Posts Tagged ‘WIP’

Beach Blanket Blogging

Friday, June 27th, 2008
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Well – not quite, but almost!

Before I jump into a myriad of items, I want to remind everyone that we are having a great book signing event at the store tomorrow! Starting at 3:00pm, Carol Sulcoski, co-author of Knit So Fine, will be at WEBS signing copies of the book. I am so excited we were able to find a date that worked for both our insane schedules (hers is worse than mine – she has 3 kids!). My only regret is that I’ll miss the event! I hope someone remembers to get a book signed for me :) If you are planning to shop tomorrow, come in the afternoon and see Carol. Besides signing copies of her book, I am sure she’d be up for chatting about her blog and Black Bunny Fibers! Have fun Carol!
Why am I missing this event you ask? We are off on Steve and Kathy’s Excellent Adventure – part 2. We’ve made our way to the lovely gulf shores of Florida, J1 & J2 in tow this itme around. We’re here for Convergence – the bi-annual weaving tradeshow. For those of you who are knitters, Convegence is the equivalent of Stitches. The venue changes each year, as local guilds are key to hosting the show. This year, the Florida Tropical Weavers Guild stepped up to take on the challenge and Tampa Convention Center is the location. The show is open to the public through tomorrow. There are all sorts of cool weaving stuff, yarn, etc., but there are also lots of gorgeous finished goods and ancillary products. If you are in the area, stop by the show! For us, this is a nice combination of business trip and family vacation.
You may have read yesterday’s post by Kirsten. I realized over the last few weeks that despite my good intentions and best efforts I could not keep up with the blog as effectively as I would like. I also think that we have so many things happening at the store and in the business, that my perspective alone can be somewhat limiting. Kirsten is an exceptional knitter. I have seen her walk around, knitting lace AND chewing gum! All joking aside, she is incredibly talented and will bring a lot to the blog. Plus, she’s got a wry sense of humor that I hope you will all enjoy!
I’ve also enlisted our Store Manager Karen to join us here on the blog as well. With my crazy schedule, there are cool things happening and I miss them, which means you miss them too! Karen is an extraordinary knitter in her own right as well. I’m excited to be able to shae more in the way of new yarns, customer projects, etc.
No worries though – you aren’t getting rid of me that easily. I love the blog.
On the trip down here, I worked on the Staghorn Cabled Tunic - a brand new design featured in our latest catalog. It has been receiving rave reviews in the store and both Pixie and Iove it. Here’s where I am at so far:

I am using our Valley Yarns Northampton, which is the recommended yarn. I choose the dark grey colorway since I’m pretty much a zebra when it comes to dressing myself.
When reading patterns, I am very literal and need everything spelled out for me. I think it’s partly how I learn, but I also think i stems from my crochet background, where patterns are basically spelled out row by row. Love that!
I am really enjoying the pattern and hope to make good progress over the next week or so.

On the vacation side of this trip, I have a couple of cute pictures to share. First up – the only way to fly:

J2 is cuddled in with “Barky”. Barky was a prize I won for him last year at Busch Gardens. He decided since we were coming back to Barky’s hometown, he should be allowed to come along on the trip. Both boys are big stuffed animal kids and we always have at least one friend along on any trip, but a 36″ stuffed dog seemed a bit much. I obviously lost that battle.
Secondly, the person who is taking care of our room is obviously a Mom. Who else would be sure each of the animals had their own chocolate each night?

Lastly, here is J1 standing along side Scorpion. This is the sane reasonable child in this scenario.

Wondering where J2 is in this scenario? He’s here:

He came off smiling and telling our sitter it wasn’t so bad and asking if she was okay.

Kathy

Guess What I’m Doing?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007
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I know, a bit behind once again on the posts. The end of last week was crazy as usual and we took off first thing on Monday morning to head out on the last great escape of the summer. Back to Cape Cod, this time with my sister. Her boss has a lovely home in Eastham that we stay at, just down the road from a lovely bayside beach. For those of you unfamiliar with the geopgraphy of Cape Cod, it’s the hook off the eastern end of Massachusetts. So one side has beaches that are exposed directly to the Atlantic, most of them part of the National Seashore and simply breathtaking. Nothing like the raw beauty of the waves and such of the Atlantic.

The otherside has equally lovely beaches, but rather than being directly on the open ocean, they access Cape Cod Bay. They are quite serene and peaceful and perfect for families with small children. The water is warmer, small little waves and at lowtide, you can walk out forever. Lots of little tidal pools are created and they are great for exploring.

Yesterday, Jackson and I took a walk out (sans camera of course) and witnessed one seagull with a crab in his beak, another digging one out the sand in one of the shallow tidal pools and a third munching away on what appeared to be a delicious crab lunch. Gotta love seagulls with good taste.
What has been the highlight of the trip been for the kids you ask? This:

And this:

Whether it’s been at the beach, at the beach house or in our own backyard, it has been the summer of baseball for these two.
What has been great about this trip for me is this:


I have actually been knitting and actually making progress on a project. It’s for the next knitalong on the podcast and I am very excited about the sweater and how much I’ve accomplished. I’ve been feeling a bit defeated by our knitalongs lately. Not because I haven’t liked the projects, but I just can’t ever seem to finish. Either life gets in the way or I get distracted by something else. Pixie is so good and diligent and keeps it all on track and I am forever behind. But I am extra motivated by the next knitalong which starts up in a couple of weeks. What is the garment you ask? It’s this:

The Tilted Duster from Interweave Knits Fall 07 issue. It was designed by Norah Gaughan, so you know it’s going to be intriguing. Norah will be joining us on the podcast to kick off the knitalong and she’ll be making an appearance at the store on Wednesday, September 12th from 5pm-7pm. We’ll talk more about the knitalong, present the Berroco fall line and trunk show of the garments. So you see, I am under even more pressure to complete this project. What am I going to say “Oh, hi Norah, love the design, thanks for coming on the show, but geez, I’ve just been too darn busy to knit your awesome pattern”. Uh, no, that is not going to fly. So I am knitting like crazy. Fortunately, I love Peruvia from Berroco and have since the first sneak peek I saw of it many moons ago. It knits like a dream and up on a #10 goes FAST! The pattern itself is ingenious of course and I like how it’s done in pieces – they are like small little rewards. I am hoping to have sleeve #1 done by the time we get home tomorrow and sleeve #2 done by early next week. I’ve already completed the back and two front pieces. The skirt itself will be time consuming, so I need to keep making forward progress.
Of course, my sock is still calling me (and my Jonathan is asking if they will be ready for the first day of school – my response – “oh honey, it’s going to be much too WARM for socks on the first day of school. Let’s hope we don’t have an early frost this year).
My crocheted “Not Just an Apron” is in the mix too. It has been frogged and I’ve been working on it periodically – I am still angry with it though.
Then there’s this:

Also from Interweave Knits fall issue. Both Cirilia and Melissa are well underway with this project and it is talking to me as well. But it has to wait – take a number oh lovely Minimalist Cardigan.
The boys should be back from mini golf any time now, so I better get this posted. Not sure if today is going to pan out to be a beach day, but it certainly is going to be a great knitting day. We head for home in a couple of days, the kids will be back in school in just two short weeks. . . . where has the summer gone? At least we’ve got some great memories:

Kathy
P.S. Also, check out the Snowflake Hat also in this issue of IK. It’s an adorable design and uses our lovely Florence from our Valley Yarns collection.
P.P.S. In case you haven’t read between the blog-lines, this issue of Interweave Knits is VERY good, IMHO. If you haven’t picked up a copy, stop into your LYS and check it out.

This is Not Just a Swatch

Monday, July 2nd, 2007
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Melissa emailed me on Sunday to tell me that the work I had done so far was only for gauge and that once I had my gauge, I was to rip out and cast-on for whatever size sock I was going to knit. WHAT? Now don’t get me wrong. I am a BIG proponent of swatching. I am a swatcher, even at times when it is a bit overkill (even when the Harlot looks at me like I must be an alien because I swatched for the BSJ). I am a tight knitter and although I usually have to go up a needle size, sometimes, for whatever reason, I don’t. So, I swatch.

But in this instance I was rather indignant to learn that the work I had accomplished so far was just to be tossed aside. Knitting on dpns has never been a strength or much fun for me. I was pretty darn pleased by late Sunday morning when I had successfully knit my required lenght without completely losing control of the dpns or injuring myself. Plus, I was not interested in my first sock attempt being for anyone, I just wanted to understand the mechanics. As I’m emailing this info to Melissa, I get an email back from her saying she’s off for the day. WHAT??? I am ready to knit a sock and you are leaving me?! Well, I guess it and I would have to wait for further direction later.

But I couldn’t.

The sock was staring at me.

I know it was sneaking around, trying to get my attention as I moved about the house, trying to work, trying to get some chores done.

I was getting twitchy.

I couldn’t wait for Melissa.

Despite my large stash of knitting books here at home, I do not have a single sock book. Hmmm. Then it hit me. I decided to Google “how to knit socks”. (Yeah, that first class education really came in handy coming up with that thought).
First up for me – a complete guide to knitting socks, in beautiful, plain english published by the wonderful Clara Parkes on Knitters Review. I was beside myself. I was ready to start the heel flap and her instructions were clear and straightforward. Woohoo! I was back in business. I set about working the heel flap. Look at me go:

Then it was time for the scary stuff. Turning.The.Heel.
My mother-in-law has always said “You are not a real knitter until you can turn a heel”. I have built this up in my mind to be a daunting task. I’ve had other knitters talk about turning the heel in equally scary terms (at least that’s how it always sounded to me). I read through Clara’s instructions and although I understood them, I could not visualize where I was going or what it should look like. I decided to hold. I know myself well enough to know that if I made a mess at this point, I may ruin my chances of ever completing the sock.

 

Melissa emailed me mid-afternoon from one of her stops along the way of her family-day and was quite supportive of the progress I had made. She was also adamant that I go no further without her. I was not allowed to get any guidance at WEBS today. Luckily, I needed to be home this afternoon to become “Comcastic”, so Melissa came over to give me a lesson.

 

I did the decreases and the rounds and will hopefully remember which slant which decrease will give me and when I need to use which one. I think if I incorporate a line from Jimmy Buffet “Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right”. . . I can get this to stick with me.

 

Look what I did:

I, Kathy Elkins, turned a heel.
For anyone reading who has never attempted this – it is not nearly as hard as it reads in a pattern. Seriously. You all know I am not a capital ‘K” knitter and this was not hard – it’s knitting, knitting two together and slip/slip/knit. Honestly, keeping track of where you are is harder than the actually knitting.

 

Onto the gusset, which is not really an instep gusset since your instep is at the top of your foot, not the bottom, but that’s really neither here nor there. As with turning the heel, the gusset was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

 

Once the gusset was done, I needed to knit a few rounds until it was time to shape the toe (again, same types of decreases as with the heel turn and gusset).

 

Finally came the Kitchener. Melissa has created a handy cheat sheet, in plain English. Even with that, I think this is the one thing that would be hard to complete without someone assisting you. If you are a visual learner, diagrams or a video might work, but there is no way I would’ve gotten this without Melissa’s help. In fact, I’m sure I will need supervision on this final step for many forseeable socks.

 

Here it is everyone, I am proud to introduce MY FIRST SOCK:

 

It’s really quite cute and really looks like a sock. It was incredibly fun and I am hooked. I’ve got the sock knitters’ high. . . . .

 

 

 

Here is Melissa, teacher and cheerleader extraordinaire with my very cute sock:

 

 

Here’s it’s adorable little toe. Not a bad Kitchener for the first time out:

I must reiterate, I would not try Kitchener without a net just quite yet.

Thanks for pushing me Melissa. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I’ve already got yarn for a full pair of socks for Jonathan – he’s even approved the color.

I think I know what our next knitalong on the podcast is going to be. . . . . . .

Kathy

Don’t Get Snarky with Melissa

Sunday, July 1st, 2007
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Your penance will be something outside of your comfort zone. Something you KNOW you need to be able to achieve, but somehow just don’t think it’s possible. Here’s what I accomplished yesterday afternoon before heading out for “date night” and this morning:

 

It’s not much yet, haven’t gotten to the hard parts yet. Have a small, unplanned “design detail” but it’s a start.

 

More later on how this came to be, but got to get the kids to a play date before they take the car keys and drive themselves.

Crochet Revolution.

Monday, June 11th, 2007
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I just love the sound of that phrase!

I realize that the knitting/crocheting content has been a bit light as of late. General yarn talk has been missing as well. Just want to make a quick post today about my WIPs and then this week I plan to catch you up on new yarns, projects, etc., that are happening at the store.

My top down sweater from the knitalong is still going. I’m working ’round and ’round the body. I’m probably about 1/2 way there. I’ve figured out a trim for the sleeves and bottom edge which will take no time at all. As long as it’s done before it gets cold, I’m not stressing about this project. It’s perfect, mindless knitting which is great for all of the sidelines I’ve been sitting on lately.

My newest project is this sweet apron. I fell in love with it the second I saw it on crochetme.com. I swatched feverishly when I had no right to be swatching anything! I’m using our Valley Yarns Southwick, a lovely pima/bamboo blend which is the absolute perfect gauge. It’s also the perfect fiber blend and is a dream to work with. I’m crocheting this in all black, which isn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. The reality is I wear a lot of black. Anyone out there remember the kids’ line called Garanimals? Just match the tags and your outfit matches? Well, I’m a zebra – lots of black and white. Makes getting dressed easy and I can easily spice up outfits with a fun wrap or scarf. I cannot wait to finish this project. I’m 12 rows in and about to start the first set of darts. The piece is not difficult, it’s smartly designed and I just love it! I want to be done with it so I can wear it to the TKGA Show next month in Manchester, NH. We will be there exhibiting/selling, so be sure to stop by!

Since we’re talking crochet, I want to show you one of my prized possessions from TNNA. As I said in my last post, we came home with plenty of schwag – lots of treasures among all the schwag, but this ranks right up there:

 

It’s my Crochet Revolution wrist band that i got at the Interweave Press booth. It ties in with Kim Werker’s new book and her mission with Interweave Crochet. Plus, I discovered it has a fabulous duel purpose:



The perfect Blackberry cozy. Love it! I bet I could knit/crochet a bunch of these out of Fixation!

Once this is done, then it’s onto Log Cabin. I have the yarn, the colors, the design, everything ready to go. But I promised myself a crochet project after completing the catalog projects. I’ve also got to come up with the next knitalong project. Before Pixie left for France, she emailed me that she would like to do a Nordic Shawl design (her own for a class she teaches at the store). Not sure that’s speaking to me. Any ideas? Suggestions?

Honestly, I have way more WIPs floating around here. It’s way too embarrassing to share. Seriously. Plus I have Melissa chomping at the bit to get me going on socks. There it is, admitted to the world, I have never knit socks. My MIL says that you are not a real knitter until you’ve turned a heel. Well, I’m sure we could have quite a lively debate about that, but given that she is the founder, she wins. I think I prefer the word “accomplished” to “real” myself.

Oh, by the way – look who got published on Knitty! Guess I couldn’t ask for a better teacher! Congratulations Melissa!

The boys have that glazed over look about them – I think it’s time to make some dinner.

Kathy

So You Want My Opinion

Monday, January 8th, 2007
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I have read and heard about the “Knit From Your Stash in 2007″ initiative started by another blogger. I’ve read about it on a couple of knitting forums, other blogs and the staff at WEBS has been chatting about it as well. Some folks are embracing the concept, others are not. There are some LYSO a bit perturb, worried even and others that don’t seem overly concerned.

My opinion was ask of me a few days back and I’ve been stewing on it since then. Purely as a knitter, I can respect the fact that everyone has a stash and the size of said stash is completely relative to any individual’s circumstances. What is a “large” stash for one knitter, would not be much of one for another. I have what I consider a relatively large stash, but I’m sure if you saw it, many of you would be a bit disappointed. I also think what people have in their stash is very relative, meaning the dollars invested in the actual yarn – 20 balls of luxury cashmere vs. 20 balls of a closeout are two very different things when it comes to the budget.

 

As a LYSO, certainly any discussion of not buying yarn for any reason makes me stop and take notice. Having all of you buy yarn from WEBS is what we are here for – it pays the rent, the staff, the utitilites, etc. It pays the distributors who sell us the yarn, which in turn allows them to pay the mills where the yarn is made. If people do not buy yarn, the stores will struggle to pay the bills and the yarn distributors, who will then struggle to pay the bills and the mills where the yarn is manufactured. Do I think we are headed for a yarn apocalyps? No. And I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty for buying or not buying yarn – just sharing what goes through my own head on a business level.

 

As a knitter – I can completely understand the need to work down the stash. I need to work down MY stash. But I will keep adding to it as I go. Before I even heard of this initiative, I had already decided that in addition to starting new projects, I was going to concurrentlly work on WIP that are many. Right now I am working on a scarf I started who knows when out of Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted:


It’s just a simple, alternating K1, P1 for one row and then K for the next row. It’s really quite pretty. I am also working on a scarf in Misti Alpaca Chunky:

I had previously mentioned that I saw this scarf in a catalog for some ridiculous price (and not even made from cashmere, mind you) and decided to knock it off. I figured out the pattern and got started and then it went into a bag and forgotten. Both of these projects are coming with me.

I am also working on Jackson’s hat and maybe casting on for the handwarmers.

Oh and I also found an OLD garter stitch scarf that I started EONS ago made from Rowan Polar and Lurex Shimmer. This project was “in the closet” since we were not carrying Rowan at the time. Both yarn purchases were made at competitors stores/on-line shops to see what they were like to shop/order from.

So, my plan is that I will knit from stash and stay inspired with new as well. If you can do both, I encourage you to do so. If you truly feel you need to knit only from stash for whatever length of time is appropriate for you, then do it. WEBS will be here waiting when you are ready to shop again.

It was 71 degrees here on Saturday, January 6, 2007. Not sure what the “official” temp was, but that was the official high at my house on Saturday afternoon, not directly in the sun (that would be cheating). Personally – it was a dream day. I was warm most of the day – any day that I can be naturally warm, without 2-3 layers of clothing, is a good day for me. I had the windows open in the house, the car. . . . I am going to be a miserable little old lady – let’s hope Steve can set-up me up in Miami Beach or some such warm location :)

I was not in the store today – we had a STRATEGIC MANAGMENT MEETING this morning at our house. Sounds really cool and grown-up, doesn’t it? A bunch of us sat around and talked about the business, things we want to do, how we’re going to do it, things that need fixin’, etc. By the time we wrapped up it was close to pick-up time for the kids so I hung out here. I believe Berroco spring arrived. I’ll be back tomorrow if it did to show you all of the goodies.
We leave for TNNA on Thursday. We have a ton of meetings set-up with all of the major vendors, plus two of the mills we work with. I am on the search for new, fun knitting bags and other accessories. I am excited to look at a few new yarns – the new Vicki Howell yarn from Southwest Trading for starters. Plus their Tofutsie. There are others. If there’s anything you want us to carry or look for, just let me know!

The radio show ran backwards on Saturday – not backwards like devil gibberish, but the two segments were played out of order. Disappointing but not the end of the world. Fortuanately the podcast will be hunky dory. We are kicking off a new knitalong this week (not starting knitting yet – just the overview). We’re going to do a felted bag that I designed. I’m excited!



Well, that’s it for now. Time to get the kiddly winks ready for bed.

Kathy