The Minnesota Knitters Guild Shawl Exhibition at the Textile Center of Minnesota is running through April 8. I stopped in to visit two of my shawls that are on display. I got a few photos, but not all of them turned out. My Aeolian Shawl was displayed very nicely, right by the main sign.
When it was at the state fair last summer, it was draped over a table and you could not see the edging, which of course is the “raison d’être.” There were a number of beautiful shawls on display. This one caught my eye:
The beads are meant to look like icicles melting — perfectly executed! I have only to peek out the window to confirm it!
My Peacock was kind of tucked in a hallway, so I couldn’t get a great shot of it.
If you are in the area, try to visit — it’s kind of inspiring!
In comments to my post the other day about my Spring Snow cardigan (see below), several readers have asked where they can buy Japanese pattern books. Although not available everywhere, they are getting easier to find.
I have seen (and occasionally purchased) Japanese patterns at various local yarn stores. For example, I have seen them at Knit Purl (in Portland, Oregon); the Yarnery (St. Paul, Minnesota); and Skeins, Shuttles, and Spindles (Boulder, Colorado). So when in doubt, check your local yarn store — you might be surprised.
Another great online source is The Needle Arts Book Shop. Needle Arts carries books of both Japanese patterns and stitch collections, as well as guides on interpreting Japanese symbols. They also provide a free downloadable PDF on how to read Japanese patterns. I confess I just ordered two more Japanese pattern collections from them a few days ago!
As for the particular book that the cardigan I’m working on appeared in — I’m not sure whether that issue is still available.
Spring in Washington means cherry blossoms. A few days ago, it was in the seventies here in Washington, DC. My bulbs began to poke timidly out of the ground, and one of my cherry trees blossomed open, even while the buds on its more cautious yard mates stayed firmly closed.
Sadly, caution may have been wiser — our temperatures dipped down into the thirties last night and we could have snow this weekend. Cherry blossoms are fragile, and I’m afraid our intrepid early blooms won’t last.
Washington’s most famous cherry trees — those that line the Tidal Basin — were a gift from Japan, and this spring my thoughts have turned frequently to Japan for many reasons. Just a day or two before the horrible earthquake and tsunami, I started working on another Japanese sweater pattern. I love Japanese patterns because they are so beautiful and unusual. And I love how even the most complex patterns are reduced to a few charts that experienced knitters can follow without speaking a word of Japanese.
The cardigan I’m knitting is by Hitomi Shida, and was published in the Let’s Knit Series (Couture Knit 12: Adult Luxury Knits).
I’m knitting it in Blue Sky Alpaca’s Royal Alpaca in the color Cameo. I’m working it in one piece to the armholes. It’s not a difficult pattern, but there is patterning on the wrong and right sides so I have to pay some attention. I started with a provisional cast on in waste yarn, which is why there is a white “border.” The collar, button bands, and hem are knit at the end in one piece. At least I think they are. I’ll worry about that after I finish the body and sleeves.
The other object in the photo is a pair of Japanese scissors that I bought when I was in Minneapolis visiting Susan. (They came from Bella Lana.) They are a wonderful marriage of beauty and function: very pretty, but also very sharp.
…of blogging! It’s true — this is our 5th Bloggiversary. In previous years we have held contests and/or given away fabulous prizes. To keep it fresh, this year we are doing neither. (Read: cheap and lazy). Instead, we thought we would share what we have learned from blogging these past five years.
It is humbling to make your knitting mistakes in such a public arena. You start something, it’s a flop, and the “whole world” is a party to it.
It is also humbling to celebrate successes in such a public arena! When something goes well, we are overwhelmed by the gracious comments we receive.
People can be “touchy.” If you say something wrong, they sure let you know about it!
People are forgiving. If you say something wrong, they are quick to show their support.
We still have ‘startitis’ like most knitters — the next project is always more fun/interesting than the one you are working on — but having an audience has pushed us to finish more projects. (This is especially true of Sally, who is notorious for the number of projects she starts and abandons.) We feel the need to produce something to blog about, and we reap the benefits.
We have met some great people as a result of our blog. We have often been approached at knitting events by our loyal readers, which is wonderful. We have also met some pretty famous bloggers: WendyKnits, Yarn Harlot, and Brooklyn Tweed are three that come to mind. It is fun and exciting to be part of the larger knitting world.
We really love sharing our experiences with you and with each other. It helps us keep track of each other’s knitting progress. We also use the search feature on our blog quite a bit — it chronicles projects, tips, techniques, and references. Ravelry is great, but it can’t replace a blog for everything.
Chronicling our knitting has made us more “mindful” knitters. We think more consciously about what we do in order to share it.
We always learn from and enjoy reading the comments from our readers.
We were surprised to discover that some of you (and you know who you are!) think our banner photo is recent:
It isn’t!! At. all. The pants are a dead giveaway — otherwise, we haven’t changed a bit.
All in all, it has been a great experience, and we will keep blogging as long as you keep reading (or until we stop knitting!). Thanks for your loyalty, friendship, and support.
PS1: the picture was taken in Florence, Italy
PS2 to Betsy from Susan: I also see myself in #3!! 😉
I am back…actually, that is not the exciting news. The really exciting news is that The Principles of Knitting is being republished! Yay! Where do I sign up? Woo Hoo! Even though I already own the original, I have pre-ordered the new one. Apparently, June Hiatt has been working on the edits for YEARS and so the new one is sure to have some new material. This is a ‘must have’ for serious knitters.
I got back from Florida last night at midnight. Here are a couple of pics from the trip. I won’t bore you with more!
Call this picture: My Final Trip to Disney*
Frolicking in the Surf at Cocoa Beach (I was beached)
Our weather was ideal…perfect in every way. We did everything we set out to do, so it was a successful trip, but I am very glad to be home.
*PS: to Jani who wrote, “I never ever comment, but couldn’t resist adding: Final trip to Disney . . . until the grandkids want to go. :)” No, final is final. Laura and Jena can take their own kids!! I’ll be at the beach!
If you guessed the Gulf of Mexico, you are correct…but that was just for the sunset last night. My girls and I are vacationing in Florida for Jena’s spring break. The weather has been absolutely perfect, which is always a concern — could not have planned it better. Today we go in search of the elusive Mickey.
We have been bad bloggers this past week. Actually, we have been non-bloggers this week! We spent last weekend together in the Twin Cities and had a great time, but shared no stories, pictures, or exploits.
We visited many local knitting shops and purchased some very nice items. Sally had never been to Bella Lana in Minneapolis, so we went there after Susan’s daughter styled our hair. This is a beautiful store. The ceiling is filled with Japanese paper lanterns and the entire store is very elegant, while still being warm and friendly. We both loved a scarf they displayed in the shop made with Trendsetter Cha Cha (47% Wool, 47% Acrylic, 6% Nylon, 100 grams/skein, 65 yards/skein). It is a fun novelty yarn that creates its own ruffles. Sally chose Ecru (891). Susan bought a skein in Dark Denim (433) at Amazing Threads. We don’t usually “do” novelty yarn. Every once in a while, though, something just grabs our attention. This was a fun and quick little project, and we each knit one while sitting around Susan’s house talking and watching old movies.
When Sally finished her scarf, she had a few second thoughts. She put it on and was instantly transported back in time, to 1967:
She was a little worried, but not five minutes out of the house someone stopped her on the street and complimented her scarf. Alrighty then. It was a go!
PS: Confession Time…Susan went to Needlework Unlimited tonight with some knitting peeps and ended up buying another skein in her signature color (Color 655):
The blue version may end up a very special gift for someone else.
I picked up Surly at the airport! She called on Wednesday and asked if she could come visit this weekend, and of course I said yes! First stop: my Thursday knitting group. We are hitting yarn shops galore and my daughter did our hair yesterday…more updates to follow. We need to take some pics so we can share the fun… 😉
My son arrived on our doorstep (well, really at the airport but you know what I mean) on Friday. He was — and this was not a surprise — wearing it. The green sweater I made him for Christmas. The one he wears virtually non-stop. Be still my heart.
I gifted him with his new red sweater, and I can only hope he wears it half as much. I didn’t see much of him — he was here for a conference, not a family visit, and I was out of town one of the nights he was home. But just before he headed back to the airport, I was allowed to take a few quick shots of him in his new finery. They’re not the best shots, and he asked me to obscure his face. But voila: