Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Travelling Shawl Post



As a treat I have a post ready to launch while I'm on my work trip -- An update on the Travelling Woman Shawl I completed with my class!

A while back I blogged about my shawl class at WoolWinders. I decided to knit along with my class and this was the result:


Pattern: Travelling Woman by Liz Abinante
Yarn: Rowan Fine Art in colorway Elm 

Although a little pricey - this yarn is fabulous! It's a blend of 45% Wool, 25% Nylon, 20% Mohair and 10% Silk. And it knits easily and blocks wonderfully. Really a great yarn for lacy shawls.





Because I've completed this pattern so many times (and this will be my last time ever) I decided to go all out and make this one bigger than my previous attempts. I ended up completing Chart A 4.5 times... why only 4.5 and not the complete 5? Oh because I ran out of yarn and had to rip back. Good thing this was a class I was teaching about lifelines (teaching makes me have better habits than I would do for my "normal" knits)! Luckily I was able to easily rip back to a spot that made it easy to pick up stitches and continue with the pattern.


It's pretty - I'm happy. On to the next knit....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Travel Projects

It's time again... I'm prepping for a work trip! This time I'm heading to Amsterdam for a week-long business meeting and conference. Last time I traveled I reminded everyone about using Ravelry to find LYS's (or to remind myself of that niffty function!).

And sure enough - I will have a couple of yarn shops around me in Amsterdam!


There are so many to choose from! I am pretty booked up with meetings so I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to visit one this time. It'll depend on time availability and location but I do hope I get to visit one in particular. This past week I came across this tweet:


That would be THE Stephen West (oooh I'm SUCH a fangirl!), partnering with Penelope Craft which is now Penelope + Stephen, Yarn and Craft Boutique! Fingers crossed I can visit any of the wonderful shops, and double crossed it's this one!

Aside from locating shops to visit while on a trip. What about patterns? Last trip to Copenhagen I found a knitwear designer based out of Denmark, purchased a pattern and bought yarn at one of the Copenhagen shops specifically for that pattern. It's my Copenhagen knit! (Have I CO the project yet... no, but that's a separate issue!).

So what I wanted to focus on this time was reminding everyone (but mostly myself) of some of the advanced features available for Ravelry pattern searching. As a librarian I LOVE using these filters to hone in on specific aspects of patterns. And when I'm going to travel to another country I like to find patterns from designers from that country. So for example:


Step 1: Go to the Patterns Tab and Click on the Advanced Search



Step 2: Start Applying Filters! Here I've picked Knitting and Has Photo




Step 3: Scroll all the way to the bottom. In the 'More Search Options' widget find the Designer Country option.... 


Step 4: Find the Country (or more) that you want. You can use the Or, And, Not for Boolean searching. Here I want to hone in on Dutch knitwear designers. 



And Wa-La! I have 38 pages of projects to drool over! Of course if I wanted to apply more filters I could (for example if I wanted to find a shawl pattern, or a project that calls for a certain yarn weight). But that give a basic idea of how I find patterns for designers from countries I visit. It gives a little extra something special when I go to knit the project. And it gives me something specific to shop for at these yarn shops (although... I can't say that is ALL I purchase - I think I purchase the yarn for the project ON TOP OF "souvenir yarn"!!). 

What project will I pick? Not sure yet. What projects am I bringing on the trip? Not sure yet. I'm a little busy with getting ready for the work aspect of the trip. But I still have some time to figure that stuff out...  I don't leave until Friday. So until then... happy travels and happy knitting! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DrChopSuey Knits er Crochets

I've been meaning to learn how to crochet for a while now. Thing is... it always slips to the end of the 'To Learn List' - too many other things creep up and take it's place. And I've been lucky enough that all of the people I've had to help at the yarn shop (thus far) have needed assistance with knitting projects. But a couple of weeks ago I had a co-worker ask if I could help out a customer with a lesson on crocheting... and I sort of freaked. I would LOVE to help someone. I love helping and teaching people (after all, it's what I do in library/clinical terminology-land (you know, my "main" job) and at the yarn shop). So I felt a little useless not being able to help someone when they wanted to learn.

An hour or so later I opened up Facebook and guess what smacked me in the face - A big huge advertisement to learn how to crochet.

Grrr you Google, Facebook and other personal data analyzing applications! (Although honestly, from a data perspective I would LOVE to learn how to code and then analyze those data-crunching algorithms!).

So Mr. Google and Mr. Facebook have spoken.

I learned how to crochet:


Okay. It's ugly.

But the fact that I learned how to do it is a little amazing. One afternoon I got dropped off at the shop early and decided to pull up YouTube, a crochet hook and some yarn. And with a little guidance from a co-worker (thank you Susan!) I was off!

Kind of.

It took a couple tries. And with the careful directions from Naztazia on Youtube,  I was able to crochet this simple ball. I even learned how to crochet the magic ring! Naztazia's Youtube page has a nice video on how to crochet the magic ring as well.

So now I'm off to new adventures with a new fiber art technique in my tool belt! I'm going to attempt another crochet project soon. Stay tuned!