Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! May the Fright Be With You

Happy Halloween everyone! After our pre-Halloween blizzard, today was drop dead gorgeous. As I traveled to my activities I saw ghouls and goblins dressed up in their scary splendor including a couple walking their dogs dressed up as princess fairies (the dogs of course). It was hysterical.

My day was filled with less scary events than ghoulish. First up, I did have to do an early shop at the local WalMart where most of the employees were in costume, how fun is that. I needed the now difficult to find lingerie bags to use for felting the finished clogs. I did manage to find some after searching up and down the laundry aisle and then in housewares.

Then I was off to meet my client for a two-handed Fair Isle class. It was lots of fun and we got the hat project started. It will be fun to compare progress when we meet again in two weeks.

I stopped by Knitter's Kove to see how the new baby was doing. He was so cute dressed up in his skeleton costume. And then I went over to Green Valley Weavers and Knitters to participate in the hats for charity knitathon. They were doing vrything from chemo caps to preemie hats. It was a fun group of folks all knitting away.

Afterwards I came home to make chicken for dinner and watch scary movies - Van Helsing, Hocus Pocus and Beetlejuice. The only hobgoblins I saw in my neighborhood were those dressed up to go to big kids parties. So I had no trick-treaters again this year. Oh well...

I hope everyone had a spooktactular Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh! The Weather Outside is Frightful

Now that I have everyone humming the song, what do you talk about when you run out of things? The weather. And, boy, do we have some of that today.

It started yesterday and did not look like it was going to do as much as predicted. When I started home I wished that it had snowed a foot because that would have been easier to drive on instead of the glaze ice that I was negotiating.

The happy hour entertainment was watching cars sliding sideways down the Austin Bluffs hill while I sat at the top, wishing there was another route to go home without hills. Oh well, 4-way flashers and a crawl got me to the bottom with no one hitting me as they fishtailed and swerved their way past me.

This morning does not look any better. Most school districts north and east have decided to close - smart move. And the major employers are on delayed start. The deceptive light layer of snow is covering the worst part - black ice.

I hope everyone is somewhere safe and warm, snuggled in with a hot drink, something fun to do and a fuzzy lap warmer!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Did I Knit To - This Week

I am actually in an interesting place this week. I am out of things to knit.

Let's wait for that to sink in. My mother had the same reaction - What?!

I finished the shop sample pair of felted clogs, still have to felt one before I take them in but they are all knit, ready to go.

My car project is still progressing but at this time I only knit on it in the car pre-work and lunchtime.

So I am knitting bind off swatches for class this Friday. And, trying to figure out what the line up is for the next round of knitting. I will be working on a Fair Isle piece this week for another class.
And I am knitting preemie hats with the Halloween Hat Knitting event at Green Valley Weavers and Knitters. The plan is to have knitters in the shop all day Saturday, knitting on preemie hats to donate. I have signed up for a couple hours around noon time to join the festivities. They are such a fun group to knit with.

And while I have been productive this week I have been listening to Inkspell in my car and watching the following at home: the rest of season 1 of the Mentalist. Harry Potters 1-5, random things I picked up at the library - sometimes my Netflix cannot keep up with me so I visit the library DVD selections. This week I found - a special on the Tower of London and Passport to Europe - UK and Ireland with Samantha Brown. That was so fun, I put the rest of the series on hold at the library for later. The Proposal with Sandra Bullock - excellent, its a keeper. And the NBC Halloween special "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins" last night. It was really cute. The next new holiday special for NBC is "Merry Madagascar" premiering November 17th. It looks like lots of fun.

I hope everyone is accomplishing all that they want!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Update - Weather and Spooky

The weekend started out well with cool, fall weather and by Sunday had progressed to a taste of winter with a snowy afternoon drive back from Cripple Creek where we had been to see the Halloween play, The Lost Souls of Cripple Creek.

As usual the play was wonderful and was followed by the infamous Halloween Olio. It was great. The drive home after dinner left a lot to be desired and I was glad to get the car parked in front of my place.

I spent some time plotting ideas for holiday gifts. We are looking for feltable yarns for part of the gift ideas and think we have found the answer at KnitPicks with their line of Wool of the Andes.

I finished the pair of felted clogs for the shop sample in ChocTurqs. All I have to do now is felt one and return the pair to the shop. Then I can bring home the purple pair that are for me. Next up is the pair of felted flip flops.

While I was at the shop this weekend a lady came in with a buttoned shawl that she had purchased, interested in learning how to make them. So I am designing a pattern off of the finished item and will be teaching a class on that soon. It is a really neat item and very simply done. The addition of fabulous buttons is what will make it special.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Boy's New Trick

Pedro. He is such a smart kitty. He has a new trick that he wants me to share with you.

He likes his water fresh and running out of a faucet, even though he has fresh water in his bowl morning and evening.

So, now when I get home in the evening, his ritual is: he runs to his litter box to do his 'biz, then hops up on the bathroom counter and looks insistent. I turn on the water, he observes, then looks to me. What he wants is me to cup my hand under the running water like a lily pad so he can drink from it. No, I know what you are thinking, he is NOT spoiled one little bit...okay, you got me. He does have me well-trained. I think for Christmas he is getting a water fountain-style drinking dish.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

FOs - Pre-Felted Clogs

The felted clog class ended on a high note with finished clogs to show you in the pre-felted state. The color choices are lovley and I believe everyone had a good time learning this technique.

I expect there are lots of plans tof make more pairs for gifting in the future.

I will be testing other feltable wool yarns to see what other choices there are to make these clogs and will write that up here in the future. First on the list is Paton's Classic Merino.

Note: we used Lamb's Pride Worsted to make these in class.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Leave it to Ravelry - at the New York Wool

All the excitement this week in blogland is talk about the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.

Last time I was in Rhinebeck, cough - 20-ott years ago, it was to visit the Air Museum .

I am thinking now I need to add Rhinebeck to my list of wool festivals to make the effort to attend. It looks like it is really big and full of fun things all fiber related.

Some of the reports are making me drool for fried artichokes, homemade chicken pot pie and maple sugar cotton candy.

When I saw this picture of the knitted Bob suit I knew that Ravelry had gone over the top. This pic is courtesy of the Classic Elite newsletter that landed in my inbox this week and I could not resist helping its circulation around the internet world. I understand that the following folks pictured here are: "Ysolda in her amazing handknit Bob suit, Hannah Fettig and Jessica, the co-founder of Ravelry."

The other big story from there seems to be the unofficial contest of how many pieces of handknit one person could wear to the event. It looks like it was really cold there.

This goes on the top of my adventure list for next year. Best start looking for a place to stay...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Pretty Thing is On My Needles

The Pretty Thing is on my needles. It is my new car project. I had to wait to post about this one until I some (in this case, 20 rows) on my needles to take a picture of it. It is a really nice knit done strictly from a chart designed by the Yarn Harlot.
I am knitting it out of one skein of Serenity Sock Yarn from the Deborah Norville collection put out by Premier Yarn. I like the pattern so far and may use this pattern for a couple as gifts, we will see how my knitting time goes after the clog class concludes.

I hope everyone has a fun, new adventure they are enjoying immensely!

Gecko Yarn

I want sock yarn this color! I know someone out there can dye this for me. Comment to my blog if you have something that matches this color scheme. Thank you!

Note: This is the photo of the month from the National Geographic newsletter I get. I think these photographers are da' bomb.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brrrrr! - 'Nuff Said

What Did I Knit To - This Week

This was the weekend that I did two days of Felted Clog class so I did not spend much time at home watching movies. I did have drive time both days to finish Inkheart. It was wonderful. And Vanessa Redgrave is a great reader.

On the movie front I did manage to watch: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving with Jacqueline Bissett, the first two discs of first season of The Mentalist; some of my favorites: Double Jeopardy with Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd and Armageddon with Bruce Willis, The Shining with Jack Nicholson, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, and Frailty with Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey that came in with my Netflix.

Next week I will begin watching my collection of Halloween movies. They are all sitting next to the TV in a stack so I can easily find them. And, from what my mother tells me, there is a Halloween special coming on NBC Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00 p.m. ET (check your schedules). It is a holiday special version of Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space. I have it on my calendar and plan to be watching. I really enjoyed the original movie and got to see it in 3-D with cool glasses.

I hope everyone has fun plans for the upcoming spooky holiday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homework: Felted Clogs

I am working diligently to complete my own homework from the Felted Clog class. As of this morning I have completed 30+ rows on the instep section of the size small I am knitting as a shop sample. I decided it is time for my purple clogs to come home so I can wear them this winter.

This sample I am calling the ChocoTurqs. And later they will have friends when I knit the sample for the Felted Flip Flops.

I hope everyone is making progress on their favorite projects. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Need a Serious Giggle on Your Monday?

I am a huge fan of Simon's Cat. The book has recently been released.

He is the star of my favorite YouTube about how he wakes up his person, called Cat-Man-Do (I still say they had a nanny cam in my bedroom for that one.)

Today I found one that is even funnier. If you need a good giggle at the end of your Monday, click here and enjoy.

I am headed home to cuddle my favorite cat boy and do some more knitting on the first ChocoTurq clog.

I hope everyone has great plans for a quiet and relaxing evening at home with those you love and those you want to spend some time cuddling with. :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From Ice to 80 - Weekend Update

What a difference a week in October in Colorado can make.

This was the view that Pedro found outside the apartment on Sunday. He took advantage of my picture taking time to investigate the grass.

It was gorgeous all weekend, however the weatherfolks say that will change by Tuesday night with measureable snow on the way.

Days like these are great for knitting with the windows open as well as forays to the porch with the knitting and the cat. So I finished the Kitty Pi bed for Pedro, it still needs to be felted. But so far, as you can see from the pictures, he loves it.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and found fun ways to fill the days!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Felted Clogs - The Beginnning

The much anticipated Felted Clog class started on Friday this week. I had seven eager students spread out over two days.

This was a class for new techniques and lots of counting. The pattern is the popular one from Fiber Trends. Since I knit this pattern, I have simplified the reading of the inner sole, the first six rows. This part of the pattern has so many twists and turns it is easier to read it across a line instead of the way it is written in paragraph form.

So I took the time and developed a checklist page, one each per size so you can follow it easier and do a check mark over each section as you complete it. This coupled with the strategic usage of a split ring stitch marker takes out most of the frustration.

The new techniques learned in the class is the M1 - aka Make 1 Front - which is an awkward increase at best until you get the hang of it. Fortunately, it is on used in the inner sole.

The W&T - aka wrap and turn - is used only in row one of the inner sole and is very simple once you get the hang of it.

Once you have the hang of those two new techniques the rest is easy with usage of the SSK and P2tog decreases and a three-needle bind off. The finished product is lots of fun to wear. We will be finishing the first clog next week at the second part of the class and discuss fulling/felting, sizing and adding safety features to the bottoms.

With this pattern I can make a great case for using interchangeable circulars like Denise's. You can knit the first part of the clog, use the caps to put it on hold. Take those needle tips to another cable length and start the second clog. It helps the project go faster compared to using the locked version of circulars where you have to wait until you do the bind off on the cuff to move onto the next clog (unless you own lots of needles that size and length).

As an added bonus and much needed giggle fest, we took a break after the daunting first six rows as I demonstrated the "spit join". The class participation was wonderful.

I expect the finished products to be a wonderful collection of colors and sizes.

I hope everyone has found fun new projects to try!

Note: Thanks to my mom for taking the top picture in the post with her new Sony Cybershot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Did I Knit To - This Week

Most of my knitting is done in accompaniement to
something. It all started when I realized that I was not being productive during my TV watching time.

Once I got the hang of how to knit and watch TV, I was on a roll. Now I knit to favorite, oft-watched movies like National Treasure, and to all my Netflix choices. And to some TV shows, except Lost, because there are too many things you must see on the screen you cannot knit at the same time, so then I just knit during the commercials.

So, in honor of my version of multi-tasking, and entertaining myself, I will add this blog post to each week and share what I have been knitting to.

This week I have knitted to East of Eden with Jane Seymour, Faith Like Potatoes, Northern Lights, The Thornbirds, the first season of Castle, My Life in Ruins, Camomile Lawn, the first season of Brothers and Sisters and the first disc of season 1 of Bones.

When I commute to work I listen to audio books, which I leave on while I sit in the parking lot waiting to go in to work and knit, then when I go out to lunch. I bring my lunch and sit in the car with book and knitting for an hour. It is amazing how much knitting I can actually accomplish with this schedule during the week. The audiobooks that I have either finished or that I am listening to this past week are: The Doomsday Key by James Rollins and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Both are excellent and totally different from each other.

Stay tuned: there will be more next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Greetings from the Corner of Too Brisk and BRRR!

This weekend was great weather to stay indoors. Not only was it frigid in the cold category, it was also dangersous to set foot outside. The skiff of ice that covered everything starting Saturday morning was just enough to cause multiple accidents and make national news with a 60-car pileup on I-25.

I went out early on Saturday because my car was begging for an oil change. I found several fender benders in the just happened and happening stages on the Colorado Ave. bridge. At that time the city was on cold reporting, which was good, because all the law enforcement for the city, county and state was involved with the pileup and was not going to show up for mere fender benders.

I wended my way around the various dings and made it to the west side car shop I like for oil changes. Afterwards, the challenge was walking to my car and deciding which direction to go home that had the least dangerous bridge. I chose Uintah with the bridge over Monument Creek. All was fine and I finished with a quick grocery shop. The biggest problem then was getting the groceries in the house without falling down on the not-yet salted sidewalks at my apartment complex.

For the rest of the day I did my seasonal clothing change out and worked on finishing two visored beanies. Pedro spent most of the day curled up on his polar fleece blanket sleeping. I decided that this is the year to knit his felted kitty Pi bed. So last night I cast it on and got about 8 inches knit before bed. I hope to have it finished in time for this next weekend.

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Taos Shawlette: Complete in Time for BRRRR!

I finished the Taos Shawlette, got it blocked, measured and ready to wear for my Friday Knit O Rama class. It was just in time for the much colder weather that has descended upon us from the north.

I really appreciated the lightweight warmth it provided. It makes a fun, babushka-style scarf to cover ears and top of head, then just wrapped around my neck so I can extend the wearing of my jewel-neck t-shirts through the fall.

This one did not turn out as big as I would want for a shoulder shawl, only 18x48 inches, so I will be making adjustments when I make the next one. Duckers was nice enough to demo it for me so I could get a picture to post here.

I like the effect of the different stitch patterns I used, starting with the Eye of Partridge, moving into seed stitch and ending with four or five rows of garter stitch.

I plan to get many wearings out of this first attempt. I hope everyone is finding fun ways to create wearable art.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blog Contest - I Won!

Recently I won a blog contest on Lucy Neatby's Happy Stitches blog. It was doubly fun because I did not realize that she was running a contest so it was a complete surprise when her assistant, D., contacted me to find out how to send me my prize.

Now I am the proud owner of her Venus Rising pattern. If you have not seen this lovely creation from Lucy, click here to see it. I am hoping this is will be my big winter project.

I hope everyone has fun surprises happening for them!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nearly FO: Taos Shawlette

Finally! I am reaching the end of my skein of Plain and Fancy yarn that I bought at the Taos Wool Festival a year ago.

I tried a Simple Yet Elegant scarf pattern that I bought with the yarn several times and just could not get the instructions to speak to me. So I gave up on that and started the Eye of Partridge Shawl. While this stitch makes an incredible pattern, by the time I got 5 inches into it I realized that the gauge was not giving me the drapey effect I wanted. k

So I set the project aside for a bit to consider my next steps. I really wanted a shawlette/scarf to wear this winter and did not want to rip it out again. So I decided to continue with the same size needles and switched to seed stitch. It is working beautifully. And, I am happy to report, I am to the last few rows of the project as I am beginning to see the end of the skein.

Once I get it off the needles and blocked I will post a finished picture of it with measurements. Then I will be ready to start the next skein of yarn I bought at this year's festival. I will be considering the Eye of Partridge Shawl for another project in fingering weight however will be knitting a swatch on 8s and 9s before I decide which to use. The 7s produced a very solid fabric, too much so for this type of project.

I hope everyone finds fun ways to recreate their projects when necessary!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wool Festival, Taos 2009

Another glorious fall day dawned in Taos. We enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel and headed out to the park to see what fabulous fibers we could find.

Wow, was is it busy. First stop was at Cat Mountain's booth. She is the owner of The Yarn Gallery in Alamosa and dyes her own yarn. Her booth was so busy we could not even get in to say Howdy. So I snuck around back to give her the big thumbs up sign and we wandered on down the line of vendors.

There was lots of angora rabbits there this year. And the Jabberwocky tent was there with their cashmere goat yarn. That stuff is hard to resist. We also found my favorite yarn dyers from Texas, Brook Farms and Plain & Fancy, respectively. Both were doing a land office business and it was worth your life to get into the tent.

We did the circuit of the park and then discussed which places we had to go back and try harder to get into. Both the Texas booths won out and we made the concerted effort to get in the door.

This time I was smart and had picked out the pattern before arrival so I knew what I was shopping for. I ended up with both yarn and mohair locks for the Prairie House Shawl and a matching headband where I can use the locks. It should be an interesting knit.

I headed home mid-afternoon so I could get ready to teach class tomorrow. As always I had a great time meeting some new folks and talking about all things fiber.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Scenes from the Southwest

The fabulous fall weekend started out cool and crisp as I headed south to Alamosa. I met up the gal who owns The Yarn Gallery there that I had met at Sock Summit. Her shop is above the main drag in the old Masonic building. She has a nice, airy space with a north facing exposure and lots of room for sitting and knitting.

Then I turned and headed south on Hwy 285 towards Taos. I found the earthship preserve on the west bank of the Rio Grande Gorge and tried taking some pics from the moving car. It does not do justice to the unique architecture that is going on there.

I met up with a friend from Crestone and her knitting group in Taos for wine and yarn tasting. We found supper items at Cid's and sat on the veranda of our hotel until just about dark, then we compared book reading likes and dislikes and knitting patterns that might be nice to add to the ever-growing queue.

Tomorrow is the big festival. From the looks of the tent tops in the park there should be lots to see in the morning. I hope everyone has fun adventures planned for this first weekend of October!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Days to Celebrate

We are starting the month off right with World Smile Day on October 2nd. And as the website explains this all started in 1963 when Harvey Ball, a commercial artist, designed the original Smiley Face. It has come to symbolize good will and good cheer for the planet. And some days we really need it.

Then we move on to October 6th which is Mad Hatter Day. There is a new movie coming out in 2010 that is another version of Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. My prediction is by this time next year that will be the hottest Halloween costume in the country. I mean, really, look what he did for the popularity of pirates.

Following the hilarity of the hats is Columbus Day on October 12th. That used to be a really fun holiday because everyone got a long weekend. Now most of us do not, it is reserved for state and federal government types. Oh well.....

This next trio makes me smile and wonder just a bit: October 15th - Grouch Day; October 16th - Boss's Day and October 17th - The Sweetest Day. Think on that for a bit and let me know your conclusions.

And one of my favorite holidays as a kid growing up is October 31st - Halloween. We will not even go into how it has changed over the years. Suffice it to say, I remember when you could wear your costume to school, then come home and go out to trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, come home, eat candy and really have great time. Oh well....

And to top off the whole month: October is Popcorn Popping Month.

I hope everyone has planned fun ways to celebrate all that is great about this first full month of Fall. It is one of my favorites!