Tuesday, August 04, 2009

And awaaaaay we go!

Yarn for classes? (check!)
Extra needles? (check!)
Old-fashioned pair of straight needles for Guinness World Record attempt (check!)
Knitting project for airplane? (check!)
Confirmation numbers? (check!)
Credit card? (check!)
Stitch markers for trading? (check!)
Little sock for lapel? (check!)
Socks to match all outfits? (check!)
Oh, yeah. Clothes? (check!)

OK! I think I am ready to head off to Portland to the Sock Summit! Yay!

Ya know... I get the weirdest looks from my non-knitting co-workers and friends.

"Knitting convention? Socks??? You're kidding!"

Yet if I said I was going to a technical summit, or software convention, or a fly-fishing convention, or a car show, or a travel expo, or a home and garden show -- no one would raise an eyebrow.

There's a lot of PR work to do for knitting. Maybe the word will get out that the mayor of Portland proclaimed this week "Sock Knitting Week." Or maybe someone will notice those SIX sold-out hotels around the Portland Convention Center.

Wouldn't count on it.

Well, I'm doing my part. I'm on my way! :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Guess who?

Hello? Hello?
Is this thing on? <tap-tap-tap>

Yep, it's me. Retired from really great old job, found really great new job, busy-busy, yadda-yadda.

I've missed my blog, because it functions as a journal, keeping track of my various projects and knitting-related adventures. Even if no one reads it but me, I like the exercise of just doing it.

But before we get back to knitting, I would just like to mention that there is a heckova difference between the Corporate World and the Non-Profit World. Like Time. In the Corporate World, they have 40-hour workweeks. In the Non-Profit World, they have voluntary servitude. This hasn't cut into my knitting time too much, but my blogging time sure has suffered. I'm just sayin'... ;)

Before I dive back in, here are a couple of cool things.

I belong to a really great and active Knitting Guild here in Sacramento. From time to time, I've posted some of the fun things we've done -- like the time we flew Franklin Habit out here for a 1,000 Knitters shoot, or our monthly knitting challenges, or the time we joined 300 other knitters to take a special train to Stitches West. (It was over 500 this year!) Well, now I don't have to do all the bragging myself, because the Guild has its very own blog these days: stockinettes.blogspot.com. Miss Lisette is doing a great job of trying to keep up with all our activities. Tomorrow night is our monthly meeting, and lots of folks will be bringing their Dead-or-Alive Fish Hats. Should be fun!

Cool Thing #2: In my last post, cobwebby months ago, I promised to post photos of the winners of the Felted Slipper Contest. And I will, in just a few <mumble-mumble>.

But in the meantime -- one of our winner's slippers have been published! Kristen's terribly cute and wonderful musk oxen slippers won the Cruisers' Choice Award -- and I was standing right there when Amy Singer suggested that she write up the pattern and submit it to Knitty.com. And here it is!!!

OK. Well, that's it for now. I might even have some photos or something next time. Gotta pace myself coming back, you know.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Knitters Are Exceptionally Clever People

OK. That's a pretty obvious statement. But sometimes the obvious just has to be stated. Case in point:

My Friend Cindi & I decided to host a felted slipper contest during our cruise. We thought it would be a good way to meet some of the other 115 cruisers; we thought it would meld nicely with the planned pajama party night; and we were kinda curious about what kinds of things folks would come up with.

Some of our local knit shops and friends donated some awesome yarny goodies as prizes: Babetta's, Knitique, Lorna Miser and Fredrikka Payne from Aurora Yarns, Betsy of Cultured Purl, and VicKnitChik, a fellow cruiser. Let me tell you, those were some NICE prizes. And they took up an entire suitcase! (Which was OK with me, because after the prizes were awarded, I had something to hold all the goodies I acquired on the cruise!)

We awarded prizes in 4 categories: Cruise Theme, Embellished, Knit-In Design, and Cruisers' Choice-- to be voted on by all. Amy Singer and Brenda Dayne were gracious enough to join Cindi and me as judges for the first 3 categories. It was a lot harder than you might think!!!

Some easy eliminations: a couple of entries weren't eligible for voting because they were created by judges. Like this pair, which were mine:

And this pair, by Amy Singer, the Best Knitting Sport in the Entire World. Amy is allergic to wool, but wanted to support our contest. So she found some acrylic yarn in Seattle that would give a felted-wool-like appearance when knitted. Then she nearly wore out her hands knitting like crazy on these faux-felted slippers to have them ready for the contest-- knowing they weren't eligible!! How wonderful is that!!?

Now I want to show just a few of the stellar entries that didn't win. And I gotta tell you, every single entry was a similar work of art. (BTW-- the judging took place one night during a pajama party. We usually dressed in regular public-facing clothes during the cruise!)This is Sharon, our very talented on-board accupunturista with her Alaskan Cruise slippers. Using a variety of techniques, including needlefelting, intarsia, and embellishments, Sharon's slippers represent cruising by day and cruising by night. They feature the aurora borealis, icebergs and glaciers, sea life, high & low tides, and all sorts of wonderful tiny details that you discover only by examining each slipper very closely.

Deborah's beautifully shaded monochromatic slippers each featured a bouquet of intricately felted, embroidered, and beaded flowers -- each one a little masterpiece.

Angela's slippers were orcas, cavorting through Alaskan seas... complete with tails!! And pectoral fins!

And none of these slippers won!!

See? Being a judge is really, really hard!
In a future post, I'll show you the ones that did win.

Hold on to your needles.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In Which We Go to Sea

So my friend Cindi says, "Come on. We should do this. it will be fun!"
And you know what? She was right.

We signed up to go on an 8-day roundtrip knitting cruise: Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Victoria, Seattle.
  • There were 115 knitters on board with us.

  • We visited 6 yarn stores, including the wonderful Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria.
  • We met the awesome Brenda Dayne of the Cast-On podcast.

  • We met the awesome Amy Singer from Knitty.com.
  • We met the awesome Heather from Craft Lit.
  • We met awesome knitters from all over the US and Canada. (Hi Deborah, and Meg, and Lisa, and Melinda, and Jasmin, and Jennie the Potter and mom (hope the leg is all healed!),and Sharon, and Jamie, and the VicKnitChick, and Andrea, and ...so many other wonderful, talented, and nice knitters!)

  • Sometimes we knitted all day.

  • Sometimes we knitted late into the night.
  • Somedays we were so busy chatting and having fun, we didn't knit at all!
  • And we even managed to do some sightseeing.

We had a great time on the cruise, and the Big Lesson we took away was: If you meet great people who make your days enjoyable, then making lemonade can be so much fun you forget you started with some lemons.

(Also, yarn and goodies go a long way to make knitters happy. But you knew that already, right?)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stitching & Pitching

Stitch & Pitch came to Sacramento last Thursday, and, as VP of the local knitting guild, I was asked to throw out the first pitch.
I dug through my stash and found some nice burgundy bulky Cascade, and used size 35 needles to knit up a good-sized swatch. I wound the other end of the yarn around a regulation baseball. Our guild president, Sandi, held the needles and swatch while I threw the still-attached ball ... of yarn. Didn't quite get it to the catcher -- it bounced on home plate -- but I doubt if the catcher would have caught it anyway, since he was laughing so hard.
Hey! Who says knitters don't know how to have fun? :)

BTW -- Sandi and I both knitted up the baseball hat pattern that was attached to the official Stitch & Pitch email. I am sorry to say that both of us felt that this pattern was poorly conceived and written. As an example, the pattern instructs to knit the facing in the round, then knit the attached sections back and forth. We both followed this direction, thinking there must be a reason to knit back and forth when in the round seemed so much more logical. There was no reason for it, as it turns out -- it just made the pattern more fiddly. The brim instructions were also needlessly complicated-- lots of single crochet finishing called for, when simple sewing with yarn and needle worked much better. It's a cute hat, and lends itself well to embellishments and individual design, but if you decide to make one, use your common sense when it comes to following the instructions.