Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I was making excellent progress on my second sweater design.  I am designing this garment for a special event later on this year.  I have a generous test knitter, who is just one step behind me.  I made it all the way to the sleeves. At this point I needed to check my math again to figure out sleeve decreases. Checking my math meant checking my gauge.  Checking my gauge I found I was getting 6 stitches to the inch. That just didn't  sound right.  The pattern says  5.25 stitches to the inch.  Huh!? 

I got a peek at test knitter's sweater.  She is getting specified gauge.  It looks great.  Mine looked fine too- but certainly a tighter knit. I see no choice but to start again. Here I rip!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why today is insane

Woven Art has been evacuated for this afternoon and evening because of a gas leak. BWL was doing some sort of routine maintenance on the gas line. they told us about it in advance, and there seemed to be no reason for alarm.  

I was in my office, doing major battle with my new operating system on my computer ( it ate my accounting files), when Meg, my co-worker, looking very concerned, opens the back door.  The gas smells from the front of the store were getting pretty intense. Next thing I know, she was tell me we had to leave the building.  The reading in the basement was pretty high. 

Anyway - please don't come visit Woven Art today. I am sure all will be back to our normal level of yarny lovliness by tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TNNA Highlights

My five days at The National Needlework Association conference and trade show were a total blur of classes, vendors, meetings, greetings, and excellent food and beverage. I took a class with Sally Melville called "First Choices" on how to make sweaters that are flattering.  Most of the information is in her new book "Mother Daughter Knits". After seeing the real garments, in person, I ran right out and got several copies. I must, must knit the white blouse.  And never drink red wine in it. 

I also took a class from Cat Bordhi.  It was a free form moebius knitting class.  I have knit several of these clever items before. I have taught the class several times as well, and I have even found a favorite cast on, that is a little different from hers. Still, I found the class to be very liberating, and I learned many new tricks. She is great, great, great. Do not pass up an opportunity to take a class from Cat. 

I taught a class in Rigid Heddle weaving - essentially the same class I offer frequently at Woven Art. I had 8 students. They all completed a scarf in under 6 hours.  I even saw a couple of handwoven scarves on the show floor the next day. 

I met Liz Gipson, author of "Weaving made Easy", a great new book for Rigid Heddle weaving. I had sent her a vest that I had designed for the Cricket loom.  

There is much more to tell, but I will save that for a saner day

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big Hairy Spider

This morning I opened the dishwasher. It had just finished - the dishes were still hot - and there was a SPIDER inside.  It was about the size of a dime - but chunky. He, or She was jet black, with a white spot on the butt.  Anyone out there know what kind of spider that could be?  I couldn't kill it. This is not because of any sympathy toward spiders, but because it was very scary looking, and I was barefoot.  I trapped it under a glass bowl, slide a Comcast advertisement under it, and tossed it all into the yard.  The bowl is still out there. 

I'll tell you about TNNA tomorrow. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Now for some knitting

Did you think that in my enthusiasm for weaving, I had stopped knitting? Au contraire!
Recently I took a little trip, and wanted a little project to take along.  Not something I had to knit for a class, or for a shop model, or for a present. But just for fun.  There was this yarn, a fingering weight kona superwash that I've loved since the day I rinsed it out. I knew it needed to become socks. I waited for someone else to scoop it up (well, a couple of days anyway). No one did! So, it became mine. Then I searched high and low for the *perfect* pattern.  After many books, and much searching I concluded that Grumerina's Jaywalker was the exact right fit.  But, because of the size of the yarn, I changed needle size to 0. You might be able to tell from the picture that I am using two circular needles instead of the suggested double points.  I had to fiddle with the pattern a bit, because Grumperina specifies how many stitches there would be on each double point, like many sock patterns do.  About 30 seconds of thinking, and the translation to circs was complete. 

Don'tcha love how the color works with the pattern? That little flash of white seems to fall at just the right spot. 

My other project on needles (hmm that implies only two. Maybe I am falling off a bit*) is cardigan pattern I am writing.  Pictured below  are the bottom and front edges.  It is knit from the top down, and I am almost done with the body. Soon, I can go on to the sleeves.  I have one test knitter knitting along, so I need to stay ahead of her. But I am still a newbie at this pattern writing business, and I need to knit it myself to see how it works out, before I can let others at it.  I am in awe of the knitwear designers who work it all out on paper, and send it off to the test knitters, confident ( and right about it too!) that a sweater will result.  Maybe someday, sigh. 
In case you are wondering, the cardigan yarn is hand dyed (Woven Art) Monty 3/9's.  Delicious!

The rain today caused me to drop everything, including dinner plans, to go to Woven Art to move looms, and cover drains.  One more storm is expected tonight - but at the moment the sun is shining, and the sky is blue, making me feel a little silly. 

*Not true. I just remembered another pair of socks. 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Souvenirs from Tucson

Souvenir: a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place or event. 

I recently spent four days hanging out with my middle daughter and her friends in her town of Tucson.  As a mom, I needed to see her in her place.  I found her deeply embedded in a community of like minded, hard working, healthy organic farmers, and bike mechanics.  She indulged me by taking me to every yarn store in Tucson.  Grandma's Spinning Wheel is closed on Mondays (WHAT?),  but we picked up a couple of drop-spindles and some fiber at the delightful Kiwi Knitting near the U of A campus.  At a pot-luck at the Farm later that day, I pulled out the spindles and the fiber, and let 'em at it.  Several people gave it a try, and one or two went off into "spindle-space", where they couldn't hear us trying to bring them back to earth.  They made beautiful yarn together.  

Wanting to bring a bit of the Tucson experience back home with me, I visited my own local farm market this morning.  I found a hanging plant, some cilantro, some berries that I will put on my Torte di Limone  that will be tonight's dessert.  The torte was our contribution to the pot luck, and the recipe can be found at  Italian Food Forever.