Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dwarven Gear #3 Ori Mitts

I know you are totally distracted by Ori's sweater and you THINK his mitts are garter stitch, but they are not. We are still arguing over Twisted Rib vs Half Twisted Rib or Rick Rack.
My money is on a modified RickRack. Rick Rack ribbing? But let's be clear on one thing: not garter stitch.

Look at the puffy hands! Heehee, I love the way they make these actors actually become dwarves!
My only regret is Thorin wasn't wearing knitting so we could stare at Richard Armitage. You know he is awesome when 3 generations of women in one family sigh when he comes on screen.

Back to Ori. He really has the most textural knitting in his costume. Some day I aspire to knit for Anne Maskrey. Really just beautiful!

How to knit Ori's Mitts
US 10
Knit Picks City Tweed held double

These are a bit harder than the first 2 sets of Dwarven Mitts.
Cast on 40[46,52] stitches. 
Row 1 (right side): P1, *skip first stitch, knit in back loop of second stitch (leaving stitch on left needle), knit in front of first stitch (remove both stitches off of left needle), p1, repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2 (wrong side): K1, *purl into second stitch (leave stitch on left needle), purl into first stitch (remove both stitches off of left needle), k1, repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until 9", ending having knit Row 2.
Bind off with right side row facing in [p1, k2] pattern. Seam leaving a hole for your thumb.

Dwarven Gear #2 Bombur Mitts

This year with the book knitting and magazine knitting,, there is really no time for holiday knitting for 6 kids, a husband, dad, mom, 2 brother and a sister. (Do  not even mention my aunt's annual socks.)

But easy knits from The Hobbit movie? this I can do!
I took a note pad to sketch Ori's sweater. OK. Sketching in the dark looks really lame and stupid once it is in day light. BUT i know which yarns to use to replicate it: Indigo Dragonfly SilkMerino in RiverSong and the UNREALESED sekrit book colourway. or the firelfy gold colourway Kim has.

So back to easy knits:
These are linen stitch with a patch of seed stitch sewn on.
With most of their costumes, they are supposed to "BULK" up the dwarven actors.

Being semi-normal humans, we don't need the bulk.

I used knitpicks tweed in Charcoal 2 balls, held double. ( I LOVE THE WAY THIS YARN FEELS)

US 10

Cast On 42 [48] sts (small- CO 36)

Knit in Linen Stitch for 7.5 [8, 9] inches as follows:
Row 1: [K1, wyif, S1 purlwise, yb] repeat across, end k2
Row 2: [P1, wyib, S1 purlwise, yarn forward] repeat across, end p2
Essentially the stitches you slip on one row will be the stitches you knit or purl on the following row. (think tricky seed stitch). This fabric will not be stretchy.

Bind off and seam side closed leaving a hole for thumb. If you have the time and are feeling fancy you can knit these in the round and even add a thumb gusset. BUT come on, we are running out of holiday knitting time! They are designed to bee loose like Bombur's. For a tighter fit, work until it folds around your arm, just becareful as there is VERY little stretch.

wyif-with yarn in front
wyib-with yarn behind
yb/yf yarn behind/forward NOT to be confused with the british term Yarn Forward which is an american yarn over. Essentially return the yarn to a normal position for working the next stitch.

Seed Stitch Patch
Bulky Yarn
US 13

CO 4-6 sts depending on the width of your own hand. (2.5 sts per inch)
Row1: [K1,p1] across. Row 2: [P1,k1] across.
Knit 8-12 rows (depending on hand size), Bind off in pattern.
Attach to back of mitt.

Obviously you should make 2 of these for a pair of hands.

Dwarven Gear #1 Bofur Mitts

My son's birthday is December 14th. Rather than focus on this new day infamy, we celebrated life.
Jaden was born after my first miscarriage. He was the child I desperately needed in my arms. Everyone commented on how they had never been HUGGED by so young a baby. He still is the first to notice if I am upset and need a hug. This was his first year IN school. It has been wonderful for him and yet such agony for me. Everyday he makes me laugh. He is now 13, but still so desperately my "baby". (I am sure he hates that I wrote that!)

No matter what, after a year of planning, we took him and all the family to see The Hobbit Movie.
The first LOTR movie he came with me as well, though that meant I bought a ticket and stood in a hallway with a fussy baby for 3 hrs. I did threaten Jaden to not do that through this year's movie!

The Hobbit movie is fraught with knitwear! Ori's knitted sweater and hooded c owl. the dwarven mitts and gloves, the scarves. and yak hair wigs! This movie is a fiber addict's dream.

OFCOURSE we have to recreate them! Alot of them are super easy knits. A beginner can easily recreate quite a few, and quick knits because of the bulkier yarn.

Easy so Free Pattern for Bofur's Mitts
In the movie Bofur has grey mitts, but I used what I had on hand.

Bulky yarn

Cast on 24 sts
Work in Seed stitch Row1: [K1,p1] across. Row 2: [P1,k1] across.
Repeat Row 1 and 2 for 32 rows.
Bind off and seam edge leaving a hole for the thumb.

Easy and Quick. 1 pair from 100g (1skein) and maybe 1 hr of knitting.
Birthday Mitts for Jaden

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Work

With my work, homeschooling kids, Sam's work...we discovered that I do not actually have "day off". Now that Israeli dance and hebrew classes are no longer on Tuesday nites, I claimed Tuesday eve's for my own.
Especially with the book, I need an undistracted zone of time.
This sounds great. It has not happened really at all, crises or deaths or hospital visits always seem to creep in from his schedule. Last Tuesday I actually had a real evening to myself. Since I had finished all of the edits for the book, I thought I would begin with backing them up on a flash drive bought just for that purpose. ( I am a flash drive junkie. I love them, especially swirlie coloured ones)
I have no idea how it happened, but I some how DUMPED a freshly made cup of tea into my laptop.
It actually filled and was contained in the body of the keyboard. Little keys submerged. Drowning. By the time i stretched out my hands to pour it off, It went black and there was a faint 'zwooop' sound. It was like watching a cartoon. The only thing it needed was a lil smoke swirl drawn above it.

So since the kids were off from school, Sam actually took a week off from work, I took the week as a sabbatical as well.
No Computer obviously. No knitting.
Seriously, I think I was twitching. I did sneak in 2 rounds on a baby sock.
What did I learn?

Tea goes in a travel thermos even if I am not traveling.
Back up the flippin' files!
And there is no way "I can quit anytime" can be applied in my life towards knitting.

I am on a borrowed for the week computer. My dad who is awesome tech support, was able to save most of my files.(Seriously call Reliable Computer Solutions, even out of state remote assistance.)

So something pretty and shiny to distract us from the horrors:

Slipped Stitch Studios has been creating Doctor Who inspired bags and accessories.
Since I begged Laura to do these, I may own several. I may have shared own with Kate as well.
The 2 skein bag is my favourite, it holds 2 cakes easily and the beads go nicely in the pockets.

These are two secret yarns dyed especially for the book. I LOVE them. Beads are from Earthfire. (Wow, does she ship fast! )

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Knitting right along.

Things are busy here. While I have been busy writing and editing for the seekrit buch, amazingly talented yarn dyers have been hard at work.

I have been opening some beautiful packages of yarn, I hope to get to show you more, but some of the colours are seekrit buch colours....

This is from BCYarnings (Berry Colourful Yarnings)
Tardis blue, oooh! aaaah!

Bijou Basin makes a lovely sock yarn. I am soo looking forward to making yak socks. It is a bouncy and springy yarn. My feet get very cold in winter, and I whine about my injured ankle aching in the cold. How warm do you think 85% yak down is? I think it is going to be pretty wicked awesome!

Tibetan Sock Yarn in colours 10-072 and 12-072.

Tiny qiviut skeins, Cormo/Yak sport wt in grey , and Tibetan Sock

Hurricane Sandy Hat drives are springing up all over. If you live in Chico/Paradise/Magalia area, Aimee's Yarn Cafe on Clark Road (across from Black Bear) is collecting hats.

If you Knit or Crochet please consider donating. When my family went thru Hurricane Andrew 20 yrs ago, someone made each family a quilt. It was not a pretty quilt. The fabrics were crazy. But it was our only blanket. It meant so much to have that quilt. I still have it. It goes on picnics and wraps up babies on the couch in winter.
It may seem like a small thing, but it really means alot. If you have the time, find a local collection site for hats, coats, blankets, and warm some one's heart.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Misbegotten Waistcoat

A new Pattern out! I made this garment about 18 mons ago. It was accepted then the original company stopped publishing and I went back to submitting it. Tangled recently published it in their Fall 2012 collection. I present to you MISBEGOTTEN WAISTCOAT.

The Aqua one is In Miss Babs Yummy Sport Coventry colourway.
For those who remember Threnody, this design is also inspired by D M Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo books. Kezziah and I LOVE the character Misbegotten Shrewd. This character is a turning point of the book, (NO SPOILERS) and begins to change thinking and perceptions.
Read these books!

My daughters and I were shopping together and a bit shocked that they needed to buy “Large” garments for their size 4 and 6 frames. The beauty of the shape of women is easily lost on labels, especially when those labels try to force us to fit to their ideal. Although it uses only simple rectangular shapes, the Misbegotten Waistcoat flatters all figure types, no matter if you were blessed with a bodacious booty or an ample bosom.
Using simple shapes and buttoned at the waist, Misbegotten magically slims and accentuates.

Beautifully Handmade glass buttons from Sheila and Michael ernst

24 sts/26 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch
30 sts/26 rows = 4” in pattern stitch unblocked (cable suckage)
US 6 - gauge 15sts (1 pattern/column repeat)=2” unblocked 2.5 inches

Interweave Knit Lab

We packed the car and headed to San Mateo for the west coast Knit Lab event.
This is always a fun show. I love the teachers and classes they offer...and you never know who is going to show up!
I was able to sit thru Nancy Bush's presentation on Estonia and the history of the shawls of Haapsalu while sitting next to Eunny Jang. Eunny was one of the first knitting blogs that I read when I was just learning how to knit something besides a scarf. I was so excited for her when she went to go work at Interweave. She is still completely delightful. Being in that class room sitting next to her, was a bit surreal. The journey that knitting has taken me on has been to places I have never expected, I am still amazed at the path!

While we were down there Maia, Anne Berke, Carl and Eileen of Bijou Basin and Slipped Stitches' Nick and Laura jined us for some culinary adventures. I actually ate fish and enjoyed it. ( I know this shocks some of you) But the highlight was the Indian food at Dosa Republic.

What about the fun stuff I brought home? Well I am glad you asked.

Chiaogoo Interchangable needles, the red set is the red lace, the black is the bamboo spin. These are from Mimi's Needle Basket. She sold out of them in under an hour! They are hard to keep in stock, and I am not surprised at the demand for them. I love the pointy tips and "not too slick" surface of the red lace. Last year I searched events to be able to find the fixed circulars, and it was difficult.  The blue and white needles were a present for our friend Sue, also from Mimi's Needle Basket.

Slipped Stitches has had brilliant Doctor Who Fabrics, limited editions of course. Magnets and the needle nook. Tactile yarn in Cashmere, alpaca and silk and Bijou Yak sock yarn.
I may have brought home a lot of Bijou Basin Yarns.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sneezing Sunday- Share the Bounty ( a bit late)

I collect cook books. We have cook books from the various regions we have lived in. I was pleased to have the opportunity to review Share The Bounty: Finding God's Gracethrough the Spirit of Hospitality by Benita Long.

This book includes recipes like Easy Brunswick Stew, Aunt Emma's Tea Cakes, Country Apple Pie, Grilled Chicken and Wild Rice Salad, Strawberry Rhubarb Bread, and Fireside Soup. Many of the recipes are fairly easy to make, BUT being jewish, I will be making substitutions. :0) Being a good southern book, it also has peach recipes. Sadly I am allergic to peaches, but the recipe for Blueberry Peach Coffe cake will definitely be appreciated by those who are able to eat peaches.

The recipes are beautifully presented, and the writing is like sitting down with a friend to swap recipes. I love filling up our home with people. Thanksgiving will be for about 40 people. I am planning our menu now and have been given great ideas through this book.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

I review for BookSneeze®

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sneezing Sunday- Grieving G-d's Way

Grieving God's WayThe Path to Lasting Hope and Healing By Margaret Brownley 

"Take a deep breath. The physical and emotional stress of grief can do an enormous amount of harm to the mind and body. we become so caught up in our pain we literally forget to breathe."

This book has come at a pertinent time in mine and my family's lives. 6 months after one grandmother died, another grandmother was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

I am a mess.
I keep crying in odd public places like buying stamps at the post office.
After we lost a baby, our daughter Lily, I did not grieve well. This blog was actually begun at the urging of my best friend. I had locked away a lot of myself and stopped writing completely. 
I am determined to get through this with out loosing myself along with someone I love.

This book is set up as a 90-day devotional healing experience. Rather than just thoughts for the day, there are exercise to do in order to work through the grief process. The book is divided into four categories—body, soul, heart, and spirit. Under each category are readings that offers insight into the process that increases understanding of G-d's purposeful plan for healing the heart and soul.
My mother has always told me that G-d gives us shock as a gift to get us through catastrophe. Margaret Brownley also touches on this. What I have noticed through the lives of others is one can get "stuck" in the stages of grief or that by the time the world thinks you should be moving on, that is when you need a friend the most. This book is written like that friend. No psycho babble, just gentle prodding to encourage healing.

"The ultimate purpose of stopping is to ensure that when we go, we go in the direction that we want and that we are not just reacting to the pace of our lives, but choosing, moment to moment, what is best. The ultimate reason for stopping is going." - Dr. David Kunditz

"Some people live as if they have an emotional credit card.....instead of daling with the loss, they ignore it, pretend it didnt happen, or relegate it to the future. Unresolved grief compounds interest at an alarming rate, For the greatest emotional security and peace of ind, make sure all grief is paid in full."  "No Loss is too old or too small to grieve" -  Margaret Brownley

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

LGW Socks Series-In Coming

Around 4 years ago, my daughter was reading the Looking Glass Wars books by Frank Beddor.
They wanted socks for the books. So I sat down and created a series of socks inspired by the stories for them.
Then we moved.

I recently found the files. I had forgotten all about them.
When I put out a request for testers on Ravelry, I was swamped with about 30 responses.
Which is amazing!
If things go well, I may glean from those testers some who I may want to test for "the book".
(The secret book deal details will come forth in the future.)

The Ebook will contain 5 patterns. 4 socks and 1 shawl.
More info will be available here:  and in the Yarn Yenta's Meshugas Group.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sneezing Sundays- GK Chesterson

My friend Lesa nudged me in the direction of BookSneeze. Crazy name but a cool concept.

I review for BookSneeze®

The last 5 years for the shul, I have picked out a "Book of the Month" for us to read and discuss together. We have gone through alot of books! We have a Summer Reading list rather than a single book. We are at around 100 books that we have read so far. This is a cyber version.

Almost all of the books are religious, so that is your warning. They are not KNITTING books.

The first book I have been given is

A Year with G. K. Chesterton 365 Days of Wisdom, Wit, and Wonder By Kevin Belmonte 

This is an author whose name keeps coming up the last few months, so I was eager to actually read something by him. While you may not know the name, G.K. Chesterton has influences in our modern world today. C.S. Lewis attributes his conversion to Christianity to read G.K. 's book The Everlasting Man. Without him there could be no Narnia! This year a crater on the surface of Mars was named Chesterton after him as well. 

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born about 100 years before I came along. By the time my grandfather was born, G.K. had died just the week before.  

Chesterton wrote around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays beside the columns and plays. Choosing for such an immense body of work must have been daunting. Ever see an episode of The Father Brown Mysteries? Those are based off of his works as well.

A lot of daily books are all too often a bit of 'feel good' fluff, just a consoling word to make you feel better about yourself or the world around you. 365 days with G.K. Chesterton however is filled with words to make you think. "So the false optimism, the modern happiness, tires us because it tells us we fit into this world. The true happiness is that we don't fit."
The readings for each day, can not be skimmed, but need careful and thoughtful reading, to chew on them a bit. some common phrases in G.K. Chesterton's hands acquire a new twist.

"You should not look a gift universe in the mouth."

"Praised be G-d for all sides of life, for friends, lovers, art, literature, knowledge, humour, politics, and for the little red cloud away there in the west."

"They thought themselves secure...they believed themselves rich with an irrevocable benediction which set them above the stars; and immediately they discovered humility."

" We can only really understand all myths when we know that one of them is true."

"The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone."

Kevin Belmonte has done a wonderful job choosing these gems. The book is full of the paradoxical, "making the hidden plain."  This book will be one that will be highlighted and dog-eared. I look forward to delving into the deep ocean of work G.K. Chseterton has left us.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Six Months

Six months ago today, my grandmother died. Charlotte, my dad's mother, was afraid to travel. I rarely got to see her as growing up I either lived in Europe or the east coast of the US. She braved the train all the way to Homestead, Florida 20 years ago, before Hurricane Andrew blew us to another state.
When I got married, she was there to lend a hand with floral arrangements and to make sure a giant granny square blanket would be made in my wedding colours. She worked on it in secret in my brother's room while we finished sewing and creating other wedding things. It is ofcourse made from red heart, and today I am so glad that it is. That blanket will out live me.
How do I know? Well I have the blanket her mother made thirty years ago atleast. A flaming orange mixed with shades of brown. Both blankets graced the floors of our very silly hippie anniversary party. (everyone came in costume and tie-dye and we lit a lava lamp. It is on youtube if you don't believe me.) We also used all those beads Grandma sent from mardi gras.

Charlotte remembered my birthday every year, which was a big deal. I spent most of my childhood with little contact from my grandparents. I remember crying when my friends would go see their grandparents because I wasn't able to. But every year on my birthday was a card, signed "Love, Grandmother" Very sensible, very practicle. There was no card this year.
On Charlotte's Birthday, we found out Bobbi had cancer.

Today we are about 10 days in to my Grandmama's pancreatic cancer. My mother's mom, Bobbi, lived with us for almost a year when I was a child. This is my SoCal grandmother, her father worked on movies, my mother's father worked on movies. There were some glamorous moments. She was beautiful. She is still beautiful. Tan, blonde, living on Hunington Beach, blocks from the ocean. she taught me how to walk in high heels properly with a book on my head. She sang silly songs to us, which we sang again on Tuesday night.

Bobbi would put vanilla behind her ears when ever she was baking. My mom did the same. When baking with my girls we dab the traditional vanilla behind our ears. Turns out it is a WW2 thing. Perfume was too costly, but vanilla could do the trick. To me it is my grandmother.

Grandmama was an occasional knitter. But she never taught me or my mother how. I have a baby poncho she knit. some where is one of her paintings, and then there are photographs of her and Elvis Presley (See, told you there was a touch of glam.)

This year has been hard. 2 broken arms, 1 crushed finger at kindergarten, scarlet fever, IRS audit... But this year has also been soo good. I did actually make my deadlines. This week I was so side tracked I was not sure I was going to get things mailed off.

Stress has brought cleaned and organized kitchen cabinets this week. I refrained from alphabetizing them. Ditto on the fridge.

I am still getting used to Grandma being missing. I placed an order for 4 copies of the book that has my pattern in it. I had planned to make them presents this holiday season. Thanking them for being crafty women, being proud of me, loving me.

This order was changed to 3 books.

Now I am hoping to get 1 mailed while I still can.

I got to talk with Grandmama, I didn't get to with Grandma. It makes a difference. I know now why they say people need to say good bye. We have gone so long with out a death in our family, this is unfamiliar. Pancreatic Cancer is horrible, deadly and fast. It is also under funded.  I have a few ideas for that.

Thank you to everyone who has called and emailed, and sent a Rav pm. Thank you for sharing your stories. I am blessed to have such lovely people in my life.

I love you a bushel and a peck....and a hug around the neck....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sock Report Winner

Talia picked a name out of a bucket, her sand bucket to be specific .
The winner of The Sock Report is Suebeeeee.

The winner has been contacted. Thanks to every one for playing along.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Look something ~*~Sparkly~*~

As we are in our 4th season of Super Sock Scarefest, the topic of sparkly yarn has come up.
For those of you who may be completely unfamiliar with Super Sock Scarefest, it is a KAL where all designs are based off scary movies, usually B movies. You gotta love scary movies and knitting, what else makes those stitches magically speed across the needles like adrenalin?
Scarefesters get a suplly list, and they get a movie to go with each design. Most often '"que-able"  via Netflix. But you never know what yarn will be next OR when a scary bonus that is lurking in the closet, is going to jump out and scare you.

AT SOME POINT, SOME ONE is going to need yarn with sparkles. You may of course substitute plain non-sparkly yarn (BORING), but maybe you need some help figuring out what the sparkles are and why you may want them.

1- It is shiny yarn. The sun hits it and its a total distraction from all other knitting. This is one reason why sparkly yarn should not be stored next to plain yarn. Other stash yarns just can't compete with sparkles.

2- SOME sparkly yarn gets its shine and shimmer from silver, REAL SILVER. The cool thing about this is silver is awesome for circulation and fighting bacteria. Diabetic socks and even Rx crocs have silver in them for the medical benefits.

3- Investing in SIlver yarn is awesome because as the price of silver goes up so does the value of your stash.

But not all sparkles are from silver. This is not bad, it just is not GLAMOROUS. Stellina is a sparkly fiber spun in with the wool. Spinners can actually by it to add to their own fiber as the spin.

The really awesome thing about Stellina is it comes in colours!

So I am going to share some of my sparkly hoard, I do feel a bit draconian about the shiny jewels. So look, but do not touch the sparkly yarn. It is difficult to photograph, but you get the idea.

Grinning Gargoyle Shimmer Gold (Stellina but golden)

Holiday Yarns Silver Sock (WITH actual Silver)and Dream in Color Starry (with lurex fiber)

Knit Picks Glimmer (Stellina)

Kraemer Sterling Silver and Silk (Silver and in a silk blend!)

Of course clickable links are included to aid in your shopping.

Know of other sparkles we can add to our stash? Please share!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Magic of Knit Nite

For 5 years now, the Paradise Knitting and Spinning Guild has met in a sitting room at an upscale retirement (GRACIOUS retirement) center. One of the things I love about where we meet is the people who live there and their stories.
I come from a people of story, not just because we belong to the people of the book, but that was a good guess on your part.
Given any subject at any time, some how we will have a story to go with it. Now matter how bizarre,  we will have a family story. "Remember the time the militant lesbians tied dad to a tree out side the Pentagon?" (true story BTW)

The men walk by and chat about the mechanics of the spinning wheels, the women ask what we are making and tell us of the things the made "once upon a time".
We live in a town with retired Hollywood actors,  experimental aircraft piolts, old rock and rollers. We know most of those stories. I am loving the unexpected stories.

So when we sit on the green and purple couches at Knit (and Spin) NIte, we have this amazing chance to hear stories.
"My mother was a master weaver in Italia, wove the linen for her wedding dress."
"I once played cello at the Neuschwanstein castle."
"I was in charge of the horses for William Hearst's estate. I got to ride every day."
"I was in Times Square on VJ Day. The crowd and excitement was amazing."

My daughters come with me to Knit (and Spin) Nite. They are nearly 17 and 15 and a half. This week I was asked about the women who were with me. They meant my daughters! Girls on the precipice of their own amazing lives, waiting to write stories that will one day be passed down. I am so proud of the women they are becoming.

My friend Brooke and I began Knit (and Spin) Nite because we just wanted to sit and enjoy knitting, spinning and crafting without worrying about paying fees to an LYS if our project yarn came was purchased out side the store, or not being allowed to talk about products that store didn't carry. The freedom to just laugh and hear the stories.

I am ever so thankful to Feather Canyon Gracious Retirement for opening their doors to us and letting us meet there on 5 years of Thursday nights.

Thank you for sharing your stories.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Sock Report Challenge-ContestClosed

Have you ever felt like everyone has all the cool books, yarn and knitting needles but you?

In my mailbox arrived the PRINTED version of The Sock Report, (available through Unicorn books). I did not get just one copy! So who wants to win a copy?
You could make these awesome socks:

Maybe you are asking, "How do I win my own Sock Report?"
Follow me on twitter and tweet this contest with the hash tags:  #NuppsAreCool #TheSockReport

Like YarnYenta Designs on Facebook. and leave a comment on the blog with your Rav Name or Twitter Name so I can actually contact you. If I can not get an address then I can not mail a prize.
Do all of this by Sept 15, (cuz high holy days will be coming and I will be crazy busy after that!)

But WAIT!!!! That is not all! I will also send you a skein of sock yarn and the needles to make the socks! (Chiagoo Red Lace circulars with pointy nupp friendly tips)

Do you already have The Sock Report? Check out the new Publication Skein Theory: The science of Knitting Happiness

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Name in Lights? Not Quite, but INK is sure wonderful

Last September after the Micro socks cam out in Knitty, I was asked if I would be interested in designing socks for The Knitter (UK). Now this just happens to be my favourite magazine. It is my Barnse & Noble excuse....which means it is a gateway read for me to go and buy more books at BN.
Shortly after that email, I found myself sitting at the ER waiting to hear if my grandfather was ok. While waiting, I sketched a chart on graph paper. In my purse was a small ball of yarn. We all know that knitting is calming, so what else would I do but cast on a swatch.

The socks, LarkRise, were recently published in issue 47 of TheKnitter. This is not quite available on this side of the pond. It should be on shelves mid August at BN.

I love the way they posed them, great colour play. These were knit from Dream In Colour Smooshy in Lagoon.

The socks are named after Flora Thompson's books and the BBC series based off the same, Lark Rise to Candleford. (Available on Netflix)

We discovered Lark Rise while Tirzah was preparing to go off to London for several months.

 As a mother of 6, who was sending my daughter out into the world, I connected to Emma Timmins played by Claudie Blakley, who was anxious about sending her 16 yr old daughter away from home.

In an episode Emma reads a poem “Gossamer threads” – “As I went on my way, / Gossamer threads spanned from bush to bush like barricades, / As I broke through one after another / I was taken by a childish fear / They are trying to bind and keep me here / But as I grew from girl to woman, I knew / The threads that bind me were more enduring than gossamer. / They were spun of kinship and love / Given so freely that it could never be taken away from me. “
These are the gossamer threads that connect us, bind us and some times are stretched and broken as we grow and venture out on our own.
When working on these socks, I highly recommend using the Cable Needle Ring from as it is the diameter of a sock needle. Leslie has an etsy shop now as well as her website:

Monday, July 23, 2012

the Magic of Celtic Cables

When I learned how to knit it was not on a single day that some one taught me, it was a process. I was 3 or 4 yrs old when my mother taught me how to crochet. When I was 25 my friend Tory and I decided to learn to knit. I could NOT do it. I checked out every book my library had on knitting. I read them cover to cover. It was several years later that I actually cast on and learned to knit. That same month a yarn store opened up in my town. I had all the book info I read in my head, so a few months later I was the newest knitter but teaching classes. I didn’t want to make scarves and purses. I did not want to make a trendy dog sweater. (I don’t even have a dog).
What I wanted to learn more than anything was cables. Not just boring cables but celtic knot work in yarn.  I wanted to make sweaters. I had no one to teach me. (I am know spoiled with 4 yarns stores with in 30 min of my house).
Carol Feller’s Celtic Cables class would have been exactly what I needed and wanted.
Even now 8 yrs later, I can rarely take a class. I have a crazy schedule, 6 children and and knitting events I am usually working. This is why Craftsy is so amazingly wonderful! I can watch the videos at 10 pm or at 7 am, when I have the time. But! you are not alone in taking the class, both the instructors and fellow students interact and help answer eachother's questions. 

Carol Feller’s class is more than just how to make the stitches cross over each other. Carol teaches you how to measure your body, how to actually use gauge (that scary word to knitters who don’t know it’s magic), cast on techniques, how to read and follow charts, and make a celticy amazing sweater by the end. As if this wasn’t enough Carol will even show you cabling with and without a cable needle. The sweater pattern in the picture above is included in the course, and you learn step by step how to make it, and make it fit you.
If you take only one class ever, this is definitely the one to take.

I had an opportunity to ask Carol a few questions. I asked my fellow knitters, what you would want to ask Carol, and here are your questions and her answers:
What is it that you love about cables?
I love the three dimensional quality of cables, they twist in and out of each other organically.  When I draw twisted vines and leaves are one of my favorite things to draw, to a certain extent my love of cables is almost an extension of this.
I’m also a very visual person and when you’re working for a cable chart ‘what you see is what you get’.  If it works in the chart then you know that it will translate well directly into stitches.  This also makes it very easy to spot mistakes in your cable work, you just hold it up next to the chart and you can see if any of your cable crosses don’t match up.

Do you find that cabling without a cable needle distorts the stitches?
My preference is to use a cable needle for anything more than a 2 or 3 stitch cable.  For me personally I find myself less likely to make mistakes this way.  However I haven’t really found any more distortions when working without a cable needle.  It may feel like this as you’re in the process of moving the stitches as you do need to stretch them but you’re not working them any differently than with a cable needle.
This is why it’s so important to block cabled projects though.  The stitches are so twisted and distorted they really need a warm bath to allow the stitches to settle into their new positions and relax.

What is currently on your needles?
Cables!  I’m currently working on a pullover project in some Brooklyn Tweed ‘Shelter’ that is on the last stages.  Just a sleeve and collar to finish and I get to jump into my backlog of 6-7 projects...
(As you might guess I never, ever get to knit for myself or family now, much to my regret.)

How little wool content can a yarn have without losing the crispness of the stitches? For those with wool allergies, have you found a non-wool yarn that works well with cables?
I’ve never really tested the exact % that you’d need to retain the stretchy qualities of wool.  Offhand I’d probably say around 50% but it would depend greatly on what it’s blended with.  Cables can indeed be worked with non-wool yarns but the lack of stretch in cotton and silks means that you need to be very conscious of your tension while you’re working.  I’d suspect that a yarn like Rowan ‘All Season Cotton’ which is cotton and acrylic would actually be really nice to work in cables, it’s got a high twist and good stitch definition.  I would avoid materials like bamboo (too inelastic) and any kind of brushed mohair which you can’t see the stitches with.

Do any of the cable stitch motifs have significance/meaning?
No.  That is just a legend that’s built up over the last century and has absolutely no basis in reality.  As nice as it would be, very much a myth J

My button bands are always a bit floppy. Can an applied Icord edging be an acceptable substitute for a button band?
If your button bands are floppy it usually means that you need to work them on a smaller needle size and perhaps need to change the stitch pattern to a stiffer one. 
I use applied I-Cord all the time for the edging on garments however the garment is designed to meet exactly at the front without a button band.  If a knitter adds I-Cord instead of a button band when the garment hasn’t been designed for it you will have a gap at the front of the garment and it may not close.  Button bands are usually 1-2” wide and if you omit this by using an applied I-Cord then the fronts won’t meet.  If you factor this in as you knit you can add extra width at the front of the garment as you work.

What motivated you to write your book, Contemporary Irish Knits?
A couple of years ago I wrote an article on Kerry Woollen Mills. Before that, I hadn’t really looked at the Irish mills and Irish wool, but when I started researching I just found it fascinating. I learned so much writing that article and it just spurred me on, I started asking questions about what other mills were here , what other Irish yarns were available. But there’s no patterns available for these yarns. Everyone talks about wonderful Irish designs and Irish wool but there just isn’t much out there currently. The seed was sown at that point and the book was the next step.

Do you have any other classes or books available?
On Craftsy I also have a free class available on Short Rows.
I do a few small tutorials on my own website, both photo and video
Last year a published a booklet, Scrumptious Knits in conjunction with the yarn company Fyberspates
Also, I publish a full range of self-published patterns available on my website

Now, if you made all the way thru this lengthy post, you will love the reward!
For my blog readers, (which you stealthy people who never comment, how can there be 800 of you?!) there is a special discount!

if you click on this link and sign up for celtic cables, you will get the class 33% off! CLICK HERE
Many thanks to craftsy and to Carol for their genorosity!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Socially Archaic and Just Plain Silly

We all know the "look" we get from the non-fiber loving people, when we say "I knit" or "I spin". Stephanie Pearl McPhee captures our reactions and the public's reaction to "us" so well. It is always a pleasure to see her in person.
So when my friend Sue said, "Lets go see YarnHarlot!", no problem. It is a 3 hr drive. No Problem. It is at A Verb For Keeping Warm. YES!!!!! We HAVE to go!

I love AVFKW. I had never been to their store, but we see each other at Stitches West, I adore their booth, their fiber, the yarn, and of course their wonderful people. I have several friends who get the privilege of having AVFKW as their LYS. Which meant not only did we get to go to  Verb, we got to see Yarn Harlot, we got a girlie road trip and we got a mini reunion with some wonderful people.

Sue, Tirzah, Kezziah, Mom and I drove down and had the best night! We laughed so hard with Brenda Patipa and Leslie Comstock (the famous ChewyKnits), FiberBeat's Michael Wade who is always a joy to see. Then we turned around and drove back home.

Tirzah was so excited to get compliments on her sock from Stephanie.
I love that my 16 yr old loves the rockstars of the knitting world!

Kezzi had a hard time picking yarn, "It's like choosing between friends". She was too busy yarning to get to talk to Stephanie. (Tell me about it! I feel that way especially when the dyers are friends of mine! Shall I use Jennifer or Maia or Lisa for this project and will I put it in a project bag from Slipped Stitches or ErinLane? We know it will wind up in my Jordana Paige!)

My mother had no idea who YarnHarlot was other than we talked about her. She had never read a blog post or read her book, but she did remember talking to her at Sock Summit. (haha!) So now my mom is a full fledged, passport carrying Knitville dweller. She has turned her first heel, been to 2 knitting conventions, and has a Verb road trip to add to her knitting experiences.

Many thanks to Sue for instigating this wonderful night. I love you.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

it is about time!

winners? how about we do that!
While I was supposed to draw names a while ago, I
 was slightly distracted with sick kids (scarlet fever),
 A bday party, cast removal from the broken arms...yada yada
So Talia, now castless, drew names:
1- Miriam Pike
And we needed a 2nd winner...
2- Teabird

Congrats! you each win sock yarn!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Sock Report -Semadar

I was so excited to get to talk with Janel at stitches West this year and hear about her new project. I have been an admirer of Janel's socks for years. (Remember when I went to stitches West and squeeled cuz COOKIE A came to see me in my booth? Well shortly after that, Janel autographed her book for me. If you do not have Eclectic Sole and Enchanted Sole, you need them. They are socks one can dream about.)

So you can imagine my sheer joy when Janel invited me to be apart of The Sock Report.
I had no idea what I would make when she handed me this amazing skein of orange iron oxide yarn, but I went back to the hotel and started playing with a traditional lace motif on a sock.
I even wound it right away using the hotel lamp shade.

The Sock Report is dedicated to all things  fingering or sock weight yarn. We all know that sock yarn DOES NOT count as stash. (So instead of counting 4 rubbermaids the size of stemer trunks, I only need to admit to 2.5 of them) Sock yarn is amazing! I love it!

In honour of the amazing new Sock Report and my sock pattern Semadar, you can win a skein of sock yarn from my "Not Stash".
Since I leave for Warsaw in 2 days, the contest will run thru June 30th.

TO ENTER leave a comment on which pattern in the sock report is your favourite and what yarn you would use to create that item. Send a friend over and get another entry. Tweet this contest and tag the post #SockReport and get another entery.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Threnody Shawl- Knitty Spring/Summer 2012

Threnody on Knitty I am so excited! I love this shawl with all the crazy twists and wrong side row cables. Alot like the books by DM Cornish.
Tirzah Manzanita It really looks harder than it is. But I love these stitches.

Threnody is a charachter from the MosterBloodTattoo books.

Some of you may recognize the first stitch motif is the same one I used on the Regency Socks. I love the way the diamonds flow in and out of eachother in this stitch pattern.

At Sock Summit I was first introduced to IndigoDragonfly. I believe she said Tardis and there was no hope for the Whovian in me. Kez3 This shawl is so warm and lush. Perfect for the crazy Northern Californian mountains in spring...which could mean snow, rain or 80 degrees and sunshine. All in one week.

Repeating myself again...When you find good things, use them often. Right?
Zem5 The purple "lavender buds" from Holiday Yarns was from our Couer D'Or sock kits.
It is always fun using Jennifer's yarn, you never know what she is going to dye next. Staying with her is a blast as well. Lots of Laughing.

When I finished Threnody, I had to wait and wait and wait for all the rain to stop. TleeTal3 We caught a bit of sun on the last day of Spring Break, which meant a semi-close road trip was needed. Burney Falls! We had alot of fun, the out takes were pretty great.

At some point running around with all the shawls, the girls broke into Fiddler On The Roof. This is only natural when one has a shawl to drape over ones head. Singing at the top of their lungs and running up and down paths, around the falls.

By far the best was watching a 43 yr old man run around saying Yente's lines.

The Amazing glass shawl pin in the pictures is from KnittingGlassGuy aka Chris. He does glass needles, hooks and a few shawl pins as well. This one is 2 pieces, an arrow and a heart. Glass Shawl Pin It held in place quite well. Never slipped out even with all the waterfalls and climbing. Zem2 I used a bunch of Leslie Wind's shawl pins in other photos, which are not pictured except in the lil thumbnail on the pattern index.
Blog Design byApril Showers