Monday, August 29, 2011

New Video Today - Slipper to Knit for Soldiers

This really does make up quickly, and yet is an attractive, warm comfortable slipper.  It's intended as part of our project to collect knits for soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan.  Here's the pattern.

If you want to bless our soldiers with knitted goodies, you can join this Yahoo Group, ForOurTroops, where we are collecting patterns and information on the project.  Ask to join, we'll approve you, and you can share your favorite patterns for the troops.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Machine Knitting Seminar in Austin, Texas

The Austin  machine knitting club, Knit Natters, is having a seminar in mid-October.  Our seminar is going to be Friday and Saturday, October 7th and 8th.  The seminar fee is only $30, if Barbara has your registration and check by September 15th.  That's our "early bird" rate.  Our limit on the seminar, based on the wonderful space we are using at Crystal Falls Baptist Church in Leander, is 35 people.

We sat down yesterday and planned the schedule for the two days.  One of the things that is rather special about our seminar is we're doing quite a bit of Passap teaching.  We'll start around 8:30 with breakfast, begin classes at 9, have lunch at the seminar, and finish around 4:30 each day. 

We are planning to have a swap meet and door prizes as well as teaching sessions.  We currently have four teachers on the schedule, and we decided on the classes by voting at club.  We may have to move a few things around, but here's the basic class lineup for Friday.:

Passap Lock Settings - What's with the mysterous letters on the Passap E6000 locks?  What is each of those combinations doing?  Barbara's going to lay this out for us in plain English!

Garter Bar Workshop - Did you know about all the terrific shortcuts that a garter bar makes possible?  I'll be showing how to increase, decrease, gather, turn cables, and flip the work (for garter and quaker stitch) using the garter bar.

Form Computer Workshop - The Passap E6000 has a very unusual and powerful charting system built right into the console - one that many people never use.  We're going to have a workshop and see how to use it for a child's sweater.

Thread Lace - Pat Tittizer does the most amazing show-it-and-explain it class on thread lace on the Japanese machines.  She uses thread lace for a number of things that you wouldn't even associate with lace, and has a marvelous variety of samples. 

Weaving - and, our very own Pat will also open up a world of possibilities with her amazing weaving samples and instructions for using Japanese machine knitting weaving techniques in unusual and innovative ways.

Passap Sock - me, again, doing the simple Passap sock that I love so much.  This one is fast, simple, and circular up to the ribbing.  It takes advantage of the Passap's double-bed advantages and makes crazy-swift work of the shortrowing part of the job.  Oh, and it has an interesting use of "industrial 2x2 rib."

Saturday is our "general interest" day.  We plan to include some very fun things and some things that are extremely useful for hand knitters.

Hands-On Seaming Session - Out come the samples and needles, and everyone can learn, stitch, and help her neighbor with Kitchener stitch, mattress stitch, and even Smiles and Frowns.  There's just no substitute for beautiful finishing and invisible seams!

Measuring Session - Our Pat has promised us her terrific handout on all the necessary measurements for knitting garments that fit.  The plan is to measure each other accurately.

Plarn - "Plarn" is plastic yarn.  It's free, it's recycled, it's colorful, and it has its own unique properties and uses.  Yes, you can recycle plastic into terrific projects!  Sara and Pat Tittizer have done this demo at our club and it is a huge favorite among our membership.

Introduction to Spinning - This is great fun - an actual hands-on drop spindle class!  Everyone gets a taste of spinning.

Sara's Fairies - Selected by Knit Natters acclamation, Sara's letting us end the day Saturday with her fairies.  Once in a while, we go right off the "normal" agenda and do something really unusual, and this is one of our club's favorite Knit Natters classes of all time.  Here's a photo of a tiny fairy from the last class.

How to Participate

To Register:  Before 9/15, send a check for $30 to Barbara Deike, 615 Deer Creek Lane, Leander, Texas 78641, and enclose a note indicating that you're registering for the seminar.  We'd like to know you name, contact information (including cell and email), how long you've been knitting, what machines you have, whether you'd like to join our Yahoo group, and which machine you'd choose if you had to be banished to a desert island.

Other Ways to Be Part of Our First Austin Seminar (and promote machine knitting)

  • Send a door prize, if you'd like your business to be promoted.
  • Tell folks in our area about the seminar (including hand knitters who might like to come Saturday only).
  • Come as a vendor!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Calling Chicago Knitters

I'll definitely be teaching on Sunday, September 18th, and Mary has sent out a survey to the Knittin' To It members asking what they want taught.  Please participate - I will use the survey to make the Chicago handouts and plan the day's demonstrations!  

I am actually teaching in Westmont, instead of Burr Ridge.  Shirley, the Treasurer, is working on an alternate location since it won't be in the club's usual spot.

Now, feel like weighing in on what makes a great seminar?  Sound off here in the comments!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Inspiration at: Yet Another Canadian Artisan

Isn't this beautiful? I put this trim around a sweater once, and love the lacy, wavy edges. Note that this one is very do-able with hand-tooling.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Seminar in Chicago

While I was out of town on vacation and checking emails, Knittin' To It emailed and asked me to teach in Chicago in September.

I actually dithered a few days, concerned about getting the necessary things done to teach a good seminar.  It felt especially daunting since I wouldn't be home again until this morning.  I asked Barbara if she could attend as my brilliant assistant, and after finding out about her schedule, Barbara let me know that she could go.  My husband and son told me very firmly that I ought to go because I want to go.  And, I've never been to Chicago, and have been wanting to see Chicago for years! 

I will be teaching at the Knittin' To It MK Club on Sunday, September 18, 2011, from 10 am to 4 pm in Burr Ridge, Illinois.  Burr Ridge is a suburb southwest of Chicago. 

The club will post the list of items I'm teaching at their website,  However, you'll need to wait a few days while we firm up the list by polling the members for desired demonstrations.

I understand there is no charge for club members, $25 for non-members. 

Look what Vanda did with Enchanted Edgings

Isn't this pretty?

My world of wool with pierced edge e. ....: Golfino tutorial

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What An Adventure

Maybe nobody will find this all that interesting, but I guess I'm writing it as much for myself as anyone.  We traveled to Los Angeles during the last couple weeks to attend my niece's wedding in Malibu, California.  We left Austin after work Wednesday, and after Steven dashed home from his summer school final exam and just threw ourselves into the car.  Steve didn't have any luggage in College Station, so he brought his clothes and toiletries in a big plastic bag and packed them into a suitcase as he rode in the back seat.

We had been so busy in the weeks before the trip that all the planning we did was get the flights and three nights of hotel reservations.

Our first flight was mostly empty, and the airport was also mostly empty with no wait at check-in or security.  Steven, who had pulled an all-nighter for his advanced O-chem final, slept on the plane.  We had a quick plane change in Phoenix and then arrived at LAX right on time and bewildered at the cool night air.  After all, we have had months of over 100 degree temperatures, and we could barely cope with 70 degrees.

We went directly to the car rental and then to the hotel, where we crashed quickly.  It was probably 1 a.m. here, 3 a.m. back in Texas.  I remember little except smacking my right forearm on a low  garment hook in the handicapped-conversed bathroom.  I was fumbling in the dark for a light switch.  I still have an ugly bruise the size of a silver dollar.

Thursday morning, we had a lovely hotel breakfast and then wandered off to find the family.  We moved to Huntington Beach, where we drove around and showed Steven the condo (although we didn't go inside, because we have a nice tenant).  It was a relaxing day.  We didn't get together with the family right away because they were off buying flowers for the wedding - the bride planned to do her own flowers.  The Sullivans hit the South Coast Plaza, where we bought Steven sneakers and Steve and I bought bought some clothes.

My sister Sharon said there was a lot of work to do for the wedding, though, so we volunteered to be wedding slaves.

We stayed in H.B. Thursday night, and as wedding helpers Friday, the three of us went to Christine's (the bride) apartment to do whatever she needed.  She needed folks to arrange flowers.  Christine had collected tall blue and aqua glass vases over a matter of months and had purchased hundreds of orchids and roses at the Los Angeles flower markets on Thursday.  We formed an assembly line, John, Steven, Maynard (Chris' daddy, my BIL) and me, putting orchids on a stick and then a wire so that the weight of the blossoms didn't break them, then putting them into arrangements in the big vases with a few roses, some sticks and moss, just as Christine planned.  They were beautiful.  Our Steven turned out to be the champion wirer.  A huge roll of floral tape later, we had about 45 table arrangements plus an assortment of other big bunches ready to go.  It all had to be on a U-Haul trailer at 4 p.m.  The guys with the U-Haul arrived - James, the groom, and his dad and brother - and we carried vases down the stairs and to the truck, then my hubby John and Maynard packed them into the truck, water and all, in boxes so they wouldn't tip over.

The bride and groom were completely overwhelmed and frazzled with worries about getting everything done.

Next we had a ridiculous long caravan along Pacific Coast Highway to gorgeous Malibu, where the vases had to be delivered to a building in the park.  Traffic was heavy.  We worried about  broken vases and broken orchids, but we only lost a couple of orchid stems.  No vases broke, and no water spilled.

After that, the bridal party had a rehearsal and we had a dinner date, so we split up. We ate in Calabasas with my newly-arrived older brother Bill and his two adult kids Michael and Michelle.  They had driven from Sacramento.  Bill's kids are very good-looking and charming, don't know how that could possibly have happened, and we hadn't seen them in ages - especially, we hadn't seen Mike since he was just a kiddo. My sibs mostly stopped getting together in groups when our parents passed away, and the distances involved are a big barrier.  We had a blast at dinner.  Steve and Mike totally hit it off, and starting talking music and gear.  John and Bill went into gadgets.  I was slurping on an old-fashioned chocolate milkshake at the 50's diner place we ate, and just getting a huge kick out of everyone, especially Michelle, who is an artist - the best kind, specializing in fashion.  We got to see her portfolio, truly lovely.  So much fun.  I have knitted socks for her before, but I need to turn her on to knits more.

We spent the night in an adorable suite in Westlake Village.  Steve has a college friend in W.V. and they went off the drive around and see the beach after dark.

Saturday was wedding day.  We got all dolled up and drove to Malibu.  John had a suit and tie, and Steve had a black tuxedo and cowboy boots.  Steve got tapped to help usher, and he enjoyed that.  The Pepperdine chapel is very lovely - small with huge walls of stained glass - and there was a string quartet doing classical favorites.  The services was a terrific, touching Christian service, performed by the high school pastor at Sharon and Maynard's church.

We repaired to the open tent at the park for a humongous party.  The families are large, and with friends, there were maybe 150 at the wedding.  There was a jazz band and DJ at the "tent," and we ate, drank, danced, chatted and partied.  For me it was like a huge family reunion.  At some point the expressions on the bride and groom switched to, "Wow!  We pulled it off!" and you could see them relax and have a great time.   We had mild temperatures, a light breeze, and amazing views of the ocean and coastline.

Unfortunately, all but the brownest among us got sunburned.  The top of the tent was supposed to be covered, but it wasn't, and we really got cooked.  I am fair and had red cheeks and a VERY red nose, but other people who had low-cut dresses are toasted in much more tender places than my schnozz.

I have never, ever been to a prettier wedding.  My sister and her husband have set the bar awfully high for the rest of us who have kids to marry off.  Steven says whenever he gets married, it will be entirely outdoors.  Hmm, the still unknown bride may have something to say.

The wedding was before lunch and the party ran until 6.  I had so much fun, I couldn't help thinking about the wedding feast to come in Heaven.  We helped only a little with cleanup and then went to Sharon and Maynard's hotel, the Casa Malibu - right on the water - and sat around and chatted with family, plus we saw the bride and groom off in the limo. I was cold, rolled in a blanket, out on the hotel patio facing the water, while other folks who don't live in Texas heat were in shirtsleeves.  Steve and Mike went after two huge buckets of fried chicken, since everyone was hungry all over again, and we ate with our fingers and decompressed from the completely successful party.  

Saturday night, we went back to the hotel in Westlake Village, and then on Sunday, went to see the Getty Museum with Bill and Michelle while Steve and Mike went to Venice Beach instead.  After hours of walking around in the museum complex and realizing that we couldn't possibly see it all in one day, I bought a big museum picture book to enjoy later.  We needed to drive to Fontana to see my other brother and his family, but we had no Steve and Mike.  We phoned them, and they had lost their car at Venice Beach and were still hiking around looking for it.  Eventually, everyone managed to get to Fontana, but a bit late, and we went to dinner (party of 13) with my brother Pat, his wife Gloria, his daughters Ashley and Heidi (who has a little toddler Riley and one on the way), Heidi's husband Chris, Pat's son Mark, plus our group of six.  Whew.  We ate mountains of food and had a good time.  And that was Sunday.

We spent Sunday night in Huntington Beach at a hotel Bill stayed at - but we didn't like it quite as much so it was a one-nighter.  We spent Monday morning with Bill, Mark and Michelle at Sharon and Maynard's house.  The boys hit the grocery store for healthy snacks and we sat around Sharon's place nibbling and talking about their crazy Sunday, which consisted of a dozen errands and getting the bride and groom to the airport for their honeymoon.

Bill and his kids headed back to Sacramento, and our next stop was back to Westlake Village to meet my other sister Karen and Jeff, their kids Branden and Ana, at a restaurant for dinner.   It's hard to describe the distances and traffic, but this was a couple of hours of driving and we were a little late since we hit a total clog.  The gridlock was so bad on Santa Monica Boulevard, where we got off for gasoline, that I got out of the car and looked at Tesla cars in the showroom while John was waiting for the cars to move!

Our whole vacation involved hours and hours of driving all over Southern California in a rented Charger that John got with Priceline.  Because we had that car and my hubby is such an intrepid driver, we got to see everybody and do everything we could squeeze into the schedule.

We had a great meal with Jeff et al, and then we stayed at an amazing place, the Westlake Village Inn, which Steven picked out on his Iphone in the car while we were driving here.  This place is amazing, rooms set up like a string of Italian villas.  It has two restaurants, a golf course, tennis, and pool, dozens of statues and fountains and long breezeways covered in bouganvillea and honeysuckle.

Jeff and Karen gave Steven another guitar and amp (a Fender!) and he tried it out in the hotel room.  He had it tuned and playing in five minutes, so we could call Karen on her cell so she could hear it.  Steven plays for hours and plays with friends - it's a huge outlet for him.

Next, we went back to Huntington Beach and hung out with the Zwaagstras (Sharon, Maynard, and Thomas).  We went to the street fair they have on Tuesdays, ate vendor food, shopped in all the cute booths, and then walked on the beach.

After that, we drove to San Bernardino and stayed with John's mom and sister.  They're doing great.  They recently put solar panels on the house that will provide enough juice for summer air conditioning.  San Bernardino is awfully run-down these days, though.  We went to see dear friends, washed all our clothes, went to see John's brother, and then on Friday night, Steven decided that he just had to see the Doors - well, the guitar player and keyboard artist along with a cover singer for Jim Morrison's lyrics.  That entailed a trip to Hollywood to the Sunset Strip where Stevie went to a bar and watched the show while we went to Griffith Observatory.  We liked the Observatory so much that we took Steven back the next morning before our flight back to Austin.

And now we're back in our routine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Niece's Wedding

I attend my niece's wedding in Malibu, California last weekend, and for now, I have a fun video that was recorded by the dance DJ at the reception party.  He was standing right by the dance floor, and if you look at the shots you'll see the very pretty open tent and the beautiful ocean-just-below-the-knoll park where the wedding was.

UPDATE:  I took down the embedded video because it was noisy and starts itself!  We'll have a link instead:  Video from the wedding reception of James and Christine Allen.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Essay about machine knitting - Angelika

This is a nice essay for hand knitters thinking about knitting machines:

Angelika's Yarn Store: What IS it about those knitting machines!

All Kinds of Updates

Watch this space, in about a week, for a new slipper for the soldiers.  I have the video all finished, but am having some uploading issues.  We've got to, once again, replace our DSL modem!  We have good internet for ordinary things like email or blogging, but not solid enough for streaming a video or uploading a big file.  This slipper takes only a few minutes and just a small amount of yarn, but it's quite a cutie.

Over at Yahoo Groups, Barbara is starting a group for knitting for the soldiers.  Watch for that, too.  A few of us are posting patterns to kick it off, and we are continuing to hope and pray for thousands of items for troops heading for cold Afghanistan.  Show the troops you care!

Little delay there, too - please pray for Barbara's daughter, Michelle, who is recovering from a major surgery.

I'm going to be out of pocket some of the next few days.  I have a fancy wedding to attend - my adorable niece's wedding, and am also spending some time with family.  I'll try and snap some pix for the blog, if anyone's curious, and put them up after the fact.

Inspiration: RHYTHM OF THE NEEDLES: Sweater From Grandma

RHYTHM OF THE NEEDLES: Sweater From Grandma

Monday, August 8, 2011

Video Tour of the Frank Fickett Scout Training and Service Center

I work for a Boy Scout council, Capitol Area Council in Central Texas, which has just moved into a new building.  Here is a video walk-through of the public areas of the new building.  It doesn't show our administrative offices, which is where I usually am during the day.