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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Free Healthcare For Knitters



Knitting and felting handbags is one of my mindless pleasures in knitting. The first photo shows one of my bags fresh off of the needles, unfelted and unfinished.

The second photo shows a felted, lined and embellished bag ready to wear. the black body of the bag has gold and brown flecks throughout the yarn.

I have been without healthcare for quite some time now. Thanks to knitting, my body benefits as I make each stitch. It helps to keep my blood pressure low, my stress hormones decrease with every click of the needles, and my breathing becomes regular and deeper.

I am convinced that this free prescription has kept me well. I know it helps to restore my soul.
No Dr. visit required.

I will warn you, it is addictive and if you ever sat on a needle in your nightie, you know it can be dangerous...


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Are You Looking At Me?


I like to get a cup of coffee in the morning or a fish taco for lunch and watch the waves. The gulls know that you have food, and they want it! This bird stood on the hood of my car staring me down for my snack. There is a windshield between us- but I was not intimidated. Oh no. That is a lifeguard stand right there down the hill. Just a short scream away. Back off birdie, back off.

Friday, February 26, 2010

That is More Like It



The sunrise is now part of my life, but the Sun- SET makes my heart soar.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is How My Garden Grows




I am so gonna miss this backyard when it is gone. I cannot get enough of it right now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

Here is a scene, I have seldom seen. Now that I have classes that start at eight am, I have a time management plan that includes awakening at six am. That is not my usual m.o. I have always been a night owl. Imagine my delight upon finding this colorful greeting as I shuffled blindly towards the coffee grinder. Sunsets in reverse are beautiful sun- RISES. It takes the sting out of seeing the day begin at six.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sing a Song Called Amy




I am such a fan of knitty.com the online knitting magazine. Since 2002 it has been an online destination where I can get lost for hours and hours. The articles are witty and topical. The patterns offered have something for everyone. From simple, to some of the most complex directions ever seen. The knitty lingo for degree of difficulty, or skills needed to execute a pattern, is a rating system that uses a spice analogy. Are you a piquant or tangy knitter? Sometimes you like it hot, and sometimes you can not stomach the heat. But you get to decide based on whether or not the pattern looks good enough to "eat" instead of not trying it because you are a beginner. I love that.

Knitty is also free!!! The whole magazine.The patterns are free. I cannot emphasize enough how supportive I am of designers and the people in this industry that are trying to make money from their profession(moi included). Free patterns in a magazine format that equals and often beats the like of Interweave and Vogue for content is something to celebrate. Behind the scenes, designers are paid, and so are the staff of Knitty. For details you can check their site. They are very clear on the mechanics of the magazine. You do not have to have a publishing track record to get in, just a pattern that makes the cut. This is our chance ladies and gentlemen(yes, men design hand knits). An average of 1.5 million readers enter the website each month.

This is not true for all magazines. Submission guidelines, pattern ownership, and revenues paid can be very iffy. Not so with knitty. The advertisers pay for their ad space, we happily click through all of the enticing links lining each page, and the money trickles throughout the knit community. This is how I end up lost for hours in the attempt to read the whole issue. I have never done it in one sitting. Not yet.

The creative genius behind this love-fest of knitting is a woman named Amy Singer. She has long been an inspiration and personal hero. I admire her vision and the execution of knitty so much. She accepted our Guild's invitation to speak/teach in February and to my delight, I was her chosen chauffeur and tour guide. She has no idea how this was like giving a stalker the keys to the kingdom of the stalked. Amy appears to be a simple, petite, unassuming woman. I found her to be complex, petite and brilliant.

I admire people with the gift of languages and music. Music is a foreign language to me. I can not read it or play an instrument. Amy plays the ukulele. Well enough to impress me. She would say not that well. She is humble. I took her class for the Tuscany Shawl she designed and I am addicted to knitting the memorized pattern repeat. The math is beautiful, just as my shawl will be. I was present for her presentation to our Guild. A record breaking crowd turned out to learn all that can be taught about the fibers we knitters covet outside the world of wool. Amy wrote the book on non-wool fiber "No Sheep For You" I pride myself on keeping up with the world of yarn and I learned something new!

I wish there had been time to cover the topic of knitty and how it all came about. It was enough for me to be able to thank her in person for conceiving and birthing the magazine. I believe Amy's efforts contributed to building the online knitting community that is responsible for keeping knitting alive and well, for the longest continuous stretch of time on the knit craft continuum. That is a run on sentence, but it says it all. The web is well used by the mind of Amy Singer, and we knitters are well served by her creativity. She is good peeps all the way around.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Picot Contrails
















One of my Knitwits, Lynne, knit the most luxurious throw in creamy, natural Manos wool. I seamed and blocked it for her and it just did not look as polished as it should. Beautiful and soft, just not finished. I called Lynne and asked if I could bring in the talent of our resident master crocheter, Amy. Lynne deferred to my opinion and off it went to Amy to have a picot crochet edge added. It turned out to be the most perfect ending.

Amy delivered it to Knitwits and the crowd went wild. We all want to learn to crochet the picot edge. Even Moi, was dreaming of mastering this technique. Anyone that has seen me with a crochet hook in hand knows that it is not a pretty picture. I am as uncoordinated as a surgeon with a chainsaw! Amy has agreed to teach a little picot class on March 24th at our usual meeting place in Rancho Santa Fe. I will be there and try not to look too stupid. I may have to practice at home.

I know that you can knit a picot edge. It has been covered by Nicky Epstein in her book "Knitting on the Edge"and Louisa Harding confessed to me that she hates to crochet (just like me). Her patterns incorporate knitted edges that are often confused for their crochet counterpart. It is the challenge of learning a new technique and mastering it, that calls to me.

So, as I spent time contemplating picot, I looked up in the sky behind the house, and there to my surprise was the picot contrail to confirm my desire to learn. Yes! Picot- here I come.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Don't Bash My Stash

























During the economic hard times, many of us hard core knitter's have turned to the yarn we have hoarded (stashed) over the years, to meet our knitting needs. You have seen documentation of my stash on this blog. I had a large closet built into my room that is exclusively for my stash and all of my yarn (or most of it?) is in that closet and an antique armoire. Although, there is some in the garage, in clear storage bins next to the antique armoire, next to the couch, next to the recliner, next to my bed and... you get the idea.

I never stop buying yarn completely. I have, however, cut way back in deference to groceries and utilities. I am so mature. There are some people (non-knitters) that just cannot understand my stash and what it means to me. The yarn holds memories. Many times, the only souvenirs I allowed from travels all over the world, were fiber treats. I bought an extra huge suitcase and shipped it back from Italy full of the treasures from Biella. The 9000 mile road trip across America was just an excuse to visit yarn shops in 27 states.

I digress. My point is, I have a great stash and it is serving me well. I am knitting out of my stash. Grabbing a bag of yarn, calculating the yardage and the gauge, I have hit the bookshelf and the internet to match a project to it's perfect yarn mate. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. I love to discover a perfect combination of yarn and pattern for the sweater I will knit during the 2010 Winter Olympic Challenge. Can't wait.

Just yesterday I found some "almost hand-spun" wool and kid mohair from Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan. Today it is one half of a Tuscan shawl that is addictive to knit. I will finish it this weekend and my biology homework will suffer for it. Damn you Amy Singer and your great pattern and class! More about her later.

So, do not bash my stash. I am shopping in my closet and it is good. What is even better, as I put my beloved yarn to good purpose, I realize a brilliant revelation. I am making space. Nature abhors a vacumn. Yarn out, means there is room for yarn in! Yes. The stash has served me well and made the hard times more than bearable. The better news is, as I clear space and lovingly run the good old days through my fingers, tomorrow awaits what the future will hold. Yarn shops of the world prepare. I will return and I will be buying.