Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Grand Champion

How many times is one person likely to win Grand Champion at the Western Washington Fair? Maybe not so many. So I framed my ribbons: first place, best in class and Grand Champion. Several people have asked if I am going to frame the Grand Champion shawl. No, I'm going to wear it.

So far, I have not been able to take a good photograph of the shawl. It's mostly black, and I'm having difficulty finding the right spot with the right background and the right light. The photos here are inadequate. They don't really show the colors properly. You can see the red but you really can't see the purple. You'll have to trust me that the shawl is lovely and fun to wear.

In case you are wondering, the shawl is Triangles Within Triangles from Heartstrings Fiber Arts and the yarn is from Heritage Yarns, one strand of Days of Wine and Roses and one strand of black.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ready for fall

This vest is a first place, blue ribbon winner from the 2006 Western Washington Fair, a gift for my husband and model. It's made from Cascade 220. One of my husband's colleagues once complimented him because his sweaters and vests fit. Well, duh. One of the beauties of hand-knit items is that they can be custom fit. A bespoke vest. I'm not making him wear the blue ribbon, but I thought about it. This is the cable pattern:

On an unrelated topic, the Yarn Shoppe in Boise was collecting candy corn hats for distribution to Boise children and sold small kits to make a preemie-sized hat. I plan to give it to a colleague who is a great fan of candy corn, although I think my Bennie Bear looks quite dashing. Bennie has a zipper because he is a jewelry store gift-delivery mascot; the gift giver places the precious gift in Bennie's tummy for delivery to the deserving recipient (that would be me) .

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Back from Boise

A week of lace knitting. With a group of talented knitters who will share their successes, knitting questions, tips and tricks. Does it get any better? That's what Myrna Stahman's lace knitting retreat is all about.

Although we were physically in Boise, we took a world tour of lace knitting:
  • Donna Druchunas, author of the wonderful book "Arctic Lace," described her research into the Oomingmak lace knitting of native Alaskans and how she translated native designs and symbols into her own lace patterns.
  • René Wells, a brilliant teacher, taught us Japanese knitting techniques and how to read Japanese patterns even if you can't read a word of Japanese. Some of the stitches are lovely, but the bobbles — no, I don't think so.
  • Myrna took us on a knitting tour of Shetland and Orkney, and showed us the stunningly beautiful knitting she acquired.
  • Myrna gave us a brief tour of Albania through the socks she purchased on her visit to that country.
  • I showed the shawls I purchased in Lithuania and the gloves from Latvia, along with the Turkish slippers from my friend Ferdane.
Retreat highlights are the show-and-share times when each knitter shares her work. Below are just a few of the items knitters brought with them.

A few of Myrna's Shetland treasures:

Iloise and Pat model Judy W.'s knitting; the designs are by Sivia Harding:

LeAnn is one of the most prolific knitters and has a great ability to match color and pattern:

Sherie made a luscious alpaca shawl from a doily pattern:

Judy G.'s marvelous doilies:

Did I sign up for next year? Yes, yes, yes!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Boise Bound

Myrna Stahman's lace knitting retreat is Boise has become an annual favorite. It's a whole week of lace knitting education and fun with a wonderful group of creative knitters. Many of the participants are also the teachers, which makes for a great atmosphere. One highlight is the ability to admire the lovely work participants have done.

How intensive is the knitting? This intensive: I'm taking two suitcases: a big duffel with knitting supplies and a smaller backpack with a week's worth of clothes.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Peacock Feathers

I started Peacock Feathers as a travel project for this past summer's visits to Riga, Vilnius and Prague. I did not count on 90+ degree temperatures, which made working with Misti alpaca, even laceweight alpaca, less than ideal. Probably working with any alpaca would have been uncomfortable. Our hotels had air conditioning, but not the bone-chilling, icicle-forming air conditioning that Americans are used to. Knitting in outdoor cafes while enjoying a fine Latvian, Lithuanian or Czech beer, respectively, wasn't much of an option either; it was still to hot to knit with alpaca. I made a little progress while traveling but not much. I finished it back home.

It's knit on US4 needles. I used two full skeins plus about 20 yards of a third skein.