Rockett’s Revenge

This is what happens when your dog gets revenge for leaving him home when you run off to the yarn store.

But this is what he looks like when you get home.

Rockett

How can you you possibly get mad at a face like that?

Time to start unraveling . . .

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Just Because It’s Spring Doesn’t Mean the Knitting Stops

It’s getting warmer. Here in Texas, spring is late. I’m not complaining. Before you know it we’ll have triple digit temps and knitting will seem silly. Well, not really silly, but it won’t be as much fun as it is in the winter.

I took a much needed break from the bamboo silk yarn and knit a few wool, mohair, and recycled cashmere scarves.

Mohair cowl
Aubergine Mohair Cowl

Then I was ready to get back to the bamboo silk.  I missed it.

For the first time in years, I knit something I didn’t love. It didn’t hang right. It was bunched up looking, and strangely limp. I was disappointed. I wanted to unravel it and try something else. I decided to block it first and see if that helped.

Bamboo silk cowl
Sea Blue Cowl with Lace Pattern

It did, and now I love it again.

There’s something to be said for the magic of blocking. Depending on the fiber used and the pattern, sometimes it truly does turn a lackluster piece into something worth saving.

Fun with Photography

Taking photographs of the items I’ve knit is not always fun, especially if you’re not the one taking the photos. It can be tedious and time-consuming. I try to take different kinds of photos of each item: some on a live model, some on a mannequin, and some still close-ups. There is a lot that goes into taking all these different photos.

This weekend, a friend of mine snatched up two of the bamboo silk scarves before I even had a chance to officially list them on the website. I needed more photos of the scarves in order to post them in the Etsy shop so she could purchase them, so we had to scramble over the weekend to get the close-up shots done.

I told my husband, who takes almost all of the photos of everything I knit, that I wanted to try something new. Inspired by so many lovely jewelry photos I’ve seen lately incorporating natural objects in the backgrounds, this is what we came up with for the two scarves:

bamboo silk scarf

bamboo silk cowl

Thank God for Michael. I have no patience for photography. I can sit and knit for hours, but trying to figure out camera settings and flashes make me crazy.

I love the new photos. I especially like the splash of green from the plants in the background, and the effect of the reflective material he used in the light box. I’m looking forward to taking more shots like this in the future and finding more complementary items to include.

The Call of the Silk Sirens

Around Christmastime I found some beautiful bamboo/silk yarn at a local store. The colors were bright, shiny, and vibrant and the feel was soft and buttery. I had been doing a lot of knitting with chunky wools and fell in love with the smooth, delicate look of the bamboo/silk yarn. Also, I had yet to knit with either bamboo or silk.  And those colors! Plum, Slate, Wine, and Sapphire! Just the names made me swoon. Like the mermaids calling the ships to the rocks, I couldn’t resist the call of the silk sirens.

Karl von Blaas, 1882, via Wikimedia Commons

I bought four skeins in two different colors. Then I went back and bought four more skeins in two more colors.

I quickly learned that everything I loved about the yarn in the store was true. On the surface, it was beautiful. It was soft, shiny, and draped beautifully when knit. But oh what a sly temptress when it came to knitting.

I’m not a perfect knitter. I rarely sit and just knit, which means I’m either watching/listening to TV or the radio or talking to someone at the same time. I make mistakes, but they’re small ones and easy to fix. Or at least they were before now.

I’m an Olympics junkie; I watch everything.  This has been the perfect excuse to spend hours knitting in front of the TV. However, watching slope style skiing, figure skating, or snowboard cross and knitting a complicated pattern at the same time, and not forgetting a few YO’s here and there, is impossible. Trust me.

By Tsutomu Takasu, via Wikimedia Commons

With the bamboo/silk, stitches couldn’t be ripped out and put back on the needles without more stitches slipping down a few rows. On the lace panels, this was terribly confusing and almost impossible to fix. Several times I threw in the towel, pulling everything out and taking the scarf all the way back to the K1, P1 ribbing, which was easy to pick back up again. I rarely rip stitches out, but I found myself doing a lot of this during figure skating.

On scarf #4 I wasn’t happy with the way the cables looked, and wanted to add symmetrical twisted knit columns, so I pulled out an entire evening’s worth of knitting back to the beginning. My family gasped, then rolled their eyes, knowing how OCD I am about some most things.

Today I’ll cast off the very last scarf. After weeks of grumbling about how glad I would be to finish off the bamboo/silk yarns, I’m actually kind of sad. The cowl scarves are soooooo soft and pretty and delicate. I’ve never knit anything quite like them before.

Knitted bamboo silk cowls
The finished products.

I learned a lot knitting with these yarns, especially about starting over again. I love a challenge, but knitting a silk blend with aluminum needles was like trying to knit cooked, buttered spaghetti. I should have tried bamboo needles.

Despite my trials, I’m tempted to go back to the store and get more bamboo/silk yarn in a different color.  Why? Because they are so beautiful and sing such a sweet song, especially now that they’ve taken a new form. But it’s time be strong and plug my ears with wax and sail away. The humongous yarn stash in my closet is calling me back. I have treasures buried deep within my huge Tub O’ Yarn that I haven’t seen in months–and a few more days of Olympics to watch.

Christmas Knitting

Here are two more photos of the scarves I knit for my son, Nicolas, and my son-in-law, Kevin.

Wool cowl
Nick’s 100% wool cowl with a reversible wavy line / checkered boxes pattern
wool cowl
Kev’s100% wool cowl with a small boxes pattern

Fast and Furious

The holiday season has been a blur, with the kids home, our annual Christmas lights Run from our house, and Christmas dinner with extended family, also in our home. I somehow managed to fit in some knitting, but it wasn’t easy.

After the gray cowl with small squares was purchased, which was the scarf my daughter had her eye on as a Christmas present for her husband, I decided to knit another one for him in the same pattern. Knowing he had an upcoming birthday ski trip to Jackson Hole, I decided to use a thicker, warmer, roving wool for the scarf.

Wool Cowl

Then I decided to knit another one, in a different pattern, for my son, who works outdoors. This time I used a reversible wavy line pattern, which has a checkered box pattern on the other side.

Wavy lines cowl
Wavy lines cowl

They were a hit with both guys. I especially like that the scarves are cowls, meaning they can simply double them up around their necks for maximum warmth.

And the girls like that they can borrow them whenever they want and still look stylish!

We ended the year with a beautiful, fun New Year’s Eve wedding of some friends. It was freezing, and I wanted to wear one of my own warm, hand knit wraps, but none of them matched my dress. I’ll have to make sure I work on something for 2014!

Hopefully your holiday season wasn’t quite as hectic as mine, but if it was, I hope it was as much fun as ours. Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Only the Beginning

What started as a dream years ago has finally become a reality. Sometimes it takes something life changing to kick you in the rear and make you realize that life is too short to sit around waiting for things to happen. You have to make them happen yourself.

I’ve sold six pieces in the past week, which makes me happy. Selling something I’ve knit to someone I know appreciates the value of a handmade item, and knowing it will be well taken care of, is such a rush. It’s what keeps me knitting. Well, that, and the fact that I just plain love to knit.

PurpleBambooSilkScarf 045

On Saturday my husband and I visited a local market. It was my first time there, and I was amazed at the variety–and quality–of handmade goods that were being sold. Of course, I also scoped out how many knitters were there (only one, with a few hats for sell) and I thought about having my own booth there next year.

The next day, as we were walking close to our home, which is located a block from a trendy street with lots of bars, shops, and restaurants, I wondered why we couldn’t have our own local market. How awesome would it be to walk a few blocks from my home on an early Saturday morning and sell my knitting?

My husband’s advice: make it happen. Hmmm.

I love buying local and try to do as much of it as I can. Of course it costs a little more, but so many of us seem to be so obsessed with having MORE, that we surround ourselves with a house full of cheap, low quality stuff. I’d rather pay a little more for something that’s made to last (i.e. handmade), and made locally, rather than something that’s mass produced on the other side of the world.

Let’s make it happen.