Category Archives: Community

Knit Twit? Why Chatter on Twitter?

What is a Twitter Chat?

You can participate in a live chat in twitter simply by including the hashtag for your chat in your 140 character tweet. (i.e. #knitchat, #lrnchat, #edchat, etc.).

This is a great way to connect with people who love the same topics as you do. In this case the general topic is knitting and fibercraft (specifically dealing with the challenges of holiday knitting/crochet/crafting).

Here’s a more detailed primer on “Twitter Chats”

How do I participate in the upcoming #knitchat?

1.) Get a Twitter account (http://twitter.com) if you don’t already have one.

2.) On Thursday November 18, 2010 at 5:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) log on to Twitter and start chatting away (including the #knitchat hashtag in the text of your tweet. The chat will last approx. 1 hour long.

3.) The moderator of the chat, in this case me, will tweet the questions that will guide discussion. Don’t worry I’ll label the questions “Q1,” “Q2,” etc. and I’ll repeat them several times.

4.) Chat and respond away. Have fun 🙂 Please offer your own wisdom, wit, happy smileyness and lovely knit related comments.

5.) The last five-ten minutes we can spend time introducing ourselves and plugging our sites, latest FO (finished object) that we’re proud of etc.

6.) Also, if you’re shy, you don’t have to contribute to the discussion. Just type the “#knitchat” hashtag into the “Search” on Twitter and refresh every minute or so. Voila you will see the chat happening before you.

Why don’t you just use the Ravelry Chat room?

In Twitter you don’t need to be at your desktop or laptop computer.  You can actually Tweet using a ‘smart phone’ that has a “Twitter Application” available. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time adjusting the screen size for Ravelry on my phone. Can you imagine having to manoeuvre in a chat room?

Also, I’d like to open the chat to people who aren’t necessarily on Ravelry.


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Filed under Community, Craft, Crochet, Knit, Knitters, Knitting

I’m full. I can’t possibly knit anymore

No, not really. I could actually keep knitting.

Yesterday I hosted a Yarntasting party in Overlook Park.

At least over twenty people showed up from the invitee list. It was such great fun!!!! Surprisingly, it was a bit chilly and windy early when we started but the sun eventually came out. Many people brought food and drink to snack on while we were knitting.  There was a bit of a mix up with the parks area because they double booked the spot.  A poor woman showed up around 12:00 puzzled because she’d booked the site from 9:00 to the end of the day.  The last hour of the Yarntasting was a bit rushed, but all in all it was great! And I got to meet a lot of wonderful Portland Knitters.

A few people did try to crochet their samples. Others like Puppydog knits created a sample mini scarf from their swatches.

Artfibers Swatch Scarf

Artfibers Swatch Scarf by Puppydog Knits

Located outside of San Francisco in Pinole, California, Artfibers has been producing their uniquely gorgeous artisan yarns for over 15 years. At our Yarntasting there were about 180 different gorgeous fiber samples of 38 different yarn lines to choose from ranging from blends made from alpaca to yak. You can see all of the yarns (and more) we tried at this event on the Artfibers yarn page.

I’m going to try to keep a log of fibers I both tried and took smaller samples from. It was virtually impossible to try all of the them but my favorites on the spot were (I will post photos as soon as my camera battery is charged up and I can find my blasted USB cord for my camera):

  • Cassanova (Tussah Silk/ Mulberry Silk) – So beautiful I made swatches of two colors. Gorgeously soft with just the amount of sheen from the silk. It doesn’t hurt that the colors are absolutely gorgeous from a deep velvety teal to a pink and plum multi-color shown here.
  • Casanova 18 & Safa 12

    Casanova 18 & Safa 12

  • Bunnuit (53% Tussah Silk/40% Angora/7% Mulberry Silk) – I normally don’t like angora in such a large percentage in a yarn, but married with the silk it seems to work for me. The black angora bathes the rich multi-colored variation in this yarn in a halo of dark softness. The result is an amazingly rich texture and colorway. Did I mention that it’s super baby soft too?
  • Bunnuit 03

    Bunnuit 03

  • Chutney (100% Wild harvested silk bourette) – While Chutney isn’t as soft as the previous two yarns, I still love it because of how it shows off beautiful hand painted colorways.  Lately, I’ve learned to love the rawer silks because they produce lovely summer garments with a good deal of breathability and drape without skimping on the warmth coverage when you need it on those cool summer nights. I actually crocheted the swatch you see in the photo below. (Still need to take a photo).

Almost all the favorites I picked have silk in them. I suddenly realized that this was because Artfibers has mastered the secret of making truly fantastic soft and luxurious yarns using silk and silk blends.

Other yarntastees are posting their photos and pictures. I’ll be posting these up here as I find them.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Yarn1

The yarn samples

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Filed under Art, Colors, Community, Creativity, Dye, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland, Portland Crocheters, Portland Knitters, Yarn

I want to be the “Sweater Evangelist”

My Two Week Raglan Sweater

This was an uncommonly cold and snowy winter out here in the Pacific Northwest this year.  I actually was able to knit at least five sweaters from the beginning of fall last year to this date. I finished another raglan in a bulky yarn for my husband this year. I joke with friends that it’s too bad I didn’t knit it earlier because it might have helped save on our heating bills this year. It occurred to me that knitting sweaters is a way to keep people warm and happy. It’s a way to keep them safe, help them feel loved and perhaps save a little money on fuel bills.  Not to mention the fact that a well-made sweater can bring someone joy for years to come.

Yet I hear so many people say things like:

  • “I could never knit a sweater… it’s too hard.”
  • “I don’t have the time to knit a sweater.”
  • “I’ll never be able to knit”
  • “I’ll never be able to knit that well”
  • “It’s too expensive to knit a sweater”

I say: HORSERADISHES!

A basic raglan that’s knit from the bottom up is actually  not too hard to do.  Many of my raglan sweaters are based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s raglan instructions in Knitting without Tears. You only need to know how to knit two stitches (knit & purl). In addition, you need to knit on circular needles and in the round. I think the hardest thing about knitting this sweater is joining the armpit stitches with Kitchener stitch. But hey… even if it’s not perfect, the stitching is in the armpit. How many people would you actually allow to lift up your arms and inspect your armpits?

As for price, there are many levels of affordable fiber out there.  You can support your local yarn store and purchase a sweater’s worth of yarn in good but affordable wools like Cascade 220, Universal Deluxe Tweed, Ella Rae Classic for less than $50 for a medium sized sweater (womens). You can also keep a look out for sales at your local LYS’s and wait for good prices on the yarn you’d like. If you’re really strapped for cash. You can actually find good worsted weight yarns for a good prices from sites like Elann or LittleKnits. Yarn for bargains can also be found at Good Will stores and other thrift stores. Some people even unravel sweaters from thrift shops and re-purpose this fiber in their own designs.  I believe that knitting can be accessible for all people. I will confess that as I got better at the craft (mind you I’m still learning), I really began to see the benefits of investing in good yarn as opposed to buying quantities of inexpensive wool and other fibers.  I still buy some bargain yarns, but often I use them to experiment with techniques, construction or designs that I want to try later in more costly fibers. But I don’t want to sound holier than though about they type of yarn you’re using if you’re a beginner or if you cannot afford a sweater’s worth of Kid Silk Haze.

I made a sort of informal new years resolution this year that I would teach at least six people how to successfully knit themselves a sweater. I’m quite serious about this resolution because I feel it’s incredibly empowering to make a useful thing like a sweater for yourself or for someone you love.  More, I feel that in these somewhat troubling times of economic uncertainty understanding how to be self-sufficient in many ways including creating ‘useful’ objects like garments and clothing will not just be a pleasurable hobby for some but a necessity of living for many.

I’m actually working on putting together and editing a simple pattern/recipe for knitting the sweater pictured on the left.

PS. I’ve actually finished my Amigurumi Frog pattern, I’m just in the process for finding a place to host my pdf files.

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Filed under Challenge, Community, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Sweater

Scratch that… no, unravel it

In the previous post I mentioned that I would dye machine knit blanks of my cotton yarn, assuming that I would knit all of these up in the handy knitting machine I bought for making hats and things.  I tried making a long blank with three 109 yard skeins of cotton and discovered that this knitting machine abhors working with cotton. After picking up slipped stitches with a crochet hook over 2 dozen times, I said enough!

So I unraveled the long ugly tubey thing I spent the entire afternoon making and unwound it around two wooden chairs set about 12 feet apart.  I did this with two more skeins until I got bored and moved on to something else. 13 more skeins to go… sigh.  It occured to me that I could play something cheery and tongue in cheek as I walked around the chairs to wind the yarn. Maybe… some Lord Kitchener.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqWLwZIncec]

Knitting has taught me the value of endless patience. Dyeing seems to be gifting me with the lesson of careful preparation and planning.  Several months ago, if you asked me if I would go to this length to prepare fiber to knit a sweater, I’d flatly say… no.  I couldn’t see past my love of knitting.

A year later, and now I’m finding myself branching into other fiber related crafts. I actually want to spend more time investigating crochet in depth and improve my skill at shaping and building structures in crochet.  I spend a great deal of time making garments, maybe I need to investigate knitting and crocheting other objects including un-utilitarian ones.

It’s a little late, but here’s my short reflection/inventory of things learned and things I’d like to learn this year.

A few things I tried last year:

  • Knitting with metal and beads – fun but it hurts.
  • Spinning – I used a drop spindle to make my first single ply yarn. I think I’m going to continue investigating
  • Dyeing – I… am addicted. Sad when you get to the point where you’re looking through your stash for lightly colored or white yarns just to satisfy your need for a dyeing fix.

Things I still need to do or want to try:

  • Gansey knitting – I still need to finish my Lochniver sweater
  • Steeking
  • Crocheting a small blouse in a simple lace stitch
  • Color work/Fair Isle knitting
  • Design and knit a real Aran sweater (with cables)
  • Start a podcast- this is a difficult one for me. I often think that I haven’t started this yet becuase I get my “I need to talk about knitting/crafting” fix with the wonderful group over at my knit night at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop.

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Filed under About Me, Challenge, Community, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Fair Isle, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland Knitters, Reflection, Yarn

Where to find good tutorials

I really like the Knitting Help site as a tutorial site.

I recently held a Knit Nite at my house and made sure we had a laptop computer set up in the crafting area so that we could reference sites like Knitting Help or even stitch references/instructions and patterns. Okay, we also used it to look up some catty and dark stuff like the Hannah Montana fraud and even learn more about the bizarre and horrifying case of My Space cyber bullying, but when you get a bunch of women together for a craft night topics will wander of course to some topics of some scandal. When guys get together for tool night, what do they talk about?…. Never mind, I don’t want to know.

I’m on the search for more video tutorials available on Youtube, and I found this pretty funny video on how to knit Ramen noodles with chopsticks:
[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=VNl8MMAr0lM]

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Filed under Community, Humor, Knit, kniting humor, Knitting

Please eat at this restaurant…

I found the best Indian Food in Portland at the Tandoor Oven on 4th and Oak downtown (Portland). No, seriously… they make their paneer (home made cheese) in the restaurant and they serve this absolutely marvelous ginger chutney. Everything was fabulous including the Minted Naan.

Also, if you happen to be gluten intolerant the serve a mean Dhosa (rice and lentil flour crepes stuffed with savory fillings), as well as Idilis (rice cakes) and delicious savory Lentil flour donuts.

Please eat there because I’m tired of my favorite restaurants going the way of the dinosaur because they don’t look, feel and taste like a goddamn Applebees, PF Changs or Macaroni Grill.

Crap! I just made myself hungry and angry again.

incomplete pdf of their menu:  tandoormenu.pdf

Tandoor

406, SW Oak Street

Portland, OR

503.243.7777

info@portlandtandoor.com

http://portlandtandoor.com

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I signed up for the Amigurumi class at Twisted

japanesecutetoys.jpg

The photo is from a Japanese book I found at Uwajimaya.

I was at Twisted yesterday for another PDX knitters gathering (see Fiberqat posting for photos). Naturally, I decided to check out their class offerings.  If you haven’t noticed, I have a weakness for cute little toys.

Yes, it’s a class for crochet not knitting, but I’m in sore need of building my skills in this area. Plus I would like to pursue my interest in toy design. My husband has noted that he has an interest in designing monsters and having me crochet or knit them. When he saw what we would be making in the class he actually was tempted to join.

esmonster.gif

(Larger Image: esmonster.jpg  from PDX Blender.org)

Maybe I won’t pick and octopus for my first project. It’s probably better to start with something that doesn’t have any arms or legs, like a tadpole or… worm. Well, maybe not.

Here’s the description of the workshop. It’s on September 12. For more information check out the class listing at Twisted.

Crocheted Amigurumi Workshop
Amigurumi is a Japanese craft of crocheting stuffed toys. From wikipedia, “The pervading aesthetic of Amigurumi is cuteness, or ‘kawaii.’ To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities.”

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Filed under Amigurumi, Community, Craft, Crochet, Curiousity, Fun Stuff, Toys