Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summertime Blues

When there's no knitting, there's no posting.

I've been on a real reading kick, and I've been using more spare time between the pages of books rather than at the needles. I did work on the Treads Socks last weekend while at the in-laws. I managed to finish, and then realized that I had made them to short. Last night, I frogged the toe and started over.

The strange thing about this pattern is that it's worked from the top down, but it uses short-row construction for the heels and toes. This means the Kitchener join is across the sole of the foot on half the stitches. Which, in my case, equals 36 Kitchener stitches. Fun! I started over last night and go to the tip of the toe, just before starting the double-wrap back down under the toe. I've tried it on, and I'm happier with the length.

Otherwise, I'm still waiting on some back-ordered yarn so that I can get started on the piano bench cushion I've been itching to start. I'm also eying Brooklyn Tweed's beautiful garter stitch blanket as a possible Christmas gift idea. I think his crochet seaming and i-cord edging look awesome.

To share a bit more about my summer, Jeff and I went to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center last weeked. We did see a nice exhibit of landscapes by James Onderdonk featuring his bluebonnet paintings, but we spent most of our time at the sculpture center. Below are a few pictures of some of the cool stuff that caught our eye.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All in the Family

There's a glimmer of hope for the possibility of the existence of a knitting gene. Today, at the biennial Weaver-Armstrong family reunion, I found a relative who knits!

This is Debbie Tasker Major of Colorado. We are second cousins -- we share a set of great-grandparents. Our grandmothers were sisters.

During the reunion, we always have a silent auction of crafts and other homemade (mostly) items to help pay for the barbecue and the hall. This year's selection included everything from Texas history books that mentioned our family, to my Aunt June's delicious fig preserves (for which I was outbid) to baby blankets, to handsewn handbags. However, this year, my eye was caught by a hand-knitted and felted bag. I didn't recognize the name, but made a note to keep my eye open. Just before lunch, I saw the unmistakable hand motions of knitting from across the room, and made a note to chat later.

After things slowed down in the afternoon, I finally got to introduce myself. Debbie was working on a patchwork blanket that she is doing as a knit-along with a friend. Every time one of them knits a square, they knit two of the same pattern. Then, at the end, they'll have the same squares to stitch together to make a blanket. And although they are using the same squares and the same yarn color scheme, they can stitch the squares together however they want. I think this is a great idea. They're using Jan Eaton's 200 Knitted Blocks for the patterns. Some neat stuff in there.

We talked about how we got started knitting and chit-chatted about yarns and needles. So while I didn't knit on World Wide Knit in Public Day, I did get to talk about knitting in public today -- and with a newly-discovered relative. Thanks, Debbie -- I had a great time visiting with you today.

And now to think of a project to knit for the 2010 reunion!....

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Treads and Linen Threads

I finished the Kohle Socks this past weekend, and since I was waiting on a package of yarn to come in the mail, I thought it prudent to jump on another pair of socks. I decided to pair this cool blue yarn with a pattern I'd been wanting to make for a while.

The pattern is called "Treads" and it's from Debbie Stoller's Son of Stitch 'n Bitch. The original calls for much much thinner yarn. It recommends casting on 100 stitches on size 0 needles. I was okay with size 0s, but I couldn't imagine castin on 100 stitches with any yarn I had around. So I'm changing the pattern up a little to work with this yarn -- 72 stitches. The circumference is right, but the cables are a bit larger than they are in the original. When they stretch out, the make little O's. And the yarn is 45% cotton, so I'm thinking that maybe this pair will have more versatility than some of my more wooly socks.

The package I mentioned earlier came in the mail today. It's Louet Euroflax linen yarn. I had a gift certificate from my sister-in-law that I hadn't used and which made this purchase affordable. Three of the four colors have arrived -- the cream-colored hanks will come later. These are destined for something completely different -- a piano bench cushion. If you have a copy of Mason-Dixon knitting, you can see what it's supposed to look like on page 42. My piano bench hasn't had a cushion on it for nearly 20 years. More about this later...

Sunday, June 01, 2008


World-famous knitter and graphic artist Franklin Habit was in Austin this weekend. He brought his 1000 Knitters Project on the road, and I volunteered to help The Knitting Nest host his visit. What a day!

I showed up bright and early -- two hours before the shop opened -- to help get ready, blowing up balloons, etc. There were already people waiting in the parking lot! Franklin got there an hour early and got set up to start taking pictures. Since shop employees and volunteers were there first, we had our pictures taken first.

For reasons possibly related to the massive amounts of caffeine I'd ingested, I was very shaky during the knitting. Franklin asked some questions about how I got started, and before I knew it I was relaxed and knitting away on the extremely long scarf to which all of the knitters are contributing. He said we could knit whatever we wanted, but did ask that we try to keep the same number of stitches on the needle. I just knitted straight across, but the person before added a whole bunch of YOs, so the scarf quickly expanded in width. Future viewers should be able to find the "double-wide" section from Austin.

I don't know how he does it, but he had a very relaxing approach that put people at ease rather quickly. I enjoyed listening in on the stories people told as they talked to Franklin while being photographed. I can't wait to see this book when it comes out. Franklin's first book is due out soon.

The day went well, with a steady stream of people in the morning, a bit of a convenient lull around lunchtime, and then a bit more relaxed in the afternoon. We had time to sit around and knit -- I finished my Kohle socks with much help from Entrelac for helping with a tapestry needle, scissors and a wonky stitch that she tamed with extreme skill. We snacked, got to chat with Franklin, a coffee run was made (like I needed it). I got to meet tons of fun knitters that I've never met before. A most excellent way to spend the day.

Then, after the shoot was over and the shop was closed for the day, even more fun. Stacy asked Franklin if he would draw a picture of Dolores on a wall in the store. And we got to watch it happen. Franklin said it was the largest drawing of Dolores he had ever attempted. It's so perfect. From the bird on her head, to the figure of Hank in her arms, to the little Knitting Nest birds on her, um, caftan(?), it's marvelous. Here are some pictures of Franklin at work...

And then we had barbecue, courtesy of Stacy and David. Jeff brought some potato salad we'd made, and others brought bread and slaw and beer and all kinds of other yumminess. We all had a wonderful meal, surrounded by wonderful people and beautiful yarn. How fun is that? I think everyone who was there would agree that this was a truly special day. We'll have to do it again sometime!