A New Obsession!

I'm a firm believer in trying new things and this weekend was partially devoted to my new favorite form of exercise: Mountain Biking!

I live close to one of the more beautiful network of mountain biking trails in the country:
Shindagin Hollow. I need you to know that I am not a "toughie", I don't like to bleed, I'm not in love with bugs, and I like my bones unshattered. There are things about mountain biking, though, that work for me: it's deep in the woods, there are wildflowers everywhere, we ride in a group with some highly amusing people, and my dog gets the kind of exercise she craves. It all works because I have absolutely NO testosterone, meaning, I go slow, I'm careful, I keep control of my bike at all times (mostly) and I don't fall down. The crew I ride with is fast, they are tough, they barrel through the trails and I meander after them, by the time I meet up with them they have had a chance to catch their breathe and get ready for the next leg. It's really perfect! I even have no guilt about walking my bike up the BIG hills, it's still exercise, no matter how I look at it.

Btw, the pic above is a TOTAL fake, I SO had help getting up (and down!):

Notice I am wearing my FAVORITE Ravelry t-shirt.

The best part is that the trails are a good 40 minute drive from our house (and Max drove) so I got to finish these for my girl:

Pattern: My "Plain Vanilla" Toe-up Sock based on Nicholetta (I made them a bit big as the girl won't stop growing!)
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn's Nichole, in Bugs

All of my other knitting has been for secret projects, books, magazines, and other goodies. I'll be able to share more soon, I promise.


Migrations Beading Tutorial

By now you have all probably figured out that I am obsessed with knitting with beads. I constantly scour stitch pattern books keeping my eyes open for a stitch that is screaming for beads. I had a love affair this winter with floats and beads, and Migrations was born from that. I've been getting e-mails (and even a few phone calls) from knitters who are a bit confused about how to do this stitch. First off, let me assure you, it is MUCH easier than the Undulating Waves, so if you have succeeded at that, this baby is a piece of cake. This tutorial will take you through the "steps" of the Migrations pattern that are a bit unusual so you can do it on your own. Keep in mind that not every step of the stitch is done here, only the ones that need illustration. You will need to purchase the pattern if you want to knit the scarf.

How to Place a Bead: (you can click on any of these pictures to make them bigger!)

Slide bead up the yarn with your right hand, work next stitch locking bead in place.

Row 2: How to work a stitch with three beads:

Slide beads up the yarn so that they touch the right hand needle, work next stitch pulling the beads through with the stitch.

Row 3: How to drop beads and pick them back up again:

pic 1
pic 2
pic 3

Pic 1: With right hand needle, lift up yarn over loop on left hand needle and slip off.
Pic 2: With right hand needle pull up next stitch on left hand needle to form a large loop (this is taking up the "slack" from the dropped yarn over.)
Pic 3: Then drop this loop off the left hand needle and let it hang in front of your work. Don't worry: this loop is large and has beads on it to keep it from slipping out.

pic 4
pic 5

Pic 4 With left hand needle, pick up loop, making sure beads are on the right "leg" of the loop.
Pic 5: Place loop without twisting it onto right hand needle. (You are not working this loop.)

Please ask questions if you have any... I'd love to hear from you!



Well, I have to say this latest pattern sounds more bad *&^$ than it is! Maybe I should have saved the name for something with a little more edge; Tower of Flames is actually pretty worsted weight lace number. I kept hearing from both Schaefer knitters and stores that they needed more patterns for one skein of Laurel. I love lace in Laurel as the hand is so soft, and the drape so smooth, it's a worsted yarn that works in lace! The bottom of the scarf starts with a flame lace motif that cajoles the edges of the scarf into sweet little curves, the body of the scarf is done in a super simple, easy to memorize tower lace pattern. So, basically, once you make it through the bottom section you are home free! As with all my patterns the lace stitch is both written out and supplied in an easy to read chart. This was one of my first times working with one lace pattern and then finessing it into another, I do believe I am addicted. Expect to see more like this. I want to knit this baby up in Miss Priss for the fall, I think that on a little bit bigger needle it will be really nice. (The wool in Miss Priss needs more space to bloom!)

I want to send out a major thankyou to Hadley for helping me figure out the most appropriate cast on technique to keep the bottom edge firm but flexible. There was some MAJOR swatching for the bottom of this bad boy (maybe that is the origin of the name, that it almost went up in flames????). And finally to a second thankyou to Roy, my new photographer friend, who I just "happened" to run into at a party with the scarf, my favorite shirt, and makeup in tow. Roy had a super nice camera with him and was more than willing to take some pics of it during that magic twilight hour. Like the prop in my left hand? I said I was at a party..... I asked Roy to not include any face shots, but he couldn't resist. When I thought we were doing close-ups look at what he did, the rat.
I have to say, the boy has talent.

I leave you with a few shots of my glorious garden, it's amazing what a little color will do for you after a long winter!