Friday, September 16, 2016

a Drop Dead Easy Knits video + GIVEAWAY

Presenting our book trailer!
 My co-authors,Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops and Mary Lou Egan and I could not be more excited that the book we've been working on for the past year  DROP DEAD EASY KNITS will be out in the wild this week.
In the spirit of the book, which is all about enjoyable but smart knitting- things you can knit while sitting around with friends, or in meetings, or on trains, or while watching the sports practices/rehearsals/schoolboard meetings or waits in the carpool pickup that come our way...stylish but not requiring isolation to follow the pattern
We present this video with a few of our favorite knitting (and life) tips.
And a peek at some of the 28 wonderful projects in the book.

 signed by all 3 of us 

Leave a comment below, by midnight September 22nd,  pacific US time, letting us know which of the tips in the video is your favorite. 

We can't wait to hear from you.  Tips up!

Book Launch 
 Thursday September 22nd at Fibre Space in Old Town Alexandria VA on Thursday evening, 
with classes from all three of us the next day, details here, please join us! Kirsten will be teaching one of my fave projects, the Short Beach Shawl, shown below, and modeled by me in the video. I'll be teaching a Ten Tips & tricks Photo Class , guaranteed fun. Mary Lou will be running a drop in Finger Puppet Bar, so bring your littles, or , um, make some adult puppets happen. We won't judge!
(but sign up soon, these are almost sold out)

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

fiber college bound:sept post 7

Heading north tomorrow! I'm recycling this image from a couple of years ago, of the house I stay at while teaching at Fiber College of Maine in Searsport. I suspect the few days we are there each year is the only time freshly dyed skeins of yarn hang from the trees. It adds something, right?

I'm hoping not to over schedule myself, for a change, and spend some time on that porch with my talented roomies.  If you are free this weekend, there're still classes with space in them. And Ellen Mason's prepping her dyes, so anyone can play in her dye tent. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

the ssk and k2tog memory challenge solved: sept post 6

Thank you for the comments yesterday. My  problem is solved, and then some. First this:
Wilderness Scarves in Tahki Spencer yarn, shot by yours truly a few months ago for their new lookbook, Knit Country.  Pattern here or on Ravelry here . Location and styling (and fab vintage coat) credit to  Karin Strom.  This bulky felted wool tape style yarn looked like it'd be fun to knit quickly--and these scarves are definitely fun to wear . what? wouldn't you try on the samples at a photo shoot???)

But back to the SSK and K2tog question, in which I wondered how others recall which way the SSK leans and which way the K2tog. 

So many excellent answers ! Thank you!  It's a wealth of ideas and I'm thrilled.  The three I am pretty sure I can retain:

Manise said  "Lean to the right- k2tog -right leaning
Skip to the left- ssk- left leaning

 A clue in the spelling/words. I can do that!

Helen said "...your needle is pointing in the direction of the slant. Towards the right with k2tog and left with ssk"
Mechanical reasoning--duh! This is the way I think, and I'm astounded I never quite, ummm, noticed.

Susan from Katonah  really tickled me with her method when she said "The upright on a 2 leans right, as does a k2tog. The upright on an S leans left, as does a ssk. Thats my trick. I write 2s and Ss in the air and mutter. I suspect it scares people in coffee shops."
I love it-- typography to the rescue! I can totally do this. I hope to be frightening people in coffee shops soon, right with her.

And most interestingly, Denise from Lost City Knits mentioned this,  a question I was thinking but didn't even get around to to posting outloud
"And if you want to use the same stitches that Shetlanders use (SSK was invented by Barbara G Walker and is therefore fairly new) instead of the SSK use a knit 2 together through the back loop or a slip, knit, psso."
I grew up knitting without an SSK--it was always one of the methods Denise mentioned. When I encountered the SSK in the last decade, I just thought maybe my family didn't knit that way, so had never passed it on.  Case closed! 

PS I am still using an old Blogger platform that doesn't allow me to hit reply to most comments, any address or link is removed --so please don't think I'm rude. I appreciate all your comments :-)

Monday, September 05, 2016

question for you: ssk and k2tog memory trick: sept post 5

There was some knitting in the final hours of this holiday weekend. My hap shawl is a joy to work on and truth be told, it's a pretty easy knit. I'm on the stripey hap shell lace section, which has the fun of bringing in all the colors. You only need to pay attention every sixth row. That's when there are the yarn overs and the sets of  decreases, to create the waves.

Which brings me to the question...when you're looking at a chart with those left leaning slashes and the right leaning slashes, what's your secret to remembering which is an ssk and which is a k2tog?  

I have been trying for years and years to come up with something that will stick, so that when I start a new pattern and I see the slashes, I will recall without fail which way an ssk leans. And not need to check the key to make sure I'm correct.

Do you have a pnemonic, or a little mantra, or a rhyme to remember which is which?

Spill! I am all ears.
 . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . .. . .
Pattern: Hansel (half) by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn:  Fog, Starcroft Fiber.
go ahead,  Pin it

Sunday, September 04, 2016

pie reportage :sept post 4

warning: avoid this post if hungry
The competition was tough at the neighborhood pie contest this year.
Mine was good (above left) but it wasn't award winning. Some were amazing.
As you can see.  Spending part of the afternoon under a tree eating slices of as many pies as you wanted to try with a bunch of your family, friends & fave neighbors?  Definitely a blue ribbon day. 
(That's fig tart, lemon basil pie, and peach melba with the crazy crust. The top award went, deservedly,  to the plum galette in top right photo)

Saturday, September 03, 2016

short beach days saturday: sept post 3

We do not actually rest on Labor Day weekend around here. It is Short Beach Days. And that means constant motion.
I'm one of the judges of the Sand Castle Contest. I kind of loved this crabby crab. His face expresses how I feel about summer ending. 
By the time I was judging this afternoon, we'd had breakfast in the park, watched Zoe race and broadjump , tested a tart recipe, and hauled 40 yards of fabric to a friend's porch for parade costume production. 
By 6 pm, as we left to watch the Lip Synch contest, I'd made a second tart, and we'd fabricated 10 slinky costumes The float is a little under-prepared but there's tomorrow for that. The tarts I tested were a Plum Blackberry Almond in Gingerbread Crust  and a Chocolate Peanut Butter.  The fruit tart looked way prettier but the gingersnap crust totally overpowered the filling, so it looks like I'll make another Chocolate Peanut Butter for the contest, tomorrow. Credit to  Smitten Kitchen recipe.  So you know it is delicious. 
 I love every minute of this constant motion and have spent the last 25 years choosing to whip myself in a frenzy with my friends every Labor Day weekend. I've got all winter to sit inside on a sofa, right?  
Enthusiasm levels running high. Tomorrow there's the egg toss contest. the tug of war, the awards ceremony for the races.... plus, once the judging is over, we get to taste all 25 of  the contest pies....

Friday, September 02, 2016

in appreciation of photo assistants' labor: sept post 2

This being the eve of Labor Day Weekend here in the US, I have to take a moment to appreciate the freelance photo assistants who work with me. Man, do I appreciate their labor! It's not just the luxury of having extra hands, a stronger back than mine and more eyes on a photo shoot. I simply wouldn't be able to do my job. 
(Above, the photo assistant is NOT shown--but instead, the reflectors and diffusers and light absorber that he was juggling for the day, shown with Jill Draper, on a photo shoot for her last week)
I used to need photo assistants with  technical expertise in electronic lighting, because that's what we worked with on every photo shoot. These days, the electronic lighting plays a much smaller role, and the photo assistants need to be good at wielding reflectors, seeing the effects, and keeping track of wardrobe, and making sure I don't try to carry heavy things and hurt myself, and a million other details, and not to mention, be interested in the subject of knitting and yarn. Or at least know how to look interested. An assistant who looks bored to tears on a shoot does not make a good impression.  It's not an easy job.
Above: Yliana, who works with me in a few different roles, turning the corner of a very narrow room into a totally reflective light asset by hanging a reflective cloth and squinching up in the corner with a flexible reflector. It was super uncomfortable physically, but it was perfect for the shot we wanted to get.
I seriously appreciate anyone who works for me. I hope that the beautiful places we get to work at--or the quirky ones, or the ones that are usually off limits  but we get access--- make up for the less-than-pleasant parts of the job. Above, between takes at  Locust Lawn, a Hudson Valley historic house, with Jill Draper, while shooting for her last week. 
As for this weekend, I'll be laboring at making the costumes and float for our annual neighborhood parade entry with friends, praying the hurricane/tropical storm veers away from us, and working on my entry into this year's pie contest (tart division, thankyouverymuch)  too.
PS if you have a killer tart (sweet not savory) recipe, spill now!
To give you a sense of our level of commitment: last year's float was Clam Bed-- we rode on a bed on wheels, in our PJ's, in home made foam clamheads (there were 8 ro so  people, this is just a glimpse) . This year, there's sparkly fabric involved, that's all I'm saying.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

hap knitting happiness-: sept post 1

You know that feeling of a knitting project where the pattern, the yarn, the colors and the stitches are just right? My Starcroft Fog Hansel is one of those.   I'm tempted to make the striped bands wider than the pattern, just so I can keep knitting on it longer. But then I'd end up with another larger than life shawl.
These colors, also tickling my fancy. Or are they non-colors? Still loving 'em.

Thought I'd try blogging every day this month, to ease into the new season, come on back
 and visit, OK? I'll try not to whine about the shortening days and the end of swimming season.
go ahead and Pin it.