Some Pretty Crochet

Today I decided to make a little PWT shawlette for myself.

I love this “Folio” yarn from Berroco Yarns and had a little bit of green left over from another project. I thought it would go nicely with some raspberry colored that I also had.

I made a swatch and did the calculations to figure out how big a shawlette I could make. Looks like this will be about 32 inches wide and 16 inches long at the point.

I’m going to add some beads to the next to last body row and to the border for some bling. This little shawlette will be more like a necklace than a shawl. I’ll show you the finished project tomorrow. I’m hoping to wear this to my class I am teaching or I may use it to demonstrate adding beads to our shawl projects.

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Playing with Triangles Class

Today was my Casual Crochet group at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. We had 8 people there, counting myself, there was lots of fun showing off finished projects and those that are still in progress.

Margie had one of her “Frida’s Flowers” afghans with her.  She is making 2, one in pastel colors and one in bright jewel tone colors. She had the bright one with her today. I just loved the black background motifs.

I also found out today that my class this Saturday has 3 students already. That means I have room for a few more students. If you are in the area and want to learn more than you thought there was to know about crocheting a top-down triangle shawl come join me for my “Playing with Triangles” class this Saturday.

The class starts at 12 noon and goes until 3 p.m. It will be 3 full hours of the basics and beyond of working triangle shawls with any yarn and hook combination that appeal to you. You can sign up for the class online at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website, or call or stop by the shop.

Speaking of classes. Today registration opened for the Chain Link – CGOA Conference in Chicago this July 26-29. You can sign up for classes and get your tickets for all the fun events. Online registration is open until July 20, 2017.

 

Tis the Season for Fiber Events

Ah summer-time! The best thing to me about summer is that there will be fiber events all over my region. This coming weekend will be the Estes Park Wool Market and September 9th & 10th is the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair in Nebraska.

Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair logo

I’ll be teaching 3 crochet classes and one injury prevention class at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair. Registration is now open at the event website. You can enroll in classes online or download a PDF registration form to use to enroll by mail.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat

Friday, September 9th I’ll be teaching “The Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat” class in the morning.

Art Science Spirals

I’ll be teaching “The Art and Science of Crochet Spirals”class Friday afternoon.

1st PWT back

Saturday, September 10th I’ll be teaching my “Playing with Triangles Shawl” class in the morning.

Dont let your Hobby Hurt

I’ll be teaching my “Don’t Let Your Hobby Hurt” class Saturday afternoon.

You can click on any of the class names above to go straight to the class information pages on the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair website. Or click here to go to the home page for their website.

If you don’t live in the area you might consider coming out to this event. Scotts Bluff is a beautiful area in Nebraska and there is a lot to do at the Fiber Fair as well as opportunities to take a fun tour of the Brown Sheep Company’s Yarn Mill.

All those Sizes!

One of the challenging things about designing garments is writing all the changes to a pattern for the various sizes. This particular task has been known to reduce otherwise sane designers to raving lunatics, yours truly included (and I love math).

Sparkling Lace Shrug - Annie's Publishing
Sparkling Lace Shrug – Annie’s Publishing

My “Sparkling Lace Shrug” that I designed for Crochet! Magazine was many hours of hair pulling and tears as I worked and re-worked the calculations. I learnt my lesson though.  I took a Pattern Grading class with Kim Guzman thru Crochetville a couple of years ago and it was a great investment in my business (as well as my sanity).

ClassPhoto

553745_4684103338287_44048893_nThe class is available again and enrollment is now. If you are an aspiring designer, or a designer that wants to take the fuss out of pattern grading here is your chance. Zip on over to Crochetville and sign up for the class.

You can watch a preview of what her class covers on YouTube just click here.

Kim helps you learn the methods for making your task much easier by using Excel spreadsheets to do the math for you. As well as explaining many of the sizing pit-falls that can snare the un-wary designer.

You will be very glad you invested the time and money, I know I am.

The New Routine

Seems like this last month has gone screaming by. I’ve been adjusting to my new routine with the boys going to school in town. We are starting our mornings bright and early, this past week we were up before the sun was and it will be trailing us more as the Autumn moves forward.

Outside Window

I’m still exploring my options for getting work done while I’m down off the mountain. One of my new routines is spending my Wednesdays from 10a – 1:30p at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe.

My little spot at the table.
My little spot at the table.

It is a very appropriate space for me to hang out, surrounded by yarn and inspiration, as well as the lovely company of the owner, Gail and her lovely “shop dog” Kit.

Shop Dog Kit (who doesn't like to sit still for photos)
Shop Dog Kit (who doesn’t like to sit still for photos)

 

Classes Corner
Classes Corner

Gail has the shop set up beautifully. Here is the class section, where there are samples of the various class projects for the myriad classes that will be taught this Fall at the shop.

Cuff Sample

I’m modeling my little wrister cuff that my students will be making this Saturday afternoon (September 13th, 1p-4p) in my Crochet Wristers class. The students will learn all the techniques they will need to make the wrister cuff and will go home with the pattern for my “Spiraling Crosses Gauntlet”.

Spiraling Xst Gauntlet

The Gauntlet was designed in Crystal Palace Yarns’ Sausalito sock yarn. I love this yarn, the gradual and subtle color changes make for interesting striping effects. There is still room in the class if you are in the area and want to join us. Just call the shop at (303) 678-8242 or stop by at 454 Main Street in Longmont, Colorado and they will get you signed up.

Today is chilly and wet,  so I’m hanging out at the Boulder Public Library. Not as quiet as I had hoped here, there is a big construction project underway, but it is warmer than sitting in my car. This might be an option later on as the school year goes along, but I don’t think I’ll be utilizing the library as a work place until the construction is done. I may do some investigating to see if I can find a corner in a friend’s office to rent for a few hours each day.

 

Russian Coninental Knitting

This year at the Knit and Crochet Show I was stretching my yarn crafting skills, so I decided to take a knitting class. Not only did I take a knitting class, but a knitting class with Galina Khmeleva.

Galina Khlmeleva

I was feeling a bit intimidated before heading to the class, a couple of my non-knitting crochet friends were saying “Whoa, your first knitting class and you are taking it with Galina?! You believe in jumping in the deep-end.” This did not help my nerves.

When I got to the class I was comforted to see that I wasn’t the only crocheter that had ventured into a knitting class. My friends Amy D. and Susan Lowman were there as well as Haley Zimmerman and 2 other crocheters. It was a well-filled class.

Galina started off the class introducing herself and her background with the needle-arts. I could tell that I was going to love the class, even if I didn’t remember anything. Galina had a warm and humorous approach to her subject and students that I found immediately engaging and re-assuring.

I had been concerned that I hadn’t even cast-on to knit for months. Fortunately Galina started us off with teaching her favorite cast on method. The hand-out for this was illustrations from the book she learnt from in Russian. The captions on the illustrations were in Russian. I can’t read them, but it is rather amusing to look at them.  Except for the very beginning of the cast-on, which created the slip knot, this method was very similar to the method I have learnt called the “sling-shot cast-on”.

Once we all had 15 stitches cast on, Galina walked us thru the steps of how to wrap the yarn on our left hand and hold the left needle (for all us righties in the room, I don’t know if we had any lefties as I was very focused on my knitting). Then she showed us how to knit the working yarn.

I swear it was like magic. For the very first time in my experience of knitting my hands didn’t begin to ache. No. Pain. At. All. I was thrilled. This method encourages one to keep the hands completely relaxed. I have always had difficulty with pain when knitting, and knew there had to be a way to do it that wouldn’t hurt.

Biggest problem all of us crocheters were having was that our left pointer finger kept wanting to creep up off the needle.  Galina would walk around the inside of the U-shape table and to almost every one of the crocheters she would say, “Finger down”.

Swatch from Galinas Class

I don’t have much to show for my tiny little swatch I made in the class. But I was very pleased with my progress. It will take many more hours of practice to develop any real proficiency with this method of knitting. Since my hands don’t hurt when I am knitting this way I might actually be able to put in the hours to improve.

My new Knitting Project

I’ve cast on 20 stitches and have been knitting a few rows each day. I’m still really pleased with this method of knitting. Best of all I now have a method of knitting I can recommend to knitters that are have hand-pain or problems when knitting.

I’m very glad I had the courage to take this class, and would highly recommend taking a class with Galina, especially to my knitting friends that are more skilled than I am. If you want to take a class with Galina and are too impatient to wait til next summer’s Knit & Crochet Show, you can check out her DVD “Orenberg Knitting: Knitting Gossamer Webs” available thru Interweave. Or visit her website: Skaska.com to find out her teaching schedule.

Vashti’s Magicial Tunisian Classes

This year at the Chain Link conference I decided to challenge myself and take classes that really stretched my yarn crafting boundaries.

My first 2 classes were on Thursday with the talented Vashti Braha. “Tunisian Eyelet Meshes: How to turn TSS into Lace” and “Tunisian Filet Lace: Skill Building Basics”.  I’ve always struggled with Tunisian crochet but thought that taking a class with Vashti could change that.

2 years ago I took her “All About Love Knots” class and finally felt I had a basic mastery of a stitch that had always mystified me. In fact Vashti made the love knot seem incredibly easy in that class, so I hoped for the same result taking Tunisian classes with her.

I was not disappointed.

Once again Vashti presented the work in such a way that it really made sense to me, and though my “Ah Ha!” moment took a little longer this time, by the end of each 3 hour class I felt confident in my ability to re-create the techniques she was showing us.

The only homework we had for either class was to review the Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS). I hadn’t really gotten a chance to do that and I’ve never been all that happy with my TSS fabric. Fortunately Vashti got us started with our class swatch doing TSS, and that helped.

My dear friend Jan was taking the class as well, and she was able to point out some simple tricks that improved my TSS, so I was ready to tackle the techniques that Vashti was introducing. I confess there was a little time there that I began to think Tunisian crochet and I were never going to make friends.

Vashtis Class Vest

One of the funniest moments in class happened when Vashti was talking about the lovely vest she was wearing. She told us that it was made with 1 ball each of 2 very expensive yarns.  She wasn’t sure how large a piece of fabric she was going to be able to make. So she made a length of fabric, then cut the armholes for the vest. The entire room gasped in tandem, and Vashti giggled. She assured us that it wasn’t as drastic as it sounds.

From this adventurous experiment was born the “Maze Vest” and the pattern is available in the 2014 Summer Issue of Interweave Crochet Magazine. You can see photos of the vest from the magazine and find out more info on Ravelry.com.

The afternoon class was  “Tunisian Filet Lace: Skill Building Basics”. It was really fun seeing all the ways Vashti had applied her ideas of using Tunisian style crochet to create traditional filet stitch patterns. She had loads of swatches to show us and some beautiful designs as well. Check out her “Aero” wrap.

I worked successfully on my swatch in class, but have to admit I’m not sure how I did it now. One of the best things about taking a class with Vashti though is that she always provides a good hand-out that helps jog my memory once I am re-covered from “conference brain” and I get a chance to sit down and play with the techniques again.

My Swatches, hooks and yarn from Vashti's class.
My Swatches, hooks and yarn from Vashti’s class.

Vashti very generously shared “Lotus Snacks” with her students, these were 80 yard balls of her new “Lotus” yarn from Designing Vashti. This yarn has a Z-twist making it ideal for crochet with terrific stitch definition.  The yarn comes in 14 colors and you can order it on Vashti’s Website. I ended up with 2 balls since I took 2 classes, I picked the “Rose Red” colorway. It was the most popular color in the class. I really liked the color as it is a cool red shading more into the violet spectrum than orange.

She also handed out a Tunisian hook in each class. These were provided by ChiaoGoo which was very kind of them. Vashti showed us a wonderful thing about Bamboo hooks is you can adjust the shape of the hook easily with an emery board if you want.

If you get an opportunity to take a class with Vashti I highly recommend doing so. She is a talented teacher who continues to explore the boundaries of crochet and share that with her students. 2015’s Chain Link Conference (aka The Knit & Crochet Show) will be held in San Diego, California July 22nd thru 26th and there will be lots of wonderful classes to take.