Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teaching Engagements

I've put off updating the list of workshops on my website because I'm waiting on confirmation on some. But, in the meantime, here's a list of when and where I expect to be teaching this year.
I hope you see you there!

February 12: Rumplestiltskin Yarns, Sayville, New York
March 4 and 5: The Northern Texas Knitting Guild, Arlington, Texas
April 30: My Sister Knits, Fort Collins, Colorado
May 14: My Sister Knits, Fort Collins, Colorado
July 28–31: Sock Summit 2011, Portland, Oregon
September 16: Brown Sheep Company, Mitchell, Nebraska
November 2–6: Interweave Knitting Lab, San Mateo, California
November 17–20: Knitter’s Review Fall Retreat, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Must be Nuts

Several months ago I purchased some Ashland Bay 100% merino fleece to spin. I had no idea of how much I'd need for a sweater so I decided to get the entire two-and-a-half-pound ball (better too much than too little). The photo below doesn't do the colors justice--it's a luscious blend of olive and brown with highlights of yellow, teal, and magenta.

I haven't spun since October, so a few days ago I decided to take a break from editing and see if my fingers remembered how. After a half hour so so, I was back into the swing of it and remembered just how much I enjoy spinning. About 5 hours later, I had a full bobbin of reasonably smooth singles.

Now I'm all excited to turn these singles into a 3-ply yarn that I will use to knit a sweater for MYSELF. I figure that if I announce my intentions, I'll follow through with them. To keep things on track, I'm going to announce a deadline, too.

I hereby commit to spinning enough yarn for a sweater and to knit that sweater by June 1, 2011.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beating the Odds

Last weekend I taught a toe-up sock workshop at Rumplestiltskin Yarns in Sayville, New York. Sayville is on Long Island, so it's one of those "you can't get there from here" situations (read that: no direct flights) from  Denver, Colorado. I had to take two planes to get there and three to get home two days later. Given the dreadful weather the whole country has experienced this winter, I'd been pretty certain that I'd miss one of the connections. I packed extra yarn just in case. But despite the odds, everything went smoothly and made all five flights, and got some good exercise running through airports in the process.

If you ever find yourself in Sayville, be sure to check out Rumplestiltskin Yarns. The owners, Angela and Vincent (Vinnie) D'Aguanno, have the yarn shop business all figured out. It's a comfortable, homey shop that offers an incredible list of classes (they teach 300 students per month). Vinnie likes to spin in the bay window out front and sells his handspun yarn in the shop (there was only one gorgeous skein left when I got there and I'm still kicking myself for not buying it).

I was there to teach the first day of their annual weekend workshop. When I arrived, the tables were set with flowers, Vinnie's homemade cookies, candies, and project bags for each of the 30 students. The bags contained everything needed for the classes, down to the needles and markers, as well as a copy of Knitted Gifts or Getting Started Knitting Socks. Vinnie (that's him at the end of the table), who is also a gourmet cook, provided a delicious lunch of salads, wraps, berry-infused seltzer, and the most delicious apple tart I've ever tasted.

The students were friendly, eager, and engaging (I think they're a reflection of the shop) and the class went well. Everyone learned all of the techniques necessary to knit a sock from the toe up and left prepared to knit them in a variety of sizes and gauges. I'm now preparing to teach the same workshop and host a knit-along in Arlington, Texas, next month.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

Today is my father’s 90th birthday! Under normal circumstances 90 is a remarkable milestone but in my father’s case, it’s miraculous. He had a mishap with another bicyclist last October and ended up with 8 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He was in the hospital for four weeks hooked up to drains, drips, and oxygen. There were many times when we didn’t think he’d make it. And there were many more times when he didn’t want to make it. But all the years of bicycling and skiing paid off and he has made a full recovery in less than 4 months.
To celebrate, he tried skiing yesterday. Here he is, putting on his skis.

He did great and he had so much fun that when he stopped for lunch, he bought a season pass! That’s it hanging around his neck. Not to take away any of his glory, but I do want to mention that he still wears the ski sweater I knitted for him about 30 years ago.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why I’m a Spoiled Brat #13

One of the many perks of my freelance life is that I get to spend days swatching for upcoming projects. I’m currently under contract for a top-secret book project and for a top-secret sock project. I spent the better part of the last two days swatching colorwork patterns for the book project. Today, I turned my attention to the sock.

As I’ve swatched different stitch patterns, I’ve been contemplating the pleasures of a fine set of needles. For the past couple of years, I’ve collected Signature needles as my budget allows and I am now the happy owner of four sets for sock knitting: size 2.25 mm, 2.5 mm, 2.75 mm, and 3 mm. I like to knit tight and the sharp points on these needles makes easy work of even twisted and traveling stitches. In addition to being made of lightweight but strong metal, the brilliant people at Signature Needle Arts chose to make each size a different color. I wish you could see me grin as I type this—not only are they the coolest colors, it is impossible to confuse the needles!

If owning a broad range of sizes of double-point Signature needles doesn’t qualify me for spoildness, the surprise that arrived in my mailbox last week certainly will. About a year ago I sent an autographed copy of Getting Started Knitting Socks to Cathy Bothe, owner of Signature Needle Arts. In return, she sent me one of the new circular needles—this one is a 40” size U.S. 3 (3.25 mm). I can use it with the the magic loop method for my next pair of socks!