Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Rest of the Retreat

So to wrap up the Knit for Fun Retreat- my class schedule included a session with Ann Budd and she helped me with a couple projects I wasn't sure I should frog or I would be able to make some adjustments and save myself some re-knitting.  She complimented me on my finishing, and gave some pointers for making my seaming a bit tidier.  Ann is a great retreat hostess!  The photo I have of the two of us was a great one of her great, but me- not so much!
 One of the other classes I took was Meghan Fernandes' Warm Weather Knits.  Meghan co-runs Pom-Pom Magazine.  I can't wait to get this year's summer issue-we got a sneak peak during class.  Meghan asked everyone in the class to introduce themselves and say why they were taking the class. Attendees either lived in a warm climate and they wanted to be able to wear hand knits year round, or ladies that  lived in cold climates there were some with their own "internal heating" system, and wanted suggestions on yarn and garments that didn't use wool, so they could have year around knits as well.   Some of the things I learned in class was the importance of choosing the right fiber or fiber combination.  Plant fibers wick heat moisture away from the body, but you have to be careful about heavy/saggy fabrics.  She recommended blends of wool and cotton, silk, linen etc as this offsets the in-elasticity of the plant fibers. Also, as with the Boxy sweater drape is such a big factor in WWKs. Close fitting garments do not allow air to circulate between the body and the garment which is what causes us to overheat.  Also, the best summer patterns are those that do not require an under-layer cause you're hot already why add to it!  I really want to knit warm weather garments that are not sleeveless, or all over lace so I can wear them to work. 
We did a bit of yarn tasting and this was one of the best parts of the class.  Some of the yarns Meghan brought were one's I've used in the past like Shibui linen and rain, but there were some other new to me yarns like Berroco Corsica, Wool and the Gang Shiny Happy Cotton [whoa-this is a good one!] it's a cotton yarn that is bulky so it'd be great for a pullover or cardigan but at the same time soooo soft and light weight.  I fell in love with Quince and Company's Willet that I want to give it a try-so drapey.  She also emphasized the importance of using the right needles with the right yarn to alleviate the  frustration of having stitches slip off the needles or trying to deal with splitty yarn.  Unlike substituting wool yarns there is a bit more work involved if a pattern calls for wool and you want to substitute for a warm weather type yarn.  This is another time when a large gauge swatch is warranted, and maybe even a little math is what will make or break a project
The other class i took, sorry no photos, was Sivia Harding's on decorative mending.  We used duplicate stitching to cover up mistakes, blanket stitch and creating an armature to fill a hole.  We also learned how to make a knitted patch.  She provided an overview of textiles over the centuries and how people extended the life of clothing and other items.   There is a lot more that this class could cover, and she plans to do a second part but I'm not sure how that's going to be facilitated.  The bottom line of this class was that if it's an item you really love you can sorta mend it however you want.   Of course, you have to put some thought into making sure the repair you decide will be appropriate, but at the end of the day it's totally up to you.  While I won't be able to attend the Spring KFF Retreat next year since it will be in Maine, I hope to be able to do something like this again.  Our knitting guild is hosting Nicky Epstein in October, and Stitches South is supposed to be coming to Atlanta again in 2019, so  maybe  . .  .

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Learning from Joji

I'm finally sitting down and gathering my thoughts abiut what I learned last weekend.  The Knit for Fun Retreat was a great experience and I'm very glad I went.  I have to say that Joji is one of the nicest people I have ever met.  While we were waiting for breakfast on Sunday she joined me at the communal table in the lobby that had become my home away from home during my stay.  I was a little hesitant to engage in conversation as I wasn't sure if she wanted to have some quiet knitting time and a break from interacting with students.  We did exchange pleasantries, and eventually got to talking about her family and travels.  She talked about how much she and her family [she has 2 boys] and enjoy the outdoors, and how fortunate she feels to be able to visit the US and explore freely.  She spoke of how kindly she is always treated, and what a beautiful country "we" have, and she hopes to see more of it.  Her face lights up when she talks about her family-you can just feel the love.  I told her if she ever wanted to visit the N Georgia mountains, she and her family had an open invitation!  I also found out that she will be taking a break from teaching [not from designing], so I feel very fortunate to have meet her when I did and to have taken one of her classes.  She wants to spend more time with her family and focus on designing.  She was a truly delightful person and instructor-here's a bit of trivia; her prior profession was that of a physician!  Initially I wasn't going to take her Boxy class cause I figured I wouldn't get much out of it, and that the Boxy was not something I would knit.  I was among those who didn't think the Boxy would "fit"me or my style.  Boy, did Joji prove us wrong!  She told us that the Boxy design received a great deal of criticism when it was first published, and sometimes it wasn't very constructive or nice!  She said that she has always struggled with covering up her "problem" spots and it took an employer's recommendation of the boxy style to convince her that silhouette suited her, and the rest is history.   The Boxy definitely adds style and sophistication to one's wardrobe.
 Joji brought several samples for us to try on and we were able to see the sweaters on different bodies.  With the exception of a few ladies that needed a sweater in their actual size [most of what she brought were mediums] it was indeed a flattering style.  She discussed at great length the importance of ease and the difference between knitted ease and ease in sewn clothing.  In terms of the boxy style the more ease the more drape and flow, and of course, you have to be mindful using a yarn that will give this type of fabric.  She gifted a pattern of our choice so that we could dip our toes into the the boxy pond.  I picked Puntilla which has 12-15" of ease and an adorable lace edge at the bottom and cuffs.  I was able to try this sweater on in my size so I know I'm going to like it.  I went to the Frayed Knot in Savannah and purchased the yarn [hope to swatch this week!]  I got a new to me yarn Isager Bomulin a 65/35 cotton/linen blend.  I can't wait to add this to my warm weather knitting [more about Meghan Fernandez's class in another post!].

We talked about the difference between drape and weight and the importance of getting the right gauge, and that committing to knitting a boxy means there will be ALOT of knitting-you have been warned!  She also explained the importance of the neckline and hemline to create a flattering silhouette.  A rounded [high in front/long in back] rather than a straight hemline is actually more flattering for those who might be a bit bigger at the hips!  Other hacks shared include side vents and even rounded hems in front and back.   She also provided a formula for figuring out where the sweater would fall on your body so that you can make proper adjustments, or pattern choice.  What I found really interesting about the design of the sweater was that if the sleeves fit properly then the body can be as wide as you want it and you'll end up with a variety of effects depending upon how much ease and yarn choice.  I learned a lot more, but don't think I should share ALL of Joji's secrets!  I also bought her [and got it signed] latest collaboration with Veera Valimaki- Reflections Vol 5-there's so much in here I want to knit starting with this glacier tunic and separate ways.  Depending on the swatch I may use my Rowan Fine Tweed that has been languishing; both of these call for fingering weight merino.  I have 2 colors so it'll take some playing around to see what works best.

 I visited another yarn shop just outside of Savannah, Unwind, on my way home and bought another new to me warm weather yarn  Queensland United a cotton/wool blend.  Maybe I'll get the newest Pom Pom magazine co-run by Meghan Fernandes for additional inspiration.  I also got beads for another Joli pattern, April Showers, a shawl that I cast on a couple weeks ago.

Believe it or not there are warm weather knits that do have sleeves and do not require an additional garment underneath!  More on the rest of the retreat to come. . .

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fridays are for FOs and Flowers

I got these lovely flowers from Steve today at work-here's us 27 years ago-boy do we look young!  I have a FO too that is drying.  My Sunshine Coast by Heidi Kirrmaier.  I slipped it on before I wet blocked it and I think it's going to be just fine.  I knit it out of Seta Tweed which is 75% silk and 25% cotton.  It was steeply discounted at Cast on Cottage and I bought it over a year ago, but it took forever to find the right pattern.  I hope to blog about my purchases from last weeks knitting retreat this weekend.  I'm really inspired by what I learned from Joji Locatelli, Sivia Harding and Meghan Fernandes.  Maybe even post a photo of this actually ON me.  Happy Friday y'all!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sometimes Mondays- Reflections

. . .I had the opportunity to spend time over the last couple weeks with inspiring women both very familiar to me and total strangers.  I came away from both with unique memories and lasting impressions.  While these 2 weekends have lifted me up emotionally there is still, the heavy cloud of having to accept that there is a birth date this week of someone who is no longer here to celebrate.    I don't think the feeling of being kicked in the gut will every go away.  I plan to share details from my knitting retreat because after spending time with Joji Locatelli, both in class and individually, I learned alot about gratitude and humility.  PJ would have thought that was a great thing. More to come . . .

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Weekending-In Real Time

This weekend had a bit of an early start on Friday. I brought Sophie to the office after her grooming session and we left the office a bit early.  Friday night I managed to get a great photo of Sophie-the right angle in just the right light. 
 On Saturday we went to visit my Mom and we had a picnic at the park near her apartment so she could spend time with Sophie.  We've done this a few times and we always have a nice time.  It was a little nippy, but the blue skies and sunshine were hard to resist.  Not a great food photo, but the quiche was delicious, and we also had mimosas,  berries, and hot crossed buns.
My plan was to complete all my chores on Saturday, so I could have Sunday to relax and get some knitting done.  I got the afternoon prepping breakfast and lunch for next week, laundry and cleaning the apartment.  Saturday evening I started pulling out yarn so I could figure out what I was going to take with me to a conference I'm attending and working at Monday-Wednesday of this coming week.  I wanted something I could pick up and put down easily, and also knit on MARTA.  So many options!
I decided on the Lace Ribbon Scarf- 2008 Knitty!- I printed this pattern years ago, and I think it will be perfect.  I'm using some very old stash- Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Lux Merino Fine.  This yarn has such a lovely feel.
There's been other knitting too-Balise is now at the divide for the sleeves stage.  Knitting on size 3 fingering weight yarn is something new for me.  I'm loving it so far.

 I've also gotten to the cuff of one sleeve on my Pretty in Pink (Beckett).  This was on hold until I could try it on, and it fits perfect.  Now it's zooming along- I've done the neckline and will complete the other sleeve before I finish the body.  I have a few more inches to go on the body before I do the back and forth portion and the hemline.  I know by the time I finish it the weather will not be suitable for merino and cashmere, but it'll be ready for fall.
 I cast on Sunshine Coast.  I've had 10 skeins of Seta Tweed in my stash for about a year and have tried unsuccessfully to find a pattern that would work.  I think I'm on the right track.  Once I change t the longer needles I'll get a better photo.  Heidi Kirrmaier's instructions for the short rows at the collar are the best I've seen yet!  Since she gives a discount on buying multiple patterns, I've have 3 of her other patterns which I know won't disappoint.
There were also cocktails-right now I'm enjoying the porch swing.  It calls for bourbon, rose water, raspberry syrup and sweet tea.  My modifications are rose syrup, raspberry syrup and unsweetened tea- so good!
I hope your weekend no matter how you spent it was exactly what you wanted.  I'm looking forward to more of the lovely weather we had the last couple day-the pollen-not so much!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Whoosh-ing through March

I knew it had been a while since my last post, over a month!  Since then when I went to get my stitches out I ended up passing out from either the pain [which wasn't too much], or the anxiety of having the stitches out.  It was a "fun" day at the after hours care-not!.  I've managed to squeeze in a physical and had my eyes checked, and make a trip to see Andrew in DC.   I figured I might was well do a March in review post before its April.   I had a great time with Andrew, and hadn't realized that it had been almost 17 years since I had been to DC as a tourist.  It was a great weekend and Andrew is becoming quite the DC area host!  I had a late flight out of Atlanta and arrived at his place around 8 pm.  We hadn't planned a jam packed schedule, and since Saturday was not a "great" weather day, so we limited our outside time.  We were going to go to the Renwick Gallery, but when we arrived it was closed for an exhibit installation-definitely a place to visit next time.  We decided to walked from Pennsylvania Ave to Dupont Circle where I visited a LYS-Looped Yarns.  Such helpful folks, and I totally plan to visit them again next time I'm in DC.  Our next stop was for brunch- so good- complete with mimosas and belini's [no photos of any of these stops].

Our next visit was to the Hillwood Estate- this was such a neat place, and I hope to go back and tour the gardens.    Here are a few photos from Marjorie Merriweather Post's collection of French and Russian porcelains and "artifacts".  Such a fascinating lady!

Yes, these ARE Faberge eggs-goodness so much to look at.  We walked a different route back to the Metro and ended up passing several embassies and consulate homes which was pretty cool.  Next time I'm going to take a lot more photos.
 We decided to take a short break at Union Station-this is Andrew's stop when he commutes to work.
Once we were back at Andrew's apartment; there was knitting-I'm on the first sleeve of Beckett, and we weatched re-runs of The Office.  Cocoa needed some snuggle time with her Granny!

Andrew bought me a bottle of prosecco-what a thoughtful boy, and I showed him how to open it.
Sunday started with brunch at Scion and a carafe of mimosas!  This place was much better than Saturday's brunch location, and it will definitely be my go to place when we are in Silver Spring again.  It's just 2 stops from Andrew's apartment on the Metro.  
What better way to burn off brunch calories than exploring central DC.  Our fist stop was at the Smithsonian-I wanted to see Julia Child's kitchen.  They had a video playing of some of her demonstrations-she was such an amazing and funny person.

As we came around the corner I saw one of Mr. Roger's sweaters. It wasn't until after his death that I read somewhere that his mother made all his sweaters-so cool!  This sweater was amazing and such fine craftsmanship.

After the Smithsonian we walked along the Mall and past the Washington Memorial then onto the Lincoln Memorial.

 a rare Andrew photo!  The view of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
 There was a wreath laying at the Korean War Veterans Memorial-I had seen this memorial before in the evening, and wanted to make sure I got to see it in the daylight.  So moving.
 Next, we headed to the National Law Enforcement Officers memorial.  We visited this site in 2001, and sadly more names have been added since then.
Our last stop was to a pub across the street from Andrew's office.  This building is where he works and just to the left is Union Station.  We enjoyed a snack at the pub and a beverage before we headed back to Andrew's apartment.  I can't wait to come back and see some of the other things that DC has to offer.
I feel very blessed to have the chance to spend some time with Andrew, and hopefully it won't be too long before the next visit.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Weekend-slight setback

I had lots of plans for the weekend, but due to an encounter with a mandolin I'm finding typing, knitting, taking a shower a bit difficult, and everything else that requires my right ring finger.  I know  slowing down can be a good thing, but I wish there had been a less painful way to make that happen.  I'm not even sure how I'm going to dry my hair in the morning.

By Sunday evening I managed to get everything done including a bit of knitting.  Steve and I were able to check out a couple park areas on Saturday after our visit to after hours care for stitches.  We have a couple options to propose to the Guild board for WWKIP Day, so I hope to have the set by the end of the week.  We also explored an area of Atlanta that we've got on our short list for where we'd like to live.

The finger is doing fine and I'll spare you all the gory details.  I will say that compared to the last time I had stitches in my finger the way they numb the area to be stitched now is waaaay better than it used to be-- modern medicine is a great thing.  I hope you didn't experience too many set backs this weekend.