scenes from the before

Posted on 45 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

can you believe i spent the whole day packing and organizing for this trip?
what a dawdler, eh?

it was good though; i really REALLY think i’ve got all my bases covered:
class materials—check
teaching notes—check
music and audiobooks—check
laptop updated—check
camera, cables, ephemera—check
passport, tickets, money—check
clothes, woolens, shoes, underwear, socks, etc—check

knitting projects for four weeks—check
actually, that last one took the longest; i do hope i have all the needles i need . . .
wanna peek at what-all i;’m taking along to work on??

good ol’ wasp and rose . . . i am determined to get some work done on it if it kills me. i can’t remember the last time a project took me so long to complete. on the other hand, it’s a good one to savor.

i put together a shawlette kit with three balls of yarn—a pale, pale gray to knit another LOVe, one for a scarf, and one for a new shawlette i cast on last night in craig’s new mink/milk/merino yarn, in maroon

the charcoal gray ball of yak/mink/merino/soy will be knit into a matching rectangle scarf.

here’s the swatch

i’ve had this stitch pattern selected for ages and have been been dying to start this project for months, but was not finding just the right yarn for it. then craig sent his new yarn samples at the end of december and whammo—they are perfect. refined, yet just a little fuzzy. soft, but structured. feminine AND manly . . . perfect for this simple, elegant motif.

i’m bringing this abandoned sock, begun whilst i was designing the june 2010 installment for tina’s rockin sock club. i finished my sample and mailed it away, then started a pair for myself and never finished them. totally lame, since they knit up in a jiffy. time to get them off the needles, i say, along with the roger sock.

and if when i get those done, i will treat myself to a fresh sock project.

in desperate need of blue socks, i pulled these two skeins (i also need pinkish ones, but could not find the right thing in my stash—i told myself that they might have pink sock yarn at the vogueLive event . . .you think??)

anyway for the blue ones, i’ve decided to dig into these

on the left, the perfect hydrangea colorway from the periwinkle sheep, in honor of the fact that i’ll be in this dyer’s hometown at the end of my trip; it would be great to be knitting with her yarn by that time. and on the right, studio june’s eight bells sock in the unabashedly vivid blue suede shoes.

a hat kit, packed with enough mountain meadow wool to knit two hat samples, one in chunky weight and one in DK/light worsted.

more mink, this time in the deep forest colorway. i have this lone ball to knit another monkey bread hat, and craig is sending a couple more for the matching scarf. he’s out of the apple green colorway i showed earlier, but he has TONS of the deep green. and it’s such a great color—you’ll see.

meanwhile, i finished my scarf and blocked it—are you ready for some serious yarn prøn??

can you feel how soft that is around my neck?? just think—it hasn’t even begun to bloom—once i start wearing it, that surface will explode with minky goodness.

i love, love, love the big fat loose cables—all of that double-crossing just builds up the depth until the whole thing is a delicious beehive of warm around my neck

and from what i hear, i’m going to need it in new york—my mom was telling me it’s freezing up where she lives (and i’m headed there at the end of the trip)

so, that’s it—i’m off. for those that are coming to vogue LIVE! . . . see you there. i’ll be signing patterns on sunday from 12 to 1 pm—we’ll have a selection to sell on the spot or you can bring your own, or buy one from the sales floor. or just come by to say hello (especially if no one else is there, eek!)

that about zips it up, but i’ll be back in a few days with an update.

the great white north

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

i was home barely a day last week when it was time to take off again for the next teaching gig. i just managed to get my mail squared away before i had to leave again. this time, however, it was just an hour’s drive from home into the more remote, northern part of northeast ohio.

they get a lot more snow up there than we do here . . . and i think we get a lot. i stayed in a B&B at the top of a wooded hill that looked like a gnome’s cottage in a fairytale (i;m not kidding, haha). unfortunately, i didn’t get any good photos—it was dark and snowy when i left each morning and dark when i returned in the evening. even the the alpacas they have were covered with mounds of snow, haha.

classes, however, were delightful—the northcoast knitter’s guild had a record turnout for attendance and both days of classes were filled to capacity. we spent all day saturday exploring techniques and getting started on a pine and ivy shawl project, which participants will continue (i hope!) as a guild KAL. they do a LOT of social knitting together in between meetings in this guild; it’s a very supportive group. on sunday we did an all-day sweater fitness class, which is always a lot of fun.

i have to hand it to this group—most of the participants took both classes and we worked hard both days! they treated me to a fun weekend, too; i’m so glad to have met such wonderful knitters so close to home.

meena even brought me a beautiful gift on sunday morning—a set of vintage circular needles with an interesting join

it is surprisingly smooth. she just wanted me to have them—wasn’t that nice? thank you meena; it was lovely to meet you and hear about all of your travels (she’s been to some VERY interesting places).

here and there, i even got some knitting done myself (though not as much as i’d like and no pattern work, as i should have done). teaching all day always leaves me pretty wiped out—i usually fall asleep early with my knitting in my hands, heh.

i finished the leg on my roger sock and started the heel. these are knit in new yarn, soon to be available from lorna’s laces which contains outlast® acrylic, a heat management fiber that helps to regulate body temperature. beth gave some of us a skein of this yarn last year at TNNA to experiment with. i decided that socks were the best choice for mine, since i have so much trouble keeping my feet warm. i’ll be finished with these soon and plan to wear them during my upcoming travels to test their wearability. so far, i’ve really enjoyed knitting with the yarn though—it’s one of my very favorite LL colorways (catalpa) and the yarn has a beautiful hand. janel knit a pretty sock with it in september, too.

i managed a few rows on my luscious scarf, but did not finish it yet—i’ll work on this some more in class today. it’s getting there though . . wanna put your face into it??

that’s right, snuggle up close to the grreat northern yarns minky cashmere-y yumminess—that’s baby talk for great northern yarns mink/cashmere DK, my go-to yarn for light, soft, winter warmth, mmmmm.

i gave my finished hat a bath the other day before i left the house and the fiber bloomed in the most delicious way . . .

see all that gorgeous minky haze?? that’s super soft too—not at ALL prickly or itchy. not close enough yet?? how about now

i’ve gotta get this pattern written up before i go away again . . .

in fact, i’ve got quite a bit of pattern work to do this week; blog posts might be scarce, just sayin. i’m leaving thursday for a really big trip—i won’t be home for almost four weeks; i’ve never been away from david that long (this may sound silly, but i think i’m a little scared!). fortunately, he’s meeting me for a little reunion in the UK halfway through.

anyway, i have a lot to get organized before i take off. i may just take lots of pictures and then blog about them later, while i’m on the road. i’ll try to get one more post in though, i promise—i have LOTS to talk about with you.

anyway, one thing i did work on over the weekend was david’s forest toque. i actually finished the handspun one BUT . . . .

when i got home, we discovered it wasn’t long enough. this one is knit with a lighter-weight yarn than the original and it now appears that it needs an extra repeat of the motifs to compensate. so i ripped out the bindoff and put it back on the needles—almost done for the second time now, just a few rounds to go.

meanwhile, the yarns arrived from mountain meadows wool to knit the other samples. karen and valerie sent me some of their laramie worsted in colorway coconut (left) and their new DK weight in colorway sprout (right). this is the squishiest merino yarn you’ll ever meet—the kind that makes you enjoy every stitch.

the yarn has a very elastic, soft depth that encourages pleasant cabling—important when working heavy cables like these. lots of lanolin in the fiber keeps my fingers from getting too dry as i work—that’s a nice perk during these cold months.

i immediately cast one on in that cheery green color—guess what?
this one will be for me; you probably knew that the minute you saw it, hee-hee! david will get a gray one. they also sent a beautiful denim blue and a skein of white (always a favorite; that would look great on david, too).

the pattern for this hat is all written and jocelyn has test knit it—she gives it a thumbs up for fun knitting and good directions. once i write in the tweaks it needs, i can send it for proofing and then we can release it.

speaking of yarn, a couple of packages arrived in the mail friday after i left for kirtland and were waiting when arrived home last night.

first, from kris at the painted sheep, two lively skeins—the top one is jasmine lace weight yarn, a 50/50 merino/silk blend in colorway mixed berries. below it is a skein of shimmer merino/tencel in colorway tulips.

then there was a package from suzan at barking dog yarns containing three lovely hand-dyed skeins:

this first is a skein of her sirius 2-ply merino sock yarn in sailor’s sky, a wonderful mix of blues.


then there was a skein of galaxy 8-ply merino sport in colorway chestnuts on the fire (LOVE!). this will make nice, cushy accessory pieces for fall and winter.

and last but certainly not least, we have a skein of incantation 50/50 merino/tussah silk lace yarn, in colorway mojo, a beautiful cornstraw/gold shaded solid.

i’ll be dreaming on what to do with these lovelies while i’m riding the rails over the next few weeks.

ok, then . . .i gotta run; i have dentist appointment in a few hours and some stuff to do before i go. see you later this week.

we are jonesing . . .

Posted on 31 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

you know, it’s SUCH a shame that so much beach space is devoted exclusively to surfers—i mean really??
all that empty sand anbd no one but surfers can tread on it . . .

bummer, huh?

on our last day on the west coast, kim and i went to ocean beach to walk around, peruse second-hand shops, and look at the water. we may have had another blondstone moment, hehe, groan.
hey, i don’t need more yarn and the shop was just sitting there . . .

on the way home we decided that we probably shopped a little too much on this trip and maybe next time we’d go back to our regular schedule of exploring outdoor destinations (however, we did NOT return the jewelry we bought, haha).

when we got to the house we found david hard at work on his wrap—he’s making pretty good progress, actually, but struggling with a few things (everyone will sympathize): remembering not to make YOs when switching from knit to purl or vice versa and remembering to keep the flow going from stitch to stitch so as not to get mixed up about where he is (pausing can really screw you up). also, telling someone right away when he has a hole instead of knitting ten more rows.

with two of us there to help correct mistakes, his project stayed the course. i think he’s very well over the beginning hump. now he just needs to practice and keep going each day. hopefully, he’ll decide that a good time to do this is late at night while we watch TV (that’s the best time for me to stop and help him).

chica helps out wherever she can—she has developed a considerable fondness for david on this trip, while remaining cozy with me, too.

which brings me to the fact that we have not really seen kade’s animals on the blog during this trip—so sorry. that hour after school turned out to be our lazy hour—good for napping, right kade??
and with dark falling sooner in winter than in summer, we got shut out for several days. he has several cool new animals, too . . . next time, i promise we’ll do it (i’ll be going back in may or june).

i did manage a nice shot of his new wall aquarium, which was a christmas gift. it’s round and hangs on the wall; his fish are stunning.

yeah, instead of running all over the property taking pictures, we enjoyed some after-school TV and knitting. which i made a LOT of progress on (travel is usually great for knitting, yay).

since i completed both the eliza mitts and the LOVe shawlette AND got them blocked, we got kim to model them for us on our last afternoon, in the olive grove near her house, where there is a gorgeous field of sage.

don’t they look nice after a bath?? i just love how blocking and reshaping smooths things out.

as far as i know, there are still kits available for the eliza mitts project, which will include the pattern and a skein of woolen rabbit’s new “lucent” yarn in colorway lady slipper, a perfect spring flower blue.

valerie from yarn4socks emailed the other day to say that due to popular demand, she opened up 15 more spots. if you tried earlier and couldn’t get one, there may be one now (i’ll wait while you go check it out . . .).

i love how the photos turned out—doesn’t kim look stunning? we were there right at sunset and at one point, kim was lit up like a stage star, but i can assure you, it’s all natural.

it was a wildly productive afternoon and fun, too.
plus it was two-fer; we shot both projects in one session, yay.

(in comments or on ravelry, she might try to downplay how gorgeous she is, but don’t let her get away with that).

what i need to do while i’m home is buckle down and get the shawlette pattern written up and into the hands of our lovely test knitters.

for our last night in san diego, everyone was present all at once for dinner, which was really nice—i love eating at a table full of family.
afterward, we settled in for a last evening of knitting and chatting.

i had finished up my monkey bread hat the night before and it fits just right—i love it. it’s a little poofy, but not as much as a beret.

but not tight either. it’s should trap plenty of warm air around my head, yet not flatten my hair too much. the lofty, lightweight mink/cashmere DK from great northern yarns gives it lots of shape without extra weight

after these pictures, i gave it a bath; we’ll assess the full effect once it’s completely dry and the yarn has bloomed (it’s laid out in front of the heat register now).

with that done, i went back to work on the matching scarf, which i had cast on, but not really made progress with. the work on this goes really fast—it’s a loosely cabled fabric on a larger scale.

i worked on it during my last evening at kim’s and then all the way home on the plane—it’s mostly mindless, but requires enough attention to keep me energized and enthusiastic.

easy enough knitting to take advantage of the view from my window

as we flew away from the sand and sea and toward the snow-capped mountains and plains. brrr, was i really in paradise just a few hours earlier?

by the time we landed in ohio (to LOTS of fresh snow and cold—we already missed san diego by then), the scarf was past the halfway point. i put on a couple more repeats last night before bed

doesn’t it look luscious?? omg, you should feel it—there are no words.

i chose to knit mine luxuriously wide, to keep me warm during my winter travels (cookie and i are going to scotland in february and we are scaring ourselves silly about how cold it might be—neither of us is hardy that way). i could use this as a wrap if i had to . . .

there will be a narrower width included in the pattern as well, for those who like a more reasonable about of fabric around their neck.

and lastly, i know my sock mojo has been somewhat absent, but i want to assure you that it’s not completely missing . . . i’ve been finishing up stray socks to make complete pairs. i have too many single ones lying around, which is a big waste and makes my life feel cluttered.

i took this pair of roger socks on my trip and got pretty far along the second leg; i think it’s just about the right length now to start the heel. who knows, i might finish it this weekend when i go to teach in kirtland, OH.

this pair is knit in a new yarn from lorna’s laces, to be released soon. the yarn has outlast fiber in it, which helps regulate your skin temperature, so conceivably, these could help keep my feet warmer. i should try to get them done for scotland, eh?

so now i’m home . . i’ve got patterns to write and packing to do for my big trip that starts in a week. i also have more news from TNNA, but am still sorting through it all to make sense of it before i post—maybe tomorrow or saturday.

have a good friday eve—tip a glass to the coming weekend.

this is the life . . .

Posted on 47 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

there is sun everywhere here, even on my plate!
the citrus fruit is just coming into ripeness here at kim’s house and we’ve all been gorging on tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit sweet enough to peel an eat in sections. i don’t know how i’m going to tear myself away to fly home tomorrow . . .

sorry for the long delay since my last post; i’ve been collecting material like crazy but i’ve also been on the move like crazy, with hardly a moment to sit at the computer. i didn’t mean to leave you hanging, i swear . . .

last time i posted, we were getting ready to spend the next day at the beach and that’s just what we did. it’s a little chillier here than we usually see, but still a lot warmer than at home (where it is now like, 11 degrees—brrr). the ocean is absolutely spectacular this time—huge crashing waves and stunning light.

we headed for pt loma national monument on thursday morning, one of our favorite spots. we brought sandwiches to eat up at the lighthouse while keeping an eye out for whale sitings.

we didn’t see many signs of the whales that day, as we have on past january visits. that’s ok—we brought our knitting too, to pass the time while basking in the sun and looking for spouts of water offshore.

kim is knitting up her very favorite gridiron socks in super cash sock from studio june, in the most appropriate of colorways—tide pool.

and once we realized that we weren’t going to see any whales any time soon, that’s just where we headed—to the tidepools.

like i said, the waves were huge that day, drawing lots of surfers; kim and i tried to take pictures that would somehow relate to you just how exciting it was on the water, but you know how that goes

it’s not really possible to get the same feeling with the camera, unless you can get close up (which i wasn’t about to attempt). this is my favorite of the lot . . .

so i settled for photographing the stuff on hand, closer to where i was on shore. there are all sorts of fabulous textures and lansdscapes in the sand and rocks at the tidepools, in addition to hosts of interesting objects that wash up on shore.

this is my favorite thing that i found—i little scarp of shell or rock with these extremely delicate tendrils of petrified whatsit trailing up and off. i’m not sure which direction they’d be growing in their natural orientation, but i like the way they mimic seaweed.

i also like this rock-and-weed combo, with its bright lavender coloring, so unexpected. i took way more photos of beach minutiae, but i’ll spare you—you can see many more tide pool photos in older posts.

after a stop at mootime creamery, where david indulged in two scoops of his favorite double dark, we trailed home to cook dinner for the boys—i made indian curry that night and we all chowed down happily before settling in for an evening of TV and knitting.

friday was another gorgeous day—kim and i had plans for a girl’s get-together so we left david sitting by the pool, busy with . . . . what???

yep, that’s his new knitting project. he’s working with a kinda cool-textured cashmere/wool yarn that i spun a few years back, nice and tweedy and irregular, but light as a feather.

he wanted something with a different texture form the garter stitch scarf he knit a couple of years ago and thought that stockinette might be a good way to ratchet things up a notch. this required him to learn to purl and to keep track of a garter border, which is a bit challenging, but he’s doing fine.

we’ll show you more later . . he’s actually got some decent length on it now.

anyway, we left him there because we had a date with jocelyn and our friend nan (of the beautiful test knits) to meet in la jolla for lunch and a little shopping, before i headed up to long beach to the trade show.

look beckie, kim found a jacket to go with the pendant you gave her for christmas. perfect, right?? we also stopped in at our favorite jewelry shop, where we each managed to find something perfect to wear out the door,. this was nan’s first time shopping with us, but she proved to be quite a champ at it, hee-hee.

after an exhausting hour of trying on pretty, shiny things, we were quite ready for lunch, despite the early hour.

i got jocelyn to let me take a photo of her spectacular bel air shirt, knit up in malabrigo sock, which she test knit back in the early fall. doesn’t it look amazing on her? it’s even better in person, trust me.

unfortunately, our afternoon had to end on the early side, because i was heading up to long beach to attend the trade show (TNNA) for the weekend. nan and her husband john were kind enough to give me a lift, as they live not far from there.

you know you’re in designer land when you see something like this . . .

i got to the hotel in the late afternoon—cookie and rosemary were already ensconced. we went out for an early dinner so we could have more time to lounge around, talking an knitting afterward.

i finished up my eliza mitts and worked some more on the LOVe shawlette while we talked. they turned out well, i think and we’ll do some modeled photos later today with kim.

saturday we hit the show floor bright and early for a long day of looking at yarn, talking to colleagues, and shopping for future projects (more about that in a future post). that’s rosemary, getting some yarn love at the pico accuardi booth, where deb made sure we did not go away without samples of their beautiful new yarn bases.

i have lots to show you of my own, too, but i have to save it for another day . . .

photography on the show floor is not really allowed, but i couldn’t resist this adorable shot of our friends erica and susie at kollage yarns—no wonder it’s such a nice company, just look at them!

on sunday, david drove up to meet me for a day of walking the show and meeting friends. we had an impromptu, but much needed lunch break with the ravelry posse

as well as miriam, ysolda, and janel, who finally arrived on saturday afternoon.
we got a LOT of business done at this show; i’m excited. i’m still processing everything we saw and thought and talked about over the weekend, but one thing is for sure, we have some exciting new ideas for the coming year.

i slept in a little bit yesterday morning, then went for a brisk walk with kim, followed by breakfast and knitting for a little while. my LOVe shawlette was almost done by the time i got back here the other night—just a little left to knit yesterday

we went out for a while in the morning to visit a cooking school and store in pacific beach, plus make a stop at kim’s bread bakery of choice

(haha, i love that picture, i just HAD to slip it in)

here it is, right side up



charlie’s best bread
, where we stocked up on baked goods for the week (mostly healthy, i promise, haha)

after that, it was home to meet up with the kids after school and catch up on their day. i finished up my LOVe shalwette and put it on to soak before dinner, so i could block it afterward.

here’s a pretty crappy picture of it stretched on the blocking wires under indoor, nighttime lights. we’re going to get modeled shots this afternoon out at the olive farm; i can’t WAIT. i’m completely thrilled that we’ll go home with a california photo shoot under our belts (what we REALLY need is to move out here, but that’s another story . . .)

i have SO much more to tell you, but lots to sort out before i do, so i’m going to hold all that stuff back til i get home. hopefully, i’ll have another quick post before i go to put up while we fly back tomorrow.

right now though, it’s off for a morning walk with kim (our last one, boo HOO). i’m not even going to proofread this now, but i’ll leave you with someone else’s knitting to gaze upon . . .