Category Archives: TKGA Master’s Program

Fun with Fiber Weekend

Here it is Sunday night already. What makes the week go so slowly and the weekend go so quickly?

Friday I finished the latest baby blanket and made the cutest little care label for it. I uses Brava yarn from Knit Picks http://www.knitpicks.com/yarn–fiber-en/yarn-color/yellows/brava-sport-yarn.html it is affordable and reliable. The texture is soft and cuddly and machine wash/dry care make it perfect for babies. I’ve made this pattern before: Baby Blanket #4659 by Bernat Design Studio, which is a free Ravelry pattern. The writer made it much more complicated than necessary, read the notes from other crocheters, and follow the advise of repeating the 3 pattern rows and ignoring the different number rows after 1-3. That being said, it is really a cute pattern and I really love how the shells turn into hearts. Dr Lorie's baby blanket completed

 

One of the craftiest gals I know, K2 gave me an awesome “knitting label kit” for my birthday. It included stamps, custom labels, inks and cording to attach them. Here is the one I made for Lori’s baby’s blanket.

labels

On Saturday I finally got back to Culture Stock in Aurora, IL for the weekly Knitting Circle (actually a Fiber Circle as there are knitters, crocheters, cross stitchers and needlepointers ((if that is a word?)) ) there. It was fun reconnecting with them because I haven’t been there in months. If you live close, you have to check out Culture Stock (https://www.facebook.com/CultureStock?fref=ts ) it is a great place.

I’ve been working on the possum yarn shawl, making fairly good progress. Here’s the latest pic. I pulled out one side because it is getting to large to see the whole shawl.

Possum shawl progress

Regarding the TKGA Master’s I am really behind. I have such lofty goals in January…

Future fiber fun – the class list is out for Stitches Midwest. I will either go on Saturday or Sunday, I am just not sure which day yet.

 

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Master’s Monday finally and again

I have no excuse for not posting for way to long. This will be short and sweet.

As for the Master’s program, I have done zip, zilch, nada. If thinking about it counts as progress, I am in! Hopefully next week I’ll have a teeny bit of progress to report.

While I have your attention, I’ll update you on my WIP and the list of this years projects.

helix scarf on Indy

My helix scarf out of the Bison yarn is done. Indy is graciously modeling it.

Purple socks 1 almost done

And 1 of the purple socks is done, the second should be done by the weekend because I only have the ribbing to finish. I love using the magic loop method so I don’t have second sock syndrome which often plagues my projects. Check out Liat Gat website with the instructions and patterns. (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/beginner-toe-up-socks-for-magic-loop) I like to use 4 needles to make the cuffs because they go quicker for me that way.

One of the baby blankets for baby CJ is complete and was done in time for the baby shower last week.

20130308_171401

I liked the pattern for CJ’s blanket so much that I am going to make it again for the other baby shower scheduled for June. This time I am going to use cream and royal blue and adjust the pattern so it is only 36 inches wide instead of 40. Overall, I am looking forward to making it because it works up so cute with the shells looking like tiny hearts.

I’ve ordered some beautiful yarn from Maluhia Farm.( http://yarnhawaii.com/www.yarnhawaii.com/HHWC_Welcome.html). I’ll post a picture when it arrives.

I tried to purchase yarn while in Hawaii, but my timing was bad so I ordered from Jan online. As soon as it arrives, I’ll make up my mind as to what it will be used for . I am leaning toward a cowl. maybe socks,  or a scarf.

How are your projects coming along this year?

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Watcha doing Master’s Monday 4

This week was great progress, but not especially what I planned. Master’s Monday turned into triage Tuesday for needlework. I had to set aside the Master’s program this week because on Monday I still had 3 squares to complete on the throw for my girlfriend’s birthday on Saturday. After finishing the squares, I had to finish the fifth strip, then crochet all 5 strips together. That was completed by Wednesday night.

Thursday I started on the border, which was supposed to be six rows. I completed three of them and realized I was living on the edge if an incomplete project because I knew I didn’t have enough yarn to finish. Luckily, my knitting buddy at work mentioned this week that she had one skein of the Knit Picks Brava yarn I was using. I sent her a text and she brought her skein to work on Friday morning.

Only a few hours to work on the Swirling Fan Throw before we were meeting my girlfriend and her hubby for dinner so right after family night dinner I plunked down in my chair to complete the last 3 rows. I worked about 1/2 of row 4 and was not as happy as I wanted to be with the product. So I tore it out and tried 3 more stitches before deciding on a simple single crocheted row. I was going to add a picot edging, but decided the sc edge worked as a last row, balancing the complexity of the pattern with the simplicity of sc was enough. You can check out the pattern on Revelry – I’m writeknit there too 🙂Nancy's throw (1)

Nancy loved the throw and I am ready to begin my next project, even though I am only 1/2 done with my bison helix scarf. That project is the one I’ve been taking to work for breaks and lunch knitting, because I don’t have to pay attention to the pattern  other than remembering which of the three rows in the patter I am working on.

Christmas sock yarnStarting a new project is always fun. This one is going to be a pair of socks. We are going on vacation (my fabulous hubby is taking me on a tropical trip!!!) and I need something portable for the long plane ride. My cousin gave me a gift card that I used to get sock yarn for 2 pairs of socks. I am going to get the purple OTN this afternoon. It is Serenity from Premier Yarns and feels really nice.  It’s a washable Merino, bamboo and nylon blend. The other yarn is Heart & Sole with Aloe from Red Heart. I love the colors and will use that next.

Master’s might be on hold until after I return, but my getaway is sooo worth catching up next month 😛

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Watcha Doin’ Wednesday 2 & 3

Last Wednesday I had a wonderful time at my once a month Bunco club, so I neglected to update my progress. So while it may seem like I have made great progress this week, keep in mind it was 2 weeks, so eh, maybe I didn’t get that much done 🙂

Nancy's throw strip details
First and foremost the throw for my girlfriend’s birthday on Feb 1 is over 1/2 done. 23 of the 35 squares are complete and 3 strips of 5 are together. That is obviously my focus until completion because it has to be done a week from Saturday. I am pleased with my progress. Oddly enough, one of the pictures for this project looks way more purple than the true wine color of the yarn. The pic with the 3 strips on the table are much more the actual color, but I included the other one to show the detail of the stitches

Nancy's throw strips

Next, I worked on my helix scarf and think it is coming along nicely if I do say so myself. 

hanging buffalo

And finally I finished the seed stitch square for the Master’s Program.

Master's Swatch #3 Seed Stitch

Hopefully next week you’ll see the completed throw.

 

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Masters Monday #3

I made my first swatch for the TKGA Master’s program this weekend. I chose to make swatch number 3 first because, quite frankly, it is the easiest one. It is a small, 4.5 inch seed stitch swatch. I am familiar with the stitch, have used it many times to edge washcloths and cuff hats. But I’ve never had a knitting expert examine my stitches before, so that made me knit a little slower than usual to make sure each stitch was as close to perfect as possible.

I am using the required worsted weight yarn in a cream color. I purchased it from Unwind Yarn House (http://unwindyarnhouse.com/). They were at Stitches Midwest, and I liked the feel of their yarns. The kind I purchased is Timothy Street, and has wonderful definition. Each stitch can be seen, which exactly suits my needs for this project.

Debbie's washcloth

The edging of this washcloth I made last Christmas is seed stitch, which keeps it from rolling. Seed stitch may be an easy stitch, but I thought I’d learn a bit more about its origins if I could. Thanks to the internet, anything can be found. My first stop was http://knitting.about.com/od/stitchglossary/g/seedstitch.htm. Here I found out that it is made by working multiples of 2 stitches. Either an odd number of stitches in each row, working k1, p1 for each row (this was the requirement of my swatch) or alternate even number of stitch rows k1, p1 and p1, k1. Most knitters know this already. 

What I didn’t know was it is also called the “British or Irish Moss Stitch”. The Tricksy Knitter website (http://www.tricksyknitter.com/knitting-stitches/irish-moss-stitch-634) also calls it the rice stitch.

The dense fabric this stitch creates (no matter what you call it) is very useful, but apparently it isn’t that interesting because every site basically said the same thing.

I’m glad the questions that have to be answered aren’t about the history or uniqueness of the seed, moss or rice stitch.

 

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Master Monday #2

This week I read through the questions for the TKGA Hand Knitting Master’s Program Level 1 to see what I need to be looking for to answer them fully as I make progress on the program this year.

Question 1 has you look at the yarn band to collect information to determine gauge, and various other info. My yarn band gave me less information than many others I’ve used. It read: “Worsted, Afghan, Aran; 16-20 stitches per inch on 4.5 – 5.5 mm needles”.

This was a short story  compared to the sagas on some bands. Sometimes you learn when and where the fibers were collected, washing instructions in several languages and pictures and in once case the name of the alpaca whose haircut allowed me to knit. (pic from google images: u-knittedamiras.blogspot.com)

I’ve downloaded the “Standard Yarn Wt System” to give me all the info I needed to reference regarding yarns. I’ve been knitting for over 40 years and learned new things reading the info on their the Craft Yarn Council website.  http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/weight.html

They have advice, answers and classes for new knitters and crocheters and seasoned veterans. You get discounts on classes they offer with your TKGA membership.

So I’ve bookmarked the site on my computer for reference during and after the Master’s.

I am going to make swatch #1 this week and answer the associated questions. I’ll let you know how it goes on Monday.

Meantime, I had to share the coolest yarn holder my son bought me for Christmas this year. He was with his wife at a craft show and saw these handmade yarn bowls, thought of me and now I think of him every evening when I knit or crochet after dinner 🙂

yarn pot

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Master Monday #1

All programs, degrees, certificates and other achievements have to begin at the beginning. That is what I have done with The Knitting Guild of American’s Master Hand Knitter’s Program Level 1. Actually, my beginning began last year when I downloaded the instructions and bought the yarn. I was rather unorganized and not surprisingly let life get in the way of completion.

This year I requested and received the updated instructions and reread them to freshen up my memory. I am taking this program slow and steady and hopefully to completion this year. So far, I’ve read said instructions and wound the yarn. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but we are only 7 days into the new year and it is further than I was last year. LOL

I’ve decided to update my progress every Monday. Hence the name of this post. By #52 I have the highest hopes of saying my notebook was sent to the committee for consideration. Come along with my craziness and we’ll see where it leads.

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Setting Goals for 2013

Happy New Year to one and all!

I am not one to make New Years resolutions. Instead I prefer to set goals for myself. These can be lofty, wishful and/or hopeful, but it gives me something to strive for in the upcoming year. This year I have a list of projects I want to complete, some of them are roll overs from last year, these goals are the mean stepsisters of resolutions past.

Since I am sharing them with all of you, any of you, some of you…maybe more of them will be completed this year. I’ll circle back to this post in late December and assess my progress or lack thereof.

I’ll start with my writing goals:

1) Publish at least 4 blog entries each week starting now (I know, already 5 days into the new year) either on this blog or my writing blog (inmywords.wordpress.com) – this will keep me motivated to write, write, write. I write in my head all of the time, getting these words to paper is a long and laborious task.

2) I will get at least one story, book, article or essay published this year. I know one doesn’t sound like a very lofty goal, but if you are a writer, you’ll be shaking your head muttering “Good luck with that, ha ha ha”. Getting published is very, very difficult but wonderful when it happens.

Knitting and Crocheting goals:

1) I will attempt to complete the Knitting Guild of American’s hand knit masters’s program this year. I’ve already downloaded the new instructions (they change slightly each year) and will make Monday’s blog entry an update day. Master’s Mondays will start to appear the first Monday of January.

2) I will complete the Fan Throw I began working on Jan 1 for my girlfriend’s birthday on February 1. Originally I was going to make her a shawl, but decided on a throw instead.  Fan throw first square

3) Left over projects on my 2012 goal list need to be completed. Namely the alpaca hat and buffalo mittens (which may change to a helix scarf because I would wear that way more than mittens). I would be remiss if I left off the third pair of socks that I didn’t complete last year. I have issues making things for myself. They always get pushed to the end of my lists of things to do. All three of these projects are for me, so hopefully I’ll get them done and you won’t see them on my list of goals for 2014.

4) Two baby blankets must be completed by April for the little boy that is due.

5) Assorted Christmas projects. I am not sure yet what Christmas projects I want to tackle. One will most likely be an afghan or throw for my cousin. The problem I see is I have 2 cousins so should make them each one this year. This makes the goal even a bit crazier, but what the heck, this is January and I’ve ordered the yarn for one of them already.

Now that my goals are on cyber paper, it brings life to the list. I’ll keep you all posted which will keep me on task.

Here’s to a great 2013 to all of you. May all of your goals be completed. Reach for them – the whole year is ahead of you. Live it to the fullest and have lots of laughter and fun while enjoying it.

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Filed under Children's Writer, Crocheting, Knitting, TKGA Master's Program, Writer & Book Reviewer

WiP update

It’s been a productively busy week for knitting and writing projects. I always feel better when at least one of my projects is complete. Maybe because I love starting something new?

Anyway, here is the my updates by project.

2 Baby boy afghans – 1 DONE! The other will be started when I finish clue 1 for the Mystery Shawl KAL

Snowflake afghan – 21 of 59 squares completed as of today – sadly, no progress. Might do a couple of squares just because I need to.
Pr socks –  I’m sort of looking at patterns
Hat – this might be the next project I start
Shawl – DONE! It is blocked and drying and I love it
Mystery Shawl – received clue number one Sept 1 – am making good progress, hope to complete this clue this weekend.
Possible add in projects: the delightful baby sweater – can’t find the pattern I fell in love with, so this is a scratch, a felted lunchbag (fast, fun and useful!) actually bought one – so this will be a scratch also and a few dishcloths – DONE! I’ve made 2 and have been using them for a few weeks. I fell back in love with them. Have enough fiber to make 3 more will do early next year. But maybe I’ll have a plain old dishrag giveaway and make one sooner. Would anyone be interested in a useful, extraordinarily ordinary prizie????
Master’s program – neverending…. but I did order some new yarn to start swatches over 🙂
So I’ll be dropping  the shawl, baby sweater, lunchbag, one baby blanket and the dishcloths off of my list of to-dos.
That will only leave one baby blanket, a hat, socks, mystery shawl (which doesn’t really count because it was an add on) and the snowflake afghan. OH – and the Bears scarf that is about 1/2 of the way completed that I added on also. Master’s program stalled.
I hope to finish the Bears scarf this week!

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Do you push yourself?

Do you push yourself when choosing what to knit? I spent years making easier garments like baby sweaters and winter hats. I might pick an interesting stitch, but honestly didn’t get out of my comfort zone.

Then I started talking with a friend of mine at work who has been knitting for a couple of years and makes beautiful lace shawls, intricate scarves and even writes her own sock patterns. She inspires me. When I told her I couldn’t do lace (never having tried it) she insisted it was really easy and I had to try. I’ve finished a beautiful simple lace scarf for my boss’ Christmas present last year. And currently am working on a my second lace shawl.

She also urged me to start the TKGA Master Knitter’s program. I’ve made 2 of the swatches, but found a lovely wool at Stitches Midwest that I have to use. The stitch definition is exquisite! Of course I didn’t buy it then, but today I ordered it from Unwind Yarn House. It is their “house” yarn – Timothy Street. Check out their website to see what they have to offer. Wendy is great to work with. (www.timothystreetyarns.com & www.unwindyarnhouse.com)

I also draw inspiration to push myself from other knitting blogs, magazines and the current book I’m reading. “Sweater Quest” by Adrienne Martini is the journey she takes during her  “year of knitting dangerously”.  Her challenge was knitting a famous Alice Starmore pattern; her Mary Tudor sweater. Hum, Fair Isle might be my next self-challenge.

In order to grow and learn, I have to move out of my blanket and sock comfort zone. It is almost September and I signed up for a mystery shawl KAL. It has beads (never used them!) and tiny lace yarn (it scares me!). That is my stretch for this year. January 1 will be my “time to get serious” date for the Master’s Program. No excuses like this year!!!

What do you do to inspire yourself and push yourself? Your knitting is art. Most of the time it is ok to do what you know and do it well. Once in a while, it is good to stretch your comfort level to the breaking point and do something you never imagined you could do. If I can do it you can too!

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