Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Travel Projects

It's time again... I'm prepping for a work trip! This time I'm heading to Amsterdam for a week-long business meeting and conference. Last time I traveled I reminded everyone about using Ravelry to find LYS's (or to remind myself of that niffty function!).

And sure enough - I will have a couple of yarn shops around me in Amsterdam!


There are so many to choose from! I am pretty booked up with meetings so I'm not sure if I'll actually be able to visit one this time. It'll depend on time availability and location but I do hope I get to visit one in particular. This past week I came across this tweet:


That would be THE Stephen West (oooh I'm SUCH a fangirl!), partnering with Penelope Craft which is now Penelope + Stephen, Yarn and Craft Boutique! Fingers crossed I can visit any of the wonderful shops, and double crossed it's this one!

Aside from locating shops to visit while on a trip. What about patterns? Last trip to Copenhagen I found a knitwear designer based out of Denmark, purchased a pattern and bought yarn at one of the Copenhagen shops specifically for that pattern. It's my Copenhagen knit! (Have I CO the project yet... no, but that's a separate issue!).

So what I wanted to focus on this time was reminding everyone (but mostly myself) of some of the advanced features available for Ravelry pattern searching. As a librarian I LOVE using these filters to hone in on specific aspects of patterns. And when I'm going to travel to another country I like to find patterns from designers from that country. So for example:


Step 1: Go to the Patterns Tab and Click on the Advanced Search



Step 2: Start Applying Filters! Here I've picked Knitting and Has Photo




Step 3: Scroll all the way to the bottom. In the 'More Search Options' widget find the Designer Country option.... 


Step 4: Find the Country (or more) that you want. You can use the Or, And, Not for Boolean searching. Here I want to hone in on Dutch knitwear designers. 



And Wa-La! I have 38 pages of projects to drool over! Of course if I wanted to apply more filters I could (for example if I wanted to find a shawl pattern, or a project that calls for a certain yarn weight). But that give a basic idea of how I find patterns for designers from countries I visit. It gives a little extra something special when I go to knit the project. And it gives me something specific to shop for at these yarn shops (although... I can't say that is ALL I purchase - I think I purchase the yarn for the project ON TOP OF "souvenir yarn"!!). 

What project will I pick? Not sure yet. What projects am I bringing on the trip? Not sure yet. I'm a little busy with getting ready for the work aspect of the trip. But I still have some time to figure that stuff out...  I don't leave until Friday. So until then... happy travels and happy knitting! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DrChopSuey Knits er Crochets

I've been meaning to learn how to crochet for a while now. Thing is... it always slips to the end of the 'To Learn List' - too many other things creep up and take it's place. And I've been lucky enough that all of the people I've had to help at the yarn shop (thus far) have needed assistance with knitting projects. But a couple of weeks ago I had a co-worker ask if I could help out a customer with a lesson on crocheting... and I sort of freaked. I would LOVE to help someone. I love helping and teaching people (after all, it's what I do in library/clinical terminology-land (you know, my "main" job) and at the yarn shop). So I felt a little useless not being able to help someone when they wanted to learn.

An hour or so later I opened up Facebook and guess what smacked me in the face - A big huge advertisement to learn how to crochet.

Grrr you Google, Facebook and other personal data analyzing applications! (Although honestly, from a data perspective I would LOVE to learn how to code and then analyze those data-crunching algorithms!).

So Mr. Google and Mr. Facebook have spoken.

I learned how to crochet:


Okay. It's ugly.

But the fact that I learned how to do it is a little amazing. One afternoon I got dropped off at the shop early and decided to pull up YouTube, a crochet hook and some yarn. And with a little guidance from a co-worker (thank you Susan!) I was off!

Kind of.

It took a couple tries. And with the careful directions from Naztazia on Youtube,  I was able to crochet this simple ball. I even learned how to crochet the magic ring! Naztazia's Youtube page has a nice video on how to crochet the magic ring as well.

So now I'm off to new adventures with a new fiber art technique in my tool belt! I'm going to attempt another crochet project soon. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Classic Cabled Aran Sweater

Rosie is one spoiled pup! Soon I think she'll have a better wardrobe than me! Here is a new dog sweater, based on my Basic Dog Sweater pattern and spruced up with a classic cabled aran design:




Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash (100% wool)
Started: Feb 21, 2014
Finished: July 13, 2014

Clearly she's not too happy modeling the sweater. Could be that it was 90+ degrees (F) when I took the photos. Come December and January she will love the sweater!

I love the fact that it actually fits her! The basic dog sweater "pattern" is really excellent and now I'm realizing all the potential designs I could make from this basic design.


So it might not be in an classic aran weight wool (as it's in plain and simple Cascade 220 superwash wool) and it might not have any sort of significant meaning to the pattern... but it's a classic Ireland Aran Island sweater in this half-asian's eyes! :)

The top has a typical cris-cross diamond motif with alternating moss/seed stitch and reverse stockinette stitch interiors. This is bordered by a simple cable (with twists to the outside on both sides).

And the under panel has a what I call a lobster (lobstah) claw or a faux-cable.



A fun knit really. I will be teaching a class on how to create this cute sweater later in the fall. More details soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ekks - I'm going to try to STEEK!

This coming Sunday (9/21/2014) I'm going to take a class on steeking! I'm excited and frightened to cut into some knitting. If you are near the DMV-area register now at WoolWinders yarn shop to learn and master this technique from Terry!


I'll let you know how it goes! Stay tuned....

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Class: Basic Dog Sweater 101

My last Basic Dog Sweater class was such a hit we are doing it again!






Join me at Woolwinders Yarn Shop on Saturday, September 27th and October 11th from 9-11am to learn how to knit a dog sweater that will fit your little (or big!) pup!

This class is perfect for learning about gauge and how to design your project to fit. Yes there is some math involved but the outcome is well worth it! And really, I'm right there with you so it's not scary at all! This is class one of a series (!!!) so it can be thought of as Dog Sweater 101. You learn the basics and how to get a really classic looking dog sweater. Class 201 will start in November and will kick up the techniques and skills a bit. Be on the lookout for the that class description and registration information!



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure: Boot Cuff

I have an upcoming class at Woolwinders: Choose Your Own Adventure: Boot Cuff edition! It's a Choose Your Own Adventure class because students will get a chance to learn or hone skills while knitting in the round. The skills this time around include: cables, lace and/or joggless stripes!

On Saturday, September 6th students will choose between (or all) three patterns:

UGG Hug Boot Toppers by Alexandra Davidoff

 



Feather Lace Boot Toppers by Paula McKeever




Or a Joggless Stripe Boot Topper



I'm pretty excited about this class because it's a little different as a number of students could be knitting different boot toppers at the same time! Actually it would be GREAT if we had a lot of students in the class and different people were working on different techniques at the same time and we could have cable, lace and stripe "stations" going on. Fingers crossed for a good turn out!

Ahhh boot season. I'm so ready for Autumn!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rainbow Socks

Has it really been a month since the last blog post?! Well I have to say -- I've been busy! Lots of knitting done but work has been crazy (all good stuff but so much to do!), knitting classes have been full and oh yeah, throw in a move to a new apartment into the mix.

Like I said - a lot has been happening!

I have a number of projects completed so over the next couple of weeks I will showcase other completed (and not-so-completed) projects, as well as some new knitting classes I'll be teaching. I'll start things off with my new Rainbow Socks:


Started: March 14, 2014
Finished: July 20, 2014

This sock yarn is okay. Yep, just okay. I have used this Knit Picks yarn before and I recall not loving the fact that it stretches like whoa after a couple of wearings. Did that stop me from ordering it when it was discontinued and on super sale? Nope. I had to buy this because 1 - it's self-striping and who doesn't like self-striping yarn, 2 - it is in a rainbow colorway (and everyone should have a pair of rainbow socks), and 3 - it really was cheap.

I followed Wendy Johnson's Basic Toe-up Sock pattern with the short row toe and heel options. And because this yarn stretches, sags and looses it's form easily I thought I'd try a 2x2 rib. Also I held elastic on the toe, heel and cuff. Hopefully these things stay put!

I tried to finish the socks for Easter. Clearly I failed that attempt. Actually I did complete the socks but I ran into an issue. I used one whole ball for sock one and did the same exact number of rows on sock two with ball two:
15 rows on toes
57 rows on foot
10 short-rows for heel
155 rows for leg
Held elastic for 5 rows on cuff (changed to 1x1 rib)


And I ran out of yarn WAY before I got to 155 rows! I think I had approximately 130 rows when I noticed I was running low in yarn. If I could go back I would have weighted the two skeins prior to starting just to check. To this day I am not sure if I had more in than the 164 yards in the one skein or less yardage in the other. So I had to rip back on the first sock and this just killed my mojo for completing the project. So it just sat in the corner of my room for a couple of months. But now they are complete (and have matching lengths despite what my photographs display....).


So another fun knit. We'll see if they wear well. But I really can't complain when I got the yarn uber cheap!