Thursday, December 31, 2015

Shawls of 2015

Each year now, when it comes to the end of the year, I do a review of what I accomplished during the year. I had hoped to complete six shawls this year, but I only completed five, I'm currently working on the sixth one now. I also put out 2 new eBooks which was new for me. Most everything I did was a collaboration which was also very fun for me. The first shawl I completed was "Grass Harp" which was the only shawl that wasn't a collaboration. I used Dream In Color's Everlasting Sock and loved working with it...the color way was Crisp...


The next shawl I released was "Diamante Crescent." This was a collaboration with MJ Yarns of Colorado. I loved working with Jonathan's yarn; it was his MCN blend and was softer than silk, called Opulent Fingering. I cannot, without going back to the original post on this shawl, remember the name of the color way. At any rate, I LOVED working with the yarn and loved this pattern...


The above two shawls, along with "Ferryn" which was a 2014 release, went together to comprise my first eBook, Sexy Spines Vol.1. I chose "Diamante Crescent" for the cover of the book as the other two shawls had been released seperately prior to the release of the eBook...


I  learned a whole lot when I did the first eBook. I already couldn't wait for the release of Sexy Spines Vol.2. I had three designs I was working on, all three of them were collaborations too which is always exciting for me. The hardest part of putting together the next eBook was waiting to release all three of them together as brand new shawls. Usually when I am done with a shawl I will release it. It was SO HARD to wait! I tried to give little sneak peaks occasionally on my FaceBook page, even that was hard because you don't want to give too much away. 


The first of the three in Sexy Spines Vol.2 was "Nocturna"..."Nocturna" was a collaboration with Skein Yarn of Australia. I hadn't done a shawl in this shade before and Skein was kind enough to dye this specifically for me, called "Moon Shadow." I loved it. It was their Merino Cashmere blend which, if you've ever worked with it, you'd know its absolutely amazing to work with. If you haven't worked with Skein's yarns yet, I highly recommend you remedy that. Their Merino Cashmere Fingering is to die for. I loved how this shawl came together. This has possibly one of my favorite spines! 

The second shawl in Vol.2 was a collaboration with The Plucky Knitter. I specifically used Shetland patterns and techniques with this shawl and thus it was named "Cat's Paw." Plucky was kind enough to send me a bag full of yarn & my only request was for two skeins of yarn be in the same color way. Thus, "Cat's Paw" was done in a color way called "Forward In Flats." I really loved working on this  shawl and using the different patterns that were distinctively Shetland in nature. Everything came together perfectly and I was very pleased with the outcome...


The third and final shawl in Sexy Spines Vol.2 was "Bud Vase." This shawl was a collaboration with Yarn Hollow Hand Dyed Yarn and Fibers. Like Skein Yarn, Rita at Yarn Hollow dyed this yarn specifically for me and this project. The color way was "Cherry Mochaccino" and was done on their Silky Sock base. Overall, this was my favorite pattern. I fell in love with using the faux cables to frame the spine. The edging was unlike anything else I had done before and I loved it. Each and every one of those triple YO's!


So these final three made up Sexy Spines Vol.2. 



I was so excited when I was finally able to release the eBook and the patterns individually too. It felt like, and maybe it was, like it took forever to get them out. I am working on the 6th shawl of the year which is another collaboration. Its my second collaboration with Crave Yarn. I love working with Amor Valdez of Crave. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Our previous collaboration was on Ferryn. One of my other favorite shawls. This 6th shawl will not be a Sexy Spines shawl but something different, all its own. Its in a beautiful deep teal color, single ply merino and is has been wonderful to work with as are all of Crave's yarns. I had hoped to have it finished by the end of this year just to have reached my goal of having 6 shawls done this year. So, I'm shooting for the end of January now. 

I hope you are all having a wonderful New Years Eve this evening! Mom and I went out to dinner at a new restaurant (for us) for some Italian and are just hanging out here at home, enjoying adult beverages. We'll uncork some champagne at midnight to ring in 2016, make a few phone calls and them probably call it a night. We are gonna watch "Last Holiday" with Queen Latifah here in a few. One of our favorite Holiday movies to watch! I hope you are all having a good time and, above all, are being safe this evening! I will see you all on the other side...until then....KNIT ON!!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Upcoming Holidays !!!

This is my first post from my computer! I had been having issues with the old laptop as you well know. I went to the Dark Side and went with the 15' MacBook Pro and I LOVE IT. Its find it very easy to use. Largely the reason why its been so long since I've posted anything. 

I whipped up something special for a good friend a special little girl who is growing fast! I made the In Threes Sweater for sweet little Bentley who is now over a year old. To go along with it I made a sweet little beret which can be found in Revelry under Stripey Beret. It will take you to another site where the pattern is available for free. I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted for this project. I seem to be turning to this yarn for kids a lot. Its easily washable and dryable and wears very well...


   












I figured the tam/beret might be a little big for Bentley but she could grown into it. As well as the sweater for that matter. I made both of the big with the hopes she could get some wear out of them. The other night when they first opened the package they put the beret on Bentley and she kept taking it off! LOL. But they did get one good fuzzy pic with it on her head...


And tonight they sent me some more pics with the whole bit on her. But she was not in the best mood. Cute lil' face! Check these out with Dad Todd holding her. And Musa had no problem modeling the beret! I love the pics...



I am so happy that these are now in the hands of Bentley, and I call it a success.

Christmas is just around the corner. Dad and I ceremoniously went out for the tree at Mr. Roybal's tree lot. He Has the most beautiful trees. I picked out this years too, along with last years. Every time they tie that tree to the top of the car I have visions of Christmas Vacation and the Griswold Family Christmas Tree....LOL. Ours is about 11 ft this year and huge...very full. I LOVE IT...


When we finally got it into the house we realized how big it actually was!


Then...


Tah Dah!!!! Love this tree. And this spot this year. We usually put it in the corner of the room, if you remember last years post, but Mom really didn't want her work corner being messed with. Quite frankly I can't blame her. Knitting is what I do for a living too. I get it. 
So, I got my big present early, I'm typing on it now. This 15 inch MacBook Pro is the BOMB. I've spent all day today playing with it and learning about some of the functions I didn't know about. Figuring out Pictures was fun...LOL I'm so used to PC that my brain was still thinking that way. I think these are built to be easier to use. Converting over was great for me. I'm waiting for my brain to catch up with the changes. 
We have some wrapping to do, all the shipping has been done. And baking will commence sometime this coming week. Mom stopped by the Crown Panaderia today to pick up the best biscochitos in the world! A nice addition to the cookie trays this year! I am looking so forward to Christmas this year. The Tyson Family will be joining us again this year....our extended family. It will be good times. 
I hope that you are all continuing to knit on whatever you're knitting. I am continuing on the collaboration with Crave Yarn. Garter Stitch body so far, not much to show. Enjoy the time with your family and friends this year.... and until next time....KNIT ON!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Camp STITCHES 2015 with Franklin Habit

 


I knew I was taking a class from Franklin Habit. That's about all I needed to know. The rest of the class, on color theory yadda yadda, I was a little concerned about. I'd never done color work before. Like, Ever. We learned SO much in the three days we were there, I didn't think it was possible. Franklin has magic powers, that must be it. By the time the weekend was up I wanted to put Franklin in a box, wrap it with a red bow and bring him home to live with us. He is a genius and a fabulous teacher. I PRAY this is the first time of many classes we get to take from him. Each element he taught this weekend was done so with patience, ease and humor. Much humor. I found myself excited about techniques that I was previously afraid of trying as they were out of my comfort zone. I have mainly been a shawl designer thus far. I can see me branching out and using some of the techniques we learned this weekend in future designs that aren't shawls. See?! Way out of my comfort zone and loving it. Franklin, if you're reading this, I cannot thank you enough. At all. You gave an indie designer more tools for my tool bag AND lessons on how to use them. I don't know how to thank you for that. 

Mom and I headed out on Thursday afternoon early. We wanted to have plenty of time to relax and catch our breath before the meet and greet...

 
Last year Camp STITCHES 2014 was later in the month of November. By the time it was over and agreed we would be coming back to the Tamaya Resort, we also agreed it might be better if it were a couple weeks ahead of where we were last year. So, it ended up being the first weekend of the month. I was thrilled that the weather held out and it was nice and sunny for everyone. Of course we took pics from our room again, it was too beautiful not to...

 
The changing colors of the cottonwoods are so beautiful this time of year. It's time for Mom and I to get down to the bosque to take some pictures before its too late, but I digress. 

The meet and greet blew me away (we learned early from last year that its best to get to this event early too!). By the time everyone was seated....there were 79 of us. Seventy-nine students this year. This was up from twenty something last year. We could hardly believe it. At the meet and greet you get a cute little bag that says 'Camp STITCHES' on it with some kind of yarn in it. This is where coming early helps. You pretty much have your choice if you arrive early. Mom and I and our friend Ahza Moore all sat together and got the same yarn. It set the tone for the rest of the weekend. We don't get to see Ahza enough at all so getting a chance to spend all this time with her was really great. We all got a wonderful and beautiful skein of sock yarn this year....

 
We used to get to see Ahza every Tuesday while knitting at Village Wools but then...well....they closed. Ahza has her groups that she knits with that are just different from ours. We are thinking about maybe joining one of hers every now and again so we can see Ahza. We miss her. She is an amazing person who has traveled the world and knows so much about so many things. Including knitting. She is a fabulous knitter. She co-authored a book with Marion Edmonds and you can find it here on Amazon. It looks like this.... 


Its a fantastic book that should be in every knitters repertoire. I even have a signed copy, wink wink. Well, Ahza was also taking Franklin's class so I knew we would get a chance to spend a lot of time together! 

I am not a morning person. At all. Like, AT ALL. This weekends schedule went like this. Up at 7, breakfast at 8, classes begin at 9 and go to noon. Noon we had lunch. Classes resume at 1:00 and were over at 4. This was the same from Friday and Sunday. On Saturday from lunch on, we had the afternoon off. This gave a chance for all of the out of towners to explore Albuquerque or Santa Fe a little bit. At the start of our first class we talked about color. We focused on the color wheel, understanding and finding color harmonies; complementary colors, analogous colors, triads and split complementary colors...

 
 We learned about temperature, value, dominance, and rules of thumb....always include a color you hate (your 'poison' color) and when in doubt, use red. This would be SO easy for me because its one of my favorite colors! Then we started swatching. We swatched complementary colors and used a poison color (the poison color does NOT have to be a color you hate). We swatched stripes! Here is my first swatch...


...and when finished...


The next exercise is the one that scared me the most and ended up being the one I loved the most and had me wanting to come home and cast on immediately. Stranded knitting. I have always been afraid of stranded knitting because of that business of holding yarn in your non dominant hand...then knitting with it. Rather than casting on a million stitched in the round and learning that way, Franklin taught up how to do a stranded swatch. It looks really funny and has these super long floats along the back but it achieves what you need it to. And it makes sense. Here's are the picture's of my stranded knitting...


 ...and when finished...


I am positively in love with stranded knitting now! Franklin said he didn't mind at all if we took pictures during class, so I did. Here's Franklin in action....


...and an after class selfie of Mom and I...


Mom, Ahza and I went to dinner that night at the Cafe in the hotel, we were all pretty tired. I think we watched the news and then went to bed we were so tired. After all, it was up and at 'em early in the morning. 

The next morning in class we learned how to do intarsia! It was cool just how we got to learn from Franklin. He had a little camera set up against a black background that allowed him to knit and for us to really see what his hands were doing. It was a fantastic was to learn. With my Moms upcoming designs (yes, Moms designing now too!!) she uses bits of intarsia to achieve the designs within her work. Here is my intarsia swatch...


 Since it was Saturday, we had half that day off. It was also game day so I came prepared with my Buckeye sweatshirt to wear. Anne Podlesak of Wooly Wonka Fiber was having a book signing and trunk show at Yarn Store at Nob Hill. Regardless of my feelings about the store, we really really wanted to go and support Anne as she has always been so supportive of me and now Mom. Well, going to the store was An.Experience. First of all, I knew almost everyone in the store (not a total mishap since the other store no longer exists). But one person in particular nearly knocked me down where I stood. Dr. Lovie Bey was there. Lovie used to be my oncologist yrs ago when I was misdiagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Every time Mom and I would come in with our knitting she would always tell us that she always wanted to learn how to do it but where on earth would she find the time!? in her schedule. Noted. Well, earlier this year I was at Village Wools and guess who walked through the doors? Lovie Bey. I was so excited I nearly cried. She has started knitting and was having more fun with it that ever. When I saw her Saturday she was making a STRANDED KNITTED freakin hat. Something I just literally learned how to do. It was beyond awesome. Here she is with her hat....


She's such a beautiful person inside and out, and SO photogenic. I am beyond proud of her. Like I said, it nearly knocked me to the ground when I saw this. I also saw Celeste who is the stranded knitter of our group and she was thrilled to bits when I told her I just learned how to do it. Finally made my way back to Anne and handed her our copy of her new book, Free Spirit Knits. It is an absolutely gorgeous book in every possible way. If you haven't seen her book you can here on Amazon. Its absolutely lovely. Every single pattern in the book is gorgeous. It looks like this....


I always get a selfie when I'm with Anne. And my head always looks like its the size of Jupiter compared to hers.....


And of course I bought some yarn. This gorgeous light green color called Winterfell...

 
Isn't it gorgeous!?!? My God her yarns are amazing. We left soon thereafter and were on our way back to Tamaya...


 Kickoff was at 6. I stopped in the bar and asked the bartender if at 6 they would put the game on for us, he said of course! We headed to the bar about 5:45 and Ahza said she wanted to join us. The cute part is that Ahza knows nothing about football. Listening to my Mom tell her how the game was played just made my heart smile...

 
We watched only the first half of the game in the lounge. Once we had eaten we went back to our rooms where we could hear commentary.

The last day of classes had us doing mosaic and shadow knitting....lots of fun!

 
I tried the mosaic knitting, and I understand it, but I unfortunately didn't produce a swatch. At first I had it all wrong, I was trying to do a hybrid method. That did not go so well. And by the time I started over for another try at it we were all onto shadow knitting. Which I did get a sample swatch of! 


It doesn't look all that attractive from this point of view, but when you turn it on its side.....


What you see if half of the motif everyone else completed. Franklin called mine a broken heart.

Sunday evening is when all the groups gather to share what we learned and give our teachers mad props. Rather than having us all stand up individually and share our swatches, Franklin strung them all up for us to hold and display while we talked about everything we learned and how much we all loved Franklin. 


We all had an unbelievable weekend! I learned so much and am so thankful I had a chance to learn from THE Franklin Habit. He was funny, insightful, full of stories about anything and everything. Like I said in the beginning, I would love to have wrapped him up in a box with a red bow and brought him home to stay with us forever, but alas, it just wasn't possible. He must be shared with the rest of the knitting world!!


Thank you Franklin, Thank you XRX, Inc and see you at Camp STITCHES 2016!!!