In which Aretha is making me scream and dance!

May 31, 2007

This morning I woke up with a slight headache (0y, knitnight at Close Knit’s sure gets rowdy at times), jumped into the shower, put up some fine soulful Aretha Franklin and screamed and danced to her “don’t play that song for me”.

Then shot some pics of the yarn I got in Colorado, poured me a cup of espresso with lotsa sugar and got ready for today’s blog entry”. And now I am all hyped up, cranking up the system cuz sister Franklin’s voice needs to be enjoyed in full force…Suck it to me, Aretha!!!

Now… get ready for some serious yarn pictures…

Shower of flowers Yarn Shop

Guess who I, besides my husband, visited in Denver, Co? Mary! And of course she had to take me to a yarnshop. We went to Showers of Flowers in Lakewood right on W. Colfax Avenue. I found some precious Colorado yarn over there..

From the brand Interlacements I got two skeins of Toasty Toes with a deep color of bleu and green. It made me think of peacock’s feathers:
Toasty toes bluetoasty toes green

Also some Interlacements, two red balls of Little Toes:
Interlacements Little toes

From the brand Mountain Colors, I chose two skeins of the prettiest pastel colored sock yarn:
mountain weaver's woolmountain weaver's sagebrush

I kept it ahem… pretty decent and acted civilized in Showers of Flowers, but had no idea what I was gett into once I got to Boulder, Co, where I visited a Yarn Walhalla called Shuttles Spindles and Skeins…

Weak in the presence of yarn beauty at Shuttles Spindles and Skeins

Last Saturday I hopped on the regional bus from downtown Denver to Boulder. I was very excited because I LOVE Boulder… I did a yarnshop search on http://www.maps.google.com, figured out how to get there and off I went.

The busride from Denver was mesmerizing. I was chatting like a little bird with the friendly busdriver who was telling me all about the Rocky Mountain range which we could see in the West. We were exchanging travel experiences and talked about the wondrous mountains and rock formation spots in the USA: Moab in Utah, Garden of the Gods in Co, Sedona in AZ, Yosemite in CA and Mount Helen and Mount Hood in OR to name a few.

Once in Boulder, the busdriver dropped me off at the Table Mesa Shopping Centre where Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins is located.

Let me tell you this: As soon I set foot in Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins, my heart rate went up, I lost all sense of inhibitations and ran around in circles screaming of joy.

The purchases you may wonder?

From the Brand Lonesome Stone, two skeins of 100% Alpaca. OMG, they are SO YUMMY!!! On the right, colorway CranBrule, on the left coloreay Seasons of Joy:
LoneSome Stone CranBruleLoneSome Stone Season of Joy

From the same brand, two of the most cutest skeins of Mountain Feet sock yarn, colorway Charcoal and Teal:
LoneSome Stone mountain feet

And finally from LoneSome Stone, another skein of Mountain Feet, only a bigger one and in colorway Shades of Plum:
Shades of Plum

And just when I thought I had everything my heart yearned for, this woman holds up a Lantern Moon basket in front of my face like a dangling carrot. I gaze at it, then roll my eyes at the lady and sighed: “Why do you do this to me???” I couldn’t resist and daydreamt of the cute skeins of yarn that would fit into this basket…:
Lantern Moon Yarn BasketPeek in the basket

Oy… What can I say? I am utterly weak in the presence of yarn beauty…

Now if you all excuse me, I am going to fill up my bathtub with skeins and balls of yarn, take off my clothes and soak in it…

Shades of Plumtoasty toes greenToasty toes bluePeek in the basketmountain weaver's woolmountain weaver's sagebrushLoneSome Stone mountain feetLoneSome Stone Season of JoyLoneSome Stone CranBruleInterlacements Little toesLoneSome StoneInterlacements

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A Tribute to Mary

May 29, 2007

Notes from the past: Pittsburgh, PA

“Get away from me with that thing! Can’t you see I am knitting!?!”

Mary S.

On a cold windy day in February 2006 , a friendship blossomed between a spunky lady called Mary and a timid dutch girl trying to find her way in the United States of America.

During this time I was slightly depressed because I so much missed my family and friends in the Netherlands. I missed drinking cappucino in a grand cafe with my girlfriends, I missed having lunch with my mom and I felt so incredbily loneley… Allthough I had made the choice to merry my sweet husband and live in the USA, at times I had a hard time adjusting. But then came Mary…

Impression of Mary:

shawlswirlwatchnailpolishkoigu
paislyglassesglass pendanthandbag

Mary’s ecclectic and colorful energy was like a fresh breeze of change in my grey and dormant world. Her swirly and caring energy could not have come at a better time.

After my husband explained to me in Washington D.C. what the english word “yarn” meant, I had outspoken the wish to learn how to knit, but did not know where to begin. Mary, who is a colleague of my husband’s, heard about my wish and appeared in my life with a pair of #7 Clover bamboo needles and a ball of black, yes black, light worsted weight 100% wool yarn.

There we were, in a room of the Renaissane Hotel in Pittsburgh PA, me the pupil making a slip knot, and casting on under the friendly watchfull eye of Mary. I was a bit nervous for I was afraid to make a mistake, but Mary’s voice was patiently friendly and soothingly caring and before I knew it, I was attempting my first knit stitches.

“Why don’t you try to hold the needles like this?”, Mary’s voice guided me. “Relax your hands a bit… yes, wrap the yarn that way around your needle… not too tight now, just a tiny bit looser… see, you are doing just fine”.

As she picked up some of her own knitting while still watching me closely, I was deeply concentrating and zoned into my very first rows of knit stitches. After a while, Mary took my work out of my hands, examined it closely then looked at me intensely and said: “Girl… you are a knitter”.

With those 5 words, spoken out loud by Mary, my journey as a Novice Knitter had commenced. Little did we both know that this was also a start of a sweet, colorful, sparkling friendship adorned with inspiring knitting sessions, and numerous yarnshop visits.

Mary, I bow before you and say thank you for being my friend, teaching and guiding me during my first steps into a world that is called knitting. Your patient and friendly manner of teaching has set a standard in my knitting ways which I always will bring forth. I am lucky to have had a teacher like you! And I am even more lucky to call you my friend.

Swatches!

I love love love swatching… when I buy a new ball of yarn I cannot wait to make a swatch and see how the yarn behaves in certain stitches.

For the past week, I have been knitting up swatches of 3 yarns in preparation of a post I want to make with regard to variegated yarns and how they behave in certain stitches.

Here a preview of the yarns that I am going to discuss:

Manos del Uruguay colorway #107
Manos Swatch

Cascade yarn Jewel colorway 890 (garnet)
cascade swatch

South West Trading Bamboo colorway Parrot 139

swt bamboo swatch

Tomorrow I am going to write about a fantasticly insane or should I say insanely fantastic needle case Mary put together… Here are some teasers:

needlecase tease 1
needlecase teaser 2

And I am going to write about the two yarnshops I visited in Denver and Boulder. Don’t miss out!


Take me Home to the Place I Belong

May 22, 2007

A trip to Denver, Colorado

I am always so nervous when I have to travel… My usually calm being is all messed up and I become this neurotic, antsy person. Do I have everything packed? Did I lock every window? Where’s my passport? Did I print out my flightschedule? Are the plants and flowers going to be fine? Is the house going to be fine? I drive myself crazy I tell ya…

Finally, I closed the door behind me and off I went to the airport to catch my flight to Denver, Colorado to meet my husband who is over there for business.Boarding Pass

The procedures at the airport make me even more nervous…especially when I have to go through security: Take shoes off, pull laptop out, take coat off, darn it, I hope they won’t take away my needles! Any liquids ma’am? No liquids, officer… only yarn and needles…

Once through security, I got myself a coffee, found a quiet area and pulled out a skein of Manos del Uruguay which I wanted to handwind into a centre pull ball in order to calm me down. There is something soothing about looking at yarn and feeling it sliding through my fingers…

yarncutter

I sat down in lotus position, draped the skein over my knees, and started winding ever so slowly untill I refound my usual calm being.

untwisted skein start centerpull ball Growing

By the time I had to board the gigantic aluminum bird, my ball of Manos del Uruguay looked tight, crisp and so ready to be casted on!

Time to board

My flight to Denver was last Sunday, May 20… I was not thrilled to travel for reasons described above. And besides that, I so love my house and I so love being ‘home’ in Oregon… The past two years have been quite challenging for me with regard to being ‘home’. You see, I am from the Netherlands and had left my friends and family behind to marry the Love of my Life and live in the United States of America.

It was sometimes confusing… where is my home, I would ask myself… In the Netherlands? Or in the United States of America? I would comfort myself by saying that “home” is where you are loved… “home” is within your heart…”home” is where you belong…

My flight was quick, I hastily jumped into a cab and could not wait to see my sweet husband. As I arrived in downtown Denver, there he was, waiting for me… We hugged each other tightly and guess what? It felt like home…

“Come on, baby”, he said to me smiling and took me by the hand, “let’s get a soda”. And as we walked away, I felt a delight in my whole being and nodded smiling while thinking, yes, right here with him is where I belong.

Me and my sweetheart

We got married in New York 2 years ago on May 19, 2005… and the day I arrived in Denver, May 20, 2007, we celebrated the first day of our 3rd year together…


WINNERS OF DENAEDIN AND EMANELLE ARE ANNOUNCED + Tutorial Fingerless Gloves

May 17, 2007

I am so happy to announce the winners of the Denaedin and Emanelle Luxurious Silk Beaded Fingerless Gloves:

CONGRATULATIONS RENNA WINNER OF DENAEDIN

CONGRATULATIONS BRANDY WINNER OF EMANELLE

THE WINNERS

I would like to thank every single person who was so kind to visit my blog and I would like to thank every single person who entered into the competition and/or left me a comment… you all have been so very kind!

I also promised the patterns for free. In this post I give you a picture tutorial on Denaedin. Please click on Denaedin to download the pattern:

Denaedin Glove

 

The picture tutorial on Emanelle will be posted shortly. Please click on Emanelle to download the pattern:

 

Emanelle Glove

 

In this entry you will find:

  1. Some very quick Cable Basics
  2. Tutorial on how to knit Denaedin
  3. Tweak the pattern!

Some very quick Cable Basics

This blog is dedicated to the novice knitter and all knitters who are interested in learning new stuff. I am a novice knitter myself and by no means an authority on knitting whatsoever. I am just an enthusiastic little novice knitter who would like to share her adventures.

Cabling is merely twisting of stitches. See the centre 6 stockinettestitches of this photo? They are kind of situated in between “a field” of purl stitches. Now those 6 centre stockinette stitches are your window of cable opportunity:

cstart yay a twist

So now that you know that cabling involves “twisting” of stitches, I am going to show you how the “twisting” is done. Also note that this twisiting need not to be done every single row. You twist on the right side of your work, then cruise for a few rows untill it is time to twist again.

In order to twist the stitches you will need to throw a cable needle in the mix. Cable needles come in different sizes and variations and look like this:

cable tools

It is all up to you whether you like to work with above mentioned cable needles. I prefer to work with the shortest circulair needle I can get:

my cable tool

Better yet, I prefer to work with no cable needle at all… but that I will save for another post, because I am afraid I will confuse the novice knitter!

Let us continue.

If the pattern says: “slip 3 stitches onto cable needle and leave at front, then k3 and then k3 from cable needle” you simply have to do the following:

Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle:
slip onto cneedle

And leave at front:
Leave in front

Now knit the next 3 stitches (just ignore those stitches who are so helplessly hanging from your cable needle):
Knit next 3

After you have knit those 3 stitches, your work should look like this:

after you k3

The next step feels “weird” at first because now you are actually going to make that twist we were talking about earlier. Those 3 helplessly hanging stitches are now going to be knit from your cable needle:
know k from cneedle

By doing so, you have made your first twist. Now put that cable needle away for a little bit untill it is time to use it again!
set cneedle away

Finish the row and gaze at your first twist!
yay a twist

Next you cruise several rows and worry about nothing!

easy cruising

Untill it is time to twist again and you repeat the steps with cable needle. There, that is all there is to it!

twist again!

For more cable tutorials go to:

Knittinghelp.com and watch Amy Finlay’s excellent tutorial video on cables!
You will find it in the “Advanced Technique” tab and then go to “decorative stitches”. I learned how to do cables from Amy’s video.

Tutorial on how to knit Denaedin

When I was a very very novice knitter I wanted to knit a fingerless glove. I scouted the internet of free patterns. The ones I found were all to intricate for me… And I was so afraid to work with double pointed needles! I needed a pattern that was knitted flat! Because the pattern that I came accross where too intricate for me, I decided to make one myself. I busted out my excell software, and started to calculate, knit, rip out, calculate again, knit again, rip again…

For several nights I was occupied with it untill I was completely satisfied. I have knit this pattern with several yarns: debblie bliss pure silk, Debbie Bliss Alpaca silk DK, artyarns beaded silk and Misti Alpaca DK.

I found out that basically any DK weigth yarn will do. Even sports weight is fine for this pattern allthough it will be a tiny bit bigger.

In my first pattern I made in total 7 cables. When I started working with Artyarns beaded silk, I was so afraid I would run out of yarn that I only made 6 cables… I discovered that I would have been just fine doing 7 cables because I had some leftover beaded silk yarn… oh well…
short and long

For the pattern please go to the pdf file. Next is a step by step picture tutorial to give you an insight and to show you that as a newbie knitter, you need not to be intimidated! Pick up your needles and knit Denaedin! It’s FUN!

Step 1: Cast on stitches and make ribbing for 6 rows:

step 1 ribbing

Step 2: The Cable Fun Commences! See beginning of this post on how to cable.

close up twist

All in all you make about 6 or 7 cables. It is all up to you how long you want your glove to be. Again, when I worked with the Artyarn’s beaded silk I made 6 cables. In this photo I made 7 cables in total:
repeat 6 times

Step 3: Almost there! Now make a 4 row ribbing and bind off in ribbing pattern. From the photo you can see that this glove is knitted from the bottom up. This means that you started on the bottom and worked all the way up to the top.

almost there!

Step 4: Seam that glove! Start to seam at the top of the glove. The seaming technique I used is called the mattress stitch.

Remember when you ribbed for 4 rows? That is your top. So start there. If you don’t know how to seam, go to knittinghelp.com and watch Amy Finlay’s excellent video tutorial on the mattress stitch. Scroll down her page untill you hit the “finishing” section and click on the mattress stitch!

top down seam

Stop after about 1 3/4 inches or 2 inches. It is all up to you when you stop. Then start seaming at the bottom of the glove:
start from bottom to seam
keep on seaming!

Keep on seaming untill you have a thumb opening of about 1 1/4 inches, but it is really up to you how big you want that thumb opening to be.

thumb opening

Now weave in the ends and you are done!
weave in ends1

done!

There! That is all there is to it! Now that wasn’t that hard, was it?

YAY completely done!

TWEAK THE PATTERN!

I encourage you to tweak the pattern! A pattern is just a guideline… you can do anything you want with it.

For instance if you want the glove to be longer, make more cables! If you think the ribbing is too short, make it longer! If you think it is too long, make it shorter!

It is all up to you how you want it…

This post has become longer than I intended it to be. Therefore I will post the step by step picture tutorial on Emanelle later this week.

Woooohooooo! I am soooo happy to share this with you all!!!

Happy knitting..!


Bursts of Laughter

May 15, 2007

For the past few days, early in the morning, I hear this soft giggling… And I always hear it when I bike pass this big fat flower bud:
giggle

Every day, the giggling would get louder and louder and then one day…it was a sweet burst of laughter!!!
laughtereven more bol

And look at this sweet little flower… awww:

red hood

Hey look… she’s got a little red hood… It’s Little Red Riding Hood!

rotkappchen

Did you know that the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood “is called “Roodkapje” in the Netherlands? And in Germany, it is called “Rotkappchen”. Isn’t she adorable?!?

A Plethora of Fingerless Gloves

For the past few days, I have been obsessed by knitting fingerless gloves…OBSESSED I tell ya…
littleblackglovemixredreddusty pinkbrightbluewhite

From upper left to upper right you see a black lacy glove, a sturdy pattern mixed red glove, then a bright red one with a fun cable.

From lower left to lower right you see a dusty pink Emanelle pattern glove, a bright blue Denaedin pattern glove and finally a white Emanelle pattern glove…

And guess what… all of the above patterns are going to be issued for free… Mercy me, this Novice Knitter LOVES them fingerless gloves!


WIN THESE LUXURIOUS FINGERLESS GLOVES!!!

May 9, 2007

Nancy wrote May 17:

FOR FREE PATTERN + PICTURE TUTORIAL PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Winners have just been announced and if you want to see the picture tutorial and download the FREE pattern click on the link below:

FREE PATTERN + PICTURE TUTORIAL

 

Feeling lucky? You can win one of these fabulous luxurious beaded silk fingerless gloves!!!!

D&E

It all started with these Two Sleeping Beauties, remember?

SleepingBeauties

And now they are all knitted up in patterns I wrote myself. The green one is called Denaedin (knitted up in a simple cable):

DenaedinSC

and the bright blue one is called Emanelle (knitted up in a plaited cable):

EmanellePL

What do I have to do to enter into this competition?

All you have to do is leave me a comment! Just say something like: “I like Denaedin and Emanelle!” or “I would love to win Emanelle / Denaedin” or “I don’t know what the fuzz is all about with Denaedin and Emanelle!”

Just say anything really, as long as you mention Denaedin and Emanelle. When leaving a comment, there’s this box where you have to state your e-mail so that I can get a hold of you when you do win. Your e-mail can only be viewed by me and I will treat it with confidentiality of course.

When will the winners be announced?

You have a week to comment. Closing date is Wednesday May 16 and the winner will be announced Thursday May 17.

There will be two winners; one will win Denaedin, the other will win Emanelle.

Hey, will you post the patterns?

YES, FOR FREE! Both patterns will be issued when the winners are announced on Thursday May 17!

Disclaimer: by no means I want to give the impression that I am the first person in the world who invented how to knit fingerless gloves and/or cables! As a novice knitter I am just very excited to have figured out by myself how to knit these gloves… and I just wanted to share! That’s all… Hope you enjoy, just like I am enjoying my journey as a Novice Knitter.

Spread the word!

See all entries on Denaedin and Emanelle:

Two Sleeping Beauties
I want it to last for an Eternity
Old Friends and New Friends Sweeten up my Life
Winners, Free Pattern and Picture Tutorial 


Roadtrip to Woodland Woolworks in Carlton

May 8, 2007

There I was with T, waiting for C to pick us up to go to Carlton, Oregon.

Carlton

As soon as C turned with her car into the street we were waiting, T said what I was thinking: “Oh my look at that sexy black Mercedes!” We both jumped in, picked up F along the way and off we went, me and three other passionate knitters sliding in a sexy shiny black carriage through Yamhill County Oregon on our way to Woodland Woolworks.

WoodlandWoolworks

Once we arrived, we meant business and we scattered throughout the huge Woodland Woolworks building. Skipping the spinners and weavers section, we jumped into the delicious walhalla for knitters: books, patterns, needles of all kinds of brands, yarn, accesoires, blocking tools and and and… so much more.

My heart rate went up, and I was ready do some damage! Oh mercy me, did I have FUN!
On advice of C, who is a fierce sock knitter I got me some Crystal Palace dpns:
crystalpalacedpn

Also some Addi Turbo Crochet hooks, which I had never seen before:
additurbocrochet

I got me some books, which were strongly recommended by some pro knitters over at KnittersReview:
books

And of course I got me some YARN! All Lace weight, two balls of Jaggerspun Zephyr and a hank of Grignasco Silk Merino:
jaggerspunzephyrsilkmerino

I also got some small size dpn Brittany needles, some 14″ Plymouth bamboo needles size 1, a Magnet Board, and some patterns. Boy, I went CRAZY.

After shopping we were very hungry and T guided us to this lovely diner:
lunch

Yummmm, I ordered a BLT. It was HUGE!
blt

On our way back home, I watched the beautiful countryside fly by and I gazed at the Coastal Mountain range to the West. F was navigating us, C drove steadily and T was talking about her Philosophy of Life, explaining to Know Thyself. The chitter chatter was lively, the energy uplifting. Oh what joy these passionate knitters gave me that day.

Thank you so much, you girls!
3friends

Denaedin and Emanelle are all knitted up!

I am very satisfied with the result… once Two Sleeping Beauties and now wide awake. Look at them…sigh:

D&E

And guess what? YOU CAN WIN THEM!!!!
Oh yes you read that well:

YOU CAN WIN THESE LOVELY LUXURIOUS 100% SILK GLOVES!!!!

Come back tomorrow and I fill you in with all the details!

All entries on Denaedin and Emanelle:

Two Sleeping Beauties

I want it to last for an Eternity

Progress Emanelle