Friday, October 31, 2008

Chasing my tail

I was feverously knitting away at my holiday necessities when I heard the ruckus. It was my sweet and very small, cat, Tomasina. She suddenly decided to run manically around the dining room, batting imaginary mice and hiding behind the dividing wall. I never know what winds her up, maybe she is so happy that I am back home from school? She loved me being home with the back problem, more time for her personal attention.

I think that I can understand her manic bursts of energy at times when I feel the pull from all directions. I go into overdrive, creating, organizing, making plans and filling each day. Until... I drop. She does the same. The mania ceases and I find her laying as if she had been sleeping for hours.

It is not always the best way to accomplish things, in a manic rush, but the energy does breed more energy. I have been told that pacing oneself is the key to productivity. For me, chasing my tail is not as fruitless as it might sound. It paces me (a fast pace) and creates ideas and energy. I finished the Grasshopper Scarf, a domino scarf and prepared (and delivered) work for a sale at a local art center. This weekend I can crash (I only planned to bring a few projects to the cottage). For me, the fits and starts are a way of life and my tail seems to direct me to chase it into plenty of new directions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

2 Good 2B True Scarf Pattern

Okay, here it is! It is 2 Good 2B True, since it is a combination of 2 skeins, 2 stitches, 2 rows each. Easy to remember and continue, then easy to alter if you choose! Happy Holiday knitting, I hope you discover some great new color combinations along the way.

I used 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon in contrasting colors and the recommended size 8 needles. If the colors are too similar, you won't notice the new color combinations. Using the same yarn color, but starting at different points in the color change will create a more subtle striped shading. Have fun with this! Use what you have in your stash.

Ribs and Garters Pattern stitch:

Rows 1 & 2: Knit

Rows 3 & 4: Knit one, purl one


Cast on 26 (or any even number for varied widths) for approximately 5.5" width scarf, 48" long unblocked using the 2 skeins. Add another skein, or make it narrower for additional length.

Using color 1, Knit rows 1 & 2

Using color 2, (K1, P1) rows 3 & 4

Carry your yarn up the side as you progress until you are out of yarn, or length desired.

Note: If you choose to add more of the rows 3 & 4 in the mix, it will draw in as ribbing often does, one additional repeat for variety is ok.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pain in the Back, just give me my needles!

I really did it now. A simple activity that gave me a little pain in the back, that became a cold with coughing and a bigger pain in the back, and ultimately a trip to urgent care for the biggest pain in the back...the one that kept me literally UP all night, since I could hardly lay down.

You all know what this means. No knitting. It hurts even to say it. I could not look down, not that I need to look to knit. I could not hold my arms at the right height, but managed some props.

The good news, physical therapy started today and I can knit again. A little. I did not ask how little was a little. I feel that it is relative. If I normally knit 4 hours in a day, maybe a little is 2? If it is a weekend and I can knit for 6-8 hours intermittently, does that mean 4 or so? I will let my back tell me.

So onto some holiday knitting with lovely yarns in simple stitches. This one is two colors of Silk Mountain by Noro. It takes less looking down, but offers plenty of tactile enjoyment. The simple scarf is a great way to swatch color, guage and combinations without commiting to a sweater. Plus, it will keep me from dying of boredom or eating until it is time to go to bed!

I made up a little scarf pattern to go with two orphan balls of Noro that had little in common. I like it! I am thinking of a name for this one, and will add it to Tractor Tracks soon. I am thinking in terms of "2 Good 2B True" since 2 is the key number in this piece. Let me know how you like that name. Here is the picture:

The idea has been brewing a bit for this scarf and color concept. I like the idea of the yarn's color changes, but want to play with it. Seeing the new combinations of colors side by side and in different stitches is an exciting way to get new ideas. The simple pattern is coming together and will be up here or on Ravelry soon....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Am I Addicted?

Does it mean that you have an addiction and all of your friends know it if...

this is a true story.

I was teaching class and my cell phone began to ring. I don't usually keep it on, it was purely by accident that it was on at all. Luckily, my class had just left, so I answered it. It was a friend of mine calling from Ashville, NC to say that she was in a handcrafted store that sold local yarn and she wanted to know what she should buy for me. Does this mean that I have a problem, or really great friends. I choose the latter.

Much more inspiration than time

Does this sound familiar? I was just at the Black Sheep meeting where I finished my Suess-like scarf. This was a good thing, since I saw two sweaters and a scarf at the meeting that I was ready to start as soon as I saw them.

The scarf is a free pattern on the Smoking Hot Needles blog, called Grasshopper. What a great use of pattern! I started it that night of the meeting in an alpaca blend that I dyed a year or so ago. The pattern repeats in a sensible way that is visually easy to catch up on if you end mid repeat. I love that.

The sweaters will have to wait, since the holidays are approaching and I always take a break from my personal luxury knitting in exchange for gift knitting.

Another friend is keeping me posted on the beautiful ways to display yarn, particularly one of our favorite sock yarns, Woolmeise. It is a clear shoe holder that hangs on a door. Two skeins fit in each pocket and are so inspiring that I would be knitting it fast enough to feel justified in replacing the skeins with new yarn on a pretty regular basis.

This inspired me to work on the "wall of yarn" and other methods of stash that I have going. Something that I need to do very badly, since the stash far exceeds the space available in my fiber room.

UFO's. You bet. I am not usually one to stop mid project, but I confess that I have a couple of things that need finishing. One is the wrap sweater that I started and realized that a new version of the pattern exsists that makes much more sense. Unfortunately, I am 3/4 of the way done with the current version. Basically this will be a reknit.

The shawl that I pictured a posting or so ago is nearly done. It is only shelved because it is an easy knit that I can do traveling in the car. We are going to the cottage soon, so that will be my companion project. Excuses, excuses. But I really mean it. I WILL finish these things, soon.

Did I say that the inspiration has been a good thing? It has! There is nothing better than knowing that the next project is right around the bend, and at the same time enjoying the journey that the current project provides.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back to Hollander's

I am packing for a weekend of bookmaking and printmaking at Hollander's in Ann Arbor. You make recall my experimentation with cultural doll making. That workshop was a bit more "dollish" than I would have liked, but I am intriqued by the use of the figure in history and culture to be expressive. This workshop is my attempt to get a little closer to the printmaking and image use that is my history.

It all came about when I met Jennie on my trip to Korea. She is an art teacher and does printmaking. So it was natural that the conversations turned to our own personal work and how we are progressing. I was excited to see that the class was not full when we returned from the trip, so I registered immediately.

The packing, well, as always, not so much fun. However, I am keeping an open mind and only bringing the essentials for my class. I am hoping that this workshop is the shot in the arm that I need to move forward in this media.

Always in the back of my mind, I wonder, "how can I use these techniques, colors, textures or images to enhance my other fiber work?" This is no exception. Hopefully, some of the concepts will be useful in my classroom, too. It does seem strange to be packing rulers, squares, exactos and glue sticks. The gloves are pretty normal, since I do a bit of dyeing. The rest are like old friends and I am hoping that they have not forgotten me! Mixing the right and left brain in a new project is exciting even though it takes a little warming up.

The weather is cooperating, my Suess-like scarf is nearly done and I am off to my next adventure!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back to the flock!

It is Tuesday. On my calendar, Tuesday is a wonderful means that the Black Sheep Knitting Guild will be knitting and chatting at the Coffee Beanery. It also means that no matter what my day was like, I have friends and knitting available. Like another family, who all happen to speak the same language and share the same passion, they are there. They are there with their new yarn, new projects, old yarn and new projects and old projects with new enthusiasm.

It is nice to belong. The actual meeting is next week and I am looking forward to the annoucements and will have my calendar ready for all that is in store. These casual meetings bring in quite a crowd, and provide for much more talking and knitting time than the formal meeting could allow.

One problem. I am working really hard at cleaning my fiber room and organizing stash. This is the "neatening the nest" time when I find places and projects for existing fiber and try really hard not to accumulate more. I am already failing at that. Last week I bought yarn to make the Noro sweater that I wore tonight (pictured just before finishing in the previous entry). I also bought some Knit One Crochet Too Ty-dye yarn to make the Suess-like curly scarf that I worked on at the Bean. I also was fortunate to have won 8 skeins of Jo Sharp wool/silk in a lovely Bamboo Shoot color of green...enough for a sweater at the Knitting Room in Birmingham during their yarn tasting. This was the lucky day that I had won a gift certificate at Loopy Ewe for my travel pic from Turkey featuring the darling sheep postcard and the Blue Mosque.

This sounds all so lucky, and it is. Maybe I should play the lottery?! Maybe not, for all that I would do with all of that money would be invest in yet more yarn and a larger home in which I could store it. If only I could buy a few extra hands and hours in the day to use the incredible stash that I possess, let alone the dream stash that the lottery would provide!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Silken Shawl

I have been busy working away at this shawl, the pattern is from Briar Rose and the yarn is Noro silk that I dyed myself....almost done!
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Getting down to business

New scarf design...It looks like a river running through it!Posted by Picasa

Work in progress

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Noro Design 26 from Designer Mini-Knits