Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm in Germany!!

sorry no photos yet because the wifi at the first hotel in Passau is too slow.  we have had some funny adventures already, including this super old computer in the hotel's business center.  it has a keyboard with many unfamiliar symbols.  it took me forever to figure out how to type a @ because it is in the bottom right of the Q key and i couldn't figure out how to get a symbol in that spot to show up.  for further reference, there is a key named "Alt Gr" that seems to access those symbols.  also, the Y key and Z key are switched so i keep tzping z's when i want to tzpe y's.  see what i mean.

the weather is cool and a bit rainy, we could get soaked tomorrow.  moogie and i keep telling each other that is all part of the adventure.  germanz is beautiful.  we left seattle at 6, sorrz for no caps, but that is a bit different on this kezboard, too and it's a pain.  ha ha also the apostrophe is switched with this symbol รค  so i keep having to back space and put in the '

anyway, we left seattle at 6 am, arrived in newark, nj at about 2 pm.  left there at 530 pm and arrived in berlin at about 630 am.  the flight to newark was very bumpy, but the flight to germany was pretty smooth.

the computer wont let me show the flights part of the trip.  i hope the map embeds ok.

anyway, off to bed, we are riding 38 miles tomorrow!!

o! wanted to say that the woman behind me on the train to passau was knitting.  we chatted very briefly, mostly she was knitting a summer sweater in what looked like linen or cotton and silk, she looked at the mittens i was knitting and said, "very warm." then pointed to her sweater and said, "for summer."  i laughed, pointed to my mittens and said, "for winter."

shaping the planet from passau, germany!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014



Quick post because like the Prince in The Princess Bride, I have a wedding to attend, errands to run, a suitcase to pack and Pookie to pick up from the airport.  I'm swamped!

I finished the last row of the border for the Wedding Afghan for CJ and David last night around midnight.  I was falling asleep as I was hooking and as I jerked awake, I would think, JUST KEEP GOING!

But, I did manage to finish, and the afghan is beautiful.  Most importantly, it was made with love and will wrap the happy couple in our love and best wishes for a long happy life together.

Ok, I need to get back to folding laundry.  I hope to next post from Germany!
shaping the planet from Bellevue, WA, USA.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Last Wed Night with my Eastside Stitcher Buddies Until Sept.


I was going to name this post:  This is Why My Daughter, Allifer, Sucks, but, as it was a Wednesday night meet up of the Eastside Stitchers, and I am headed to Europe on Sunday to ride through Austria with Moogie and visit Hogwarts with my Gryffindor mates, I needed to make this post about the meet up and not about how while Allifer has finished her 2 rows of the Wedding Afghan, and dropped them off for me to attach, she

Her squares are lovely, but really..... ugh, the meanness of her to make me weave in for her!

Here is my part of the afghan:
When I get it all sewn together and the border finished (tomorrow night I hope) and THE ENDS WOVEN IN, I will take a finished photo to post.  Honestly, though I get sick and tired of using these three colors, they do combine into a beautiful afghan.  I am really proud of our work, and know the bride and groom are getting a piece of art.

Ok, on to Eastside Stitchers, and who made it to Crossroads for the Wednesday night meet up.  First I have to say that we are having the weirdest hottest weather.  Global Warming stinks.  We finally had some rain last night, and when I say rain, I mean not our usual Pacific Northwest drizzle.  It absolutely poured.  We got more rain in one night than we usually get for the entire month of August shattering the record set 32 years ago.  The rain helped with the wild fires that have been burning a huge part of our state east of the Cascades, but since there was a lot of lightning, there is a chance that more fires were also started... and in my city, Bellevue, there was flooding because of how much rain fell so fast.  Luckily, there was no flooding in my neighborhood, but then we are super hilly.

Anyway, because of all this weird weather, we had a small group at the round table in Crossroads near Half-Price Books and Starbucks.

Chockelet was at the table when I arrived.  She brought the most amazing cowl that she was casting on.  Honestly, I think she has to cast on over 400 stitches on one needle, knit for a while, then cast on another 400+ stitches on another needle, knit THAT, and then graft everything together.  Brave woman.
Chockelet also spent some time entertaining the beautiful Addie (or Addie spent time entertaining her...)

Wajio brought her second pair of navy mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy.
She is wisely knitting these 2-at-a-time.  I need to get knitting as I am still on my first pair of navy mittens for the school!
ReadNitDream brought an afghan she is hooking.
Another brave woman to be working on an afghan in August.

The beautiful Addie did not come to knitting alone.  She brought her mom, GwenS, who was knitting a cowl in ... Malabrigo of course.
I worked with Addie on having "Malabrigo" for her first word.  She seemed more interested in singing.  Smart girl.

I woven in Allifer's ends, then got in another row on my navy mittens. Weaving in is relatively painless when you are chatting with friends and enjoying the lovely Addie.

shaping the planet with knitting buddies

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why is Counting to 8 So Difficult?


We keep getting these wisps of clouds that hint at rain... but then aren't rain.  On Friday, the sky over the Cascade Mountains looked like this:
 and I couldn't decide if those were clouds headed our way, or if that was smoke from the fire in Ellensburg.  We didn't get any rain, though, so maybe it was smoke.  It was hot all weekend, and is supposed to get back to 90 F (32.2 C) tomorrow.  I guess I should be happy that I am working until 5, and then tutoring 2 students at 6 and 7.  Ugh!  Well, I will have to hit the gym before I leave for work for a biking workout.

So, I have finished the 20 squares that make up the 4 rows of 5 for the wedding afghan.  The wedding is this coming Saturday, so we need to put this thing together and hook the border.  My rows are all put together.  I finished hooking the four rows together tonight as I watched The Killing, a Netflix original crime drama set in Seattle.  The show is pretty good, but the best part is watching how they portray Seattle, and looking for mistakes.  One funny thing is that it is always raining.  And, by raining, I mean it is pouring.  There are lots of scenes in the first few episodes with people standing under umbrellas.  Ha ha ha!  that is a big mistake.  Locals rarely use umbrellas.  Also, at one point, one of the characters tell another who is hungry to stop at Del Taco.  Ha ha ha we don't have Del Taco's here.  I know they have them in Southern California.  Also, the politics is all weird and wrong.  And you see people running, well some, but there are hardly any people riding bikes.  One other funny thing is that the woman detective is always wearing jeans and a yoke colorwork sweater, like a scandinavian design.  Also, she wears a raincoat most of the time.  I don't own a raincoat.

ok, Back to the afghan. 
I hooked the last two squares using my 99 Little Doilies book by Patricia Kristofferson.  In the above "square" you can see that in the VERY FIRST ROUND I miscounted and made 9 popcorns instead of 8.  This threw the whole square off without my noticing it until I was "squaring the circle."  Of course, instead of squaring the circle, it became a sort of oddly shaped star.  So, maybe I was "starring" the circle.  Anyway, I had to frog that back to the very beginning and re-hook it.

When I showed the finished square to Himes he said (I am not kidding), "I really like that stripe in the different color around the outside."

I responded, "you mean the simple round of double crochets in taupe?  that is your favorite part of this square?"

He looked at my wild eyes and backed quickly out of the kitchen.

The other square that I based on a doily pattern from the book is this one:
As this pattern was a round doily, I had to stop with the pattern earlier, and use my own stitches to square it, then make some interesting border.  I was just about out of the dark brown espresso yarn, so had to use it only in the final two rounds.

I also designed yet another type of "woven" crochet square.
This "weaving" uses front post triple crochets (and double triples).  It is more of an illusion of weaving that actual weaving like the other squares.

The last square I made is a very plain series of single crochet rounds in beige, followed by half-double crochet rounds in taupe, and some double crochet rounds in espresso, with the last framing double crochet round in beige (because I was running out of espresso).  If I gave this square a name, I would call it, "Jane."
As I was hooking the rows together, with the afghan draped across my lap, I was wondering why I am always making afghans in August... I don't have photos of my finished part, as it was too late to get decent ones, but wow, this afghan looks good.  I am really sick of these three colors (yes, Wireknitter, I might scream if I have to use them again soon) since this is the third afghan in a little over a year I have made with them, but they really go together nicely.  And, the afghan, with all the different squares, is very striking.

Ok, off to bed.  I need to make it to the gym tomorrow before heading out to Northgate.

shaping the planet with an afghan in August.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday Meet up for Eastside Stitchers

It was a bit of a quiet night at Crossroads for the regular Wednesday night meet up for Eastside Stitchers. It was super relaxing to just hang out and see what people are working on.

I arrived fairly early, but Wajio beat me to the round table near Starbucks and Half-Price Books.  She was working on her navy and white mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy.  This time, I got a photo of her finished mitten.
She has started the second mitten, but right now it is mostly a pile of yarn.
There was some story about grabbing a set of the wrong size circular needles, and knitting up to the thumb gusset before she realized that she had the wrong size circular needles, and then having to frog the whole second mitten... Wajio found the right needles though, and cast on and was knitting away before she left for home.

CathieC was knitting her sample charted square.  She has designed her own pattern, made a chart, and is now knitting it.
CathieC is still working on her beautiful MacArthur Park Poncho, but at home.  Imagine knitting on that Poncho in this heat!

Guess what Tara1682 is knitting?  ha ha ha I think that Tara1682 and Puzan are the easiest members to "Guess the Project."  Well, Wireknitter might be in that group, too.  Just as Puzan is most likely to be knitting a cowl, and Wireknitter is most likely to be knitting a shawl, Tara is most likely to be knitting a...
Linen Stitch Scarf!

Speaking of Wireknitter and knitting shawls... she brought 2 in for show and tell.  The first is one she designed herself after taking a class at Madrona on designing lace shawls.

There were some excuses about how the center pattern repeats don't line up with the side section pattern repeats, blah blah blah, but you know how we are all our own worst critics.  The shawl is beautiful.

Wireknitter's next show and tell is another shawl.
This was a mystery kal by Susan Ashcroft and it is called the 3-3-1 Mystery KAL.  The construction is very interesting, and although the pattern has lace, it isn't overwhelmed by the beautiful Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock handpainted yarn.

The last thing Wireknitter brought tonight is her actual project, which is another shawl!
I brought afghan squares, the ones I showed you yesterday, and spent the evening hooking them together into rows.  I have 2 rows finished.

Right before we left for the evening, Caam704 (Colleen) arrived!  She did not bring her knitting, but we hope to see her back at the group with needles in hand, soon.

shaping the planet with regular buddies!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lots of Squares


My heart goes out to all the victims of wildfires this summer, but especially for those in my own state of Washington.  Our fires seem to start from lightning, so are no one's fault.  But, o! the people who have lost their homes, farms and businesses.  Just in case people are getting too sad, a bear cub was rescued the other day from the fire near Wenatchee with burned paws, etc, and flown to Lake Tahoe for care.

I am once again frantically cranking out blanket squares for a deadline.  My daughter, Allifer, and I are making an afghan for a wedding gift for her best friend since Second Grade.  We each agreed to make 15 squares, sew them into rows of 5, then we will sew the 6 rows together and hook a border.  Well, when I was down in So. California last week, I hooked 8 squares.  It was amazing.  But, we all know how good knitting/crochet is for stress relief.  So, I sat with my brother while he worked and hooked squares.  I sat with my brother and watched episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation, and hooked squares.  I spent time with my parents and hooked squares.  I went back to the quiet of my sister's house (she was in Chicago) and hooked squares.  When I wasn't riding her bike, I was hooking squares.  That is how I got 8 squares finished in 5 days.

 This first square is a version of one I made for the black and red afghan for my Godson, A.  It is based on a cable stitch from a hat pattern I got during the 2014 North Puget Sound Yarn Crawl at Serial Knitters, my most local yarn shop.  I made 2 versions of the hat, and really liked the cable.  I added some twist stitches, and of course, made a square rather than a hat.

 I just love the squishiness of this square.  It is made with sort of half puffs that are hooked at an angle with a dc behind.  In order to get the rows to lean in different directions, I worked on the back side for some of the rows.  This used a lot of yarn, 177 yds (162 m).

 I'm not sure you can see this clearly in the photo, but the square above alternates the blocks of dc with 2 rows of a lacy stitch.  I hooked the lace parts in the dark espresso color, and they don't show up very well.  I like how the open and more solid rows set each other off.  I don't often hook squares that are super lacy as I like warm afghans, but it's fun to make at least a few for a patchwork afghan like this one.

I love how the different heights of the rows of this afghan square give it a sort of optical illusion look.  It almost looks like the square bends.

 I made this square using a similar technique to the one used for the 16-Circles Square by Beatriz Medina.  I hooked the center beige flower, then with the taupe, I hooked the bottom half of the 8 taupe flowers.  It looked pretty weird at that point.  Then, I hooked the tops of all the taupe flowers.  It looks pretty cool.  The border uses a sort of flower motif as well, and although I hit the 12 in (30.5 cm) size pretty early, and had to do a simple single crochet final round, I love the border.

 The center beige section of this square was inspired by a stitch combination in one of my Japanese crochet stitch dictionaries.  It looked like cathedral windows.  It looks a bit different in the round, but I still really like it.  It opened up into a square pretty easily, too.

I just love this square.  Back when Redbird1 was a docent at our Bellevue Art Museum, I went to this amazing exhibition of woven baskets from Japan.  I was inspired to try to design a square that incorporated some elements of weaving.  I have tried for over a year to have this work, but it always looked mutant.  The tension wasn't perfect in this square, but I think you can clearly see the woven sections.
This square was just a sort of mishmash of different stitches.  I think if I ever write it up, I will name it "Busy."  For now I'm calling it something like "Icicles."

Since I returned, I have hooked the last of the 15 squares that are my part of the blanket.
I'm almost embarrassed to put this square on the blanket.  Don't get me wrong, I like how it looks.  As you can probably see, now that I have sort of figured out how to make a woven square, I was playing with more ways of weaving.  So the square is very very asymmetrical.   I hope they will think of it as design features (which it all was).

So, I talked to Allifer to see how her 15 squares were coming, and of course, she won't be able to make them all.  I wasn't surprised.  While I had tons of opportunity to hook in So. California, Allifer, who was also down in So. Calif. last week had no time at all.  She was there for Comicon, and was way too busy having an awesome time. I am mostly just working on mittens and hats for the Detroit Achievement Academy, Grade 3, so I have extra time to make more squares.  I am almost finished with one that was inspired by some doily patterns that I have from this wonderful old Leisure Arts book called 99 Little Doilies by Patricia Kristofferson.  No photos of this one yet, but I'll try to post one soon.

Ok, bedtime for me as I am working early every day for the next 2 weeks up in Northgate.  I hope I can bring my bike at least a few of the days and ride home.

shaping the planet with afghan squares.
close up of my first woven square

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sunday Knitting (as reported on Monday)


We are back to hot hot hot weather.  Well, hot hot hot for us.  I have had to ride the bike at the gym rather than get out in this weather, and that is really no fun.  It's amazing how I can take a 3 hour bike ride and never think of the time, but when I am riding the stationary bike at gym, all I do it watch the clock.

Anyway, I made it to Sunday Morning Knitting yesterday at Panera's in Redmond.  I got stuck in the airport in Long Beach last Wednesday, so missed that Eastside Stitchers Meet up, then had to work on Friday morning (ugh!), so I was determined to find some knitting time on Sunday.  Wow, I was glad that I did.  First of all, Skeinherder was there.  I have missed her so much.  She has been one of my best knitting buddies, but she has a new job this year, and well, we have all missed knitting with her in person.

She brought the most beautiful sock.
The pattern is Aquaphobia, and her yarn is Yarn Pirate Bamboo/Merino/Nylon in the Sweet Lime colorway.  It's such a nice pattern to use with hand dyed yarns.

Another fun surprise at Sunday Morning Knitting was Truespark.  On our Dying Day Trip to Blue Moon Fiber Arts Studio, Truespark told us about her niece who teaches at an inner city school, The Detroit Achievement Academy, in Detroit, Michigan.  Her Third Grade students are in need of warm hats and mittens, and our stitch group has challenged ourselves to knit for them.  We decided to stick with their school colors, navy blue and white, but other than that, any hat and mitten pattern is good.  It has been fun to see each other's projects.  And, it was fun to see Truespark, as she doesn't often make it to our meet-ups.

Not surprisingly, she brought the beginning of a navy hat.  I'm pretty sure it's the Tolt Hat.
JitteryKnitter was working on??? ha ha ha I'm not sure.  It's not a navy hat or mittens.  I was so charmed by her yarn bowl, that that was all I photographed!
Puzan wasn't knitting something navy either.  She also wasn't knitting her beautiful Featherweight Cardigan.  She was starting...
a cowl.

Meshamarie was knitting fingerless mitts, but these are a gift for her sister.
I can't tell you VanesaPolo's project, but I can show some of her yarn...
so, Who was knitting with Navy yarn?  Wajio, of course!  did I get a photo of her project?  No, of course...  She brought a finished mitten, and was working on the second of the pair.  If she brings them on Wednesday night, I will try to get a photo.

shaping the planet in navy and white
These are the double-knit mittens I was knitting on Sunday