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2019 Best Of Show – LA County Fair September 19, 2019

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I was so happy to go to the fair yesterday and look through the DIY Studio display cases for what everyone submitted for this years competitions. I always try and do something unexpected, so I entered a beautiful “Ribbons and Bows” ivory pullover, a black and silver Boho Shawl, and three handwoven items, purse, shawl and scarf. Ribbons on all items including a “Pop Culture” pink one for the handwoven shawl. Pop Culture was the theme of the fair this year. It was a beautiful day, 81 degrees with a nice breeze and the aromas of all the fair food booths. We didn’t go for anything fried, but went for the chicken kabobs with veggies (delish!) and to top it off, a soft serve dish of Dole Pineapple ice cream. I don’t know how they made that, but it was tangy to the last spoon! Probably not on the diet though (sigh). When I get the items back home, I will rephotograph them better, but here is the Best Of Show one taken through the display glass. Please ignore the red hat – I think they over accessorized there. I am attaching a picture of the unadorned one too which I took right after I finished it. Love this one!

gold ribbon machine knitting hand manipulated lace sweater

Cream Ribbon Bows Sweater

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MK Seminar Soon – Dallas/Ft Worth Area, 28-29 Sep 2019 July 29, 2019

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I will be demonstrating machine knitting for the Dallas/Ft Worth Knitting Guild soon. They just opened registration here:

2019 Seminar Information

I will be bringing my garment samples for members to try on. Also, some new ones that I am working on the patterns for my Etsy shop. I am designing with a Space Age theme. Here is a quick peek….the Galaxy Top is done on the Bulky machine and the Robots on a Fine Gauge machine. And I have more….but you have to come to the Seminar to see them.

Feature Wall Of Yarn July 26, 2019

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We have done a remodel of our house. We used to have all browns in many shades, but we refreshed the whole house in Mid-Century Modern colors of white, gray and the new “graige” which is a mixture of gray and beige. Our front door is a feature color of Utah Blue, which is on the turquoise side of blue. Being the lover of all things yarny, I thought a feature wall in our living room/TV room could be helpful in cutting down the echo in our new tile and stone scape. Plus, it IS my house too, so I must have my beloved yarns surrounding me in a cocoon of heavenly softness. I started with the new color scheme that we have and pulled from my huge stash, all kinds of beautiful textures of many, many different yarns types: loopy, smooth, sparkly, brushed, roving, etc. I wanted the eye to go to the center in an infinity look, so I started with my darkest blacks, then transitioned to the blues, then grays, creams and finally, whites. I really love it and so does my husband who is not a fan of the “yarn all over the house” look. As we continue our home renovation, I will be getting a large, second floor studio and a small granny cottage underneath it. I will be able to have multiple knitting machines up, plus my weaving looms, sewing machine, serger and all things crafty. Truly My Blue Heaven!!

Yarn Wall

Project – The Boho Shawl July 17, 2019

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If you are like me, you have quite a large stash of beautiful yarns that are not enough to make anything large, but can be used as accents. Some are super thick, some are sparkly, some are slippery and some have large hand-tied features or pom-poms which wont knit on your machine. Here is a great way to use those gorgeous yarns, The Boho Shawl.

Boho Shawl Picture

Description: This is an easy project with the fantastic look of surface weaving. It is basically a rectangle 20” X 42”. But what you can do with that simple rectangle is unlimited when you use your creativity and imagination.

Bulky Machine – T-8

Yarn: Light worsted for base (#4 weight) + 4 or 5 coordinating novelty yarns such as eyelash, ribbon, fox tail, pom-pom or any other specialty yarn (a few ounces each). The one pictured here has a base of two strands of superwash wool sock yarn and these specialty yarns: Unknitted Nations Glitterati in Lime, Moda Dea Bowties in Lime color, Hobby Lobby Sassy Girl in Turquoise, Schoeller/Esslinger metallic Gold chain, Lighthouse Flashy (a reflective yarn from Herrschners) in Space Cadet Blue. Get wild with your choices.

Directions

Prepare specialty yarns for surface weaving and finishing tassels: Cut 20 strands, 16” long, of each novelty yarn and set aside for making 10 tassels on the cast on and cast off edges. Then cut 25 strands, 16” long for the surface weaving for inserting into the base as you knit the piece. This will be your initial “bank” of yarns for weaving in as you knit, but you might need to make more if you run out prior to completing your project. I made myself an 8” template for making these out of a piece of stiff card board, like from a used Post Office Priority Mail box.

With your base yarn, e-wrap 40 sts, knit 1 rw and then engage the #1 punchcard in the tuck pattern for the rest of the shawl. Knit to RC10.

Select 5 strands of your first novelty yarn, randomly space them across the knitting area and knit them through on your chosen needles. Then K 10 rws and select the next novelty yarn to add to the work. It is best to not used the same needles every time you are adding strands, but place them between the area that you put your last strands. So, again, randomly knit the second novelty yarns through your chosen needles and then knit another 10 rows.

Continue in this manner until the piece measures 42”, knitting the last 10 rws after weaving in your last randomly added strands.

Cast off using the Double Gate Peg method so it will match the original e-wrap cast on where both will be stretchy. No need to weave in ends, just add them to the tassel bundles which are made of a strand of all the base and novelty yarns. Add 10 tassels to each cast on and cast off edges, spacing them 4 stitches apart. To add some more pizazz, add beads to the tassels and knot them securely in the strands. They should be big enough to be seen. ALSO, some strands are so slippery, they can get pulled loose and make the base stitches run in the shawl, so after the work is knitted, you might want to check some of them and actually knot those slippery ones so they don’t pull out. You can test them to see what will happen when the shawl is worn. I found the ribbons, chains and some eyelashes will pull out easily, so I would recommend that you do an overhand knot to secure them. Another tip, when using ribbons, I had to hold them firmly to knit them into the first two rows of the 10 rows of knitting. If you don’t hold them, because of the way ribbons are made, they can get caught in the hooks of the needles. So, after you place them and knit them through initially, gather all the ends in your hand and hold on for the first two rows, then they will be OK, but may need the extra knotting. They are so pretty used in this shawl, but need this extra handling to secure them so they don’t pull out and cause trouble later. Learn from my experience here.

For a closure, overlap to fit and secure with a sparkly pin

Project – Child Size Pom-Pom Shawl July 17, 2019

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As promised, here is the Child Size version of my Boho Shawl. The base yarn was white 4-ply acrylic worsted (Lion Brand Pound Of Love) and the pom were from 1 skein of Red Hearts Pomp-A-Doodle. Any little girly-girl would love this.

Child's Pom-Pom Shawl

Description: Fun, easy and quick to do child’s shawl using the hand manipulated surface weaving technique.

Machine: Bulky, Tension = 8

Yarn: One skein Red Heart Pomp-A-Doodle
One skein #4 light worsted (I used Lion Brand Pound Of Love)

Overall size of shawl: 12” X 25” rectangle

Directions:

First, cut 8 strands of 4 Pom-Poms each and set aside. Those will be added to
the cast on and cast off edges at the end. Then, cut 15, 4 Pom-Pom strands
which will be added by hand later.

E-Wrap cast on 30 stitches, Knit 1 row and start a tuck stitch using the #1
Punchcard. Continue knitting the shawl in this tuck stitch.

Knit 10 rows. Select one strand of 4 pom-poms, fold in half to form a loop and then hand knit it through one of your knitted stitches. Do a random pattern of weaving in one 4 pom-pom strand every 10 rows of knitting.

Knit shawl to 159 rows, which should be about 25”. Cancel tuck, knit 1 row and cast off using a Double Gate Peg method so that it matches the elasticity of the e-wrapped cast on.

With the strands that you set aside at the beginning, fold in half and draw the loop through the cast on edge and then pull the poms through the loop to secure. Evenly space four strands across the edge. Then do the cast off edge the same way.

Place the shawl on the child and overlap the two top edges to fit snugly around the shoulders and secure with a sparkly barrette (barrette wont snag fabric).

Sunset In Costa Rica July 6, 2019

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Last night, a beautiful sunset graced us here in Costa Rica. This time of year, it is usually overcast or raining, so a sunset like this in the rainy season is a real treat. We got a picture, but sad to say, you had to be here to really see it live and in person to enjoy it in full measure.

Also, we have had a lot of activity at our bird feeding station with Kiskadees, gray and blue tanagers, robins, sergeant’s tanager (male is velvet black and neon orange/red), palm tanagers, red-collared tanagers (like the sergeant’s, but with a bright red collar, and more I cannot think of right now. AND I have a photo for you to show that it is not only birds who enjoy the bananas. We have a Variegated Squirrel and a Plumed Basilisk Lizard coming to check things out. I have a close up of the lizard on the gravel and one of him on the post of the bird feeder. He hangs out in our heliconia plants and as you can see, he is well camouflaged. I looked at him in the binoculars and he appears to be in shedding mode. Half of him is bright green with blue streaks in his plume and the other half is duller, his old skin. We have glimpsed him the last couple of years and apparently he has so far out foxed all the predators that might make a nice meal of him. Here, it is all about the food chain. When you see something new, it is here to feed on other things that were here last year. Then the next year, you see the next higher level of predator that might feed on it, and etc. etc. When a jaguar shows up, I think I will start to question why I am standing out in nature at all!!!

Photos of our Costa Rica House and Garden Paths June 29, 2019

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Some more photos from our Costa Rica house and pathways down our hill. Lots of vegetation and unexpected delights along the walking paths. The first photo is the North side of our house and the main entrance. Second photo is one of our coffee plants with green cherries, ripening slowly under shade from a tree. Then, some shots of our other walking paths and a close up of an unusual hibiscus flower. Lastly, a lovely rainbow over the Orosi Valley.

Dangerous Little Guy June 27, 2019

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This is, best that I can tell, the owl eye butterfly caterpiller. White body, about 3″ long, with a magenta stripe, black dots and all those gorgeous lime green brachioli. Now, everything here in Costa Rica has its defense systems: birds fly, insects bite and sting, and butterflies often camouflage their vulnerable states, but this guy is dangerously poisonous. We got a picture, but our gardener sent him to the happy hunting ground as he didn’t want to get stung badly while working on the flower beds. So, good news is we got a picture, bad news is we wont be getting an owl eye butterfly.

gusano

How To Determine Nap of Yarn May 5, 2019

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I was a demonstrator at the Carolina’s MK Guild this weekend and I got a follow-up question that may be of use to every machine knitter out there. It is concerning how to determine the nap of yarn when using a skein. The best way to knit is with the the smoother side of the yarn coming toward you and into the machine. To discover which end you have, gently run your fingers one way over the yarn, and then the other way over the yarn. There will be a slight difference. It takes a sensitive hand to determine which is which. But if you can’t decide, thread up one end and knit a sample. If you see it twisting into a coil on your tension mast, you got it wrong, so rethread from the other end and try again. The coiling should disappear and that is the right end to use. Generally, this rough/smooth texture is called the “nap”, like in velvet. The machine likes to knit with the smoother end, but will still knit from the other end too, but coiling will occur, so you don’t want to knit too fast when that happens or that coil can become a nasty knot when it hits your mast tension device.

Of course, if you knit from a cone, that should already be correctly positioned, so this is only for those using skeins or hanks and rewinding them into cakes or cones for machine knitting.

This is true for any machine, so that is why I am posting in all my groups, on this blog and

Ribbon Bow Sweater Finished April 11, 2019

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Here is my latest adventure in hand manipulated lace on the Bulky knitting machine, the Ribbon Bows Sweater. The green was my experiment which I posted earlier. I really loved the effect of ribbons with flowing tails, so I proceeded to create the sweater in my size (Large) and will wear to make sure it is a viable design. I used a double strand of Mary Lue’s “Solo” in a cream color (two cones needed) which made a light worsted weight yarn, Tension 8. For a different hem on the bottom, I did the wave stitch (I liked how it finished the ends of the bows in a curl). I will be demonstrating this wave stitch at my upcoming seminars. YES….I will be doing my final packing today to head up to San Francisco for a seminar with the Machine Knitting Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, 13 April. Although my studio is in the state of “Creative Chaos”, I still have a list of things an arm long to try out and I have to step over boxes and boxes of stuff that is awaiting the artist’s hand. I am living the dream…..