Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the tag “Craft”

Swiftly learning the Swift

I ended up not purchasing a swift in the VKL Marketplace because I didn’t need nor want to spend the money for a top-of-the-line handmade maple one.  A friend helped me pick one online at JoAnn’s, which also happened to be having a 40% off sale when we were looking.

Last Saturday, I focused on putting it and the ball winder together and testing it out.

This swift tightens its size by pulling in the pole rather than pushing out the stopper like an umbrella. The screw in the vise is tightened when the pole is pulled in at the right place.

Here is the yarn that I used. It may have been a mistake to use sparkly yarn in the trial run.  The sparkles made the yarn stickier and was catching on itself as it was being pulled.

Swift

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I had the ball winder to the right and the swift was moving counter-clockwise.  It wasn’t working very well.  I reversed the yarn and then also moved the ball winder to the other side of the swift.

Yes, I know. It doesn’t really make sense. I should have done one or the other, but not both.  Where are those mathematically-adept people who understand angles and geometry when I need them?

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Now the skein was moving clockwise but since I had moved the yarn, the loose end was no longer on the outside.  I had to pull lengths of the yarn out and crank the ball winder.  Then, since I was holding the yarn, it kept getting caught up either in the crank part or the yarn was coming out of the guides.

I told myself to Breathe.  And Focus.  And not think about how much time this was taking and is it really easier than just wrapping the yarn around one of the living room chairs?

Then. Finally!  We got to the part of the skein where the loose end was on top.  Let go of the lead. Crank the lever.

Voila!

Swift

 

 

 

Back from VKL NYC Weekend

Ugh. I just have this blah feeling after the VKL NYC event this weekend. It did not live up to my expectations. I was uninspired from 2 of my 3 classes, and the Gala dinner was disappointing.

So the good news is that I now know that I really don’t want to crochet. My first class was crocheting, and some sample sweaters were passed around. I didn’t really like them that much. The majority were linear and boxy, and just uninspiring to me. There was one that I liked and could get inspired to do (if I were a crocheter), but no, <head shaking>, not interested.  This is good news because it means I can maintain my focus on knitting projects, and not veer off into this other direction.

VKL NYC Weekend

This is the one crochet sweater that I liked enough to think about making.

Then I took the Fingers First class.  The good news there was that I finally learned how to do the provisional cast on. The woman sitting next to me showed me after the instructor (Amy Detjen) rushed through her explanation.  Then we learned how to use the i-cord technique to make the finger. The woman next to me and I did not think this was easier than dpns, nor did it look as good. However, Amy did have a good way of knitting the fingers into the rest of the glove that anchors them in place and avoids holes between the digits.  But this material did not deserve a 3-hour class.  Very disappointing.

Let’s be frank, shall we.  Getting a goody (or swag) bag is fun.  That’s one of the perks of the Gala dinner. This. Goody. Bag. Was. Not. Fun.  First, Vogue Knitting gave us the Fall 2014 issue, which at this point I can say, FROM LAST YEAR! Which I, and probably everyone else in the room, have already read.  THEN, Rowan must have used this dinner as a write-off to get rid of one of the ugliest yarns I have ever seen.

VKL NYC Weekend

Can you say UGLY Yarn? This is IT. The complete contents of the not-so-swag, not-so-good, goody bag.

And thank goodness for Vogue that a woman from Eileen Fisher was their guest speaker. Otherwise, there would have been nothing in the goody bag at all. The Eileen Fisher Company was able to clean out its promotional merchandise closet by giving us each a ballpoint Eileen Fisher pen (yes, really!) and a laundry bag for fine washables. Oh, let’s be fair. They also gave a “You and a Friend” $25 coupon off of at least a $50 purchase, which is reasonable as I don’t think they sell anything for under $50 (unless perhaps a pair of their tights, which you could then wash in the garment bag). There was a pill remover that looks halfway decent, and that rounds out the bag. Nothing at all like last year, where the bag was Fab-u-Lous!

Finally, on Sunday, a fun class! Beading 101. The instructor, Laura Nelkin, was really informative and thorough. OMG, just thinking of the possibility of making more decisions about what to make – to include beads! – both thrills and frightens me!  Another stash opportunity?  [Side note: I visited my friend Linda, a fantastic! beader, and her bead stash rivals anyone’s yarn stash. (She is also a crocheter, so she is probably hiding a yarn stash somewhere.)] Laura was funny. She told us that bead purchases are less noticeable because the packages are so tiny.  Of course, I am not in a position to have to think about that (as I live alone) but it was still amusing.

VKL NYC Weekend

Here are the beads I used in the class, and my little swatch from the lessons.

Laura brought many examples of her work to illustrate her lesson, and one was more stunning than the next.

One of my favorite expressions is “you can have reasons or results,” meaning I don’t want to just complain. What can I do to make my next experience better?  Here’s what I’m going to think about over the next few months.

  1.  Spend more time thinking about what classes to take. Maybe do a themed approach and take all color work, designing or how to dye yarn type classes.
  2. Think about only going to the Marketplace, and one class.
  3. Think about making a full weekend out of  it,  and include doing other things in the city.
  4. Think about going to VKL in another city as a mini-vacation.
  5. Don’t go next year? (I don’t think so, but it IS an option.)

Oh, I did meet some really nice women.  Two in particular – the lady I sat next to in the Crochet class actually knits pieces for designers – you see her work in knitting patterns, ads and magazines. How cool is that!

I also met a lovely woman from Brazil who designs scarves. I think she won’t mind if I link to her designs for you. I really appreciated the conversation we had about widowhood and living with loss.

I am going to share my Marketplace finds in my next post.  I am very proud of myself for being (a little) conservative in my purchases.

NYC Vogue Knitting Live 2015!

I have registered for the  Vogue Knitting Live 2015 in NYC the weekend of January 17th!

Last year, the person I sat next to in the Norah Gaughan lecture shared her attendance strategy of only attending lectures. She found them very informative and more relaxing.  I tried to do the same this year, but found that there really aren’t that many lectures from which to choose, the price for 3 lectures is almost the same as taking 3 classes, the Marketplace ticket is an additional expense, and worst of all, one would have to wait till a later date to purchase a ticket to the gala dinner.

No,no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.  That was not going to work for me.

I also learned in the past that I really have to register early to get the classes that I want. Last year I dilly-dallied over the machine knitting classes, and totally missed out.  So within the hour of receiving the email that regular registration was open, I was there (online)!

I registered for:

  • Special Techniques of the Savvy StitcherDo you ever sense that there are important concepts missing in your crochet education? So many crocheters are self-taught, they manage to acquire lots of skill without quite mastering others. This class provides the knowledge you may be seeking about: counting stitches, turning chains and alternatives, stitch pattern multiples, increasing and decreasing, joining yarns, changing colors, weaving in ends, and foundation stitches. We’ll continue building techniques for tackling challenging stitches like reverse single crochet and various loop stitches. Move your skill level up a notch by reviewing both standard and innovative ways to tackle typical crochet questions. Taught by Dora Ohrenstein, who is an established crochet designer and is teaching many crochet-oriented classes this year. I looked her up on Ravelry, and chose two of her designs to share with you.

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  • Fingers First Gloves – Taught by Amy Detjen, who works closely with Meg Swansen,  Amy will teach you how to make seamless gloves starting with the fingers (done using an I-cord technique). This guarantees a custom fit, and you get the pesky part done at the beginning. Amy will demonstrate lots of techniques during the class, which also includes a sheet of guidelines for making custom gloves. I have always been intimidated by the fingers (which is odd since I love dpn knitting) so I thought this would be good to do in a classroom setting.
  • Beading 101 – I have been coveting some bead sites lately, so decided to take this class to justify converting my lusting to actual purchases (from the oh-so-very-beautiful and unique beadroom.com, to PandaHall, the site that offers standard beads at good prices.)
    BeadRoom.com
    This class teaches three different techniques for working with beads. It is the perfect introductory knitting with beads workshop! Besides learning how to choose beads and yarn, you will learn how to place beads on a stitch with a crochet hook or dental floss, how to work with prestrung beads, and how to make a beaded attached I-cord edging. This is a class for knitters with basic knitting skills who want to learn how to add some bling to their knitting! It is taught by Laura Nelkin, 2 of her designs from Ravelry are shown below.

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I tried to throw in a lecture during Saturday lunch, but it brought the cost up a little more than I wanted to spend.  I tried to do 2 lectures on Sunday instead of 1 class, but again, not worth the expense. I ended up registering via the Broadway Baby package, that includes the Marketplace entrance fee.  I paid for the dinner as a separate expense.  As you may recall from last year’s recount, they give a goody-bag that more than covers the cost of the dinner, not to mention experiencing the wonderful camaraderie with the other guests, speaking the knitting language in a great social setting.

Vogue Knitting Live 2015

I can’t wait!

My Kind of Game Show

For some reason I have been recording Hollywood Game Night. I do not follow celebrity news, do not know many of the celebrities on the show, refer to the show as Extroverts Extroverting Themselves, and have no idea how the participants can connect in the final round in describing so many so-called famous people.  It’s like a study of another world.

It made me think –  In what kind of Game Show would I excel and be interested?  Here are the clues that I thought would be fun:

  • Loves variegated colors, dyes her hair in crazy colors…
  • Does great cable designs, publishes in Vogue…you bookmark all her designs, really great at construction
  • Her patterns often resemble nature, recently retired from Berroco
  • Founded KnitPicks, has a podcast
  • Has a store in Reno, has great customer service, they’re very helpful with everything!, wrote the Red book about Knitting to help fight against heart disease
  • The queen of Fair Isle, British

I was at work the other day, lamenting with a co-worker about what we would rather be doing…turns out we’re both knitters!  I’m betting she would have the answers to the above…

  • Lucy Neatby
  • Deborah Newton
  • Norah Gaughan
  • Kelly Petkun
  • Jimmy Beans Wools – Laura Zander
  • Debbie Bliss

Knitters Unite! Let’s go to the TV Execs and ask for a show that would really be interesting!  Knitters Having Fun talking about the Knitting Culture!

knittinggameshow

 

Fair Isle Inspirations #2

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I had ordered prints of many of my Fair Isle inspiration photos awhile back and wanted to put some of them in a collage frame. When I went shopping, I realized that collage frames are not for me.  They’re too restrictive, and don’t have the cut-out size options I wanted.  On one hand, I could take it to the extreme and design my own mat openings, but….let’s be realistic!  So I came up with a better solution.

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I bought a simple frame, and some black wrapping paper.

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I took the cardboard that came with the frame and covered it with the paper. (I wrapped it like a gift at the edges, folding and taping facing flaps, then created a triangle at the corners of the open edges before folding and taping them in.)

And then I had to decide my “most inspirational” photos.

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So many choices!

Of course nothing is set in stone so I can switch them out as needed, or even purchase and set up more frames.

The final products below. I love them both!

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I love the detailing in these photos!

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I must confess that I like this one the best!

Fair Isle Inspirations #1 (Because there will be a lot of these)

In January, I attended the Vogue Knitting Live conference in Manhattan. I participated in four classes and was inspired in each!
I was lucky to get in the Fair Isle Inspirations class with Debbie Bliss. I love Fair Isle. I love mixing colors and patterns – it is a perfect fit for me!  And Debbie Bliss is the master (mistress?)!
The class consisted of a short PowerPoint presentation of how she derives inspiration. Then she gave each of us some sample yarn, told us to take out our graph paper and get started. We looked at each other. This is it? This is the class? We were annoyed, angry, but wanted to make the best of it so started working.

Here are some of the samples she brought.

Well. We each did a couple of designs and then had the opportunity to consult with Debbie one on one to get her advice and feedback.
It turned out to be the best class of them all!
Here are some of the photos I took after the class. For some reason I found myself drawn to beiges and muted colors. Very unlike me.  An interesting turn of events.

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