Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting at Karen's

Karen Campbell is the power behind Two Swans Yarns, and she was kind enough to host our monthly knitting group at her house so we could have access to her yarn supply as each knitter chooses the next knitting project.

On Saturday morning, October 20th, George left at 4:30am for his motocross race and a few hours later Naomi drove as Melinda and I carpooled with her to Karen's lovely country estate for our knitting day. Through the front door past the formal dining table filled with a rainbow of Jameson's colors, cozy sitting room with baskets of yarn and inviting books, plenty of natural light to knit by, and butternut squash soup on the stove... it was a heavenly day that passed quickly.

Knitters came and went throughout the day; 12 to 15 people made the trip to Kent. Some brought projects so there was knitting as well as show and tell. Many of us perused our coveted Alice Starmore books to choose a project pattern and purchase the yarns immediately from Karen to take home that day. Thank you, Karen, for all your hard work up and down those stairs and with amazing patience as we asked questions and changed our minds. If you could stand it, I think it would be great if this was an annual or bi-annual event to prepare for seasonal projects.

Naomi modeled Ryan's hats knit from just two skeins of Jameson's - you may have already seen them on Ryan's blog. Ryan says the pattern will be ready soon, so we can all choose our colors. I'm planning to knit one for our sailor, Jon, who is based in Tokyo, but currently at sea on the Kittyhawk for its final world tour before decommissioning.

I've settled on Rosemarkie for my first Starmore so that I'll be swatching it in Janine's class next month and putting the colors I choose on Two Swans wish list to make it easy for my family to access my Christmas ideas. I was considering trying Starmore's Oregon as a vest using the color way in the new Vogue Knitting, but I regained my senses before making a commitment. I'll graduate from Rosemarkie before entering knitting college in the form of twice the colors. I'm excited to see the projects progress over the next weeks.

Thanks to inspiration from the Knitting Daily newsletter, I've been thinking a lot about my UFO's and have been making a serious effort to finish the projects that have been languishing at the "nearly finished" stage. My next post I'll share my progress - it already feels great!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

I ride the bus to work from a park & ride every day - the ride home is invariably so crowded that Cherie and I are standing for the first portion of the 25 minute commute. We have to put our things at our feet to be able to hold on to a post or railing. Wednesday last week, I was carrying my purse, book bag, and small knitting project bag containing my latest socks (one sock complete, the other just turned the heel), and they were snuggled between my feet until I picked them up to exit at Northgate park & ride. I ran some errands and arrived home an hour later without my knitting! Upset to distraction, I went back to the park & ride to check the parking lot and the stands, with no luck. I completely lost my appetite and sat down with my coat on to knit my cotton jeans sweater and generate good knitting carma. George was very understanding and patted my shoulder every now and then; I slept badly. I checked Metro's website in the morning - no information until after 10:30. A call after our staff meeting and received the message ALL LINES ARE BUSY. CALL BACK LATER. At lunch, Cherie kindly came with me to Metro's Lost & Found where my bag had been turned in, intact. I am still amazed and was so thrilled, I couldn't concentrate the rest of the day. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers, whether it was a passenger, or someone clearing the bus at the terminal.

That Thursday was also the much anticipated craveparty at Alderwood Mall with Jamie, Cherie, and Debra. I was excited to learn just what is "glam-casual" since I was out of the fashion swing while I wore a uniform. We got a large shopping bag with discount cards and samples, ate dinner at Macaroni's and watched the first of a couple of fashion shows. We also got discounts at the stores in The Village - the outdoors part of Alderwood. We were sprinkled on a little when we arrived, then the rain really began while we watched the first fashion show. We used umbrellas to go from store to store, but in the end the rain made it too cold to stay the entire time. We liked jewelry at Cintli where Jamie bought a very fun red ring and I bought a rectangular shaped hollow silver bangle. They have a shop at Pike Place Market that I'd like to visit... I would try the craveparty again when it is all indoors and the stores come to us with massages, facials, etc.

Fall came rushing in faster than expected. We still have our patio umbrella up, and I thought it would launch into the atmosphere with the wind yesterday. A tickle in my throat last Friday has gradually become a full blown cold in spite of my efforts to fight it off by taking it easy. I've been at home Tuesday and Wednesday trying to avoid sharing it with my colleagues - I'm planning to be back at work tomorrow though! I know I'm not feeling well when I don't have the energy to knit!

As you can see in the first photo, I did finish the socks from the lost&found project bag, and am working on the swatch for my first Lucky Lurker socks. My other nearly completed project is the fair isle bag for my Rebecca class. You were right, Naomi! I did a fair isle vest when I was in college, so it was just a matter of trying it again. And I've already added a couple of techniques to my previous knowledge just by talking with other knitters. I'm heading to Bainbridge this Saturday for a two stranded knitted tam class at Churchmouse. I'm looking forward to it now that I have some recent experience.

My last visit to my folks' on Bainbridge, my mom showed me three sweaters she has saved through the years. The photo on the left is a ski sweater my dad knit for her in about 1960. I don't remember the name of the stitch, but it was the first time I remember him knitting. So that would be when I learned to knit at age 7. Around 1986, I designed and knit this intarsia patterned cotton sweater (while I was at school in Germany) to match the fabric of a skirt I sewed for Mom. I also crocheted her one of those bobble sweaters that were popular for awhile - I told her it was time to get rid of that one!

In May of this year, I took a class at Acorn Street to knit a Noni felted bag. My gauge was off, so I needed nearly twice the yarn, and my purse turned into an exceedingly large bag that seemed to take forever to knit. I felted it twice to try to reduce the size - I would have preferred it more felted than the first time, and not as felted as it is now (15"w x 9"h). Still, it's pretty fun, and I love the handles. I attached the flowers with pins for now, since I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it, and if I use the flowers, I'm thinking of adding beads. I love the ruffle!