A place for me to share photos, trips and projects with my friends, mostly about knitting,kayaking, and quilting.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hasta Luego

Can you tell I'm going to Costa Rica? Tomorrow. Well, I'm driving to Charlotte airport area tomorrow; I'm flying out Saturday am. Why drive all that way (6+ hours) when there are two airports within 2 hours? Simple - US Airways flies direct from Charlotte to San Jose, Costa Rica. My luggage gets on the plane when I do and gets off again in San Jose. It doesn't have to wander around any other airports in order to join me at my destination. Having dealt with wayward luggage on paddling trips to Central America in the past, I find this a compelling reason to drive to Charlotte. It's not all bad; I'll stop to see Jim and Scott at their new business on the way.

I'm leaving the Aran vest at this point of completion (or incompletion, actually). Armhole shaping is just about done.

I'm taking 3 socks in process with me. No, not Scott's socks. Not yet.

Terry was spayed yesterday. David will bring her home tomorrow. I hate it that she has to return from major surgery and find her mommy gone. For almost 2 weeks! Lousy timing, but the kid was approaching "that" age and I couldn't risk letting her mature while I was gone.

So until I return, here's a photo of the kitten child, keeping me company at the sewing machine.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Time to Ply

Yesterday, I decided it was time..... to ply! I had two spindles full of my first efforts, and it was time to move forward. So, I figured I had enough time to watch the Nancy's Knit Knacks video about plying, and work along at the same time. Viola - my first yarn!!

My camera is a low end model (maybe I'll make a step up this year for better resolution on those up close and personal yarn and stitch shots), so it's hard to see the detail. The gray/blue stuff came with the Learn to Spin Kit, and the green was Cestari pencil roving from Chester Farms. I know, pencil roving is kinda cheating. But I wanted to try it and it does work well if you don't want to draft. I wanted something reasonably consistent so I could actually knit with it. I'll go back to working on my drafting soon. I spun the gray with the kit spindle, which I like a lot. For the green I'm using my new Bosworth midi, which I also like a lot. I plied both on the kit spindle using the Andean method. After I got the circulation back in my hand, it went pretty well; I believe I produced balanced yarns at any rate. I now know first-hand why Nancy cautions you about wrapping too tightly and stressing your middle finger (not to mention cutting off your circulation!).

And for my knitting fun, I've been working on the Aran vest. I'm enjoying every minute of it, even fixing the mistakes. Charley suggested we'd be wise to look at every right side row as it's completed and he was right! I've found several mistakes along the way, and was able to correct them right away, BEFORE they became major surgery.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Knitterly Content

I have been knitting. I made a "knitcushion"

with scraps of Noro Kureyon and the #8 needles you see there. I'm finding it very useful, what with needing access to my cable needle, plus crochet hook and double points for spontaneous surgery.

This is 4 rows unraveled to correct a couple of moves in the wrong direction. Since it was all stockinette and only involved one error, this was a pretty easy maneuver.

Here's the progression of my vest:

First, I used stitch markers to divide the pattern panels until I had enough knitting to be able to see my 4-stitch separators. Then I added the little tags with the patterns used in each position, again until I could see enough of the patterns to identify them.

First, the stitch markers went.

And finally I was able to remove the ID tags.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Knitter's Dream Vacation

How about a week in the North Carolina mountains at the John C. Campbell Folk School, doing nothing but knitting, walking around the beautiful campus, enjoying the company of other fiber enthusiasts and artists and craftspersons of all types? Oh yeah, the food is pretty darned good, too. I'm very lucky to have spent the past week doing just that.

My home away from home for the week, Keith House is one of the original buildings. It houses lodging, offices, the community room, and a living room/library. The dorm type accomodations are located here. I shared a room and bathroom with 3 other women. And it's right next door to the dining room and wonderful Craft Shop.

I was there for an Aran knitting workshop, and I can't use enough superlatives to describe my instructor and the class. Let me just say that I, who have seldom knitted anything without assiduously keeping track of my rows and counting everything, now fearlessly knit Aran designs, can successfully perform surgery when I make a mistake, only occasionally refer to the charts and have no clue what row number I'm on and don't really care! This transformation courtesy of a remarkable teacher, Charley Orlando.

In class, lots of instruction and help for us to understand the process, empowerment to take charge of our knitting. The class mantra: You can do whatever you want. Of course, Charley realized that things can get a little tense/intense while we're learning and becoming confident Aran knitters. So he instructed us to bring jokes. And he provided entertainment for us as well.

Here's a classroom shot of some of my fellow workshop participants - note Jessie's "picture face." Jessie is a fellow knitter I met at my former LYS in Huntersville, NC, known for her humor and enthusiasm. Neither of us realized the other would be there, so it was a pleasant surprise for me. HollyMay, Rosie, and assistant instructor Susan were three of our group of 11 intrepid knitters.

Many of us chose to continue our work in the evenings in the Keith House living room. Charley was usually there to answer questions and provide encouragement. In addition to having knitted since he was a child, Charley teaches blacksmithing and tin can art. He also spins, plays the banjo, and I think fiddle, too. Can you say Renaissance guy? Oh, and he plays a mean game of Scrabble.

Can you tell I had a great time? This was my second experience at the Folk School, and again I came away with much more than I paid for, in terms of the instruction certainly, but more importantly, in the camaraderie and connection and spirit of community that the school engenders.

Finally, here's me modeling my new favorite hat - a Charley Orlando original.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Packing Help!

Terry was a little poot this morning, running around and getting into everything and being a general nuisance. But the cuteness factor here redeemed her.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Socks for me! Yaaaay, now I have 3 pairs of handknitted socks again.

The right (or left in the picture) sock had been lanquishing, completed and unmated, for 3-4 years. I finished the bottom sock last night. Sock #1 was the first sock I ever made using the 2 circular needles method. I made the second one using my usual double points. My gauge has also changed a bit since the first sock, and I had to use slightly larger needles for #2. I hereby resolve to suffer no more from second sock syndrome!

I'm pleased with these. I found them slightly boring to knit after the first couple of stripe sequences, and blue/gray aren't my favorite colors. But I chose the yarn because I thought they'd go well with jeans, and they fit the bill perfectly. Also note these are "Dobby" socks - they don't match. (Regia jacquard color).

And socks for Nancy! This pair did not take 3+ years to complete, and they are not Dobby socks. I did a reasonable job of matching them; not perfect, but close. I did these in about a month, though most of the knitting was over a several day period just before Nancy arrived for a visit. I wanted to send them on to Chicago with her. These are Opal Rodeo, with most of the green cut out. I left in the shorter green bits for some interest, but what would have been wide green bands were cut out, since it just visually bothered me, and Nancy likes the raspberry and turquoise parts best anyway.

I won't be posting again for a while. I'm leaving on Sunday for a week at the John C. Campbell Folk School - an Aran Knitting workshop. Maybe I'll remember to take some interesting pictures for when I get home.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Black Monday

Well, figuratively. In a couple of ways.


and Summer

are at the vet. Sneezing and fevers. Sure seems quiet and empty around here without them. And BC has been poking around in nooks and crannies looking for the kitten child.

On the good side, this was in my PO box this morning:

Socks for Soldiers comin' up!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


David categorizes my projects. If I've started it and not finished, it's a UFO. Everyone knows about those, and I have more than my share. But if I haven't started it, it's PIGS (projects in grocery sacks). These are separate from just "stash", which is undifferentiated yarn and fabric for which I have no particular project in mind just yet.

Here are a few of the most current UFOs and PIGS. UFOs first:
Lone Star quilt in process, from a Jinny Beyer kit (Kalimantan).

Socks for friends, Socks for Soldiers.
Great American Afghan squares blocking. Trees are to be appliqued onto a plain blue block.
From SAFF last weekend; the "no shopping much" trip! Clockwise from top left: "Candycane" Jacob wool in dark brown and natural; wooland silk blend in hand dyed colors that just sang to me; lucky find - buttons to match the wool!; alpaca from a farm not far from here, near Gallatin, TN; new Bosworth midi spindle; a pound of kid mohair yarn.

Brown Corriedale roving.

These are, of course, by no means all of the UFO's or PIGS. I need to stay busy - I'm running out of room!