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Now don't faint-- I know I just blogged last week and this has never happened before--two blogs in two weeks. But when the mood strikes I gotta go with it! I am so happy with how my newest design turned out. This is the Classic Gansey Cardigan worked in heavy worsted/ Aran weight yarn. This particular garment was knitted in Blackwater Abbey yarn by Debbie Stephens-Sutton of Denver and my neighbor Adrienne modeled it for me. And of course my dear friend Karen Frisa tech edited it, as she does most of my patterns. (Many thanks to all of you!) The pattern is already up on Patternfish as a PDF and is available in hard copy from Blackwater Abbey Yarns. Shortly it will also be available from Knitters Treat too. Ruth carries all of my patterns too, if you prefer having the hard copy booklet. Here's Adrienne next to this awesome stone wall in her yard.... And here is a detail shot In addition to finishing that, I am still tweaking the Aran Winter Set that I posted about oh, so long ago. I am still not sure if I will include the hat, but I am trying to make it work. This is one of those long-term projects--ripping more than knitting. Finally I got tired of ripping, got the cable I wanted partway through the brim, and decided to cut instead of starting over. I picked up half a stitch all along the row with my stitch holder to stabilize the knitting. Here is where I started to cut. I only clipped one piece of yarn and gently pulled that row out, stitch by stitch, putting the stitches on my double pointed needle. Note that the cable above is tighter and more compact, being cabled every 10 rows. The cable below, which I had started with, was cabled every 14 rows--too lazy and long for me! The Stockinette stitch area will be a facing that gives weight to the cabled brim. And maybe you can see where I slipped a stitch near the upper cable for awhile, hoping that would help in turning the facing. I decided it didn't help, actually looking sloppy, and later dropped the stitch down and picked it back up utilizing every row of yarn, instead of the "every other row" that a slipped stitch gets. Mmm...better. Taa-daa! Now I have live stitches to work the Three Needle Bind-off with the other end, making the circular brim. The rest of the hat will be picked up around the edge of the brim, hopefully sooner rather than later... Designing for me is hard work. I try a bunch of different things, most of which don't work. I do A LOT of swatching. I envy the designers that can whip out 5 or 6 designs per month. I spend a minimum of 2 months, and usually way more than that, on one project. I am very slow--but it's not a race. I have learned that no piece of knitting is a total disaster--it can always be salvaged in some way. Knowing how to cut my knitting freed me up in many ways. And, having some experience in sewing as a teenager has given me some idea as to how garments are put together. Later!
Well, there it is. I love cardigans and button-down tops. I am hereby admitting that I have struggled with Gap-osis for all of my adult life; well actually since puberty. In fact this has been such a problem that for many years I would not buy or make buttoned tops. I know many of you more "fully-fashioned" women out there know what I'm talking about. Now I love my girls, but ... everyone can tell when you put a safety pin on the wrong side to hold the fronts together. It makes that little pucker that is as annoying as gap-osis itself. I have saved my buttoned tops for wearing during times when I know I will teach at Stitches or another venue where they give me a REALLY BIG NAME TAG. My awful secret is then hidden from view--or at least *I* think it is. So, I was in denial when I came across this cute little cotton top [with buttons] and determined I would make it. (For fun. Not my own design.) After three years of not working on it, I finally finished it and I was so happy...except for the front opening. I knew what would happen. So, I devised A Plan. I picked up and knitted a buttonband and a buttonhole band. I bought cute buttons. I sewed the buttons on-- and sewed the buttonband to the edge where I had picked up for the buttonhole band. Voila! A pullover top that looks like a buttoned top. And I can always take out that seam and convert the sweater to a cardi. But not very likely. Here is the top in question: As a cardigan: But really a pullover: Now I can at least wear this cute top around the house without blushing. The only other problem is that it is sleeveless and that is an issue in and of itself... I am not sure what I was thinking when I chose to make this, but it is cute and I enjoyed it!
On June 5th I flew into Columbus, Ohio to attend The National Needlearts Association trade show. I hadn't displayed in a booth since 2002 so I was feeling a little rusty. Since this is strictly a wholesale show, I was there to open new accounts for my knitting patterns. Fortunately, my friend Marilyn King offered to come along from the Denver area to help out. She efficiently got me organized (you'd think I'd never done this before as disorganized as I was!) and we quickly got our display up so we could go out for dinner and relax. My booth: Left, center, and right The next night we went to dinner at a nice German restaurant in Columbus with friends and colleagues: JoLene Treace and Marilyn King, both designers and friends! Denise, Arnhild Hillesland, and Linda from Ames, Iowa. I taught on a trip hosted by Arnhild to Sweden and Norway several years ago. Too much fun! She carries my favorite Norwegian yarn: Rauma (Strikkegarn and Finullgarn to be specific). Well, schmoozing is definitely an integral part of TNNA and I did my best! My four new patterns were well received and I am working hard to get them into booklet form to print and distribute by September 1. I met Julia Grunau, the creative mind behind Patternfish—a new website just for downloading patterns. It is a month old now and already there are over 950 patterns there. I am thrilled that Julia asked me to participate, so I am also working on pattern layout for that venue. It's a lovely site and very navigable. Check it out! After TNNA I taught for 3 days at Knitters Connection, also in Columbus, OH. This was the event's second year and it was wonderful! I met the Ravelry gang and Clara Parkes (and bought her new book, doncha know: The Knitters Book of Yarn). At the obligatory Knitters Connection teachers' meeting, Cat Bordhi was so excited to show us all a new technique she worked out for making ssk look nicer. You know how one side of your sock gusset can look zig-zaggy? Well now, with her method, the ssk line is as straight and clean looking as the K2tog side. This photo, below, shows the difference on a sock heel gusset. I can't wait for her to put up a new video on YouTube to demonstrate it! How lucky we in the knitting community are, for teachers like her who want to share knowledge rather than keep it proprietary. My sock heel gusset, with normal ssk (inconsistent size and tension of decreases) below and Cat's neat and tidy ssk above. Is that awesome or what? OK... so it's subtle in this photo, but I am very psyched about this! I am looking forward to the remaining workshops I have planned this year. You can always check out my schedule on this blog—I update it monthly, believe it or not! I'll be in Colorado and Stitches Midwest and Stitches East*, three knitting events in Vermont (YAY!), Pennsylvania, Virginia, Santa Fe, Michigan, Montreal, Chicago, northern California, and Ohio will finish up my year. What a great year it has been so far! * I am offering the Danish Skrå-trøje again at Stitches East this November and want to share photos I received from Dianna Smith who took the class 2 years ago. After completing the little sweater in class, she designed her own full-sized Skrå-trøje. What a fabulous job she did! I am feeling more and more like a Vermonter, which is a good thing. It just gets harder and harder to leave to travel. Mmmm.... future currant jelly! Enjoy your summer, everyone!
I haven't posted for awhile because I was very busy preparing for my class I taught at Camp Stitches last week. It was held at Asilomar, a lovely venue, right on the ocean near Monterey, California. It was a relief to be in 65 plus degrees weather with no humidity after Maryland's upper 80s and 90s with crushing humidity. The Lusekofte is a sweater from the 1800s that was worn by the men and boys in the Setesdal Valley in south central Norway. It has never lost its popularity and now just about everyone wears them in Norway. One interesting part of this sweater is that fabric was applied to the cuffs and front panel, and the collar if the sweater had one. These were embroidered--sometimes elaborately, sometimes very simply. Annemor Sunbø stayed at my house a few times and taught me the "antikk" embroidery. You can check out her book on the Lusekofter (plural for Lusekofte) There is a lot of sewing in this class and I brought my little Featherweight sewing machine along. (You can see it on the back table.) The knitting part is fairly straight-forward. The hand embroidery and the assembly of the sweater are what take so long. I taught the Norwegian Setesdal Lusekofte for three days. Everyone worked so hard and I am so proud of my class and the sweet sweaters everyone made. Lambchops was especially pleased with her new sweater! It was a wonderful experience, being with a smaller group of students and staying with them for 3 days. I really prefer that so I can get to know the knitters. I am hoping I can go back to Asilomar next year to teach. It will be held September 11-15.
WOW--thanks for visiting my blog! It's Monday, April 16--a very blustery day of wind and rain. I am happy to be home, cozied up with my computer and yarn. I hope to share with you some of the knitting people/places/things I see as I travel around the US and the world. For 2007 I am staying put, but I hear Europe calling me for next year. I'm crossing my fingers! This week I am figuring out how to blog. I sure would rather be knitting the Norwegian mitten I have been working on. I got the pattern somewhere when I was in Norway in 1997. (Sorry, but I don't know where.) My projects always need to age sufficently before I can work on them. The only problem with that is that my gauge has changed in ten years. Maybe you can see how the little people in the cuff are kinda loose. My death-grip on my needles grows ever tighter as I search for The Finest Gauge I'll Ever Achieve. Anyway, I am really enjoying knitting this mitten as the chart is complex. The yarn is one of my favorites, Norsk Kunstvevgarn, and is 100% Spelsau wool. (Spelsau is a Norwegian sheep breed whose fleece is composed of a hair and a wool.) Here's the front: Here's the back: Alas, I don't know where to get that yarn in this country, but the company that makes it has a website in Norwegian (http://sheep-isle.dk/Ull/ull1.htm) and you can see photos of Per Hoelfeldt Lund showing a fleece and more. When I visited his mill long ago, he was hospitable and showed me around the place. Particularly, he wanted me to see one of the defining characteristics of the breed--the curl at the end of the locks of wool. That's all for now. Stay warm and knit!