Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My first finished sock!

It has a bunch of mistakes, but it's done. Unfortunately it is too big for me. I need to go down one size in this pattern. I thought I picked the best one for my foot measurement, but I guess not. Unless my gauge was way off. I knitted a gauge swatch, but it wasn't in the round. It's late, so I'll measure tomorrow. I do have too more skeins of this yarn - it was inexpensive and also on sale, so I bought an extra just in case. So I'll make the second sock a size smaller, then make a mate the size that fits me best. It'll be great practice. (Boy, does my calf look huge! Guess it was the camera angle. I guess I'll have to have someone else take the picture after this!

I'll try to post one more time before Sunday, but I may not manage to do so. We leave for a 7-day cruise to Alaska on Sunday - a celebration for our 40th year anniversary (which was on June 21st). I still have two baby quilts to do for a customer before then - that will be tomorrow. Plus I'll continue with my packing tomorrow. Friday I'm going to the Sock Summit across the river in Portland, Oregon. What a coincidence, but how marvelous, that this huge event - the first of it's kind - is happening in my own back yard right at the time I've started this new hobby!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hey - it's looking like a sock!

This is SO much fun. Just like quilting - one never knows what the finished project will look like until it's almost done. I can hardly wait to finish a pair.

Especially with the new shoes I bought this week that are open enough to show off my socks LOL!

Thanks everyone!

I received lots of great links in comments and emails - thanks everybody! I have a new favorites folder called "Knitting". I drolled all over the keys when I looked at the beautiful yarn in all those online shops - but didn't buy a thing. I'm going to try not to go overboard on this hobby like I have with quilting. It's hard, because that's certainly the way my personality works LOL!

My friend Kim found a fabulous link showing how to do the Kitchener stitch - in case anyone is interested.

Gwen Marston's "Liberated Stars"

I've wanted to take a class from Gwen Marston for years. My Tangled Threads friend Kim has spent several days in Gwen's classes and said she was the best. So I was thrilled that Kim and I were able to take her "Liberated Stars" class in Sisters. Kim's right - what a down-to-earth, nice-as-can-be lady! She has a wonderful way of immediately making you feel like her close friend. I'd take another class from her in a minute - if you ever get the chance I highly recommend you do it. I'd love to attend her Michigan retreat sometime.

This was a very fun class - something I've wanted to try ever since I bought her "Liberated Quiltmaking" book years ago. I knew it would be a challenge as I've always been so anal about seams matching, points, etc. What I learned is one can go too far the other way. Instead of just putting down fabric and stitching, sometimes I tried too hard to liberate points. At least one is liberated way too much - notice the star point that is hardly there? That block will be relegated to the orphan drawer. When I make more I'm going to try to just let it happen instead of over thinking the process.

My friend Kim hard at work.

It was lots of fun to just sew without thinking a lot - the only thinking involved dividing by 3 to determine how to make different size blocks. Not necessarily an easy math problem when trying to figure out the size of a little star to fit into the middle of a big star!

I've pictures of Gwen's quilts in her books, but seeing them in person is always so much better. I love the one with the appliquéd border. Good news for those of you who don't have the Liberated Quilts book and can't afford the sky high price of second hand. Gwen has gotten her publisher to agree to a new edition. It'll be a new book, with much of the same info as the old book plus additions. The "Liberated Baskets" quilt I've pictured will be in that book.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sue Spargo class

I loved every minute of Sue Spargo's class in Sisters. I took a class years ago from Sue when she first started teaching. She has certainly learned a bunch of new tricks of the teaching trade! This is a new class for her - "Embellishment" - that she premiered in Australia and/or New Zealand last spring (I think that's when it was.) I learned so much, and of course had lots of fun shopping in her "classroom store".

We were sent a basic kit and pattern for a wool appliqué piece that was to be finished before class. All of them were alike. We were to bring threads, yarns, beads, buttons, appliqué fabric - anything we wanted to use to embellish our "artwork". As you can see the colors are very bright, and I just don't have those colors in my stash. So I bought a few fat quarters and little remnant "knots" of brights. I forgot my baby rickrack at home so bought a bit more. I borrowed a friend's collection of beads (which I never got around to use!) and figured I was set. The piece didn't excite me at all so far, but I was reserving final judgement until after the class.

I had no idea what this might evolve into until I saw Sue's piece "in progress". She had done much to it, but it still didn't tell her it was done. (Sometimes the piece must be declared done because her quilter has forbidden her to have more than 8 layers, including the backing, batting, and background.) Here you see hers - you can hardly tell it began with the same kit!

I didn't make much progress on mine, but I'm happy with what I've done so far. I tried braiding yarn and then couching it down for additional stems. Leaves have been pinned on, though I think I need more. A couple flowers have pieces ready to appliqué onto them. In a class like this I find it helpful to circulate around the class regularly to see what others are doing, which of course takes away from working time. It's easy to see who worked and who spent time visiting and chatting when you look at each project at the end of the class.
One of the things I really enjoyed was Sue telling us about her journals. She keeps a journal for every quilt, and each has a little bit of everything. She sketches ideas for things to put on the quilt. She adds clippings from magazines and newspapers. Poetry, photos, fabric swatches and more are included. Some journals are very different from others. She never knows what the final quilt will look like until she has it finished - she designs as she goes - and the journals help her do that. We were sent a journal to bring for our own quilt along with the pattern and fabric - wouldn't you know that I accidentally left mine at home!

Of course I had to have my picture taken with Sue, and bought a couple of her newer books for her to sign, as I'd forgotten to bring her books that I had here at home.
Here are some pictures of the class, including my friend Alana from North Star quilters, as well as pictures of other student work.

Blogs requested!

If you read one or more blogs that include knitting socks can you please send me those links also?

Thanks so much, everyone!

What I'm up to these days

I've not been doing personal quilting for several weeks now. I thought that taking classes at Sisters would turn me back on to quilting. It did - for a few days anyway. However, something else jumped in to take my attention away.

Some of you may remember that I posted a list of my "goals for retirement" the day after my last day of work. One of those goals was "learning to knit socks". It's taken me a little over 18 months to begin, but now I'm loving every moment. While in Sisters we went into Bend on a shopping trip, and happened to go into a yarn store as Trudy - our "driver" - needed to get some yarn. While I was standing there taking in all the luscious colors and textures of the yarn - more fiber eye candy! - I decided to ask the clerk what book she recommended for teaching myself to knit socks. I left that store with 2 books and yarn for two pair. Well, you know me - when I find something new my tendency is to go overboard. Knitting socks is no exception.

By the time I left Sisters I'd been to the yarn shop there two or three times, and been shopping twice in the "Wild Hare" part of the quilt shop as they have a great yarn selection. I came home with 8 books and yarn for 32 pairs of socks. Since I've gotten home it's just gotten worse LOL! All I want to do is knit.

Any knitters out there? If so, please send me links to great online yarn shopping sites, as well as any other great knitting sites. I have registered on, though I've not done much else there except look around.

The first two pictures show my new yarn stash - all for socks. Good thing I love to wear fun socks!

These are the books I've purchased.
My "class" sock - had to go to the yarn shop to learn how to pick up stitches. Thought I could finish it last night, but alas - I've tried to do the kitchener stitch three times to end the toe - each time following the book diagrams exactly - and each time it's been a messy failure. Guess I'll need to attend "social knitting" this Thursday also so I can have another mini lesson.

My first full-size sock. After about a dozen false starts I finally progressed this far without major disasters. There are a few booboos, but I you can't see them unless you look really closely (I seem to have a problem remembering to switch the yarn from one side to the other when switching between knitting and purling - thus I have extra yarn overs on the needle to deal with.) I'm now in the process of knitting the gusset.