Saturday, April 26, 2008

Annie Modesitt Classes

Thursday and Friday I took 3 classes with Annie Modesitt. The first two, Cable Without a Cable Needle and Lovely Laces, were held at Abundant Yarn. The third, Combination Knitting, was held by Knit Purl.

I really enjoyed the two classes on Thursday. I had tried knitting cables without a cable needle before using a tutorial online previously. But I had problems dropping stitches so I gave up on that method. Instead, I went back to using a cable needle which to me is very cumbersome and time consuming since I'm apt to lose the needle between rows even when I put it in my lap.

Seeing Annie's method in person made much more sense to me and I was able to pick it up rather quickly. And when I followed her way exactly, I didn't drop stitches. I think I'll be doing more cable work in the future because of this.

The second class at Abundant Yarn was called Lovely Laces. In it we learned how to read a chart and practiced knitting lace. I knew a lot of the things that Annie taught us already but she did show us how to do a left leaning decrease that rocks. It is done over two rows, so it is a little confusing and I don't think I would have ever gotten it from a book or a video. But seeing her do it and explain it, made sense. Now my left leaning decreases won't be looking jagged ever again!

On Friday, after Therese and I went to Yarnia (more on this in another post) and Powell's bookstore we took our third class, Combination Knitting. This was the class I was looking most forward to since I'm a combination knitter but struggle with how to interpret increase and decrease symbols that are written for western style knitters. Unfortunately, Annie didn't really cover this except to say she wished that patterns were written to be more universal in this approach. So I was disappointed by the class because of that and because it repeated material from the Cable class. Oh well, it was good to have that reinforced.

I guess I'm just going to have to figure the increase/decrease thing on my own. I've been fudging it up to now anyway. Grumperina has a chart on how to translate instructions for combination knitting, so I'll use that as a start.

Anyway, over all I enjoyed Annie's classes. She isn't exactly PC in all communications with the class. I could tell she offended a few people with some of her remarks. I tried not to be one of them when she said something about lesbians. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Although sometimes that is hard!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Annie Modesitt's Lecture At Abundant Yarn

Last night I drove into Portland for some knitting classes with Annie Modesitt today and tomorrow. I drove in a night earlier to see Annie Modesitt at Abundant Yarn give a lecture called Knit with Courage, Life with Hope. She spoke about her husband's battle with terminal cancer and how knitting has helped her get through the last year. It was touching at times and nearly brought tears my eyes.

Annie also talked some about being a knitting designer. Did you know that knitting magazines pay designers nearly the same amount that they did back in 1986? 1986!!!

That is ridiculous. The publishers, photographers, stylists, and editors are making more money then they did back in 1986? Why do the designers, who's designs are the book and the magazines, get paid so little? Ridiculous.

And almost as ridiculous is the fact that the editors who edit the books, 9 out of 10 times, aren't even knitters. They change patterns and take things out without any knitting knowledge or consent of the designer. And sometimes the pictures in the books have the items upside down, or inside out because that is how the photographer or stylist wants to do it, never mind the knitter who wants to make the item and wonders why the pattern doesn't mesh with the photo.

I've always wondered how a designer could create a poorly written pattern and it make it through the editting process. Now it seems that it is the opposite. They spend weeks, months, getting the pattern perfect. They have people test knit and tech edit the patterns until they know it is right. And then all the work is shot because some non-knitting editor doesn't like something about it.

So if you are pulished knitting designer, I salute you. And I will never blame you again for an incorrect pattern in a book or magazine again. I know in most cases it isn't your fault. And you deserve a raise!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Broadripple Socks

I finished a pair of Broadripple Socks tonight. I did an afterthought heel instead of a heel flap and I like it so much better. I think I'm going to do all my socks with an afterthought heel from now on. I used this Afterthought Sock pattern(PDF) as a guide on how to knit the heel.

The socks are knit with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight. The color is called Hen Pecked I just love how they turned out. And they feel comfy too!


Pachebel approves!

Monday, April 21, 2008

What Tree Is This?

Anyone know what tree this lovely smelling flower belongs to? I took this photo yesterday at the botanical gardens at the locks in Ballard. But this morning I noticed my neighbors also have this tree. I'd love to know what the tree is!

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Good Karma Baby Blanket


Over the weekend, I started and completed a baby blanket on my Bond Sweater Machine. It is made from 4 skeins of Caron Simply Soft. I knit it as part of a swap on Ravelry called Guilty Pleasures/Good Karma. In the swap you give luxurious swag & as thanks for receiving a box in kind, donate a knitted or crocheted children’s item to Warm Woolies,

I thought this would be a great time to try out one of the patterns from the pattern book that comes with the sweater machine. In it you knit 3 strips of squares in different colors. As you knit the 2nd and 3rd strip, you seam as you go by placing the last stitch of the previously knit strip on the last needle of the strip you are knitting. Then you don't have to sew as much. I liked this technique but as the blanket got longer the weight made the stitches on the end looser and those don't look as nice as the stitches at the bottom. I was using the weighted hem that comes with the machine but I've read on the Bonders list on Ravelry about using claw weights and this might help. I'll have to check it out.

After, I knit the 3 strips on the machine. (I finished 2 strips on Friday night and 1 strip on Saturday), I crotcheted the short ends with a row of single crochet and 2 rows of double crochet. It still wasn't enough to keep it from rolling, but it did help some. The hardest part of the blanket was sewing the hem on each of the long sides. Well, it wasn't hard, just time consuming.

I like sewing things in the round so I don't have to do seams but with this blanket you can't do that. In a flat knit item I could have knit a garter stitch border but that isn't really easy to do on the machine. One of the people who made this blanket did a ribbing on the side. That is easier to do on the machine but more time consuming that just striaght knitting. But it probably would still be faster then sewing at the end. Plus when you finished knitting all 3 strips all that would be left was the crochet bottom and top and weaving in. Or I could use waste yarn when I start and then pick up those stitches to do a ribbed bottom and I could do the same at the top.

Anyway, it was a fun blanket to knit and it was nearly instant gratification. Nearly.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Botanical Gardens and Golden Garden Park

This morning I drove up to Ballard to the Locks to get out of the house and see the Botanical Gardens. I wasn't expecting to see much really. I just figured it would do me good to get out of the house since I've been home bound due to the crazy Seattle weather. It has been snowing on and off with occasional sun breaks for the last 2 to 3 days.

But I did get to see flowers and even though it was grey out and SNOWING, I did get a couple of good pictures:

I don't know what type of flower this is but it looks like an upside down tulip to me.

After freezing my ass off walking around the gardens and the locks I ate some lunch at a place across the road called Totem House. The seafood chowder was awful but sounded like a good idea at the time. I did have a piece of fried cod and fries that were good though.

I then drove up the road to Golden Garden Park where the sun was SHINING and walked along the beach. It was low tide and I got my shoes all wet. As I was walking back to my car I heard a woman tell some people she was with that it is a Seattle tradition to ruin your shoes at low tide. I'm not so sure I like that tradition! Now I need some shoes that don't smell like seaweed!

I headed over to the Fiber Gallery as I hadn't been to that yarn store yet in my quest to hit all 52+ yarn stores in the Seattle area. It is a nice store over in Phinney Ridge. They have a lot of basic yarns like malabrigo, manos, cascade 220, lambs pride, and debbie bliss among others. I was looking for more exotic/special yarns as I'm in swap on Ravelry and wanted to get something for my swap partner. They did have HandMadien Sea Silk but I didn't end up buying it. I'll be in Portland later this week for some classes with Annie Modesitt at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks and Knit Purl. So I figure between those two yarns stores and Yarnia, I'll be able to pick up something good.

I did buy the Leaf Lace Shawl pattern by Evelyn Clark. Charity, Ialiuxh and I are going to start a Shawl KAL. However, neither have finished their sweater from our Sweater KAL, so I'm not holding my breath! :) Ialiuxh has already started the shawl though. I don't know what yarn to use for mine. But I'll be on the look out for that too when I'm in Portland if I don't find something in my stash.
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Cracker Jack Prizes

When I was a kid I loved to get Cracker Jacks to get the surprise at the bottom of the box. It was a doubly hard wait to eat the caramel popcorn to get the prize because I had to pick out all the peanuts since I'm allergic to them. The prize would always be some cheap trinket but I didn't care. And it was always a race between my brother and I of who would get to the bottom first. He'd usually win (he didn't have peanuts he had to pick out) until I figured out I could turn the box upside down and get the prize right a way.

So I've always been intrigued by little prizes, notions, beads, etc. all my life. And knitting notions are the best. There are stitch markers and seaming pins and row counters. I have a whole zippered bag I knitted full of them.


Well, I once again fell for the prize when I bought the Spring 2008 issue of Simply Knitting which is a publication from England. They always include some free knitting related thing with each issue. I have their 2008 calendar hanging up in my kitchen.


This time though they have this unique row counter. It not only keeps track of rows knitted but also increases and decreases. No more writing it down or ticking off on patterns. I just have to use my new handy dandy pattern counter. It is kinda cheap. I think I will probably lose one of the sliders at some point, but for now I think it is a fun way to keep track of my knitting. And I didn't have to wait to get to the end of the magazine or guess what the prize would be. The pattern counter was stuck to the front of the magazine to entice me to buy it!

Oh, and there are a few cute patterns in the issue too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fernwood Woolworks Rainy Day Socks

I received my package of socks from Fernwood Woolworks today. These socks are made from yarn I got at the Blue Moon Fibers Arts Mills End in November. The owner, Lynette, knits socks from your yarn on an antique knitting machine.


I love how the socks turned out, especially since I didn't have to knit them. The top cuff is turned over and has K6P1 ribbing for about 2 1/2 inches. Then the rest is knit in stockinette. The toes and heels even look great!



I have a lot of sock yarn in my stash and at $13.50 a pair, having socks machine knit is quick and inexpensive way to increase the number knitted socks I have. I really like knitting socks but I can only knit so many. This way I can get more socks and allow myself to buy more sock yarn, something I have stopped doing. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Westport - Friends, Beach & Knitting


I just got home from a wonderful weekend in Westport with Ialuixh and Charity. Ialiuixh had invited Charity and I to go down there while she was visiting her mom. We were blessed with a beautiful, clear and sunny day on Saturday. The sky and the ocean was so blue. It was hard to believe that we were just 2 1/2 hours from Seattle. Of course, today it was overcast again but still nice.

We arrived late on Friday night and had just a little bit of time to talk and knit before we crashed. Early Saturday morning we got up and ate breakfast before heading out to the beach. Ialuixh gave us the grand tour starting with a drive through the dock part of town with all the charter boats and little shops.


Then we headed up to Grayland to beach access so we could drive and park on the beach. We spent a couple of hours beach combing. Iaulixh was looking for agate and Charity was looking for beach glass.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular until I found a sand dollar. The first one I found was broken but I picked it up because I figured it was better then nothing. But then I looked around and there was sand dollars all over the place. I picked up at least 40 of them.


Sand dollars on the west coast look slightly different then sand dollars I've found on the Atlantic and on the Gulf of Mexico. These are more round. And bigger. I was so thrilled to find one intact one yet alone so many others. I've never had that luck before.

After the beach we headed to the Yarn and Darn shop in Grayland. It is a small yarn and embroidery thread shop. I picked up a couple of skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca to use for socks. Not that I need any more sock yarn. So I may make a scarf instead.

On the way back to Westport, we stopped at an antique store, probably one of the best looking ones I've been to. They had a lot of stuff I had never seen before like an old time toaster and hand crank record players. But the best find I found there was two Pyrex covered casserole dishes. They match the set of mixing bowls I already have. I'm happy to add them to my collection. I also bought a small Pyrex bowl to make scrambled eggs in.

Ialiuxh and her mom, Barbara, kept us well fed. Ialiuxh did a tofu and vegetable stir fry with brown rice for Saturday lunch and Chicken burritos for dinner which we also had for left over for lunch today before we left.

Saturday night we hung out after dinner and knit and talked. Ialiuxh's mom is a real doll. She was super sweet and hilarious! I really enjoyed spending time with her.

This morning before we left, we went back to the beach for another walk. It was overcast and a little bit cooler today. But it was still great to be out on the beach.

Barbara has invited us back whenever we want to visit. There is a kite festival in July and an Art Festival in August, so we might go to one of those. I'm so happy I live so close to the Pacific ocean and the beach!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Yes, I know you want to keep up with my mundane life!

Check out my Twitter. And if you have a Twitter account, you can follow me!

Hey! And Barack Obama is following me, why not you?!? :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Evie I Love You In ASL

I am totally making these clothes for Evie. I'm one of her "aunties". She is the daughter of my best friends back in Texas, Andy and Kelly, and she was born deaf. I made her a shrug last year but I think these are so much cuter.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Knitting For Obama

Yesterday, Lisa and I went to the 11th Legislative District caucus as delegates for Obama. It was a lot of waiting around while they counted delegates and alternates for both Obama and Clinton.


So I brought a sock to knit with me. The sock pattern is Broadribble from Knitty, Summer 2003. I'm using a skein of yarn I got from the trip Ialiux, Charity, and I took the the Blue Moon Fiber De-stashing sale in Oregon back in November. It is Socks That Rock Lightweight and the color is called Henpecked.


Oh, and Obama had at more than 1/2 the delegates if not 3/4 of them. Go, Obama!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tawashi Swap Score


Look at the tawashi swap I scored from the first swap,Premier Tawashi Swap, on the Tawashi Town group on Ravelry.

My swap partner, Cathy (bohobluestocking on Ravelry), really went beyond the requirments which was to send one tawashi. She knitted me four different tawashi. She wrote that she used real tawashi yarn which is usually antibacteria acrylic yarn for the white hexagon one.


Aren't they so adorable! She also sent me some Gin-Gins, a giner candy, a pink notebook, a set of really cute self-stick notes, and a huge fun heart shaped ring (total bling!).

I really enjoyed this swap. It was fast and easy. I got to try knitting some Citrus Slice Tawashi myself, and I got some great tawashi and treats too. Thanks Cathy!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Seahurst Park

One of my favorite parks is Seahurst Park on Puget Sound in Burien. It is about 5 minutes from house. I took these pictures on a trail in the park.





Freeway Park

Today I had a conference at the Washington State Convention center. This is an interesting building because the convention center is actually over I-5. These pictures are from Freeway Park.




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Ravelry Being Sold

Ravelry Being Sold

April Fools!