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Archive for the ‘Knitting Group’


Jiminy, it’s Cricket!

Dear Jan,

The weather here has turned cool and windy – it feels like early Spring as it should.  I’m still warm, though, with the glow of Cricket’s visit this weekend.

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Sunday was the big day with a trip to Stillwater where we met up with Deb and Karen for some seriously good eats and drinks at the Chilkoot Cafe (bike shop in back, should you need a tire patched).  Deb gifted us with some gorgeous BFL that she had dyed to become even more gorgeous.

We then ambled over to  Darn. Knit. Anyway. and ogled the flock in the window,

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considered how great yet how uncomfortable the duct tape dress looked,

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and then settled in for a nice long knit in the sun.

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Selkie and I are both missing Cricket.  Luckily I am distracting myself with visions of Yarnover and Shepherd’s Harvest.

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And with Yarnover, of course, a visit from you!

Love,

Ellen

Running on fumes…

As older sister, Jan has bossed me around given me the opportunity to be blogmeister for the last two days of yarn revelry.  Today was packed again – Yarnover was fast and frenetic.  Get to class!  Knit swatches! Take bathroom break!  Sneak to market during bathroom break!  Buy cashmere fiber! Go to class!  Finish that swatch!

35.jpgIn all the craziness we managed to have two lovely classes, one on increases and decreases with Judy Pascale.  She is a dynamic and passionate lady who really ran us through our paces.  That 3-hour class was crammed with more techniques than I’ve gotten in day-long classes.  Judy later joined us for lunch.  I was a little relieved that she didn’t make us try eating our sandwiches three different ways, just to see which way suited each of us individually.  Lisa and Deb connected with us, too, so I got to eat with three of my favorite knitters (that is my preferred way to eat a sandwich).

25.jpgWe crossed paths with The Rainey Sisters.  Sally also travelled from DC to attend.  Maybe next year they can charter a flight for all sisters coming out for Yarnover.

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54.jpgThe afternoon was Hallelujah Grafting! with Lucy Neatby.  I am so glad we have 3 classes with Lucy.  She is such a prepared teacher and her methods for teaching are crystal clear. I can now close a sock toe with grafting without leaving little piggy ears.  Hallelujah! (Note: We found Cat’s other shoe.)

19.jpg44.jpg The marketplace is half the reason to attend Yarnover.  I had fun seeing friends like Jennie the Potter, Chris from Briar Rose, and Aimee from Darn. Knit. Anyway. But no one does the market like the Yarn Garage in their Yarn Mechanics jumpsuits.  Jessie looks pretty in anything, and Tim and Steven were just too cute.

63.jpg92.jpgSteven and the YG gang ended the evening for us with a lovely knit-in that brought together young and old, hip and arthritic hipped, experienced and newbie knitters.  Great music, great food, and knitting were wonderful ways to decompress from a loaded day.  I got to connect with Melissa, one of the YG team and also a Bohus knitter with whom I’d conversed on Ravelry!

73.jpgWe couldn’t go home until Jan finished her charity hat.  The YG donated yarn to all the Yarnover attendees to knit hats for donation.  Jan, always an over-achiever, was probably the first to turn hers in.  (I believe she removed the dpns before handing it over.)

My hat is only half done, but with a full day ahead of us tomorrow, it is not getting finished tonight.

Good night, all!

Life is what happens when you don’t have time to post.

Dear Ellen,

Sorry I’ve been so absent…but I’ve been very pleased to live vicariously through your knitterly activities.  My life borders on insanity of late.  (Not that insanity is all that unfamiliar for me, but it’s been particularly intense.)  It’s the working Saturday’s that throws off the entire rhythm I had established in Colorado.  It’s just enough to throw off the weekend so that if I have anything else planned I begin the week already behind.  I’m happy to say that I am just now surfacing after three weeks of it.  I didn’t work yesterday and I believe I’m far enough ahead of the game that I can dedicate a few moments here before bedtime in about 15 minutes.  (Yeah, I’m surfacing, but just barely.)

dscn1930.JPGdscn1931.JPGEvent-wise, I’ve traveled and given speeches and been on panels, I’ve hosted two sets of company (hosted would be a euphemism for pointing out the refrigerator and towels and then either leaving the house or going to bed), been to a Redskins football game, been to a new knitting group (YAY!), turned in several course assignments, played in the directorate golf tournament, been to the doctor and some other stuff.    On one of the trips I was briefly in San Diego…but long enough to go to a Padres game with Martha.  There she is picking me up from the air port.  There I am having the souvenir beer and hot dog that I promised Dale.

dscn1961.JPGdscn1962.JPGI did finish one of the Fractured Fairy Tale socks on the trip to San Diego.  (I actually had to work on the plane trip out…the nerve of the Joint Staff to expect that!!)  I love the squishy-ness of the stitch pattern and the sock feels great on my foot. I needed some predominantly red socks…think I’ll wear these LOTS!  Of course, that presupposed that I will finish the other.  I have gotten through the toe, but work on it was interrupted by Hat Wars.

I have no business signing up for things like Hat Wars.  It just makes no sense.  Not only do I not have the time, but why gamble on getting something you don’t care for in return for hours of knitting?  Not that I think I am that superior of a knitter, but I do know I’m pretty good AND I know that others may not be as discriminating in their yarn selections.  Heck, I might just not care for the colorway!  Yet, I continue to be sucked in…why?…why?….WHY????  Oh wait, there’s that blood lust thing.  Never mind, my bad.

My target’s dossier said she liked red. The advance info said we’d need a worsted weight. I had Dream in Color “Classy” in the “In Vino Veritas” colorway on my TLE wish list because it looked so rich when I saw it during one of Sheri’s sneak ups. Now I had a reason to try it. Let me just say, fabulous! And superwash to boot.  I chose to use the Isotopes pattern from knotions.com for my weapon design and as soon as I got home from work Friday got going with cast-on. I didn’t do too much that night because I was tired…and had some frogging in the mix. I got through the 1” of K2P2 ribbing no problem, but immediately made mistakes in the first pattern repeat. I did catch it before finishing the first 8 rows, but decided that recovering from that error would be enough for my obviously toasted brain.  (This is not the easy to fix error to which I refer in my comment on one of your recent posts.)

dscn1963.JPGdscn1972.JPGSaturday I took my weapon with me to the Arlington United Methodist Church to join up with a few ladies starting a new knitting group. (Saturday afternoons nearby and no long established cliques…sounded like a good idea to me.) I only felt a little guilty for bringing a weapon into a church. Okay, not at all. I got moving right along and had mastered the pattern by the time I got home. (The group was nice too – tiny, but promising.)  That evening I found myself one pattern repeat and decreases shy of finishing. I knew mail wasn’t delivered on Sundays, so counted myself safe enough to wait till today to finish. Today I did…on my way to, during and on the way home from the Redskins home opener.

I love the hat – very squishy…seems to be a quality I’m after in most everything lately. I did one extra pattern repeat more than called for to account for a deep “pull down.” My target’s ear to ear measurement is the same as mine, so I used myself as a measuring stick. The pattern was fairly easy, despite my misstep. That was all me, not the pattern. And it’s a good unisex pattern. We had a 12 year old boy and 19 year old young man at the house Saturday night and they both said they’d love a hat like that without any prompting. I’d call that a pretty solid endorsement.

So now, let’s mourn pore Donja’s demise. The hat is in the mail.

Love, Jan

Guest Knitting

Dear Ellen,

dscn1243.JPGdscn1245.JPGThe week before last was rather exhausting — travel and 3 very high energy days of intense discussion in Omaha.  It was very nice to come home knowing that Jenny would be arriving the next day.   She got here Friday evening and we had some nice greetings and a bite to eat accompanied by an adult beverage.  I dragged her around dscn1247.JPGdscn1253.JPGdscn1246.JPGto local yarn shops and to knit group, put her to work dyeing Easter Eggs and having “traditional fun” with the “traditional fun tops” from the bottom of the dye package (which formed a lovely egg drying rack), dscn1254.JPGdscn1261.JPGdscn1262.JPGmade her entertain the dogs, take a photo of me making my 2009 snow angel, and sit and knit and watch movies with me.  She was rewarded by the Easter Bunny with a lovely (if I do say so myself) knitting Easter Basket.  dscn1269.JPGHer visit was quite satisfying — and a respite for me, who has been far too underwater with work stuff.  I loved “showing her off” to the ladies in group…she brought the amazing dress that she started and completed since heading for Arizona.  We bought ribbon for it on Saturday and it is FABULOUS.  Of course, I failed to take any pictures of that!

dscn1237.JPGdscn1235.JPGdscn1229.JPGThe weekend before Jenny arrived we did make it up to Copper Mountain for our last day of skiing.  We would’ve skied this weekend, but the pass you have to go through to get to the mountain had two avalanches.  We decided staying home and taking care of accumulated chores around the house was a far better idea.  The dump of snow on Colorado stopped about 2 miles from our doorstep.  No kidding…we got 4 inches or so, but intermixed with rain and temps above 35, so today we have none on the ground.  We have friends just down the road with 9 inches in their backyard.  Strange micro-climates here!

dscn1296.JPGdscn1295.JPGStrange travel adventures this week (the trip to New Orleans that wasn’t — never made it, but spent a day in DFW airport) gave me a good deal of knitting dscn1289.JPGtime and I finished an EZ baby surprise for a friend’s toddler and a tea cozy to be sent to England.  Vanessa saw it in one of my knitting magazines (it’s also in “Wild Tea Cozies”) and asked for it.  I couldn’t say no.  It’s quite cute and I stupidly bought twice as much yarn as needed dscn1290.JPG(requirements in 50 gr/skeins in 100 gr), so could make myself one if I cared to.  Right now I care for the yarn to live in stash as I’d like to finish Allen’s sweater (all pieces ready to join!…Dale helping blocked sleeves to dry!) and get on to Mom’s birthday vest.  Yeah, supposedly this year, but I sent flowers instead.  dscn1264.JPGdscn1291.JPGI have one more pair of socks promised and then I get to return to knitting for myself…or whomever has talked me into making something by then.  Vanessa is already hinting at socks.  [I am ready to oblige as if by always having something on the needles for her, she will stay alive.]  Once again, Dale as the ever steadfast and highly tolerant model.

Love, Jan

Colorado Fun Fact

Dear Ellen,

dscn0869.JPGdscn0867.JPGdscn0865-1.JPGOne of the things I’ve noticed about living at altitude is that things that journey here from lower altitudes swell up if they don’t breathe.  Boxes that arrive from Amazon are always swollen because they use those “air pillows” for padding the contents.  Food products can look spoiled unless you know that it’s just the lower air pressure causing them to bulge.  If I don’t prick a hole in the top of my Yoplait containers, they will burst at me when I open them using the tab.  It seems I need to start breathing more too, as I just took a “before” picture for my “Fit and Fine in 2009” campaign.  No, I won’t post it here.  It is in a sports bra and yoga pants.  Nothing is left to the imagination.  It is proof that the truth can be scarier than fiction, but will also serve as motivation.

dscn0846.JPGdscn0847.JPGdscn0859.JPGKnit group this week was extra fun as we commenced the “party sock” dscn0848.JPGproject.  I’m not participating as I’m working on too much right now and decided to resist.  Nonetheless, it was fun to watch the preparation and take part in the discussion.  Those in on the act each contributed a skein (or two — enough for a pair) of sock yarn.  Anne and Brie took charge of separating them all into 10 smaller balls.  Everyone got that sampling of 10 cakes of about 10 grams of yarn each to go towards whatever sock dscn0855.JPGdscn0851.JPGpattern they chose.  It will be VERY interesting to see the final products.  It was also fun to see all the little cakes of yarn like muffins in a bakery window.  I worked on Allen’s sweater and am almost to the armhole of the front.  It’s going well, but I lost my schematic.  Since I drew it up in the first place, I can do it again, but a bummer.

Love, Jan

New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Ellen,

ediets.JPGCan you guess what one of my New Year’s Resolutions is?  Okay, so it’s not that hard of a guess…almost everyone makes the one about taking better care of their physical being.  Once again, I’m doing it, and once again I’m hopeful.  I’m less certain of success, but maybe that’s a good thing.  This last year I’ve really felt what it’s like to feel unhealthy what with the tendon rupture, the fibromyalgia flare-up, the development of a wasp/hornet/yellow-jacket allergy (results are in, honey-bees are still my friends), and more flu-like episodes in a year than I can remember.  The whole year has me a bit rattled about my immortality, therefore the lack of surety.  But it’s also scared me enough to be really serious about sticking to some basic principles like just getting out there and moving more.

dscn0826.JPGdscn0828.JPGdscn0825.JPGDale and I did just that on Saturday.  We took a simple, but stimulating walk around Prospect Lake (with side detour to make the walk at least 2 miles long).   We worshiped the sun gods at the funky sculpture and Dale got to try out his new hand-held GPS.  (He can download our track into his computer and save it for posterity.)  There were many Canadian geese, but their poop irritated me and I dscn0831.JPGdscn0830.JPGdscn0194.JPGdid not take any pictures of them.  I did like this little squirrel — convinced that I had peanuts in my pocket.  Sorry, little squirrel.  My cheeks got cheery.  Do you recognize my headwear?  We saw a grizzly bear.

dscn0833.JPGdscn0834.JPGI have other resolutions too.  My physical health is not the only thing in need of a little housekeeping.  We had never really finished settling in to the house here — my office was dscn0836.JPGdscn0835.JPGassembled, but much had been shoved into crannies put away without real thought or organization and as a result it became a real heap — a junk room.  It did not make me feel calm to do any work in there.  Its upheaval and the lack of order were really jarring for me.  I took advantage of the slow time over the holidays to tackle this chaos.  And I am very pleased with the results.  Now I have an actually clear twin bed on which I can stretch out if I so desire.  My books are not in stacks, but in the dscn0838.JPGdscn0840.JPGbookshelf.  The closets have lovely plastic drawers and decent boxes.  With some rigged shelving I am making better use of vertical space.  And talk about vertical space!  How ’bout the great stash storage?  Dale hung the chain for me.  The skeins are attached with simple S-hooks.  Yes, there’s light exposure, but that’s an incentive to a) rotate it and b) knit it.  Plus, it’s in a corner away from the window.  The rest of the stash is in the guest bedroom in hanging shoe and sweater storage.  I kind of like that the yarn is in sweater storage units…dreaming of being sweaters.

My other resolutions are represented by these pictures.  1) Finish dscn0820.JPGdscn0842.JPGdscn0844.JPGBasics, Basics, Basics and consider moving on the Master’s classes.  dscn0845.JPGdscn0822.JPGfamily-and-friends.jpg2. Brush up my Italian — I’m not talking fluency, but a return to some basic conversational capability…getting my ear back. 3. Read for pleasure.  I’m thinking the more mindless the better, but I might throw in some Jane Austen. (It’s always good to throw in Austen, you know.) 4. Spend some time focusing on spirituality.  5. Build connections with friends and family.  Knit group counts.

Love, Jan

Ho! Ho! for Yarn Ho’s!

Dear Ellen,

Okay, I’m not really fond of the “yarn ho” moniker, but it seemed compelling given the time of year and the fact that this post is about the Spinner’s with Altitude Holiday Party.

dscn0708.JPGdscn0719.JPGAnn graciously hosted at her home up in Castle Rock and we had a blast.  Much merry-making, hand knit sock-footsying (can you pick out the fuzzy samoyed fiber socks?), too much food and a very good time withdscn0717.JPGdscn0739.JPGdscn0714.JPG the gift exchange.  We had many who stole presents back and forth…they were all so great.  I got to steal first and nabbed “Tinsel,” hand-felted by Kirsten.  He really wanted to come home with me and I managed to hang on to him throughout the proceedings.  I think everyone could see how immediately the two of us had bonded and they didn’t want to break us up.  dscn0704.JPGdscn0705.JPGAnne was crowned the Queen of All Frogging…and is caught with some of the evidence for why.  Heidi showed off the baby blanket she completed and the nearly complete vest for her husband.  (Heidi’s a new knitter and no one of us actually believes how accomplished she has become in such a short time.)  Brie showed off her star afghan…it grows at each meeting.

dscn0736.JPGAfter the party Heidi and I dropped in at the new yarn outlet in town to check it out.  They have discounted yarns from over-runs and end-of-season, etc.  Really good prices, but you have to know what you’re looking for.  I scored some Austermann Mayfair cotton, some Phildar Angora and some Pengouin Christmas wool/acrylic.  The latter was just $.99 a skein and they had a bottle cozy as inspiration.  I figured out a pattern for the same and will get it written up nicely for TwinSet Designs.  A nice knit to dress up a holiday gift of wine — and I have 3 skeins left!

Love, Jan

How long can this last?

Hi, Jan,

8.jpg9.jpg10.jpg11.jpgIt’s not the election I’m talking about.  With any luck, just a few hours after I click “publish” on this post that will be history.  What I’m talking about is the incredible weather we’ve been having.  We broke a record high yesterday, and it was freakish on Sunday.  With the return to standard time, the warm temps combined with early darkness really messed up my biological clock. Wilson got thoroughly sick of me asking him if the time was really the right time.  I got a few garden shots before darkness – nice memories of this extremely luxurious fall we’ve had.

1.jpg2.jpgThe other thing that is, as you know, lasting a long time is the knitting that is Deep Into the Forest.  I truly am  making progress, but it is slow.  Here is the front, about 80% of the way to the armhole.  And also the collar, which in a fit of wanting to see progress I sewed down.  I really love it – it lets me imagine how the finished sweater may look.

121.jpg21.jpgA lovely knitting group last night –  I won’t take you through all the shots, but I thought it worth showing this one of Annie with her lap full of sock machine socks.  And this one of Frankie, who is such a sweetie and is a good visual aid for how I’m feeling after this long election.

Just a few hours more…

Love,

Ellen

Bed Time Already?

Dear Ellen,

I’m supposed to be in bed, but am puzzling over the site format.  I’m certain I need to expand the width of the site to support your energy in bringing new features into our repertoire.  I just don’ t have time to find that bit of code right now.

dscn0547.JPGdscn0549.JPG I will take the time to say I’m back from a week of travel and have something new on the needles.  While in Norfolk I got to see Betsy and Cheryl at one of the meetings of Yarn for Supper (the corollary to Yarn for Breakfast).  Cheryl is wearing her way cool cabled sweater that she finished about 2 months ago.  And look how nicely Betsy’s scarf is coming!  It’s very cushy too.  I also saw Betsy with John and with Kathy and Jim another evening, but didn’t have photos of those.  dscn0550.JPGdscn0552.JPGAnd the new on needles is “A Proper Cardigan” — not yet in my Ravelry projects, but will get to it.  It’s for Vanessa, therefore must be proper.  It’s in Rowan Kid Classic in a glowing sand color.  I love me some Rowan yarn.

That’s it for now…I have an early morning!

Love, Jan

I Know It Was Around Here Someplace…

Dear Ellen,

Where the heck did the weekend go?  Here I sit at 8:40 PM and a 4:45 AM wake-up taunting me over the fact that I have to finish packing, complete my absentee ballot and do myriad other things before I can go to bed.  The weekend — what a whirlwind!

dscn0525.JPGOkay, there’s plenty of evidence that the weekend was full.  Saturday I enjoyed both knit group and a trip to Denver where Dale and I enjoyed a lovely meal with Marc and Katie (John and Betsy’s daughter and her husband) and then went with them to see Chelsea Handler.  And then today we played 18 holes of golf with the General’s “mandatory” fun day.

Knitting was needed.  I hadn’t touched a needle all week what with my team’s responsibility to host a high level conference.  The conference went off with only a minor hitch or two and the principles were very pleased.  Nonetheless, I was dying to get at Julie’s Joint Socks.  I will see her this coming week, and would certainly like to have finished them by then!  The good news is that I’ve rounded the heels on both and am down to cuff knitting, so I’m optimistic that I can make it…I don’t see her till Thursday and I do have a day’s worth of travel tomorrow.  dscn0505.JPGdscn0506.JPGdscn0508.JPGChristy’s husband Ben came along to this session.  He’s mostly interested in knitting because of his work dyeing, and he hasn’t been knitting long, but he’s very good at it.  You have to love the work he put in to figure out the correct width of his scarf to get the vertical pooling of the rainbow colors.  Yes, he did the dye work himself.  dscn0509.JPGAnne faced the frog pond with the piece in this photo.  It’s a bulky knit sweater with big cables in the front.  It really seemed to be flying along till she one of us said, “Gee, that seems pretty narrow, even for you, Anne.”  She held it out, then measured, then realized that there was no way it was going to fit.  An amazingly poised woman, she merely said, “You know, it seems like I figure out a lot of mistakes at group…” and then started reminiscing over dscn0514.JPGa number of other such realizations.  Fortunately, she’s a process knitter and will enjoy the re-do, but she certainly would have preferred getting it the right circumference in the first place.  Christy is on the left working on some really pink socks and Kir is to the right working on silliness.

I got home just in time to leave for Denver where Katie is working on her graduate degree in Sociology and Marc is working for the Denver Newspaper Association in their interactive customer engagement efforts.  Their apartment is tiny, but warm (in the best way) and we were honored to be their first real dinner guests.   We enjoyed some nice wine, a baked cranberry-pineapple glazed chicken dish (and pilaf and spaghetti squash), a tasty and light mascarpone and fresh fruit dessert and then headed downtown.  dscn0521.JPGdscn0544.JPGChelsea was appearing at The Paramount.  The theater is very old…1929 art deco.  Unfortunately, their acoustics weren’t the greatest and we missed a lot of lines, but we heard enough to laugh loud and long.  Heather McDonald was the warm up dscn0527.JPGdscn0526.JPGact and she was funny too.  The only decent picture of Chelsea from our seats (and it wasn’t really so great anyway) was one for which I had inadvertently turned on the dscn0541.JPGflash…and promptly got “tsked!” by the usher.  We all had fun — parted company at the parking garage and Dale and I headed home.

We got home around 1:00 AM and I realized that Allen would be getting up right about then to head for the airport.  I got ready for bed and then called him to say so long…it will be awhile before we get another chance to talk.  He informed me that the swatches are on their way back to me, that he’s very pleased with the ideas and that he wants the double-stranded yarn with the K3-P1 ribbing.  I never should have given him the choice of double-stranded yarn if I had my heart set on the single strand plus seacell.  Oh well, I’ll save the sea cell for myself.  Right about now he should be arriving in Hong Kong with further passage to Malaysia where he’ll be meeting his submarine and finally starting his first job in the Navy.  I hope to hear from him by e-mail in the not too distant future.  (Sniff!  My baby boy!!)

This morning we dragged out early to get moving for the General’s Fun Day Outing.  I think I bristle at these mostly because they are for “couples”  — and the General explicitly spells out that a couple consists of one male and one female.  Ostensibly this is to keep the golf evenly played, but it still bugs me.  Dale is becoming interested in improving his game so I’ll probably hook him up with some lessons for Christmas.  He’s really got a pretty natural talent already, so with some lessons he might become a force with which to be contended!  We got home around 5:30 PM (Fun Day Dinner included!) and I screwed around till I realized I really had to get busy if I wanted to go to bed at any hour resembling sanity.

With that, this item (write blog post) is complete and I must finish packing and preparing my absentee ballot.  Then off to bed.  Hope you have a great week!

Love, Jan