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!


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.

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'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

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....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Yarn Event and Contest (hint: you could win free yarn!)

Remember me telling you about the lovely yarns at LYDIA Yarn, LLC?  (It happened two times, in case you missed it...) Well, Spring is in the air over there and as new Spring yarn colors are being debuted, there is a contest going on at the same time.  Want to get in on the action? Of course you do, because THIS is what you could win:

LYDIA dream: Sport weight, 80% Alpaca/20% Silk, 287 yards per skein, Photo by LYDIA Yarns.

Isn't that GORGEOUS?

Here's another pic:

LYDIA dream: Sport weight, 80% Alpaca/20% Silk, 287 yards per skein, photo by LYDIA Yarns.

 For your chance to win, go to LYDIA Yarn, LLC on Facebook, like the page and then share the new yarn each day on your own Facebook page.  Yes, it really is that easy.  Make sure your privacy setting is set to "Public" for that post so that Angela can see that you have shared it and enter your name in the drawing. 

The contest ends soon, so don't dilly dally around.

While you're waiting to win, head over to the LYDIA Etsy shop and poke around...but only if you actually enjoy looking a pics of seriously beautiful, hand-dyed, luxury yarns!  (Pro tip: if you see something you like, buy it while it's still there.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More inspiration--N.Charleston Arts Festival

I recently went with my daughter to the annual North Charleston Arts Festival, something I've dragged my kids to for years in hopes that they will embrace art in multiple forms. The Festival itself takes place over many days in many venues around town, but on the weekend they have a whole mess of arty stuff in one place with free admission and free parking and really, it's hard to beat for an afternoon's cultural enrichment.

There seemed to be fewer vendors this year, or maybe it was just set up differently--I think there were more vendors in the exhibit hall BEHIND the rock and mineral show, which frankly made no sense to me and seemed like poor planning on the part of the Festival.  If you're reading this, North Charleston Arts Dept, please put folks back out in the open so we don't miss anything!  Love you!

(I had hoped to run into Bean and Bug Babyknits or Thrifty Sister again, but if ya'll were there, I didn't see you!)

The first thing we saw when we walked in was this:

If you guessed Bangladeshi folk dancers, you were right.  In the 14 years I've lived in this area, this was my first Bangladeshi dancer sighting.  Very cool. And about time, don't you think?

And then there were "lamps" made from empty (liquor) bottles.  I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

There was a lot of gorgeous artwork and photography. Plus this painting of knitting--nice!

And antiques!  I love browsing through antiques.  These, however, were definitely "man"tiques. 

 Proof that art is subjective.

At first I was like, "Cement sheep!  We NEED one of these!" But as I have had occasion to look at this photo, I am reminded a bit too much of the Weeping Angels on Dr. Who and no, I shan't be acquiring a cement sheep now.  Nor will I be blinking...

I saved the best for last.  Talk about inspiration! I absolutely love the work of this year's Arts Fest Design Competition winner, Amiri Gueka Farris. This is "Lowcountry Soiree." These mixed media beauties are still on display at the Performing Arts Center, so if you're local, go! If you have any other chance to see his work, do it!  

There was much more--dance, music, puppets, magicians and a large dollop of people watching.  Plus, I had the satisfaction of knowing that I was immersing a kid in culture again, and that always makes me feel like a good mom.