Friday, February 28, 2014

Fully Final February Fiber Friday


Why did I think last Friday was the final Friday of February?  Ugh, I'm so absent minded these days.  might have something to do with lack of sleep. More on that later, first I need to write about the last Fiber Friday of February, the real last Fiber Friday of February.

We had a nice group at the round table under the skylight at Crossroads.  I had an early appointment, so I didn't arrive until 10 ish.  Constance49 and Zillalatte were busy knitting away. 

Connie was working on a beautiful lace scarf in Habu and mohair?

Zillalatte was cranking out the garter stitch on a Dr. Who scarf.  This is her OWL project for HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup). 

Since she is in my house, Gryffindor, I made sure she worked hard on it today.  OWL's are worth a lot of points.

We were shortly joined by Winterpromise31.  She is working on a hat.
But she also brought a beautiful project for show and tell that was fiber related, but not knitting.
Pam2 was knitting what she called a "plain" sock, but you can see that she is striping it,

so it isn't plain at all.

Schrike brought the baby sweater he is knitting.
The slip stitch fabric is really cute. 

CodyJunk showed up just as I was leaving.  I never remember to photograph her project! 
We missed JulieMustKnit.  I hope her kitty, Attila, is feeling better.

Amigirl was working on her Sprucey Lucy socks (of course). 
She brought a hat she knit for show and tell.
And the best part, Amigirl also brought a model for her hat.
shaping the planet on the Final Friday of February.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eastside Stitchers

Working stinks.

I worked at Bellevue College from 8:30 this morning until noon, then drove to Northgate and worked there from 1 pm to 6 pm.  I made it to Crossroads for Eastside Stitchers by about 7 pm, but I had forgotten my camera.  There was a small group at the round table, and I was only able to stay until about 8:15, but I was thankful that I had my stitching buddies after a long day of tutoring.

BlueBerryMary and Alphabetadell sat at the far end of the table. Wajio was there for a while, but I was too late to spend much time with her.  Chockelet joined in a bit later than I did.  The other two members stitching at the round table were Shrike and SeattleAmy.  It was great to have some of our "drop in" members... well... drop in.  Amy didn't have any knitting with her, but since I remembered to bring my ball winder, she helped Alphabetadel wind up some skeins. 

Schrike was wearing his newly finished sweater with a beautifully sewn in zipper.  Since I didn't get any photos, do follow the link and check it out on his Ravelry project page.  It fits him perfectly and the zipper was perfect.  He had some exciting news for the group.  He and Erika are expecting a new knitter! (a baby).  This will be the 6th new Eastside Stitcher born in a year.

Congratulations Schrike and Erica!

shaping the planet with some more baby knitting ahead

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Eastside Knitters Guild and Venus


I woke up to a sunrise at 6:30 this morning.  Those of you who live in lower latitudes don't really understand how much the times of sunrises and sunsets vary over the year for those of us who live "up North."  Or at least, I didn't really understand it when I lived in Southern California and Texas.  I love the late rising Winter sun because I get to see awesome sunrises in the Winter without waking up early, when I can see the sun, that is.  We are having a few days of no clouds, or very little clouds, and so the sunrise was glorious, and since we have rounded the longest night of the Winter Solstice, the sun is rising earlier and earlier.  Rather than an 8 am sunrise, it is a 6:30 am sunrise.  I am not kidding, that is the difference already.

The Venus part... find the Crescent Moon in the photo (waxing crescent to be precise), and look up and to the right just a bit on the right side of the bit of cloud.  See it?  That is Venus.  Hard to photograph with my little digital Olympus camera from Costco, but it is there.
I've been working two jobs this week, a sub job up in Northgate (about 30 - 45 min drive) and my regular tutoring job at Bellevue College.  The sub job is in the afternoon-evenings, not getting out until 6 every night.  That means I am driving home through Seattle traffic back to the Eastside of Lake Washington.  This didn't keep me from attending the February meeting of the Eastside Knitters Guild, although I was a bit late.

The program featured Kathy Batzelle of Alpacas at Morning Star Ranch.  She had a presentation on raising alpacas, and then on what she is doing with the fiber.  I had just seen the presentation about Imperial Ranch and their sheep/wool on Saturday at Tolt Yarn and Wool.  This is a much much smaller operation, but again, it is somehow so heartwarming to see local fiber in action.  One of the fun things Kathy showed us was what she is doing with her fiber.  She does a lot of felting into shawls and scarves.  She does so spinning, but most of her work is with felting, and dying, and the product is beautiful.

She is passionate about the animals, and the alpaca fiber.  She brought this rug knitted with giant bulky cords of the worst part of the fiber, the "thirds," and I couldn't believe how light it was.  Alpaca fiber is hollow, which makes it super warm yet super light.

The meeting was almost full.  The Guild is has a sign up sheet for members to volunteer in the Guild Booth at Vogue Knitting Live Seattle/Bellevue in March 14 - 16.  Guild members who work a shift will have free entrance to the Market for that day.  We are also taking donations to Raffle Baskets.  We will raffle these off to any people who give us their email contact information in the booth.  You don't have to be present to win. The prizes can be picked up at the March Guild meeting.  We are also taking members' knitted items (to be returned) to be put on display in the booth.  We would like to show off our skills, and also the charities we support (Operation Holiday Stocking, Purple Hats, etc.) 

If you are interested in working a shift, donating yarn/books/knitting tools, or lending a display item, please contact me on Ravelry.

shaping the planet under a planet

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Imperial Yarn, The Olympic Sweater, and Tolt Yarn and Wool


I had such a great day today.  I picked up Skeinherder at about 9:30 this morning, there was just a bit of snow falling mixed with the drizzling rain on the Plateau, and we headed east to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, WA.  Skeinherder is about half way there for me, so it was a quick drive up the hill and through the woods  and across a river (ha ha ha first, I had to drive around a lake to get to Skeinherder's house).

When we arrived at the yarn shop, it was not crowded, probably because it was about 10 am.  We were able to find street parking right across from the shop.

We wanted to get there early to shop while things were quiet.  We had plans to meet up with BlueBerryMary, Puzan, and JitteryKnitter for lunch at the mexican restaurant nearby, and then listen to the Imperial Yarn presentation at 2 pm. 

There was a "yarn tasting" table set up with the different weights of Imperial Yarn.
They have a lovely light sport weight that tempted me, but I ended up buying 2 skeins of their worsted weight.  They also have great pattern support.  I don't have photos of the patterns, but there was a sweater everyone was gaga over, and another poncho that was gorgeous. 

Tolt has a nice amount of Imperial Yarn regularly in their store in quite a few colors,
They had extra for the event, and were offering 10% off.
They had 3 drawings for yarn and a pattern, and then a Big Drawing at the end for a sweater's worth of yarn. 

We left before the last drawing, so I am keeping my fingers crossed!! 

We had a nice lunch and came back to find the store quite a bit more crowded.
We snagged chairs near the screen, and began to knit while we waited for the talk to begin.  I brought the Eastside Hat that I am test knitting for VanesaPolo.  And, just in time! people gathered in the back of this lovely store to hear Jeanne Carver tell us about the ranch, the wool, the yarn, and the Olympic Sweater.  It was a full crowd.
The slide show was stunning.  Jeanne speaks eloquently about their commitment to the land, the animals and sustainability.  She talked about salmon streams, and no-tilt farming, and what has happened to wool production in the United States.  I can not tell you how inspiring this was.  She played the video the Ralph Lauren company produced about the making of the Sweater. 

Then she brought out the sweater knit with yarn made from wool from her ranch in Oregon, spun at Kraemer Yarns in Pennsylvania, dyed at Longview Yarns in North Carolina, and sewn at Ball of Cotton in California.

Whatever you might think about the sweater's design, it has helped to shine a light on the fact that there IS a yarn industry in the United States.  The yarn is wonderful.  And we should do what we can to support and encourage more yarn production right here at home.

shaping the planet with Imperial Yarn.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Final February Fiber Friday

How's that for alliteration?

I am working this evening sub job this week (well one day) and all next week.  The best part is that I get to go to Fiber Friday!  I pulled into a parking space at Crossroads in Bellevue just in time to see CathieC get out of her car and head towards the Jo-Ann's entrance to the Mall.

CathieC was wearing her finished Ravellenics hat.
This is an unfinished photo from last week, but you can tell that the color is easy to spot on a cloudy day. 

We were soon joined by JulieMustKnit who was working on HER Ravellenics project, a sweater.  She is well onto the body, but is not sure that she will finish before the closing ceremonies.
I made her pose the sweater with her Winter Ravellenics Bag.  Well, if she doesn't finish, big deal.  Has she ever knit so much of a sweater so quickly?  I am totally impressed at her output.

BlueBerryMary was putting the final touches on the sweater she knit for her DH. 
You can see the turtleneck growing on her dpns.

CathieC, while wearing her newest hat, was back to knitting on her MacArthur Park Poncho.  She frogged the bad section from Wednesday night, and was knitting forward again.
I had her stretch it out a bit so you can see the great progress she has made on this poncho, but this photo doesn't do the progress justice.  I don't know how much she has to go, but she is really moving along.

Pam2 brought the cuff to a new fingerless mitt.
You can't see how lovely the color is in this photo.  The yarn is Cascade Heritage Sock.  That sparked a big discussion on Cascade Yarns.  Longtime readers of this blog (ha ha ha I can say that can't I?) will know how much I love this yarn for socks.  The colors are deep, rich and vibrant and they have a great variety of solid colors.  The yarn quality has always been rock solid.  However,  since the company has started manufacturing their yarns in China instead of Peru, the quality has definitely changed.  Pam2 had a bad section of fuzzy felted yarn right in the middle of the skein.  I just don't understand why Cascade monkeyed with a winning yarn product.

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed a difference in the quality or whatever in Cascade Yarns since they moved production to China.

Ok, back to Fiber Friday.  CodyJunk arrived just as I was leaving so I wasn't able to see what she brought to hook or knit. 

I brought the 4th pattern/clue for the 2014 Mystery Blanket KAL.  It is a very cool ridged ribbing.
Tomorrow, I am headed to Tolt for their Imperial Yarns Tasting and Talk.  Sunday, I will attend the Crochet Guild of Puget Sound Meeting at Crossroads, and then on Monday, attend the Eastside Knitters Guild's February meeting. 

shaping the planet with fiber activities
I wore my Day 15 Cowl to work this afternoon!  No one complemented it.

Blocking the Day 15 Cowl


The Day 15 Cowl is off the needles.  Rather irritatingly, though I tried so hard to keep my bind off loose, the bind off edge is tighter than the cast on edge.  This is the first time that has happened.  Usually my cast on is way tighter.  I decided to just even the edges out as best I could in the blocking.  Also, I wanted to stretch the width a bit so the lace opened up.  I got some good advice from the Eastside Stitchers on how to block this circular bit of knitting without getting  crease lines from where it was folded.  But....

Well, I soaked and pinned the cowl to the mats this morning, and then worked all day, so I had no chance to rotate the cowl as it dried, and when I got home from work it had definite crease lines.

I decided to spray water on the lines and reblock the cowl just a bit using something round to hold the shape, but what to use?

Two packs of toilet paper were just the right size, and nice and rounded on the ends.

I plan to wear the cowl to Tolt Yarn and Wool Saturday for the Imperial Yarn Tasting and Talk.

shaping the planet with special blockers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Surprise! Eastside Stitchers Meet Up


I tore myself away from the zombies of The Walking Dead to head out to Crossroads for the Wednesday night meet up of the Eastside Stitchers.  Actually, I got to Crossroads a bit early to meet with the executive board (doesn't that sound official!) of the Eastside Knitters Guild to plan our Volunteer Membership table for Vogue Knitting, Seattle/Bellevue.  We are hoping to have volunteers at the table in the Market for 3 hour shifts (If you take a shift, you get into the Market for free on that day).  We discussed decorating the table with knitwear, putting together raffle baskets, and the free pattern we hope to hand out (more on that at a later date as I get to test knit the pattern.)

Then, I headed back to the Eastside Stitcher tables where there was quite a bit of fun and knitting happening.  Let's see if I get the projects right.

BlueBerryMary has finished the sweater she was making for her DH and has started another sweater, this one for her nephew.
Alphabetadell was crocheting Dogwood squares for a baby blanket.
JulieMustKnit is finished with the sleeves and on to the body of her Ravellenic Games Sweater.
Wajio was also knitting on her Ravellenic Games project, the Straightforward Mitts.
Tara1682 has finished the complicated charted part of her lace wrap and is onto the "bus knitting" section.
CathieC finished her first Ravellenic Games project, her hat, and so brought her MacArthur Park Poncho.  But the poncho needed some ripping back, so I'm not sure if Cathie made any actual progress tonight.
Skeinherder brought two UFO's from last year's Mal March that she was finishing.  There and Back Socks, and a gorgeous scarf.
GwenS was knitting ANOTHER Aviatrix Hat.
JitteryKnitter is also test knitting the Hat for the Guild Table pattern give away at Vogue Knitting, Seattle/Bellevue.
Puzan was knitting the most beautiful lace scarf.
Caam704 brought a lacy baby blanket.
I brought the newest square for the 2014 Mystery Blanket KAL, but I didn't get a photo of it.  Instead, I will show you my finished Surprise Lapghan.
This is my project for the Ravellenic Games.  I hooked it for Skeinherder to say thank you for the many things she does and because I know she gets cold at work.  This way, she can stay warm in stye.

shaping the planet with another finished lapghan.