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Archive for the ‘Knitting camp’ Category

Sad Farewell

I found on Sunday night that one of my mentors. Joyce Willams, passed away last Thursday, Aug 4th.   I really don’t have any words to describe how sad I am.  Here we are together at camp 2 in 2008 (the last one I attended).

I met Joyce in 2005 when I attended Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp for the first time.  Joyce was so quiet most of the time but when she did speak all were riveted….And her sweaters/designs…there are no comparisons.

The thing that moved me the most about Joyce were her hands.  There was wisdom, skill, patience, knowledge, talent and beauty in those old hands.  Yet they still had speed….to watch her knit was mesmerizing.  Below she was working on cabled sweater using Satakieli yarn on size 0 needls…only for the fearless. 

Thank you for sharing yourself, your life, your skills and your love of knitting with us.  Most of all thank you for letting me sit by your knee, like the wise old grandma, the crown…I promise to remember my lessons always…

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Today is July 17th and Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp 2 kicked off this morning in Marshfield, WI.  I am in New York and you know what? I’ve never been happier in my life.  Last night I met my sister in the park to see the New York Philharmonic perform (the fire works right over my head at the end were amazing).  It was my first night out alone since April and I had the best, guilt free time ever.  Kira was home asleep, safe and sound with her Daddy while I lay on a blanket in the park listening to Mozart and counting the stars.   

Before sunset I had a few moments of daylight to start a new project.   I decided that since I can’t attend camp this year I would, in the spirit of camp, try a new technique and finish it before Monday (when camp ends).  For those who’ve never been to camp, you are given a number of projects  based on the techniques being covered and the challenge, for some, is to finish before camp ends.

Make the sun shine where ever you are people…

My project is a top down raglan dress for Kira.  Not to hard (no charts), not to complicated (can still converse with others), it has a gull lace pattern (a la’ February Baby Sweater, a la’ the founder of camp, EZ) and it’s in a 3 month-ish size…very do-able.  Plus my friend May is coming to visit so I’ll have lots of hands free time while she cuddles Kira.

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Let the weekend begin…

Have a great one everybody!!!

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Giving Up To Gain

On Tuesday 3/31, I gave up my spot to attend knitting camp in July.  It really wasn’t that hard a choice, camp or my 2 month old.  It was actually making the phone call and giving Tammy (one of the lovely ladies that make camp and SchoolHouse Press run to seamlessly) the news that hurt a bit.  I liked knowing I had the spot. Anyway my dear friends, Kim and Jessica, will no doubt fill me in on every stitch and detail. 

My other big news from last week happened on Thursday 4/2.  It was my last day at work.  Now I’ve had some ups and downs with work over the years, not always seeing eye to eye with my boss on how things should be done.  But who sees eye to eye with their boss.   I was expecting or rather wanted things to be on a “down” which would make it easier to go.  To my surprise I actually felt a bit strange getting into my car and driving away.  6 years is a long time to work with/for someone.   But I had to listen to my body and I’m very grateful to have the luxury of this time to rest,  nest and knit until our baby arrives.

As a parting gift my boss handed me this beauty…

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Mountain Colors Weavers Wool, 1 lb./1450 yards of yarny yumminess.  This colorway is Moccasin Trail.  I’m not sure what to do with it but does that really matter?

This is the other gift she gave me…WOW!

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And though she said it was not for the baby but a very delayed wedding present (I got married 6/10/06) I still plan to spend much time snuggled with the babe in it.  Did your mouth drop open as wide as mine did?  When she gave me this a couple of weeks ago I was beyond words.   My boss knit this for me with so much thought and love, I was overwhelmed.  The name of the yarn is Harold’s Tweed which she acquired a few years back but decided not to sell.  Then it just disappeared and reappeared here.  She  said she made it up as she went along and really had no specific pattern written for it.  Pretty amazing huh?!?

Not a bad way to kick off my maternity leave wouldn’t you say?

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 Surprise! Here’s another Baby Surprise Jacket finally completed..  Can anyone resist knitting one of these?  And if you haven’t yet…I just have no words for you.   Not only is it a quick knit but it is also beyond beautiful.  There will be plenty of these coming off my needles in the  next few months.

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Surprise, Surprise!! The cuteness factor was just taken to another level.  A hood, yes a prefectly structured, functional, cute as hell hood.  And you all know I can’t resist a hood.  The instructions for this one were provided by Sarah.  I had the pleasure of meeting her at Camp this past July and have now had the chance to sample one of her unventions.  Love it!!!!!

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Just look at that.  I know I’ve used the word cute twice already but can you blame me.  Too freakin’ cute…ok how about adorable.  Sarah’s instructions are so in keeping with the classic Elizabeth Zimmermann knitting style.  As you’re knitting it you’re not quite sure it will work.  Actually I was thinking this is going to be way too big but I kept the faith….Thank you Sarah and Elizabeth.

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I can’t wait to pull that little hood up over my baby’s head…

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SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!! Yes I said my baby….The Earthtones Girl is going to an Earthtones Mum!  We’re due next May.  I’ll save Chris’s reaction/response for another post.  But suffice it to say the man I’ve known for 12 years has been replaced with one of the most loving, thoughtful, gentle, teary-eyed-all-time-men I’ve every met.  It’s as amazing to watch his transformation as it is my own.  Our own. 

So there you go…finally an explanation for my absence, blog neglect and lack of focus.  All my attenion has been on my little one.   I never thought it was possible to be so in love with someone you’ve never met.  It sounds cliche but who cares.  This is magic…so now that the “cat is out of the bag” I can post much more freely and there will be lots of baby gear in the works.   I already started this one and this one will be close on it’s heels. 

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We don’t know what we’re having and we have no plans to find out.  So I will wait and knit and put as much love as I can in every stitch….

Oh and just a word of warning.  If anyone thought I was a big sap before, look out.  I’ve become a walking Hallmark card….mushy, sappiness everywhere…

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If I said I was in a bit of a funk after returning home from camp it would be an understatement.  I had a cold (which I’m now getting over), I was back at work (nothing more to say, work is work), New York was hot (have I mentioned how much I hate the summer),  I had a doctor’s appointment (all is well) and the coat was done…so now what?

Sideways Mystery Mittens.  I saw them while at camp and even though the pair I tried on where small, I was intrigued.  These would be nice distraction. 

Here’s the picture from the book, one in progress, one complete.  I started with only the instructions from the book and had no idea “where I was going” but followed in blind faith.  Then I hit a speed bump and checked out the pattern on Ravelry.  Someone there said the dvd and book instructions differed a bit.  Everything was super clear after watching the dvd.  I suggest using both.

Here’s my version.

Look at that construction, genius!!!  I can’t believe that someone thought these up.   I won’t explain how they are made and give up the mystery but suffice it to say…pure genius.

The stitches were grafted along the side.  I’d never done garter stitch grafting before…very much fun.  Yes, I’m a crazy knitting geek that actually gets excited about grafting stitches.  Stop shaking your heads.

Sewn casting off (demo-ed on the Knitting Glossary DVD)…which is also so fun and interesting to do.  It’s a simple thing but produces such a beautiful edge.  It’s especially used on garter stitch. 

A delicate line of knit stitches running over the top of the mitten.

The only modification I made was not working the increases around the cuff, which are suppose to “bell”, but just continued on the original number of stitches.   I wanted a close fit and got it. 

Pattern:  Sidways Mystery Mittens

Source: Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman (book and dvd)

Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool, Color ? (I can’t even believe I lost the band, but I’m still looking), 240yds.

Amount: about 1/2 skein

Needles: Addi #6

These are the first of many pairs….

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Stick a fork in it, she’s done.  Right before I left for camp I’d been on an emotional roller coaster ride with this thing.  Loving it, then feeling like I totally screwed it up, then loving it again.  But after “show and tell” at camp, it’s definitely love.

I can’t tell you how excited and nervous I was when it was my turn.  One of my fellow campers Therese took the following three pictures.  You can see her entire camp album here.  I’m so grateful to have this pictures.   A 1,000 thank yous Therese.   You may think I’m a silly groupie but when you’re guru is offering counsel and praise…who wouldn’t be. 

One major issue with the coat is the hood. I love hoods but most of my attempts don’t quite work (yet this doesn’t stop me from attempting).  This one is no exception.  In a word, it’s too big.   I thought about tucking it in and tacking it down which I did so you would get a better “effect” of what the hood was intended to look like.  Meg said I should steek it and weave the ends together.  Cricket will do as she is told.

 

Can you stand it? That’s Meg Swansen examining my coat…holy crap.

How am I still standing?

It a big person who can post such an unflattering/raw picture of herself.  But it so perfectly captures how I was feeling…excited, nervous, honored, proud, humbled and just a bit freaked out.

Love the front.   I thought the sleeves were too long but actually I like them that length.  I always like my sleeves long.

When it’s laying flat against my back and the two cable “lines”  line up.  It takes my breath away…

This was one of my favorite parts to knit the epaulet/shoulder saddle.  I highly recommend learning to knit back backwards, it saved me so much time and energy.  Turning it at the end of each row of 6 stitches would have been ridiculous.

Here’s another feature I love.  The all purpose “duct tape of knitting” (to quote Meg), the Icord “shoulder holder”.  It was amazing how much of a difference this feature made.  It not only rounded out the shoulders but it strengthened the entire coat.  Like putting in a support beam in a house.  It ran from one shoulder to the other on the inside of the coat so the sleeves wouldn’t drag from the weight.

Almost forget a closeup of the buttons/band.  This picture was taken post-camp, thanks for modeling Carolyn (and for taking the coat off and giving it back).

Finally….

Definitely love…..

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…of Camp (35 years), of Schoolhouse Press (50 years), of knitting and of friends.  I don’t know what I did more this weekend, enjoy all that I was learning or the company of such wonderful women.

Kim and Jessica deep in discussion (agreeing and disagreeing) over the perfect colors.  

When Meg speaks, it’s needless to say we are all rivoted.  Even though many topics this year where on the outline last year I’m still amazed by how much I Iearned.   You can study knitting all your life and never cover it all.

There’s Joyce Williams (wearing green) also holding court. 

And the ever smiling Amy Detjen.

There’s my coat all ready for show and tell, which I have to say was a great moment.  One of the other campers got some amazing pictures of Meg making suggestions to alter the hood (we’ll talk about the coat later, suffice it to say I was speechless).  As soon as I get copies they’ll go up.  

There’s Kim and I all “kimped” up and no where to go.  This was one of many moments that had us in stitches (no pun intended) this weekend.  It was great, I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much…

Jessica, Me and Kim…thanks so much for everything.

See you next year.

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