Monday, April 26, 2010

Amy Singer's Lace Workshop

Maybe you remember my recent blog about knitting guilds. Well I was able to benefit from a guild this weekend ...even though I have not yet become a member (something about the 90 minute drive.)

The K-W Knitter's Guild held a lace workshop in Kitchener this weekend with Amy Singer of Knitty as the star attraction. Her sense of humour and wit kept us smiling as we spent two days 'playing' with charts and inspiring stitch patterns.
The classes were called "Design a Lace Shawl, Plug-and-Play Style" and started off with some simple charts that we 'plugged' into our bottom-up triangular shape. Here's the start of mine from a simple chart called, "Bailey."

On day two, we had a slide show of lace designs and discussed ten shapes /directions for knitting a lace stole, scarf or shawl. We picked up several tips for stressfree knitting thanks to Amy's wise preference for relaxing knitting.

So the weekend is over, but not my lace knitting. I've been playing with stitch pattern books, graph paper, pencil, and eraser, scissors and tape and am rushing to the finish line on a shawl already in progress. My graphed out design is almost ready and I'll get to cast on another new project very soon. This is my idea of excitement! (Is that sad, or is that just my children's opinion? Oh well.)

Someday, we might figure out how to chart this on a PC?

Here is my '4-rows-to-go' Milkweed Shawl by Laura Chau , knitted in Koigu.

So which do you think is more fun: planning, casting on a new project, working through the middle of the project or finishing one up and maybe posting it on Ravelry? Looking forward to your comments.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sock Science

Yesterday was a big day for me - I put my first pattern up for sale on Ravelry.

I've been knitting and teaching from Sock Science since 2004 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (home of Knitter's Magazine ...which was part of the reason I agreed to move way out there :) Sock Science is an 8-page tutorial intended to teach how to plug in other stitch patterns and make small changes while sock knitting.

I had some wonderful suggestions from staff and students and really appreciate their ideas. A huge thank you goes to my husband for his endless patience and expertise through multiple revisions.

I hope to have more patterns up soon ...and a couple of free ones, too.

Spring flowers in the labyrinth/meditation garden in Waterworks Park, St. Thomas.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Knitting Guilds

Tuesday night, I drove down the 401 to attend the K-W Knitter's Guild. Three hours of driving is more than I'm willing to take on on a regular basis, but I really wanted to sign up for a lace class with Amy Singer and learn about having a booth at the Knitter's Fair. There was a great group of ladies and men and lots of activity to inspire, so, yes, the drive was worth it.

Way back in 1986, we were living in Kitchener and I remember reading in the K-W Record about a knitting guild being started by Sally Melville. My second child had just been born and finding time, energy and confidence to go out just didn't happen. Little did I know that it would take me 24 years to get there. And, believe it or not, that was my first ever knitting guild meeting!

We've moved around a lot. I've been a member of 3 quilt guilds and 3 spinning and weaving guilds, but I've never belonged to a real knitting guild (other than TKGA and the Canadian Guild of Knitters - both long distance guilds). There have been sit-and-knit groups galore, but when it comes to programs, newsletters, teachers, education, sharing, an executive, a library, charity programs, etc. all rolled into one, they are few and far between.


Maybe it's because knitting is such a comfortable, in-front-of-the-fireplace type of activity that most of us are "closet knitters". Non-knitters are always so shocked when they realize that knitting is a very popular pastime, second only to gardening, and shared by men and women of all ages.

Getting together to share, discuss, be inspired, has been an important part of society ...forever. Books, radio, television, and now, the internet keep us entertained and feeling like we don't need the company of others quite so much.

But is that really true?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Organic Cotton Serendipity

Sometimes things just fall into place.

Because our Ecoknit Organic cotton wasn't exactly flying off the shelves and we had lots of other cottons, we lowered our price and cleared out all but one skein. I wound up that lonely ball and knitted a dishcloth with the thought that organic dishcloths would work well as gifts for my daughter and my son's girlfriend.

I thought I should try out the dishcloth before getting carried away with my little gift idea, so I used the first one yesterday. It has a totally different feel from the usual dishcloth cotton. It really feels luscious. Maybe I'll use it for a face cloth. Maybe I should have knitted a sweater out of it ...but a one ball sweater??

And then I opened up my Winter 2009/2010 Wild Fibers Magazine, (yes, I'm a bit behind with my reading) and read an article on naturally coloured organic cottons and the terrible effects of pesticides and certain dyes. Reading about poor work conditions and practices offshore is always disconcerting. And then I wondered what I could do differently.

Well... rather than clear out slow moving yarn, I could reorder the Ecoknit cotton. I could promote Samp'a, the naturally dyed organic cotton that we still have. Is it worth the trouble? Of course! I like to think that we can make the world a better place ...a bit at a time.

Dishcloth pattern:
4.0 mm needle.
Cast on a multiple of 4 sts minus one: 31 for a small dishcloth, 39 or 43 for a more normal size.
Right side rows: Knit.
Wrong side rows: (K3, p1) across, ending with k3.

(Remember to always knit with unmercerized cotton for dishcloths. Mercerized (shiny) cotton is nowhere near as absorbent.)



Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter, Happy Spring

Tuesday was a fun day because I got an absolutely adorable present!

This precious chick and nest arrived at Little Red Mitten ...

in the hands of talented needle felting diva, Kelly Forsythe.
Kelly is a St. Thomas woman who has an obvious talent for sculpting with wool. She has made many of these chicks and then given them away.

Now wouldn't that just brighten your day?