Monday, March 31, 2008

Moebius Update: FO and Lessons Learned

What have I learned from my first Moebius knitting experience? Lots of helpful hints for others wanting to travel this path with the brilliant Cat Bordhi and her interesting technique.

First, take a class! I had read through the instructions in the book several times, looked at the pictures and attempted to do as it said. Frustration is a keyword I will use to describe the experience. Once I saw it in class, book in front of me to match up each step, it began to make sense.

Second, once you have your initial project started, take up some other yarn and needles and to practice the cast on again. It is easy to forget how it goes together if you only do the cast on once every two weeks/project. Also, you might want to try a smaller needle size on the left needle (if you are using interchangeable circulars like Denise's) when you are knitting the first row. It helps the yarn move smoother onto your needle. Remember, gauge is determined by the right hand tip size.

Third, if you have the time, type up the instructions from the book into line by line format. Reading the instructions in paragraph form can be very confusing and lead to mistakes.

Fourth, use a distintively colored waste yarn, not even close to the color of your project.

Fifth, trust your abilities. Once you have completed the first one it becomes easier to understand how to use the waste yarn, pickup for the bowl part, and why you need complete, undistracted time during the cast-on, count and knitting the first rowfirst row.

Sixth, to get a nicely shaped basket, use the balloon method to dry it. It is best to begin blowing it up then insert it and continue to inflate until it is tight in the basket. These, pictured, dried for about three full days before I popped the balloon. They were made off the large basket pattern with the majority of a skein of Cascade 220.

These baskets turned out a good size and will make a fun accent to any room in the house. The purple one will be used to hold pencils, paper and post-its at my upcoming knitting classes. My next plan is to make a small one to see how that turns out.

I hope everyone is enjoying Spring and finding fun and passionate pursuits!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Big News: Successful Completion of KIC Level One

Doing the Snoopy Happy Dance here! I passed my exam for my Level One knitting certification. I am very excited and Pedro was happy to that I did not step on him in the process of dancing about the apartment.

The next step is Level Two. That will include color work, ie. Fair Isle, mosaic, intasia, duplicate stitch, then I will be designing two small projects of my own to use those techniques in. I have one already in mind that will be a Fair Isle hat especially for the Rocky Mountain Springtime.

Right after I got off the phone with my instructor I headed out to deliver my first sample for my upcoming class on knitting stitch patterns. Shown here is the finished item, a pillow using four squares of diamonds and diagonals for the front and the seed stitch for the back.

A big thank you to my assistant, I could not have finished the seaming without the quality control checks from Pedro.

I am signed up for another class in June to teach reversible stitch patterns to be used on face/spa cloths, scarves and afghans. If anyone has a favorite they want to share with me, please do so.

Hope all of you are living your dreams!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

KIC It! Update

Just a quick update: My phone exam is scheduled for Saturday, March 29th at 1 p.m. Mountain Time. Send mojo! My instructor said that the book looked fabulous. That was good to hear.

I have the first samples ready for blocking to display in the shop to advertise my class.

And the weather is so nice outside you'd think it was Spring.

Hope all is going well for you. Enjoy the day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

KIC It! 2008 - Update

Yippee! My level one work is complete for the CYCA knitting instructor certification. My student teaching hours are complete and submitted. I am mailing the actual knitting pieces tomorrow for evaluation. With any kind of luck at all I will pass it in one attempt. Send mojo!

Here is my Level One Teacher's Handbook ready for mailing.

And I have secured my first paid teaching job at Ben Franklin's in Woodland Park in May. Since they already have a beginning knitter teacher, I will be teaching knit stitch pattern techniques to add texture to your knitting. It will be basic knit and purl textures to begin with. I have called the series "It's Just Two Stitches."

Now I can begin to get the samples for the class knitted. I will be teaching it as swatches and sharing how to do the math for a project. The samples will be of projects you can do with these stitch patterns. I have plans for a throw pillow called Diagonals and Diamonds, spa cloths, and a sampler scarf that will be ongoing until it gets too long to actually wear. My deadline for samples is the first part of April...egads! that is only 10 days away. Best get busy.
Hope you are following your dreams and living your passions!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Moebius Update or Diabolical Plot and SPRING!

Sheepy is demonstrating how easy remembering the Moebius cast on is, or not. My mom and I are beginning to think it is a diabolical plot to tie us up in knots or to test the durability of the yarn that we are using. This past Saturday we sat for 4 hours and cast on at least 47 times before we got it figured out again. Finally, as the sun was waning and the snow flurries were beginning again, we both got the cast on and first row done for another basket.

Of course she has one completed from our class and my first one is still in this stage. Here is where the bowl part is just opening up. And now I have a second cast on. At some point I will have to finish one or the other.

But while they both sit idle I have been working on all the swatches I have to knit for my KIC Level One. I am happy to report that I am one swatch away from completing the first submission to finish my Level One.

Here is the first batch drying on the blocking board.

And while I am finishing that Pedro and I are looking for spring. Here in the Rockies, Spring is a tricky beast. It shows up one day and tempts us with warmer weather and some early bird song. Then the next day we get more white stuff and, voila, we have glorious pictures of winter again. This picture was taken from the Woodland Park Safeway parking lot of the back side of America's Mountain - Pikes Peak - on Saturday.

The on Sunday, the weather map was a wide array of colors with ever version of possible weather imaginable. From this map I got a great idea for a knitting project. It will be my secret knit. Once I get it done I will offer the pattern to you as a spring gift.

Pedro still has high hopes that the warmer weather is just around the corner and begs to go out every evening that it is still light and mostly warm when I get home from work.

And he has supervised the inaugral flight of the swift I received as a much-appreciated Christmas gift. He watched intently from his perch while I assembled it but as soon as I made it "fly" he ran off. Then he came back as I was photoing so he could be in the picture.

I hope you are finding evidence of spring in your world!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kitty Knits - Cat Lovers Unite!

Donna Druchunas is my kind of person. I have seen so many pet related knitting books and patterns that are geared towards dog lovers but little has been done up to this point for cat lovers.

Finally, the cat will have its day.

I saw this advertised first in the latest Knitpicks catalog, and followed it from there. The pic offered here is from her website, Sheep to Shawl, and she does a good job of sharing what is in the book.

Of course, I ordered the book and it arrived yesterday. It was all I could do to put it away in my messenger bag at work and not touch it. So far I have found at least 8 projects I must do. My favorites are the socks and the hat. Those first for fast finish projects. Then the Fair Isle pullover with cat faces.

There are also projects to knit for your favorite four-pawed friends and family members. Everything from catnip mice to cat beds embellished with needle felting to a fancy cat mat where they can dine on their favorite treats.

I am even going to use a lace pattern that represents a cat face for my yarnover swatch sample for the KIC Level One submission.

If you can't tell...I am VERY excited about this book. I suggest all you cat lovers out there go to her site linked above and have a look at it.

Hope everyone is following their dreams and passion wherever it leads you!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Springing Forward - Early

Besides springing our clocks ahead an hour this week, I'd like to share the various trivial things that have occured already in the first week of March. We have had: Don't Worry, Be Happy Day; Learn What Your Name Means Day and celebrated Oreo Cookies 96th birthday. And, the 9th, is Barbie's 49th birthday.

All of this in just a week. Amazing! And I learned all of these tasty tidbits from my apartment complex's newsletter.

And in between the trivia and my knitting projects I am voraciously watching Monarch of the Glen, a TV series from BBC Scotland. It is off the air now. It was seven seasons long and all the DVDs are available through Netflix. It has knit watch moments (knit cardis, etc) and men in kilts, how can you beat that? And all combined with fabulous scenery.

Monday, March 3, 2008

National Craft Month

In honor of craft month I am going to finish my first Moebius basket and prepare my class proposals to submit to Ben Franklin's in Woodland Park. My mother brought me a flyer, says they are looking for instructors for all crafts because they are expanding their classroom and craft section. At least it is a place to start.

Plan to have my first level of CYCA certification completed by April.

Hope you are enjoying the beginning of Spring!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Day After the Magic Adventure

Yesterday my mother and I ventured into the area of magic. We went to a class in Pueblo at the wonderful yarn shop, Colorado Fiber Arts. We learned the Moebius cast on for a basket. It was quite the adventure on a beautiful spring day. And it was well timed because one of Mom's next projects is a wrap pattern that uses the Moebi cast on. Needless to say, this is another cast on that will require frequent practice to remember how it works. We came home with most of the handle for a basket complete.

Now if we can remember how to pick up for the body of the basket we are in business. I have to say that once I saw it done I realized that Cat Bordhi is a genius, and her instructions in the Second Treasury book do make sense. That will be helpful in the future. I also considered that a Moebius should be something from either biology class, Captain Nemo's underseas adventures or a diabolical plot to tie you up in knots. In any case, it is an adventure.

After the beautiful day we had yesterday, when Pedro was able to commune through the front window with his friend, Squiggy the Squirrel, today we are under a winter storm warning.

This morning, it started to snow about an hour ago and already the ground is covered. Pedro is spending his morning chasing the "white mosquitoes" at the window.

With this weather I am glad I did all my adventures yesterday, so today I can stay home and work on knitting projects, make some great soup and enjoy the Spring in the Rockies.

Today's Soup recipe is: Lasagna Soup and is easier to make than you think. It comes from Cuisine at Home.

Here is the recipe for Lasagna Soup

Brown; stir in:

1 lb ground Italian sausage

2 cups onion, chopped

1 cup carrot, diced

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

2 T. garlic minced

Add; stir in:

4 cups chicken broth

2 can chopped Italian-style stewed tomatoes (14 1/2 oz)

1 cup either mafalda (mini lasagna pasta) or falfalle (bowtie style pasta)

2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Serve soup over; garnish with:

1 cup provolone or fresh mozzarella, diced

1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded

4 t. thinly sliced fresh basil

Brown sausage in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot, saute 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic, and saute another 3 minutes.
Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes (or according to package directions). Add the spinach and cook about 1 minute, or until wilted.
To serve, place cubes of cheese in each serving bowl, then ladle soup over to melt. Garnish with Parmesan and basil. If you have French bread or some breadstick dough, create dippers for your soup. Yummy!

Hope you are enjoying your day, no matter what the weather brings.