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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

IMG_0191We have had the pleasure of watching the making of this beautiful project by Mayra of the Friday Morning Knitting Group (FMKG). She has provided us with the facts with some notes from me.

  • Knitted shawl:  Autumn Lace by Svetlana Gordon from Ravelry
  • Yarn: for the leaves and edge – Malabrigo lace weight Color 866-arco iris.For the rest, I used the Malabrigo yarn with a peach mohair yarn.  Don’t know the name or brand but it was a very light peach color.  (Carolyn’s note – her choice of color makes a very vibrant pattern elegant.)
  • How long did it take? I only know that each full leaf would take one hour. No idea how long the “main” body of it took me.It took about a year and a half year to complete.   I did a few other projects in between. (Carolyn’s note – She knits, she beads, she crafts…)
  • As you know, thanks to the suggestion of the members of the Friday Morning Knitting Group, I modified the pattern. (Carolyn’s note – Don’t we all do some modification to what we knit??? I know I generally do. The modification was to not add the leaves on both sides. FMKG felt that it was so beautiful with just one side of leaves and that the other side would get lost in the folds of the neck. Mayra ended that side with an I-cord bind off. ) For the I-cord I used the Malabrigo yarn without the mohair.
Thank you Mayra for letting us enjoy and share your stunning work!

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Knitting needles have been clicking and sewing machine needles have been seaming. The creativity that I’ve been seeing and enjoying is beautiful.

The other day I stopped by Avenue Yarns to visit Janie who leads a Knit Lab on Sundays (noon to 2pm)  so that I could thank her in person for the beautiful quilt that she and her sister Lyda gifted me. It had been “special delivered” to my home by Karen K. It is stunningly beautiful and I will enjoy it for many moons. In fact, it is the perfect size to hang on a chair in the studio….not only will I get to use it but I will enjoy the beauty of it every day.

Janie surprised (again) with another treasure….a hat knit in Koigu. The yarn is like silk to the hand, in this case literally the head. The pattern comes from “Vogue Ultimate Hat Book”. I tried it on with the ties and brooch in back, but in fact it can be worn with ties on the side.

 

Here are some other knit hats which have so generously and loving been knit by Barbara and, Alison and Juel. Let’s throw in the last couple off my needles…..the gray slouch and the red tower cap.

 

Friend Juel’s sewing machine has been steaming! She whipped out a few fleece hats!

And there are those hats that been been commercially crafted……a beauty unto their own. Thanks to all who gifted these.

IMG_0358My latest silliness includes this “Batman” cap. I had to let my nephew Daniel, who is a Batman geek and who also just began his first teaching job,  see it right away.Thank heavens for today’s technology…..I was able to send him photo via text. He loved but did suggest “dork” to me. Haha!

My thoughts about hats…..I love them and as long as I really have a need to wear now I love the different looks. Here are some from my closet.

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It’s time to give that update which I mentioned  back on Jul 2 on why I’ve been “away”.

IMG_0346The easiest way to let you all know that I was diagnosed with lymphoma on June 9 is to share my CaringBridge site with you. It was a sudden trip to emergency on May 24 that brought all this to light. I am now in the midst of chemo treatment with the last of 6 sessions scheduled for October 24. So far, I am on track with the treatment schedule and the prognosis is good. The specifics of this can be found on Carolyn and Mathilda……Mathilda being assigned the name to this tumor that is going to waltz right out of my body.

As I heal (lots of rest as well as exercise with Lucy dog and Bill to keep my body strong through these treatments), I have been knitting and sewing. Oh…..and truth be known I have been become obsessed with some of the mysteries on Acorn TV. I finished watching the  Inspector George Gently Series and now onto the Vera series. I should be done with that just about the time that the next season of Longmire airs.

I was recently possessed to knit a slouchy hat to add to the collection of wonderful hats that I have received. The pattern of inspiration for this top-down knit was featured on page 122 of 60 Quick Luxury Knits from Casade Yarns. As I often do, I see a pattern and then I make modifications.

  • I decided to use Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece  as I wanted cotton with just a little wool against my head. Of course changing from merino wool/silky wool to cotton/wool changed the drape of the hat. I am not unhappy with the drape, but think I will knit it again in wool/silk combo which will have a different body that  I can wear for special occasions.
  • The needles sizes used for Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece  were: 6 for the first section of top and 5 for the remainder of the hat.
  • I eliminated the top-notch i-cord detail as I did not like that look.
  • I changed the first section that included the increases from 4 stitches to 128 stitches to circular stockinette stitch as I did not like the way the increases set up in the seed stitch. I then knit 2 rows of reverse stockinette so that I could create separation between the next pattern of seed stitch.
  • With the cap of the hat completed, I then decreased stitches to 112 rather than 120. How did I decide that? I measured my head and then decided a 1/2 – 1 ” ease would be okay. Fact of the matter here is that I forgot that I do not have the volume of full head of hair to make hat fit a bit better. It works out okay…..but does create more slouch.
  • A tip that was shared for sizing for a top-down hat is to put it onto waste yarn when it is “full size” and then try on to be sure that circumference is correct for your head. My experience is that the hat wanted to fan out so it was not a good fit method. However, I am thinking if I had tied the waste yarn to the size as it lay flat the fit technique would have been more successful.
  • I changed the i-cord trim to a contrasting color. I also followed the i-cord pattern as described for an applied 4-stitch i-cord.
  • The last change I made was to the finished edge i-cord. I knew there was an applied i-cord out there that had a slip stitch involved that created a tighter lay of the i-cord to the knitted fabric edge. Off to google I went. I found this applied i-cord technique on the Berroco website. Here is my presentation of method.
  • For the blocking, I used the wet block method. I washed it by hand in Eucalan and a splash of shite vinegar (to set the contrasting color). The next step was to squeeze the excess moisture out and then set up to dry. In this case, I did not want a crease in the hat from laying flat so I stuffed it with a towel.
  • When the hat was almost dry, I tossed it into the dryer on UltraCare to complete the drying process.

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Yaza

I wasn’t looking and yet I discovered a new shop on Solano AveYaza. I popped into this shop while waiting for Bill to do banking across the street. I was intrigued by a blouse that I saw in the window….white, loose and reminiscence of my younger carefree days. Yaza 4

Namgyal and her sister create the ideas…..they have a cottage style industry based in Tibet that turns their ideas into reality.  I love this sentence from their website:

All Yaza garments are inspired by the diaspora roots of our family who lived nomadic lives in the faraway cultures of Tibet, Nepal and India.

I liked the clothing, jewelry and bag offerings. I think it’s more than worth checking out. If you stop and or/shop, be sure to mention that Skein Lane recommended Yaza. I know I will be going back!

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My recent retirement from my UC day-time admin job of nearly 8 years has been such a blessing. While I’ve never really left the knitting community, I am now diving back into it and the wonderful community that is part of me.

Some of you may not know that before my Skein Lane retail chapter, I was an employee of the YMCA for about 18 months and went onto become a Board Member after I accepted a position in the software industry……most importantly I was an active user of the YMCA programs….in particular exercise. I stepped away from this wonderful resource about 10 years ago for a variety of reasons…..mostly my schedule and illnesses in my family.

One of my first missions upon retirement was to get back into a regular exercise program. I walked into the Albany YMCA….immediately reconnected with Gail, the Director, and Mary, Exercise and Program Instructor. I was back home! I’ve been enjoying Mary’s creative exercise classes since mid-January. Not only do I feel better but I have lost some weight…yeah! There is another most wonderful benefit….reconnecting not only with Y folks but knitters who are in the Y community.

I quickly learned about the (free) Brown Bag Speakers Forum, presented on the 2nd Monday of every month sponsored by the “Y” and Albany Library.. This month’s speaker was Lawrence Rinder, Director of BAMPFA (UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive). His presentation was so informative about the history of BAMPFA leading up to its new location.

2-barbaraLast month’s Brown Bag speaker was Barbara Hazard.….a former Skein Lane customer who spoke about her art work and time spent in Russia. Not only is Barbara an artist with paints but she is obsessed “self-described” with needlepoint. I recall how many lovely pieces she brought to Skein Lane to have finished into pillows. I do wish I had taken photos back then….maybe I did but that was before I had an iPhone camera with all its storage capabilities. But wait….Barbara has posted some of her needlepoint work on her site.  I am delighted that we are in the midst of planning when we can catch up over coffee before her next upcoming trip to Russia mid-May.

 

 

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Indeed many moons ago I painted this ceramic plate as a Christmas gift for my niece Sundee. This “Mary Quite Contrary” plate hung in her room for years….then in her daughter Shelby’s room….and now it  hangs in baby Aria’s room. Who knew that I created an heirloom that would be enjoyed by three generations. Warms my heart!

Aria - Lunch Date 4

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No more shawls for me I’ve been to known to say……until I see another beauty. This time it was Jan’s newly purchased  “Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein!” yarn to knit the Brickless shawl designed by Martina Behm. Earlier I saw someone else walking the Stitches floor wearing a beautiful shawl and I captured the name of the pattern….Brickless. It’s a popular one. Yes…..I “accosted” many walking the Stitches West floor wearing knitted garments that appealed to me.  (It was easy for me to do as I was working/retailing in MaggiKnits booth #314.) In total I collected the names of over 30 shawls.

I was going to wait a bit to start Brickless, but decided to forge ahead because one of our Friday knitting group (not Jan) came to the knitting table with questions last Friday. Deb and I also met briefly this past Monday morning to review/find a mistake in her knitting.

Now I have some tips that I’d like to share with any of you who embark on this knitting journey.

  • Brickless Swatch_2Do a gauge swatch. I know it’s a shawl and one would think….”oh, no worries – I get gauge”. In this case the label on the yarn says 4.5 st – 5.5st/in US 608. The pattern says 4mm (which is US 6) or size to produce gauge of 4 sts to inch. I thought the fabric that I saw need on 4mm was a little more dense than I would like for this shawl. Thus, I swatched on both size 7 and 8 needles. Swatching on size 8 produced the gauge of 4 st/in which is what pattern specifies and has a soft drape.

 

  •  BricklessThere are 3 pattern sets – Lace, Garter and Rib – in each repeat. My mind is such that it wanders when I knit and relax which means I do a terrible job of keeping track of the number of rows (in my head) and the “benchmark” stitches at the end of each set. Notice my green cheat notes. I mark off each row and count the number of stitches so that I know the increases are happening sequentially. I like the idea of adding the expected number of stitches at the end of each pattern set – benchmark. This system also allows to more easily help anyone in our knitting circle.

 

  •  Now onto the next repeats (5 more of 1st 3 pattern sets) before finishing with one lace set.

Happy knitting!

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