Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ysolda at Verb

Before I go into the details, let me just say that Friday's event was like getting a second Christmas this year. I met up with a few knitter friends, and we all talked about how the weather was lovely for this time of year, but not so great for showing off knitwear. Having planned on wearing a hat, scarf, and mitts, I resigned myself to putting my hat on once we got to the store.

Ysolda at Verb

What I didn't realize until we arrived was that not only were we getting a talk by Ysolda, we were also getting a mini trunk show! She had brought with her several sweaters from her upcoming book.

Ysolda at Verb

Ysolda at Verb

Ysolda at Verb

We arrived early enough to purchase copies of Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2 and Cookie's new book Knit.Sock.Love. and find seats (I saved my seat with Nathaniel).

The shop was really packed! Ysolda talked about how she got started designing, how she got the idea to do the Whimsical Little Knits collections, and how she designed and did the size grading for the sweaters in her new book Little Red in the City.

Ysolda at Verb

She also encouraged us to try on the sweaters, which I definitely did after the Q&A portion of the talk ended and we got our books signed. Ysolda made my inscription out to both myself and Nathaniel:

Ysolda at Verb

and later on when the signing was mostly finished, Ysolda herself showed me how to alter the Melia sweater to fit better.

Ysolda at Verb

I went home and immediately preordered the new book (you get a very handy info sheet with yarn specifications for all the sizes of every pattern for planning purposes). And just like the Whimsical Little Knits books, I want to knit just about every pattern.

Like I said, second Christmas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've got everything ready for tomorrow. The camera is packed in my purse (I really need to be a good blogger and take lots of photos). My copy of Whimsical Little Knits 1 has been retrieved from the knitting bookshelf, ready to be signed. I've decided on what I'll wear: My Snapdragon tam, and my blue Pomatomus socks. Oh, didn’t you hear? Cookie A is going to be speaking tomorrow, too! It’s going to be an awesome event, I just know it. In case you haven't seen the announcement on Ravelry, here's the details for the event:

When: Friday, January 14th, 2011
What: 4:30pm Ysolda will talk and answer questions
5:30-6pm Ysolda and Cookie book signing
6-8pm Artist Reception celebrating the work of Sonya Phillip
Where: A Verb for Keeping Warm, 6328 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA, 510-595-verb

I've got something to keep my hands warm tomorrow:

Snapdragon Mitts

something to squish while I watch tv, waiting to get tired enough to sleep:

Nathaniel Pillow

and something to tide me over craft-wise tonight while I decide what to cast on for next:

Blake Fleece

Blake Fleece

Blake Fleece

The color is best on that last photo, and the processing was worth every penny. I've got a little bit of plying to clear off the bobbins, and then it's going to be lots and lots of dark brown on the wheel for a really long time.

The only thing I have left to plan for tomorrow is what I'll be knitting. I'm a little hesitant to cast on the Veyla mitts, as I want something I can knit and not have to pay too much attention to. I don't want to be distracted by a chart. I'm thinking that perhaps the famous Ishbel in Verb's Creating or perhaps in handspun would be good? I probably would still be on the stockinette portion, I highly doubt I'll be on the lacey part Some Polwarth Wee Mushrooms? While I was rooting through my stash looking for matches between a Verb yarn and an Ysolda pattern, I was very much struck by how complementary they are! No wonder I love her patterns so much.

Oh, I forgot one more thing I have to plan: what to ask during the Q&A. What do you guys think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

An... tici... (say it! say it!) pation!

So here's what's coming up in the next week or two:

1. Tomorrow I'm having tea with some lovely ladies. Our purpose is threefold: eat cucumber sandwiches, gab about knitting, and look fabulous.

2. I can go back to Purl Jam on a regular basis. Hooray for no Tuesday evening class assignment this semester, and having my knitting support group back!

3. There are another few days before the new semester gets into full swing to spend time with my lovely Christmas present. (Note: this isn't my actual yarn bowl, but it's the same colors as mine.)

4. Blake is on his way back from Morro Fleece Works! As a refresher, here's a very blurry photo:


I heard back today that the box will ship on Tuesday. This ought to keep me from buying any more fiber like these batts or gradation spinning kits or naturally colored anything.

5. In exactly one week, the fabulous Ysolda is coming to Verb!!! I'm incredibly excited, and I have to decide what to wear and what to knit. For wearing, my choices are Damson:

Green Damson


Thunderstorm Tam

and the Peaks Island Hood:


I'm leaning towards the hat right now, but mostly that's because it's the pattern with fewest projects on Ravelry out of the three. I got so excited last night when Kristine floated the idea on the Verb forums that I cast on some old stash yarn for Nathaniel, a squirrel-shaped cushion. That'll be coming with me to tea tomorrow afternoon. But I'm thinking for the actual talk, I'm either going to cast on for the Snapdragon Flip-tops in this yarn:

Navy Fat Sock

It's not the same yarn as my hat, but I think the color is close enough to tosh's Thunderstorm and the occasion of meeting such a famous knit designer warrants my first project in the delightful Hello Yarn Fat Sock base. Following similar logic (beautiful, functional pattern in an equally gorgeous yarn) my other option is another pair of Veylas, in another very special yarn:

Anny Blatt Absolu Angora

Anny Blatt Absolu Angora

... wait for it...

Anny Blatt Absolu Angora

The most amazing angora yarn ever. I mean, they packaged it in individual boxes to preserve the fluffiness. I can hardly take it! But at least I'll have plenty of knitting to tide me over until next Friday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First things first

I mentioned earlier that I was a little disappointed in how much knitting I did in 2010, as compared to 2009. A few astute readers have reminded me that planning and participating in a wedding does tend to cut into one's knitting and spinning time, but this year I will have no such impediment. As Brenda Dayne said in her final podcast of 2007, this year I will start as I mean to go on. So here we go!

Goal the first: Finish the g.d. blanket

Seamed Square #1

Seamed Square #2

I know three isn't really a large sample size, but I'm seaming one block per day at this rate. I wonder how long I can keep up the pace? Whether I keep up the pace or not, this really ought to be a reasonable goal to meet.

Goal the second: Fair Isle

Okay, so that's a really nebulous goal. But the fact remains that I purchased Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified back when I was still in college (2003? 2004?), have acquired four books of Alice Starmore patterns (only the easy-to-get ones) and Anne Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting, but have yet to make anything more complicated than a pair of fingerless gloves. I, like so many other knitters, have a deep-seated fascination with the technique. So I'm starting the year by cataloging my stash of Shetland wool:

Here's the leftovers from those fingerless gloves, along with two straggler half-skeins from the Squirrel Sampler mittens:
Shetland Spindrift and 2-ply leftovers

Here's yarn I have stashed away for the Polar Chullo hat from Twist Collective (which may never become the Polar Chullo hat):
Shetland Spindrift Naturals

Another batch of yarn, this time for the Autumn Tam from Simply Shetland (I have both tam patterns, but only yarn for the Autumn one):
Shetland Spindrift I

And finally, some new stuff that I have vague notions of turning into actual gloves:
Shetland Spindrift II

There's 30 colors, and at least three projects worth of yarn in there. This year, I will stop dreaming about fair isle tams and gloves and sweaters and am determined to actually knit some of the darned things.

Goal the third: Get serious with this design stuff

And for that, there are not too many more logical places to start than this:

Knitting Workshop Book and DVD

Book and DVD courtesy the in-laws, who gave me a very generous gift certificate to the LYS I haunt whenever we visit them. It was generous enough, in fact, to pay for the book and DVD and something else besides. After flipping through the book for approximately 4 minutes, I learned two new fundamental things about knitting, and had one of my long-standing suspicions confirmed about the backwards loop cast on and the long-tail cast on. I have three days this week and all of next week to myself, and I plan to knit right along with EZ in my living room. Somewhere in the region of my lungs I've got that feeling of drive and determination that I used to get at the beginning of the new school year. Time for another adventure.