Laughing All the Way

I have had a wonderful experience teaching three wonderful students a stranded knitting class. We made “my” Four Needle Snowflake Mittens. These are my favorite mittens to date. I love knitting them. The pattern came from my colleague and teacher, Bette. It’s an old and often-copied pattern but it’s a great one!

At our last class, I was explaining the difference between mittens that are the same (can be worn on either hand) and mittens that are knitted specifically for either the left or right hand. I pulled out my finished pair of mittens to show the ladies what I was talking about  and …img_7658

Do you see the problem?

How about now?

img_7657

Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s so good that I have learned how to laugh at myself! I realized that I had knitted TWO LEFT MITTENS!!! What a teachable moment! Even the teacher can make mistakes!

I’ve shared this story with everyone at work, my other classes and just about everyone that I have spoken to and every single time I laugh. Out loud! I still find it hilarious!

Since these were to be a Christmas gift for a very special person who happens to have a left and a right hand, I have had to finish a third mitten … this one is for the other hand! LOL. My students continue to teach me as much as I teach them!

Now, I’ve got them fixed – and the fourth mitten will be finished after I complete another pair. Wait until you see them!

img_7681

Today’s lesson learned – never take yourself too seriously!

Gone knitting.

New Friends

oldfriends

 

You’ve all probably seen these photographs on Facebook and Pinterest. The other day at the Yardgoods Center Yarn Shop I made three new friends. Three ladies came into the shop and it was clear that they had all the time in the world to shop. One spent a few minutes on the phone at the table in front making plans with family. The other two were checking out the free patterns. After awhile, and having checked on them all a couple of times and having showed them the color-changing “Abracadabra” yarn, they came to the cash register with a few patterns to purchase and a question.

Turns out they’ve been friends since early childhood and were together again for three weeks more. When one lady said they had a question, the other two ladies giggled. (It’s funny to see elderly ladies giggle like girls!) They’d spent hours (HOURS!) over the past couple of days trying to figure out what it meant to cast on stitches without a slip knot in the backward loop method. They were all beaming, eyes bright, smiling widely with the memory. I had a left-over ball of yarn and one needle left behind by a customer and I showed them what to do. They were delighted. “You made our day!”

Such a simple thing made a big impact. They made their purchases and left for lunch. Giggling that they only had a two hour ride. I smiled at them behind their backs. What a treasure their friendship is.

Old friends are the best friends!

Old friends are the best friends! We are being sharks … at 50-something.

I am so fortunate to have some old friends, too. Not that we are old, we have been friends for a long, long time. We don’t get to see each other very often, but we make an effort to meet once a year. Each time we pick up where we left. We may not party like we used to and we’re often in bed by ten but the reunion is always sweet.

I’m going to be missing the reunion this year and am so sad about it but  I am coming to realize that I can’t do it all – and that saves my sanity. Only two of us will be at the beach next weekend. I’ll be there in spirit but not in body. I commit to 2016, though. I need the girl time to recharge and renew. Old friends are the best friends. I love my girls!

Gone knitting.

Orlando Distaff Day 2013

IMG_0830 I took one picture today at Orlando’s Distaff Day! One! (And it was as I was leaving to head to my car and home.) But who wouldn’t wonder & follow a sign like this?

The whole day was fun. Not a minute when I thought, “It’s time to go home” or “Ugh, why’d I offer to demo” or anything like that. I had so much fun mingling with knitters and spinners and weavers and felters of all ages! It was also fun to catch up with some of my “old” knitting friends and meet some new ones.

I arrived at 10am thinking I’d like to catch some great bargains at the “Garage Sale” or find something wonderful that I just can’t live without on the “free table”. While I did see things I liked, I reminded myself of the shopping binge in Mississippi and suppressed the urge! Next on the list was a chat with James the needle felter. This guy is super talented and fun to chat with … loved his sample of felted camel hair – who has a camel?!

IMG_0833I got some fun yarn from the gift swap! I was asked to be the “carrier” of the traditional gag gift (a horribly bright crocheted purse and bikini bottom that has been added on to over the years and now contains a bikini top and some fuzzy flip-flops!) and was glad to present my gift to a (horrified?) recipient of the gag. She was a super good sport! Lots of laughs during the game which was new this year and a lot of fun! (I hope she liked my gift!)

IMG_0832I won a door prize – some yarn from Four Purls Yarn Shop! (And I never win prizes, it was  a happy moment!) The demos were super! Needle Felting, Kumihimo braiding, and my weaving in ends as you go, weaving and more. You can always learn something at Distaff Day! You can also see what everyone’s knitting at the fashion show. This year’s “biggest hit” was a woman who had knit socks to her panties! Yes, I mean it! She started to knit a pair of socks with her left-over bits and pieces of sock yarn and ended with a pair of hand-knit pantyhose … attached ever so carefully to a pair of panties! She was showing them off in their best light, of course, by wearing flip-flops and shorts. Knitters have such great senses of humor!

I loved the “make ‘n’ take” this year, too – a pair of earrings or stitch markers made of tiny fabric squares and beads. Thanks to a really great manicure and gel nail polish, my fingernails are so long that I struggled with tying the last knots but managed after a couple of attempts!

A fun fiber-y day with friends old and new. If you missed it, you’re no doubt sorry today but  don’t worry, there’s always next year!

Gone knitting!

 

Happy New Year! Welcome 2013

It was a low key New Year’s Eve at our house last night. We welcomed in the New Year with a couple of friends, some food, drinks, games and lots of laughs.

2012 was a full year – a mixture of blessings and sorrow but without the sorrow, how can you appreciate the blessings. We said farewell to a beloved mother and an adored Cocker Spaniel. We welcomed a new great-nephew and a new niece. Celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. Entertained guests and family in Florida and Maine. Watched two children graduate from college and enter the “grown-up” world with new jobs. Joyously celebrated my big brother’s new liver and improving health. Enjoyed comfort and good health.

And now ahead to 2013! We entered the new year with a clean house, clean sheets, clean laundry and (most) projects finished. “Out with the old and in with the new!” I am looking forward to growing my business this year. To teaching more. To improving my website. To designing … or publishing some designs that I’ve created. To reaching a second level of certification.

Gone knitting!

A Weekend with Annie Modesitt

Knit or Knot Group

OMG! She is fabulous!

Day 1 – Friday

Classes on Friday were Embellishments and Heel! Learn Toe UP Socks with Mutt-Luks!

Embellishments Swatch

You can see we did several different embellishments. I, personally, love love love the little dreadlocks! Anyway, you’ll see that there are several rows of garter stitch (just to warm up our fingers!) and then the first embellishment was the “dreadlocks”. Next, bobbles. These are nice perky bobbles with no droop or hole underneath. I love the idea of using these as buttons. Next we did a few rows of cables … without a cable needle. A great technique because, Annie says, using the cable needles stretches the yarn and sometimes makes for a gap or hole in the fabric. This technique will not! Last, but certainly not least, we did a couple of different bind offs … a picot bind off (on the right) and an i-cord bind off (on the left). The picot bind off could be used as closure for a cardigan sweater, for example, with some lovely bobbles as buttons. The i-cord band could include i-cord loops or frogs. I’ll be playing with a few of these ideas. I’ve played with adding i-cord to a flat garment but never edging a garment with i-cord!

(PS) My swatch is sitting on one of the books that I bought at the classes which Annie has written, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. The second book I bought was this one:

Cheaper than Therapy is a collection of stories that were gathered by Annie. Since I’m a one book at a time kind of girl, I’ve not really dug into either one yet. But I am looking forward to them both!

The second half of our technique classes on Friday was a toe-up sock with a different (and better) toe and a different heel … an after thought heel of sorts, made with short rows. We didn’t really make a sock but we started (duh!) with making the toe and then knitted several rounds of the “sock” before adding some scrap yarn to mark where the heel will go. I still need to go back and finish the “sock” and I’ll show you pictures at a later date … or I’ll add them to this posting.

Day 2- Entrelac Lace

Saturday we did entrelac. Lots of entrelac. Mind-boggling entrelac!

Entrelac Swatch

We started out with our work flat, working back and forth in entrelac. I really like the look of  the entrelac (especially in two colors). It’s such a harlequin look. With the idea that entrelac can also be worked in the round, we then joined our work and then made the squares bigger and worked the top ones in lace. It was fascinating to think about taking a somewhat complicated technique and making it more complicated but the lace skirt pattern that Annie used as her example is really lovely and I would love to make something similar!

Day 3- The Universal Mitered Bag/ Modular Knitting

Sunday we made a small Mitered Bag. Using three colors, we learned how to form the interlocking triangles in different sizes and how to construct a bag (to be felted) using the technique. I found this technique really easy to follow and really enjoyed it. Annie even knitted on my bag to show how to do some of the steps … thus, I have a bright orange and a couple of tiny gray “diamonds” (on the left) which she gave me permission to pull out – but who in their right mind would pull out Annie Modesitt’s knitting? I think it makes my bag all the more special!

My Mitered Bag

This is the bag before felting. Notice the really cool “edge” at the top where the purple and cream yarn are twisted.

Two Rounds of Twisted Edging - Looks like Herringbone!

I originally had gone around again (because this round was done by Annie. Yay!) but it was too wide and I went back, after making sure I could actually DO the technique, and tore it out and bound off. I do think I’ll buy some good wool for felting and make the next size bag because it was really lovely and a good size.

Annie also gave us some tips for felting (and told us about her online classes that she offers … I would encourage anyone wanting to learn more about our craft to check out her classes  … click here to be magically transported to her site! She’s a wonderful and thorough teacher and I learned a lot!)

So, add in a potluck lunch that lasted into the next day, some great knitting women in the Orlando Knit or Knot group – which, by the way, is the local Knitting Guild Association group – and a lot of laughs, and you get the general gist of the weekend.

I had a blast – and I’m still recovering from the mind-bending concentration. I took some notes and will share some of them with you “down the road”. But for now …

Gone knitting (maybe my heel)!

Another Tumble

I took another tumble today … literally … silly old leg fell asleep while sitting at my desk chair and when I stood up to walk over to the other side of the Atelier, crash … landed on my left knee. A little ice and a little levity and I was back up-and-at-em! A good day.

My student has learned to cast on, knit and cast off. She also learned how to weave in the ends. She did a great job with her first scarf. Part of her success is that she kept frogging it when she realized that she’d made a mistake. I love teaching. Next week she’ll learn purl. Then we’ll follow a pattern!

Tonight was my new knitting group. A great group of women … just what I was looking for. Social and inclusive and my age! This weekend is Orlando’s “Distaff Day” and I’ve volunteered to demonstrate making yarn from old t-shirts. I’ve done it once. That makes me a pro! (hahaha!)

Love and Marriage

A few years ago!

I just spent a wonderful two weeks with my brother in California. It was the most time we’ve spent together in years – perhaps decades … or since before I was married … or … well, you’ve got the idea. It’s been a long, long time. And it was wonderful!

One night in Lake Tahoe we were all in the bathroom brushing our teeth – how could such a simple activity be so sweet? He and his wife and I all in the bathroom brushing our teeth … but I’ll bet we didn’t even do that as kids. I love his wife, my new sister. She’s wise and smart and beautiful. She can swim the lake, sing, bake, drive a tractor and makes the best EVOO ever! I love hanging with her! My brother may have waited a long time to get married but it was worth the wait – he “snagged” a good one!

Since they are a “one car family” (technically, they’re still a two car family until the truck is sold – anybody want a really nice 2010 Toyota truck?) we spent a lot of time all together or two-at-a-time and it was such a great opportunity to connect on a deeper level and really share. Time, thoughts, beliefs, laughs, food (mostly vegan except for a sausage or two), dogs, poop bags, a few tears, and did I mention laughs?

I am so grateful to have been able to get out to California and can’t wait to go back.

Gone back to bed – too cold in the house without a fire! I’ll be knitting again soon! Must pack up for the move back to Florida which begins on Saturday! I think we’re ready.