What a great day! Spending time amongst the fiber with new knitting friends.
Not that I've got your attention with that adorable eight week old French Angora bunny, I'll tell you my story about this year's Washtenaw Fiber Expo which took place last weekend. I love this event! I usually go with Linda, but she was in Oregon visiting her two fabulous sons. Joe is a Metallurgist and one of the greatest young men you'll ever meet. Joe was on Dick's golf team, so we both got to know this special person. Rob is a science teacher and a fine one. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Linda did get to go to Knit Purl in Portland, but we couldn't go to Fiber Expo. I was bummed until I realized I had some new knitting friends that I would love to go to Fiber Expo with.
This is Dawn and Thea. Dawn is in my Block Of The Block class, comes to Social Knitting for Charity AND is teaching beginning knitting at Ann's By Design. Thea comes to Social Knitting for Charity and sometimes we're so alike it's scary. I was so excited to take Knitting The Sky to Social Knitting one Friday to show Thea. I pulled mine out of my bag and she pulled her's copy out of her bag. Dawn and Thea are both fiber and knitting addicts like me, so we are a great three some.
Remember Kellie from Knitting On The Fringe? Here she is with Dawn. One of the best things about going with Dawn and Thea was introducing them to my fiber friends. Knitting On The Fringe had a huge area. It was like Kellie had brought the whole store. Dawn, Thea and I were in a booth looking at jewelry, when I heard this voice. "I'd know that voice any where," I thought and there stood Kellie. I bought some beautiful one-of-a-kind yarn from her.
This is what I was waiting for, introducing Dawn and Thea to the Twisted Ladies from Twisted Fiber Arts. They were amazed at the beauty. Everything was 30% off, so I bought more. I really think I have enough Evolution to open a TFA annex. There really is nothing more beautiful than a cake of Evolution.
You can always tell the TFA booth. As you approach, things get very crowded and there is a buzz in the air. There is a aura of amazement and awe. (Is that a great alliteration or what!?!?!?!) A gasp of wonder as people see Evolution for the first time. Thea bought two cakes and I bought three. It was great introducing Dawn and Thea to Twisted Fiber Arts and Beth.
I think the Yarn Pyramid is more helpful than the Food Pyramid. Particularly the advice to use synthetic yarn sparingly.
One of the things I love about the Fiber Expo is, well, fiber. Everywhere you look there is fiber. Wonderful wool, amazing alpaca, magnificent merino, captivating cashmere; it's all there. Beauty, beauty everywhere. I love to see groups like this. All different kinds to teal or pink or copper yarn hanging together. I was literally saved from over buying because one booth's credit card machine wasn't working. I think the God of Amex was looking out for me.I had six skeins of beautiful pink yarn all ready to buy. (I've been thinking about restarting Survivor Shawls, but it's not like I need any more pink yarn.)
I think I should begin and end with cute. Baby alpacas and bunnies. WOW! These little guys had already been shaved (I don't think that's the right word but you get what I mean.)
What a great day! Spending time amongst the fiber with new knitting friends.
Isn't she beautiful!?!?!?! Please meet my beloved Annabelle, my critic teacher from student teaching and the woman who started it all. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a reminder of my most important knitting. In 2010 Annabelle asked me if I would "knit something" for her Casting for Recovery retreat. It was my Annabelle, so of course I said "yes." I decided to knit something for all participants. I designed and knit my Survivor Shawls which are pink shawls made out of multiple, beautiful pink yanks. Every one is unique. Every one is beautiful. Every one is filled with love.
This was the first CFC group wearing their Survivor Shawls. I made 17 shawls for this group. I made 20 for the next group and found I couldn't stop making them. I have made close to 60 and have given them to breast cancer survivors all over the country.
This is my dear friend Martha Melcher wearing her Survivor Shawl. It just shows how different you can make pink shawls.
Survivor Shawls are my favorite project. I love everything about them. I love what they stand for and who they serve. I love the gorgeous pink yarn. I love the relaxing rhythm of the pattern. I love putting different yarns together to make Magic Balls. I loved the journey and the outcome. I loved becoming a Pink Yarn Collector. The fabulous Mary from yarn Quest in Traverse City said she will always remember me buying only the best, most beautiful pink yarn for something I was giving away. Since I was only purchasing one skein, price was no object. Beautiful, unique and the "I love it" factor were my only concerns.
I share this pattern and sorry on my second and third posts back at the very start of Knitting: A Love Story, but I'd like to share in again to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month.
You will need #15 circular needles and 10 to 15 of the most beautiful pink yarns you can find equaling about 400 yards. Now let's make a Magic Ball
Cut your yarn into 5 yard to 25 yard lengths equal to 400 yards. They don't have to be exact, they just have to be varied. Wind your yarn into little balls. Now comes the fun part. Organize the yarn in a color blend that is beautiful. It is so much fun to move the colors around, looking for the most beautiful combination. All of a sudden you will realize; THIS IS IT! The combination will be perfect, yummy, beautiful. Begin with a worsted weight which is your anchor yarn. You will use this a couple more time in the blend and to bind off. Now begin tying the pieces together using an overhand knot and leaving a tail for decoration. The tail will become an embellishment on the right side of the shawl. Wind the yarn into a ball.
The Survivor Shawl is knit end to end.
Cast on 120(ish) stitches using the cable cast on or another stretchy cast on. Long tail cast on is too tight. Now just knit every row until shawl the desired length. If you run out of yarn, cut more pieces and add them on. Cast off very loosely.
Steam/block using what ever method you prefer making sure to stretch a bit to give it a lacy look.
That's it. Isn't it the easiest project ever.
This is the magnificent lady who started it all. Annabelle provided me with the vision to create something important. I encourage you to make something for a breast cancer survivor this month. It will make you feel so good.
Today is "I Love Yarn Day." I think it was made just for me! I have never met anyone who loves yarn more than I do. I love everything about it. It's feel, it's beauty and what you can do with it.
I love to stare at the absolute exquisiteness of each ball, skein, cake.
I love to shop for, dream about and research yarn. Few things excite me more than finding a new yarn company that has a fiber I have never seen, like Caterpillar Yarns I just discovered this week. As soon as I get my order from Caterpillar Yarns, I will write about it.
Even though I frequent online yarn shops, the LYS is my favorite. I could paraphase and say "I Love Local Yarn Shop Day." I love Crafty Lady Trio, Knitting On The Fringe, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Black Mountain Yarns, Yarn Quest, Yarn Envy, The Knitting Room, Knit 'n Purl, Friends And Fiberworks, Cynthia's Fine Yarns, Twisted Fiber Art and of course Ann's By Design. I thought about listing the LYS I loved which have closed, but that would depress me too much.
Some yarns tell a story which takes you to another place and time.
Some yarns remind us of how lucky we are.
Some yarn we have plans for while others we just want to stare in wonder at the beauty.
Yarn is to be knit with, collected and loved. Who would have ever thought that they would become a collector of yarn. I didn't but here I am.
Thank you to all of the yarn companies who make the yarn, the local and online yarn shops who sell the yarn and the wonderful designers that put our visions for yarn on paper to create wondrous things. You all have created the need for "I Love Yarn Day."
I love beautiful colored yarn. It makes me happy! It makes me smile! It makes me want to knit more and more! I wish I would have kept track, but I bet I have knit more things with Noro Kureyon than any other yarn with Kauni being a close second. These are two very different yarns with one thing in common COLOR! COLOR! COLOR! (Is that 3 things?) I need to talk about my love for Kauni. This is my pile of UDY (Undesigned Yarn) Kauni. Every once in a while I have a vision and go to my Kauni UDY and create something beautiful.
I saw this pattern (Rocks from the Riverbed) on Ravelry and immediately knew I have to knit it from Kauni. Nothing else would do.
I loved it so much I had to make the second. If I wasn't knitting for Ann's By Design and a shawl for my 90 year old Mom's 91st birthday, I'd probably be doing another of these wondrous garments. This is one of the potential Christmas gifts for this year.
This is the very first time I used Kauni. My good buddy Linda talked me into it. I still haven't finished this sweater but I plan to. I was very skeptical about Kauni. I used to be a size 7, 8 or 9 needle girl and Kauni uses 3's. I think my response was, "Are You kidding!!!!!! Size 3!!!!!!!" Obviously, I got over my fear, dislike of, distaste for tiny needles thanks to Kauni. It's my preference now. Sometime I will surprise you and show a picture of this sweater finished. What I have left to do is cut the steek down the front and for the sleeves. You know my aversion to cutting into knitting.
This is what I have knit the most using Kauni. It is the fabulous Lucy Neatby double knit Bubbles scarf. I have knit at least four. They are so much fun and great gifts. Everyone who gets one is so impressed.
Another Lucy Neatby double knit pattern, but I don't remember the name. As fun as the Bubbles scarf is, this scarf is that painful. I knit this for my sister Kathy and will never knit it again, but it is beautiful. Once again Kauni comes through to make me look good.
This is my last Kauni project. When I finished, I wasn't crazy about it. I don't know why, it just didn't grab me. Kauni is a ruff yarn. Not particularly soft. So I decided to felt it. It took me a while to get up the nerve to actually do it. After all, what if it was a failure? What if I felted it too much and ruined it? What if I hated it? I finally did it, and here it is.
I love it! The colors pop. I love the way the stitches kind of disappear and everything looks dreamy.
Kauni, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I do love Kauni and everything I've knit using it.
Remember my excitement when I found this fabulous book? Then my increased excitement when I found yarn at Yarn Quest?
I started putting my kits together and guess what? I didn't have enough blue. Things I thought were blue (like bottom right) looked more like gray when I started looking close. That may be what I think of when I think of Michigan weather, but that is only in the winter. Springs in Michigan are beautiful. Autumns are crisp, bracing with blue skies and fluffy clouds. Just think of the perfect football day. We have a lot of those. Since I am getting ready to give a kit away, I felt I needed (yes, needed. Not wanted, not would like but needed) some beautiful blue yarn.
Not far from Adrian, on the way to Toledo is a wonderful LYS I haven't introduced you to: Yarn Envy. Isn't that a great name!?!? I called Thea who comes to my Friday "Social Knitting for Charity" because Yarn Envy is her favorite. I told her this was a quick because my Mom was coming, and our plans were made.
For those of you who haven't been to Yarn Envy, it is one of the most unique environments I have been in.
Yarn Envy resides in a small corner of a huge building that is a nursery. When it first opened, they were pretty much all that was in the building. As the years have past, the nursery business has gotten bigger and bigger.
There are no walls separating Yarn Envy from the nursery, but there are always women knitting at this big table. There didn't appear to be a class, just women dropping in to do what they love in a place they love. I can't describe the warm friendly atmosphere. The two women working (I assumed they were owners) looked happy and enthusiastic. No fake, condescending smile here. Just a genuine, warm "welcome to my store. I am so glad you are here" look. I told them that I was searching for yarn to "Knit the Sky" and they were intrigued. They let me roam, do my thing.
They have this wonderful area that is just jammed packed with high end yarns. Wonderful ArtYarn. Colorful Noro. Yummy Cashmere. Scrumptious Alpaca. You name it and it is in this little space. Everywhere you look there is yet another gorgeous yarn.
After my trip to Yarn Quest and my excursion to Yarn Envy, I came up with this for a Knitting The Sky kit of yarn.
I even have fluffy white for those days when clouds look good enough to spin on a cone and eat like cotton candy. I also got two great ArtYarns that have crystal and sequins and look like rain. I am sure as the year goes by, I will find yarn that I think must be in my sky. I am going to start mine on January 1 in Myrtle Beach. I can't wait. (Hopefully I will really wait not jump the gun. There is just something about January 1 that seems so right.)
I just want to leave you with the image of women knitting, talking, doing what they love and one of the friendliest LYS I have ever been in. I salute Yarn Envy and will be back real soon.
I thought it would be kind of fun to reminisce about SOME of my knitting mistakes. There are all kinds of reasons why something is a knitting mistake.
This definitely comes under "All Tangled Up!' Many of my mistakes come under "Size-too small." When that happens, I just pretend it is the right size and give it to Barb. A mistake becomes a gift and nobody knows better. Some mistakes under, "I used the wrong yarn for this pattern or wrong pattern for this yarn." When that happens I just Frog it (see cute little emoticon.) Some mistakes come under "What was I thinking?!?!?!?!" and that is a Frog occurrence, too.
This definitely comes under "wrong pattern, wrong yarn." I loved the yarn and I loved the pattern but put together it has "craft" rather than "art" (You know the difference) written all over it. Some day I will knit the pattern and some day I will use the yarn, but until then "Rip it, Rip it!" I also made a second mistake with this very same pattern. I found the perfect yarn in my stash (remember, I showed it to you? It was beautiful), I began knitting and ran out. Some day I really will knit this very interesting wrap.
I made this for my sister. The yarn is a beautiful silk blend. It is yummy. Both pattern and yarn came from my favorite Knit Purl. I gave it to Kathy two years ago for Christmas. She opened it and loved it. Last year when I was doing the Knitting: A Love Story series on things I have knit for people, Kathy brought some things from Atlanta when she came to visit. OMG!!!!!! I don't know what happened, but this literally comes down to her calfs. I don't get it. I measured it, it didn't look gigantic when I steamed it. But it would fit an 8 feet tall women and still cover her knees. IT IS HUGE!!!!!! I think what we can do is cut it off at the last stripe (OUCH! You know how stressed I get when I cut knitting), then bind off with the second yarn. Even though that is scarey, it's a better idea than ripping it and starting over.
I also made this for my sister. It is beautiful, perfect. But that wasn't always the case. Our first year at Sunset Beach I knit this. It is a great pattern, a beautiful Noro Silk Garden. I loved knitting it. Because Kathy lives in Atlanta, I knew this had to be jacket not a sweater. It needed to be big enough to wear over clothes on a chilly day. I knit, steamed it, sewed it together, hid the ends. Then I tried it on. It fit like a sweater. SOOOO, I frogged it and completely kit it again.
I have many more mistakes. That horrible vest that I made for a boyfriend for Christmas. It definitely carried the curse. (You know, once you knit something for a boy friend, you are sure to break up. I wonder how many break up are because of the sweater/vest/hat/ scarf/socks?) Then there was the knitted dress that ended up feeling like chainmaille. Then there was the black coat that I started but couldn't finish because I couldn't discern the stitches using the black yarn. I could go on and on but I really don't want to hurt my own self esteem. I will say that I learn something from every mistake, whether it is to measure better, make sure you have enough yarn or plain patterns need fancy yarns, fancy patterns need plain yarn. I value every mistake because they made me a better knitter.
This blog is dedicated to Mary Helen Growt my first knitting teacher and the woman who changed my life. The mission of Knitting: A Love Story is to preserve, share and promote the love of knitting.