9.28.2012

Video Tutorial: Slipping Up Beads

Many of my patterns, including Butin Collar and Earrings, Mudra Cuff and Necklace, Ribband, Trapeze work with pre-strung beads that are slipped up in between your stitches of knitting. This quick video teaches you how easy it is to do this!  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go!



9.27.2012

The Winner... and some giggles!

Ready to hear the winner of the Chiaogoo Interchangeable Needle Set? 
CONGRATS GO TO: 

Carol
OMG! Laura, after 41 years of working day in and day out, I am retiring next Friday!!!!! I hear these needles talking to me and screaming my name! Oh, they would become my new best friend! I would take such good care of them -- I would talk to them everyday .... Oh, I’m keeping my fingers crossed!


The winner has been chosen by a RANDOM number generator, I couldn't really give extra points for those you who made me laugh out loud (as that wouldn't be fair...).

I did save a few particularly amusing comments that I thought might make you chuckle too!  I know there were more funny ones, but with 1,192 comments I couldn't include them all!  Thanks so much for providing me with some much needed entertainment!

Ree
I'm having weird Star Wars dreams as I complete my Skywalker shawl:

Palpatine (Laura): "Welcome, young Skywalker. I've been expecting you. You no longer need those.(Uses the force to muddle through the tangle of nasty, unpliable nylon circular needles in my bag.) In time, you will call me master."

Luke (looking oddly like me): "You're gravely mistaken. Look at my dropped stitches and uneven tension. I swear to God, I really did a swatch this time."
Palpatine (Laura): "Oh no, my (cough)young Jedi. You will find it is you who are mistaken." (Hands me the beautiful red corded needles.)
Luke (me): "Ah yes, a Jedi's weapon."...To be continued--hopefully. (I lust for those needles...Is that so wrong?

Please choose me: auntieree on Ravelry)


Angela
I am a needle whore; need I say more?
Fat, thin, short, long; I dream of needles all the day long.

I while away my days in a needle induced haze.
As I stated before, I am a needle whore.

(I can be contacted about the prize at enogal40 at gmail.com...That is after you stop laughing so hard you almost pee your pants :)

Thank you and have a lovely Chiagoo day :)

Lindr
If only real life were like yummy interchangeable needle sets:
One husband to do chores around the house - switch him for:
the sexy, smooth-talking guy or
the athletic, outdoorsy guy or
the 'in touch with my feelings guy or
the master chef or
whatever combination suits the occasion!

And since that kind of activity is rather frowned upon, I'll have to stick with one husband and go for the interchangeable needle set. I'm excited to try these; Chiaogoo has excellent needles!
Leanne
I would love to give these a try.......but more importantly, can I be your bridesmaid? ;-)

kiltsnquilts on Ravelry
Debbie
Too bad you didn't say "I Do" quick enough, cause I'm taking the next plane to Vegas with them. Which chapel do you think those needles would like? hum the Elvis one or one of the others?

And do ya think that using a set of really good needles I won't make mistakes since I only have those yucky interchangeable Boyle ones I always make mistakes. I think that it would make a difference...

But anyway, I want to say thanks for giving them a try and enjoying them so much that you are raving about them and in turn offering us a chance to win a set.

Debbie
To paraphrase the bard:

To lace knit, or not to lace knit, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of inferior Needles,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of snags,
And by opposing end them: to knit, to lace knit
Once more; and by an elegant needle, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural annoyances
That poor needles are heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To knit to lace knit,…
By all my lace knits be remembered

Ravelry ID knitchef
Sally BC
OUUUUUUHHHH, those needles look nice. I'd love to win something like that. If I did, I'd knit you something Laura! Now that should make you laugh!
Julia
Dearest Laura , Dearest Laura.
Here I'm with no great needles.
I am person of good knitting .
And have no interchangeable needles.
Love my life but it could be better if I had those fantastic needles.
And my I add you are smartest person I ever met.
( perhaps that last was over the top, but a lady has to try.)
Julia
Grrrrr!
Oh! Oh! Me! Me! MEEEE!!! Pick ME! Me me MEEEE! My-last-interchangables-fell-apart-and-I-tried-to-super-glue-them! IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!! Please! Please! PLEASE!!!

9.24.2012

Keeping you in the Loop!

Well, it's Monday, and somehow since I posted here last I have TONS to tell you... ready?
  • Guess who's teaching at Vogue Knitting Live this January in NYC?  Me!!!!  I'm thrilled that they asked me to teach, and cannot wait to share my "knitting" with in the Big Apple! Go here to see my classes and sign up.... registration just opened and spots in classes go quickly at this event!  I attended last year with friends, and had a truly fabulous weekend!

  • I've got a pretty fabulous contest going on for the members of the Trapeze Mystery KAL over in my Ravelry group... I asked what everyone thought they were making, and the answers are making me (almost) pee in my pants!   You'll have to go over there to read for yourself... I've told them they are making leggings, but so far only one person (you know who you are Barb) believes me!  One stipulation of the contest is that everyone has to go comment on at least 4 other Trapeze projects... I think we all forget how GREAT it feels to get positive feedback on Ravelry!  I know it makes me grin!
  • There are still spots open in my workshops  at Lovin' Knit this October in Georgia... call the shop to sign up!  I am teaching Mudra Cuff on Friday night, and adding beads to Skywalker on Saturday, I am so looking forward to my trip to Atlanta!
Also, I would like to acknowledge that this blog post has 20 exclamation points... guess I might be feeling a bit overly enthusiastic today, sorry!

9.19.2012

Review and Giveaway: Chiaogoo Red Lace NEW Interchangeables!

I'm more excited than usual to share this post with you... in fact last night I was supposed to be writing this review and all I could do was knit with my new needles (on another exciting project for Adorn Anew)... Whoops!
chiagoo_magic
Magic Looping with my new needles!
If you have taken classes with me you've heard me go on and on about the importance of using the right needle for the project.  When working lace, having a sharp tipped needle is KEY!  Last fall I was at a festival and didn't have the needle I needed. So I purchased a Chiaogoo Red Lace Needle to try.  At half the price of Addi Lace needles I was hopeful it would do the trick.  OH.MY.GOODNESS I feel in love.... within the week I placed a huge order for more in the sizes I use the most and my other needles began to collect dust.

While attending TNNA in June I heard that Chiaogoo was releasing a set of Interchangeables with their lace tip so I asked for a set to review, the worse that could happen is that they would say no, right?  I wouldn't want to talk up a product I hadn't tried!  Luckily Chiaogoo said yes and my full set got here last week.

LOVE is not a strong enough word!  LOVE I tell you!
I do think I will marry these needles... is that bad?

Let me tell you why:
chiagoo_set
The Tips: The tips are sharp and slim, but not so sharp that they "hurt" your finger tip when moving your stitches along the needle.  Needle size is laser imprinted on the tips so you can easily keep track of sizes.
The Finish: Chiaogoo uses stainless steel that they lightly brush so there is just a bit of grab.  This is key, as if they were too smooth they would be super slippery and your lace stitches would go all over the place.  If they were too brushed, on the other hand, your stitches would stick to the needles and not slide fast enough.  Chiaogoo found the perfect balance for their finishing!
chiagoo_join
The Join: For me this is most important element of an interchangeable needle.  If the join is not smooth then your stitches get caught as they are sliding from cord to tip and your knitting is slowed down every time you have to massage them along.  What I will tell you is that the join is so smooth I forgot I was knitting with interchangeables!  There is a key included for tightening down the join after you screw it together, don't skip this step as the tip and cord can start to loosen which you do not want!  The hole that is in the cord end for tightening also serves as a lifeline holder!  Have you ever placed a life line with an interchangeable needle?  I'm adding it to my list for video tutorials to be made!
The Cord: Chiaogoo uses a flexible cord that is made of a multi-strand, steel cable that is nylon coated.  My stitches slide gracefully over it!  (yes, I am feeling poetic about my needles....)
The Packaging: The needles come packed in a small graphically printed case that seems to be perfectly design for them!  I've had it open and closed and knocking around in the knitting basket and no tips have come sliding out on their own!  This is KEY!  There is nothing more annoying than having to replace all of your tips into their proper place every time you open a case!  All of the needle pockets are marked with the needle size so it's easy to replace the tip you are done using and find the one you need!  There is a zipper pocket on the outside for the stitch markers, key, and cord ends.
The Set: The sets are available in two sizes Small (US2 -US8 [2.75mm- 5mm]), and Large (US9 -US15 [5.5mm- 10mm].  Each set has a different set of cables as the connector on the end has to fit the needle tip.  Each set comes with a 14", 22" and 30" cable, there is a connector to join the cables to make a 60" long cord.  I didn't receive one of those connectors so I can't tell you about it, but if it's designed anything like the rest of this kit I know it will be excellent!

For YOU:  Chiaogoo has generously offered to a SMALL set for a GIVEAWAY!  So, do you want to win these awesome needles?  Just leave a comment letting me know why you want them (bonus points if you make me laugh) by Wednesday September 26th at midnight EST.  Leave a way to get in touch with you.  I'll let you know who the winner is the next day!

(If you can't want to wait to see if you win, I know that Grandma's Knit & Crochet has lots of these sets in stock, and even has a coupon code for the month of September (SEPT2012) that will give you 9% off your order!)

9.17.2012

Day trip to Hemlock Fiber Fest!

Yesterday, my daughter, her bff, Stacey and I took a road trip to Hemlock Fiber Fest!  Since it was only 1.5 hours away I'm embarrassed to say it was my first time there. I decided to travel light and not bring my camera, but I did get some phone pics for you of the highlights!

My "yarn" baby... I picked up yarn from Jill for a super secret project! 
I think the Vaya Shrug works for "pregnant" me, don't you?
A new sock machine knitter learning her machine!  I was SO intrigued by it!
No fiber festival would be complete without Artichoke French!
Mill spun singles, hand dyed and plied... a skein might have come home with me (for boot toppers!)
I REALLY wanted to bring this pretty boy home with me too!
The weekend ended with me staying up late to bind off my latest design in Nightfall!
I'll bet you want to know the winner of last weeks Mica Mitts giveaway... congrats to Margi!  Get in touch and I'll send out your yarn and beads!

9.13.2012

WHAT? A knot? A Video Tutorial: Restringing Your Beads

Ack, last night I was busily knitting away (with beads) and I ran into a KNOT! What the what? Since my beads were strung on in sequence I was highly motivated to fix the problem without having to unstring and re-string them... and I decided to take a video to show you how!





NOTE if you are working with beads that are prestrung in a specific pattern:
You need to cut the thread after you transfer the beads onto it and string them back onto the yarn with that end so they end up in the correct order.

9.10.2012

VOTE for Jill!

Alright, y'all... I'm about to ask you to go do something.....
VOTE FOR JILL!
Do you know Jill Draper, and her stunning, luscious, AMAZING yarns?  Well, you should!  Jill is a yarny artisan, most of her yarns are sourced, milled, and dyed all in New York State.   Jill has been selected as a finalist in Martha Stewart's American Made Awards, and she has the potential to win $10,000 which she DESERVES!  Jill doesn't take the easy route to get her yarns to us knitters. Working with farmers and mills can be HARD work, and takes way more time, energy, ingenuity and patience (as those sheep need to actually grow their wool)  than just ordering a stock yarn base.  Once she gets the yarn she still needs to process it, dye it, wind it, tag it and ship it.  That's alot of work!

It's no secret that I ADORE Jill and her yarns.... in fact right before we left for Iceland I made my girl a new hat with Hudson in Bottle!
Offspring Hat
Remember Bottle from Accola (in Nimbus)? I obviously can't get enough of that color!
Accola
My new Butin Kits also use Jill's Aurora...

I am feeling extra lucky as I am going to Hemlock Fiber Festival this weekend, and JILL WILL BE THERE!  I've got some heart set on some Hudson in Bing Cherry, so if you get to her booth early, save some for me!

You can vote for Jill once a day.... and please do! Winning this would be an amazing experience for her that she certainly deserves!  Also, please share this with your friends, the more votes, the more likely Jill is to win!

9.06.2012

Crochet Chain Provisional Cast On Video

Many of my designs use a provisional cast on at some point within the pattern... so I decided it was time to show you how I work one!

The cast on uses smooth scrap yarn to get you started, you can choose to use a crochet hook, or not, that's up to you!



There is another technique by Lucy Neatby that I also use, just keep in mind that if you use her technique you will need to work one row after you work it so that you are set up correctly.

9.05.2012

Mica Mitts: September's Adorn Anew Pattern! (w/ Giveaway!)

Mica Mitts
Introducing Mica Mitts... Adorn Anew's September pattern.
Mica Mitts
It’s time for a pair of fabulous fingerless gloves, don’t you think?  These mitts are meant to be worked with a soft and luxurious yarn. I used Shalimar Yarns new base Homage in Columbine and it was perfect for this project!  Mica Mitts are worked in a twisted rib stitch with a beaded feather and fan center panel and a decorative thumb gusset.  The pattern includes instructions and a video for placing beads onto stitches, no pre-stringing with this design.  I originally swatched the idea for a beaded feather and fan stitch earlier this spring when I was filming my Craftsy Knitting with Beads class... I swore (on camera, I believe) that I would incorporate it into a pattern soon!
Mica Mitts
The Mica Mitt pattern is available both individually and as part of Adorn Anew... you choose.  I'm having such a fun time with this project, it's wonderful to be exploring new techniques and beaded stitches with you all!
Mica Mitts
Anyone want to win the same yarn and beads I used to make these for yourself? I've got yarn left from my skein that I'd LOVE to share! Just leave a comment by Tuesday September 11th letting me know which pattern in Adorn Anew you are enjoying the most... I can't wait to hear what you are loving!

9.03.2012

A question of GAUGE!

A BIG theme that has been coming up lately in my classes, KAL's and personal knitting is GAUGE.  If I have one big knitting rule it is: NEVER SKIP YOUR GAUGE SWATCH!  It's tempting, but don't do it!  Your hat can come out too small, your sweater too big, OR you could run out of yarn on that gorgeous shawl you are knitting! 

The need for this blog post arose as many of my shawl patterns are written for multiple weights of yarn... some astute participants knitting Trapeze noticed that I stated that to get blocked gauge with a lighter weight yarn one needed to go DOWN a needle size.  Frankly, this doesn't make sense, even to me.... how the heck did I come up with that?  It stands to reason that a thinner yarn would need a larger needle.

I decided to do an experiment,  I knit stockinette stitch samples of fingering and lace weight yarn.  First I laid them out flat UNBLOCKED without stretching and measured them:
Fingering Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, UNBLOCKED- 11.5 sts/2 inches
Lace Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, UNBLOCKED- 12 sts/2 inches
So, it would seem that if  I wanted to match the gauge of the fingering weight  with the lace weight I would need to go UP a needle size to get the same gauge, right? Going up a needle size would give me FEWER sts per inch.

But wait, what about blocking?  I then soaked both my swatches in warm water, layed them out flat and smooth, and measured again!
Fingering Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, BLOCKED- 11 sts/2 inches
Lace Weight Yarn, Size 5 [3.75 mm] ndl, BLOCKED- 10 sts/2 inches
WHAT?  Now it seems that to match the gauge of the fingering weight with the lace weight I need to go DOWN a needle size to get more stitches per inch... the lace weight blocks out much more OPEN than the fingering weight, what a difference blocking makes!!!!!

Do you know what the moral of this gauge story is?  You need to do your OWN gauge swatches when getting ready to work a pattern, your yarn, your tension, and your needles are going to affect YOUR GAUGE!  And the only way to make SURE you are on target is to work it yourself !