Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hooray for Stitches West 2012! - Part 1

I'm so excited for this week's post. For the past two years since we moved to Santa Clara,  I've never made it to Stitches West. It is held every year in February at the Santa Clara Convention Center, which is 6 miles away from me. The first year I was attending prenatal classes and totally missed it. Last year I don't even remember what happened, but I know that I only realized it had happened after it was over. This year I was determined to make it! However, I am now working and couldn't really take off that many days. My kind supervisor gave me Friday off to go get my knitting on and I was excited!

Friday morning, I scoured through the online listing of classes and saw only two that I could take on Sunday afternoon because as usual, I was booked for something this weekend (I had to sing at church). No matter, I soldiered on, looking at the Weaving class and the Short Row Shaping class scheduled for Sunday. I was leaning strongly towards the weaving class, when the kind lady at the registration desk informed me that the Weaving class was an all day class, which narrowed down my class selection to the Sneaky Short Row Shaping with Gwen Bortner. I registered for this class, got my official looking badge, and headed off for the market, where lots of lovely yarn goodies and awesome people were waiting.

I got to meet Kristin Omdahl (Styled By Kristin) who regularly appears on the Crochet Corner of Knitting Daily TV AND has written a knitting book, and Michelle Miller (of FickleKnitter Designs) who designs the loveliest shawls in person. I was freaking out like a little knitting fan girl! And they took pictures with me!! I was excited to meet them both, and thrilled when Michelle recognized me because I had test knitted her Tree and Arbor Wrap pattern about two years ago (blogged here).

I bought a book from each of them, and they very graciously signed them for me. :) Woohoo!!

Michelle then pointed me towards Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden. Now this lady's yarns are to-die-for! The colors are so vivid, and the yarn is so soft!! I've been wanting to get a few skeins for myself for years now, and the fact that I got to meet her just got me acting the fool. I think I was at her booth for almost an hour, and was almost late picking up my son!! She also let me take a picture with her!! 

Then I got down to drooling over yarn!! This is what I got from her! (I had to make the yarn picture extra large because it's just so yummy!!)

Wow! Can you tell how excited I was to go? This post is getting a little long now, so I'll end here and continue in my next blog post! Thank you for reading this far! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The wonderful Kitchener stitch

As a new knitter, I was afraid of anything that asked me to stray from the plain ol' knit and purl. I ventured a bit into yarnovers, knit 2 togethers, and slip slip knit because I was dying to knit lace fabrics, but that was as far as I wanted to go. It took more than 2 years for me to get circular needles and attempt to knit in the round. And after diving in head first into a cardigan project for my friend Kathleen with "interesting" results, I've shied away from knitting actual pieces of clothing that require seaming.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I tried my hand at the Kitchener stitch and realized it wasn't scary AT ALL! I mean, AT ALL. I love it! It's such a great skill for every knitter to have in their back pocket. My latest project is a custom order that required me to basically design an infinity scarf by looking at a photo. I didn't want to sew a seam because I suck at sewing. You can ask anyone I know. However, the beauty of the Kitchener stitch is that it doesn't require you to actually know how to sew a seam. There's a distinct order in which you sew the stitches, and the end result is barely discernible. Here is what my scarf looks like after I used the Kitchener stitch to seam the ends together.

Right Side of scarf

Wrong side of scarf

There's just a little kink in the scarf where I joined the two ends, but this kink will go away with a little blocking. Doesn't it look wonderful?

I'm not going to give a Kitchener stitch tutorial here because there's a perfect one over at Here is the link to that video tutorial. Their knitting tips page has a lot of video tutorials, and you would have to scroll down a bit to find this Kitchener stitch video, but it's definitely worth your while. Do check out the video and let me know what you think about this stitch.

Before I go, here are some pictures of 2 WIPs I'm currently laboring over. The first is a mustard and grey infinity scarf for one of my co-workers, and the second is the Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West, knit in my sunset color gradation combo. Both scarves are being knitted in Knit Picks Palette yarn, which is just fantastic to work with. See you all next week and have a fabulous rest of the week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When I'm feeling blue...hats!

I've been trying, pretty unsuccessfully I might add, to take photos of the Chunky Dean Street Hat (by Nina Machlin Dayton) that I made for my son a few months ago. The little one would just not sit still long enough for me to get a usable shot. I got him in his high chair, and being held by another friend, and the pictures were still not too pretty. Then this morning I remembered that one of my favorite designers, Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting, seems to take photos of her knitted items lying flat on a white background when she sends out her newsletter. I thought, "My, I could do that with a hat!" So I set off to take photos of my poopoola's hat.

I used Shalimar Yarns Missy Bulky (Blueberry colorway) which I picked up from Bobbin's Nest Studio a while ago, and knit the hat on US 10.5 (6.5mm) needles. Now this was before I realized that my gauge when knitting in the round was pretty loose. So the hat came out a little too big, even for the poopoola's big head.

I also squeezed in a chunky Cabled Hat in the Sapphire colorway of Loops & Threads Cozy Wool for my friend Melissa from Colliding Stars. She wanted the same hat as the one my sister stole, but in the sapphire colorway. It's such a quick knit that I whipped it up during a break from projects I actually need to be completing.

By some happy coincidence, they are both blue, so I put them together for a group shot!

Who knew blue was such a pretty color!! Enjoy the rest of your week and belated Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ode to the Scrunchable Scarf

If someone were to ask me, right now, what my favorite pattern is, I would say it's the Scrunchable Scarf by Susan McConne, hands down. I mean, I've knit enough scarves with this pattern that I have it memorized. Ok I'll tell the truth -  the pattern is so easy that even a new knitter will have it memorized within 10 minutes. But the finished product is so beautiful that you wouldn't believe the pattern is just 3 stitches long. Yes, 3 stitches long. If you clicked through on the pattern name to get to the pattern, you'll find that the pattern was put up in 1996. That was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before Ravelry was even born. I don't know who listed the pattern on Ravelry, but it has 3558 projects linked to it. And I made 7 of them. :)

The most recent one was a gift for our former roomie Geoffrey, who just moved further North to be his wife. Now we all know how cold it can get up North over there, so I offered to finally make him a scarf. (Just as an aside, if you are one of my loved ones, it's going to take you FOREVER to get anything knitted by me. I seem to always assume that my loved ones will always be around so I can knit for them whenever. Terrible of me I know. I'm going to change that I sit on a year-old winter scarf WIP for my dad. Back to the lovely Scrunchables). Geoffrey wanted a thick scarf that was Grayish Blue. The denim colorway from Lion Brand's Wool-Ease Thick & Quick was just perfect for the project, so I cast on for the scarf 3 days before his departure. The scarf is so beautiful and squishy, and photographed so well that I just had to share the pictures.

Seeing this scrunchable scarf made me want to take a quick trip down memory lane of all the Scrunchable scarves I've made, so here we go, in no particular order. They are all so beautiful in my humble opinion!
PS: I wish I could set them to music so it's like a little slideshow of the scarves. I know, I know, too much. Also, I didn't include the Granite Scrunchable because I don't have any pictures of that scarf. I had to mail it right after I finished knitting and blocking it. Enjoy the pictures!

I hope you liked my little photo trip down memory lane. Take a stab at knitting a Scrunchable Scarf of your own. See you next week!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wool People Vol. 2

My son and I are taking turns being sick, which means I've not been able to finish any projects that in the past two weeks. Instead, I'm going to share with you three patterns that caught my eye from Wool People Vol. 2, the newest pattern collection from Brooklyn Tweed, using Shelter yarn by Jared Flood. I must confess that I still haven't made the patterns that I loved from Wool People Vol. 1, and I'm hoping that one of these, one of these days I tell you, I'll have enough time to actually knit something for myself. LOL!

The first pattern that caught my eye is the Elfreide Scarf by Lucy Sweetland, because I have a friend called Elfriede. The second reason is that the scarf was in green. And, it has cables. Lots and lots of cables. The scarf is an architectural work of art, and I found my fingers itching to cast on for this one. I think the rustic looking nature of the Shelter yarn also adds to the beauty of this pattern. It would look beautiful in red/burgundy, as well as in an oatmeal/off-white color.

The second pattern was this delicious looking blue short-sleeved sweater called Lawrence, by Melissa LaBarre. I think sometimes the color choice for a pattern actually MAKES the pattern. This blue vest looked so stately but simple that I wished it was already knit and hanging in my wardrobe. Plus, I don't have a lot of blue clothing items so this would work pretty well. All jokes aside though, the construction of this vest makes me happy, as someone who doesn't like too much fussy detail. The simple garter stitch knit, accented by a large lace panel and topped off with that awesome cowl neck, made me go "Wheeeeeeeee". Such a great piece.

Finally, Fuse by Veronik Avery, a drape front cardigan that is just the style I've been dreaming off. The fronts of the cardigan are wide and swingy enough that you can drape one side across your neck as a makeshift scarf. How beautiful and functional! And the allover lace pattern means you won't get bored on this one. This is one cardigan that I think I would actually wear...if I ever got around to knitting it!

As usual, these drool-worthy pictures are courtesy of Jared Flood. Now if only I could knit/design/take photos as well as this man does.....

Anyway, see you all next week. Hopefully we'll be all better from this bout of sickness, and I'll have some lovely finished projects to share with you all. Have a great rest of the week!