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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Retreating! Bear Cabin Inn - 2013

I'm retreating!
Craft Retreating, that is.
I didn't plan on going this year because of the current lack of income/school pursuits.
However, a friend wanted some clerical assistance with putting together her business tax receipts and we bartered my time for Camp fees! Woot!

So I'm in the White Mountains of Arizona at Bear Cabin Inn. It is pouring down rain, but we are snug and warm inside, with Hot Chocolate, Tea, or Coffee as well as tasty snacks readily available.
I am also enjoying actually getting to wear multiple knitted items at one time!! (knitted socks, a cowl, & fingerless Mitts)

A little earlier today, I had a conversation with one of the woodpeckers that live near the cabin.
{He thinks the bird feeder {just filled 2 days ago}
should be re-filled.}
(I'll try to get a picture of the Stellar Blue Jay we saw yesterday, but he's holed up somewhere during the rain.)

Our hostess is an excellent cook and great fun to spend time with.
Moreover - I'm here with some of my most favorite people in the world.
{Happy Sigh}

Most everyone else is quilting. A talented friend of mine finished putting together this Bargello wall hanging last night:

Another friend spent yesterday trying to convince her sewing machine to play well with her - she resorted to knitting last night and this AM. Two other ladies worked on the machine this AM and it is now behaving quite well and sewing together some lovely batik rectangles.

Yet another friend has created (in less than 30 hours {she slept too!!}) two amazing bags that she's gifting to a sister and daughter:

There are a ton of pockets (but it's not kitty proof
so I'm not too tempted to swipe one).
This friend's Bargello quilt is nearing completion:

And she's also trying to decide how she'd like to put these together:

Me? I am indulging in some serious start-itis. {Huge GRIN}
Here's what is on and off my needles this weekend:
(More detail and pictures and links are available from my Ravelry Project Page.)

On the drive up to Show Low, I finished this pair of "Peekaboo" Fingerless Mitts for our hostess (she was quite tickled with them!):
{Not the best picture - the yarn has a great gradual
darkening of the blue toward the fingers.}
I am swatching for my first pair of hand-knit socks for the DH {Finally!! But I forgot to bring his measurements with me so I won't go further just yet}. I am planning to use the Yarn Harlot's "Earl Grey" sock pattern.

I swatched for and started the "Origami Pullover" for meself:
(Long Lake Yarns dubbed this project "Ribbing Purgatory". {wry grin})

I forgot to bring my KCL Woods Mesquite Yarn bowl {durn it} but our nifty hostess loaned me a stand-in:
{This is a more accurate representation of the yarn color.}
I swatched for and am very excited to start this shawl - which will eventually be "Bigger On The Inside":

I have a couple of other in-progress small projects but I also brought my languishing "February Lady Sweater" to move it along some.

Yes, I did seriously consider bringing my Scarlet Shade of Shades of Grey Swirl coat. It is sooooo close to completion - but it is a bit cumbersome and I chose to leave it at home. {Of course, now I'm a'wish'n I'd brought it too}.

I'm off to do another lace repeat on my "Bigger On the Inside" Tardis shawl.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Charts Made Simple": Live and in person with JC Briar

We had another visiting Kniterrati here in Tucson last week.
JC Briar, author of "Charts Made Simple", came to teach at Kiwi Knitting and at the Old Pueblo Knitter's Guild.

I couldn't attend the Old Pueblo Knitter's Guild meeting (I was in school), but I had signed up to take two of the classes JC Briar was giving at Kiwi:  "Charts Made Simple" and "Slick Set in Sleeves".

I was pretty sure I already had her "Charts Made Simple" book....um, somewhere.
It seems I'd put the book somewhere "safe" so it took me a while to find that clever little book (which was easily found after I actually moved a short stack of books {just looking through the stack 3 or 4 times didn't do the trick}).

I truly enjoyed both classes. She presented the information well and with excellent documentation.
See - I did find my book. And now it's been signed by the Author!
Charts Made Simple Class:
I especially like the way JC Briar does her charting. I like the symbols she uses, that she creates the chart to look like the pattern that will be seen in the knitting, and that she includes lines to show the path of the cables. She showed us that charts don't always start on the right side of the knitting or chart and offered many clues so we could read and understand charts better.
JC Briar demonstrating with her "Jumbotron"
knitting needles/crochet hook/i-cord. 
She had us work off several charts to experience lace, cables, and a diagonal knit/purl stripe of knitting.

Slick Set-in Sleeves Class:
Very cool!
Ok, as you've seen on the blog, I haven't done a lot of sweaters. I have a few in progress, but they don't require set-in sleeves. I have done one. A wee sweater with a hoodie that required me to knit sleeves and then set them into the shoulders of the sweater.
I did the deed, blissfully unaware of how challenging it could be. Or maybe I was just lucky.

For the Slick Set in Sleeve Class, we had homework to create part of the back and front panel of a child's sweater:

In class, JC Briar guided us through
{LOVE the cables on her pullover - pattern is "Molly"}
creating a sleeve cap with short rows:
Spiffy, huh!?!
Yes, I had a "helper" taking photos for the blog. 

And it was clever, quite manageable, and I am tickled with the results!
After the "Slick Set-in Sleeves" class with JC Briar, I'm aware that there are multiple types of sleeves and I feel like I have some excellent tools to be able to create Slick Set-in Sleeves in most instances. I'm truly looking forward to taking on a bigger sweater (for Me) with set-in sleeves.

So - last week, I spent a lot of time in school.
Most of it for my Fiber Arts degree and one day with JC Briar.
It was a good week. It all exercised my brain some, but it was a pretty good week!
I have a lot more Fiber Arts classes in my future to achieve my degree.
I'm hoping there will be more classes with JC Briar too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Results of the first Mixed Media Homework attempt

As previously blogged in "What I learned in school today", I had some Mixed Media Homework to create, applying the coiling methods I'd learned in class.

And...here's what I created.

S'ok, laugh if you need to.
I had a good time making it, although I'd tweak it some on a 2nd try.

I used most of the coiling/wrapping stitches we'd been taught - excepting the Invisible stitch.
And the "coil" was already built-into my "core". I used Memory Wire.

Because just wrapping it would probably not go well - or stay wrapped (too slippery), I first wrapped the memory wire with masking tape (I wonder if the green faux-flower tape-stuff would work better?).
Please pardon the hand close-up. {jeez} 
I then wrapping the tape-wrapped-wire with leftover bits of a lovely variegated fiber I'd inherited from a friend. Sometimes a couple times 'round as I applied the "Lazy", "Eight", and "Button" Stitches.

So - I wrapped up my homework with crafty bits I already had around the house. We'll see what the teacher thinks.
And, yes, I'm planning on wearing it to school.
Have a good day....and....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What I learned in school today!

Ok, technically - it's what I learned in school earlier this week. {grin}

But it is fun and unusual and unexpected - and it tickles me to say "Look what I learned in school today!". And then I get to offer show-n-tell from my Mixed Media Fiber Arts class. {grin-er}
(And - No, it's not supposed to be anything...I was just practicing what I was learning).
I learned Coiling - or Wrapping techniques including the "Lazy Stitch", the {Figure}"Eight Stitch", the "Invisible Stitch", and the "Button Stitch".

I keep some of my hand-knit socks in it. 
And now I need to figure out what I will wrap with this newly learned skill to fulfill a homework requirement. A little mind boggling - I have homework. And...I have some pretty cool homework too!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today's Treadmill Antics

This morning Locat was kind enough to leave a comment on the "Exercise and the Type A Personality" blog post from Nov. 2011. {Hola, Locat - thanks for the comment!}

That comment, along with a Gryphon antic, inspired a minor update to that blog today. 
I am still walking on the treadmill whilst multi-tasking: reading, knitting, watching NetFlix on the clunky old PC monitor, and listening to podcasts. 

(Common Sense Safety Note - I haven't accidentally flung myself off the treadmill (yet) but my treadmill has a "kill switch" with a clip that I attach to my shirt to help keep me safe(ish). If I move back too far on the treadmill, step (fall) off, or lose my balance, the switch will cause the treadmill to stop automatically and I should avoid emulating the "Treadmill Toss" experience of Mythbuster's Adam Savage.
Granted, I'm not running on the treadmill and he was drunk-for-science and on the Treadmill to test vigorous exercise as a way to sober up, but you get my point. Let's multi-task safely!)

I have added to the treadmill multi-tasking repertoire: watching Video blogs. 

I don't have many in the watch-list just yet - mostly one. {grin}
As I've mentioned a few times before, I also use treadmill-time to watch the "Single Handed Knits" Video blog. Mel lives in Hawaii on Kauai and "takes" us with her to record at various places around the island so we can enjoy her company and the sounds and sights of her lovely island. I spent a few years of my childhood on Oahu so the Hawaii video-excursions with Mel carry a special meaning for me. {Thank you, Mel!}

Mel recently came to the mainland and appeared on The Knit Girllls Video Podcast (which was great fun) so it is my plan to add The Knit Girllls video-cast to my watch-list. 
The Knitmore Girls have also suggested a few video-podcasts but I need to go back to their show notes to track down their suggestions. 

So - do you-all have any video podcasts to suggest? 

So - Gryphon's Treadmill Antics this afternoon. {sigh}
As noted in the "Exercise and the Type A Personality, I usually store (hide) my knitting projects in bags to keep them safe (from Gryphon). 
I paused in my treadmill knitting setup today and foolishly left my in-progress{for years} "Einstein Coat" un-guarded. Yep, I returned to find Gryphon surveying his teeth-handiwork of separating the ball of yarn from the project. The ends were still wet with kitty-spit. {rolling my eyes sky-ward}

At least I was near the end of the ball and he left me a yarn tail long enough to splice to the new ball. 

The charming monster-cat came back later and started batting around a dangling yarn tail. 

I'm off to walk and see if I can make some headway on my wooly, speckled Einstein Coat. Oh - and I need to catch up on some of the Single Handed Knit 'casts too! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hola! How goes your New Year?

Greetings and Salutations!
Welcome to a New Year!

What have you-all been up to? Fun stuff, I hope.

My apologies for dropping off the face of the blog when I completed my pledge to blog daily through December. Were you-all inspired to travel to any stores/sites to shop? Was I successful in my December Vicarious Shopping campaign?
{wry grin}

So, what have I been up to the last couple of months (when I wasn't setting up blogs)?

  • Most recently, I have been finishing up some of my holiday to-do's. I finished and wove-in ends on a variety of fingerless Mitts for shipping and gifting. Some have been relegated to 2013 Christmas Gifts. {wry grin}  But I'll be ahead of the game next, uh, this year.
    (I have some pictures...I'll try to get 'em posted and you will be agog at the number of mitts created pretty much just in December. {Ok, well, I'm agog.})
  • I've fallen behind on video podcasts but it's kind of fun to be able to go through several all at one time...no waiting for my next "visit", as it were. I've been trying to catch up on Single Handed Knits - with a side journey over to The Knit Girllls to view Mel from SHK appearing on the Knit Girllls video podcast along with hosts Leslie ("You don't call me Les") and Laura ("LaLa") and another guest, Diane aka "Knitables" (?) from where I don't know (I'll try to track her down).
  • I have been listening to more audio podcasts (The Knitmore Girls, Cast On, Knitting Pipeline, CraftLit, and Writer's Almanac) although I'm still "living in the past" of most. {sigh}
  • In Nov./Dec., I was a bit more present on Twitter (Where are the kitty-pictures, you ask? Yep, check the tweets. {That's a bit of a pun if you stretch it some... Cats...birds. Birds tweet...? Ok, moving on.}).
  • I have walked on the Treadmill most every day but I did eat pretty much everything put in front of me the last two months (including some wicked-good baking I performed) so the weight-to-loss ratio is nil.
  • I suspended my home-study of Algebra the last two... oh -three weeks. (The New Year is streaking by quickly). I'm plotting to test out of math {again} for the Fiber Arts degree. Apparently the rest of my General Studies degree from ages ago stands but the math "expires" so I'll have to test out of it again or take some math classes. (By the way, I currently favor the Khan Academy for my Algebra refresher
    {It's ok, I thought of "Star Trek II - Wrath of..." too.} ;-)
  • I am being of more use to the Tucson Handweavers and Spinners guild (I'm working with the Raffle Basket co-chairs for the 2013 Fashion Show and Luncheon {Pssst - you don't have to be a guild-member to attend!!}) and have attended a couple of Weaving Study Group meetings (I feel like a High School kid sitting in on a University doctoral class - wow, these folks are talented!). 
  • As previously noted, I did spend quite a bit of time exploring the Arizona Unemployment system, benefits, One Stop employment support classes, and some time exploring college options.
  • The cats are feeling much more supervised. {wry grin}
  • I am doing some minor, part-time work for friends (for which I am profoundly grateful) that offers me hope that I can still focus on school, bring in some funds to offset costs, work around the school schedule, and be of some use to the kind folks utilizing my skills (they seem pleased thus far!). 
  • I have also been taking the Little Brother to a few eye Doctor appointments. He's doing very well and is busy in his life, work, and interests.
  • A kind friend has taken me to some University of Arizona sporting events and a stellar UofA Music School performance.
    I have to say, the UofA Woman's Basketball team is amazing. No waiting for the ball to arrive on one end of the court - they press and work to get the ball the full length of the court. It was a really good game!
  • I have not yet spent a great deal of time {ok, any time} happily "loitering" at my favored Yarn shops, but hope springs eternal. 

Ok, enough blathering updates. I'll sign off for now and plot some more blogs for the month. School starts soon and I'm very interested in the subjects and the school work-load.

Oh - and yes, I'm still smitten with The Piano Guys.
Here's a couple of their most recent videos.
The music is stellar and  the "MI" video is fun! (don't miss the out-takes at the end!!):

A little late, but still charming "We Three Kings":

Have a good day!!