Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great Listening for Crafting

I don't know about you, but I love listening to National Public Radio or podcasts when I knit, especially on a cold or rainy day when I have time to indulge in crafting. Last weekend, I holed up with an amazing new podcast:
Serial is a true story told over the course of a season. A spin-off from This American Life, Serial focuses on the murder of a popular high school senior who was murdered in Baltimore County. Adnan Syed has spent 15 years in jail claiming he didn't kill her. Did he? Or is he doing time for someone else?

One of the things that makes this series so riveting is that the producers don't know the answer. They are reporting in real time, so they are just as mystified and curious as the audience. We get to follow their trail, listen in on their interviews with everyone from Adnan to police, and consider all the angles.

I also found a great Guardian article listening more great podcasts. You can check that out here.

If you'd like to be part of my Fall Giveaway, leave a comment for me by 6 p.m. on Sunday!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's Time for Some Serious Kitchner Stitch

The Babies & Bears Sweater is ready to be seamed down the back:

The pattern calls for the Kitchner Stitch. I can Kitchner. I have closed up countless socks and a fair number of mittens this way. But this is 36 live stitches -- 72 if you count both sides. My worry is that I'll lose track of where I am. I figure I need to find a time where I will not be interrupted. Easier said than done! And no listing to podcasts.

I still have a long ways to go on this project. I have to knit a border and add a hood. Luckily there is no deadline.

I hope your week is going well. Mine has been unusually uneventful. When you're a special ed teacher, that's a good thing!

Don't forget to comment on this post to be part of the Fall Give-away.

I'm linking up with Frontier Dreams and Small Things.

Fall Giveaway

Seeing as I've done quite a bit of stash enhancement lately, it feels like the right time to lighten up that same stash, so I've put together a fall sock "kit." First up, some autumnal sock yarn, Malabrigo in Terracota.

And I cannot wait to start my own pair of socks using this pattern:
The pattern is called Lynn and designed by Adrienne Ku. I saw a completed sock at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago a few weeks ago and just fell in love with it. I actually bought two of the patterns so I could use one for this giveaway. It's a very elegant pattern and quite dramatic -- but without any weird architecture! There are only a few projects (so far!) on Ravelry so you can see a little more about this pattern here.

Adrienne Ku of Mushroom Knits designed the very popular Simple Skyp Socks, which have been knit by 3,577 people on Ravelry so far, so I'm sure that this will be a well-written pattern.

To participate in the give-away, just leave a comment on this post by 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 16, and I'll use some method of random selection to pick a winner. Do give me some way to contact you: email, Rav name, etc. If I already read your blog, I know where to find you!

Well, it's Sunday night. The weekend sure went fast. We went out to dinner with my parents; visited Keith's parents; and saw the movie Birdman, which is interesting but kind of odd. Because I'm going to be in a holiday show at the end of November, I spent a lot of time making jewelry, both by myself and with friends, which is MUCH more fun!

I hope you had a great weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Knitting Looks Like Frosting

This yarn is downright yummy.
It's even better close up:

I haven't decided yet if this Jetsetter cowl is for me or a gift. Am I the only one who has trouble making this decision?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Finally, the Loot

I didn't expect to take a full week to blog about my trip to Vogue Live Chicago last weekend, but I did. I attended a school board meeting Monday night and waited three hours to speak! I got to bed late that night and spent the rest of the week in a state of sleep deprivation. The week ended on a high note with the entire 8th-grade team dressing as M&Ms.

Yes, there was shopping. I know. I know. I said I was going on a yarn diet after the Sheep and Wool Show in September. But now I really have to stop shopping!

First up is this fabulous skein from Fleur de Fiber of Chicago. As many of you know, I love deep pinks and therefore was absolutely required to acquire this skein, which I think is going to be a hat someday:

Ombre dying is all the rage this year. I have to admit that I have a weakness for it -- especially when the colors are this awesome. This skein, which will eventually become a cowl, is from Mia Bella Yarn:
I've long wanted to try my hand at crocheting with beads. Seeing as I know nothing about crocheting, I need to start with something simple. The lovely ladies at Bead Biz set me up with these supplies and instructions for a simple bracelet.
 And given how well my stranded mittens are going, I decided I'm ready to take on something a little more complex:

I picked up this kit from Windy Knitty. It's my first experience with the famous Jamieson & Smith Shetland wool. Kate Davies designed the Scandinavian-style hat. I love the design -- sans the pompon. There is a photo inside the leaflet of the crown without the pompon, and I like that much better!

At least I'm not buying random yarn anymore. I do think I'll knit every one of these ... eventually.

And last, here are the M&Ms. The students really got a kick out of our costumes.
I am so lucky to work with an amazing group of teachers!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vogue Knitting Live: Part II: Who Said Knitting Isn't Art?

There was a display of knitting as fine art at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago last weekend. This was my favorite -- and that's high praise because all the entries were superlative:

This is an actual, wearable dress by Betsie Withey, a textile artist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Betsie had a photo showing a model in the dress. It is amazing on. It is also very hot, said Betsie, who is working on making similar garments that are more wearable. Betsie uses free-motion embroidery, knitting, crochet and hand embroidery to create garments and hair accessories. She also makes large-scale sculptural dresses and hats.

Her style combines make-believe and nature, and her Etsy shop is called The Faeirie Market.You can see -- and buy -- more of her work here and here.

Art can be kitchy, too, don't you think? I do. One of the amaguri knitting queens attended Vogue Live and it was SO much fun to see her creatures in the wool.

This installation was assembled by Anna Hrachovec, author of at least four books featuring adorable "mochimochi" patterns. You can make toys ranging from tiny to large using her directions. I have admired her books for years so it's just a matter of time before I knit up some of her creations.

You can learn more about Anna here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vogue Knitting Live Chicago: Part 1

Last week I received an email from the Madison Knitters Guild saying that there were a few more seats left on the bus going to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live. What the heck, I figured, it would be fun just to go and see what it's like. So at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, I climbed onto a bus with 50 other knitters and headed south.

First, the event is held in the elegant Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago. Everywhere I went in the hotel, there were people knitting! Is this was heaven is like? The fashion shows were fun, although the models were so young and so slim that they would look gorgeous in anything!

The marketplace was much smaller than the one at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, but the quality was excellent. And the sellers were all really sweet:
Like Lynn at Mia Bella, which is located in Highland Park, a northern suburb of Chicago. She isn't the owner, but she is the namesake of the very cool sock pattern she's holding.  This booth offered amazing patterns that matched their own dyed yarn. (I may have bought something, but that's a story for another post...) A lot of the sellers used that idea of selling yarn with their original patterns. If I am any measure, you'd have to say that this is a smart marketing tactic.

Angela Combest Anderson, the force behind Fleur de Fiber, is another indie dyer in the Windy City. She doesn't have her own store, but you can find her vivid yarn in Windy Knitty (note to self: I need to get back to Chicago to check out this store) and Steven Be in Minneapolis. You can see in the photo that she loves saturated colors:
"I love the interaction of fibers and colors," she said. Currently she is starting with wool that is brown or gray. These yield rich and unique colors when she applies her palette of rich colors. (I may have bought something, but that's a story for another post...)
And I was thrilled to meet Laura Nelkin. Do you know her? I see her knitted jewelry, which combines beads and yarn, at stores and in catalogs, and I've admired it for a long time. It turns out that she designs way more than jewelry; just look at the amazing mitts on the cover of her new book, Knockout Knits:
Can you see the gorgeous rows of beads? (I may have bought this book, but that's a story for another post...)

Laura hails from the Ithica, New York, area. When I found that out, I immediately asked if she ate at the famous Moosewood Restaurant there. "No," she said, "I can make that food at home. It is where visitors always want to go."

Well, this seems like enough for one post. Exactly what did I buy? Tune in again to find out!