Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Traveling Woman - Me and the Shawl

Yes I'm traveling - but that doesn't mean I'll leave you high and dry without a post this week! So while I'm out of town (er, the country) I thought it'd only be appropriate to share my new...

Pattern: Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante 
Yarn: Mountain Colors Crazyfoot in colorway Ruby Red
Needles: Size 6 (4.0 mm) 
Started: March 2, 2014
Finished: March 8, 2014

Look at that record timing! I knit this in less than six days! And I say less than six because I actually started the shawl in another yarn and ripped it out. Want to know why:

Ew, right? I loooove this yarn; Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Summer Dusk. Which is funny because I can't stand yellow... but I just fell in love with this yarn. And when I found out that I was going to teach a shawl class at that shop this spring I knew I had to make a cute Traveling Woman in spring colors.

But no.
Oh goodness no.
I knew it was bad when the hubs asked if I was ever going to wear it. And after I told him that it was for the shop model to advertise for a class, he asked if anyone would register for said class.

This yarn will have to wait another day.

I instead opted for the really lovely Mountain Colors Crazyfoot. This is a nice yarn! 90% merino wool with 10% nylon. Excellent for socks but the color (Ruby Red!) was just too lovely and wanted to be shown off to the world.  It might have a little too much orange for me but it looks nice nonetheless.

I'm pretty excited to teach this class (what class am I not excited to teach?!) because I really love this pattern. It's my go to when I need a nice gift for someone. And really I think this is agreat project for an introduction to lace. Yarn over increases, both slanting decreases and the dreaded double decrease. Oh yeah and some chart reading too! And because this shawlette only takes 1 skein of sock yarn it is not a huge commitment. Really a nice introduction to lace knitting. I also plan on demonstrating how to block  because really that is when the magic happen and what makes a lacy shawl go from humdrum to beautiful.

So there you have it. Another finished object. A shawl. A traveling woman shawl. And a class plug. All brought to you while I'm out and about in Copenhagen (learning all about SNOMED CT policy!). Fun for you and fun for me!

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Traveling Knits

A couple weeks ago I found out work is sending me to Copenhagen for a business meeting. No lie, first thing I did (okay after a little happy jiggy) was look on Ravelry for nearby yarn shops!

Yay for Social Media! 
I'm super excited that I'm going to meet all these people face to face after speaking with them via webmeeting these past few months. Of course I'm getting my work stuff aligned for the trip. But you know, as a knitter I also have to get my traveling projects ready! And I'm sure you really don't want to hear me drone on and on about clinical terminologies and health care policies. :)

So here's a list of potential projects I might take (including the yarn!). Of course I'm not taking all of these (I do need room for suits!). So we'll see which one(s) actually makes it into the travel bag.

Photo Credit: © Biscottecie.com, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/biscottes-sheeps---les-moutons-de-biscotte
Remember that Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock yarn that I had? I might try it out on this sheepy sock. We'll see. I'm not sure if 1 - I like this yarn for this project and 2 - if I can do colorwork while traveling.

Photo Credit:  AnneM, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/revontuli--huivi-northern-lights 
This one has real potential to actually make it into the travel bag. Yep, another shawl! This would be with my Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi that I've had in the stash for years.

Pretty Basic by KallioKnits
Picture credits: © JaninaW, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pretty-basic 
And yes... ANOTHER shawl. I've been on such a shawl kick lately. Which is funny because I really don't even know how to wear a shawl. But this pattern looks both cute and easy enough (i.e. doesn't require much thought). This would be knit with Pagewood Farm Denali Hand Dyed Sock Yarnyarn that I purchased the previous year while out in Seattle.

As I said, we'll see which of these (or other) projects make it into my travel bags. What types of projects do you like to work on while traveling? Any knitting travel tips?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - Here I Come

This is a preview post about an upcoming event that I'm really excited for -- The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, May 3rd and 4th!!

I went two years ago when we first moved here but it was a little over-whelming because I really didn't know what to expect. I missed it last year because of traveling. So this yeah, I have better grasp as to what to expect and to just have fun! Unfortunately I've already missed out on registering for workshops because apparently these fill up almost as soon as they are announced (duly noted for next year!).

To prep for this event (and for my own knowledge edification) I thought I'd start to learn more about fibers.

One thing that I've done was attend the Woolwinder's Yarn Properties Class, taught by the wonderful Jennifer Raymond (Tinking Turtle Designs). Okay so I was working while the class was going on but wow was this a jam-packed class! 3-hours of intense (but fun) learning of fibers that can be used to create fabrics. Jennifer is a really good instructor, she's funny and man she knows her fibers! This class was unique because she had sample cards for us to touch and feel different fibers and she was able to really explain how a particular fiber would be a good choice for a particular garment (or project) versus another. Very interesting! If you can, check out her next class at Woolwinders (or ask if there will be another one!).

I'm also working through the Craftsy class (a free demo class!) called Know Your Wool by Deborah Bobson. Deborah has a pleasant voice and she has a very organized way in presenting the information.  But it has taken me a while to get through this class. On the upshot, it is a free class! It's my first time viewing a Craftsy class and I think the format is done well. I like that you can correspond with other class attendees and even Deborah herself! What I don't care for is that it is not mobile friendly - so I have to lug my laptop out onto the couch rather than just viewing from my tablet or phone (first-world problems --- huh?). Of course not the same as a live in-person class. But still interesting and a good way to learn about wool if you can't get to Jennifer's class!  

Finally, for the past couple of months I've been reading bits of Clara Parkes's The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using and Enjoying Yarn. This really is the ultimate book to help you learn about yarn! I really learned a lot from this book and I think it helped me understand (and solidify some unknown parts) the the things that were presented in Jennifer's and the Craftsy courses. If you are interested in any way about understanding the ways of mysterious yarns, read this book. It has been helpful in so many ways. Maybe it's because I now work at a yarn shop so I can talk a little more intelligently when someone asks me about a yarn. I typically speed read through books, this is one that I've found so interesting and have been slowing reading and savoring every moment with it. There have been many "Ah-HA" moments where I suddenly realize why a yarn was TERRIBLE for a particular project. Again, an excellent book.

Well as you can see, I'm much more prepared to attend the festival this year! Stay tuned for pictures and updates about my time at the festival! Oh and if you have any recommendations for additional learning resources on fibers and yarn properties, please feel free to share!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Simple Sweater for Boe

I finally finished this sweater - and just in time for my upcoming class!

Started: February 16, 2014
Finished: March 25, 2014
Yarn: Cascade 220, superwash in 801 green
Needles: size 6 (4.0mm) and 5 (3.75mm) circs

This project sat unfinished for a while in my project pile. I think I had so many other knits that this one kept falling to the bottom of my To Do List. The sad part is that I just needed to pick up the stitches and finish the ribbing neck, legs and back. But I finally finished and good thing too... my dog sweater class is next week! Now I can use this to model the medium size sweater!

Similar to the sweater I knit for Rosie this one was knit with what I'm starting to call Suzy's Simple Dog Sweater. It's a combination of 5 or so dog sweater patterns into one super-duper easy sweater that fits like a glove. Of course I had to do some math to get it right for Boe's awkward body (we joke that he is Bichon Fris mixed with Bulldog).  

Overall a fun and easy knit. The yarn is simple enough - this Cascade 220 superwash is a workhorse. I do like that I went down a needle size on this one (I didn't for Rosie's). I think it sits a little nicer on his rump area (I tried to get a photo of the length and so you could see the nice shaping in the back):

I do apologize for the blurry pictures - it is VERY difficult to take photos of him. He is ALWAYS moving!
Except here...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sheldon Turtle

This little guy has been done for a while but I had to wait until after the baby shower. Now that he has been gifted, please meet Mr. Sheldon Turtle!
Pattern: Sheldon by Ruth Homrighaus
Yarn: Ella Rae Silkience, a DK 49% Cotton, 39% Plant fiber, 12% Silk, 
8% Rayon blend in Tealand maybe NaturallyCaron.com Spa a DK 75% Acrylic, 
25% Bamboo blend in Green Sheen
Needle: Size 7 (4.5 mm)
Started: February 22, 2014
Completed: March 17, 2014

This little guy was a gift for a friend and co-worker (and her husband) who are expecting their first. I was tempted to try a baby sweater, blanket or cocoon (actually those rather frighten me). But I couldn't bring myself to knitting one of those conventional items. So instead I found the cute Sheldon pattern from Knitty.  

I initially started the body with a fingering weight yarn as the pattern calls for. However I thought the turtle was going to be a little too small. So I did a stash dive and found two DK green colored yarns - a teal yarn (a blend of every kind of yarn possible) and a yellow-green acrylic/bamboo yarn.  

 This was actually a really fun and easy knit and I finished the knitting (body and shell) in less than a week. And that was with blocking the shell prior to seaming and stuffing! I had the most fun with the colorwork on the shell: 

Here's a picture of the unstuffed shell (and his unattached legs!):
A dorsal view of the stuffed shell: 
And a ventral view of his stuffed body and shell: 
Can you tell I had fun with this project? 

The reason why the project details indicate Feb 22nd until March 17th was due to my inability to sew on the dang eyes! I was so afraid of buttons and safety eyes. I'm not too familiar with babies so I had no idea they might chew on the stuffed animal and could accidentally ingest the eyes. Yikes - it sounds like my pup! So instead I opted to take some leftover black yarn and sew in some eyes. Not too bad. Not the best knit, but this was my first real stuffed animal so I'm not going to judge too much. 

I hope my friend, and the baby, like the little guy!