful soft gray (grey) alpaca (extra soft) that a friend gave to me several years ago. It should be just the very thing for this project as I've been thinking it should grow up to be a shawl. So, I'm joining Sarah Elizabeth for her Flower Basket Shawl Knit Along. Start time is in late August or early September.

flowershawl

sp2
Names are out and we begin. What fun we will have for the next three month. Who, oh who can my Secret Pal be?

AND, it's the last day of the Utah contest. Check previous posts for information on how to join in.
See you Monday with the winner!


Good Stuff

santaIt’s time to do a little something other than knitting. Twice a week I teach needlepoint at the LNS. The students have been with me between 5 and 8 years. It's a blast! We take a painted canvas and add stitches and threads to make it ‘come to life’. Making it look fresh and beautiful without getting carried away and making it look too ‘samplerish’ is the art, an art that is very enjoyable, challenging and rewarding for me.

Every October the students ask for a special Christmas class and this year we are going to stitch this cute “Flying Santa” (yes, the picture is funky, canvas is hard to photograph in its raw form). In the Christmas bins under the ‘stash’ (in the July 27th post) there are a dozen or so needlepointed Santa’s which will come out at Thanksgiving. You’ll get to see some of the class pieces we’ve done at that time. It’s fun to find the perfect stitch and thread for each section of a design. This Santa will be a 'good stitch' and you'll get to watch him change into a finished picture. Having no idea what will happen until I begin it will be interesting for ME to see what flows forth.

happysacA friend just returned from a trip to Dearborn Michigan. Look at the cute bag she brought back for me. It’s the perfect size for socks and she even had a note inside to say so. She knows what I like (and do). She was at an embroidery class with Shay Pendray, one of my most favorite people on the planet. It’s a class we used to travel together to do but things have changed for me and I’ve ‘fallen’ away. tuscThe bag is full of my Koigu. Speaking of Koigu, you must rush over the Teresa’s and enter her contest! And speaking of contests, don’t forget the one for this Lorna’s sport weight Tuscany. (See yesterday’s post.) And Norma’s contest is nearing its end so go try your hand there, too. See, you could be winning all over the place!

And speaking of socks…on a trip around my Blogroll Donna had a link to this Ebayer. Oh my!, the sock yarn was not only priced right (even from Australia) but was too beautiful to miss. I bought the last one in her colorway, shades of red (scroll down to see her Cloverleaf) and another called Cinnamon. You’ll see pics when they arrive from the Land Down Under.

Don't forget about Kersti! How is everyone coming? And check the comments on my Moth Heaven post. There are a few good suggestions.

Have a very knitterly weekend!


Stuff

The stuff dreams (or nightmares?) are made on… All the stuff that’s fit to knit, wear, make, enjoy, hide, show off, share…all this stuff.

Sharon has a wonderful post on the 25th about all her stuff and why she keeps it, collects it, and loves it.

Being my mother’s daughter, my house is full of stuff. The yarn stash I showed you a couple of days ago is in a basement closet. That is because my upstairs closets are full to overflowing with needlework supplies of all sorts. Around the room, my studio, are cabinets, boxes, tubs and the like full of more items to stitch. There are frames and lamps and books, TONS of books, too and we won't even talk about how many scissors inhabit the space. We, my stitching buddies and I, call it a ‘collection’, like fine antiques or Judith Leiber bags. That may seem like a stretch but, we LOVE our stuff. Some items, kits or canvases, are worth as much as one of Leiber’s bags. Even with the knowledge that we can’t stitch them all we still hang on to and treasure them. Sharon states that our relationship to an object (or maybe a full collection, i.e. stash?) is more about the emotions associated with it. This goes deeper than just the acquisition and how that might have come about. It must also have to do with our emotional attachments to money, how we were raised and in what circumstances, what emotions the color evokes or even what items will be made and for whom.

My head says to get rid of all this stuff. Sell it on Ebay, send it to Goodwill, or give it to others who may need it (or want it). But my heart won’t let it go. My body and mind are overwhelmed by the prospect.

Read Sharon’s post which is part of her Textile Textale online project. She says it so much better than I can. Many people are joining her in this new exhibition and you can, too.


~~~Remember~~~
Contest!!
Brush up on your Utah geography and see if you can name three (3) (of the many) parks/monuments that share the natural landscape just to the south of the Bookcliffs off I-70. This is in the southeast corner of Utah near Moab. There are several and some are not very well known. If you win you will receive some lovely sport weight Lorna’s Lace’s, Tuscany. See July 26th post)


Moth Heaven?

(Stole the title from Julia FC-you must see her awesome gloves!) The contest is going well (see July 26th post). Make sure you take your hand at guessing (or finding) what national treasures are in southeastern Utah. People are very creative in finding the answers and some have even visited our fair state. The rest of you should come on by.
Eilene asked a very good question. Should your stash be protected? Is it safe if you put it in air tight containers? With needlework silks, cottons, wools and other threads we think they should 'breathe'. Is that the case with knitting yarns? Is it best to keep things separate? Should rovings (they are untreated, right) be away from other wools? Should we have moth proofing in our stashes? What works? My bins are not "airtight" but the lid does shut tightly. Is this safe enough?
lacegloveI bought a lovely silk/wool at our local Fiber Festival a few years ago. After dyeing it with indigo I am knitting it into gloves. At the same time another friend bought the same yarn. LOTS of it! She was saving it to dye and knit at a later date. Last winter when she went to use it she found it was full of moths!! What happened? Was mine safe because it was dyed, in a different place altogether, just what? Are most yarns treated? It would be interesting to hear if others have lost stash to moths, if they know why and what they have done since to save, protect and care for “the stash”. Any comments?

~~~~
What!? No helpful comments on how to care for stash...?


Clovers in Zen and Destashing

cloverzensSocks in the land of Zen. Cloverleaf's that is. Clovers and Zen. Clever Clovers in Garden of Zen. Completed and waiting until all six pair for the Six Sock Along, are done (next June) so they can be in the 'group photo'.

Don't miss the contest, which is afoot, for some lovely sock yarn. See yesterday's post and join in!

Check the new photo album on my sidebar. This is the 'Destash' album. Just a few odds and ends that need to go. Thought I'd try it here instead of Ebay. Let me know. When it's gone...it's gone.

stash

Speaking of "Stash". How do you stash? Here is a picture of my closet (yes, just one closet) of stash. Four plastic tubs (full) of yarn sitting on top of my two tubs of Christmas stuff (which you can't see). I do have three baskets with my current WIP's in my room (DH has a room...I have a room, the dogs have the rest of the house).

moxie
"Clean Laundry with Dog"

Don't you love doing laundry twice?!


Last Weekend (and a Contest!)

For many years I have traveled the road south out of Salt Lake, up Highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon, through Castle Country and onto I-70 toward southeastern Utah’s natural wonders.  Usually we turn south and head to Moab, the slickrock wonderland.  But this trip included many ‘firsts’.  It was the first time I had traveled this road alone, the first time I passed on by the road to Moab, and headed to Grand Junction (for the first time) AND, it was the first time meeting Jean.  We met years ago through an online newsletter, The Sampler Band and one year we stitched a sampler together through daily emails. We have been writting almost everyday since.
Here is Jean’s wonderful sampler  framed and on the wall (mine is in a box). Jean stitches beautifully.  It is difficult to tell the front from the back of her work and her incredible needlework adorns the walls of her home.

stephsocksmulitsock In just 24 hours we had so much fun.  Jean took me to no less than 3 LYS!  The first shop was the best.  The Cozy Knit and Purl in Palisade was just that…cozy and full of wonderful yarns.  Rowan, Jo Sharp, Manos, luxurious cashmeres, novelty yarns galore and then…what to my wondering eyes should appear? It is sock yarn that I can use to knit Stephanie’sTiptoe” socks from Knitty!  This has been on my ‘want’ list for some time.  Also purchsed was some fun multi-colored yarn to help use up the leftovers. 
The other LYS's were little better than duds, but I did find some purple Saucy for a Chickami. Mostly they were too full of novelty yarns or the other yarns that we 'Wool Snobs' don't care for.

Downtown Grand Junction is such a quaint and beautiful place.  The streets are lined with trees and flower boxes while sculptures appear on every corner. We enjoyed many fun shops and great places to eat. qbag  At the Quilter’s Corner I found some bright and happy fabrics that will become a fun bag.
grrlfri And here is another shop we enjoyed.  (You MUST to go into a shop that has a great sculpture above the door and a name like “Girlfriends”, heh?) We also had lovely meals...especially a breakfast of an omelet with mushrooms, spinach and Boursin cheese at the Crystal Café & Bake Shop. The pastries were to live for! Thank you Jean for a wonderful time! We promised to meet more frequently from now on as it was a delight to be together.

Now onto the contest.
The crown jewels of southeastern Utah are just to the south of I-70 and you can catch just a gimpse as you drive.  It was a treat to travel through this incredible country, the Bookcliffs to the north and the Cowboy Junkies maudlin ballads to serenade me.  So, here it is...brush up on your Utah geography and see if you can name 3 of the many parks/monuments that share this natural landscape just to the south of the Bookcliffs off I-70.  There are several and some are not very well known.   If you win you will receive this lovely sport weight Lorna’s Lace’s, Tuscany which will make a quick, fun pair of Making Waves socks for the Six Sock Along (or any sock you wish).  The colors remind me of this beautiful area in our State and we do have 'waves' made of sand frozen by time.
rswl   tuscsock

You have until August 1st at 3:00 p.m. to get your entry in and the winner will be announced on Monday August 2nd. Please use the email on my side bar.
Good luck!


Day's of '47 (1847 that is)

wagon5The Cloverleaf’s are complete! Pictures later as I'm on the run. (Did you see the darling Cloverleaf's that Nanette (see July 19th) made for her friend's son? Kersti grows slowly each day. I did cast on for a new Ribby Shell but started with a 1x1 rib….what was I thinking!? It’s a 2x2 and then 3x1…I’ll start again next week when I return from my weekend jaunt. It’s a long weekend for most Utahn’s as we celebrate the day the Pioneer’s first arrived in our desert state. They called it the State of Desseret at first. My ancestors Orson Pratt and his brother Parley P. Pratt were in that first wagon train. Parley is my g-g-g-g-grandfather by his seventh wife Sarah Huston. You will learn more than you want to know about the man from the site. BUT, it does list ALL his wives as polygamy was the rule of the day.
Anyway, while everyone in Utah is celebrating the 24th of July with a large parade (the longest and said to be the 3rd largest in America), I will be heading to Colorado to meet a friend who I have only known via email. The knitting will be coming along to enjoy the ride and will report back to you on Monday.


Cashmere vs. Kersti

cashMonday Kerstin showed her lovely blanket knit in cashmere. She said the cashmere made Kersti seem COURSE! How could Kersti seem course!?, I asked. Kerstin then challenged (she’s good at that)… “Get some, you’ll see”.
(Ok, let’s see. I know there is some kind of cashmere in the stash. ) So...I found these little skeins of vintage yarn that a friend gave to me when discarding her stash some time ago. This is the only yarn I kept from her gift as it 'said' it would be a wonderful project someday. The skeins are probably from the 50’s and they are a blend of cashmere and lambs wool. It’s soooo soft! It feels like a cloud and you could certainly enjoying rolling around in it if there were more skeins. I have three and a partial. It DOES make Kersti seem course. "Like twine", as Kerstin said. This lovely yarn would make a lovely baby layette but, there are no babies in my future. It might make up into a beautiful Flower Basket Shawl from the new IK or a pair of gloves like Sandy’s. So many possibilities! But it will slip back into the stash for now.

Kerstin wins...Kersti looses.

BUT, you can't beat Kersti for color! Check out our Kersti Along Blog and you'll see!!


Summer is Still Here!

calmerblue5 The summer knitting bug still hasn’t left so maybe I should do something more. The Ribby Shell has been so much fun to wear that I might make another. I bought some Rowan Calmer while at the newest LYS on Friday. I had to have a yarn store fix so ran by quickly. Char at Unraveled Sheep had a pattern that she made up using Calmer that was rather nice. It was a little square top with a boat neck and seed stitch borders. But, now I’m thinking another Ribby might be nice. It’s so comfortable and looks great. And then there is that Carmen (red) in Soho Summer from Jo Sharp that was destined to be Chickami. Will I like it as well? Decisions! What do you think? Should I try to do both and let Kersti sit for a few weeks? Will Calmer be good for the Ribby?

llwhitewaterI also bought this lovely Lorna’s Laces called “White Water” for the next Six Sock, Making Waves. Perfect colors!? This is my favorite color of Lorna’s yet. But, I’m going to be behind before I ever begin so, I might make them with a sport weight yarn that I have in the stash first. Then I'll make them in Lorna’s when I have more time to enjoy the knitting. My sock knitting time is taken up with some secret knitting.

Drop by the Kersti blog and check out the happenings there. It seems some people have stalled a bit and others are just getting started. It is (still) heavenly knitting with Kersti but I’m not going to get it done fast as each stitch just needs to be savored. It is too warm to wear so why not take some time and enjoy knitting the most beautiful Sally's Raglan?...I ask you.

Thank you for all the compliments on the 'first' Fair Isle. The swatch is in the mail to Australia and Sharon's hands. Check her blog entry about the post and watch for more details. You could join in the fun and find something to 'yarn' about for her new exhibition, too!


Fair Isle for Textile-Textale

scrapfiAfter looking through Alice Starmore books for years and seeing other patterns in the LYS, knitting a Fair Isle sweater became my goal.  Each January a class is offered and finally in 2003 the timing was right and I signed up.
The first thing to do was to find a pattern and colors that I liked and then create a swatch. A swatch is knit to check the gauge so the sweater will fit and also to make sure the colors work together to create the XO effect most Fair Isle patterns have. 

Perhaps it was a bit of arrogance along with a large bit of naiveté that made me decide to design my own colors and pattern.  “Just knit up a swatch and see how it looks.  We can make changes from there.” Vonnie said.  Having no real idea how to make a FI swatch I jumped in.  Knit in the round…ok that means you always start at the right side and pull the yarn around to the beginning of each row.  Afraid to waste yarn, time and not really understanding the process, I started out with enough stitches for one repeat. The black for the background and a golden green for my peerie patterns were set but, it took several trips to the shop to find the correct colors to contrast my red and blue violet main colors. Each time I started anew.
When I headed to class with my swatch I noticed the swatches from the other knitters were so impressive! They had cast on 6” of stitches and knit several feet of patterns in different colorways so they could see the evolution of the process and THEN pick the color combination they liked best. 

The little scrap that helped me make my decision was tucked into the bottom of my basket so the rest of the class couldn’t see how uninformed, silly and perhaps, even ‘lazy’ I had been.  Proudly, from the little swatch grew a beautiful sweater and I was the only person to create my own design and colors.  I did use “Winter Sunset Cardigan” by Melanie Elizondo for measurements but the colors and pattern design were cut and pasted from Alice Starmore’s “Charts for Colour Knitting”.  After several months of knitting the sweater was complete.  There was a real sense of accomplishment with this project, my first Fair Isle. Someone even asked me if it was a Starmore design.
This is an overexposed picture of the finished sweater.
fi

The little scrap (about 2x4.5") will go to Sharon for her new project “Textile Textale”.  Read all about this new venture of hers. Then send her a piece of textile that you have created, or something that has a story, and she’ll use it in her new exhibition.  Contact Sharon here.