Monday, July 31, 2006

Clap for Clapotis

I got tired or ripping out my lace - so I cast on a new project! I am making a Clapotis. I feel this Clapotis is almost like a right of passage for knitters. Everyone seems to have made one at one time or another. Except for me of course!

I am using one of my Blue Heron yarns - in a bight reddish/orange colorway appropriately called "Copper" It does kind of look like a nice shiny penny. I really love how it feel to knit with this yarn. It is draping wonderfully too. So light and airy.

I am about 48 rows into the project now and I am getting a bit worried. Before I began this - I thought you would be making those lovely dropped stitches the whole time.... but according to the directions - you don't start dropping stitches until you are half way done! Half way!! What happens if i mess it up! I'll already be halfway done and too far to rip the whole thing out without major separation anxiety. I dropped a few stitches by accident last night and nearly wet my pants! I love the way this yarn looks - but it very very slippery!
I'm not sure I can take the pressure of having to knit half of a fairly large project and then have it completley fall apart because I dropped one too many stitches!

I don't know - I guess I should just think positively and "just keep knitting, just keep knitting". I did this afterall to have something to do on the airplane on my way to New Orleans. This Clapotis definitely fits the bill. It's an easy enough pattern that I have already memorized it and yet it is interesting enough with it's YO's and KTBL and PTB to keep it interesting. And all those stitch markers add to the excitement too. I had planned on using some of the cool stitch markers I made last Saturday (more on that later) but they kept getting tangled up in my yarn - so I switched to the plain old plastic rings. Not quite as interesting - but a lot less chance of pulling loose pieces of my lovely yarn.

Anyway - here are the stitch markers I made on Saturday.

I had a lovely time with my favorite twins (Alex and Bree) and their mom Hollyanne. The girls made jewelry (and stitch markers) while the guys played PS2. I did manage to break away from the knitting to kick some butt on Bomberman too. Although both Alex and Bree did a mighty fine job of learning the ways of said Bomberman - so I didn't kick as much butt as I would have like :)

It was a wonderful evening. I was so happy and surprised to find a thank you gift left on my doorstep this evening too! It was from the twins - thanking us for a great evening of jewelry and gaming and they got me the cutest beads. Some were shaped like little turtles! And they were green - my favorite color! I need to take a picture... I'll post it tomorrow.

Speaking of gifts - I also got some cool goodies from my SP! She sent me a wonderful box 'o yarn. Just check out this haul...

She even knit me a cool felted bag...

And last - but not least - here's a pic of my finished Noni bag - pre felting of course. I just need to finish a few flowers. I started one and I can see I will definitely need more yarn.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I'm a Lace Frogger

I just spent my entire eveing trying to knit lace and then ripping it out and trying again. Three times I knit a small area of lace only to drop a stitch or forget where I am in the pattern or lose my YO in the middle of something. I don't think I'll ever be able to do this! I think maybe I should try knitting the lace pattern with a thicker yarn before attempting the lace weight. This stuff is like dental floss! So tiny and thin. I hate that I spent 3 hours knitting and have absolutely nothing to show for it!

I did have a good afternoon of knitting. I met up with Shelby ( the first time I've ever met a fellow blogger - yeah!) and we learned to knit with our "other" hand. We met at Woolwinders yarn salon for their "Sunday in the Salon" lesson. I learned the Continental style of "picking" the yarn with my needle instead of throwing. Shelby already knits with her left hand and throws her yarn - so she learned to do it with her right hand. I must say it felt very awkward at first - but by the end of the 2 hours - I was picking fool. I can definitely see how this method could be faster in the long run. I am still much more comfortable with my right hand - but now I can see the potential for knitting Continental. This also opens the door to Intarsia and Fair Isle knitting with multiple colors. I can't wait to try that!

Anyway - it was a great day. I bought some cool yarn while I was there too - and it was on sale - so I can't feel too guilty - yeah!

I also got a wonderful package in the mail this weekend from my SP8 secret pal! She got me lots of different kinds of yarn - some I had never seen before. She also knit me a felted bag. Thanks so much!

I will post pictures tomorrow - I'm too tired after my unsuccessful lace attempts to break out the camera!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ever changing garden

I am forever surprised and fascinated by my garden. It changes every single day. There's always a new flower or a new butterfly or insect to look at and appreciate. I spend a little time every day looking after my flowers and checking out who's new to the neighborhood. I thought I'd share some of my new members with you.

I planted some mystery flowers a few weeks ago. There was a buy one get one free sale at a local nursery and well... flowers are like yarn - you can never have too much! So I bought some....

Here they are -

They look kind of like black-eyed susans - but instead of being the pure yellow that I'm used to... they are more brownish in color.

Very unique!

My clematis flowers have long since stopped blooming - but I was looking at the col seed pods that have developred. They look like little green star bursts...

My purple conflowers are also changing. They have these gorgeous orangey heads - full of seeds.

My love of all things flowers (in addition to yarn!) seems to be well known by my knitting group because last night - Bonnie brought me this:

Isn't it gorgeous!

We had a great time at sit and knit - I worked on my Noni bag and we had show and tell. Christine is working on the cutest superhero cape for her nephews. Work those knit into front and back loops girl!! You can do it!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Purple Passion

I just got the coolest Project Spectrum card from Christine! Check this out...

It's a mini canvas painted with purple and with purple goodness stuck on too! This was my postcard swap for July - the month of purple. It is going on display in my office/craft room. I really wish I had found project spectrum earlier - I would definitley have loved to take part in this exchange longer - but alas! It only lasts one more month! That is unless we can convince Lolly to maybe extend this? Pretty Please??

I do enjoy meeting new people and this and other swaps I've done are a great way to get to know other knitters and bloggers. It's such an amazing network of people really. I don't even remember what I used to read online .... now that I've found the world of knitting blogs - that seems to be all I read!

I went to visit the new location of a local yarn store - the Celtic Knot. They used to be in a small shop in old town Ellicott City - a small shop that was in need of air conditioning repair! They are now in a huge bright and airy (and cool!) shop in Normandy Center. There's ample parking and nice bright windows through which to view the yarn. I saw some gorgeous Opal sock yarn there that I may have to pickup soon!

While I was there - I treated myself to a new Addi turbo circular needle. I will be started a lace project soon and I didn't want to risk losing a needle tip on my interchangables. I think I am going to like this needle!

I am almost done with the body of my Noni bag - I'll be starting the descreases and the bottom tonight! I can't wait to start the flowers and ruffle too - it's such a girlie bag - but there's just this great quality to all the Noni stuff - very original.

Here's a pic of my progress so far...

Tonight is knitting night for my sit and knit - if you're in the Columbia area - stop by! We meet at the LakeSide cafe in Columbia - across from the mall.
LakeSide Cafe

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Flowerly Flip Flops and more

I was so excited when I got home from work yesterday to see this!!!!

A package from my Flip Flop Swap pal Debby!

She got me so much cool stuff - flowerly flip flops - because she knows I like to garden, lip gloss, beads (yeah!) and the most beautiful yarn and a pattern to make a scarf from it. She knows me too well! I love green and everything in the package coordinated so well!

Check out these gorgeous beads:

And I'm still drooling over this yarn - so yummy

Just look at the colors in here...

I am very happy - thank you so much Debby - you made my day!

This past weekend - I finished my second pair of socks! They are Thuja from I used knit picks Memories in RedWood Forest. I am very happy with how they came out. Here's a pic...

In other knitting news - I took a hint from Wendy on this idea - to use my sock yarn scraps on a log cabin blanket. I used the remaining yarn from these socks, some Koigu I had left over, and also some of the remnants of the Blue Heron yarn from my little bag. I think this will be a nice way to remember my projects.

Now that my socks are done - I am starting on my Noni bag. I can't wait to see how this turns out. I started last night and so far I love the results. Here's the yarn and the pattern I'm doing...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blue Heron

I had the BEST day today. I played hookey from work and went on a yarn field trip! My friend Holly and I went down to the eastern shore to Frivolous Fibers yarn shop.

We had signed up for a field trip to see where Blue Heron yarns are made. We went to the mother ship of all homegrown businesses. They had two huge garage/warehouse spaces in Easton MD. Both were FULL of hundreds/thousands of skeins of gorgeous fiber. There were at least 10 different types of fiber and more than 30 different colorways – that’s a lot of yarn!

We got to see them preparing the yarn to be dyed...

They receive the yarn from various mills undyed....

They prepare the yarn and mix their own combination of colors (in a blender)

They apply the color with a turkey baster!.

All the yarn was just laid out in long plastic tubs where they were being squirted with various colors - so easy - yet it producted such gorgeous results.

It was a sight to see the colors being applied. After the colors are applied - they rinse the excess in these...

After their bath all the finished skeins are hung up to dry - very cool... Here's Hollyanne - very excited to see the colors!

It was very inspiring and I can’t wait to try creating my own colorways. I think I'll start with CoolAid :)

After seeing how and where the yarn is dyed - we were given the opportunity to buy some of the discontinued colors! We were like kids in a candy store!

We were scooping up yarn left and right! It's all hand dyed - so every skein is one of a kind.
Here are some of my treasures....

Blue Heron yarns were first designed and dyed by hand by one woman - Barbara Lundy Stone. Her son decided to try selling her yarn on ebay and they were an immediate hit. They soon outgrew her home based operation - and they moved to the warehouse and eventually hired employees to do the dying. Not only were we able to see the yarn being dyed at the warehouse - but we were also able to meet her and tour her house. She is an amazing fiber artist and her home was covered wall to wall with hand made fiber art. She had canvases covered with hand dyed fabric and 3-D creature and shapes.

She had quilts and woven tapestries and everything you ever imagine that could be made with fiber. Her home was a virtual museum. It was gorgeous. Her cats was cute too!

Best of all - she showed us her home "laboratory" where she has her loom and her fabrics and fibers.

She had some yarn strung up outside on some clothes lines drying - it was a beautiful sight.

After visiting the home base and birth place of Blue heron, we headed back to St Michaels for lunch at a cute little cafe called Key Lime and then finally - back to the yarn shop for a chance to play with all the Blue Heron yarns we wanted! They laid out all kinds of different colors and fibers and we could pick whatever we wanted to knit our project.

We made a little purse with a front flap. Here's mine so far.

I still need to weave in the ends, sew it all up and add a bit of fringe and a handle of some sort.

It was a fabulous day - we met some great new people and got to experience a great new yarn. I would definitely recommend this field to anyone!