Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Felted Cell Bag

Just a quick hello! This was fun! 1 strand of Cascade 220 in Cherry Pie #9869. this is one of their hand-painted shades. Shades of Reds.

After putting away the knitting machine, I cast on Saturday evening. Sunday evening I felted it.

The pattern is out of Pursenalities II. The last one in the book is a cell phone bag. I think mine came out a bit bigger, but that is perfect. I'm going to put it into the Coos County Fair (Oregon), and then into our local Fiber Arts studio for sale.

On the needles is my neckdown summer cardigan (Knitting Pure & Simple) I'm doing in Navy Lion & Lamb. I'm just about ready to start the ribbed hem.

The sleeves will be easy. We've got dental appointments this after noon for both of my nieces. I will be knitting!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cascade Heritage Sock T-Top

As I promised, here is the final result of my Cascade Heritage Sock T-Top. It fits perfectly through the shoulders, armhole and bust. But I decided my next top needed some tweaking over the hip area. And you might be able to tell in the 2nd photo that I folded up the sleeves. I thought I wanted a little longer sleeve, but upon looking at it on me, decided that it was not a flattering length on me. If I folded the sleeve up 1.5" I really liked the "uplifted" look to it. So, this little work top will have cuffed sleeves. Plus it really gave me some design ideas if I have the opportunity to do another. And if so, I'm going to use Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, just because I know it will be just as nice, if not nicer!

So you wonder why I'm doing tops out of Sock Yarn?? I love the weight a fingering-weight yarn produces in a fabric. This weight of yarn knits at about T8 on the standard gauge machine and I had 7.3 sts per inch. Many sock yarns are a blend of wool and nylon. This is to make them durable and washable. Well, I need durable and washable for my work tops. Because of these qualities, the very high quality yarns such as Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, make perfect infant garments. Think about it! WASHABLE !!

I only wore the top long enough for photos. I think I will put it into the Coos County Fair. One of our Heritage Textiles Guild member's is the manager for the needle arts department and is always encouraging members to put items in the fair.

On the private side of life, my nieces and their Dad is due back Saturday evening. All next week the days will be full as they will be spending the days with me, while their Dad is at work. Ariel has plans to help in the store with shipping and freight. She's 12 and excited to have a part-time summer job. She's growing up! Aurora, 7, I'm not sure what she has planned. At 7 years old, they often need more attention. We'll manage. I have patience on my side!

On the business side of life, my weekly shipment of Lorna's Laces arrived yesterday. All restocking colors. They are running late with their new colors, so they have not yet shipped. Maybe in a few weeks. Also, a huge shipment from Cascade. 6 new shades in the solids of the Heritage Sock Yarn, and about 2-3 colors of Cascade 220 SuperWash that I'm slowly stocking.

Hope your summer is going well! Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Heritage Sock Hand Painted in a T Top

Back is all done and blocked perfectly to my schematics. Wish I could show you how beautifully this fabric hangs. And because it is sock yarn, it will probably outlast me.

But for a sock yarn, it is one of the nicer ones. Heritage Sock yarn is 75% Merino Wool, 25% Nylon. You can tell it is good quality wool! Not any of the itchy, inexpensive stuff for me!! Yep, I'm spoiled!!

This color is Isle of Sky. Mostly royal blue, but there is some purple in there. I'm not a purple person, but I love this strong royal blue and that is the predominant color.

Front is all done and I'm getting ready to bind off the neck band.

This is an SK280, standard gauge, knitting machine. This is a punch card model. The punch card models are workhorses. I've had electronics, and feel the Brother made the most awesome electronics, but if you want a machine that will last and last, and is easier than most to learn, you will want a punch card model!

Stay tuned!! I should have an almost complete top to show you tomorrow. But for now, I MUST go back to work. Knitting Pure and Simple has 5 new patterns and I need to get them on the yarn-store.com web site!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn knit into a Bolero

This bolero came out so cute, I wanted to steal a moment and show you. Tension 8 for 7.36 sts per inch on the Silver Reed SK280.

Typical of the Oregon coast, it was windy! I had to keep moving around the house to just find a spot that would not blow it over. By the time I found spot, I forgot to adjust the shoulders. They don't look even here, but they are!

Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn knitted so nicely on the knitting machine. I loved the resulting fabric. I think I can whip out a short sleeve top before the return of my nieces..... Should be easy. . . . . right?

Stay Tuned!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Machine Knitting!

With my nieces and their Dad off to visit family in Washington for a week, I decided to treat myself. After my Heritage Fiber Arts meeting Saturday, I set up my standard gauge knitting machine. It took some searching as I don't have all my machines stored in the same place. They are in 2 spots in my "box room" (shipping supplies) and one machine in my shoe closet. I have an ideal shelving unit, and I need to put ALL of them in that unit. So there I was, scratching my head, wondering where the devil I could have put them. Eventually found it and I set up the SK280, a punch card standard gauge.

The yarn I chose is Cascade's Heritage Sock yarn. I chose it because it is a quality washable wool. I wanted something very washable, something that can be ironed, something that is thin because I wanted drap and of a classic fit. In my test knitting, I found that I was more than pleased with this yarn. It almost feels like Wool-Rayon, which is a high end yarn used for suits such as St John's Knits. I decided on a young teen bolero. I swatched. I put the measurements into Knitware, I knit the back, and rechecked the measurements. Nope. I knew it. Happens every time. I took the total number of rows and stitches, divided them by their inches and came up with a new gauge. Unraveled the back, and knit it again. This time it was dead-on! Wonderful. I was very happy. Sunday I woke up excited for a successful day at the machine, and it was! I knit the 2 fronts, the 2 sleeves and one band. The band didn't work out as easily as I wanted, so I spent quite a few hours undoing and reattaching the band. Now all I have to do is the other band, which will be much easier, seam, press and stitch in my labels!!

I have visions of tops out of this yarn for myself. Only if all my knitting projects would go so successfully! There are some hand dyed shades of the Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn that would really make some cute short sleeve work tops for the store. Or maybe use the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. It is really a soft yarn and should knit up to an identical gauge.....oh so much fun, so little time!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Me again!!

Surprise!! Don't fall over! a post 2 days in a row!

But, I had to share this with you. Yesterday I received a large shipment from Cascade. I love this color. I kept the bag sitting on my desk all day, like a vase of beautiful flowers. I kept admiring the color and sheen.

This is Cascade's Baby Alpaca Chunky. It is a new hand dyed color called Mountain Lake. Find it on the bottom of this long page.

Cascade 220 Superwash sure has a lot of colors, and now they also have some handdyed shades. I'm working on bringing all of them in. Cascade is a "never dull" company. If a store has a method such as I, which is to stock all colors of a line I decide to carry, it sure strains the budget and the shelves. Cascade is always bringing us new and exciting colors. You can never be bored of the colors. So, if there is a color I don't have in stock, email me!! I am selecting colors at random to bring in, and if you have one you'd like me to bring in for a future project, I'll select that color next!

Tomorrow is my monthly meeting of our local fiber arts guild Heritage Fiber Arts Guild. I have a craving to set up my knitting machine, but cannot because I'll be busy tonight keeping up with orders, and packing for the morning meeting. For this meeting I'll be on the road before 8am. So, maybe tomorrow after I'll be setting it up. Looking forward to it!!

I'll be back soon, I promise!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


What a busy weekend!! After spending 13 hours from time of arising to the time of dropping suitcases in my hotel room, I finally arrived in Columbus, Ohio. This is the location of the Summer 2008 Trade Show for The National Needlework Association (TNNA).

A splash of water, sparkle up the teeth, and touch up the make-up and I was off to meeting with members and friends at a social meeting of the Association of Knitwear Designers. After getting directions from the hotel, I headed down the street to Gordon Biersch, a brewery and restaurant. On the way I ran into other AKD members, which included Lorna Miser, which was a good thing, as I'm not sure I would have found the place.

Upon arriving, we found many members already there, including the president Jill Wolcott. I met members that I'd not met except online, and I reaquainted myself with members I have not seen in 2 years. Jill feels there was maybe as many as 30-some people there. The enthusiasm was really something. Everyone had something to say. No one was quiet. I ended up gathering up 3-4 awesome articles, complete with members who promised to write them. Doing a newsletter is one thing, but managing to get articles that appeal to the membership is a challenge. All members are very busy working and promoting their businesses, so taking the time to write an article -- even a fairly simple article -- is true dedication to their associates. I have no idea when I left. All I remember is the jet lag hit me, and I didn't have an ounce of energy left. The evening was still very very warm. I really enjoyed the short walk back to the hotel. With every step I could feel my cold--which hit me 2 days before leaving-- draining away.

Saturday dawned bright and clear. With no classes or breakfast date, I had one of the most leisurely mornings I've had in years. Coiffed and polished, I set off to pick up my registration and enter the market floor. The NeedleArts Market attracts upscale, independent yarn stores and needleart stores from all over the United States and abroad. In 900+ booths, more than 430 needleart suppliers will display their hottest new products. While the place was really busy, there were no lines and walking up and down the isles was easy. On the first day the store owners will visit their yarn companies, see what is new and take many notes. Budgeting occurs in the evening, and on Sunday you will see many orders being written up. You see, at this market there is no cash-n-carry. It is all order taking for the upcoming winter season. These orders are then shipped to the yarn stores over the following few months.

Between visiting fellow AKD member's booth and saying hello to my suppliers, the day progressed quickly and happly. My shoes of choice for this show, and the ONLY pair I brought are Elle shoes. I love these shoes. Great arch support, classy look. My legs never hurt. I did get little blisters on my little toes, but they were very small and never bothered me. I now have 3 pairs from this company.

I visited the booths of AKD, Inc designer members. I also visited my 2 main yarn companies, Lorna's Laces and Cascade. I stopped at Ashland Sky, Elegant Heirlooms, Silver Reid Knitting Machines, Noni Bags, Skacel, Bryson Distributing, Lacis, Alchemy Yarns and on and on.

This picture was taken by the TNNA authorized photographer. No one is allowed to take photographs on the market floor, unless they are TNNA authorized. But I just wanted to show you what it looks like. When you first walk in, the floor appears to go on for miles and miles.

Only members of TNNA can attend. And to be a member of TNNA you must prove you are a real yarn store, with posted hours, phone book listing and selling to the public.

I'm still trying to recall all the AKD Inc members that attended. So far I am up to 24 of our 80-some members. Some had booths, some worked in yarn company booths, some taught and some, like me, just worked the floor. 24 out of 80-some members. That is 30%. That is just amazing! A superb turnout!

I'm all over this article aren't I. I'm just too tickled with the trip to think logically. While the floor was very big there are "parks" intersperced. These are large areas with tables, cushy chairs and benches. One area had computers set up and internet connections. Everything to help a yarn store owner out with decision making and comfort.

At the end of the day, but not at the end of my to-do list, I went to the Silver Reid Knitting Machine booth. My roots began in machine knitting. While I learned to knit in high school, it was not until after 14 years of machine knitting and publishing that I returned to hand knitting. Therefore, the importer, Robert Bandlow, is a friend from way back. Our large group of 7 people, of which also included Rita, who works for Bob, Jamelle Lampkin (long time dealer and friend in No Cal), Leslye Solomon (Wool Stock), her friend and employee Mara. As we were walking, Lily Chin called and met us for dinner. It was a fun dinner recalling common knitting machine acquaintances from way back. It was "whatever happend to", and "do you remember when"! We surely had a noisy table. Lily has been a friend for many years. We rarely run into each other. I don't go to many shows, and Lily is oh-so very busy. Leslye and I are even closer, often running into each other. I sell many of her products, and I feel her how-to DVDs are absolute the best on the market. She has a new one out. Knitting socks on a circular needle. It was the first order of my day!

Sunday morning was not for sleeping in. I met Beth and Michael Casey (Lorna's Laces) for breakfast. It was pleasant. Talked about remodeling kitchens and business. I saw other members of AKD, Inc at breakfast as well.

I finished working the floor by placing orders with Chris Bylsma, Ashland Sky and spoke at length with Nora and Laura at Noni Bags while placing an order there. These are really interesting sisters to talk to. They are as different from me as West Coast meets East Coast! That fascinates me. It is a good and rewarding relationship. Both design felted bags, and now Nora is doing felted garments. Laura, besides bags also designs this most amazing and beautiful hardware for the bags.

Yarns on the floor seemed to be moving toward the classic, high end or close to high end yarns that would knit or crochet into classy, upscale, wearable garments. Silks, Alpaca, Kid Mohair. 2 years ago, I remember seeing booth after booth of hand dyed yarns. I think I counted 9-11 booths of hand dyed yarn. While hand dyed yarn is beautiful, many times garments done up in it just do not do anything for the adult human form. I prefer the solid shades in the hand dyed yarns. There are slight variations in the dyeing. It's very pretty and very attractive on. Still quite popular were shawls and light weight scarves, often done in silks and kid mohair and often in bright multi colors and in lace. Styles are also settling down to attractive, very wearable designs. I saw very little fairisle, intarsia designs, but a lot of texture such as cables and laces. Although someone told me that fairisle designs were just around the corner!

Dinner that night was back over with the Silver Reid Knitting Machine group and Lily Chin. A smaller group, but none the less, fun. The day had been the hotest so far with temperatures in the 90s. While most people dreaded the high humidity, my body and my energy just soared. I loved it. And the beer went down like water!! The Oregon Coast, while beautiful, just is way too cold and wet for my taste.

The weekend for me went much too fast. Come Monday morning, I was on my way back to the airport and delayed flight after delayed flight. All 3 of my flights were late. But I caught every one of them, and shock of all shocks, my suitcase made it too!

Still so much going on in my head! I'll post again soon!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Socks and Sweaters


These socks have been done for over a week. I had my nieces for 4 days last week while their Dad attended some continuing education classes for his job. Needless to say at their bedtime, I was ready too! These are are made out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, color Vera. The pattern is Knitting Pure and Simple's Boot Socks. Pattern #998. Very simple. Good for beginners.

These are Avalon Fiber Arts. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Whisper. It was fun to make these. Why I have such a mental block about knitting socks, I don't know. They are so portable. My feet just love hand knit socks, but my heart just isn't in it. BUT I'm going to keep on trying! I'm thinking about taking a new sock project my trip to TNNA this weekend.

TNNA is The National Needle Arts Association. It is for people in the business. This is a trade show where I meet up with my vendors and see what is new. I also plan on spending a lot of time of members of the Association of Knitwear Designers. We talk so much over email, it is good to look each other in the eye occasionally!

This week was busy getting 2 newsletters published. I am the editor for our local Fiber Arts Guild and this issue contains voting ballots and membership renewal forms.....128 newsletters. Those should mail today. The other newsletter is the Association of Knitwear Designers. The pdf version for members is complete. Now I have to print paper copies for those who cannot (or will not ???) download the pdf version. Paper copies are no fun get out. Hopefully I'll print those today and mail tomorrow.

Which brings me to a rant. . . . may I? Despite all the frownys and refusal to acknowledge or use the internet, it is here to stay. If you are reading this, then you are not one of those who I take issue with! So if someone is a member of a national group, then communications via the internet is not only esssential, it is close to being the only way to be a part of a organization! So buck up my ladies. Get your little black book together and write down your usernames and passwords! Things will work much easier this way!

On Friday morning, I board a plane for Columbus, Ohio, for the summer TNNA trade show. I fly in on Friday and back out on Monday. A very fast trip. Most chores are on schedule. But I am dismayed to find myself under the weather with a cold. Feels like the same one that hit me over the winter. But, not quite so bad. At least I managed to nab first class tickets. I hate traveling in the cattle car! So being in first class will not only not make it worse, but maybe even be comfortable enough that I can get some healing rest!

New project!! After many years of yearning for a summer sweater, I chose Knitting Pure and Simple's Neckdown Summer Sweater pattern #221. ( it is the very last pattern on this page.) A very simple pattern. Knits up fast. But to make it not so plain, I am knitting it in Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in Navy. Knitting with a wonderful yarn and pattern that is easy and enjoyable....I like that! I'm hoping it does not end up too small. I didn't want an oversized sweater for the summer. And this sweater would look cute buttoned up and used as a pullover. So I went with the smaller size. I've noticed that when I knit from patterns, even when my gauge is perfect, the overall fit is too big. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion for softly knit, hand knit sweaters, the ease needs to be less. I'm putting that theory to test with this project. I'm taking this on my trip this weekend. Somes alot of knitting gets done on trips, and sometimes the needles aren't even picked up! But flying is made for knitting!

See you next week!!