Showing posts with label snapdragon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snapdragon. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2012

Episode 24: Retrospectively Speaking

On the Needles:
I thought I would never say this, but I got suckered into knitting a commissioned item, which is a cabled baby hat.

That is what is currently on and active right now because I have to finish this by the time we get to work on Tuesday. After this, I plan to cast on for some bookmarks as prizes for my students which can be done during the NYE party that Mel and I are planning which is now just a small gathering.

Off the Needles:
I never thought I would say this, but the Castle Pullover is COMPLETE.

In addition, I finished the Snapdragon Tam in Roman Hills Gruber worsted in the colorway Toasted marshmallow. I love how it came out - it looks like a spiral and I finally blocked a tam correctly!!! I used the smaller of my two dinnerplates and it came out nicely and the brim is not all stretched out as well.

Knitting Finds:
Two things of note for this episode: first, Faultline by Gabriella Henry. She is a New Zealand based designer, and designed this beautiful shawl after the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, NZ which was her hometown at the time. 25% of pattern sales (for the forseeable future) will be donated to the Red Cross NZ in recognition of the first response aid they have provided to families.

Second is a Etsy shop called On the Round by Rachel Jones from Owls Head, Maine.

Year in Review: 
I came across two great posts covering 2011 in the knitting world by Clara Parkes and Carol of Black Bunny Fibres of the blog Go Knit in your Hat.
1. The Knitting Show: For years there has always been the Sheep and Wool Festivals, but with events like Vogue Knitting Live, Interweave Knitting Lab, Sock Summit and Knit Nation, there is a growing demand for the knitting show itself where it is like a convention or a conference - people take classes, listen to lectures and attend a marketplace all in one centralized location.
2. Yarn and fibre: There was a huge outcry against discontinuing Rowan Calmer, a cotton acrylic blend which is a great alternative for those with knitting allergies. Mission Falls also closed its doors as well as some indie dyer companies, Such as Gaia's Colors and Kitchen Sink Dyeworks and the split of Sanguine Gryphon shortly after Rhinebeck which was a bit of a shocker for me at least and are reforming into The Verdant Gryphon & Cephalopod Yarns.
 That being said, there is some new yarn that I was happy to discover: Cascade 220 is now in Sport Weight yarn and Brooklyn Tweed came out with Loft, which is like Shelter but in fingering weight - mmm colorwork. Lorna's Laces came out with a new yarn called Solemate. Lastly, Martha Stewart introduced her line of yarns at Lion Brand Yarn Studio - interesting, but not for me.

There is an increased interest overall in terms of where we get our yarn, how it is made and where it is made - Jared Flood published a series of blog entries detailing the process of making the Shelter yarn at the mill in Maine and books like Knit Local also highlight where to get yarn made in the USA. In addition, Quince & Co. opened this past year.
 In the UK, there were events such as Wovember which promotes the wearing of 100% wool and appreciation for the term itself - there are alot of items that say they are Wool but in fact they are not, so there is a need to increase awareness about the misuse of the term. The slogan is "Celebrate real wool that comes from Real Sheep."
There is also the Campaign for Wool which was jump started by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who had observed that the wool industry was facing enormous and unprecedented challenges.

3. Books, Clubs, Magazines and Knit Alongs: so many good books came out this year:  Vintage Modern Knits, Wendy Knits Lace, Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, Knitted Socks East and West, and The Knitter's Book of Socks. 

In addition, special issues came out this year such as Jane Austen Knits, which demonstrates a trend about looking to the past for inspiration and reinterpreting it for the modern knitter.

There was Little Red in the City which strengthened the connection between print and digital publications - with the purchase of the book you get a scratch off code for a digital copy, and many books and magazines came out with corresponding digitial versions.
 Stephen West came out with the Earth and Sky pattern and corresponding mystery KAL which fired up the Ravelry boards and Cookie A came out with a sock club that also featured cookie recipes as well.

Overall, the knitting community - large as it may be - is growing more aware and sophisticated in what we do with our knitting and even closer to one another what with so many people on twitter talking about knitting and spinning and on Ravelry as well. Shows like VK Live in addition to the fiber festivals help us put faces to the names and gives many of us the opportunity to meet one another whether it be a knitter meeting with a favorite designer, or a bunch of knitters that met up through a common interest group on Ravelry.

I will be attending Vogue Knitting Live this on January 14. I am not sure if there will be some sort of meetup, but I do plan to be there at the Marketplace preview on Friday and hanging out on Saturday before my class.

The first round of our Knit the Queue Along is over and we have winners! Thank you so much for everyone who played along both in the FOs thread and the chat thread and asking questions, which helps iron out alot of the finer details of hosting a larger-scale QAL. Thanks to those who donated prizes:

2 copies Faultline Shawl by Gabriella Henry
Skein of yarn (base TBD) in the colorway our choice from a selection by Apothecary Yarns
Set of Stitch markers by Velvet Hippo
Skein of yarn and corresponding pattern from Creatively Dyed

The winners of the QAL are:
katepricey, teenuh, jazzy-j stitches, lapurplepenguin, and kitty stitches. Congratulations!

Thanks for listening!
Closing Song: "Smile" by Madeleine Peyroux from Half the Perfect World

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Episode 23: Field Trip!

On the Needles
First, I need to make this clear - I am not doing ANY holiday knitting. This year I had put my foot down on it. While I have the yarn for many a holiday gift that is not only assigned to queued projects, I unfortunately do not have the time. Sigh.

Hopefully, I can get a lot of knitting done over my winter break which is 10 days long in two weeks. Yay! Taking the no-holiday knitting a step further, I didn't even ask for anything knitting related on my wish list; not that I am a knitting grinch, its just that there wasn't really anything that was a MUST on my knitting agenda. I am really trying to knit through most of my patterns and through my stash.

I have completed the first of the Dionysius Socks, which have been a bit of a slog. Sadly, because of work and school, everything is a bit of a slog these days when it comes to knitting - at one point I was suffering from a bit of knitter's ennui again, simply because projects were taking too long because I barely had any time.

I did have a little bit of difficulty with the toe because the directions where unclear. Once I figured out what the problem was, I turned to a pair of socks I already knit to figure out how to do basic toe decreases and then I figured it out. To prevent the toe from being too long, I did my decreases for some rows twice as fast, skipping the second row where you jut knit the stitches.

The one thing I AM knitting for someone is the Snapdragon Tam Round Two in Roman Hills Gruber which is their worsted weight yarn out of the colorway Toasted Marshmallow. This is a test knit of the yarn, and this just so happened to be knit around this time of year;   and I can just see this one on my co-ELA and Homeroom teacher. She has always complimented me on my knits so I know that she would be one to appreciate it.

Knitting Travels
On Black Friday, DH and I borrowed my parents' car and went to IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn on a specific mission: to complete our tv unit. This is very important for Operation Knit Nook because we realized once the whole thing was built, we have SPACE. Going to IKEA is definitely like taking a field trip to a museum, but one filled with stuff you can touch and sit in.

 Knitting Finds
First, Miriam Felton came out with a new pattern collection called The Confluence Collection. The idea behind this is "is a grouping of patterns exploring the convergence of lines and points in knitted space." What really caught my eye first was the use of color: fushcia, deep plum and natural as the pallet which is something I wouldn't have thought of, but seeing it together showed me how it worked really well.

The second thing was the use of texture like that on the Vinculum Cardigan. Even the back is really interesting since it tips down into a slight V. The Clustered Vest is aslo of an interesting construction. If you are in the mood for pops of color, a dash of texture and a little bit of something different, do check out this pattern collection. At $18 for 6 patterns, its a pretty good deal especially if you do like a good majority of them which I definitely do.

Next, we have a printable knitting colorwork calendar from Derya Davenport who is the creative mind behind Laylock. Laylock is a Welsh word for lilac and the idea behind the blog  is a "one-person knitwear (and knitware) design busy-ness that is footloose & fancy-free." Thanks to Threadpanda for tweeting about this! She also has lovely patterns - some of my favorites include the Parasol Stole and the Cornflower Hat.

Should anyone be inclined to knit a last-minute gift, there is a lovely free, bulky weight cowl out called the Zig Cowl by Isabell Kraemer of the Grasflecken blog, based in Germany.

Finally, I want to end the knitting finds with a video by Brooks Brothers:
Happy Holidays!
Closing Song: "Got Something for You," by Best Coast and Wavves

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Episode 16: Chicken and Rice

Off the Needles
Towards the end of my program, I was getting severe startitis. I also really really wanted to knit from my stash and just do something with my hands other than write fake lesson plans and write on chart paper during summer school. I needed a reprieve. How does one get a mental reprieve?

Well in my case its finally completing your first knitted FO from a Japanese pattern book, called "Favorite Aran Knits." I knitted cap #7 by Mariko Oka which I call my "Sea of Japan" hat - partially because it is a Japanese pattern, and partially because I knit this up in Fresh from the Cauldron Merino Silk Worsted in Poseidon which is a lovely blue-green sea color with a bit of shimmer.

Two things really helped me with this hat: I finally purchased "Clear and Simple Knitting Symbols" which had most of the cable stitches, but not all of them. However, the cable in the Bramble Beret from Vintage Modern Knits is the same one in Cap #7.

I also completed another Turn a Square for a classmate of mine who asked for one very nicely during the 6-day seminar that I attended immediately after teacher training.  In exchange, he bought me lunch. More specifically, Dominican Food. I never had Dominican before so I picked a basic chicken and rice platter at a place in Harlem near where our seminar was located. It was SO good.

But this experience begs the question: what do I do in the future if someone asks me for a knitted object? What do you guys think? Any tips for deflecting future requests?

On the Needles
I cast on for the Rock Island Shawl by Jared Flood. I want to have a few more shawls in my wardrobe and give the Traveling Woman a bit of a break. I cast on for the lace edge in Creatively Dyed Sami in Fresh and  Persimmon Tree Farms Piggy Toes SW and I saw this lovely forest/hunter green and sky blue yarn.

I worked on this mostly during a seminar I took the week after my program ended - it was mainly about how students have all different ways of learning and there are neurocognitive causes for that and the students have strengths and weaknesses in these certain areas, like memory and attention.

So why am I mentioning this? On the first day we did introductions - and as part of my introduction I mentioned that I am a knitter and participated in a cognitive study at Columbia University last fall which examined the link between doing repetitive tasks (such as doodling or knitting) and attention and retaining information.

I said this for mainly one reason: if I am going to sit in a chair for 6 hours for 6 days, I am going to knit. Otherwise I will go bonkers. So this was my way of politely declaring it and also asking for permission - I wanted to get a sense of what their reaction was - which was really positive!

The man in charge of the entire program for the NYC Department of Education talked to me about how his grandmother knitted and that there need to be more studies on the connection between memory/attention and knitting. One of the facilitators put down "Knit, sketch, purposeful movement" on our guidelines and norms for the week.

This experience reminded me of the Miss Manners article about knitting in public that came out a few weeks ago and fired up all over twitter.

Knitting Trainwrecks 
I did get the February Lady Sweater back on track - bit of an issue with the cast on of the 7 underarm stitches when separating for the sleeves. 

After I finished the Sea of Japan hat,  I casted on the Snapdragon Tam by Ysolda Teague.

However, last Sunday was a day of epic, epic, fail. Not just knitting trainwrecks, but life fail as well.

That Sunday, I am happily knitting along on my Snapdragon Tam and just about finished. I noticed it was coming along 2:45 - its a 20 minute walk to my yoga studio and I really wanted to go to a particular class at 3:30. So I race to complete the last two rows, cast off's too big. This time, it involved...FROGGING.

So that happened in the 5 minutes before I had to leave for yoga. To top it off, while walking to yoga, my flip flop broke. I missed yoga.

Spin Right Round
A very minor update here - of rather what did not happen during the Tour de Fleece. I was a part of Team Sasquatch and was off to a great start - I finished the first ounce of polwarth that I purchased from Gherkin's Bucket in the colorway Motley. Plus, I even got to spin while watching the actual Tour de France when they did the recaps that fourth of July weekend.

My goal was to spin at least 15 minutes a day - but what I didn't anticipate was feeling so tired during the course of my program that when I got home, I needed those 15 minutes either to sleep a bit more or do the assignments that I had to do and submit on time.

I am definitely going to finish up that braid and came to a realization - I really do enjoy spinning. But man is spinning on a spindle slow. I'm going to have to start saving up for the Lendrum, which I will be able to try again  at Rhinebeck! I am 90% definitely going for sure that October 15 (it will be 100% once I purchase the ticket).

If anyone else is going and will be around that Saturday, do let me know b/c I would love to plan a small meetup and get to meet you all.

Knitting Finds
I must be very strange because for the most part, a lot of the fall knitting patterns are not that appealing. This is why I didn't look at the new Twist Collective when it came out lest I be tempted, but overall this is actually a good thing - I can use most of this season to catch up on my queue and knit from my library.

Knitty First Fall: Double Heelix, Lingerie, Dragonwing, Bosnian (this last feature and pattern goes well as a companion piece to an article in Knitty from 2006 about the History of Knitting).

Twist Collective: Boundless, Evendim most of the Spirited Away section such as the Hawthorne Hat and Mitts, Sheepcote and Loure.

Twist also had some really great articles on seaming and the last wool mills in Ireland

People have been talking about Google+  lately and there are a lot of knitters on there which is another great way to network. There is also a knitter's database that is being compiled so that you can share your information and join in on the conversation.

Finally, I want to mention a blog called Falling Stitches, which is run by Ariane,  a French Canadian knitter living  Montréal. She has some great designs and one of my favorite things about her blog is the What's Hot on Ravelry Series.  Definitely want to knit one of this week's selections, called the Imogen Cowl.

Thanks for Listening!
Closing Song: "Big as the Sky" by A.M. 60
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