Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Long Post for a Fantastic Class

I can't believe what a weekend it was! Knitting teacher and musician Lucille Reilly came in Thursday, driving all the way from the Denver area. I awaited her arrival at the home of my friend Barbara (one of several Barbaras, actually, who are my friends). Barbara has a nice guest room with a queen-size bed, and she had agreed to let Lucille stay with her, which gave Barb some extra live-in help on her scarf if she needed it. She was the star pupil, though, so didn't need it, although she had a house guest she could talk about knitting with. The next day, Friday morning, we met at my house for the class.

Above are (from left) Georgette, Linda and Barbara, working away on their Moebius scarves. The CO is tricky, but if you're doing the basic scarf, it's a coast from the CO until you get to the I-cord BO. Lucille made us swatch before we came to class. She explained how important drape is for a Moebius scarf, and how gauge relates to drape.
In the middle of the table you can see one of the centerpieces from the wake held by the Colorado-area participants in Sock Wars III after they had all met their doom. It's a sock at half-mast! Lucille sent it to me, along with a tiny sock she knit with short 0000 needles for the winner of the obituary contest, which turned out to be yours truly. So I sometimes wear the sock on a chain around my neck. Sometime I'll have to post the obit, so you can have a chuckle. Here Lucille helps Kay, another participant in the class:

We had so much fun! While we were working on the "mindless" stuff, Lucille brought out some of her collection. She has a large number of felted bowls, including several versions of the Trifold Bowl three of us were going to learn to make Sunday afternoon. Here she tries on a Moebius hat. Too bad I just got a photo of the ladies laughing. The hat was great, and it was beaded. I need to get her to send me a photo of it. That's Norma, with her back to us.

This was my favorite bowl. You can see more of her stuff here.

Lucille has a pair of socks (Jaws) coming out in the book Think Outside The Sox. On her website you can see Jaws and her Fibonacci Trees socks, which she also entered, but are not in the book. I want to make both pairs. Maybe she'll publish the Trees socks somewhere! Anyway, on Sunday, the three of us who were taking the bowl class posed with our finished scarves. This is Linda, I'm in the middle, and then Georgette. They're both tall; I'm not as short as I look.

One of Lucille's great talents is for coming up with little tricks that help ordinary people accomplish more challenging aspects of a project. We used Cat Bordhi's wonderful books, A Treasury of Magical Knitting or A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting for the patterns and instructions, depending on whether we were taking just the scarf or both classes, but Lucille had her own handouts to complement them, with her own pictures and explanations. (She told us she didn't believe in copying other's work for handouts, so everything was her own.) She's an excellent teacher, too, possessing both natural teaching ability and actual academic teacher training. That's probably why, of all the knitting, quilting and spinning classes, this was the best!
Lucille was here for five nights. We had the all-day class on Friday (sack lunches and a couple of pots of coffee!), and Friday night we went to the TGIF of the Park City Mountain Sports Club, of which several of us are members. The party was at the Swaner Nature Preserve building, which overlooks the Preserve, so there was a good view. It was a potluck, and we had some good food. Saturday the weather was nice (wonderful stroke of luck, as we've had a lot of rain, and more was predicted), so we went for a hike on the trail to Summit Peak, which is just above our house. My wonderful DH, our dogs, and Lucille and I enjoyed the view and the shade along the trail, which was nice, as it was rather warm for these parts. We went to lunch at the No Worries Cafe at the base of Summit Park, and then DH went home to be with the dogs. Lucille and I went on to Linda's to see her new baby alpaca. Here's a photo of the baby with her mother and some of the other females in the herd:

Linda brought out some cut-up carrots for Lucille to give to the "ladies." Lucky Linda, to have fiber on the hoof...actually, they don't have hooves, but you know what I mean. Four of the ladies are PG, so Linda's herd will be growing even more.

After the 'pacas were done with the carrots, we went inside to sit and knit, and Lucille helped Linda with her spinning. Linda has had difficulty getting the singles as thin as she likes. Lucille has a similar wheel and years more experience, so she was a big help. She had lots of tricks for that, too! I learned a lot from watching her.
Saturday night, we went to Georgette's birthday party at the home of a friend of Georgette's who lives in my neighborhood. We had some great food and got some knitting done. I was done with my scarf except for the graft at the end of the BO, so I took my Stonington Shawl. I discovered a hole in it. I don't know how that happened, but I decided the best approach was to frog back to below the hole, so I did. Lucille had CO for a Moebius sweater. Yes, you read that right: a Moebius sweater. This woman knows no limits!
Sunday, Lucille went to church with me (turns out we're both Episcopalian). When we got back to my place, she tuned my autoharp for me and took the chord bars off and rearranged the chords for me, so I can play it. This was a new autoharp when I bought it years ago, but the chords were placed strangely, so I couldn't play it at all. Lucille is a professional musician. She performs and teaches hammered dulcimer, autoharp and guitar, and her music is amazing. I guess that's why she's so creative. We had our bowl class in the afternoon. I had a boo-boo. I was so busy making sure I didn't have a couple of extra sts that I ended up with twice the st count! I didn't discover it until we were putting the st markers every 27 sts so we would know where the folds were to be. I was supposed to have six, and I had 12! I had to frog the whole thing. That explained why the others were so fast. (They're throwers, so I should have been ahead.) I re-CO'd and barreled through the first row. I don't think I'll ever forget how to do the CO, after having done it three times! Here's what it looks like now, after doing the PU sts, etc. I'm ready to start the dec sts approaching the bottom of the bowl.

Sunday evening we had a potluck party with some of the members of our knitting group who were unable to take the classes. It was a lot of fun. Lucille and I got some more knitting done, too, he-he!
Monday, we left home with my friend and knitting/spinning buddy, Lynda, to visit some of the LYSs in SLC. We went to Unraveled Sheep first. Lucille really hit it off with the owner of the shop, Verla, who seems to have the same kind of mind as Lucille. Verla showed us some socks she was working on. They were really interesting. She was using two yarns at a time, and I couldn't understand how she changed from one to the other, but every time she came to a new needle (using dpns), she would change color. Another pair of socks had an occasional sl st. We bought some stuff and then went to Three Wishes, which is where my wheel came from. The owner there was also very interested in Lucille. We bought some more stuff, then went to the Thai restaurant for lunch. Our last yarn stop was The Black Sheep. I bought a pattern there. I think Lucille may be able to teach a class for the first two shops when she comes back to town, maybe in the spring. These two shops often cooperate on classes.
Linda has offered us her condo, which is rented out during the ski season, but otherwise sits vacant. We're planning on perhaps having a sock retreat. Lucille will come and teach us "toe-up socks that fit." We're going to use Stroll Sport, because it will go faster, and people can finish a sock in a weekend. I'm hoping I can get her to give me an autoharp lesson while she's here, and maybe some tips on my spinning. And maybe I'll teach Lucille to quilt. --P

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confessions of a Frantic Knitter

I have been really busy. Lucille Reilly, a knitting teacher from Colorado, is coming to teach a class in the Moebius Scarf, based on Cat Bordhi's designs. She will be staying at the home of one of my knitting buddies. Friday we have the class. I had to get people to sign up, then I had to order the books and the needles for everyone and make sure they got here on time. They did. I got the books in time to take advantage of KP's 40% off sale. Here's Lucille's photo of the scarf:


Three of us will continue on on Sunday afternoon with the Mobius bowl. Here's what it looks like:


It's felted, and the instructions for both are in Cat's book, The Second Treasury of Magical Knitting.

I've been busy with my own knitting as well. I finally finished my Sipalu bag! Sitting in the truck while DH did the driving during our recent trip, I got a lot of knitting done! Here's what my bag looks like:

I'm looking for a different button, but this one works for now. I like to catch the stranded yarn every other st, which isn't too hard to do, because I hold one yarn in each hand. Here's what it looked like on the inside before lining:

I decided to put a different strap on it, because I find I-cord somewhat boring. I used the pattern for the upper border for the strap, adding an extra row of Merlot Heather on the top and bottom, then a purl row and a couple more more of stockinette st.

I knit it in the round and then prepared for a steek, using the crochet method. The lower photo shows what it looked like after cutting.

It looked very nice, but I soon saw that it was going to come apart. The Palette isn't clingy enough for that method, so I sewed it. Then I picked up sts at each end and made a band to cover the cut sts. I lined the strap with iron-on interfacing, with the lining fabric on top. I sewed each end onto my bag. The interfacing also went into the upper border. I made a pillow-case-type bag out of the lining, sewed over each corner to make it more box-shaped, and put a little pocket onto it for my cell phone. I used applique st to sew the lining to the bag. Now I'm enjoying using it as a purse. It will probably become a knitting bag, but for now, I can't bear not to take it with me everywhere. (The socks I"m knitting are inside, as well as my wallet, cell phone and keys!)
My Oregon socks are moving along. I have about 3 1/2" of the cuff done on the second sock. (See my last blog entry for a photo.) I have also been swatching for both the scarf and the bowl. Not as much time to knit this week, with the preparations for the class and other things. I've been trying to clean up my workroom. Sunny and I visited the nursing home yesterday and saw 27 people! Some kind of record for us, I think. Today our elderly kitty had to go to the vet for a checkup.

Spinning: I've been doing a little spinning, although after I have my second thumb surgery, I will be able to spin but not knit, so it can wait. Here's my lastest hank of the hand-dyed Coopworth I've been working on:

Not as tidy as I'd like, but all of this was done post surgery. If I want to get this effect again, I may have to have another thumb operated on!

I'll try to take photos during the classes, so I can report on them during my blog next week. Happy knitting! --P

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gnomes and Faries!

Here's my current now-active project (once a UFO), the Oregon Socks:

My little friend has been with me for years, and he wanted to help me display my Oregon socks. He became faded a few years ago, so I used paint to touch him up. You can see how grateful he is! These socks are based on Ariel Barton's Cable net socks from Knitty, which you can view here.

I'm using Ariel's cable pattern, except for two things: 1) My treatment of the edge of the design on the instep--which is different because of a mistake I made, which turned out to be pretty, too, so I continued it. Here's what it looks like:

And 2) The heel, which I did in "Eye of Partridge" pattern instead of continuing the cable net down the heel flap. I thought the "Eye of Partridge" would hold up better, being denser. This is how you do it--
Row 1 (right side): *Sl 1, K 1* repeat across ending K 1.
Row 2 and even rows: Sl 1, purl across
Row 3: Sl 2, *K1, Sl 1* repeat across, ending with K2.
What happens is, every RS row, you will have K1 above where you had Sl1 on the previous RS row, and vice versa.

Here's what it looks like on my Oregon sock:

The yarn is KP's Gloss in Parsley, which is yummy to work with. I love the silky feel in my hands while I'm knitting, as well as the sheen to the finished sock. It was a little difficult to get back into this UFO, which I started during our trip to Oregon last summer. Part of the reason I put it down was the chart. I'm sure the chart was designed properly and easy enough to read...if you printed it in color with a really new ink cartridge! I printed it in B&W using an old ink cartridge, silly me! It was so light that I couldn't see the lines that defined the sts. On top of that, my inadvertent change to the pattern didn't show up on the chart, leaving me puzzling about what I needed to do to keep MY pattern going. When I picked it up again the end of last week, I re-wrote the chart on graph paper, with the changes I had made, in good, dark pencil, which has helped a lot. Then I hit another snag when I got to sock #2. This time, my problem was the CO. I had decided to try the cable CO, and to work the CO in K1P1 rib, as was suggested by some instructions I downloaded from somebody-or-other's website. I had a little trouble, but my new book Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus came to my rescue with really good instructions. The hard part was realizing that I had to move the yarn underneath my work instead of on top to get it from back to front for a P st or front to back for a K. It was so long since I started the first sock, I couldn't remember exactly what I did, and I really wanted the two socks to be close to the same, at least. Now I can't wait to wear these socks, and am amazed at how close I am to being finished. I had the first sock almost done when I dropped it. I can't believe I ever put it down! I'm wearing my Kristi socks, and they are encouraging me to finish the Oregon socks!

In my "real" life, it has been a busy week. We had tons of laundry after our trip, some of which had to be done before we could take the 5th wheel back to it's storage space. We took time for a hike on Saturday to take the pups to the Fairy Tree in Toll Canyon, close to Park City. The Fairy Tree is an old, almost-dead tree that attracts beads, little toys, notes, medals and other items left by visitors. We are not allowed to take anything, but we can leave something. Every once in a while, the owner of the property comes and cleans it out. Within a week, it's all decorated again! We saw some new items since our last trip to the Fairy Tree. Someone had left the program from a loved one's funeral, which was held in June. Here's what the Fairy Tree looks like:

And here it is with my family posing in front of it:

Rocky thinks his profile is better, but Sunny wants you to see her beautiful eyes. The tree looks different in the winter, with just a little bit of it sticking out above the snow. It's a good snowshoe destination. We spent a lot of time throwing a tennis ball as we hiked, and sometimes we threw a stick. We came home and crashed afterwards. The dogs were tired, too.

What's on my needles: The Oregon sock, the second one, of course. I'm still trying to decide on a strap or straps for my Sipalu Bag. I'm thinking I want to do something a little different. I have the lining and some interfacing all ready to go. My Nonna's Garden shawl is calling to me...and then I would like to finish the sleeveless cardi for DH for Christmas if I can. I need to work on the shell for my CLC. I was in visiting my orthopedic surgeon yesterday, and she's encouraging me to get my second thumb done sooner rather than later, so I'll be completely recovered for our daughter's wedding. And then there's the wedding quilt. I bought the fabrics, but I need to clean up my workroom before I can start cutting. Here are my fabrics:

The dark color looks greenish, but it is really a dark blue, not quite navy. I'm going to use the John Flynn method, where you sew straight strips together and then take a little dart in each seam. I would like to at least get the quilt pieced before I have my next surgery. Then at least I can show it to them, even if it takes me until after the wedding to quilt it! Happy knitting/quilting, everyone!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Homeward Bound

As you read this, we are on the road somewhere between Kimball, Nebraska, and Kimball Junction, where I-80 meets Hwy 224, which leads to Park City. In other words, we'll be home soon!
What have we been doing since my last blog post? We left the KOA near Mishawaka, IN, and our DS the elder and DIL, but not before Rocky learned to play tetherball:

We stopped twice in Iowa, once in the area near Amana, to see the Amana villages, which were founded by a religious group that arrived in this country in the mid-19th century and spread to Iowa. In Amana, I added a new sheep to my sheep collection. Here DH treats the new sheep to a real local beer:

We had a great campsite. We got there early, so we got a place with a view. Here's what the campsite looked like:

The May basket my friend Joanie gave me May 1st. Is still going strong. We took it along. We hung it out on our trailer every night as we hooked up:

In the evening, the sun set over the lake. Finally the ducks and geese went to bed, so Rocky and Sunny could relax. It's amazing how waterfowl affect mini-poos! You think of them as lap dogs, but they are direct descendants of the dogs bred to hunt ducks and geese. Here's the sunset:

What's on my needles? Not the Kristi socks. They're finished! Yaaay! Here they are on my feet. I will wear them on the last leg of the trip tomorrow.:

On to finish my Sipalu Bag. Then I need to get started on the Double Wedding Ring quilt for DD. With additional thumb surgery, I'm not sure if I'll have enough time to finish the hand quilting if I don't get started. This has been a great vacation. We've had really good luck with the weather, as with our equipment. It was great to see our DD and future SIL in Wisconsin, and to see our DS the elder and DIL the quilter in Indiana. It was great that DS cleaned my laptop. It doesn't get sluggish anymore. Now if I can get an exorcist to fix the possession...

Happy knitting/quilting. --P