We’ve got Spirit

This is a short post to share the addition of a new tool/toy to the household.  Recently celebrating a 60th birthday, honoring 12 years of running, wanting to support the workouts of OTF, desiring to skirt these bitter winds of long winter months, and feeling like it was now or never, hubby and I are now enjoying our new treadmill.

Here I am on Spirit’s maiden run, new motor smell in the air, loving the bright sunshine streaming in, 14 degrees wind chill factor swirling around outside, giving her a go.  Just a short run for today, she purred like a kitten.  Maybe, now I will be able to make my goal of a half marathon in early June.

On the knitting front, stay tuned!  Projects are getting finished and Spring is just around the corner for hopefully, some lovely outdoor shots.

A Gift for My Hand Knits

As space is the constant, I continue to ‘play’ with different configurations on how best to store my hand-knits and how best to organize the stash.  Consequently, the look in the yarn room keeps changing as I now use one room and its closet for both.  Questions I ask myself:  How can I store my obsession without looking like a hoarder?  How can I see my full stash when it is time for creating?  How can I treat my hand-knits to the best care for longevity?  Light in the room?  And, so forth.

In drilling down for answers, I’ve been reading.  Topics such as:  How do you store hand-knits?  Is there a special way to fold sweaters?  What shelving and/or containers are best for breathability of natural fibers?  I am asking these questions because my hand knits are my wardrobe.  I am noticing that when I pull out a sweater I haven’t worn in a while, I am seeing fold marks.  Do people steam out those fold marks?  Is that healthy for the fibers?  Is there a way to prevent what seems like permanent folds in a garment?  You see, I can go on and on with questions like this.

In my research, I have gleaned a few common recommendations:  store away clean, give space for air circulation, and keep out of direct light when storing.  So, to that end, I evaluated my current system of storage and have since found ways to improve to allow for this criteria.

Store away clean has not been a problem as who in the world stores away clothes that are dirty?  (mumbling)  Most of my sweaters are worn with a layer underneath which helps with body sweat and such and after a duration of time in wearing, gets their due cleaning.

Give space for air circulation has gotten my attention.  I have been storing my sweaters in plastic bins.  Articles give this a thumbs up.  So many per bin with storing the heaviest on the bottom is a good start.  A way to improve on that, according to these resources, is to store and fold sweaters in that bin with tissue paper, that is, acid-free tissue paper and to fold in a particular way.  Of course, I thought, as isn’t that how wedding dresses and other special care items are stored?  The articles contradicted in where to put the paper, between sweaters or in the folding of them.  But, I thought once I had the paper, I could ‘play’.  And, play I have done.  I purchased lots of packages from JoAnn Fabrics, online.  Seems like they do not carry this in stores.  I also learned this paper can be purchased at some dry cleaners.

Here is the paper between the sweaters.

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Sharing

This is a reading invite to check out what our local enthusiastic knitting Organization is all about.   The website is here on WordPress entitled The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo.  We are an active group promoting knitting as an art form and pride ourselves in providing a myriad of experiences from presentations to yarn actions for our over 400 members.

 

Wardrobe Planning ~ Retiring Belongings

Topic:  Wardrobe Planning.  YES, I plan my wardrobe!  I never thought to write about it.  This question of wardrobe planning came up in the blog world and I am only too happy to answer.  In short, I believe wardrobe planning, like everything, takes a certain amount of self-control and focus.  The process for me begins with retiring belongings, otherwise known as cleaning out or donating, for the obvious purpose of organizing but in a knitter’s case, this careful consideration informs [knitting] project choice.  Ravelry acts as a record-keeping system.  What does this mean?

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Honeycomb Slip Stitch

Last year, The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo brought in designer, Heather Lodinsky, to teach a skill on one of her designs.  The pattern was her two-tone slip stitch cable pullover and the skill was using slip stitches in cable work.  In my experience in knitting, I had not encountered slip stitches to be used for the design of a garment, only to be done along the edges of knitted pieces.  So, I was quick to take on the pullover with the Guild and it led me to do a self-investigation of slip stitches, in general.

ON SLIP STITCH STUDY

One way to choose a pattern is to have specific learning intentions in mind.  With this ‘study’, I purposely looked for patterns that used slipped stitches and and used those slipped stitches in  the design process.  This kind of focus not only informs, but also helps to narrow the field of potentials.  My curiosity is now satisfied and this is what I’ve found:

  • Slip stitches can be used as a variation to the basic cable technique.  More [HERE] about this project.

  • Slip stitches can be used to create an overall linen or tweed look in the fabric .  There is more [HERE] on this.

  • Slip stitches can create a unique broken-line look in striping.   More [HERE].

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Vest [Best] Dress[ed]

For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it.   I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it.  From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.

I will begin with the pattern.  Found in an unlikely source for me, the vogue knitting online store,   I’ve always thought these a collection of older issue VK patterns so figured I had already seen all of them.  I virtually stumbled across this and was surprised it was not familiar to me.   I also found a bunch more I really liked and have queued so I now know that these collections of [free] or otherwise select patterns on various knitting websites may offer new possibilities and are not necessarily from publications.  I love everything about this garment:  its deep hem rib that shapes the piece, the deep v neckline, its concept, the pockets, its versatility, oh, I could go on.  There is nothing I do not like except its construction.  I even used the yarn  of the pattern and chose a very similar color palate substituting only the antique for grape and keeping the candy apple red color.

On the yarn.  The yarn utilized in the pattern is a bulky Lion Brand fiber called Homespun of acrylic/polyester.  I love the boucle look of this yarn and knew if I was going to knit this, this would be the only yarn I would consider.  The fiber looks almost like rickrack and gives the surface of the knitted fabric a soft, curly look.   Fabulous, however I was soon to find out that it was difficult to work with.

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Granny Square or Flower Child

I think I have more questions than answers after finishing this project.  This will create lingering in my mind.  The topic is crochet.   This is definitely the most challenging project I have made in crochet as it involved gauge, fit, shaping, and color changing within a row, none of which I am sure I did correctly and none of which I’ve ever done, before.  Also, technique in sewing the crochet pieces together.  What I knew however is that this pattern would be a great way to use up some remnant stash with its offering of color possibilities.  I have plenty of remnants from past projects of small bits of color however I knew I did not have enough of one color for the main body.    Purchasing only three skeins and using those scraps,  I thought this a great way to stretch yardage.  I did go with the yarn used in the pattern for this main color (MC), a silver grey filatura-di-crosa- zarina-chine.

Organizing stash by weight serves me well when choosing from remnants.  I just pull the container holding the weight I need/want.  Housing same weight yarn  in wide mouthed containers with remnants from each project wrapped separately in plastic bags and inclusive of their very important yarn bands  lets you see your choice quickly and efficiently and reminds you of the content and recommended gauge of that particular fiber.  To me, organizing is a huge time saver and allows my brain to remember the colors I have in particular weights.   These containers go from fingering on top, sport weight, worsted/aran, to bulky weight scraps at the bottom.

I had a really hard time getting the gauge for this and had to go down quite a few hook sizes to get even close to what the pattern required.   Here is the first rainbow I created which ended up being way too large.

We all know it is vitally important to achieve gauge for fit purposes.  In this case, gauge also had to be achieved for those multitude of pieces that would have to fit together, much like a jigsaw puzzle.

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Linen Tunic ~ Photos Help, Again

It was a hot summer.  Record-breaking in fact, in our neck of the woods.  Knitting is at a minimum for me during the summer due to  heat, not to mention the warmth of the summer sun  is a constant force of beckoning.   Who doesn’t want to be outside during short summer months?  On the other hand, the knitter in me is always looking to move forward with the stash and there is the cool of the  evenings.

I thought linen; lightweight and stays in the theme of summer.  I’ll pull the linen from the stash to work up.  I’ve had this bundle for a number of years, had never knitted with linen before and wanted to  give it a try.  I had purchased it for a darling top that caught my attention with it’s open stitch weave and detached cowl.  It is amazing to me how an experienced knitter can always find new things to take on.  Between the new yarns, new-fangled stitches, and that never-ending flow of patterns, there is ALWAYS opportunity for taking on something new.

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Just a Note, Not

Not birthday,
Not holiday.
Not because you had to.

Just a Note.

From the heart
These words came
and are received.

One of my favorite
things in life
are words

Simple words, crafted with care
meaningful to the receiver
So thoughtful from the giver

Just a note

not to me
best gift
from one to another.

This note came with an added treat . . .

The title of the photo says it all; in-law family members included

Buffalo Knitting Guild Presentation, 2016

I want to capture, in writing, some of my thoughts from this last week when I was invited to speak to the Buffalo Knitting Guild’s Membership and be the first of its programming for the 2016/2017 season.  The talk was advertised as such:

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 HOW DOES YOUR KNITTING GROW?
Presented by Marja Coons-Torn, Holly Olmstead

Our Guild President and Vice President introduce the theme “Grow” for this year’s Knitting Guild Season with a program to help you grow your skills through photography and technology. We’ll learn tonight how to photograph our knits beautifully and stylishly, just like the top designers do! And we’ll go on an interactive journey into new technology that the Guild will be incorporating this season. 

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