Monday, March 28, 2011

Rainbow Shrug, Gauge, Teaching, and Knitting Retreat

I finished a shrug for my wife last week.  I ended up giving it to my daughter.  Again I was hit with the, "you didn't do a swatch/V8 smack in the head".  I had found a pattern for a 3 hour cardigan made in super bulky yarn on size 15 needles. (It can be found for free at Designer Yarn Sale.)  I decided to use the size 15 needles but try it with ribbon yarn (because it is spring and 100% wool this time of year is way too hot.)  Needless to say, 2 1/2 days later, I ended up with the tiny shrug you see in the pictures below.    So once again I learned the importance of a gauge swatch.  The reason the shrug took more
than 3 hours was the use of the ribbon yarn.  It tends to twist when you are knitting and after 10-20 stitches I had to untwist for a more even knit.   I like for the ribbon to lay flat on the needle instead of twisting into a strand.  I don't think the effect would have been as pretty.  I am making another one of these for a friend out of Lion Brand Hometown in orange (her favorite color) and I am using size 17 needles for the proper gauge (yes I did a swatch this time).  It should be finished this evening.  

I taught my first Beginning Knitting Class at the Crafting Stop in Franklin, VA (check them out on Facebook).  I think all went very well for those who came.  I am hoping to teach another sometime in April.  It will be great to have an ongoing gig for teaching knitting skills.  I hope the students learned and the store now has chunky yarn so we are going to try for a scarf next time.  

Now for the Knitting Retreat.  We are finalizing all plans for the Knitting retreat.  Models are nearly complete,  I have to begin working on writing out patterns and organizing supplies, prizes, folders and  whatever else we should need.  If you or anyone else you know would like to attend please send them to the previous post which announced the "Keeping You in Stitches Retreat." 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Alpaca Farm and a Finished Project

My son Avery explaining that he is going to be it and try to tag them.
I think I had written about our visit last summer to 3 Hawk Alpacas here in Murfreesboro.   The owner, Anita, was very kind and we toured, talked, and petted for over an hour.  This past Friday, Anita had her herd shorn for the the season.  I had planned on visiting to see the shearing first hand, but with having missed work for my grandmother's funeral and a workshop, I could not justify taking another day off.  I was disappointed but, what could I do?  Several weeks ago my pastor's wife gave me a brochure for another Alpaca Farm in St. John, NC (About 15 minutes from my house).  I emailed the owner of the farm and arranged a visit with my family for Sunday.  The animals were beautiful, soft, and well kept.  The yarn from last year's shearing was some of the most beautiful I had ever seen and touched. 

Can you please open this gate?
The most exciting part about this visit is that the alpacas here are to be shorn on April 9th and I will be assisting in the shearing.  I can't wait.  My wife and I are also purchasing a "share" in this years yarn.  We will get 2 pair of alpaca socks, and six skeins/hanks of fiber!  I am so excited.  I can't wait for April 9th!

The Alpaca Mafia, Whattaya lookin at?
"Wool Leaves" Baby Afghan
The next pics are of my first lace afghan.  It is Jared Flood's pattern "Wool Leaves."  I enjoyed the pattern as it was quite easy to follow and I can't wait to give it to our Dance teacher at school.  She is due to have a son in the next few weeks.  This blanket is quite thick, but will serve as a good car seat cover or receiving blanket in the late fall.  I will try to blog again this weekend after my first beginning knitting class.  Wish me luck!  So far I have three confirmed students.  I am happy to be sharing my love of knitting with others.  Hopefully they will carry on the tradition.
Close up of stitches

Friday, March 18, 2011

If it is Thursday, This must be Murfreesboro....

Because I have been traveling so much lately, I have been unsure of the day, week, where I am, and then the time changed on top of this.  I returned from Tennessee last Wednesday and had decided to change my plans of attending a Reading workshop the next Sunday-Tuesday (March 13-15) because I was so tired.  Then the news came.  I had been invited previously to a new LYS in Raleigh, NC to teach.  The owner and I emailed back and forth several times but never really set anything in stone.  Then last Thursday or Friday (days are still running together) we decided what would be best for a Monday night in her shop.  So with this engagement on my already busy schedule, I decided I should go to Raleigh for the Workshop and to discuss designing at Yarn Tree Studio.  It is located at 8801 Lead Mine Road and was well stocked for a 3 week old LYS.  We had an intimate group of 6 + me.  I showed pictures of Seattle, my first published pattern pieces, and other designs.  I talked about swatching, drawing, measuring, choosing yarn, and many other aspects of design.  I also answered questions about designing, knitting, and told a couple of knitting stories.  All in all it was a great evening.  Lynn was a great hostess.  The students learned a few things.  And Rachel taught me to cable without a cable needle (which I am trying to do on a new swatch.)  While waiting for my ride, I acquired some beautiful cashmere yarn for a scarf in a lavender color.  I have never worked with cashmere and am looking forward to working up the scarf for my wife.  She has had house and child duty on all my recent travels.  I am going to take some pics this weekend of FO's for you.   Next weekend I will be teaching beginning knitting at Crafting Stop in Franklin, VA.  I hope it will be a success and lead to more teaching gigs.  I am including my pattern for the washcloth I am teaching at this class.  It is very simple and can be used to teach someone to knit.

Learn to Knit Dishcloth

Enjoy and I'll be back again this weekend with more posting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Long Time, No Blog

I hope that you all will forgive how long it has been since my last blog.  I have had a lot going on so I think I will do these in short entries over the next few days.   Since my last post, I lost my Granny in Tennessee.  She passed away at home on March 4th and I left the next morning for Tennessee with my parents.  While I was there, I got to see cousins whom I have not seen in 30 years.  It was a bittersweet reunion and I hope we will continue to stay in touch through Facebook, phone, and email.  I completed a swatch for Interweave Knits winter issue (now the waiting begins again). While we were driving to and from Tennessee,  I also finished a blanket for a friend who is due in April.  It is Jared Flood's "Wool Leaves."  I will post pics once it is blocked. On the trip home I visited the "Black Mountain Yarn Shop."  The shop was wonderfully stocked and I was able to get my wife some beautiful Katia cotton with long color changes.  I hope she will make something to wear in the spring.  As we were checking out and talking I was able to introduce myself and show them pictures of my soon to be published pattern for Skacel (if it would only come out soon).  When I got home I had already been friended on Ravelry by the shop.  I am so excited about this whole knitting venture.   Things are coming together nicely for the Knitting Retreat.  My wife and I are very excited.  More to follow in the days to come....