Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rockin' Lace at Cowgirl Yarn

The knitters in the Lace Sampler Workshop at Cowgirl Yarn were an amazing group. They had some lace going on!  Look at some of their work, beautiful before it was even blocked.

      Getting to teach outside is always a treat.   Cowgirl has great ambiance with historic buildings all around the patio and a train whistle or two to give the feel of an old west boom town.  Barely even a  whiff of wind came through to ruffle our pattern pages. 

    It was a perfect day, with fine knitting, delicious food, and jovial companions.  Thanks to all the great knitters who participated and to Lori Kirk, the owner of Cowgirl Yarn, who made it possible.

    We topped off the weekend with a hike around Lake Marie in the Snowy Range outside of Laramie.   Now can you blame me for loving what I do?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Trending toward fall

    There are some big yarn events coming up in the next few weeks, including a trunk show, Lace Sampler Workshop, and book signing all at Cowgirl Yarn in this coming Saturday, August 25th.  Join us if you can.  Love to meet you in Laramie.  It's the last weekend of the Hot August Knits yarn crawl, too.  Not to be missed.
   I've spent the last few weeks dyeing every color in my palette.  That's over 250 hanks now waiting in the Studio to find their homes.  It's like a yarn harvest!
 Dancing Colors in Ivy
Seems that one of my Reflections colors is showing up big time for fall in the fashion color trends.   I call it "Ivy" and the trenders are calling it "Jade".

 Dancing Colors in Azurine
   Since cobalt blue is also on the fall trend scene,  I think both Azurine  and Bluet (another Reflections color) fit the bill as well.

Might be quite enjoyable being trendy for the fall.
 Dancing Colors in Bluet

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy birthday, Coco

On what would be her 129th birthday just a little bit of inspiration from Madame ......

"Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future."
                                                                         Coco Chanel 

Today's page (146) from a favorite book on Chanel, Chanel and Her World 
 by Edmond Charles-Roux..... 
  C'est magnifique!

   And here's a video link about Chanel... and another book that I will surely have to read.  

I think a tiny slice of cake might just top of the day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Simple Saturday

  The peach trees that were planted 50 years ago by our neighbor's father are full of fruit this year.    Good neighbor that he is, he shared the bounty with us.  He's got some cobbler coming, I'd say.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Between the Stitches

      Designing keeps me always on the lookout for the beautiful and the creative.  In between new projects and ideas, there comes time for inspiration.  As a lover of magazines, it was a real treat to find these yesterday on a chance stroll through my local Anthropologie.  Wanted to share them with you.  Anthology and Upper Case.  Both beautiful print only pubs from the indie world.  Love Indie!

They'll join two of my other favorites, Wild Fibers and Spin Off on the reading table in my knitting corner.  And I hear that the Vogue Magazine September issue hits the newsstands on August 23rd.  Lots of inspiration coming down the pike.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Spinning a ribbon!

       The Denver County Fair was a wagon load of fun.  We laughed, ate lots of free ice cream, ran into old friends, and saw incredible art and craftmanship.  I will have great memories of the whole experience.
        I happily came away with a  a lovely ribbon souvenir, too.  The yarn is wheel spun 2 ply from   Columbia/ Rambouillet blend wool roving, hand-dyed by yours truly.  I do like those reds.

Now, my pickles didn't win a thing, but the judges' comments were more than encouraging with not one mention of diesel anywhere (excuse my obscure Aunt Bee reference).  The competition was lively.  What really counts with me is that my Dear Fellow, who always tells me true, loves my pickles and eats them everyday.  That's why I put up another 20 quarts of dills on Friday.  I think that's only fair, don't you?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Simple Saturday

The creatures of summer never cease to amaze me........

Friday, August 10, 2012

After Midnight

Here it is after midnight and I'm still sewing together these granny squares that I found stashed in my studio.  My great Aunt Floris crocheted them for me while here on a visit from Pennsylvania in, I believe, 1992.   The deal was she'd crochet and I'd sew.   Oh, I don't like to sew squares together?  Never mind.  I'd best get this afghan completed.  Where do the years (and the hours) go?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Going to the Fair

      It's that time of year when county fairs are happening all around.  As an advocate of trying things that one has never done, this week I'm doing something I've always had a hankering to do.  I'm entering some things in the Denver County Fair.

     I was born and raised in Denver, so entering the county fair has a special appeal.  For one thing, city girl that I am, my roots are in the country.  My parents both came from small towns and rural climes.  Dad was raised on a farm.  Both my Grandmothers were prize winners at their respective county fairs in Pennsylvania and I spent many summers watching them prepare for the big events.  It's sort of a family tradition to enter the fair. 
     Another aspect of this is that the Denver County Fair is very new; this is only it's second year.  The plans for a fair for Denver County were scrapped in the mid 1800's because of the Civil War and then in the midst of all the boomtown, go-west-young-man activities, it never got back on track.
       Until last year.  Some very clever and dedicated folk, including Fancy Tiger Crafts  decided to get it going for real and the inaugural year was a fun, if somewhat under appreciated start.  The Denver County Fair has many of the traditional things one would expect at such an event including exhibits, prizes, animals (mostly small, some exotic, and no pigs!), a carnival, and music.   It also has some edgier urban aspects that make it unique among county fairs in the state.  Some of my favorite artists will be there like Phil Bender  and the artists from Zip 37,  plus there is a Geek Pavilion (geek, not Greek), a Holistic Pavilion, a Green Pavilion, to say nothing of the moustache and beard competition, the Steampunk fashion show, a zombie pageant, and the speed texting contest.   I'm really looking forward to getting more information on urban homesteading, a topic I'm growing more and more passionate about.  There's definitely some tongue-in-cheek stuff going on but all in the spirit of a good time and of celebrating the diversity that is Denver.

     So what am I entering?  Well not honey or zinnias.  Actually I'm not sayin' until the ribbons are handed out, just in case I know some of the judges.  Denver really does feel like a small town sometimes.  I promise to show and tell all once the deal is done.  Some of you will be surprised at what I enter, some of you won't.  I'm not entering one stitch of knitting, I can tell you that.  And I'll be very surprised if I get a ribbon.  Since the events are open to all residents of Colorado, the competition could be pretty daunting in some of them.  Wish me luck.  Just by entering I've already got the fun part in the bag.  And there will be pie at the fair!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Sari silk ribbon and a summer night scene  Sometimes color just grabs you, doesn't it?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Highland Triangles on the way

      I like nothing better than time spent in the company of talented knitters!   We had a grand time in the Highland Triangle workshop at the Recycled Lamb this past weekend.  Everyone worked through the mini shawl to learn the techniques, and by the end of day two they all had a new Highland Triangle shawl launched and well on its way.   I do look forward to seeing these pieces when they are done.  An impressive amount of knitting was done and a more lovely group of knitters I've never met.  The two days we spent together were like a mini retreat, refreshing and inspiring.  I thoroughly enjoyed the event.   These workshops always remind me why I love to teach knitting.  It's such a great privilege to share one's passion with those who understand it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Finishing Treat

      Got a real treat this week.  It's 45% yak and 55% bombyx silk roving, and though it's a bit of a tricky spin,  it is soft and gleaming and feels oh so good in your fingers.  I'm in love, I tell you.  It's from Treenway Silks and it may become a staple in the Studio.

    Don't you think it's good to treat yourself once you've finished the very, very large version of the Best Loved Shawl?  
                                                                            Ta Da!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Simple Saturday

The first tomatoes of the season from the Studio garden.  Heirloom Black Plums.  Beautiful!

Friday, August 3, 2012

One done! Seven to go

The Best Loved Shawl is done and drying on the blocking floor.  Here's what was left of the yarn.

      It was a bit too close on the yarn amount for my liking and after doing some more figuring, I know why.  It seems that I knit about 36 long rows twice.  Easy to do when every row is the same and you aren't really counting.  Too many car trips just knitting away.  Well it is one honey of a big shawl and I will love it all winter.  The pattern is written without the extra rows so the yarn amounts are correct and all is well.  And one project is done!
       Now to get Gary's Gansey back on the road to completion.  I had the plain bottom and ribbing knit up to where the texture pattern would start.  Here is it on top of his favorite old gansey, just to double check the length.  This is a bulkier yarn and texture pattern so I want the design to start higher up on the body;  the pattern should enhance the chest not pad the tum.  It will still start about 3 inches under the armhole.  I find that I do prefer the patterns to start before the armhole.   I just like the way that looks.

 The swatch (yep, found the swatch) shows the difference in the patterns quite well.  And since this one has been sitting on the needle for several months, starting the pattern now will disguise any "needle line" that might show up after the stitches have had such a long rest on the cable of the circular needle.
        Lest you be wondering, I am going to double count to be sure the pattern will fit into the number of stitches on the needle.  Thank goodness I have my original notes and sketches. 

 Tonight I'll finish the last repeat on the center of the Highland Triangle Shawl and get the stitches picked up for the inner borders.  I always like to have some knitting ready while I teach.  It's no fun to just watch other people knit; I want to be catching a few stitches along with the knitters at the shawl workshop this weekend.  As I said before, the Inner borders on the Highland Triangle are simple and rhythmic, lace that can be knit in a group.  Friendly knitting.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


 Moving onward in the finishing lineup to the Glitz shawl.  This one has been on the needles for a very long time.  I do not even remember where I bought the yarn or what I was originally thinking.  I do like this one though.  Has a medieval, chain mail aura about it;  Mists of Avalon, Jane and the Dragon.  Strong women in fabulous clothes.  And I bet you didn't know that I do glitz.

 Glitz is a simple bottom up triangle and being all garter stitch, is good one to take the "easy knitting" position of the Best Loved Shawl, which is now on it's bind off row and soon to be blocked.  Using these two very twinkly yarns held together gives Glitz it's shine.

And look at all the color in the sequins!   The reflection of light is a marvel.

      For me this day is also a special day of grateful reflecting. Ten years ago today I was involved in a near fatal automobile accident,  my pickup t-boned by a drunk driver behind the wheel of an even larger truck, running a red light at 50 miles an hour.   I still remember nothing about the impact; didn't hear it or feel it.  I remember there being lots of bright light, some soft voices, and "dreaming" that I asked these voices where all the colors were.  When I woke up I was still in the truck, wearing my seat belt (wear them!) and they were taking the driver's-side door off with a machine.  I hurt all over.  The first thing I saw was the face of a very startled (it surprised the heck out of her when I opened my eyes), but smiling, paramedic.
     I was lucky; I walked away from that wreck though things were pretty messy for a long while.  And as many of you know, being that close to death changes your life.
      Here's what I learned:  Life is amazing and rich, grab it, savor and enjoy it, every moment.  Find what you love to do and do it, keep doing it, no matter how you have to work it out, just do it.  Find the people you love and who love you and hug them, hold them, tell them you love them.  Let the all the other stuff go.  All of it.  There is only room for what you love.  Look at that, keep it right in front of you.  You will see other things that you don't like, let alone love.  Let those things go.  Find their opposite and love that.  That's it.  Pretty simple.
    Today is like a birthday for me.  Think I'll eat some cake and knit on something sparkling.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seeing Red

     I've been seeing red today, in a couple of different ways.
     The spinning wheel has been humming this week; got a project in mind.  I had dyed a 4 ounce roving in the spring and it was just ripe for the spinning.  All spun and plyed, ready for the twist to be set.   I like seeing red this way.

      On the other hand, I am seeing lots more red with the Best Loved Shawl, now at 295 stitches and  getting wider every row on it's way to a bind off at 329 sts.  I've got a 32 inch needle on it, but these are slippery stitches and they will skitter off the needle at the drop of a hat.  The obvious solution would be point protectors to keep the stitches from escaping, but in my house all of the functional point protectors become cat toys.  Most of them are, I think, under the fridge.  I have resorted to my favorite point protector, a rubber band.  It's not pretty, but it works, and I keep it on my wrist when I'm knitting so it's always handy.

     Here's another thing that's making me see red today.  I have that sinking feeling that I do not have enough yarn to finish this shawl as planned.  I mentioned in an earlier post that this was an odd batch of Crimson Dancing Colors;  there is no more, nowhere.  Have you ever noticed that when you think you are running out of yarn, you knit faster?  I do.  I've been speeding along all day but I'm no more sure of the outcome than I was this morning.  Time to figure this out.
      Let's say that I'm using approximately one inch of yarn for each stitch.  This is an estimate I've used successfully in the past so I'm going with it here.  The number of stitches is increasing by 2 sts each row.  If I figure the rows at 329 stitches each, which is the number on the last row, I will have a built in safety zone for the extra yarn that the bind off will need.  I have about 20 rows to go, including the bind off.   So....  (20 rows x 329 Stitches) divided by 36 stitches/inches in a yard, gives me a figure of 183 yards needed to finish.  I happen to know this yarn has 60 yard in an ounce and I just weighed the remaining ball.  I need 3 ounces to finish.  I have 2.3 ounces on the nose. 
       Rats.  Red Rats.
       There are a couple of options, of course.  It's easy enough to shorten this big shawl by a couple of rows.   Or if the last few rows are knit in a different, though very similar, Crimson, it will not be the end of the world.  When I get to the last six rows, which I now know will take just under an ounce of yarn, I'll weigh in again, then decide.  So I'm knitting happily on, glad to at least know where I'm going.  I'm knitting more slowly, enjoying it more, and checking my stash for a wee ball of leftover Crimson. 
       This will definitely be a Best Loved Shawl.   All the more so because it has a little story to go with it.