Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rhinebeck...Back! NY Sheep & Fiber Love

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." Mark Twain

Yes, Mark Twain! I was a crazy little kid, runniing away when Mom took me out. Back when my Grandma was going to Italy on the SS United States, she had a party on the ship before it left. Me being 4 years old, had to run through the ship to see the ship shops. Because I was lost, the ship captain keep the ship from leaving until I was found. Mom spanked me. 

Ha! She then bought me a leash. Once my parents bought a house in Montclair NJ and we were moving from Kew Gardens, Queens NY, I continued running around. That's another reason Mom taught me how to knit, draw, make Christmas ornaments, and paint. 

Mom taught me how to knit when I was 7 because I swiped her colorful plastic markers from her knitting bag.

Rhinebeck This Year

My friend Duffy Stephens came from Portland, Oregon, staying with me. I was glad that I could have her with me. And we went to Rhinebeck Saturday and Sunday, plus I took her to New York City to go to Habu Textiles and Knitty City. Cool!

As always, I go to hang out with friends. Sat with Lars Rains, my dear knitting boy. Lars is a wonderful designer, Modern Lopi is his website and he sells his designs on Ravelry too. I also bought some of Lisa Souza's wonderful yarn. Here's her website link. Yes, I know Lisa too.

And stopped to see Shannon Okey, Cooperative Press founder. I'm going to submit my sock design book to Cooperative Press. I've titled it "Sock It To Me". 
Didn't buy much, due to the huge yarn and fiber stash that I have. But here's pix of some of my Rhinebeck stuff.

Yummy! It's Greenwood Fiberworks 50% Merino, 50% silk. 

And another purchase was this stuff...yarn and some knitter's jewelry. I put this picture up on Facebook and was asked about the yarn.


A young guy was selling this yarn. His business is called Jan Marek Raczkowski Studio. The yarn is 78% mohair, 13% wool, and 9% nylon. It's definitely fingerweight, and the yardage, 480, is enough for a sock design. But I'm not interested in designing big mohair socks. Even though it has nylon, I'm not inclined to shove socks made of this on my big feet HEH!!!!!

 Next year I'm going to MD Sheep & Wool to hang out with friends there. My darling skanks, come and visit me there. Am I a fucking knitting celeb? Kinda. When I tell knitters I'm the Knitting Curmudgeon, lots of them know who I am. 

Creating The Knitting Curmudgeon blog back in 2002 was my grief therapy because I lost my beloved husband Jimmy, a fabulous wooden ship modeler and nautical history expert. Jimmy wrote a how-to book for ship modelers. He would have been proud of me when I wrote "YOU CAN KNIT!" 

So I'm gonna blog post more quickly. Sitting at home, doing knitting designing, isn't all that I want to do. Gonna do some knitting and spinning workshops eventually and going to submit a workshop to Vogue Knitting Live. Love to teach! Being a tehcnical trainer was lovely. So check the blog out soon, skanks! Bye!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Still Livin' Lacey Designing!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"One likes to believe that there is memory in the fingers; memory undeveloped, but still alive.” -- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Yes, EZ always hit the truth. Back in 1983, right before I got that Assistant Knitting & Crochet Editor job at McCall's Needlework & Crafts, I wrote a letter to EZ on the Schoolhouse Press address, asking her how could I become a knitting designer. A week later, Meg Swanson phoned me and she told me how to learn to design. 


My Knitting History II

Beginning in 1983, I started to collect knitting books. Got a pile of them at McCall's that I used for editing and was allowed to keep them. And the primary book for learning how to design was this one.
The initial copyright is 1940 and my book's copyright is 1964. Yes, I have a huge library of knitting, spinning, weaving, crewel embroidery, quilting books. 

Mom thought it was funny that I was able to do the knitting designing mathematics because when I was in high school, had to go to an algebra tutor because math didn't hit my brain. Once I wanted to create my own sweaters, mathematics didn't screw up my eyeballs and thoughts.


My Lace Pattern Directions

Still working on the Koigu Merino Laceweight lace shawl. And although I'm going to submit it to Knitty.com, was thinking that it might be nice to submit it to Vogue Knitting. Drawing a sketch is tough because I'm not that kind of artist. Might ask my Liz, the family artist, to do that for me. 

Ultimately, if my lace shawl isn't accepted, I'll dump it up on Ravelry. And when I write directions for Ravelry or other knitting patterns websites, I add instructions about what to do. 

For example, when you're knitting a large lace shawl, gotta count the number of pattern repeats, you should mark each repeat. This is how I do it, with the locking stitch markers. The first stitches are slip stitches and on the final row, the marker is attached to the first slip stitch.

Mister Ranger, the Knitting Kitteh

Ranger will be 3 years old Monday, October 6. He's not a normal kitteh. Doesn't swap my yarn but once chewed my wooden knitting needles. He sits in my spinning wheel chair but when I spin, is uninterested in the movement.

Here he is, chewing a needle. I took this picture because he's so cute! And he didn't break the needle point.

Rhinebeck and Stitches East

Next weekend, Stitches East. And I haven't decided whether I'm going to go because it's up in Hartford Connecticut, a 3.5 hour drive from where I live...Budd Lake, NJ. On Facebook, asked my FB friends who was going to Rhinebeck, aka New York State Sheep and Wool Festival

My dear Tonstant Weaders, if you're going, I'll be up by the food area at the top of the little hill, near Building A around 11 a.m. And will have my Ravelry button pinned on my shirt. Yes, it's KnitCurmudgeon. 

Back writing here next week...if I go to Stitches, will take a pile of pictures...although way back when, I photographed all the hideous sweaters I saw people wearing there and Franklin told me that because I published them, photographing was then forbidden. Heh. I did what I called the Hideous Sweater Gallery, back when my blog was on its own website address. Blogger let you use a website back then. All those pictures are gone. 

So write to ya later, skanks!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lazy Lacy? NO!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage.” --Elizabeth Zimmerman

Lazy Lacy

Yeah, I love creating titles for my designs and articles. I'm busy doing a lace shawl design, made with the new Koigu Lace Merino. Can't show ya the lace design due to its submission to Knitty, but here's a picture of what I'm using.



The lace stitch pattern is relatively easy, Lazy Lacy. HA! It's pretty and memorizable.

I often teach my knitting friends and their lace mistakes are big problems. Here are a couple, with slight solutions .

Mistake #1: On the wrong side, my stitches next to my yarnovers (YOs) are twisted, yanked down and I have to twist them back so I can insert the needle. If the yarnover is wrapped tightly on the needle, it will yank the stitch next to it and cause the twist. So when you make a yarnover, do it loosely so that the nextdoor stitches aren't twisted. Couldn't do a picture of this. So just make sure you create your YO loosely.

Mistake #2: Forgot to make a yarnover. You can pick up the strand between the two stitches where the yarnover should have been, making a little yarnover that hasn't been made correctly. Obviously, this yarnover is going to be smaller than the others. Depends on how extensive the lace pattern is. If it's simple, tink the stitches and reknit the row or round.
Using a lifeline can be helpful if you tend to screw up your lace pattern. Here's a YouTube KnitPicks video on how to do it. I don't put in a lifeline because I rarely make mistakes on lace patterns. 

I've been busy designing for two submissions to Knitty.com and I am about to put a bunch of sock designs up on Ravelry. 

Editing my own directions is easy. I tell my designer friends that they can edit their directions by ignoring them for at least a week. Once you've not read your directions, they become strange to your eyeballs and you can read and edit them accurately.

My Knitting Life History

Back when I was 22, I restarted knitting because working at a mental health hospital as a psychiatric technician, our head nurse, Florence, was a knitter. The ward that I worked at was a "Medical Ward" that cared for the operated patients, some psychotic and most were elderly. Once our patients were asleep, Florence and the patient carers sat by the patients' beds, watching TV. Florence knitted, one of my coworkers crocheted, and Florence told me to knit. I hadn't knitted since I was 18, knitting my first sweater, an Aran sweater for my uncle. After that, I didn't knit. But Florence got me back to knitting.

At that time, hubby Jimmy, who was an expert wooden ship modeler, told me that if I was going to knit, I should learn everything about knitting and become an expert like he was. Jimmy wrote a book that I edited.
Yes, it's still sold on Amazon.com. Here's the link

So as of 1972, I became a big knitter...and had my second daughter, Corinne. There is no knitting technique that I haven't done. Jimmy was proud of me and bought me my Schacht Matchless spinning wheel in 1999 when he took me to MD Sheep & Wool Festival. I lost Jimmy in 2002 and I know he'd be proud of me, having written a book too, along with knitting articles. When Knitty.com started, back in 2002, I submitted a sock design, Crusoe, and an article. Swatch Out!. Jimmy died in 2002. 

Next week comes another post, Tonstant Weaders! Gotta go back to knitting my lace shawl.