Thursday, January 12, 2017

First there was the DIY

As 2016 was coming to an end, I did not post here. I was extra busy.

Today's post is about our end of year DIY home improvement. My next post will be about some traveling we did in the middle of it all. After that, I plan to move on to something more knit-friendly.

On October 28, Mr K and I purchased 22 boxes of 'Smoky Topaz' hickory hardwood flooring (to finally replace the original carpeting in the open main living area of our home we had built 20 years ago). (That carpeting was getting very tired.) He picked the flooring up the next day, and I helped him unload all 22 boxes from his truck and stack them in our downstairs family room. Did you know that hardwood flooring has to sit and get seasoned into its new environment for two weeks before installation?

November 13 was the date of this photo. Great start Mr K!

At about that time, I knew that there was never a better time to re-paint the walls (which actually had been re-painted once since the build). Yet I waited, because I knew, it would be determined, (with or without me). I mean, with all of that baseboard molding being removed...

And, within days of my thinking "I should probably paint", he said it out loud and I got on it...

The old color on the walls was 'Coir'. It was a neutral tone but with a bit of green in it (in the photo above, but hard to really see). The new color I wanted was chalky, and whiter... I picked 'Almond Paste'. 

I did most of the painting before Thanksgiving. Three rooms and a long hallway, a stairway, and a foyer. I finished the very last bit of kitchen painting just as Mr K installed the last of the flooring in the closets -- about a week before Christmas. He finished the baseboard repair and touch-up and replaced the last of the baseboards a couple of days later.

I did a lot of cleaning and holiday decorating as fast as I could!!!

We were able to get a couple of carpet installers here on the 23rd to staple the new carpet runner up the stairway. It was one task that Mr K did not want to do himself.

Here is a new grate for the floor heat. He picked it out and I love it. We are going to replace all of them.

We bought a new area rug for the living room on New Year's Eve and brought it home in the truck. I took most of the photos after all of the Christmas clean-up was finished.

Of course there will always be more to do, but it is looking a lot better than it did two months ago!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 (I am not the right person to ask, but I am afraid.)

Ever since my Thanksgiving weekend in Vermont, I have been working on a new blog post.

It started out so well, with a couple of lovely photos.

Then, a whole lot of home re-modeling happened under this roof, and I tried... and I tried... but the post never happened.

I am now, in the earliest hours of the new year (not in a normal way about anything) (at all).

I do not ever remember a New Year's Eve when I felt such a sad sense of dread.

So sad I feel this tonight.

What about you? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 Indie Design Gift-A-Long

The time is now for the 2016 Indie Gift-A-Long!

This giant knit-a-long and crochet-a-long is one of the most highly anticipated annual events on Ravelry, and this year it will be bigger and better than ever!

The first part of the GAL begins at 8:00 pm (EST) today... and continues through November 30th at 11:59pm (EST). It is a GIGANTIC Pattern Sale with over 335 Indie designers discounting thousands of designs by 25%. Use the coupon code: giftalong2016. 

Once you have your patterns, join the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group where you can sign up and participate in the amazing 6 week long Gift-A-Long. GAL fun begins at 8:00 pm (EST) today... and continues through the end of the year, December 31, 2016 at midnight (EST). There will be eight KAL/CAL's with games, contests, and tons of prizes, that will help you breeze through your holiday knitting with all of the joyful companionship that Ravelry has to offer!

I now have 14 knitting patterns for sale on Ravelry and all of them will be 25% off through the end of November with the code: giftalong2016. 

Ready, set, gift!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Swatching for Thompson River (and other) Socks

I do recommend swatching before you begin a pair of Thompson River Socks. These socks are made with a worsted weight yarn. The gauge and number of stitches will be different from what you might have used to make a typical pair of fingering weight socks.

The good news is that a swatch for these socks, even one made in the round, will not take very much time at all. A few weeks ago, in my post on my October Baable Hat Class, I wrote about making a colorwork swatch that simulates working in the round. For the Thompson River Socks, you may easily go one step farther, and actually knit a swatch in the round -- and you will even be able to try it on for size!

There are three sizes in the sock pattern. Each size has its own Cable chart. The three sizes have finished circumferences of 6 (7¼, 8¾)". The charts have 18 (22, 26) stitches.

How to swatch for Thompson River Socks:
1) Measure the foot circumference at the widest point. Typically socks have some negative ease. Usually a sock knit with a circumference of about 1" less than what the foot actually measures is ideal. (There is a good amount of tolerance on this.) The foot in the photo measures about 8½". The swatch measures 7¼". The same foot looked comfortable and cozy wearing one of the 7¼" sized magazine sample socks. 
2) Find the chart for the size you will be making. Double the number of stitches in the chart for the amount to cast on for your sock swatch. For the three sizes that will be 36 (44, 52) stitches. Cast on with the needles you will use to knit the socks. (These will be your favorite kind of needles to make a small round: two circular, double-pointed or magic loop.) Place marker and join to work in the round. Knit 1 round.
3) Next round: Work Cable chart over 18 (22, 26) stitches, place marker, knit to end of round. Continue in pattern for about " Bind off all stitches.
4) Block, if desired, and try swatch on foot. The stockinette portion represents the sole of the sock, and the cable pattern portion the instep.
(You can apply this method to swatch for other socks, as well.)

When I was working on this design for Interweave Knits, Fall 2016, I made many similar swatches.

I do enjoy swatching. Why don't you give sock-swatching a try! ♥♥♥

Thompson River Socks will be the class project for a two-session Saturday afternoon class at Gosh Yarn It! in Kingston Pennsylvania, November 12 and 19, 1:00-3:00PM. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November Classes... Thompson River Socks

I am really looking forward to teaching a couple of classes at Gosh Yarn It! in Kingston, Pennsylvania during the knit-crazy month of November.

My Thompson River Sock pattern was published in the fairly recent 20th Anniversary Issue of Interweave Magazine: Interweave Knits, Fall 2016. I was beyond proud to have my worsted weight sock design, with all of my own "favorite toe-up sock things", appear in this anniversary issue of the magazine.

Thompson River Socks will be the class project for the two session Saturday afternoon class, November 12 and 19, 1:00-3:00PM. Session One will begin with Judy’s Magic Cast-On, and include working the lower stripe and beginning the stitch pattern chart. The focus of session Two will be the heel (short rows) and the cuff (more chart reading and colorwork). The class will conclude with a demonstration of the recommended tubular bind-off. 

Ann has ordered yarn to make "kits" with the small yardage of "Cherry Red" yarn you will need. The kit yarn, as was used in my sample (which is now at the shop) is HiKoo-by-Skacel SueƱo Worsted. The kits will include two skeins of #1310 Gray and a partial skein of #1322 Cherry Pie. This is enough yarn to make a pair of the 7” circumference (woman’s) or the 8-3/4” (man’s) socks.

Kits will be available (even to those not taking the class) any day now.

My next post will be on swatching for Thompson River (and other) socks. It will appear here very soon. Thanks for reading!    

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On My Needles (October)

This morning I was knitting in gray.

My morning knitting began with a few rows of my Boardwalk pullover by Heidi Kirrmaier in the "Sweatshirt" colorway of Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

I set that down, and I worked a couple rows of my latest Baa-ble Hat, designed by Donna Smith, in Berocco Ultra Alpaca. The hat ribbing is in the (now discontinued) "Gneiss" colorway.

I set that down, and considered how hard it is to knit only in gray in the middle of winter.

I will be knitting in full color by February. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Class Swatching... The Baable Hat

I will be teaching a couple of classes at Gosh Yarn It! in Kingston, Pennsylvania this fall. The first will be this Saturday, October 22. (I know it is short notice, but there are still a couple of seats left.) The official title of this class is: "THE BAA-BLE HAT: Tips & Techniques for Stranded Knitting with Carolyn Kern".

The project for the class is the Baable Hat which was designed by Donna Smith for Shetland Wool Week 2015. It became the #1 queued pattern on Ravelry last year, with over 5600 projects posted. The pattern is written using an unusually tight gauge for a worsted/aran weight yarn, though; and many knitters ended up with hats that were larger than they expected.

The bad news is that I learned all of this after I agreed to make a GYI shop sample and teach a class. For my sample, I had to go down from the suggested US size 7 needle to a US size 3. The good news is that this gave me a brand new direction from which to teach a stranded colorwork class.

In the class we will be making a colorwork gauge swatch that simulates working in the round. We will review two-handed stranded colorwork technique, and I will demonstrate making a two color pompom with a Clover pompom maker. I plan to suggest a number of choices the students have to modify the pattern (such as those used by Susan B Anderson). There is no doubt that we will also talk about the newly released Baable cowl and mitten pattern by Donna Smith.

My sample colorwork swatch:

For this kind of a swatch (known as a speed swatch*) you knit all rows from right to left like you are working in the round. The yarn has to be carried behind the work for each row. This is what it looks like from the back.

*There is a reason for the name "speed swatch". Please join me in class this Saturday to learn more.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

BRADAN: My Kelbourne Woolens Arranmore Color Story

In recent years some of my newest favorite yarns (here, here and here) have come from Kelbourne Woolens, who are headquartered in a part of Philadelphia that I am beginning to know very well. (It is exactly that part of Philadelphia where both of my young adult children now live.)

Kelbourne Woolens = Courtney Kelley + Kate Gagnon Osborn. They distribute The Fibre Co unique artisan yarns and Kelbourne Woolens patterns and notions worldwide.

The newest 'The Fibre Co' yarn is Arranmore...
"Inspired by the breathtaking scenery of Ireland's Northern Headlands, Arranmore is spun in a mill that traces its roots to the tweed industry of 19th century County Donegal. Blending cashmere and silk with fine merino wool created an authentic tweed yarn of the finest quality. With a color palette reminiscent of the wild Irish coastlands, this aran weight yarn was designed for makers appreciating the best of luxury and tradition."
Arranmore (80% wool, 10% cashmere, 10% silk) comes in 18 colors, each one "evoking the Irish landscape, language, and history." In this post (a beautiful color story) by Courtney, she asked the question:
"Is there a color that surprised you, or one that you're dying to knit with that isn't in your usual comfort zone? Get inspired to try something new. In the comments on the blog, let us know which of the colors speaks to you, and we'll choose one winner to receive a skein of their choice of color and a copy of our Lacroagh hat!"
I am now "a designer", and sometimes, I let that hold me back from entering contests. But this time (you know how I love color) I thought it OK (quoting Courtney a bit at the end) to say:
"Congratulations on so very many amazing colors with so very many interesting color names and color stories!!! My easy favorites are River Esque, Narin Beach and St Claire. They all sit front and center in my comfort zone. But, I love color, and I LOVE your question about what color surprised me and could be a new one that I would love to knit with...
That is BRADAN... "an Irish Gaelic word meaning 'salmon'"... the "'Salmon of Knowledge' creature" and "a wise man that was transformed into a salmon"... ♥♥♥" 
I won that contest. The yarn is here, and I do love the color Bradan!

♥♥♥  Now off I go to get my ball winder and start swatching...


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sticking with Summer

I must confess that I have been holding on to summer.

Thompson River Socks "Yarn Test" Swatch

It's never been easier.

For all of Summer 2016 the temperatures have been above normal.  It has been particularly warm and humid for this first part of September.

We vacationed in South Carolina very late in the summer -- eight days of mostly clear skies -- heavenly.  Taking a vacation in late August made me feel like we were just then in the middle of summer.  I have been holding on to that feeling.

Beach Knitting (Secret Project)

My "day job" work projects have allowed me to work out of my home for the last several months.  Though nearby schools have been in session since the week before labor day, I have yet to see a single school bus on the road anywhere.  (The closest school bus stop is a half mine from my home.) 

I have no young children and I am not on any kind of a school-year schedule these days.

I have mentioned before that I love the warmer parts of the year.  They are also the brightest parts of the year. 

For just a little longer you will find me sticking with summer. 

Truthfully, though, we are forecast to have more normal temps this next week I will be spending some time writing class descriptions for October and November knitting classes that I will teach at my LYS.  (I will share that and some of my newest knitting soon.)

 I expect that I will be seeing my first school bus one day very soon...