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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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.

I Went Back

I couldn’t resist. I went back and bought more bamboo silk yarn. And on the way home I had a flash of creative inspiration and went back for more. Then I went online and discovered four more colors and ordered them all.

My name is Angela and I am addicted to bamboo silk yarn.

So much for putting that wax in the ears.

bamboo silk scarf

bamboo silk scarf

bamboo silk scarf

bamboo silk scarf

bamboo silk scarf

(Apologies for the quality of the photos. These were taken on the fly by me.)

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.

New Year, New Yarn, Same Old Mistakes

Being a Texas knitter is tough. Nine months out of the year it’s either hot, very hot, or so hot I want to bathe in a bathtub of ice cubes and stay there until January. Since I like to knit with natural materials–wool, alpaca, cashmere–this means that nine months of the year I have a pile of very warm material sitting in my lap.

Ah, but it’s those other three months of the year that are glorious. Daytime temps in the 60’s or 70’s, shorts and sandals in December, and lots and lots of knitting in the evenings.

Forget the shorts and sandals this winter. It’s been COLD, like the-coldest-winter-I-can-ever-remember COLD here in Dallas. The warm little pile of wool in my lap has actually served a purpose this winter–and that’s a good thing.

After a run of chunky wool scarves and cowls, and maybe because it was a new year, I wanted to try something different. Thinking ahead to spring, I found some beautiful, shiny, soft bamboo and silk yarn that looked like it would glide right through my fingers. It did alright, but it was a shock after all the chunky wools.

I decided to start with the plum yarn. Some type of light, airy, lacy pattern called out to be knitted in this deeply beautiful color. I cast on, knit a few rows in the somewhat complicated pattern, only to get distracted by something on TV. I made a mistake. No problem, I’ll just unravel a bit and fix it.

bamboo silk infinity scarf

Easier said than done. This is the first time I’ve ever knit with a bamboo/silk blend and have discovered that beauty comes at a price. Unraveling and fixing small mistakes turned out to be a painstaking endeavor since the stitches on such slippery yarn were very difficult to pick back up. If I didn’t pay attention, the stitches would disappear three rows deep. With such a complicated pattern–lots of K2togs, YOs, and K1tbls–it was impossible to not get confused.

I’m stubborn. After FIVE episodes of ripping everything out and starting all over again, I switched to an easier pattern. Lots of repetition and only two repeating rows. I do have my limits.

Just like all those old new year’s resolutions I never kept, I’m still making the same old mistakes when I knit.

That’s okay. I’m already planning my next bamboo/silk scarf in a light stone color. Now that I’m an expert with bamboo/silk yarns (ha!) maybe I’ll make it a little more complicated–and leave the TV turned off.

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.