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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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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Carolyn and Jan - 1Time to let go of the temporary writer’s block…..let’s start with the trip that Jan and I took this afternoon to Oakland City Hall and the Oakland Museum to see two quilt exhibits.

The quilt exhibit at the Oakland City Hall “Visions of Oakland, Made of Cloth” was recently featured in the Art & Design section of The New York Times: Quilts With a Sense of Place, Stitched in Oakland.  We saw some beautiful quilts depicting several Oakland scenes and history…..however, the ones that were featured in the news article were not on display. Maybe the young man who directed us didn’t tell us where they were all displayed….or maybe they have been returned to their owners. Here is what we did see. I particularly liked the quilt (bottom right) from the North Oakland Senior Center because of its words. “Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces – this and that – stitched with love.”

Next stop was the exhibit of  “Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts”” at the Oakland Museum. We just happened to arrive at the same time as a local quilting group led by instructor Barbara Rydlander. Jan and I  both benefited from hearing the guided tour while hanging on the edge of this group. We also learned once again what a small world it is – I immediately saw quilter and knitter friend of Skein Lane Studio – Debbie G.  Shortly Jan saw one of her friends. Yep….a small world!

 

 

 

 

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I believe it was the Saturday before this past Christmas that I woke to dive into Facebook….well right after I got coffee….yep always looking for new ideas as well as connecting with my friends. This idea for potholders got me fired up.  I remembered I had some fat quarters of fabric that I purchased at a quilt show some time ago. I dug into my stash. Here are the results.

I really enjoyed making these. If you like to sew and want a quick gift, I highly recommend that you try this project.

 

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The Saturday morning group had their second celebration on Dec 19th….the first one was a joint birthday celebration which was followed up with this  ‘tis the season gathering.

There were so many wonderful happenings. Susanne came down from Chico (she and her husband retired there last year). The cooking theme was desserts….there were many wonderful choices. Maurie couldn’t join us because she was sick but she still sent her GF (gluten-free) cookies. We had so much on the table including champagne, cookies (many made by Diane and Maurie), cakes, egg dishes, baked brie with homemade cranberry sauce, cheeses, and fruit….I fear I may have missed some of the dishes.  Here are two recipes from the dishes on the table. The  Biscotti was made by PJ using her friend’s recipe which is posted on Channeling Nonna’s blog.  I loved this cookie and will be making it soon. Another dish (also prepared by PJ) that many of us “loved” was the Bacon Onion Marmalade.

We even found time to knit when we weren’t eating. The latest showings were worn by PJ and Susanne. PJ’s stunning red cowl was inspired by the pattern for Oliva Cowl from Swan Islands…the yarn was of the same name.

Susanne’s Wallaby Hoody Sweater (pattern from Vogue Knitting) was a beautifully knit garment and fit her perfectly. You may recall my posting from a while back when the sweater was in its infancy stage.

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Not only did FMKG knit this past week, but we continued to celebrate the season with champagne, Chocolate and Almond Cake made by Debra (recipe from Nigella Lawson) topped with raspberries and whip cream , and David Lebovitz’s Recipe for Blueberry-Lemon Cake made by  Jan. To top this off Karen H shared some her latest creations which included a felted pillow, a nuno felted scarf and a knitted cowl.

The Infinity Scarf (cowl) is designed by Anita Closic and knit with Plymouth’s Baby Alpaca Yarn. Karen found this combo at Stitches West. She knit a shorter version for a smaller woman….42 inches long and it fits around the head twice, but close to the neck. For those who don’t like cowls that close to the neck, one could just knit longer.

Karen says, “The felted pillow and nuno felted scarf I did at Raina’s Textile House. Kim, the shop owner, gives classes and I have taken three classes there over the past six months. I used fiber that I bought at Stitches West, collected over the past few years and mostly bought  from Opulent Fibers in Oregon and Wonderland Dyeworks in Oakland.  I also found the pieces of Chiffon at Stitches and got the silk hankie at Stitches. Kim does have fiber and silk hankies at her shop and you can buy it there as well.”
Aren’t all of these new pieces from Karen stunning?!

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