FO: Painted Windows Shawl

Back at Vogue Knitting Live! I bought exactly one skein of yarn by Yarn Love called Marie Antoinette. The colorway is called Unicorn Poop. For whatever reason, the bright colors with a bit of sparkle were what I needed:

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But figuring out how to use this yarn was a little harder. There is SO MUCH going on with this yarn that I wondered how I would use it. And then a pattern seemingly designed just for this Las-Vegas-inspired yarn popped up on Ravelry called Painted Windows. It uses a neutral base color with a brightly-multicolor yarn to maximum effect. So I went to one of the two local yarn stores here in Fresno and found a very neutral sock yarn to pair with it. I’m loving how it came out:

 

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I really like this one, and since I used less than 1/2 the Marie Antoinette skein in the shawl, I can give one away and make another!

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FO: Nesoi Tee

I’ve been in the summer knitting mode, and my major accomplishment has been a new tank top out of a lovely lace weight yarn by Anzula called Breeze – it’s a blend of cotton and silk. The pattern is Nesoi by Miriam Felton (rav link).

The pattern is pretty simple and has just a hair of shaping – and a draped neckline:


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It ended up a bit large, but wearable, and the color is quite good! Project notes here.

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An East Bay Yarn Crawl

A couple of months ago, some of my knitting buddies asked if I would organize a yarn crawl up to the Bay Area for them, since I know (some of the) yarn opportunities there. The answer was a hearty yes!

I immediately knew we had to trim down our area – the Bay Area stretches out quite a bit, so we focused on the East Bay as there are some great diverse places and it’s closest to the Valley. On a bright July Saturday we set out with wish lists and credit cards.

Our first stop was a new-to-me store called A Yarn Less Raveled. Mindy has created a lovely store!

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It’s no surprise that she and Sophie of the now-sadly-closed Bluebird Yarn & Fiber Craft are good friends. So many lovely things to admire, like this sample:

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We all dropped some change with store exclusives and lovely yarn just crying out to us.

Next stop was A Verb for Keeping Warm.

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I have known this store from its primitive beginnings in a very modest art studio set-up for natural dyeing fiber and yarn, and to see it now is pretty amazing. It is a combination dye studio, sewing store, knitting loft and even a tiny bit of spinning left. Unfortunately for knitters, the amount of space devoted to yarn and knitting has decreased. The store does carry yarns hard to find in the valley and generally: Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Co, to name a couple, but everything feels squeezed. We looked more than we bought.

It was also time for lunch, and we had tasty things at the Actual Cafe just a couple of doors down from Verb. Yum!

Then we were off to the stop I was most anticipating – for all the years I lived in the Bay Area, I had never gone to Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Oakland.

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It’s really hard to describe this store, but safe to say that lace is a big deal here. Amazing lace insets, heirloom patterns for knitting lace tablecloths, doo-dads of all kinds. I went a little crazy here, buying a lot of things that I know I’ll use, but not when:

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Yes, I really did buy a book called What Would Jesus Craft? Wouldn’t you?

Our final stop of the day was one that I had heard about via the grapevine – a button store that has really limited hours, and we timed our visit perfectly. Exclusive Buttons in Albany is run by a senior lady who knows her buttons – and the crafters flock there. The signage is basic, the store tiny:

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We might have bought a lot of buttons of all kinds for future projects!

With that visit, we were done for the day – a variety of amazing vendors who value craft and curate lovely things for those of us dedicated to making things.

Postscript:

One of our group, Kera, might have forgotten to get all of her yarn out of the yarn acquisition vehicle when we dropped her off. The yarn when on a merry set of adventures, including a pool party and prayer time. I’m sure the yarn appreciated it!

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Summer Knitting and Adventures

 It’s definitely summer, and only took me until the end of June to get the wool sweaters packed away!

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Which makes organizing the light, summery things so much easier!

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I’m working on a summer tank top now, in a beautiful silk-cotton hand dye yarn from Anzula. The pattern is Nesol Tee by Miriam Felton:

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I’m also working on putting together some of Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply mini-skeins for a shawl project TBD. The set I bought were these,

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but I always hesitate, because the lavender is just not my thing. So I think I’ll be switching them out for the teals and blues, which are quite harmonious I think.

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I’ve finished 19 knitted knockers in a couple of sizes and turned them in to my local yarn store.

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I’m also working on a beret to match my cousin Marie’s Twigs and Willows cardigan, but it’s not at a point where a photo is going to be all that exciting.

But it was fun to have her down the last weekend of June to play. We went up to Kings Canyon National Park (and got her senior discount – yay!) for the day. We saw the gigantic sequoia trees,

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and amazing forest (the photo below shows the vast fire damage from last year’s fire) and the Kings River at the bottom of King’s Canyon too.

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Two more National Parks to visit that are almost next door: Sequoia (which is adjacent to King’s Canyon) and Yosemite!

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Final Part

It seems like a long time ago, but here goes for the final part of my vacation last month.

I went to the Bay Area again, and for the first time in years and years, I got to see in person a sister interim pastor, Nancy Martin Vincent! So good to catch up with her and life.

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Then I went to UCSF to see Dr. Fancy-Schmancy and everything is good, I’ll see him in September, hopefully for the last time.

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In the evening, I got to stay with my friends Mary Elyn and Jeff in Oakland, so I didn’t have to trek up to Santa Rosa in the rush-hour traffic. Their garden is a delight!

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The next morning, I went to see my friend Sophie at Bluebird Yarn and Fiber, which sadly is closing because Sophie is off to new adventures and love. (There’ll be a separate post later)

And I squeezed a lunch in with my clergy gal friend Linda, who is now doing all things weaving – and has the inkle loom to prove it. Apparently I gave her the yarn for the project she’s currently working on (no, I don’t remember it at all!)

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So I had had a pretty full day by the time I got to my cousin’s house, but it was great to be able to give her the sweater I’d been working on since Christmas:

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And it mostly fits. A bit big in the shoulders, but oh well! She seemed happy with it.

and a friend of hers, Charlotte, came over because she knits and was having a hard time getting a scarf to felt – she was using the yarn Touch Me! which is a cut rayon with a wool core. But she has a newer side-loading washing machine and it doesn’t really felt well, so we ran it through Marie’s older top-loader a few times, and then finished it off in the dryer, and it worked!

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There was a gathering of knitters at my friend Judy’s and so good to connect with everyone, and I was a complete fail at taking any photos – bad me! I miss them all a lot!

The next day we gathered to celebrate my cousin’s graduation with her Masters of Social Work, which she did in three years while working full time – very impressive. She got a job in the field at the start of her third year, and so is fortunate to go straight into work without having to job hunt. Here she is with her great fiancé Rich, who started his own local veggie farm at the same time. Great couple! Now Rachel (and Rich) can plan the wedding!

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Me, Rachel and Marie (Rachel’s mom)

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Middle Part

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The next part of my trip last month was finishing up the conference, seeing more friends, and heading to a Dodger game.

I got a photo with Franklin Habit, who is such a lovely human being, as well as a great knitting instructor. His class on knitting tessellations made my brain hurt in a good way!

Want to see a tessellation:

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And here’s Franklin – I love that he has a distinctive personal style!

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I had a pre-birthday dinner in Pasadena,

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and the next morning I got together with more friends for brunch at a cafe near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena called Lincoln. It’s a hipster/locavore kind of place and my Parmesan eggs and the bacon were delicious!

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On Monday, I went with my 2nd mom Bonny to one of her favorite eateries, the North Woods Inn which has been there forever, and the decor shows that not much has changed in a while:

That evening, I got to a Dodger game with my friends Bev and Jim, and Allison was able to help with using up a ticket that we had leftover. It was great to see Vin Scully on the screen before the game – it is his last season announcing for the team. Definitely an end to the era.

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Then it was time to return to Fresno for a day or two. And lucky me, the yarn for the next installment from the Ysolda 2016 club arrived!

The yarn is Skein Queen’s Ullvarme – a sport-weight wool which is made from a fiber collected by a company who gathers the wool as a waste product in Sweden. The card says “This wool can contain a blend of Dorsets, Suffolks, Dalasau and some Friesian milk ewes.”

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Aren’t those beautiful colors? Fortunately, Brandy approves of the yarn!

And Izzie wants to make sure that you know that she was around too:

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The Next Part

So, I managed to post on my first day of vacation – And it’s been radio silence on the blog, although you might want to check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds, where there photos posted.

In short, it was great. There were a lot of different parts of it, and like that amazing tasty salad that has many different qualities to it – crunch, imami, sweet, sour, salt – the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.

First, I headed south to “the Southland” (yes, we really do call it that!) where there were friends and family, some of whom I hadn’t seen in over a year because of the not traveling thing. I stayed with my second Mom, Bonny, who remembers the day I was born because she lived a door or two down from my parents, and took in my brother while my parents went to the hospital. We had a good time, and hilariously compared our eating-alone habits of grazing rather than eating actual meals. So blessed to have her in my life.

Then after a day I went to check in at Vogue Knitting Live! in Pasadena –

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and headed into LA where I had dinner with my cousin Allison, who now lives there with her fiancé Eben. We ate at a great pizza place called Olio at the Grand Central Market. So yummy! Most importantly I got caught up on the Wedding plans. Oh, and I learned about this place:

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But never got to try it out. Next time!

I saw a couple of LA landmarks on my way back to Bonny’s house, including this one:

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Los Angeles City Hall

Vogue Knitting Live

There is much to like about Vogue Knitting’s events: they have top-notch teachers, the event is very well-organized and they obviously care about the knitting world. The students who came in the classes were all fabulous too. However, in spite of magically talented teachers who I may never get to learn from again, the event was a very down-scaled affair compared to last year. No teacher panels in the marketplace, fewer vendors, and while I loved the relatively small size of the classes, it added to a very empty feeling in the convention center. It was clear that this event was not going to be happening here next year (it looks like they’ll be heading to Florida instead). But there were still lovely things like these incredible art installations in the Marketplace:

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Indeed, I had a great time there – I ducked out on a few things I had signed up for because there were friends and family to see instead. Like my friend Lisa who lived a stone’s throw from me growing up who and hadn’t seen in about 30-odd years. She was also at the event, so we went to lunch in-between our classes, and it was great to catch up!

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I had amazing teachers: Steven Be, Amy Detjen, and Franklin Habit. Amy really does dress in purple hair to toes, and StevenB is really like a rock star and out of the box as one could hope, and Franklin Habit has the gentle habits of a true gentleman and wears his heart on his sleeve. I’ve walked away with a bunch ways to play with yarn that can definitely keep my busy for the next year or so.

Which reminds me that yarn was acquired, although I bought only one skein of yarn. Amazing! But it certainly makes a statement (Yes, it has sparkles).

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The color way name?

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But I also bought another cat pin from Sacred Laughter, because everyone should have at least more than one of hers!

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In the next post, I finish up my travels south with a trip to a hipster café, dinner with great friends, and go to a sportsy-event that brings back my childhood in a strong way. When I return home, yarn magically arrives in my mailbox.

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All the knits

Today is my first day of vacation. I might have started a bit early last night:

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I like to joke that a real vacation for me might just consist of lots of knitting, a bit of wine, and a great view. And yes, I will be going to a knitting event – Vogue Knitting Live! in Pasadena. I am taking all my classes purely for the teachers this time – in other words, this is about the entertainment value. I will be stalking taking classes with Amy Detjen, Franklin Habit, and Steven B. It should be a blast, and if I learn something, cool!

In the meantime, I am getting out of that knitting trough. On Saturday, our Sheeper Than Therapy knitting guild met for the first time at the church I serve. It was great to hear how much folks like the new location!

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And there was much knitwear to celebrate completing:

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While at the meeting, I compared notes with my knitting buddies who are also in the 2016 Ysolda Club, and none of us had completed the Banyan stole or shawl – not one! And if you check the Ravelry group, the number of folks who’ve completed it is pretty small. That was enough for me – I frogged the thing on Saturday, and yesterday found a lovely MKAL pattern from 2013 that was in my library, the Meadowsweet Shawl, and cast on. This Triskelion yarn is truly lovely; I’m already through the first chart, and planning to add some repeats because I have a lot more yardage of the amazing yarn:

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Next up is to acquaint myself with the Sara Lace Cardigan project, and then figure out a really easy project to have when I’m social knitting in classes and the MarketPlace at Vogue knitting.

Finally, Clara Parkes Knitlandia book is winging its way to me as we speak. All the knits, all the time!

 

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Knitting Trough

I’m in a knitting trough. The past couple of months have had their stresses, and unusually for me, that has resulted in less, rather than more, knitting.

Oh sure, I’ve been knitting a lot of socks. And a shawl for a friend who had a birthday in March (Reyna, in Zen Serenity Lace Merino-Silk Single).

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Oh, and just finished a twin Renya (by request) for another friend (in Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot in the Harmony Iris color way – merino/silk/nylon blend) whose birthday was in April. It’s blocked:

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Yeah, I know for a lot of folks that would be a lot of knitting. It’s all about expectations.

I do have two larger projects that are biggies, a sweater, and a shawl from Ysolda – and a little stuck.

I can hear all the knitters saying, “What, you are not excited about an Ysolda shawl pattern?” Well, part of the problem is that this pattern kit, part of her 2016 club, had two options, a long rectangular stole, and a crescent shaped shawl. I thought to myself, gosh, I really have so many crescent shawls, I’ll make the stole for a change. Except, when I see the actual finished ones, they end up being a scarf, and almost a goth kind of scarf. Now that’s ok if it is your style, but it is not mine. What I need to do is rip out the stole part (I’m not that far along) and start the shawl.

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I just need to rip this out.

The sweater is one that I really will wear a lot – Vera Sanon’s Sara Lace cardigan, out of a fingering weight blue yarn. I love it, but I have to keep track of all the increases and lace charts because it’s a top-down cardigan, and that stress thing makes me not want to have to keep track of things.

But vacation begins on Monday, and I am sure by the time I go to Vogue Knitting Live! in Pasadena next weekend, I will be out of my knitting trough.

 

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Lifecycle of Socks

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I love to knit socks – in fact, they have become my comfort knitting. I almost always have a pair on the needles because they are a perfect in-between kind of knitting.

But even great socks get to the point where I am done with mending. Like these:

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Ok, that sock on the right? Well, I lost its mate in my move last year. So, technically still a great sock if I only had one foot. Those other two pairs? I am done, done, done with mending them.

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I’ve mended each of them multiple times, and extended their useful life by at least a couple of years. But no more. They do have one thing in common – they are made of yarn that is 100% wool, no nylon content at all. For the
non-sock knitters, that means that without the nylon to help with the abrasion of shoes and walking, they break down more easily.

So, where do good socks go to die in my household – well, I can’t just throw them away. And so it has come to pass, that I will be putting them aside for the annual dryer ball gift making in December. It turns out that cutting them into pieces and rolling them tightly makes a terrific core for wrapping beautiful roving around them. Like these:

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Box of Socks

I am about to send out a box of socks to Afghans for Afghans, so their life-cycle will not be evident to me, but that’s ok:

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I just finished up one more pair, so it will be 11 pairs of youth/adult socks and 3 pairs of newborn ones!

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Amid all these socks for other people, I did knit one pair for me!

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love this spring-like color way – the yarn is Regia 4 – Mosaic in the Istanbul color way, paired with Cascade heritage solids for the toes, heels and cuffs  in Blue -5604. Score another for the sock drawer!

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