Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New knitters and new design

Here are some young members of my after-school knitting group in my neighborhood. They show up on a regular basis and work on their projects, giggling and talking. It is really cute to watch them encourage each other as they are learning. I am really proud of their persistence and progress in their knitting skills. They have already informed me that crocheting is the next thing on the agenda for this summer. So, it looks like I have a full schedule with the neighborhood kids. The boys seem to like crocheting more than knitting and I have them working on hyperbolic crochet as they can relate to the idea of the mathematical concepts and also creating something that looks like a creature from another planet.

I have also posted a few photos of a new jacket/vest/sleeveless sweater design I just finished for Ozark Handspun. In this piece, I combined wonderful wool tweed yarns and Ozark Bullet Proof colorway using the new blend of 65% mohair/35% Romney blend wool. It has 50 yds per 100 grams and I was able to knit using size 10 needles. This makes the yarn more versatile in terms of using with more fitted design concepts. I am so excited about this and have some other colors which I am experimenting with as well.

This Saturday, I will be at Unraveled in Monrovia, hanging out with my knitting buddies and working on my Koigu jacket. I always enjoy the atmosphere and the company at this gorgeous shop. If you are in the neighborhood, drop in and join us. Note below I have posted some new upcoming classes. I will continue to update these as dates are confirmed.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Working with Art Yarns class

Yesterday at Unraveled,I taught a class on creating with art yarns such as Ozark Handspun and how to use it in combination with yarns of different gauges. It was a day filled with glorious colors, textures and blendings of great handspuns both textured and smooth as well as stash yarns from student collections. As you can see, everyone took to this concept with enthusiasm and incredibly beautiful results. Most opted for a combination of gauges and textures creating their own versions of one of my shruglet designs. One of the students (Susan) decided to try making a diagonal scarf using Ozark and Boku which looked wonderful.

Louise decided on a lovely earthy color blend of greens, rusts, browns and a bit of teal. Sylvia (who tried to hide from being photographed but I caught her anyway) came up with a combination incorporating magentas, greens and naturals which was wonderfully delicious and Jackie went for an amazing combination of teals, magentas, silk and wool purple handspun which was quite striking. Gina came in for part of the workshop and was interested in using the art yarns in freeform work (note the gorgeous freeform bag next to her in the photo) and worked on technique with a couple of different variations of colorways. It was quite impressive to see the amount of progress everyone made on their projects and a great time was had by all including me. Good company, fun projects and great execution. Who could ask for more?

As the day was ending, there was a sudden rain storm which always makes things feel so fresh to me. My husband and I scurried to dinner around the corner from the store to Chang's Bistro which is a Thai restaurant with exquisitely delicious food and impeccable service. Afterwards, on the drive home, it was possible to see a dusting of fresh snow on the local mountains down to about the 3,000 ft level. Just beautiful! I was happy to get home and be snug in the warm house and slept well with dreams of new projects dancing in my head!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vogue Knitting Natural Selection

Today, while cruising around on the web, I checked the Vogue Knitting site.  To my delight, there are some photos of the upcoming magazine soon to be on the newstands.  Featured are some downloadable patterns using natural yarns including a pattern of mine designed for Ozark Handspun.  I must say I am very excited about this and so pleased at how beautifully they had presented my design with a gorgeous model and wonderful photography.  Can't wait for my subscription to arrive so I can see it up close and personal.  In the meantime, I snapped a couple of photos off the internet and am posting them here as a little preview of things to come.  These include the magazine cover and the actual pattern piece.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Knittin' honey

Sunday was a glorious day, beautifully clear and warm. My husband just acquired a GPS device that talks to you when you are driving. Not only does he not follow the directions but he argues with it. Oy vay! As the device tries to make him go in the direction it wants, he refuses and finally the poor thing gives up and re-calibrates itself. We are going to drive to Ohio in June and I can only hope and pray that the novelty will wear off or he will accept the directions as given. The idea of him arguing with this thing cross-country is giving me nightmares! Pray for me! LOL

On Saturday, I taught a class in Santa Clarita at Simply Knitting and we had a lovely time and the students created some wonderfully inventive pieces of abstract knitting. This shop has a wonderful homey atmosphere and the owner, her employees and customers make it a delight! They have a nice yarn selection as well.

I spent most of Sunday at Unraveled hanging out with my knitting buds. Christine (the owner) graciously allowed us to stay a little longer than usual and it was such fun. My friend Lisa (L and H) and I are working on Koigu Oriental jackets both of which are in their infancy. I must say there are some discrepancies between the book (From a Painters Palette) and the old booklet pattern for this. I checked out projects by other knitters on Ravelry and noted that others have run into problems as well. So be advised, read everything thoroughly before embarking on this one and have a knitting buddy to help you over the bumps along the road. I've posted a couple of photos and you can see the beginnings of my jacket peeking out from under a green shrug. As you can see, I haven't gotten far. Larry (knitdad) was working on a pair of socks which were giving him a fit as the yarn was not behaving the way he wanted (that can be truly frustrating.) Sylvia, Jillian and Christine joined our little circle and we had a wonderful afternoon just knitting and chatting. On the way home, my husband took me out to dinner and so it was the end to a lovely day as I did not have to cook. Because of the time change, I was up late working on my Koigu jacket and finally went to bed, dreaming of new projects and completing projects currently in the queue.

Additional photos posted include a scrap scarf as well as freeform shawl from 2006 which won a blue ribbon at the Los Angeles County Fair. It is one of my personal favs.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Baa-baa brown sheep

My love of sheep goes back to my early childhood when I played in the pasture on our farm where the sheep grazed. Even today, the present owners still keep sheep in that field. How little things change. I especially loved lambing season when all the new babies were frolicking and looking adorable in the glorious green grass.

I discovered this darling pattern on Ariadne Knits and just had to make one. Isn't he sweet? I have decided to create my own crochet sheep pattern so there will be an alternative for the non-knitter just in case someone would like to make one. As soon as I work out the details and have a sample to show I will post it.

This knitted whimsy has made me smile and want to create more. Who knows, there may be a multi-color flock living in my work room soon. This was a quick and easy little project. I would imagine that a crocheted version would be even faster. So, there it is and I may find myself knitting a shepherd and his Basque wagon. It could happen!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Felt update

My experiment with making a wet felted bag has dried and is ready for finishing and embellishment. Thought you might like to see it at this stage. I love the color and the fact that the mohair curls remained intact and 3-dimensional. There are a few thin spots here and there but that is probably due to my inexperience with this technique. I am going to use my Embellisher to needle felt it to another piece of felt as a lining to reinforce it after I embroider, etc onto the bag itself. In my mind, I can see this being a very interesting looking bag. I may put leather handles on this one although I am not quite sure what I want at this point. Will keep you posted on the progress and will post final outcome of this project.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Felting frenzy

Just a quick update... this weekend was a whirlwind of activity. All day Saturday, I hung out at Unraveled and enjoyed playing with fiber with a multitude of wonderfully talented knitters and crocheters who wandered through, including an adorable nine-year-old girl who knitted up a storm along with the rest of us. It rained part of the day and it was lovely to be cozy and warm and watch the raindrops falling out the wide front windows of the store. Afterwards, my husband and I went out to dinner with his family to a lovely little Thai restaurant in Monrovia and enjoyed a delicious meal and good company.

On Sunday, we went to the meeting of the Los Angeles Fiber Guild and continued exploring wet felting. This time, I worked on a purse using a resist and was pleased with the results. We were able to work outside as it was a gorgeous warm and clear day. Sluggo came along and made lots of new fiber friends as you can see. On the way home, we stopped for dinner and he enjoyed being spoon fed a little clam chowder and some ice tea. After all, it was a busy weekend. Aside from all the wonderfully stimulating inspiration of the many talented fiber folk at the guild, there was also the fact that I did not have to cook this weekend to make it even better. When we got home, Harley (the cat) was a bit annoyed at the fact that we had left him to his own devices for the day (two days in a row) and let his displeasure be known by verbally chewing us out for a good little bit. It was a glorious and enjoyable weekend of fiber and friends with plenty of hugs to go around for everyone.