Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stitches South!!

Have I told you how much I love that Stitches now comes to Atlanta? Probably more times than you care to think about. I really do love that something that cool comes right here. I'm not sure I'd ever get to go if I had to travel and stay in a hotel. Yeah, I know, I went to that one camp, but it's just not the same these days.

Anyway, I signed up for six classes and enjoyed everyone of them. I learned some really cool stitch patterns and lots of other cool stuff. First class I took was Elongated Stitch Enchantment with Merike Saarniit. She's supposed to be coming out with a book soon (the book is definitely coming out, the question is how soon?) and we all need to get copies of it. It's going to be ubercool. Anyway, elongated stitches are stitches where you wrap the yarn around the needle more than one time and then do something with the longer stitch that produces. Most of the time, you carry it up your knitting and knit it a few rows up - sometimes in the same place you knit it and sometimes a few stitches to the left or right. Occasionally, you twist that stitch either alone or with other stitches. Sometimes, you wrap that long stitch around other stitches to create a pattern or texture. These crazy things can be done with one or two or more colors of yarn - the blue and purple thing is the sampler we made in that class.

Then I took Nupps: Bobble and Buds also from Merike. Nupp is pronounced like soup. Merike (prounounced like America) goes nuts if you pronounce it like pups. Anyway, the yellow/green is the sampler we did in that class. The green bobbles are called berries because there is no more than one stitch between them - normally there would be another row right above those but I ran out of time. I really like the wrapped stitches because they make such a terrific texture.

Betsy Hershberg taught the Bead Knitting Sampler class. It was all about how to get beads in your knitting and get them to stay where you want them and fit together the way you want them. That seems like such an easy thing to do, but I know that I wasn't happy when I knit the fish purse because the beads didn't want to do what I wanted them to do. Anyway, in the sampler, each row is a different technique for placing beads and several rows have two or more variations of the technique. Now I need to find a beaded project . . . but not another fish bag.

I know you are looking at this pink thing and thinking "That's just plain knitting and she took a class to do that - what is she, crazy?" And yes, you are right, it is just plain stockinette with a few rows of seed stitch, two rows of ribbing and a few yarn overs with k2togs. However, this is very special knitting. Normally, I knit from the left needle to the right needle with the stockinette side facing me. This swatch was knit entirely from the right needle to the left. I knit and purled everystitch on this backwards . . .

And the last class I took was called 3-2-1: Three 2 color patterns, One color at a time taught again by Merike Saarniit. If you look at the wrister (it's actually too small for anyone here's wrist but that's because I knit it on small needles) it looks like I've knit two colors on the same row in several places but I haven't. This is knit using estonian pattent and elongated stitches. I'm going to go back and make two full sized wristers using the same yarns because I think they are pretty.
Next year, we should all go to stitches or Sock Summit or SOAR or somewhere together.

Stitches Market

I'm not sure what there is in the world that is better than Stitches Market. Well, SAFF is great too, but they are definitely different. Thank goodness they are 6 months apart because if they were back to back, I couldn't handle it. I meant to take a picture of the market, but I forgot. You'll just have to enjoy pictures of the goodies I bought there instead.

Found this Socks that Rock sock yarn in the WEBS booth. I was actually buying some blue worsted that I used in a class (pics in another post) and grabbed this right by the register. I kinda liked the mix of colors and thought the girls might like socks made out of it. I haven't knit socks in quite a while and there are some new books out that I'd love to play with - and some patterns in the old books that I wanted to knit but haven't yet.

This software was recommended by one of the teachers - Merike Saarniit - for charting designs. It will let you put the design in in a chart and then it will write out the pattern in k1, p2 type notation or you can put in the notation and it will produce the chart. It handles cables and textural knitting as well as colorwork. I had such a tough time doing that red/black norwegian sweater in the other software and this was not expensive, so I bought it. I haven't used it yet, but maybe I'll go back and redo the sleeve charts for the norwegian sweater and finish the silly thing!

I bought this lovely merino/silk blend roving from Carolina Homespun - they had the most glorious color combos and it was priced quite reasonably. I spent quite a bit of time in that booth and quite a bit of money as well!

The lady who owns the company apparently has a sister who tats, so she keeps tatting stuff in the store as well as knitting, spinning, knotting, and pretty much everything else fiber related. So, I bought these tatting shuttles and thread.

Funny thing happened when I was looking at the shuttles. I was trying to decide which ones to get and the lady next to me was also looking at them. I was saying that when I got home, my two daughters would probably fight me for the wooden tatting shuttles - she recognized me and it turns out that she reads this blog! I never in a million years thought anyone actually read this blog - at least not more than once. She was nice and I asked her to post a comment on here so you could 'meet' her as well - hope she does!

I bought 3 gorgeous wood shuttles, two inexpensive plastic and a brass celtic shuttle and went back later for some thread. When I got home, the girls certainly didn't let me down - each one claimed one (or more) of the gorgeous tatting shuttles I found. I told them they could each have one. Miss S picked the larger diamondwood one and Miss M picked the smaller diamond wood one. I get the lovely exotic wood shuttle and the celtic shuttle. The plastic ones will just be around for whomever. (Sorry for the bad pics - the shuttles are much prettier in real life).

This is the softest, pure alpaca yarn that I have ever dug my fingers into. It was a present from Dena that arrived while Stitches was going on, so it gets posted in here too. I really need to find the perfect project for it and it's all for ME.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Besides museums, Seattle has yarns shops. And I had to fit in at least a few.
I went to Google maps and put in my hotel in Tukwila and asked for directions to a local yarn shop. And went crazy with excitement. The two things closest to me at just over a mile away were Cascade Yarns and Skacel. I didn't even know they had there own stores. Maybe they have an outlet store. Maybe I have gone to heaven without the dying. But no. It turns out that these are only major distribution centers and don't have stores. How could life be this cruel.

But Fred read in one of the tourist guides that All Points Yarn carried hand spun yarn by local spinners. A must see. I met the owner and two ladies crocheting. They didn't have hand spun yarn in just then but did have some alpaca they have done just for them - close enough. Many beautiful yarns for hand knitters as well as machine knitters. I bought one of the original patterns created by the owner - Around the World. And yes I have started it, but will add picture tomorrow. I do want some of his other crochet patterns but will have to wait.

I have ordered books from Acorn Street Shop over the years and they have always been so helpful and friendly over the phone. Turns out that the staff is just as great in person. A definite LYS if you are in or even just visiting Seattle.

And then it turned out that I just had to have some pink sock yarn. I decided that I could not live without getting some and I had to get it before Thursday. So I tried yet another LYS, The Knittery in Renton WA. On the morning that I stopped by, this store was filled with ladies around a table doing their thing. But when I said I needed pink sock yarn, I got lots of help. They showed me where the sock yarn was and helped by finding all that was pink. And laughed when I couldn't choose.

I did choose. But then I chose a different one. And then I picked different ones to choose from. Then I went back to the first one. Then I chose a different one. The pictures show the final six. I chose one of those. I had it rung up and it was put in the pretty pink bag. Which one do YOU think I chose? Which one would you have chosen?

Museum Hopping

We have gone to several museums while we have been here.

We went to the Coast Guard Museum of the Northwest. We learned about ships and lighthouses and sea stuff. All things that we found most fascinating but would probably bore most people.

We went to the Museum of Flight at Boeing. That was amazing. We got there right after radiation and stayed until the place closed. We saw maybe half of the museum and didn't even get close to the store. We went through a concorde sst (the seats are narrow and so is the aisle). We went through Air Force One (the very one that flew LBJ to Dallas on that fateful day among other flights). I got to exit the plan a la First Lady along President Fred. First dog Alf stayed at the hotel room and didn't get to deplane from Air Force One. I forgot my camera and so there are no photos showing are exploits.

We went to the Nordic Heritage Museum. I have ordered many books from them over the years. I never thought that I would have a chance to go through the museum. I was hoping that THEY would get their act together and I would get here in March. Why? Because in March they had knitting classes and cooking classes. But, They didn't get it all together and I didn't get here until April.

But we did go to the museum and see all of the displays. The first floor is the story of immigration from the nordic countries to Ballard Washington (where the museum is). Great dioramas of the dwellings in the old country, the voyage on the ship and then what they made for themselves here.
The next floor had rooms for logging, fishing, what they brought with them and what they created here.
The third floor was a room for each of the five countries (Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden). There were spinning wheels in all the nations and bobbin lace in most. The spinning wheel in Norway was so much like ours. See if you can identify it. And Fred thought it was great that in Sweden and Iceland the spinning wheels looked just like the traveling/portable ones that mom has.
We did have enough time to visit all three floors and the museum shop. They have an amazing amount of knitting books as well as cooking books, and just fun to read books. I did get myself a knitting book that has recipes in it. Unfortunately for all of you, they only had one copy of the book. Otherwise I would have gotten three of them. I will share with all of you. The name of the book? Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum. There are many designs I am hoping to make as well as several of the recipes. Anyone who wants to knit things for me or cook for me can borrow the book at once.
Next time, you guys need to come to Seattle with me and we can visit the museum and all of the yarn stores that I have found.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flowers Blooming

Spring has sprung down here - we've got all kinds of flowers blooming. First the rhododendrons - some are blooming some are getting ready too. My favorite are the pink ones in the front yard.

And, the roses are starting to bloom - here's a pink and a red.

Forget the name of this flower - but it's just barely a step up from a weed.

And the late blooming azaleas are out - we're nearing the end of the azaleas now.

I think that Dena sent me this iris, but wouldn't swear to it - not exactly sure where I got it but it was a gift from someone.

Ground Orchids

A flower from one of Miss S's bouquets - she got flowers after every performance - lots of roses, some orchids, a sunflower and this strange spidery one (fitting hunh?).

The Web is Down . . .

Sad to say that Charlotte's Web's Atlanta run ended Sunday afternoon. It was an unqualified hit and the stars were all wonderful. The drawing was held and the spiders went to new homes.

Here's a pic of Miss S and some of her little fans - they lined up to see her after the shows. On Saturday and Sunday they started asking for her autograph - it was too cute. The little girl in the lovely blue dress told her "I didn't like the scene where you died - it made me sad."

Here are the last two spiders I knit - must have knit at least a dozen of the little ones and four of the big ones. I think I'm completely done knitting spiders - that's enough for a very long time anyway. But here are a couple of little piggies that I knit as gifts for people - have two more of these to knit before I quit pig knitting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

OMG They are REAL

We have discovered many things during our stay here in Seattle. Most of these discoveries have been while we have been keeping ourselves amused so we don't well on why we are here.

We have learned many things during our stay here as well. We have learned that Seattle is hillier than San Francisco. And that the hills are extremely steep. Both going up and going down.

We have learned that there are way too many people and cars here for us. Although we are enjoying our stay, we will be glad to be back home. Teresa can have the traffic (it is so reminiscent of Atlanta).

There are, of course, many benefits of being in a population center. We have seen amazing museums and parks and sights. We have been to the Coast Guard Museum of the NorthWest and the Nordic Heritage Museum. You certainly won't find things like that in podunkville. But the traffic.

We have been walking here and there. Many of the here and there have been on river greenways that go under the roads and under the railroads. Alf has freaked out since the very first one. He is jumpy and skittish and extremely anxious to get out of there. And he is most reluctant to go into one of these underpasses. He doesn't like them in a car, he doesn't like them on foot.

Well, we finally discovered why he is so anxious about these places.

Do you remember the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. They didn't like to go over the bridge because a troll lived beneath it.

Now imagine you are a very tasty, extremely cute white fuzzy dog walking underneath the bridge.

Yes, we found the troll that lives under the bridges. He is real. Since we actually found one, we can only assume that the rest are just as real. Poor Alf. It will be a case of sacrificing our faithful friend as we run for safety.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kubota Gardens

We were out looking for a new park to walk through. We never did find it so we decided to go and find Kubota Gardens. We weren't sure exactly what it was because we hadn't seen it in any of the tourist literature.

But we had seen a sign out on the interstate that said tourist spots at that exit. Of course we weren't on the interstate and we couldn't remember which exit. Oh and our gps didn't have the gardens in its database (old gps). And we didn't know the address.

So our choices were 1) ask for directions or 2) give up and go back to the hotel or 3) drive around thinking it would magically just show up in front of us. Since I had some idea of where we were and a vague idea of where the gardens were and most especially because Fred was driving; we chose option 3.

We were at the point where we were convinced that we were definitely not lost merely unsure of where we were and that we were probably going in the wrong direction for finding anything. After discussing our situation for another mile or two we decided to turn around. Fred chose to turn around in what turned out to be the parking lot of the Kubota Gardens. How serendipitous.

This is an amazing place. Very large and very serene. Calming. Amazing plants that I have no idea what they are. We did see countless varieties of japanese maples. And so many bridges and waterfalls and ponds both big and small. And so many shades of red flowers and blooms.

You will have to look closely at the photos in order to see what we saw. We saw a tree with a large base and a super gnarly top. The we saw a tree that was either growing horizontally out towards a pond and then another 90 degree turn down into the pond or else it came out of the pond and turned 90 degrees away. We never figured out which way was which but we did take a picture so that you could figure it out.

We found a neat witchy wood that would make an excellent location for Hansel and Gretel or some other spooky walking through the woods movie scene. We also have seen many many trees here that have really cool curvey branches. The branches just swoop in perfect curves. I never have my camera with me when we see these trees but this time we saw one and I got a sort of picture. The tree was buried away so you have to look through the branches of another tree to see it. Any idea what this tree is.