Workshops at Pioneer Yarn Company

WOW.... what a weekend!  I flew out to Minden, Nevada last Thursday eve to teach at the Pioneer Yarn Company  and OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!!  (I really wish I could just stop there, as there almost aren't any words for how amazing the experience was!)  I think I might have found a potential retirement location!

I arrived late at night and as Cherita (PYC's phenomenal owner) and Kim (my hostess with the mostest) drove me home they kept pointing in the dark to where the mountain ranges were.  The next morning I woke up to the most phenomenal views. Minden is in Carson Valley surrounded by the Sierra's to the West and the Pinenuts to the East.

Note: If you click the button with the four arrows, it will make the slide show full screen, and then if you click Show Info on the upper right hand corner you can see my notes about each pic! (just press esc on your keyboard to get back to this blog post when you are done!)

Before I taught on Friday Cherita took me up the mountain to Lake Tahoe where we tooled around and I oohhed and aahhed, and generally made a touristy fool of myself at all that beauty and sunshine (please keep in mind I hadn't see the sun in over a week...) We visited, Tahoe Knitting Nest, Lauren's sweet knitting store at the very top of the mountain, and there saw people skiing from the yarn shop window!!!! (I squeeled!)

Friday afternoon I taught a new beaded cuff design (more about this in another post) to a great group of ladies. I had all skill levels in the group and everyone had a wonderful time and learned something new! That evening we had a Kinetik Mystery KAL meet-up and I got to see everyone's work in progress and chat a bit. All their versions were stunning. We had lots of giggles while they took guesses at what they were making!

Saturday I taught an all day class on Clarus that was a highlight. I worked on a mini version with beads added to the bottom and taught everyone how to incorporate them into the design. It was the fastest five hour class ever... PYC's knitters were incredibly attentive, and had the BEST attitude about learning new skills. I got to meet a few knitter's I've known on Ravelry for quite a bit (BeccainSonora and NanaLisette) and made a whole slew of new friends!

We ended the weekend with an AMAZING meal at a Basque restaurant. The Carson Valley used to have many large sheep herding operations (there are still some) and Basque sheep herders were brought from Spain to run the flocks. Many settled in the area, so of course Basque restaurants sprung up! I counted 4 as we drove towards the Country Club. One of Cherita's employees Mary, and her husband Jesus, used to own the restaurant and they joined us for dinner along with Kim and Tom (my hosts) and Cherita and Wayne of course! 

A HUGE thankyou goes out for the weekend to Pioneer Yarn Company's owners Cherita and Wayne as well as all the knitter's who helped make the weekend a success!  What a knitting lovefest we had!  I hope I get to come again (hint, hint Cherita????).

And I bet you are wondering the result's of the bead poll and the winner of the giveaway right?  You can see the official results here. The Sparkly Grey Small Beads with Lavender Lined Large Beads won by a landslide! The winner, chosen randomly, is.... AlligatorIf you have a chance, check out Alligator's blog... the life as a knitter in Alaska, I'm so intrigued!


Your Help... and a giveaway!

I'm working on a new design for an exciting new project, and I could really use your help!  I can't decide which bead combination I like best!  The design needs both the small (size 8) beads, and the large (size 6) beads. As in the swatch above, the small beads will be on yarnovers, and the large beads will be placed on stitches.  (If you are wondering, the swatch above is the stitch used in Kinetik and the yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Midway)

As a thanks for your help, how about a giveway?  When I was in NYC at Vogue Knitting Live Ysolda gave me TWO copies of her new book Whimsical Little Knits 3... this book hasn't even shipped yet, so I know you don't have a copy!  Want to win one?  It is AWESOME!  I particularly love the Narwhal Mittens AND I think that Sherilyn would be lovely with beads!
All you have to do is answer the survey above and leave a comment here.  Please remember to leave a way for me to get in touch with you! The giveaway will be open until Tuesday January 31st at 12 noon EST. I'll pick a random winner AND let you know which beads I'll be using. Feel free to share this giveaway with your friends... the more opinions the better!

I'm off to Minden, Nevada tomorrow to teach at the Pioneer Yarn Company and enjoy Lake Tahoe... I'm sure to have some great pics and stories next week!


A Bed for Cat!

I can't believe I have a blog and I've never posted a picture of my Cat!  What kind of blogger am I?
A Cat and her Bed
Well, meet Cat! Sixteen years ago she came to us nameless, a wild ferocious beast. We lived in a log cabin, which meant the boundary between inside and outside was vague, and we needed killing machine.  Needless to say, she killed 12 mice her first night with us and has earned her keep ever since.  Her wild temperament kept us from fully bonding with her for quite some time, which is how she ended up with the creative name of "Cat".

Fast forward many years, lots of memories, and a house move... she is still going strong and has become the sweetest thing ever. Kidney failure has just set in and so she sleeps and sheds ALOT more than she used to.  She has developed a frustrating penchant for sleeping on my blocking wool and I realized she needed a woolly retreat of her very own! 
A Cat and her Bed
It is made from a old huge Woolrich Sweater that my hubby and I stopped wearing years ago, I felted it in the washing machine, followed these directions, and then felted the heck out of it one more time!   
Hint: I discovered it dries really quickly if you put it on a cookie rack over a heat vent!
A Cat and her Bed
A second hint?  She was not sleeping on it for quite a bit... offended I vented to Maya, who quickly urged me to sprinkle the bed with catnip, you know what?  It worked, and now she LOVES it!


Vogue Knitting Live: A photo-recap

This weekend I journeyed down to NYC for a weekend full of knitting, friends and food at Vogue Knitting Live.  The conference was incredibly well organized and chock full of events...if you ever have the chance to attend one, i say: GO FOR IT!
Early am in NYC!
Early am coffee outing!
Connie and Melissa!
With Connie and Melissa at Connie's Book Signing!
Anna of MochiMochi Land!
I went just a wee bit fan girl on Anna of MochiMochiLand... how could I not?
Jill and Cal!
There aren't really words to tell you how much I LOVED hanging with Cal and Jill                  (and Jill's yarn!)
Nancy Marchant
I took a class on Brioche Lace with Nancy Merchant,
to say that my mind was blown is an understatement!
Leaf Motif- Brioche Lace
One of Nancy's examples, this is a simple leaf motif in 
brioche lace, done in two colors which makes it reversible!
Feather and Fan- Brioche Lace
Can you believe this is feather and fan?  I ADORE it!
My Brioche Lace
My swatch... I got 3 inches done in 3 hours, that's an inch an hour people!                        Not my fastest knitting, but I learned a TON!
Knitting Career Panel
Panel on When Knitting Becomes a Career
Left to Right: Melanie Falick, Debbie Stoller, Norah Gaughan, Kristy McGowan, Erin Slonaker, Betsy Perry, Trisha Malcolm,  Kirsten Kapur, Laura Zander
My Haul
My haul! NEW books from Ysolda, a kit from MochiMochiLand, tattoos from Soak, and GORGEOUS yarn from Jill Draper Makes Stuff, Tanis Fiber Arts, & Mocha's Fibers
Kirsten et Moi!
A "ladies" lunch in the basement of the Plaza with Kirsten... oh my, I think she                    and I could talk for HOURS and we'd still have more to say : )!
Some mandatory clothes shopping at Uniqlo for my family and Kate!
Want to hear who/what is missing in these photos?
*My phenomenal roommates Kellen, Ellen and Kelly... I think we were having too much fun to remember about pictures, WHOOPS!
*My dinner at Griffou (insanely good locavore restaurant with a Spanish flare) on Sat night with Cal and Jill!
*A trip to one of my fav restaurants in the world, Maya, with Ysolda, Cookie, and my roomies!
*My trip with Kirsten to the MOMA for an exhibition of Diego Rivera's Murals.

All and all, it was one of those weekends that will go down in history... though yesterday when I got home I kinda felt like one of these guys:


Pretty Yarn Shots: A "sorta" tutorial

I've never really come clean about how I feel about photography, are you ready?  For me it's a necessary evil... the reality is that 99% of the time when someone chooses to knit one of my patterns it's not because they saw the finished garment and loved it, they saw the photo of it, right?  This means that if I have a sucky photo no one knits my design... which is sad, and not the point!

I am not a photographer, and for a long time I didn't enjoy the process of styling shots and taking photos, but over the last year I decided that if I threw some money at the problem, and spent some time reading and learning, that I could end up with a photographic style I could love.  I have worked with professional photographers, and adored it, but I find it SO much easier to not have to juggle their schedules with mine and my models. I will say, that if I am the subject I am happy to hire someone to take the shots!!!!

One of my biggest challenges was taking pics at home of yarn and beads for giveaways, cover pages, projects etc.  I've seen GORGEOUS photos of yarn and wanted to be able to recreate that.  Last year Mercedes posted a link on twitter to this great tutorial  for studio photography.  I got out my tracing paper, aluminum foil, and some sunshine and got a few great pics though I did find I had to do ALOT of Photoshopping to get the photos just right.  I ended up with tracing paper covering the windows in my studio for days on end... and pieces of aluminum foil everywhere as I tried to "hang" them to reflect the light... I definitely needed more hands to make it work! (I wish I had a photo of one of these set ups!)

For the holidays I asked my inlaws for this... and OH MY GOODNESS, why did I wait so long?  On a sunny day, in five minutes, a shot was set up in the dining room by the sliding glass door, see?  Kinda ghetto, right?

The inside of the reflector comes out of the cover and is the PERFECT light diffuser.  Then I hung the cover's reflective side to catch light and throw it back on the subject filling in the shadows.  Time to start snapping pictures! I played with the aperture, letting in more and less light to see what would kill the shadows and highlight the yarn best... in the end, a shot I took by mistake with my flash on, in automatic mode, ended up being the ONE. See?  I did NO retouching to this photo besides cropping....
Kinetik Giveaway!
Doesn't this shot make you want to knit with some green yarn and beads?

So, grab your camera, spend $14 on a 5-in-1 reflector... and take some pretty yarn shots!


Kinetik Mystery KAL- A FAQ and a winner!

Wow!  Can I just say I ADORED your comments on the Kinetik Mystery KAL Giveaway post?  They made me laugh, want to reach out and give you a hug, and inspired me to think about other commitments I could make for the future... thank you so much for sharing!

As we get closer to Friday the 13th and the release of Clue #1 I thought you might want to know what to do to be ready:

  • 1. Sign up for the KAL on Ravelry or on my website.
  • 2. Gather your materials listed on the pattern.
  • 3. Wind your yarn in to a ball… if you plan on working with beads do not make this a center pull  ball! It does not work to have lots of pre-strung beads and center pull balls… trust me!
  • 4. Do a gauge swatch, the pattern lists the gauge you should be getting with your yarn on Size 5 needles in stockinette stitch. Adjust needle size if necessary.
  • 5. If you have done items 1 - 4 and you want to practice working with beads I would suggest practicing the stitch used in Beaded Eye Glass Cord. There is a video if you get stuck on it!
  • 6. Add your project to your Ravelry library! There might just be some contests.. and you’ll have to have your project added to be eligible! You can add the tag Kinetik Mystery if you’d like!

If you have more questions, please head over to my Ravelry group... the level of excitement over there is growing, and the yarn and bead combinations people are choosing are amazing!
I've gotten the "wants" a few times this week : )!

I bet you want to know who the winner of the giveaway is! 
Congrats go to:  Nancy DeMaio
Get in touch with your address so I can get your yarn and beads out to you!


New Release: Ribband Kits

I've been waiting for the new year to release my latest kit! 
New Ribband Kits!
One of my most popular patterns from Adorn, customers and store owners have been asking me to make them a kit for Ribband since last spring.  I spent a long time pondering the perfect yarn and bead combinations for it and finally came up with a combination I adore.  The kit uses Alpaca with a Twist Fino (an alpaca/silk laceweight) with a combination of size 8 glass seed beads, gorgeous Czech glass crystal beads, a simple s-hook clasp. 
Ribband Kit Black
Ribband, a versatile knitted jewelry piece, is a 32 inch long beaded strand that can be worn as both a multi-looped bracelet or a necklace. Based on 4 stitches of knitting and a 2-row repeat this is knitted beaded jewelry at it’s easiest!

The kit is packaged in a perfectly sized organza drawstring pouch that can be used as gift packaging once you finish your necklace and it contains everything you need to make Ribband except the needles. 

You can read more about it's details and get one for yourself here or at your Local Yarn Shop.  Kits have been shipping out to stores around the country since Monday... this week has definitely started out with a bang!


Starting 2012 with a BANG! (and a giveaway!)

In years past I have done a recap of my year in knitting and this year I sat down to start that list once or twice and got TOTALLY overwhelmed. TONS got done in 2011, and the number of projects that are already in the works for 2012 is too exciting... SO, I am not doing a recap but a look ahead and I've decided to do that with a GIVEAWAY and a little peek into a few things I am thinking about "attacking" this year!
  • For one, I've signed up for this Craftsy course... it's free and I'm thinking I can handle making one quilt square a month... by the end of the year that means I'll have a quilt, right?  I know how to sew, but I've never quilted more than a super simple top, so it should be a great skill builder! And, if I'm a good blogger it means I'll have a square a month to show you too, right?
  • Another thing is that I'm going to Vinyasa Yoga TWICE a week, instead of once.  If I write it on my blog then it must be true!  Let's just see how long I can keep it up... I already made it once this week!
  • I've already cast on for a sweater for me, I need to add another one to my arsenal... I'm making SkyIsle in Donegal Tweed, but as a pullover not a cardigan.  It is going to be SUPER wearable.   It's been all lace all the time over here and I needed some stockinette stitch to start the year off right!
  • Professionally there are a few VERY exciting things in the works, but they are all too new to divulge yet, so you'll just have to be patient... what a tease, I know!
Kinetik Giveaway!
1 skein
Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in English Ivy & 100 grams Matsuno Size 8 beads
    Wondering about that giveaway?  Do you want to win the same yarn and beads I used for my version of the Kinetik Mystery KAL?   The KAL starts Jan 13th and I will leave comments open until Jan 10th at 12 noon, which means I'll be able to choose a winner and get their yarn to them before the KAL starts!  Just leave a comment below letting me know what you are hoping to accomplish in this new year!  The sky is the limit... I can't wait to hear your ideas!