Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!


Merry Christmas!


(Photo taken at my favorite knit shop, Knitique.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Glitter


Simonetta

The Holidays are all about glitter
so I was pretty excited when I saw 
Louisa Harding's new winter collection
Simonetta 

 I couldn't wait to try Louisa's Simonetta yarn
which has "glittery" metallic fibers
added to the kid mohair.

I was so excited about Louisa's new book and yarn Simonetta,
that I organized a Holiday Glitter Knit-Along
(in the Louisa Harding group on Ravelry)
as a tribute to Louisa Harding
and her new collection.

Madelena

I recently finished my Madelena  scarf for the
Holiday Glitter Knit-Along.
  If I do say so myself...
I think it's the prettiest scarf I've ever knit!

Today is the last day of the Holiday Glitter Knit-Along
and it has been so much fun! 
Knitters have participated from
England, Scotland, Germany, Canada
and the USA. 

I am normally a "flitter knitter" but knew I had to focus
and finish my KAL project by the deadline
 since after all, I organized it. 
Whew, I made it
(with a week or so to spare)
and even with doing my Christmas knitting.  

Teresa's Madelena Scarf

My knitting pen pal Teresa in England
joined in on the fun and
knit the Madelena scarf as well,
only in the two-color version. 

I loved how she styled hers
and wore it with a beautiful blue coat and,
of course, her wellies! 

Holiday Glitter

I styled my Madelena scarf with a vintage rhinestone Weiss pin
that adds just the right amount of sparkle
to the Simonetta yarn! 

Thanks to Louisa Harding...
I'm ready to sparkle for the holidays
and the New Year! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter!

Now, that's a wool coat!

Happy First Day of Winter!

Brixton Plaid Coat

Now this is a wool coat to love! 

Today is also my birthday,
so I'm off to shop...
maybe even for a new wool coat!

(photo credit:  Brixton Plaid Coat: Sundance Catalog)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Granny Square Cookies

Granny Square Cookies

Oh my gosh...
if you're a knitter or a crocheter
you are sure to love these clever crochet-adorned cookies!

These adorable Granny Square Cookies
are the genius of an adorable
baker and blogger

You can find her Granny Squre Cookie 
tutorial and instructions here

I can't wait to make these sometime and
bring them to my favorite knit shop, Knitique


(Photo Credit:  Sugar and Meringue)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Cable Ready!

 Melissa Leapman

I'm cable ready now...
thanks to Melissa Leapman
 and
her Cable Ready class that I took today.

Melissa flew all the way out from New York City
exclusively for two days of classes for my knitting guild,

I must say,
designer events and classes
are a wonderful perk of belonging to my local TKGA guild.

 Cable Ready

I really liked Melissa's relaxed teaching style.
She has a simple and straightforward approach
to explaining things. 

For her Cable Ready class,
she broke down the basics
 and taught us to knit with charts. 

 She told us,
 "Charts show the way the resulting fabric will look
 and you can knit faster".

 Heart Cable

In our class,
she taught us two simple cable maneuvers (with 4 stitches)
that resulted in mastering the
honeycomb, braid and rope cable motif. 

 Thanks to Melissa's instruction,
I did all my class cable exercises by chart
(a first for me). 
I'm pretty excited to be able to knit cables now by charts.

Melissa also taught us how to knit heart cables,
two-colored cables
and gave us some color stranding tips, too.

The best part of taking a designer's class...
is all the tips and tricks you pick up from them!

Melissa's Books

During class,
I had a chance to ask Melissa a few questions.

She learned to crochet at the age of 4.

She is a "self taught" knitter
who taught herself to knit in high school.
She attributes that to her teaching style. 

She is an east coast gal who ended up in New York in college
 and stayed in New York City.  Lucky her!

Her latest book Stashbuster Knits has just hit the shelves
and she has exciting things planned for the future.
(Sorry I can't tell you about them now.)
You can though keep up with Melissa and her latest news
on her Facebook page.

Melissa is a popular instructor at Stitches events around the US
 and other venues. 
 Take her classes if you ever have a chance! 

It was a pleasure to meet Melissa today
and learn more about cables.
I can truly say...
I'm cable ready now!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ysolda

 Ysolda Teague

She is just as adorable in person!


 Little Red in the City

I met Scottish designer Ysolda Teague last month
when she was in the Bay Area
for a weekend of classes for her new book

 Fiddler's Mitts

I attended Ysolda's book signing during her weekend classes.

I love her Fiddler's Mitts in the new book
 My Grandmother's Knitting.
Ysolda not only signed my book
but also helped me select the colors of
for my Fiddler's Mitts.

I'm going to knit a pair to coordinate with a
 fabulous Fair Isle scarf
I purchased in Edinburgh, Scotland this year.

Cute!

I couldn't help but comment to Ysolda how cute
her fascinator headband was. 

Guess what knitters...
it's a future pattern! 

Thank you Ysolda for being so adorable
and for visiting California! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alice Starmore's Colorful Life!

Welcome Alice Starmore

Alice Starmore
certainly needs no introduction.
She is a legend in the knitting world.

I feel so fortunate to have attended
Alice Starmore's talk
"My Colorful Life"
at
Interweave's Knitting Lab.

Alice captivated myself
and the capacity-filled ballroom of knitters
for over 2 hours
with her delightful Scottish accent,
humor and wonderful stories
about growing up
on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

My Colorful Life

"Color, texture and pattern
these are the elements I always work with."

Whether she's designing knitwear, artwork, tapestry, photography or environmental education
Alice always works those three elements.

And so began Alice's speech and slide show presentation
 My Colorful Life.

Alice grew up on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland where she says,
 "The coastline is pounded by the ocean."
According to Alice,
where she comes from and its physical landscape,
 shaped her.

She lovingly called the Isle
"A place that fires the imagination." 

Here's how growing up on the Isle of Lewis
its landscape and colors
shaped her as a designer and artist.

Growing Up on the Isle

Alice grew up in a traditional Lewis fishing family. 
You could sense her "Scottish pride" the way
she spoke lovingly about her family 
and life on the Isle of Lewis.  

She told us,
"My Grandfather was a fisherman in the era
of wooden ships and iron men."

She learned how to knit as a little girl from her aunties.
Her aunties taught her to knit
Gansies (fishermen sweaters).
Alice said , "I was fascinated with Gansies." 
Her father was also a fisherman
who eventually came to shore
(as they say on the Isle)
and became an engineer for Harris Tweed.  

Her father's career at Harris Tweed 
had an enormous influence on her.
 As a child she loved the going to the plant with her father
to see the dye vats and bolts of Scottish tweed. 

There was a lot of fabric at home, too.
Alice's mother was a skilled dressmaker, originally from
 Glasgow, Scotland. 
She continued dressmaking after marrying.
 Alice fondly remembers rushing home from school
just to see what new bolts of cloth had arrived. 

It was her mother who taught Alice Fair Isle knitting.  
Alice's mother had learned Fair Isle knitting
as a young nurse in Glasgow from her best friend from Shetland.
Alice obviously took a liking to stranded color work.

In her teens,  Alice told us she loved fashion magazines
and sewed all her own dresses for the
Friday night Disco dances. 

And how about this...
Alice said she "Always loved knitting."
She called herself "A bit of a secret knitter" as a young girl,
 because it wasn't thought of as cool. 

Hearing her story,
it was easy to see,
that Alice was destined to be a designer.

Signing My Books

Alice also talked about her knitting books
and their inspiration.

.In 1992 she wrote her  Fishermen's Sweaters book
with traditional Guernseys patterns.   
She wanted to "carry on those wonderful garments"
that her aunties taught her.

Her book The Celtic Collection was influenced
by her Celtic past. 
She grew up speaking both Gaelic and English.

She began the design process for this book
with Celtic doodles. 
Alice told us she doodles all the time.
As for her patterns,
she hand draws all of her designs
so they have swing and movement. 

The Celtic Collection has been her most popular book
and has never been out-of-print.
It's now in its 14th printing. 
(My copy is now signed by her.) 

As for Alice's beloved book, Tudor Roses
The number one question she is always asked,
 "Will it ever be reprinted?" 

Alice's response in her fabulous Scottish accent...
"You never know!"



Her Colorful Life
 
"My soul is where the moorland is".
~ Alice Starmore

As a child, Alice grew up playing on the moors
during the summer months.
The moors had a profound effect
in her design work and love for color.

Alice says "Color is everywhere."
"Forget the color wheel and look at nature around you."

Today, Alice Starmore is so much more than just a
 legendary knitter famous for color and pattern.
She is also a respected artist,
author, textile designer, photographer,
 environmental educator and conservationist.  

Alice said she was privileged that the
 "fireside craft of knitting"
 brought her to America back in 1985. 
For the next 15 years she came to America every year. 
This was her first time back in over a decade.

All I could think
during her entire talk,
 was how privileged we were at Knitting Lab
and that Interweave brought her all the way back to America 
so we could all learn about Alice's...
 Colorful Life!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interweave Knitting Lab

Welcome to the Knitting Lab

Hats off to Interweave
for their first annual Interweave Knitting Lab,
November 3-6, 2011.

I was thrilled to head back to my old college stomping grounds
in San Mateo, California on Saturday for their
special events with Alice Starmore.

 The Knitting Lab event appeared to me to be a huge success.
Everyone on the Interweave team wore lab coats and were professional, friendly and helpful.

I met Beth, Interweave Sr. Marketing Manager and she told me that they wanted the Knitting Lab
to be "the magazine coming alive". 
She summed it up best when she said
"the Knitting Lab is an educational conference with a marketplace". 

I chatted with a few fellow knitters and they all raved about the classes and instructors. 

Here is a recap of my day at Knitting Lab...

 Knitter's Market

My first stop was the Knitter's Market.
The Knitter's Market was a small marketplace,
 free of charge to Knitting Lab attendees and the general public. 

I met a lot of nice vendors and retailers walking through it.

 The Habu Ladies

I saw some familiar faces at the Market,
 like the lovely Habu ladies.

 Yummy Yarns

Yes, there were yummy yarns
at the Knitter's Market!

Designing Women
(Left to right: Ann Budd, Joan McGowan-Michael, Vivian Hoxbro & Annie Modesitt)

Of course, the best part of the Knitting Lab were all
the Designing Women!

Each day along with classes,
there were book signings with
favorite knitting authors and designers. 

Eunny Jang

I also ran into Interweave Knits magazine Editor,
Knitwear Designer, Author and TV knitting celebrity...
Eunny Jang.

Eunny was so cute and nice. 
 I couldn't wait to tell her how much I enjoy  Knitting Daily
every Tuesday morning at my house.

Alice Starmore

Naturally, I've saved the best for last...
the legendary Alice Starmore was at Knitting Lab
 as a keynote speaker for "My Colorful Life"
as well as a book signing.

I was a bit curious how Interweave managed to get Alice Starmore to come out for Knitting Lab.  
While chatting with  Karin Strom, Editorial Director,
I found out that Alice is long time friends
with Interweave founder, Linda Ligon

Last night when Karen Strom introduced Alice for her talk,
she told us that it took Alice 27 hours to travel from her home
on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland to San Francisco, California. 

Alice said it had been 13 years since she has visited the
United States.  
How grateful we knitters are that she made the extremely long journey.

At the book signing earlier in the afternoon,
I asked Alice what else she will be doing on her visit
to Northern California. 
She told me that she loves the Pacific Coast and Pacific Ocean
and is looking forward to spending time north of San Francisco
at the coast again.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Alice Starmore
and another knitting dream come true for me.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post on meeting
this legendary knitter. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lil' Pumpkin

 Itty Bitty Pumpkin

Isn't this the cutest Lil' Pumpkin you've ever seen?

designer Susan B. Anderson
It's my favorite book for baby
and toddler hats.

Susan's hats are so cute and such easy projects. 
Her patterns are so well written, straightforward
and easy to follow. 

My Lil' Pumpkin is a last minute gift for my little neighbor Mason
who turns one years old today.
I was able to knit it up last night, in just one evening. 
(I won't tell you what time I went to bed!)

I love, love, love this hat...
and can't wait to knit more
Lil' Pumpkins!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Love Yarn Day

 Louisa Harding Yarns

It's I Love Yarn Day!

The Craft Yarn Council of America has declared today
I Love Yarn Day!

Today is the day to show your love for yarn. 
The Craft Yarn Council is encouraging all knitters and crocheters
to knit in public, teach someone to knit, knit for charity,
wear a knitted item or
have a Yarn-a-bration Party!

Yes, I'll be celebrating and buying some new yarn today
(Louisa Harding, of course)
because I Love Yarn!


(Louisa Harding Yarn photo taken at Ramshambles...
an adorable wool shop in the Shambles, York, England.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jane Eyre Cuffs

 Jane's Cuffs

I recently enjoyed my very first KAL
(Knit A-Long)
on Ravelry. 

 Jane Eyre Knit-A-Long

Ravelry's Jane Eyre Group had a lovely KAL called

Knitting, tea and Yorkshire...
why of course,
I had to get my needles out and join the fun!

 Lady Danio organized the KAL for a tea party on the Moors. 
You could knit (or crochet) tea cosies or lacy mitts
that we imagined Jane Eyre would have used with her tea basket out on the Moors.

 Plain Jane

For the KAL,
I wanted to knit something on the historical period side..
something that Jane may have actually worn. 
I chose the pattern Elm Leaves and knit lacy cuffs which I named
Jane's Cuffs. 

I broke away from my normal pretty blue colors
and knit something more dark and grey…
cuffs that perhaps Jane Eyre would have worn
wondering the Moors
or taking tea with Mr. Rochester.

I  found the perfect yarn for my project
at the Point Reyes Farmers Market
 from Mimi the owner of Windrush Farm.
The yarn is Mimi's Corriedale Cross
and is 80% wool and 20% silk.

Once completed, I thought my cuffs were a bit
"plain Jane" even for Jane Eyre. 
So, I added some pretty French lace trim in a linen color. 
I think it was a wise choice
and even gives them a more period-look. 
I think Charlotte Bronte would approve,
don't you? 

Teatime on the Moors

On September 24, 2011 the KAL projects were finished
and we had tea party on Ravelry in the Jane Eyre group.

We posted photographs of our completed project
along with having tea. 
Since Jane is from Yorkshire,
 I had  Yorkshire tea and scones at my tea party.  

The KAL was so enjoyable
and inspired me to pick up my needles in the summer when I don't knit much. 

I can't wait to do another KAL sometime again. 
Thank you Lady Danio for organizing such a fun event
 and tea party

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bring on Fall

"Yes, my Mother...loves to knit!"

Happy First Day of Autumn!

How cute is this photograph? 
I love this photograph of my father-in-law all "bundled up" in his little knit outfit. 

Bring on fall.  I'm ready for sweater weather only...
it will be awhile 'till it gets here in California. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Missoni!

 Missoni Style Stitches

I'm obsessed with Missoni zigzags!

The Missoni For Target line has really inspired me knit
my own Missoni "style" scarves.

 Missoni For Target

Yesterday I went to Target to return a few Missoni items
and look what I found...
the scarf I really wanted! 

I couldn't find this Missoni scarf the day
 Missoni premiered at Target. 
Much to my surprise, there were six of these scarves on the rack. 
 I'm figuring this inventory may not have made the actual
Missoni launch date
 or a shopper caught up in the "Missoni Madness" returned them.

So now I want to knit a Missoni style scarf like this one, too.  I really like its design.  I like how the chevron pattern in color is placed on the bottom of the scarf.

I'm not really sure when I will tackle this project. In the meantime, I'm going through stitch dictionaries, Ravelry and the Internet getting more inspired every day.

Here's why I love Missoni zigzags...


PS:  There is also a Missoni Ravelry Fan Club group on Ravelry
for more Missoni inspired knitting. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Missoni Inspired!

 Knit a Missoni Scarf

Now that the "Missoni Madness" at Target is over...
I'm re-evaluating my Missoni For Target purchases. 
Don't get me wrong, I'm still mad for Missoni style...
I'm just not that crazy about the Target quality and colors of the scarves.

So, what's a knitter to do but get her needles out and 
 knit her own Missoni style scarves!

Missoni For Target

I've wanted to knit a Missoni "inspired" scarf for about a year now. 
With all the Missoni madness going on, now seems like the perfect time to get one started. 

I've been planning on knitting Joelle Hoverson's Chevron Scarf
yarn already in my stash that I purchased last year from ImagiKnit in San Francisco for my scarf.

Then I had to go look on Ravelry...

 ZigZag Stripes Scarf

There are a lot of Missoni "inspired" patterns on Ravelry

A few of my favorite chevron scarf designs are:

Sock-It-To-Me in One Skein Wonders




Hmmm, now which one to knit?  I'll probably stay with my first choice in my Koigu yarns
but can't wait to try a few other patterns for more Missoni style!

I hope I've inspired you to knit up your own
Missoni-style scarf
in your favorite colors and yarns...

because you know you...
won't find that at Target!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mad for Missoni

 Missoni for Target

Yes, I'm mad for Missoni! 
Evidently everyone else is,too. 

Today, marked the launch of  Missoni for Target.

The madness and frenzi for Missoni today
caused Target.com to crash and the
Missoni merchandise to fly off the shelves within just a few hours.  

Of course, I had to be there with all the excitement because
I love the designs of the
Italian Fashion House of Missoni. 

 As a knitter who loves fashion,  
I love their mix-and-match patterns and famous knitwear that they are famous for. Did you know, there are even Missoni knitwear patterns in Vogue Knitting magazines from the 1980's and 1990's.

Zig Zags

I am normally one of the first shoppers to hit Target when they have a big name designer collaboration.  Most of the time, the collections aren't even out yet so today I hit my local Target at 9:30AM instead of 8:00 AM when they opened.  No big deal right? 

Oh my gosh, what a mistake that was for me, a seasoned shopper.  I should have known better and I paid the price.  The Missoni merchandise was already pretty well picked over and I heard there was a line out front before they opened.

 Missoni Accessories

By the time I got to Target this morning the accessory items were just about sold out.

I was most excited to see the Missoni scarves.  There were only a few left at my local Target store. So I hit the road to other nearby Target stores and managed to find a few more scarves at each stop I made.  I also lucked out and found a cute cardigan and silk scarf in Missoni's trademark zig-zag print.

I must report that I was most impressed that the Missoni scarves were made of 100% silk and not polyester.  I know the Missoni family must have insisted on that. 

As for the knits...my cardigan is a rayon and cotton blend.  The fun knit scarves I picked up do have some acrylic content which I'm not that crazy about.  At Target prices though...I better not complain!

 The Missoni tags say:

Patterned After No One.
Priced For Everyone.

I feel pretty lucky today that I snagged some Missoni pieces!

Bound for Italy!

PS:  Don't you just love this 21" Spinner Suitcase?

Wouldn't it be perfect for a trip to Italy? 

I went ahead and passed on it today but I did tell my husband that it would be pretty cool
to wear my new Missoni outfit in Italy...someday????