Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Knitter's Life List

Remember awhile back, when I mentioned that I might be included in Gwen Steege's The Knitters Life List from Storey? And that there was a very cool sweepstakes with some fantastic prizes that I was not eligible to win, you know, because I was probably actually in the book (and in other Storey Books, including Knit One, Felt Too, which is in its umpteenth printing and still going like the Energizer Bunny?).

Well, look what arrived today:
 My own signed copy of The Knitter's Life List!  And what an amazing book it is! With techniques and tips, patterns, and 1001 inspirations from some pretty famous knitters. It's majorly overwhelming to be in the same book with the likes of Pam Allen, Debbie Bliss, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Lily Chin, Judith Durant, Melanie Falick, Kaffe Fassett, Jared Flood, Vickie Howell, Brandon Mably, Lucy Neatby, Kristin Nicholas, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Charlene Schurch, Amy Singer, Debbie Stoller, Meg Swanson, Barbara Walker, Sandi Wiseheart, and many many many more.
 I'm quoted in a couple of places (and since I didn't remember specifically what I said, I'm glad it wasn't something spectacularly stupid).

And a couple of my patterns are included, both from Knit One, Felt Too.

It's a gorgeous book, and I can't wait to curl up and just read.
Thanks Gwen, for including me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SAFF Workshops

There is still time to sign up for workshops and classes at SAFF, which will be held at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, NC, October 21-23.

I'm scrambling around, getting all of my workshop stuff done (printing handouts, gathering supplies and book giveaways) so I can mail them out early next week. It's too much to pack, and I wouldn't trust the airline to get the bag to Asheville with me (did I ever tell you how I flew to Burbank to tape a couple of HGTV shows, but my clothes went to San Francisco?).

Anyway, this is the entire workshop listing- as always, I wish I had time to take classes too.

Here are the classes I'm teaching at SAFF:

Friday 11:30am-3:30pm: Mitered Square Cuff. Openings available
Learn to knit mitered squares with worsted weight yarn and Size 5 needles. Use your mitered squares to make cuffs for mittens or socks (patterns for both included in the class handout).

Friday 4:00pm-6:00pm: Writing Patterns for Publication. Openings available
Learn about writing patterns, formatting, photography, and submitting your original designs.

 Saturday 8:30am-12:30pm: Fair Isle Design. Class full, but you can get on a waiting list
This is a half-day version of my full-day Fair Isle Design class. Use worksheet exercises to design your own toddler-sized Fair Isle hat which you can knit later.

Saturday 1:30pm-3:30pm: Knitting Tips and Tricks. Class Full
Learn tricks for fixing mistakes in Fair Isle knitting and cable work, put beads in your knitting with wire, knit back backwards and make bobbles, and lots of other great knitting time-savers.

Saturday 3:30pm-5:30pm: Knitting Tips and Tricks (Session 2- same as above). Openings available

Sunday 9:00am-4:00pm Nordic Christmas Stocking. Openings available.
Learn yarn wrangling as you knit a Nordic style Christmas stocking. No Fair Isle or sock knitting experience necessary (this pattern uses an Afterthought Heel- no short-rows). It is not likely that students will finish their stocking in class, but we'll have more than enough time to learn the basics, and knit the heel. There was an error in the homework listing for this class on the SAFF site. That error has been corrected. Students need to bring 2 balls of worsted weight yarn (highly contrasting colors) and Size 8 needles.

The great folks at Taunton have supplied books for class giveaways. I'll have copies of all 3 of my Taunton titles (I Heart Felt, The Big Book of Socks, and Fearless Fair Isle Knitting) to give away, one per class. I hope to see some of you there!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spindle Spun Mittens- Mock Cable Rib

I finished knitting a pair of mittens from the spindle spun and plied  Enchanted Forest yarn (Merino/Bamboo). I knew that they were going to be about as un-matching a pair as possible from the same yarn, but they turned out pretty anyway.
I did what I could to make sure that the darker yellow was prominent in both mittens, but beyond that, they are what they are- pretty mittens that do not look alike.

I did some playing with the ribbing though. One of the Interweave e-mail digests featured a no-cable-needle cable stitch that involved YOs and K2tog. I tried their version, and didn't like how it came out- the YO made a hole, and the whole effect was more lace than cable. So I experimented.

This is what I came up with. It looks cable-ish, there are no holes, and yet it's nicely elastic.

Here's the recipe:

Rnds 1-2:* K2, P2*, rep around
Rnd 3: *K 2 tog TBL, P 2*, rep around
Rnd 4: *Pick up and knit 1 st from the previous stitch, a row below the needle, K 1, P 2*, rep around
Rnds 5-7: *K 2, P2*, rep around.

Rep Rnds 3-7 until cuff is approx 1/4" less than desired length.
Rep Rnds 1-2

(I didn't try it, but I'll bet you could make the cable go the other direction by doing a regular K2tog on Rnd 3, and on Rnd 4, pick up the replacement stitch after the K1).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mostly Wordless Yarn Day

 Overdyed gray Romney. Self patterning roving.
 5.8 ozs, 204 yds

BFL- 1.8 ozs, 165 yds

Friday, September 23, 2011


 It's probably not good for your psyche (or restful sleep) to read three Dexter novels in a row. But I was behind, and the books were there, like instantly, on my Kindle, and I was powerless to resist.

That said, Dexter in the Dark is a little weird, even for Dexter. We're not just dealing with our feeling-less little Serial Killer and his favorite activities, we're also dealing with Moldy Babylonian Gods. OK, so they're not Babylonian- I just like that quote. But still... it's an odd installment.
 In Dexter by Design, Dex is married and home from his Paris honeymoon (and don't for one moment mistake the books for the TV series- things are not the same, nor do they end the same way). Dex finds himself dealing with a really strange performance artist.
 Cannibals, y'all. That's all I have to say about Dexter is Delicious.

The latest Dexter comes out next month. I've pre-ordered it, but I have to say that I'm a glad to take a break from our favorite killer for a bit. My brain needs a rest.
 I probably would never have tried Soulless, but Amazon had one of those cheapo, one-day Kindle deals on the book, and the reviews looked intriguing, so I gave it a shot. I'd never read any Steampunk, and I wasn't particularly interested in doing so, but the description made it seem like a cross between Jane Austen and Jules Verne, with a dash of Charlaine Harris thrown in. I am so glad that I ordered the book- Gail Carriger accomplished what Pride and Prejudice and Zombies tried very hard to do, but did not: This is an absolutely hilarious book of (Victorian) manners... with vampires and werewolves. Main character Alexia Tarabotti suffers from having a half-Italian, dead father, extreme height, advanced age (she's a 25 year old spinster), a regal nose, and an inability to keep her opinion to herself. Oh yeah, and she has no soul. She butts heads with Lord Conall Macoon, who happens to be Scottish. And a werewolf. The story had me chortling from beginning to end, though I will warn those who want their literary sex off-screen: these books are just a tad racy. Or maybe, they're just racy enough.
I haven't finished Changeless, but I'm enjoying it every bit as much as Soulless, and I have every intention of continuing with the series.

I'm not quite done listening to Son of Tarzan (the Kindle reads it out loud to me while I treadmill), but I have to say that the book would easily have been 1/3 shorter, if Tarzan had just been smart enough to ask Meriem to describe Korak. Lord Greystoke might have realized a bit sooner that ol' Korak #1wasn't  imaginary, and #2 resembled Tarzan himself more than just a little bit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Hotel South Dakota- the Kindle Edition- and the Nook Edition

It's Here!!!!!!!! Or to be more accurate, It's There!!!!!

The Hotel South Dakota. The Kindle version isn't linked to the Kindle versions of Funeral Food or Sex and Salmonella at the moment, but that'll be fixed soon.  And it'll be up for Nook probably by tomorrow.

CafePress items with the covers of all three books are available in the link to the upper right of this page. I have an HSD tee shirt, a beer glass, and fridge magnets coming. Once I get them, I'll do a magnet set giveaway with all three covers.

Once again, I want to thank Dr. Ryan Boettger and his students for the fantastic job they did in formatting the first three Tory Bauer mysteries for Kindle, and Abby Reilly for getting the files ready for the other platforms, and for handling all of the uploading. And I especially want to thank Curtis Taylor for the fantastic new covers!

The final three books in the series won't be available until next spring. They'll be sporting Curtis Taylor covers too. I can't wait!

Added in this afternoon: the Nook Edition is now available! Find it here!

Thursday Tab- The Ginghams. Sarah's Pet Shop

It's hard to get any cuter than The Ginghams.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Catching up slowly

As always, after an intense weekend trip (even one this close to home), it takes me a few days to decompress. Add to that, a new computer OS and a new Word processing program, and the need to prepare for SAFF in... omigod... less than a month... and you have a recipe for short posts. Or posts forgotten entirely.

I have been spinning a bit though, and since the wheel is out from NCFF, I've been remembering how efficient spinning on a wheel can be. And what nice, even yarn I make with it.

The upper skein is wool that I washed and dyed myself several years ago, and sent out to be made into self-patterning roving. It's spun thick on purpose, to match the other yarn made from the same wool. As I look at that picture, I see that I spoke a little prematurely about wheel-spun yarn being even, but still, it's a pretty and thick yarn, perfect for hats and mittens, and it matches the other skein very well. Oh, and it's 3.7ozs, and 103 yards of squoosh.

The lower skein is JL Yarnworks' (link in Stash Enhancers) BFL, which I bought at NCFF.  This is half of the roving all spun up, at 1.7 ozs and 138 yards. I've spun BFL before and I've enjoyed it, but this is the softest, most beautiful BFL I've ever touched. It spun like butter, and this fingering weight yarn is soft and even and beautiful. I'm not sure what I'll make with it (and the other skein, which is drying- I finished spinning and plying it last night), but I know several people who love things in the blue/green range, so it's not going to languish on the railing for very long. I have a feeling that I'll be winding it up asap.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NCFF 2011- The Last Bits

Yesterday was great, but exhausting. I made it home, and went to bed early, and left the rest of the recapping until today.

Like all Fiber Festivals, NCFF is run, organized, and kept on track and on time by a dedicated group of volunteers who spend an entire year getting this thing rolling, and then work through the whole weekend, with nary a moment to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
 Marty took over workshop scheduling, a gargantuan task. There were more classes and more classrooms and more workshops than ever, and she did a great job!
 Dianne spent most of the weekend at the info desk, dishing out info to any and all who needed it. I do wish I'd gotten pics of Brandy, Malissa, Kelly, Marie, Rick, Jean, Lorna, and all the others who did so much so that the rest of us could have such a wonderful weekend. My thanks go to all of them!
 I sort of broke my own moratorium, buying more fiber than I have in the last two years, but I simply could not resist this BFL from JL Yarnworks (link under Stash Enhancers). Jackie dyed this roving, and it's the softest, most beautiful BFL I've ever spun. She also designed (and sells) these great little hand-made tags. Not only is there room for the knitter's name, and info about the item itself, the back lists all of the washing and care options (you circle the relevant choices). It's a brilliant idea. Aleta VanKampen made the little crocheted beaded bag- it's made to hold the spinning oil bottle on the wheel. She gave it to me as a good luck talisman. I love it!
 My Mitered Square Cuff class went extremely well, with Ellen, McKe, and Corinne. Corinne used to go to my knitting group in Aberdeen, but she moved away a couple of years ago. I loved reconnecting.
 Remember that I entered a couple of my projects in the competition? Though it didn't win a prize, the rankings on my hooked sheep chair cushion were fine.
And I entered Cassy's Wedding Shawl.  You might also remember that I said that it had no chance of winning, any ribbons, and that the join was decidedly not invisible, which the judges would surely notice?
They did.