Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the tag “Yarn”

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

2015-01-31 15.07.58

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

 

 

 

VKL Marketplace

The VKL NYC Marketplace was filled with wonderful choices and never-ending ways to spend money!  However, having recently organized my stash, I was well aware of the multitude of projects already awaiting my attention.

Add to that two classes that left me uninspired, I wandered around on Saturday feeling that nothing was leaping out at me.

I had also very carefully planned my purchases ahead of time. I printed out 9 patterns from Ravelry and noted the yarn needs for each.  460 yards of fingering for one, 900 yards of DK for another, etc.  I was so proud of myself for creating a structure in which to shop.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Throw all that preparation and organization to the winds!

If I was tempted by something…I just had to find the right color and I was IN!

The icebreaker (my first purchase): I came upon the booth for Jill Draper Makes Stuff. I had really admired her yarns at the VKL Marketplace a couple of years ago, took her card with the intention of getting something later, and have also favorited her Etsy shop, but I have never made an actual purchase. Time to stop the procrastination!  I bought this skein of Esopus (fingering weight) in the color Caribbean with the intent to use it for one of the pieces in the Curls book I recently purchased.  But then in my Beading 101 class, this very yarn was mentioned as great for knitting with beads.  So we shall see how it ends up…

VKL Marketplace

Jill Draper Makes Stuff: Esopus – Caribbean

Then I purchased 3 skeins of Rustic Fingering from Neighborhood Fiber, one of my favorite shops.  The yarn names are after different neighborhoods in Baltimore: The purple-y one is called Lauraville,  the brown-orange is Lincoln Park, and the green-yellow is Fells Point .  I purchased these for the Color Affection shawl. I wanted colors in the same tone, but that you might not automatically think go together, which is what I think will make this shawl really pop (or go terribly wrong!).

It’s interesting to watch my own tastes in colors, fibers, and weights change over the years.  When I was growing up, my absolute favorite color was yellow.  Over the past decade or so, it has been gray (because gray goes with Everything!).  Since DDSO passed away, I gravitated back to yellow, as it was his favorite color.  Now, I find myself going more for pinks (!) (I know, what’s up with that?) and sparkly yarn.  I also bought only fingering weight yarn this year, whereas before I usually liked working with DK.  And prior to this year’s purchases, I would Never buy yarn with nylon or acrylic.  EEK! I have let down that guard too. But I had to because that seems to be a necessary component for the sparkly yarns.  It’s all about choices! (Inside joke/reference to a previous post about food.)

Next up: Sparkly fingering weight yarns. This is Holiday Yarns: Silver Sock Fingering in Muse (shades of blue) and Highlighter (great name! for this bright yellow). Each of which I thought could be used to make the Manhattan shawl.

VKL Marketplace

Holiday Yarn

VKL Marketplace

Manhattan Shawl

Okay, I was done. It was Saturday, after two classes and the gala dinner was going to start in an hour.  I decided that there was nothing really calling my name and that was it.

Well, wouldn’t you know.  My Sunday morning class was held in a room within the Marketplace!  Fate? <smile!> Sure.  So during our break, I rushed over to the Woolstock booth to buy these flexible rods for blocking.  Leslye Solomon’s company makes them and I have been tempted to buy them since the first class I took with her at the 2nd VKL.  Not a very exciting purchase, but it should make the blocking process a whole lot easier and more effective.

VKL Marketplace

When the class was over, I took a last stroll through the Marketplace. I thought about buying a swift but a handmade maple swift for $200+ was not on my list. But what was on my list was to get yarn for these socks (yes! I know! socks?! usually not my thing).  But I really like the creator and her blog, and the design, Shersocks,  is tempting (enough to do them!).

VKL Marketplace

Shersocks

Here’s the yarn I got for them.   It’s Simple Sock from Kismet Fiber Works in Michigan Cherry and Limoncello. I don’t think the photo gives the colors justice. I decided to do the heel in the design color (Michigan Cherry) and not purchase  a 3rd color. Hopefully the colors will turn out more vibrant when I take pictures of the completed project. (This year!)

VKL Marketplace

Kismet Fiber Works

And then, on my way out, I felt I just had to stop at this one booth at the “end cap” (from my merchandising days) where the guy always said hello when I passed by.  Turns out Molly Girl Yarn is from the next county over…so very happy to support them! I picked this lovely Diva Fingering yarn in the color “Alive for the First Time” to do some kind of beaded piece, having just come out of Beading 101.

VKL Marketplace

Molly Girl Yarn

Laura Nelkin, the Beading instructor, had given us coupons to buy knitting beading kits on Ravelry or her Etsy store, and I have indulged!  Those are not VKL Marketplace purchases, so I’ll save them for another post.

I have enough to keep me busy for awhile.

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!

Priorities

O&Co. LogoI was in Grand Central today with a little extra time so I stopped in an Olive Oil store. I was tempted by a 14 ounce bottle of barbecue sauce.  $12.

Wait a minute.

That’s expensive.

I don’t care if I’m in NYC. $12 is still too much for a jar of barbecue sauce.

hickory bbq

Besides, if I’m going to splurge on something, let it be yarn.

Why I…Love Knitting

Why do we knitters love knitting?

Numbered, but not listed in a particular order (other than my chain of thought).

1. Divergent Thinking.  I can knit and sort out different matters while concentrating on my knitting.

2. Tangible evidence of time spent.  No, I wasn’t just watching TV/attending a meeting/socializing with friends.  I also knit all these rows!

3. The yarn. Such pretty colors.

4. The yarn. Feels so soft!

5. The patterns.  So many choices.

6. Creativity. Mine, or someone else’s, or a blend.

7. Community.  Common language, always an opportunity to learn and to share.

8. Ongoing. My list of projects, the number of choices, the yarn, my stash, my queue.

9. Gifts. To give! (and receive!)

Knitting Patterns! Chart vs. Text

Knitting Patterns: Chart vs. Text

Corrected Pattern - Errata

Corrected Pattern – Errata

Knitting patterns are usually presented either in text or in a chart, or both.  I’m sure each Designer or Pattern Writer has his or her own individual preference, as does each Knitter.

Lion Brand Pattern

I do like charts for patterns with colorwork/intarsia, and have even created a few. I find charts very easy to follow, and I just cross off each row as I finish it.  Working a charted color pattern in the round is extremely easy as you don’t have to think about what direction of the chart to follow. You just keep going in the same direction, and only knit too. Very simple!  Going back and forth is not really that complicated, you just have to pay more attention. Follow the row in one direction for the knit row and back the other direction in the purl row.  It makes total sense (which doesn’t necessarily mean that mistakes aren’t made!).

I made a scarf for a friend, and knit in her initials.

PePL 2013-11-29 15.47.15

I used the Tricksy Knitter free online tool to make the pattern.  I made the design small so it was easy to follow (and didn’t overwhelm the scarf).

I have a photograph from a trip to Mexico that I want to make an enlarged pattern of for a sweater.  This too should be fairly simple once I decide how detailed I want it.

2013-11-29 15.50.28 Mexico Flavors

I recently started a new cabled cowl pattern (Shhh! Don’t tell my daughter as her cardigan is still not complete) that has the both text and charted instructions. Craftsy Cowl Knit A LongFor me, I find that instructions for cable stitches are better off clearly written.

Cable Pattern

I cannot really remember the abbreviations used in the text format, but the charts just leave me dumbfounded!  I consider myself a visual person, but do not have the strength or desire to keep remembering the differences of the stroke angles to distinguish cable needle in front versus cable needle in back.

If the pattern is a color chart WITH a cable, then I will sometimes just write the cable instructions near the chart so that I don’t have to keep turning the instructions back and forth.

Isn’t this one of the many things that is just so great about knitting? Everyone has their own preference and way of doing things. Someone can suggest a different way to do it, and then you can decide what works for you.  Pretty much like life, but you also get to play with yarn!

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