Thursday, October 27, 2016

What Happened to Vogue Knitting?

I have not been a fan of Vogue Knitting. Too many of the patterns seemed designed more for the runway than for real women. And some of the patterns have been downright ridiculous! But the fall 2016 issue is different.
Not only has the size changed -- it's a bit bigger -- but the patterns are beautiful and practical -- every single pattern is a garment that you can imagine someone wearing. My favorite is this sweater, a new twist on the traditional Gansey:
There are a couple gorgeous Fair Isle patterns, like this lovely cowl:
I really like this scarf, only I'm not crazy about the ribbed, sleeve-like ends. I think I'd just Kitchner the ends for a more traditional tube scarf.
There are some really interesting articles about historic knitting, and those articles are accompanied by luscious photos:
I can't remember the last time I purchased Vogue Knitting, but this is one issue I could not resist. I wonder if this is a new trend?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Darn Those Badgers!

My friend Tsela and I spent the whole day -- the whole beautiful, warm, sunny day -- in the gym of a suburban middle school. What were we doing there? Nothing! To be precise, we were selling nothing.
These are my resin pendants made with illustrations from vintage reading primers. I love them. But they didn't sell.
The day wasn't a total waste because we got to hang out together. And we met a really nice woman at an adjoining booth. She drove more than 3 hours to get to this show, so we felt lucky in comparison. Still, we had thought we'd sell a more than a few items. She sold one pair of earrings. I sold two pairs plus some gift boxes.  If you figure in gas, we maybe broke even.

These are my handmade polymer clay beads.
The other vendors told us that they think most people were home watching the Badger football team play Iowa. We found this shocking! Who would rather watch football than go to a craft fair? Very strange.
A number of people liked these bracelets, but not enough to buy them.
We have another rural fair scheduled, but I'm ditching it. I do better in a more urban setting. My weekends are just too precious.

Forgive me if I sound grouchy. I came down with a cold yesterday, and that didn't help my day at all. When I finally got back to my house, I couldn't sit on the back porch because one of the neighbors was doing his whole yarn with a leaf blower. Am I the only one who hates those things?

I hope your weekend is more pleasant!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Knitting and Reading in Autumn Glory

The weather continues to be just glorious. I've been walking to and from work to take advantage of the mild temps and the scarlet leaves. It does mean I have to make sure I walk less at work -- but it's worth it.

Between work and the Jewish holidays, it's been hard to find time to knit or read. I did manage to finish the collar of my Vodka Lemonade sweater. I love seed stitch, but it makes for slow knitting
I've had to restart Where the Jews Aren't a few times because I usually read at bedtime, and I have been too tired to absorb everything. It's the interesting and quirky true story of how Russia set aside land near Mongolia in the 1920s to create a Jewish homeland. Obviously, it didn't work. I just started How It Went Down because I need to have a longer list of books to recommend to teen boys.

Last night my art group met at Tsela's house. I thought you'd enjoy seeing how her cat Cecil luxuriated in yarn.

I'll be joining up with Ginny to Yarn Along. See you there!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Fourth Time is the Charm -- I Hope

One of the key ideas in Sequence Knitting is that it is supposed to require a minimum of thought: Memorize the sequence and knit. Of course, nothing is that simple in my knitting world. I ripped out the first cast-on because I though (mistakenly) that I had made a mistake. I recast on and then ripped it again because I didn't love the colors. When you are knitting with 800 yards of fingering-weight yarn, you must love the colors!

Then I picked out these two colors from the stash. I've been looking for the right use for the red ball, which was a gift from my daughter.

I was happy with the colors but my stitch count was way off after knitting 8 rows of the 3rd attempt. So I ripped a THIRD time. I'm hoping the fourth time will go better.  As you can see, I put in some stitch markers.

Cecilia of Sequence Knitting holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry (the very definition of super smart, in my book), so maybe what's easy for her isn't so easy for an English major like me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sequence Knitting Really Is All That

I first heard about Cecelia Campochiaro's book Sequence Knitting at Knitting Camp this past summer. Meg Swansen sang its praises, and I was able to page through a copy, but I didn't get what the hoopla was about. Besides, it's a large book with a price tag to match.
Then I saw that Campochiaro was going to be speaking at our Guild and teaching an all-day class on a Sunday. OK, I thought, it might be fun to take the class. And it was.
The book, my notes, and one of my sample knits
A Ph.D. chemist who works in Silicon Valley, Campochiaro is smart, funny, and down-to-Earth.  She is a patient teacher who knows how to start with one skill and build on it. She brought a trunk-load of samples, and they sold her method (which I'm not even going to try to describe for fear of not doing it justice) as much as her lively enthusiasm. I was experiencing a lot of pain on Sunday, but her class was both fun and calming -- and for 6 hours I was able to ignore the pain!
Samples from the class. Mine is the blue one in the center.
The scarf in the photo above is my next project. I've been auditioning yarn from my stash. When you are knitting a scarf out of fingering-weight yarn, you need to love the project; you are going to be knitting this for a good long time!

As for reading, I just finished The Light Between the Oceans. It is, as my friend Joan claimed, a very good read. It is also a heart-wrenching story and there were times when I found it a bit hard to read. I'm not sure how I feel about seeing the movie. I don't know how it could live up to the book.

I'll be joining up with Ginny for Yarn Along. See you there!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

"Yarn" the Movie

A couple of friends and I dragged ourselves out of bed early on this Saturday morning to see "Yarn" the movie, which was playing in Stoughton, a small city about 30 miles from Madison.

The movie is entertaining, but kind of a disappointment. It's only about a small group of yarn artists -- and crochet is the main technique involved. There are beautiful scenes of Icelandic sheep in their native habitat, but no explanation of why these scenes are included. There are some nice street scenes from cities like Copenhagen and Havana. If it's convenient, go see it. But I wouldn't recommend going to great lengths.
The movie was sponsored by a Stoughton yarn store, Spry Whimsy Fiber Arts, and we enjoyed looking around there. One of my friends bought a skein of yarn, but she was more interested in their felted items:
They specialize in felting, needle-felting, and spinning. They have  small but lovely selection of yarn.  I stuck to my yarn diet  and came home with no wool! Yay for me!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Last Days of Knitting Outdoors

I'm sure I'm not the only person who read that we just finished the warmest September on record. While that is not good news for Mother Earth, it does make for lovely knitting in the late afternoons. I've been able to make some progress on my Granola sock.
 The knitting has been aided by my current audiobook: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes, who you may know as the creator of Downton Abbey. It is far from a great work of literature, but it is frothy and engaging. I'm not sure I'd get through the book, but the reader of the audiobook does an amazing job with the voices. Perfect for escapist knitting!

I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone at Ginny's Yarn Along.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

It's been a few weeks since I blogged.  I love my new school, but it's going to take a while before I figure out how to do this new job in less than 50 hours a week.  So it's nice that the Jewish New Year is giving me a three-day weekend to catch my breath and regain a bit of balance. I'll be attending services tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the peacefulness that brings me.

To mark the new year, I cast on for what I hope will be successful sweater number 2.
The pattern is Vodka Lemonade by Thea Coleman. Like my first successful sweater, it is a top-down design with an open front buttons or button-holes! It is a little bit more challenging than my Harvest sweater, but not too much. I don't want to risk any more failed sweaters!

I've begun trying to catch up on my blog reading and I'm looking forward to seeing what each of you is up to.