Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Good Life

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited by Brigitte Pieke of Klose Knit in Urbana, IL to attend a "meet & greet" with Stephen West aka WestKnits.

I carpooled with Cheryl Moreo of The Fiber Closet.  We headed of to Urbana for a wonderful fibery excursion.  After a  delicious early meal at The Courier Cafe where they still serve old-fashioned "Green River Phosphates", we moved around the corner to Klose Knit.  This is a truly lovely yarn shop owned by Brigitte.  It is warm, cozy and full of every fiber you could hope to find. Brigitte was a gracious hostess making sure everyone felt welcome and had time for a personal chat with Stephen.

Stephen West is a delightful young man.  His designs are fresh and fun.  You can not help but be cheered by his smile.  It is wonderful to see this designer gaining popularity.  After his recent mention by The Yarn Harlot, I expect his fame to soar in the knitter world..

Hopefully I will soon have a picture or two of items made from his unique patterns.  I am thinking about starting with LoxleyTransatlantic or maybe the Boneyard Shawl just because I love the name. The new book, "WestKnits Book Three" is scheduled for an October release.  Look for it in your local yarn shop.

While at Klose Knit, I also met designer Todd Gocken.  We had a very nice chat about yarns, pattern writing, publishing, sales, etc.  He offered many fine tips.  His "Brigade" sweater and "Norwegian Snowflake" hat and scarf are just beautiful.  Check him out on Ravelry.

On a more personal crafting note,  work continues on the "stealth shawl pattern".  I have projects on 2 looms and several UFO's hanging out around here.  The spinning is coming along.  I actually spun some beautiful yarn from Jacob roving.......for about 2 yards.  Then I was back to thick & thin.  But I am making progress.

Life has been busy here with grandchildren, canning vegetables from the garden, and crafting when possible. 

But, it is good.  Definitely a good life!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Babies, Fair Results, Spinning, Klutziness all covered here!

So sorry I have neglected the blog for a bit.  Life sometimes gets so busy.  So to catch you up a bit....

My shawl got 3rd in its' division at the fair.  I was disappointed for bit but it was a good learning experience.

A couple of new pieces were added to the booth at Neva's.  They are hand-knit beaded necklaces from The NeuroKnitter.

 I think they are quite lovely!

I got caught up in a bit of horse trading this week.  I traded my 1st gen iPad for an Ashford Joy spinning wheel, and bought a new iPad 2.  I am sure I came out on the better end of that deal.

Today I had my first spinning lesson.  I should have warned my teacher, Cheryl from The Fiber Closet, in advance but thought "Who knows, I might be a natural at this".  Wrong!  I am still a klutz.  This may require more coordination than I have.  We will see.  We went over parts of the wheel, some basics and she turned me loose.  I am sure it was quite entertaining for her.  That she kept a straight face while watching me fumble all over the place is quite the feat.  But, at least I got started.  You can't learn a thing if you don't try.  Klutziness aside,  I quite enjoyed it.  I have visions of spinning some lovely yarn this winter.  Wonder if that is over-ambitious?

I spent a lovely afternoon with Dee & her college friend, who also just had a baby.  The babies bonded, Lily guarded her Nana from the intruders, and we had tea & cake prepared by my favorite chef!!

The stealth pattern has progressed from writing to test knitting.  It took a late night re-writing session in which I had to break out the big guns, namely chocolate & highly caffeinated tea.  I love it when a vision starts to come together.

I will leave you today with a few random questions:

1. Do you have any favorite apps, crafting or otherwise, that I might be interested in for the iPad or Android?

2. Which is your favorite method for a left-leaning decrease?

3. Do you have any recommended books/websites on pattern writing, publishing, teaching?

4.  What is on your needles, loom, wheel, etc?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

I have always heard you need to step out your comfort zone to grow as a person & artist.

Well I am officially taking a small step in that direction.  I have knitted for several years now.  I am always told, " You should enter that in the fair."  And I always answer with "I might just do that."  All the time thinking, "Are you kidding me! Open my self up to be judged?"  Today I am taking the red shawl to be entered in a fair.

Now I sell my weaving & felted works all the time. I don't know why I am so hesitant to be critiqued on the knitting.  I guess because I figure if someone is buying it.....then they like it.  That's all that matters.  But to be judged is definitely out of my comfort zone.

I will keep you posted on how well I survive this.

Till next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hooray, I'm back!!

Hooray, I am back.

Just in case you haven't figured it out by my absence.  My new grandbaby is here. Liam Jeremy made his appearance Saturday, July 30th at 8:30 am.  He came in at 8lb 3oz and is at least 22 inches long.  He looks longer to Nana.

Everyone is doing fabulous. They only had to stay 24 hrs in the special midwife unit at the hospital.  Very neat set-up they have going on there at Carle Hospital in Champaign, IL.  Many thanks to Midwife Ray Spooner, MSN, CSN  He is an incredible guy!

What a mood lifter this has been.  I was able to stay with the family throughout the short labor and delivery.  Then went back to their house and spent the night with newly crowned, big sister Lily.  Oh what fun we had.  We watched some Mary Poppins and Despicable Me, two of her favorites.  We laughed and played on Sunday then welcomed home the new brother.   I will be staying with them on the days Daddy has to work just to help out a bit.  What a lovely time in my life.  I am truly blessed!

So on to knitting.  For some strange reason, I have the urge to knit some baby socks.
I found a really cute pattern for socks not booties and a bit of yarn from The Fiber Closet.  I decided to go with Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo in colors 132 - Putty and 139 - Ming.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

I haven't made much progress on the stealth shawl pattern lately.  I have been a bit preoccupied.  I also have an interesting story to tell you about a box....a magic box.  You see, I came home on Sunday to find a huge cardboard box full of lovely, garden fresh, shucked sweet corn sitting in the middle of my kitchen.  Well I jumped right in and washed, prepared, bagged and froze it.  I left the empty box on the kitchen floor and didn't give it another thought.  Off I went to my daughters house Monday morning.  Spent a lovely day helping them out and snuggling some grandbabies.  When I walked back into the kitchen Monday night.............lo & behold.........the magic box was once again full of beautiful, shucked sweet corn.  My spirits sank just a bit.  I was so very tired but I once again prepared & froze it.  75 ears this time. Took me into the wee hours of the morning to finish.  Then, I stumbled off to bed thinking about all the errands I had to take care of on Tuesday.  I hit the floor running the next morning.  Just as I headed out the door.........I paused.  Hmmmm, maybe one last bit of business to take care of before leaving.  I carefully set that box outside.  It worked!  I have no corn to work up tonight.  Just lovely resting & knitting. Of course I did have a bit of dinner made from the stash I held back from the freezer.
Now tomorrow I may try putting the box back in the kitchen as I will be gone all day & my darling husband will be home all afternoon!

I will let you know how this experiment turns out.

My outlook has indeed improved.

  • It's still hot but I have air-conditioning.
  • I am sleeping because I am not waiting on a phone call & can take Benadryl for the allergies.
  • I now have TWO beautiful grandchildren.
  • Daughter2 has never looked happier.
  • An October visit to daughter1 is a week closer.
  • Sock Summit is done so I can get over my envious thoughts - till the next event ;-)
  • All appliances are currently working - knock on wood.

So life is good and I am back to my mostly cheerful self!

Until next time, HAPPY CREATING!!!