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Sonntag, Juli 24, 2016

I Learn to Crochet

Technically, I learned to crochet when I was ten. This involved a lot of creation of long crocheted chains. I know what single and double crochet are. I have failed at making a lace tablecloth (my squares got smaller and smaller) and a lace baby bonnet (my stitches that were supposed to look like bullion stitches in embroidery looked like rats nests). But Robin had a cute hat that I really wanted to try, Puffs and Bows. 

photo ganked from pattern page
When we went to Heindselman's last week as part of the Sister Retreat I bought some Plymouth Gina and two crochet hooks.


Robin got me started on the pattern.









Apparently the puffy stitches are related to bobbles, only different. They actually remind me of the nupps from The White Knitting, because you get a bunch of loops on the hook and then pull a loop through all of them at once. The White Knitting has just taken up all my crafting time lately. I have a deadline!

More shopping

At our house we are trying to pay down credit cards rather than run them up, so I have been shopping way less. There were a few exceptions this month. For example, I had a Wollmeise event; I couldn't help it, the exchange rate was so good!



Taking pictures with my phone does not do the colors justice, so I am going to link you to the website. From left these are Delphin, Mäuseballet auf der Wiese, Auf dem Roten Teppich, and Hoity Toity.

I have a kind of love/hate relationship with Wollmeise. I love the colors, the smooth finish and the tight twist. However, this tight twist can make this yarn a bear to wind on a ballwinder. It tends to kink up. Also, the socks I have knitted from Wollmeise wore out really quickly, probably because it is slightly finer than other sock yarns I commonly use. For example, Socks that Rock Lightweight has approximately 277 yards per 100 grams, and Verdant Gryphon Bugga! has about 353, while Wollmeise has 383. So I prefer to use Wollmeise in scarves and shawls rather than socks.

The other thing I bought was this adorable project bag, Summer Fireflies, from Stitched by Jessalu.  This purchase is totally down to Jennifer at Holiday Yarns, because she put a picture of it on Facebook. I don't even know if she bought one or if she just lured me into it.







The fabric and workmanship on this bag are just beautiful. Right now the Wollmeise is living in it, but I think Frangipani (no progress there, sorry) might move into it soon. 

So. My two new things that I pretend I am learning how to do are water color and crochet. If I actually do either one I'll be sure to show you. 


Donnerstag, Juli 21, 2016

That Thing You Never Want to Do

That thing you never want to do on a lace project: I had to frog three rows of knitting this morning.

The White Knitting (named in honor of  The Yarn Harlot's Big White) has been going along swimmingly for six weeks.



I am working from two charts. There is a side chart that I knit at the beginning and end of each row, and then the big middle section. Last night I suddenly discovered I was on the wrong chart row when I got to the side chart at the end of a row.

I did all the things you do. I counted stitches. I tinked back two rows (also not something you want to do in a lace project). I repeated a chart row to get back on.  It looked horrible. I wanted to stay up all night and figure out what was wrong. But you know how that goes. If what you're doing isn't working, doing more of it isn't going to suddenly start working better. It took all my mental fortitude to put it away.

Sometime during the night I realized that I must have done that thing where you pick up your knitting in the middle of a row and forget which way you were knitting. Sure enough, when I counted rows I discovered that I had two extra rows on the left side.

So I bit the bullet and pulled the needle out. Very carefully.


I know, right?

I had to gingerly pull out three rows. Sure enough, there was a backtracky bit on the left side. I spent half an hour getting all the stitches back on. Then I read through the whole row to see if there was any damage. I had to redo a couple of nupps and a k 2 tog, but that was all.

I put it away. I'm not ready to look at it again for a while.

In case you're curious, the nupps are the little bobble-looking things. Here is a video of Nancy Bush demonstrating the technique (she starts the nupp at 1:30). She talks a little bit about Estonian knitting as well. The pattern I'm knitting, Crown Prince Shawl, is from the book she mentions at the end of the video, Knitted Lace of Estonia. 


I also want to put in a plug for KnitCompanion, the app I use on my iPad to follow knitting charts. If I had been working from a paper chart and marking the finished rows with a highlighter like I used to do, it would have been much harder to indicate where I had to back up three rows. KnitCompanion is available for iDevices now, and will be released for Android shortly.




Samstag, Juli 16, 2016

Sister Retreat 2016

When the four Asay sisters got together in Minneapolis last year we didn't realize the retreat was going to become an annual event. But we did it again--this time out west.

Robin, Ruth Ann, Tan, Christie
photo credit Jennie Berndt

First stop was Arco, Idaho. We stayed at the DK Motel, which was dowdy but which had free (if slow) internet, extra pillows (if you wait while they find some in an unbooked room) and plenty of towels. We checked in and headed over to Robin's house, which was way more welcoming and had the added bonus of some preserved wildlife. Being nose to nose with a full-sized moose brings home how truly immense this animal is.



The next day we headed down to Blackfoot for a cousin reunion.

The real excitement, however, was getting all four of us into my Subaru Crosstrek to make the drive to Provo, Utah for the second leg of the party.

It wasn't so much us . . .
















. . . as it was our gear. The car is a hybrid, so there is a battery in the space where you would normally stow a spare tire. You can see the spare standing up behind the oxygen concentrator.

Ruth Ann was really kind and patient when I unloaded the cargo space she had just finished loading and redid it the way I thought looked most charming. In other words, she only said one swear word.



Once we got to Provo we did the things that have already become traditional at an Asay Sister Retreat.



We ate.


We played cards and knitted.




We shopped. 


Incidentally, Heindselman's in Provo, Utah claims to be the nation's oldest yarn shop. I was disappointed to find that the huge display of garden gnomes (aka Heindselmännchen) that used to take up the entire front of the store had gone. Apparently they were all sold to make room for more yarn. An intense search turned up a few shelf models.


Did I buy anything? Next time, dear reader.

Plans for Sister Retreat 2017 are under way. The Asay sisters have one brother, and he lives in Las Vegas. I leave the rest to your imagination.


Donnerstag, Juli 07, 2016

RX: Do Something Fun Today







I have been feeling kind of out of it this summer. I wanted to blame it on low thyroid or high glucose, but a boatload of blood tests came back normal. So I pinned down my closest healthcare professional to do a mental health assessment for me. His diagnosis? Do something fun for a change.

It turns out that all of my goals are duty-oriented and good for me: learn the music for the next recital, be able to lift 35 lbs, finish The White Knitting on time. I enjoy doing all of these things, but they don't make me bound out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to get started. We made a list of things I enjoy doing just for fun. Art was not on the list, but I woke up this morning with painting on my mind.

I was able to enlist the help of two local artists on short notice for a trip to Blick in Salt Lake. It helped that we were all interested in water color so we could concentrate our attention in one part of the store.

I don't have room for a studio, but I think it will work to get a plastic carrier for my art supplies. I can paint outside on the deck while the weather stays nice.

I also decided to start a colored knitting project to balance my mental spectrum. A couple of weeks ago I fell in love with Frangipani, by Irish artist Kieran Foley. I originally thought I could use Wollmeise from my stash, but an email from the designer suggested that part of what makes the pattern work is the long but constantly changing color runs in the suggested yarn. I tried two local shops with no luck and ended up buying Katia Darling on Ebay.

This is a magic pattern. It goes along somewhat like a traditional Feather and Fan design, but then you use The Force in Row 11 and voila:

For my next magic trick I will change to an entirely different color palette after Row 14.















Montag, Februar 22, 2016

We Go West

Cherry and I went to Stitches West on Friday and Saturday. We used to go to East Coast shows: Maryland Sheep and Wool, Rhinebeck. Now that she lives in California, of course we will go to West Coast shows.

These conventions are like Comdex (or maybe Comic-con) for people who like to make things out of string, and for people who like to shop for handmade items. There are classes taught by knitting rock stars. There are booths manned (or womanned) by the artists who made the items they are selling. There are people everywhere enthusiastically greeting friends they haven't seen since the last show, or whom they may never have met in person at all.

I had goal beyond just hitting the marketplace. I wanted to meet the San Francisco knitters with whom I've been friends on Ravelry for years, Leslie Wong and Celia McCuaig. We got together on Friday to shop and again on Saturday for more shopping, and dinner with more knitters (and Fluevog shoe fanatics). I was frustrated when I arrived home and realized that I have no photos from these get-togethers. I was having too much fun to even think of taking pictures! We'll have to do it all again next year.

There are, however, a few photos from around the market.

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Who's who and what's what, from top left: Tan and Kate at Dragonfly Fibers; Shawls at on display at Dragonfly Fibers; Flocksock in Amortentia, Silver Sock in Merfolk's Garden, and Super Sheep DK in The Dark Side from Holiday Yarns; Cherry, Tan and Jennifer at Holiday Yarns; Dalek Bag from A Needle Runs Through It; Carolyn and Tan at Greenwood Fiberworks; Stephen West and Tan at A Verb for Keeping WarmThree Irish Girls yarns at StevenBe; Heatherly, Tan, and Cherry at Holiday Yarns; Verdant Gryphon Bugga in A Wistful Moment and Madagascan Sunset Moth from The Verdant Gryphon; Jamie and Tan at The Verdant Gryphon; Malabrigo Rueca in 057 English Rose, from Webs;  Project bags from Slipped Stitch Studios; Rabbit hand puppet from Knitterly; Kelly (Valkyriene) and adorable shopping assistant; Three Irish Girls mini-skeins from StevenBe; Super Traveller in Fire in the Evening and Forget me Knot from Dragonfly Fibers; Naturally dyed yarns from A Verb for Keeping Warm; Shawl kits at Cat Mountain Fiber Arts.