Monday, March 31, 2014

Inspiration everywhere: Quilt Show

Back on March 1, I went to a Quilt Show. (And thought I had blogged about it, so imagine my surprise today to realize I had NOT!)

It was an overwhelming display of creativity, talent, color and the result of having a LOT of time to quilt.

This show was sponsored by the Cobblestone Quilter's Guild, a local Guild that puts this show on every two years.  Plan ahead now for 2016--it's well worth your time!

I love going to things like this because to me, knitting is an art, and being around other artistic people and works of art (textile and otherwise) is always inspirational.  Always.

This is my favorite.  All that grey, a punch of color...oh my goodness I love it!!

Made from men's shirts. LOVE!

I could knit something like this...on a smaller scale!

 See the olive fabric? So cute!

This one was amazing in person.

All the blues and tans!

This is so cool. This makes me want to knit, too.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Free Pattern Friday: Red Scarf 2014

After several false starts with designs that simply would not cooperate, this year's Red Scarf Project Red Scarf is finally finished, published and available! Using Barbara Walker's purl twist fabric for inspiration,  the Thousand Mile Journey scarf features a soft texture that looks a little like tire tracks.  It's a lovely way to send a hug to a foster care student as they set out on the road of life.

The pattern for this scarf is available as a FREE Raverly download!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: from Sept, 2012---Why take a class?

It's Throwback Thursday at KnitOasis! Here again are the reasons why taking a class is a Good Thing, with this added note: 

Since I value the teacher-student relationship, I offer high-quality, in person classes, tutorials and consultations. As of this time there are no plans to offer online classes.

Upcoming classes include Cast-ons
Indigo Dyeing Workshop and Fair Isle.

Original posting--9/6/12:
Why take a knitting class? When there are books and online videos galore, how do you justify spending a few extra dollars to learn a new skill?

Quality instruction: I've taught knitting for 6 years and I have been certified to teach by the Craft Yarn Council upon successful completion of Levels I and II of their Instructor's Program.  The program was written by experienced knitters who also provide mentoring and evaluation for participants. I knit 20 swatches, developed 7 beginning and intermediate classes and submitted knitted and written patterns for 3 of these, wrote a pattern for a sweater, knit a sweater from another pattern for review, and passed two phone evaluations with one of the creators of the Instructor's Program.  Credentials like these ensure that you will be taught the correct methods in keeping with industry standards.

Let someone else catch your mistakes before they get out of hand: When you're new to knitting or to a technique, it's not always easy to see why you might be doing something wrong.  With an experienced instructor to check your work, you can avoid developing bad knitting habits. Any class you take with me comes with free follow-up---your satisfaction is important to me!

Meet other knitters: So many of my students take classes for this reason because they are new in town. Though I'm not new to the area, I still love to meet new people, especially knitters! I've had the privilege of meeting people from all over the world through knitting classes.

Bonus learning: Because there are so many great tricks and techniques to make knitting easier, there's always something new to learn.  You might take a class on intarsia and learn about a great new cast on method from one of your fellow classmates, for example.

Fun: There's a reason our ancestors gathered for quilting bees and barnraisings--it really is fun to do stuff together!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Friendship and Brushes with Greatness

My copy of this one is a little crumpled from reading it in the tub....
Once upon a time, many long years ago, I hosted a Knitting Club for homeschoolers and their moms.  We met at various churches in the area (having long ago outgrown my living room) and at one of these gatherings, I met a knitter and her daughter who were both very nice and seemed to enjoy our group.  As we chatted one day, this mom and I, we discovered that we shared the same birthday month and day.  In my mind, it was from this point that we became lifelong friends.

Sadly, as is the case quite often in an area where military families are stationed, they moved away a few years ago and we now keep in touch through email (I'm horrible at this and keep hoping one day she will show up on Facebook, but until then I continually resolve to be a better emailer) and Ravelry.  We trade knitting stories, life events, snowfall amounts (mostly that bit comes from her, not me) and she has been a huge help in my homeschooling journey, having kids who have graduated and become productive members of society.

This morning I opened an email from her to discover that she had had a chance to meet one of her own personal knitting heroes--the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  If you are unfamiliar with the Yarn Harlot, it would be an excellent and wise use of your time to pour yourself a beverage, grab a snack and spend an hour or more reading through her blog (winner of more Canadian blogging awards than my blog), and then grab a few of her books and spend even more time reading those.  She knits.  She's good at it.  She understands us.  And she writes about it all in a way that I promise you will love.

Here is an excellent post to begin with, if this is your first exposure to Ms. Pearl-McPhee.  Read it, appreciate her humor and humanity, feel as I did the twinge of envy that they have enough knitters in their area to host a Yarn Harlot book signing,  and be sure to scroll through all the pics.  See the one of Janna in her shawl, holding up some socks? That's my friend's sweet (extremely talented knitter) daughter.  Isn't she cute?  And I have it on good authority that that shawl won first prize in their county fair.

Congratulations to Janna on your continued knitting, your prize-winning knitwear, and your being featured in an award-winning, internationally famous knitting blog!  I fully expect to come to YOUR book signings some day!  Also, give your mom a hug from me--I sure do miss her, despite my infrequent emails!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Knit Inn 2014

On February 7-9, it was my privilege once again to attend the SC Knitting Guild's annual Knit Inn.  As always there were a lot of laughs, a lot of knitting, and many memories to cherish (or not, depending on your perspective, and if you hear the "cookie tantrum" story, trust me, it's very much exaggerated).

This year I again taught the Vintage Winter Shawl class, which is SO much fun to teach!  There were several finished shawls from last year's class in attendance and the lovely knitters who brought them made me feel like a Rock Star Teacher for sure.

The best part of any Knit Inn weekend for me is connecting with old friends and making new ones, and this year was off the charts fabulous in that department.

Until next year, y'all...keep on knitting!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Simple Knitting Tips: Organize your stitch markers

Every now and then a knitting trick comes my way that it is so clever I wish I had either a) thought of it myself or b) heard about it sooner.

At the Knit Inn this month, someone bought a project bag that had one of these Book Rings on it.  Turned out that one of the uses for it was to keep your stitch markers organized and handy.  GENIUS!  

I've had a couple of these rings in my office supplies for years (no clue where they came from) and I am delighted to be able to tell you that you can actually BUY THESE AMAZING THINGS at your office supply store of choice (Mine is Staples, because EASY button, of course!).

As you can see, they come in massive quantities and since I only need a few to keep my stitch markers ready for action, I've decided to share my largesse with the populace.  So...if you're local (or happen to be in town) and you see me and mention this blog, I will happily give you some of these incredible knitting tools.  Life changing, truly.
2/20/14: Edited to add: The bag was courtesy of my friend Jessica, who was clever enough to buy it and show me the genius ring :)

Reminds me of some winter sports that are happening somewhere...
Organized and Adorable, just like me. (Except better)


Friday, February 14, 2014

Cast On Day: Red Scarf 2014

Today is Valentine's Day.  Like most moms, I spent some time this week planning treats and gifts for Valentines Day for my family.  Then, this morning I had the loveliest thought--because I sent a red scarf to the Red Scarf Project, somewhere today a foster kid in college will have a warm scarf to wear and hopefully, hopefully, feel loved. 

This was such a nice thought to have on a day set aside for love, that I decided to make an Executive Decision...

I declare that today is the official cast-on day for Red Scarf Project 2014!


Presumptuous of me, perhaps, since I am in no way officially affiliated with the Red Scarf Project.  I justify my Executive Decision like this:  if what we need are volunteers to make the scarves, then I just volunteered to get the ball rolling for this year.  And to start making a scarf.

How about you?  Do you have a few minutes each week to devote to a simple scarf, knit or crocheted in a red of any sort, to send to encourage a student next Valentine's Day? If we start today and knit on it throughout the year (or finish it tomorrow, depends on how fast you want to go) then by the fall we will have at least one scarf each to send.  Pretty easy, and very loving.  

Here is a summary of the guidelines to get you started. For complete details, go here.

Make your scarf 5" to 8" wide, and 60" long, suitable for a guy or a gal, in red.  Any type of red will work, including striping in other colors because you didn't buy enough red in one dye lot (don't ask).  Knit it in something soft (I usually use easy-care acrylic and acrylic blends--if you use wool or anything else, you might want to include washing instructions/fiber content). Scarves can be sent in from September 1-December 15.  Any pattern will work, but if you want something easy and adorable (totally prejudiced here), try my Free Brickworks Scarf.