Monday, December 30, 2013

Ringing Out, Ringing In

     The time when two calendar years meet is our opportunity to look back over the year that is passing and to make our wishes for the year to come.  Our fondest memories are often of moments of love and kindness that touched our hearts.

    There is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist practice of reciting, aloud or silently, a prayer of loving-kindness for ourselves and others. It often begins with wishes for our self.  If you find it hard to wish for yourself first, remember the familiar wisdom of "charity (love) begins at home".  Loving-kindness is a practice initiated from our own heart and moving out into wider and wider circles. It will not be new to many of you and it has many versions.  Below is one that takes just a minute or two, perfect to ring out 2013 and ring in a bright New Year.  Simple wishes from one to all, from the heart.

It begins.....

May I be happy.
May I be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
May I be protected from all harm.
May I find my true heart's desire.

Recite again, this time for someone you know and love

May You be happy.
May You be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
May You be protected from all harm.
May You find Your true heart's desire.
Again, for someone you do not know, the clerk at the coffee shop, or the folks in the elevator

May You be happy.
May You be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
May You be protected from all harm.
May You find Your true heart's desire.

This time for someone you know, with whom you may have some resentment  or challenge
May You be happy.
May You be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
May You be protected from all harm.
May You find Your true heart's desire.
One more time, for All Beings everywhere

May All Beings be happy.
May All Beings be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
May All Beings be protected from harm.
May All Beings find their true heart's desire.
      You can add as many circles as you'd like, you can use your own words, and you can end with another round of wishes for yourself.  Do it as often as your heart is inspired.  You might just see some amazing results.  As you all show me so frequently, the love that rings out is the love that rings us in.   Thank you for all the love.  Have a wonderful New Year's holiday!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bright Blessings

     Today I send my wishes to you and yours for sweetness and bright blessings in this season of illumination.  May your joys be many, your hearts be light, and your snickerdoodles taste just right!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Simple Gifts

     I almost never set myself up to be knitting gifts when this busy week comes along, but this year I find myself with a major gift still on the needles, body not complete and two sleeves beckoning.  I can't show it to you yet, lest I give away the surprise, but I will say that I am very glad it is knit circularly with sleeves from the top, so the finishing will be simple.  I'll have just a couple of ends to tuck in and hopefully I'll get to do a real blocking.  In Colorado it just might get dry before being wrapped up.  So here I am then, along with many of you, and the Christmas knitting marathon has begun.  I think I'll make it, but I'd best be knitting in all spare (and unobserved) moments.
    Just in case you find yourself with another last minute gift to get off the needles, here's a pattern I'd like to share with you.  I call it Simple Gifts because that's what it makes, and quickly too, being worked in a worsted to Aran weight yarn.  It also works well for guys as a neck or ear cuff and even as a hat.  All options included.
    So here's my simple gift to you, from knitter to knitter, in the spirit of the season and during this wonderfully exciting week of flying needles.  I think I'll knit up a bunch of these after the holidays just to relax and to be ready for next year.  Great projects for knitting for the good, too.  Here's hoping that this year's marathon runs smoothly for you.  Enjoy!
     Now, I gotta get back to my knitting! 

                                                                   Simple Gifts 
                                                                Cheryl Oberle © 2013

                                                                   Simple Gifts                                                     
Simple Gifts is worked in a favorite old stitch pattern called "mistake stitch" ribbing; you are basically working every row as K2, P2 ribbing on an odd number of stitches.  It seems magical that what appears to be a mistake becomes a clever stitch pattern.  It is reversible and the flat piece can be worn wrapped and pinned or it can be sewn together to make a circular cuff for your neck or ears as shown in the photo. Knit a bit more and there’s a hat.  You can simply have them all!

Yarn:    approx. 200 yd / 183 m  of  worsted weight or Aran weight yarn
Needles:  24” circular or straight needle size 9 or size needed to obtain gauge
 (Tip: use one size smaller needle for Ear Cuff/Hat.  See gauge and measurements below)
Gauge:   Neck Cuff:  14 sts and 20 rows per 4 inches in Pattern St.
               Ear Cuff/ Hat: 16 sts and 24 rows

Flat Neck piece (or Cuff)
One size approx. 21.5 inches long (or circumference)
Ear Cuff or Hat
One size approx. 18.75 inches circumference

Co 75
Pattern Stitch
Row 1:  *K2, p2; repeat from * to last 3 sts, k2, p1.

Repeat row 1 until piece measures 8 inches for Neck or Ear Cuff or 10" for Hat.  Bind off in pattern.

Wear the flat piece wrapped, add a pretty pin, perhaps add a button and a button loop.  Or sew short edges together to form a circle and pull over your head for your neck or your ears.   Or knit to 10” instead of 8",  fold in half to sew the short ends together and then sew one long edge together for
a hat!  Cozy!

Cheryl Oberle © 2013


Monday, December 9, 2013


      It is such a busy time of year, so much to do, so many people to remember.  I've been spending some time each day "remembering" people I'll never meet. 

      I've made it a practice of late to spend thirty minutes each day knitting for the good, giving it forward.  I know thousands of you knitters out there do the same thing, holding space in your knitting time to create something for someone who might desperately need warmth and a loving touch to help them remember that they are connected, important, essential to the whole that we are as humanity.  It is all so simple.  Knitting a hat that will warm someone I'll never see or get to talk to gives me a special feeling of connection that is beyond words.  It's a connection that comes right from the heart and goes right to the heart.  Direct.  Inspired.  Expansive.
      To all of you who practice this way, thank you for what you are doing.  It makes a difference in more ways than you know.  To those of you who think you can't do much with just a few minutes each day, give it a go.  Knit a few stitches with your morning coffee.  Hats happen.   And to all of you who want to see what's up with this, just slip in ten minutes a day on a hat or scarf that you intend to donate to your favorite good.  There are many choices out there.  Here's one of my favorites
    It's knitting for the heart and soul, and you and the world will benefit more than words can say.

Monday, December 2, 2013

With My Little Scissors

     I did it.  I've been contemplating doing it ever since last winter.  Finally the weight of the matter became too much to bear.  What's so serious you ask?  Cutting up a sweater is!

     Some of you  might remember the post from last December when I proudly donned my tunic length version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Hurry up Last Minute Sweater.  I do love this garment, but last winter it  became apparent that I do not live in a cold enough climate to wear it more than once a year.  Since EZ was the one who taught me to be a thinking knitter as well as to be a "cut up" when it comes to my knitting, I got on my mark (mustard yellow yarn makes a beautifully bright basting thread on grey).......

I got set (two rows of machine stitching on each side of the basting)... and I just took the scissors to it.

     What will I cook up for a fabulous new front? A hemmed band seems most likely.  As I'm considering the options I've been wearing my new Hurry Up Last Minute Coat just as it is.  We've got very cold weather coming this week and I'm ready.  It's raw and unfinished with new possibilities,  it is much more comfy as a coat than as a pullover, and I love it all the more for having provided an adventure in knitting as well as a demonstration for my Tuesday Studio Knitters.   Sometimes you just have to make the cut.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Giving of Thanks

      Happy Thanksgiving Week!  As most of us who do the cooking know it doesn't happen in just one day.  The preparations for the feast are already planned and have begun in earnest. 

     There are only two of us for dinner this year and yet I've got quite a list of holiday chores to accomplish before The Turkey actually gets into the oven.  We do a small "spatchcocked" bird that roasts to perfection in about 70 minutes.  Along with the birdie we enjoy dressing loaded with butter, mushrooms, celery, and other veggies, and fresh cranberry sauce.   Pumpkin pie, yes indeed!  We usually have some for breakfast in fact. I love good food.
      Most of all I enjoy the feelings of gratitude that this week brings, feelings I like to hold onto and practice everyday.  You, my dear fellow knitters, are at the top of my list of blessings for which I am thankful.  Be good to yourselves, enjoy your days, let your knitting flow, and  have a joyful, warm and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Double Refraction Shawl

      Yet another triangular shawl came off my needles for October's Knitaway in the Studio.  The Double Refraction Shawl, now up in the Ravelry shop, is one amusing piece of striped knitting fun.

     I might be prejudiced, but the pattern has gotten "thumbs up" from a great knitter (Maggie R you know who you are!) and I think you'll find it is pretty satisfying to watch it take shape.  Yarn overs and short rows are the techniques for this one, and while I like to think the variations in the Dancing Colors yarn helps (Double Refraction is a great showcase for hand dyed yarns), the shift of the angles is what gives it the visual bang.
      The name, Double Refraction, comes from a term used in optics to describe the visual "bending" of light as it passes through certain substances.  We've all seen refraction when a stick (or cooking spoon) looks like it has been broken or bent when stuck into water; pull it out, it's straight.  That's refraction in action.

         If you wear glasses, your prescription has a "refraction index" as part of it to account for the bending of the light rays as they pass through the lenses.  Glass is a liquid after all.  Refraction is everywhere!

Double refraction equals double vision!
        Now here comes the cool stuff.  Double refraction happens when light is passed through a specific crystal, optical calcite, for example, which actually bends the light in two different directions.  Why? because light is made up of two rays, a vertical ray and a horizontal ray, and the molecular structure of calcite forces the two rays to pass through it at different velocities.  Two different velocities, two different angles.  Double Refraction!  The angles in the shawl (to my eye at least) are very similar in appearance to this optical sensation. 

       The above photos are of my own personal piece of optical calcite (which has been recently mistaken, most humorously, for an ice cube) purchased right before October's Knitaway, when I visited the Rock Hut in Leadville, CO.  I got it simply because I like the way it makes rainbows.  I hadn't a clue about the Double Refraction link at the time.  Serendipity!
        All this explaining is just by way of indulging my inner geek and for that I beg your pardon.  To make a Double Refraction Shawl, no scientific knowledge (beyond your already wonderful knitting skills) is needed.  Its all garter stitch, change colors every two rows, remember your yo's and short rows...done!  One thing I'll tell you now, though.  The second "wing" is worked in purled garter stitch.  Has to be done so to get the "wings" to mirror each other.  Knitting has it's mysteries too.
      And for those of you who also have inner geeks, check out this great, and geeky, video.
      Double Refraction indeed!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Autumn of Shawls

      The Thistledown Shawl,  which has to my delight been included in the collection, Dreaming of Shetland, was released this week as part of the third installment of the marvelous eBook. 

       The eBook includes gorgeous designs by many well-known designers, and is a funding project for Deb Robson's dream of following up her work published in the amazing Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook with research on sheep and wool in the Shetland Islands.  Having myself fallen in love with these islands when I taught knitting there in 2001, I was excited to think of Deb working in that enchanted place to bring us, in her inimitable way, more information on the history, wool, and spinning.  Plus I've got a Thistledown Shawl workshop going on Sunday, December 1st, at Knit Knack in Arvada.  Join us!
       More shawls in the news include the many sample Faroese Shawls that will be present at the Faroese Shawl workshop this coming Sunday, November 17th, from 10am-4pm. Knit Knack!

There is a seat open for the Faroese workshop and if you haven't knit one of these brilliantly shaped shawls, come try it out with the in-class project miniature shawl. The Faroese is a traditional triangular shawl that is shaped specifically to stay on your shoulders.... as I said, brilliant!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Downover Shawl

      At the Knitaway® in the Studio  last month we focused on triangular shawls and specifically on knitting in all directions and with many shaping methods.  The project for the workshop was the Downover Shawl, the pattern for which is now up in the Ravelry shop.  

Downover gets its name from a non-traditional construction, being made of one triangle that is knit from the top DOWN and one triangle that is knit up and worked sideways OVER to the tip.  Downover is knit in garter stitch with two-row stripes which highlight the shaping of a shawl.  While it sounds very straightforward, it got to be a curious knit when I encountered what appeared to be a mathematical anomaly, a hitch in the arithmetic, of figuring out the relationship of the picked up stitches in Triangle I to the knitted row in Triangle I.  Let me explain.
      One of the beauties of garter stitch is that it is square in a very good way; the number of stitches  equals the number of ridges in the fabric.  You could point out that a ridge is two rows and so the actual gauge is twice as many rows to the number of stitches in an inch, and I would have to agree.  The gauge of garter stitch is not square, the fabric is.  Due to the fact that garter stitch pulls up and condenses itself so nicely, two rows equal one ridge and therefore the number of stitches is the same as number of ridges (rows divided by two) in any given inch.  Makes life so easy when designing garments with garter stitch.  Need to pick up stitches along an edge?  Well then, picking up one stitch per ridge will give you the perfect number to create a proportionately fitting match;  there's none of this pick up two-thirds or three-quarters of the stitches, as is necessary with stockinette stitch, in order to avoid having a ruffled border or gathered sleeve.
    Knowing all this, I merrily picked up the stitches for Triangle II along the ridges of Triangle I, getting exactly the same number of stitches as the number of ridges, and figuring that if I decreased one stitch per ridge at the bottom edge, I'd end up with a symmetrically shaped shawl, knit in one piece and in two directions.  So neat, so tidy.  So wrong.
     As I decreased along, one stitch per ridge, Triangle II began to disappear much too quickly and at a disconcertingly steep angle.  Bummer. Rip out, Try again.  Where the decreases are placed can affect the shaping, even in good old square garter stitch, so I tried a couple more times, altering the placement and rate of the decreases.  Nope, not working.
      Ripping out once more (which comes with the territory of designing on the needles) I went online to consult with Pythagoras.  My reasoning was sound and my planning was confirmed by that ancient Greek master of triangles.  Then it dawned on me.  The edge I was picking up along was indeed made up of garter stitch ridges but these were ridges on the bias.

 Bias is a weird monkey in woven fabric and so it proves to be in garter stitch.  With this new realization, I used a sample piece to try out a couple more ideas for stitch number and decrease rate and found that the solution was simple and beautiful, elegant in fact, in a most scientific sense.  Are you ready?  Pick up the same number of stitches as rows and then decrease one stitch at the bottom edge every other ridge (every 4th row).  With the two-row (color "A" and "B") stripes, that means all decreases are done in the same color, making it even easier to remember where to decrease;  there is only one option, decrease at the beginning of the row every time you change to color "A".  If this sounds complex, worry not.  The knitting of Downover is a breeze.

Mini Downover Shawl from Knitaway® workshop

      Triangle II ended up with a lovely slope and a dramatically long tail.  Most importantly it had a fabulous fit and feel.  It was not what I expected, but it was more pleasing than what I had imagined and is a perfect example of why "designing on the needles" often creates more interesting detail than just designing on paper.  I am constantly amazed at how beautifully things work out when you allow them to become what they can be and refrain from forcing them to be "just" what you envision them to be.  Better than a nice symmetrical triangular shawl, Downover is asymmetrical and much more interesting.  In addition, the tension of the stitches picked up along the bias edge also adds a most flirtatious curve to the center back.  Another serendipitous gift.
      So by chance and through persistence a shawl was born.  I've got more ideas and designs brewing from this as garter stitch on the bias intrigues both my shawl-loving self and my inner geek.  Hope you enjoy it too, in the Downover Shawl.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Restart, Revisit

     There is something about this autumn that makes me want to restart things, revisit favorites, and finish up projects.  The summer's rush and activity has calmed down, the farmer's market harvest is done, the weather begins to encourage indoor activites, and there sits the knitting basket with it's yet-to-be-finished treasures.  Last week I took a look in my basket.
     The first thing out of the knitting basket was a Dancing Colors sample scarf, started for a show display last winter.  It is a rather Tom Baker era, Dr. Who-vian, piece that I'm pretty pleased with now that it is done.  It is a great way to show all the hues of my hand-dyed Dancing Colors yarns.  Warm, too!   Here's how: cast on 30 stitches on size 7 needles, *knit 40 rows of garter stitch, change to the black contrast yarn and size 6 needles, knit 10 rows, change back to the larger needles and the next color; repeat from*.  Simple and fun.  My husband wants one... in the more subdued shades.

 Next out of the Basket was the Shetland wool Long Collared Coat from Elizabeth Zimmermann's collection, Knit One Knit All.  As you can see, it is already quite large...and rumpled.

     I stopped knitting on it when it got too warm for my lap this spring.  Then also, in my excitement to get the sleeves on the needles, I saw that I had forgotten to turn the corner on the right hand collar.  I put LCC away with a note to rip out the sleeve cap and shoulder seam, and turn the collar.  Sigh.
      Leaving a project in that state of discombobulation is not something I would recommend a knitter do as it is a tendency then to never get back to it.  However I have knit this project before, in fact I knit the very purple model in the book, loved knitting it, and definitely wanted to finish it.  Leaving a note to myself was an extremely encouraging trick; I appreciated having a clue about what needed to be done.  It made me smile when I read it.  And then, after taking another look at the knitting last week, I smiled even more to realize I had been wrong in the spring; I did not need to rip out anything at all.  The genius of the design allowed me to leave all work intact, pick up the collar stitches sitting on the yellow string and knit on, turning the corner like it had never been forgotten.  I'll be wearing this one by Thanksgiving, I think.
      Next in the basket was some lace that I put down to focus on the projects for the autumn Knitaway.  Always a joy to get back to the lace knitting.  This piece will be out as a new shawl pattern soon. The shawl incorporates some favorite lace knitting patterns with a favorite lace yarn,  Brown Sheep Company's Nature Spun Fingering, and I'm using my favorite needles, ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles.  Nope, not paid to say this; I just like to share my favorite things with you.

 What's in your basket?  We've got an ongoing Finishing KAL for any Cheryl Oberle patterns/kits you are working on in the Knitaway group on Ravelry.  Join us there is you'd like some companionship as you finish your beautiful "basket" projects.  'Tis the season...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sari Silk Ribbon Finishing Techniques

     For the last year I've enjoyed playing with Sari Silk Ribbon from Treenway Silks as a knitting medium.  Working with the artisan-created streamers of beautiful colors and varying textures, I came to almost recognize the work of particular women by the way they picked the ribbons to sew together on their vintage sewing machines.  I feel a connection to these artists in India and a real appreciation of their craft.  And I've m never made a garment more quickly.

Using size 35 needles and knitting at a gauge of 1 stitch per inch is a great change from my ususal knitting habits, knits me right out of the box, and with some special finishing to the fabric, it can become a drape-y, silky, amazing garment.  My Peruvian Sari Silk Ribbon Jacket is one example of what you can do and in a wink!  If you are looking for a refreshing, unbelievably quick knit and want to fill your color rods with marvelous hues at the same time, give this technique a try.  Below is the skinny, as published in my patten technique notes, on how I finished the fabric to give it this marvelous drape.  It is rather unconventional, but so is this yarn and both work beautifully.  Hope you have some fun, too!
Sari Silk Ribbon Knitting: Notes on Finishing
     Before being put together, the pieces of the garment are blocked.  This is an absolutely necessary and special technique that really “creates the fabric” and gives the garment it’s shaping and drape. Do not put the jacket together before the pieces are blocked and have dried as described below.

Finishing the Fabric / Shaping the Garment
     This is not traditional blocking of knits and all the information here applies only to Sari Silk Ribbon  Garments. Do not block this way on regular knitting as you will completely flatten your regular knitting. This is a technique that flattens the knit stitches, shaping and changing the dense knitting into a gorgeous flowing silken mesh fabric.

Equipment needed:
-Steam iron
-Pressing cloth, at least one, that you don’t mind getting a possible dye stain on.
-Ironing board or surface that you can use high heat and steam on.
-Extra Cover for ironing board, again to prevent a possible dye stain on your regular ironing board cover. A doubled piece of muslin or an old sheet will work perfectly here. You want it
smooth so you can move the garment around easily while shaping. Do not use a towel; too dense and grabby.
-Pins if you decide to pin your piece out until it dries.

     Place the extra cover on the ironing board or ironing surface.  Set iron to highest heat and steam setting (Note: Do not ever touch the fabric with the iron unless the pressing cloth is in place between the iron and the silk. Scorched silk look, feels and smells terrible!).  Wet the pressing cloth until it is saturated but not dripping. Place the garment on the covered board right side up and put the pressing cloth on top.  You will steam and really press the fabric (lots of hissing going on), flattening it as you go. Use pressure. Take the cloth back, and, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot silk, begin to stretch and smooth it out.  The point is to flatten the stitches and stretch open the knitting until it looks like a lattice and the stitches lay flat and gleaming.  You will continue to steam and stretch/smooth the fabric until you get it to the desired measurements.  Measure as you work and don’t be afraid to stretch the garment if necessary to get the measurements.  The Sari Silk Ribbon will shrink slightly once it is damp and that is normal.  Some of this will release once the fabric is dry.  Also some of the sari silks may leave dye impressions on your pressing cloth or cover. Once the ribbon dries, the dyes are again stable.  It is recommend that you dry clean the garment when it becomes necessary to do so after wearing. (Find a cleaners that is environmentally friendly, please). Think of a silk tie and take care of your garment just like that.  Be sure to focus on the edges, pressing them nice and flat which makes a beautiful edging for your garment. Be aware the the silk will stiffen from the steam and moisture. It may feel like it’s been starched.  This is perfect and will help the piece keep it’s shape until it dries. You may pin it out if you think that is necessary.  Once dry. the knitted fabric becomes flexible and drape-y.  Lovely!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice!

My favorite rose bush in the Studio garden opened her first blossom today.  Wish I could send you all a whiff.  She's a stunner.

     Here's a peek at a center start knitted lace project that I've been working on (which I will share with you all later this summer..It's a surprise! shhhh!).  Do you see a similarity between these photos? Am I sensing a little bit of synchronicity? You think I might just be giddy with the arrival of summer?  Oh well.  I do love these long light days!
     Hope you have a beautiful summer planned and that you get to enjoy all it's pleasures.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Springtime Reminder

If you are like me you've already been swept up in the hustle of spring activites.  The first blush is already showing on the berries.   And weeding has become a daily ritual in the Studio garden.

     As it is time to be storing away our winter woolies, I wanted to remind you that proper hand-washing is the first line of defense to keep those woolens safe from marauding wool eaters.  Nothing a M--H ( it is a four letter word after all) likes better than the accumulated debris of a winter's wearing.

  My hand-washing guide will tell you how to do this annual act of kindness for your precious knitted garments.  Really it's easy.  And don't forget to tuck a wee bit of lavender or artemisia, or a nice bar of naturally scented soap in the cupboard with the clean sweaters.  I do that with my un-spun fleeces too.  A little extra defense never hurts.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Glimpse of Session II

I'm still walking on air after Sunday's close of Session II of the spring Knitaway in the Studio. 

Mini Highland Triangle Shawls in the works
 A lively and lovely group, these knitters kept me on my toes the whole week.  It was pretty much non-stop knitting and great conversation, plus we covered a lot of techinques.  Top notch knitters, every one.
Here are some pics to give you a wee glimpse ..... 
Ann's good day Sunshine by

Chela's excellent swatch for her Noro dress to be

Leigh's Intarsia skills

Karen's gorgeous shawls

Kathie's Knitaway 2012 Shawl beautifully completed!

Diane's Simply Garter Vest makes me want to knit another one myself!

Marsha's miraculous Enchanted Forest Jacket.  You can see this story had a happy ending.

So now you see what I mean.  And there was even more.  All I can say is
Huzzah!  for these wonderful knitters.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Denver Alpaca Fiesta!

     If you are in town this weekend check out the Denver Fiber Fiesta.  Loads of outstanding alpaca animals and some lovely yarn and fibers too.  Educational, entertaining, and stash enhancing.  And did I mention it's free?   It's at the National Western Stock Show complex in the events center.  Even the parking was free yesterday when the Knitaway knitters made the scene.

    We got an education in what makes for a prize winning alpaca by just watching the judging of the classes.  There are obstacle course, trekking, events and even a costumed alpaca event.   As one of the Knitaway Knitters declared, this alpaca party was an ELB, an Extra Life Bonus.  Do go take a look if you can.   Get yourself some ELB energy.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Session II, a snowy start

      Another spring storm blanketed the Studio Garden yesterday, just in time for the Knitaway Session II knitters to arrive.  It was the best kind of snow though, wet and beautiful but not sticking on the pavement.  Just enough to grace the grape hyacinth with chilly frosting.  White rain.

    Here's a glimpse of  the Studio right before the knitters arrived.  I love my knitting corner, especially when the room is filled with other knitters.   It's warm and cozy in here today and I look forward to some lively knitting with this charming group.   Oh! and the sun is brightly shining,

    The Studio space certainly embraces a smaller number of knitters than the old Knitaways used to draw.  I have to admit that I am liking the the new, more intimate dynamic.  The good old days of 25 lovely knitters taking over a lodge were fantastic, no mistake about it. Great memories.  Now though, with seven Knitaway knitters in each session, I can actually spend time with each one and get a feel for what they are knitting.  Plus it's never really been my style to need a megaphone (or a sound system) to share the gentle topic of knitting.  Just sayin'.  Different times, different Knitaway...change is very good.
     Can you tell I'm happy in my work?  Now....  Let the Shetland Shawls begin!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Knitaway Days Fly By!

      Here are some photo highlights of the last couple days of the Knitaway in the Studio.  We studied Shetland Shawls, explored favorite LYS's, shared knitting triumphs and challenges, and enjoyed so much more.  What a talented and inspiring group of knitters!  Take a look.....

Claudia's fun.....

and Intarsia wow!

Beautiful treats

Bob's collection of toys by Susan B. Anderson

Jayne admiring Jo's Ice Queen design by Romi

And then....

Jo choosing yarn for a Highland Triangle Shawl

Oh!  More treats!

Jayne's bag find at Knit Knack

And Rosy's Icelandic Wonder

My conclusion?   Sweet Knitaway days simply fly by too quickly.... 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Session One Day two

Is there anything more fetching than the graceful drape of a silky shawl around the shoulders?    The Knitters all cast on the new Knitaway shawl, Arachne's Bower, and the knitted lace has begun. 

We've been bolstered in our diligent work by a lovely walk to Wild Yarns and the discovery of a new ice cream shop in the neighborhood, Sweet Cow.  "Simply Moolicious" as they say.  Their coconut ice cream, my personal benchmark, is the best!  ' Twas simply a great day at the Knitaway.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Knitaway is On the Way

     Knitaway Session I is officially on it's way.  We had a great time talking and knitting this afternoon, getting to know each other, sharing stories about how we learned to knit, and admiring what's currently on our needles.
    We are focusing on Shetland shawls and I have a lots of wonderful information to share about one of my favorite knitting traditions.   I have a small collection of shawls from Shetland that I came across some years back while I taught knitting in Lerwick.   I just loaned the Denver Art Museum one of these beauties to be displayed in their newly expanded textile art department.  It's a hand knit stole with a beautiful play of patterns using a handspun single-ply Shetland wool.  Always such a joy to see the work of a knitter's hands.
      It's going to be a great Knitaway!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Delirious Knitting

     Sometimes your knitting takes turns that you have not expected.  Sometimes a cast on is casting you into deep waters on a little raft.  I'm just returning from a journey during which my knitting took on a life of it's own.  Looking at it now I ask, "Who cast this on and what were they thinking?"

      Where have I been?  Down a rabbit hole with the flu the last couple of weeks.  The Mad Hatter had nothing on me; fever induced illogical thought was a constant companion.  Because I knew I was on another mental plane, I refrained from posting to the blog or doing much other than a simple answer or two on Ravelry.   To say the least, I've had a very foggy brain.   My Moebius Vest class at Knit Knack last weekend was my first foray out into the  thinking world and I so thank my marvelous students for asking questions that got my thinking back into the normal knitting track.  I'm glad to say the fog is entirely gone, conditions are much more clear now, and the weather ahead looks sunny...  fresh and inspired, I might add.
      Not that any of this deterred me from my knitting.  Above you'll see some of the inspirations that came from this trip down the Rabbit Hole.  Mysterious looking aren't they?  These are the swatch beginnings of a couple of wonderful new shawls and one very fun garment.  I did have the foresight to make notes while I knit on these and even better, I can decipher them.  
       I also got some practical knitting done. 

    We've got a finishing KAL going in the Knitaway group on Ravelry so I focused on getting a couple of things done.  The Basic Vest, which will be a workshop at Wild Yarns in the near future, is in it's final stages.  I used Om Organic Merino for this version.  What are the thick white lines on the vest?  Why those are pocket "thumb tricks" of course.  The Thumb Trick is an Elizabeth Zimmermann "unvention"  that creates an opening in a garment for a thumb or pocket by working in scrap yarn where the opening is needed.  Just one of the great techniques we'll be covering in this workshop.  Watch for the dates...
     The new variation on the Irish Diamond Shawl got  a few rows added, too.  You can hear more about this shawl and cast on your own this Sunday, St Patrick's Day, at the Irish Diamond Shawl Workshop where we'll be knitting to welcome in the spring.  The vernal equinox is just a few days away, on March 20th.  Great time to start a lace shawl for summer knitting.  Let the lace begin!