Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Block 1 is Done!

It may not seem like such a monumental task to many, but for those of us working on the Great American Aran Afghan, it's a milestone.  The first class was held last month and by the looks on the students faces when they left that night, I was just sure we wouldn't have many return!  The moans and groans were pretty loud as they wrestled with understanding the pattern, attempted to read the charts, fumbled with the cable needle, and generally just tried to keep their composure, when many were saying to themselves, "What in the world am I doing here?  Why did I think this would be fun?!?"

 Well, we met for the second class last night and what a difference a month makes!!  Every single student returned with a completed block or one in progress and many had a good start on the second block.  Oh how it warmed my heart that they each went home and fought the good fight and hung in there.  Our instructor, Beth Trupp, did a fabulous job.  The mood was very different this time around and people were actually visiting while knitting....and if that isn't a good sign, I don't know what is.

Here's Beth looking over Lori Karpen's work.  Also at the table are Dee Dixon, Cher Maybee, Corlyus Treffer, and Kim Carlson.

Red was a popular choice of colors.  There are others using gray and brown and several the traditional cream.
 Here's Kim's finished Block 1....nice job Kim!
 And look how far she already is on Block 2!

 Here we have Lori Schaffer, Jan Johnson,  and Brandy Earl getting ready to start Block 2.
 And here's my completed block...notice anything different about mine?  No BOBBLES!  And I didn't forget them, I omitted them on purpose.  I don't know what it is about bobbles, but they are just not my thing.  I don't mean knitting them either.  I just mean the looks of them. And this is MY afghan so I say no to bobbles.  I do however have all of then essentials every knitter needs very close by:  water bottle, because this is hard work and I get very thirsty, cell phone in case I need to call for back-up, glasses because I can't seem to knit without them anymore, my camera case (yeah, you get that one) and a picture of some beautiful flowers that I wanted to know the name of (well, we do talk about other things besides knitting). 
 And here's the whole group set up downstairs in shipping.  We meet down there instead of the store because there is a lot more room.
 I was impressed by everyone's accomplishments!  Congrats ladies and great job!

Now if I only hadn't ripped out 3 times during class because I couldn't, or should I say wouldn't, take the time to read directions, I would be farther along.

I have learned a few things about being the student and not the instructor (and these are good things):

1.  When someone is having a problem, I don't always have the answer.

2.  When someone is having a problem, I don't have to have the answer.

3.  I must pay attention to my own knitting or I will have a problem.

4.  Oh, and did I say I don't like bobbles?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Odds and Ends

Spring is really coming, so they tell me anyway, and that means several things in my little part of the world.  For those of you that know me, you know that my daughter, Kendall, is a senior in high school this year and will be graduating  next month.  Here we are at a school event not too long ago.

We have many, many things to plan and do, as you can imagine.

I want to put that out there because I appreciate your patience with the large gap between posts here on my blog.  I HAVE been knitting and working in between all of the planning and doing, believe me.  That's just a given.  Blogging about it has been a little tougher... Thanks for hanging in there with me!

I'm sure there will be more to come on this big milestone in our lives,  but for now...I want to talk about a few miscellaneous topics.

I have been getting a lot of questions about how to post a comment here on my blog.  Many of you have said that you go to post something and it won't let you.  There is a reason that it is set up this way and I thought I would take just a moment to explain.  In order to comment, you basically are asked to identify yourself in some way.  I am sure the purpose of this is to keep people from putting unwanted or offensive content out there, unless we have a way to trace it back to that person somehow.  Many bloggers have it set up so that they can approve all comments before they are publicly posted.  This is just a protective measure that benefits us all in obvious ways.

This means that you need to have an account with Google, or one of the other choices listed in the little drop down menu, so that we know who you are:  Live Journal, Wordpress, Typepad, AIM, or Open ID are the other ones.  If none of these sound familiar to you, then I would recommend you go with Google.  You simply go to and sign up.  They only ask for very basic information  like a name and email address.  Simple.  Once you have done that you are free to comment away here and elsewhere.

I am taking the time to explain this because I want you to be able to interact with me and other readers on this blog.  I have several fun things planned this year that you will want to be able to post comments about, so don't hesitate...just do it!  It will take 5 minutes or less.  And by the way, I am not trying to promote Google necessarily.  It's just one of the easiest and most recognizable out there.  For those of you reading this that have other suggestions or something that might help, please share.  I just know that it has been frustrating for many people that don't understand why it's set up this way.

And now for a little knitting news...

Let's start with a quote from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in her book Knitting Rules!:

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I hate hearing knitters say they’re afraid to try things in knitting…..It’s only knitting! It’s not dangerous! Leap on! Be afraid of bears, of bungee-jumping, of faulty wiring in old houses, but never, ever be afraid of trying something in knitting.”

And that is the case I want to make for knitting socks 2-at-a-time on one long circular needle....
I recently finished teaching my 2-at-a-time Sock Class out at Brown Sheep.  I almost always cast on with my students in whatever class I am teaching so that they will be able to see where they are headed.  In this case, I went with a pattern called Baby Feet (courtesy of my boss Peggy)...little, tiny bootie socks knit from Wildfoote Luxury Sock Yarn on a 40", Size 1 needle.  (I prefer Addi Turbo Lace Tips for this particular technique, in case you were going to ask)

My students (who reluctantly agreed to having their picture taken lol:) used Lanaloft handpaint:

And Lamb's Pride Superwash:

And no, you don't need to adjust the color on your screen.  I always have the students knit 2 different colors for their first pair of 2-at-time socks.  It makes it much easier when learning this technique.  They will make another pair to match!

They did a fabulous job and I believe if you were to ask them how they felt at the beginning of the class and at the end, they would tell you that what seemed so difficult and daunting at first became clear and pretty cool as they worked their way through it.
Here's Stacia finishing up the last few rounds on the toes and getting ready to graft them together.

Debbie is smiling because she is almost finished with her pair as well, and I imagine she is feeling pretty proud of herself, as she should.  Nice job, ladies!

These are the Baby Feet that I knit all finished and ready to be sent off to my cousin Jill and her new baby girl, Jayla.  

I am planning a traditional sock class on double pointed needles and a 2-at-a-time sock class this summer.  Socks make for awesome summer knitting.  They are small, lightweight, and portable.  The schedule will be posted here at the end of the month.  I will also be having an Absolute Beginner's Class coming soon.

In the meantime, leave a comment and let me know what your are working on right now (knitting or otherwise) and how you manage to fit it in to your busy schedules.  Me?  I am off to address a few more graduation announcements.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quackmere Classic...aka..Just call me quacked

Happy April Fools Day...and in case you were wondering, I have been fooled today, yes.  Usually it's my husband who gets me, and gets me good.

This time it was a co-worker.

Shortly after I came into work this morning Amy hands me a copy of this article from Knitter's Review.  I quickly glanced at it and said, "wow, duck yarn, what will they think of next," and then laid it back down on the counter.

It wasn't until I had an audience about an hour later that the real joke came out.  We were sitting around the big table in the store and I was "sharing" this information with my friend Melissa, her daughter Sadie, her mother Nancy, and my boss, Peggy.  I was reading it out loud to them and putting emphasis on the really shocking parts like the fact that a 25 yd. skein of duck yarn was going to be priced at $193.00!  They listened intently and I just kept reading.

*Pause* and a big sigh for my disclaimer:
The idea of yarn being made from duck feathers really didn't seem that out of whack because look at all of the things they make yarn out of these days...corn, bamboo, seaweed, even opossum for heaven sake!  Duck was just piquing my interest.  How did they do this?  Isn't that amazing and strange...who would buy it?...and on and on. 

I was so caught up in this conversation we were having that I am not sure exactly when it happened, but everyone else was slowly catching on, (or at least thinking something sounded a little off), and I just kept going.  Even when I got to the part about the different types of yarn blends at the end of the article, and the names that would go on the yarn labels in particular, well, that STILL didn't seem to strike me as a little strange:  Wack (wool/duck), Squack (silk/duck), Yack (yak/duck), Quiquack (qiviut/duck)...

UNTIL:  Aflack (acrylic, falcon, lemur, and duck).  And the look came over my face that I am sure would have been one of those priceless picture moments if someone had a camera...omg!  This whole thing is a very clever April Fool's joke and I have just been taken for a very good ride!  lol:)   By this time the ladies are seriously laughing out loud and all I could do, of course, was join in.

And the thing that really got me was that I had been taking every precaution to keep my husband from catching me off guard this year.  I told Phil this morning not to bother calling me because I wouldn't be taking his calls.  And don't even think about showing up at my work, I told him.  (You need to understand that he has REALLY pulled some elaborate April Fool's jokes on me in the past.  I was just trying to protect myself from further trauma.)

It never occurred to me that someone else would get me!  The worst part of all is there are still several hours left in the day and I have to go home.  Phil's home.  Wish me luck. 

Next year I am not even going to get out of bed.