Friday, June 13, 2014

Moving Day(s)!

My journey on the web has been a long and winding road that has now led to...(drum roll, please!)...

An Honest to Goodness WEBSITE!

I have used Blogger for years (my first post--May 22, 2006) and migrated from a Blog About Everything to a Blog About Knitting (this one) that had links to my patterns and my classes.  It's been a good tool to use for a long time.

As my career as a designer ramps up, I have been looking for ways to, well, look more professional.  My business cards were changed within the last year to reflect this and now so has my primary online presence.  I say "primary" because, honestly, I'm online all over the place.

So please, bear with me as I pack up the boxes and move things to the new location.  There will be some dusty corners and I know that as soon as we move the big pieces of furniture and the appliances we will find things we'd forgotten about and probably dozens of cat toys as well.

Things will be roomier in the new location and once we get unpacked and hang the pictures on the walls, I know it will be a lovely home for some fantastic knitting goodness.

In the meantime, tell your friends, embarrass your enemies and update your bookmarks, because 



is live!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fiber Feel Day

The LYDIA booth. Photo by the awesome Lynn Dukes.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to be a Yarn Minion to the lovely and gracious Angela, owner of LYDIA Yarns, LLC for the 2nd annual Fiber Feel Day in Asheville, NC.  This event is sponsored by Local Cloth, a cooperative of fiber farmers (think sheep and alpacas) in the Western North Carolina/Upstate South Carolina area.

There were vendors with fleeces, with roving, with yarn and all sorts of things made from fiber--clothing, jewelry, rugs and more.  The weather was perfect (you really can't beat those cool mountain breezes on a June day!) and the shoppers and fellow vendors were friendly and pleasant.  It was great fun!

Sheep!

Baby lamb. One day old!


The flowers were so pretty.


So many flowers!



My latest pattern made its debut! Look for it in a kit available soon from LYDIA Yarn!

Vendors, shoppers, and a gorgeous mountain day.


Me and Roscoe, our cutie-pie mascot.


Friday, June 06, 2014

On D-Day; A History Lesson. And knitting; always knitting....

D-Day was the name given for the invasion of Europe during WWII, when the good guys went in to finally and truly kick some bad guy butt.  More than 160,000 Allied troops invaded enemy-occupied France and began the push that ended the war.  Most Americans could care less that today is the 70th anniversary of this massive endeavor.  All of Europe remembers, as well as those few of us in this country who study something more weighty than People magazine. 
 
History is not a bunch of boring facts and dates--it's real people who lived and worked and loved and fought and dreamed. It's your grandparents and great-grandparents waiting for letters in the mail, hanging a star in their window, huddled around the radio for the news of the day.  It matters more than you think to our current world, because the headlines of today have their roots in yesterday's stories. 
 
I appeal to you, my fellow Americans, to read some D-Day stories, watch a D-Day program, attend a lecture or memorial event. Learn something that matters and appreciate those who were braver than you can imagine, slogging through heavy surf under enemy gunfire just to make our world free. If you don't like to focus on the violence, learn about those at home who waited and sacrificed daily necessities in a time of war.  Find connections--in your own family, were there those who fought, those who waited?  Did one of the greatest generals of all time come from your home state?  (Clue: if you're from Texas, the answer is YES! Three cheers for Dwight D. Eisenhower, born in Denison!)
 
They also knit for the war effort. In groups and on their own, men, women and children took up needles to knit all sorts of things for the troops.

A book from my collection.

One day I'm going to make the spiral socks--love!

If you'd like to read more about knitting and WWII, and even participate in ongoing Knit Your Bit activities, check out the National WWII Museum's website.  Lauren Handley has done a wonderful job over the years working to keep history (and knitting) alive.  

Today, the 70th anniversary of D-Day...thank a veteran...honor the courage...learn something new...and remember.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Socks and Summer: Made for each other

It's the first week of June and you know what that means, right?  July will be here before you have time to wash the ninth load of beach towels!

And that can only mean that the Sizzling, Sensational, Summer Sock workShop is coming up soon!


Super Summer Sock workShop!

Photo by Sean Money, The Charleston Museum

Sock Classes, July 12 and 19
 
I'll be teaching the cuff-down sock on double pointed needles (my favorite method!). You'll learn just how enjoyable it can be to knit socks for yourself or for gifts. As with so much of knitting, it's really not that hard with someone showing you how to do it. 

This is a two-part workshop to give you time to learn all the techniques that will make you a successful sock knitter. There's a lot to learn but it's also a lot of fun!
If you'd just like to brush up on certain sock knitting techniques, you can just take the class covering that topic.

Socks I
In this class we will cast on using double pointed needles, join in the round, do ribbing and stockinette, and knit a heel flap. We'll also discuss fit and patterns.

Socks II
In this class we will turn the heel, pick up stitches for the gusset, 
do gusset and toe decreases and learn the Kitchener stitch.

When, Where and How Much:
Class time:  9am-noon
Class location: Panera Bread near the Outlet Mall
Class Dates: Socks I: Saturday, July 12
Socks II: Saturday, July 19
Class fee: $35/student for one class or $60/student for both classes
Ages 12 and up

What you need to know:
The basics of knitting: cast on, bind off, knit and purl.

What you'll learn:
Sock construction, turning a heel, Kitchener stitch toe grafting, fit, and much more. 

What you need to bring:
One set of double-pointed knitting needles, US size 3.
Sock or fingering weight yarn, 100 grams will make a pair of socks, size medium men's or ladies large.
Also helpful: scissors, yarn needle for weaving in ends, and measuring tape.

Please register by email, no later than July 5:
knitoasis at gmail dot com


 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Simple Knitting Tips: Where is Your Yarn??

I was peacefully knitting myself a pair of my (Mostly) Ridge Rib Socks one day, when I glanced down at my needles to see that the yarn was not where I thought it was, and consequently not where it should have been. And I thought, it's a good thing I caught this because it would have made a mess that would have been hard to trace, diagnose, and fix. And naturally it turned into a blog post. Naturally. 

How many mistakes have been made--and could have been avoided--because our yarn was not where it should have been. This applies to both the working yarn and the tail yarn. 

Some scenarios: 
1. Knitting with the tail. 
One of the first things we teach beginners, yet seasoned veterans still find themselves doing this occasionally. Awkward.
2. Working yarn is in the wrong place for knit stitch or purl stitch. 
Yarn front to purl, yarn back to knit.  Unless the directions say otherwise--in so many words.
3. Yarn in the cat's mouth. 
Pets and knitting is not always a happy mix.  I have a friend who has cats who will dig in the knitting bag for yarn then run off with it.  Needless to say, she has to use knitting bags with zippers!
4. Yarn caught in a dpn. 
This is what happened to spark this blog post.  I was two stitches into the pattern on one needle and must have set the sock down and picked it back up and when I did, the working yarn had gotten wrapped around the needle not in use.  Because the yarn was dark, (and the needles were, too, come to think of it), I didn't see what was going on immediately.  My Spidey senses were tingling though and I've learned to pay attention to them. They were asking me, "Where is your yarn?!?!"

The "Yarn caught in dpn" issue, except with lighter yarn so you can actually SEE it!

5. Yarn wrapped too many times around the needle.
Intentional yarn-overs are lovely things, aren't they?  The unintentional kind are not. I've seen the yarn wrapped too many times before working the rest of the stitch as a result of paying too little attention to the process of the stitch.  And maybe also a result of there being an adult beverage in range.  Just maybe.

 These are only a few examples--I would love to hear from you other scenarios so we can get the word out about this insidious problem.  OK, maybe not insidious, but certainly pernicious, right?

Also, the (Mostly)Ridge Rib Sock pattern is a free pattern, available to download from Ravelry HERE.



 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day in the USA: Are you ready for Summer Knitting?

Today is Memorial Day in this country, a day to remember those who have died in service to our nation.  It is celebrated with parades, picnics, pool openings and sometimes a smidge of panic.  For most of us it marks the unofficial beginning of Summer. Schools will be out soon if they aren't already, and there will be vacations to take and (hopefully) long hours ahead of relaxation and of course, knitting.  And that, friends, is where the smidge of panic comes into play.

There are many things about Summer that can cause any knitter to panic just a bit.  The sudden influx of free time if you're lucky enough to have it, the change in schedules and locations that travel can bring, the weather, the celebrations...it's enough to make your head spin.

We're going to be smart about it, though, and plan ahead for these things by discussing them in an ongoing series that begins today:        
Summer Knitting



Summer Knitting, part 1: Knitting vs. Holidays
How can I fit knitting into our family's holiday observance?

Remember that family is special and so is your knitting time.  Also, nothing is perfect and if you manage not to overplan your holiday, there should be time for some knitting at some point.  If not, don't sweat it.

Last year on the 4th of July, I sat peacefully indoors by a window, knitting, while my son and hubby blew up fireworks in the driveway and my daughter practiced piano.  It may have been our best 4th yet.

Try to remember that it's summer and you should have more peace in your life. 

Take your knitting wherever your summer plans lead you.  It's a conversation starter, it's a generation gap bridger, and it's a sanity saver.  Be mindful of your manners (of course!) and don't let your focus be completely on your project if it will mean snubbing the people around you.  It's actually easier to pay attention to someone while you are knitting than it is if you are staring at your smartphone, but be as polite as possible. 

A holiday doesn't mean you have to take a break from your knitting.  If you're like me, you won't be taking a break from cooking, so you should knit, too.  Totally.  You have my permission, if you need it ;)

Happy Memorial Day!


Knitting and picnics go together like macaroni and cheese


Friday, May 23, 2014

Things you may have missed: Tumblr

Did you know that KnitOasis is also on Tumblr?  If you're not over there, here are a few things you missed recently...

Geometry via sock gusset.  It's a beautiful thing :)

Reblogged from Craftic. Love this.

Random yarn shot. I'm a big fan of yarn in general. Shocker!

Am I the only one this happens to??




For more Tumblr goodies, click here----- KnitOasis on Tumblr



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Simple Knitting Tips: Be original

Today's Simple Knitting Tip serves as a life lesson as well: Be original.  To me, it's very much like saying, Be yourself.  The people in my life whom I most enjoy being around are the ones who work very hard at being themselves, rather than someone else.  Genuineness is honest, transparent and much easier to work with because you will usually know where YOU stand with someone who is genuine.  Originality, to me, means several things....forge your own path...be yourself...know yourself...be honest...have the courage to think outside the box...

In knitting, this means that you don't always have to knit what everyone else is knitting just because everyone else is knitting it.  If you never venture outside the norm and try something new, you will most likely miss out on something that brings you more pleasure than you expected.

It also means that just because you like the style of a certain knitter, you don't have to do everything they do, the way they do it.  Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it's no way to live your life or plan all your knitting.  This goes double for designers.  If you borrow heavily from another design, it's no longer your own original pattern.  This is not a bad thing unless you neglect to give credit where credit is due.  If you wouldn't want someone doing it to a pattern you had created, that should give you enough reason not to do it to theirs.

These days, it's rare for me to spend much time browsing patterns or even reading other knitting blogs unless they are brought to my attention for a specific reason.  Frankly I have so many designs floating around in my head that I don't want them to be influenced by what someone else has already done.  Once a design has made it to paper, then I will do an online search to make sure my sketches are original.

I realize that I am luckier than most people.  When I was in high school, I had the most wonderful French instructor for four years (who is still quite wonderful and not too long ago took me on a guided tour of the Kimball Museum in my hometown).  She taught me many things in addition to proper verb conjugation and good pronunciation.  One of the most valuable was...be original. I have returned to this lesson many times over the years and it has brought me much peace of mind.

You are unique and special and original, deep down inside, whether you have embraced it or not.  My advice is to make it a priority in your life to find ways to embrace your originality.  To know and accept yourself will bring balance to your life and to your knitting.  Do you know that you detest knitting lace?  Then don't do it.  Have you realized you have a deep and abiding love of sock making?  Then by golly, make socks!

Be original. Be yourself. And bring your knitting along for the ride.

My presentation to Mlle Llewellyn of a pet rock ("Pierre"), 1984. I can't remember why I was doing this, but it was original!



Monday, May 19, 2014

Weaving Workshop, part 2: In which I twist fringe and weave on a really old loom



On Saturday we had part 2 of the Beginning Weaving workshop at the Charleston Museum, taught by the talented Judy and, as near as I could tell, enjoyed by one and all.  For the most part our weaving was finished when we got to class, so we learned what happens next: how to take them off the loom, deal with The Fringe Question and account for any loose ends.

We also got to go into the store room at the Museum (a magical and wonderful place) and see some woven textiles in the Museum's collection, then out into the exhibits to see the enormous 4-harness loom and even more woven textiles.  Plus we got to watch as Judy pinpointed the patterns using her grandmother's weaving pattern book.  History in the making, folks!

AND THEN! We got to weave on a different 4-harness loom (from the 1850's, I think).  It was more complicated than our rigid heddle looms, but made sense now that we are bonafide weavers. 

All that was left after that was to compare our finished scarves. We decided they were ALL quite lovely!

Examples of fringe on Judy's scarves, woven from yarn she dyed in my Indigo workshop (shameless plug alert).

Demonstrating fringe twisting on my scarf.
Judy explains the finer points of removing a project from the loom.


Some woven coverlets in the Museum's collection.  So much variety!

The large 4-harness on exhibit.  My kids have woven on it during Homeschool History Class, because our museum is awesome like that.

Jacquard weaving on exhibit.
See how it looks like I know what I am doing? See how close an eye Jan Hiester, Curator of Textiles, is keeping on me while I touch the valuable antique?


The awesome Claudia, showing the smaller 4-harness loom who's boss.

Sweet Lynn, who can do EVERYthing, weaving while Judy looks on.




Angela used her own LYDIA Yarn to weave her scarf. It's SO soft!!

These were both woven with similar yarns, but with different techniques.



The beautiful Jessica with her beautiful scarf.


I love how Emma Lee's turned out with silvery-blue and white!

Kristy got creative with fringe knotting!


My finished scarf! Plaid tidings!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weaving, Part 1: In which I branch out into alternative textiles.

First of all, let me reassure you that I will not be giving up knitting in favor of weaving.  It just ain't gonna happen.  If, however, the universe brings me a rigid heddle loom, I will now know what to do with both it and a whole lot of bits of yarn I have yet to knit...


Secondly, let me introduce you to our instructor Judy...
I love this pic of her because she looks so happy.  And you know what?  I'm happy that we crossed paths at one of my indigo dyeing workshops, because that led to this beginning weaving workshop at The Charleston Museum.  Plus it meant I got to hang out and learn from someone who has been weaving since she was a wee slip of a girl, in addition to studying Navajo weaving in Colorado for several years.  I told y'all that interesting people show up at my workshops--now do you believe me??

 These are only a few of the things she has woven--not all on a rigid heddle, but all gorgeous.


Once we put together our Ashford looms, we had to learn how to put the warp on.  There is probably another term for this, but I didn't retain it.  There were strings going EVERYwhere up in there!

Somehow I ended up doing mulitple warp colors and then weaving with more than one color, too.  It might be because I took 5 different colors with me since I couldn't make up my mind before the class started....

Before tying them down.

After tying them down. But before re-tying, since I didn't do it right the first time....

Me shuttle's been wrapped, arghhh, I'm ready to weave!


Say, "Weeeeave!!!!"



And presto! Weaving!  It's uneven and might be really really wonky when it comes off the loom, but it's been a fun project to play with.  My friends and I have been texting each other pics of our weaving and egging each other on, and thank goodness for that because the first time I turned that one wheel thing to give myself more weaving space, it darn near went ALL to pieces!  (As you can see, I could have paid better attention to the vocabulary. Sorry, Judy!)


The workshop concludes this Saturday and I will find out how well I did on my very first project.  If it's terrible, you can plan on seeing how all my friends' projects turned out instead....