Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter


Just sharing a few photos of Easter Brunch at my house. 
And what the Easter Bunny brought my kids:

Zombie Chocolate Rabbits!

I got these from the Grendel Sweets candy shop at Crossroads.

Hope you has as great a day as we did.  The sun was out, it was really warm, and there was family.

shaping the planet with a sugar high

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What To Do in Bellevue at Vogue Knitting Live


You might have heard that Vogue Knitting Live is coming to Bellevue, WA, my home town.  You might have heard this from ME, as I am very proud and excited that we are hosting the first Vogue Knitting Live in the Pacific Northwest.

You might be thinking, "f1bercat, I know a bit about Seattle, but nothing about Bellevue".

You might be asking, "f1bercat, when I am at Vogue Knitting Live, where will I eat?"

You might be wondering, "f1bercat, what is there to do in Bellevue?"

Well,  think, ask, and wonder no more.  Over the next few days, I hope to give visitors to Bellevue some ideas of what my lovely little city has to offer.

First off, Geography.  Know that Seattle sits between 2 great bodies of water, Puget Sound on the West, and Lake Washington on the East.

If you continue going east, over one of the 2 floating bridges (the 90 or the 520) to the east side (get it?  EASTSIDE?) of Lake Washington, you will be in Bellevue.

Right away, I have some advice.  First of all, if you are flying in to our airport, Seatac, you will not be crossing one of the bridges, you will be driving around the southern part of Lake Washington on the 405 Freeway.  This freeway will take you right through the edge of downtown Bellevue.  But, if you do plan to cross Lake Washington while you are here, take the southern floating bridge, the 90.  It is bigger, has an alternating car pool or high occupancy lane, and is free.  The 520 Bridge is in the process of being ...  remodeled... so there is currently a toll for crossing it.

Vogue Knitting Live is taking place at 2 locations in downtown Bellevue, the Hyatt Regency Hotel,

 and the Meydenbauer Convention Center.

View Larger Map

These 2 places are less than a mile apart, and the city is relatively flat there.  Believe me, you don't want to be walking a mile on my side of the city (the Eastside) where the hills are quite steep.   The Hyatt is on the corner of NE 8th Street.  This is right across the street from 2 shopping areas called The Bellevue Collection.  The big one on the west side of NE 8th St. is Bellevue Square, and the smaller one on the east side of NE 8th St. is Lincoln Square.  There is a movie theater, stores, and lots of places to eat, as well as a bowling alley.

If you were sad that you won't have time to get to Seattle to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum at the Seattle Center, stop by Lincoln Square, at the Bellevue Collection and see the beautiful Chihuly instillation in the lobby.

 The Hyatt is linked to Lincoln Square by an aerial walkway,

And Lincoln Square and Bell Square (as we locals call it) are also linked by an aerial walkway.
The parking at the Meydenbauer is not cheap.  On weekends you can often park right across the street at the Bellevue City Hall for free.  But, the parking at Bell Square is free.  So, that is one place you might park.  Lincoln Square sometimes charges for parking, so I would try Bell Square first.

Right behind the Meydenbauyer is The Bravern.  This building has Microsoft Offices ( it is not the ginormous Microsoft Campus) as well as a really nice steak restaurant (a bit expensive), and other shops. They offer complimentary 6 hour parking with validation at one of the restaurants or shops; no purchase is required.

There is little to no street parking in Bellevue.  Be warned.  There are some spots at Downtown Park.

View Larger Map

That would be about a 1.5 mile walk to the Meydenbauer Convention Center.  One good thing about parking at Downtown Park is that there are some great shops and restaurants on Old Main right next to the park, and, if you parked there, you would not have to walk far to get to your car.

In between the Meydenbauer and Old Main is Quiltworks Northwest and Beads and Beyond.

View Larger Map
This is my favorite place to shop for beads for my knitting.  It is a quick 1/2 mile walk from the Meydenbauer, and a nice place to stop on your way to Old Main Street.

They have tons and tons of beautiful beads.
they have charms,
they have buttons,

they have glass and porcelain buttons from the Czech Republic.  They also have fabric.  After all, it is QUILTworks Northwest.

When I stopped by last week to take some photographs for this post, they gave me a link for a coupon for Vogue Knitting Live Participants.  Let's hope I am able to put the link up correctly, but you can print it out and bring it in for 15% off of their regularly priced merchandise.  You will be tempted.  Believe me.

Tomorrow I will write more about Old Main Street, and the shops and restaurants you can find there.

One little piece of shameless self-promotion.  If you want a great souvenir of your trip, and especially if you plan to actually go into Seattle and visit the famous Pike Place Market,  you might want to pick up my picture book, Salt and Pepper at the Pike Place Market.

If you see me at Vogue Knitting Live (I will be there every day volunteering and knitting with my Eastside Stitchers Buddies), I would be happy to autograph it for you.  You can get the book from Amazon or at the Market in the bookstore on the 2nd level.

I might be working on the next round for Sock Madness (if it is posted by then), or on the new socks for my husband, Doc, that I am currently designing. I hope to call them, Braveheart Socks.  More on these later.

That's it for now.  Hope to see you next weekend.

shaping the planet with Vogue Knitting Live in my own backyard

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fiber Friday


It was absolutely beautiful today.  This morning, it looked like rain, and probably did rain a bit.  Good thing we were knitting inside at Crossroads.

 We had our usual small Friday group.

CathiC has made some progress on her Potato Chip Scarf.  It no longer looks like a bow tie.  I can almost see the beginning of a swirl.
Redbird1 brought a new scarf.  The pattern is Kernel, by Bonnie Sennott; the yarn is Alpha B Yarn in the Sexy B colorway.

Skeinherder was working on a pair of mittens.  They are the latest of her Malabrigo March projects and are Raw Honey by Alicia Plummer.

VanesaPolo was working on her Brioche Vest, that she has designed herself.  You might remember that she steeked it one Fiber Friday, and I got a photo of it for this blog.  She picked up the stitches around the first armhole...
And finished that side.

Colleen was not knitting a baby blanket.  She was using up some of the donated novelty yarn to knit up a scarf.

After knitting, I worked on what will be the next few posts for this blog.  If you haven't yet heard, Vogue Knitting Live is coming to Bellevue, WA NEXT weekend  (April 5 - 7).  If you follow that link, it will take you to Vogue Knitting Live, Seattle, but it is actually happening across the lake from Seattle in my own town, Bellevue, WA.  Please check in here over the next couple of days for tips and recommendations for places to eat, shops to visit, and places to go while you are visiting Bellevue.

Shaping the planet from Bellevue

Thursday, March 28, 2013

FINISHED! An Afghan in 3 Months


I have finished my Transfiguration OWL Afghan, WITH a border.  I used the beautiful Eight Pointed Flower Square by Julie Yeager.

The challenge was to "vanish over 2,400 yds of yarn."  I hooked up a square and weighed it to get an idea of how much yarn I was using per square ( about 124 yds), then multiplied that by 20 squares.  Already I had 2480 yds of yarn.  That didn't include the yarn to sew everything together, or the border rows.  I would easily make the required yardage.

The next part of the challenge was to learn and incorporate a new technique in the making of the afghan.  I learned a new method of starting and then joining crocheted rounds, Air Crochet. It is absolutely beautiful.  It really makes the joins invisible. Now that the Winter Term is almost over, I should have a bit more time (when I am not frantically knitting socks for Sock Madness), so I hope to do a demonstration of the technique here.  Though, if you follow the link I gave, you can just learn it that way.  It takes more time because you have to completely finish off every round.  And, that means a lot more weaving in.  I think it is worth it in the professional look of the finished product.

Because I know I have a problem with finishing, I made myself state in my OWL proposal that the half-way mark would include 12 squares, SEWN TOGETHER.  This was probably the smartest thing I could have done.  Every time I finished 4 squares, I ... sewed them together.  Then, I ... sewed that row to the rest of the afghan.  It is amazing how little finishing work you have to do if you finish as you go.  I don't know why I avoid this with knitting and crochet.  I mean, when I cook, I always clean as I go.  I put away ingredients as I use them so that when I am ready to pop what ever I am making in the oven, or sit down to eat, there is very little clean up.  Because of the new start/join technique (air crochet), I was weaving in each round as I finished it.  That meant that the only weaving in I had to do was the sewing ends.  Again, I did that as I sewed.  When I started the border rows yesterday, I had only to sew in the last row's ends.  There was no dreaded feeling in my stomach when I started the first border row because I knew I had NO OTHER ENDS left to sew in.

One other good thing about this afghan.  I often wing the colors of crochet squares as I go.  Because you have to submit a plan for your OWL before you start, I had to really think about the plan of each square, what colors I was going to use, and how I was going to hook it together.  I think you can see a bit of the two rugs in the above photo that inspired the colors.  Also, it was really nice to have made a plan in advance of how I would rotate the various color combinations.  If you look closely though, you will see one random variation of the color scheme.  I had to throw one odd square in, just for fun.  It was completely spontaneous.  I can only change so much.

Here is what the back looks like:

I would like to thank the designer of the square, Julie Yeager, for such a beautiful design.  I think it takes a strong square to make an entire afghan, and not look boring.  This square allows for so many color combinations. 

A complete success.

shaping the planet with a new afghan.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Babies, Bags, and Good-Byes


It's Wednesday, so it must be Eastside Stitchers Night.

We had a very big night at Crossroads in Bellevue, WA.  Our member, Redbird1, had learned that she was moving back to that other Eastside, the East Coast  of the United States, so we planned a bit of a goodbye party for tonight.  Also, We had our project bag exchange planned for tonight. But, before we got started, there were 2 exciting announcements.

Eastside Stitchers is GROWING.  GwenS and Hrvdmnky are both pregnant, and the babies are due 1 day apart.  Of course, all of the chat turned to baby patterns and possible projects. A joint baby shower is being planned, all right, it's  in the very early stages, so watch for a thread on that.  August is the projected month.

Then, we got down to stitching.  Who was there, and more importantly, what were they stitching?

Last Monday evening, some of us attended the Eastside Knitters Guild meeting.  There was a fun program where we learned how to knit a "Potato Chip Scarf."  This is a free pattern on Ravelry.  Tonight, 2 people were working on their scarves.

CathiC was using some Vanna's Choice Yarn for hers.

and, Wajio was using some no name silk/alpaca/merino blend.
They are both at the very beginning where the scarf looks a bit like a bowtie.

Colleen was making great progress on a lovely light purple baby blanket. The color is way washed out, but you can really see the pattern in the photo.

Wireknitter is test knitting a beautiful pattern by Stitchnerd, also known as Susan Ashcroft.  it is the Linen Boomerang Scarf and is not available yet.  The photo isn't great, but the scarf is really beautiful.  The yarn is Koigu.

Skeinherder was busy with one of her many many many Malabrigo March projects, her Donnie's Hat, by Tracey Grzegorczyk.  I am making the same hat. 

Ellyol was knitting a Hitchhiker shawl, by Martina Behm, out of the beautiful Apple Blossom colorway from Huckleberry Knits.

Hrvdmnky is still working on her socks.  She is improvising the pattern, and has made it to the second sock.
VanesaPolo is making great progress on her latest hat design in Yak Yarn.  When she is finished, she will be posting the pattern on Ravelry for free. I will be sure to let you know when that happens, and provide a link.
Anerenbe was knitting a triangular shawl.  The pattern is Yvaine by Liz Abinante.  The yarn is the Periwinkle Sheep sock yarn she got on our little 4 store trip to Bellingham last September.

GwenS is making a baby sweater.  The pattern is the Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater, and since it is Malabrigo March, the yarn is Malabrigo Rios.

Chockelet was knitting her final project for Malabrigo March, a Curiosity by Barbara Benson.  The yarn is Malabrigo Arroyo in the Plomo (gray) colorway.

Tara1682 has made real progress on the lovely Cloisters Wrap she is knitting for her Grandmother.

That covers the knitting.  I did not take photos of all of the little gifts for Redbird1, but, I did want to show the stitch markers that Tara made.  Our Redbird1 is quite the fan of the University of Alabama.  Tara found a charm bracelet on line that had charms that represented the school and its championship football team.  She took it apart, and made the charms into stitchmarkers.
Such a clever and fun idea, and the marker came out beautifully.  Redbird1 was stunned.

On to the project bag exchange. 

There were 5 finished bags, and one materials offering (with the promise of a bag to come).  We randomly selected the number 3, then passed the bags to the right 3 times.  I got the material (from Redbird1) and the promise of a bag from her.  I was with Redbird1 when she got the material at Maker's Merchantile last month.  I just love the colors and can't wait to see what she sews up.

Skeinherder's bag:

My bag:

MsWiz's bag:  (she was too sick to join us, but had sent her bag in for the exchange)
 VanesaPolo's bag:

Chockelet's bag.

None of the bags were in the exact same style.  It was pretty cool to see the different designs, as well as the very different material choices.  I think we should do this again in a few months.

I made mine from a pattern in the Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam.  The one in the book was a bit big, so I reduced the pattern to 75% size.  I love how it came out.  One more photo of the bag I made, with a cat model (Beena).

A really fun and full night.

shaping the planet with great stitch buddies.