Thursday, November 20, 2008

Knitting Workshop

I was on vacation the week of the November 10th. Purely by accident I was off the same week the Arlington guild hosted a knitting workshop with Maureen Mason-Jamieson. I was lucky enough to score a spot in the workshop.

We learned about taming collars, the Joy of Steeking and on the second day we knit a purse using mitered squares and slip-stitches.

I was unsure of what to expect because this was my first workshop, but I did my homework as instructed. As a result, I leared a ton, a TON, in the class. And I met some really nice people.

The collar class was really good. We learned how to make the collar roll the way we want it too. And the purse is cute and I love the slip-stitch pattern Maureen shared, but my favorite was the steeking class.

Steeking is a very scary thing and Maureen took out all the fear. The steek is to be respected if you don't want to demolish a year's knitting, but it can also be magical. Actually, I can't wait to give it a try.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

12:01 Felted Pumpkin

This is my great pumpkin destash. I decided I wanted to make the 12:01 pumpkin after I saw Grace's three pumpkins. But I didn't want to buy any yarn. I felt a personal challenge to see if I could make these from stash. With my WotA natural, WotA Bulky natural, fingering natural and some brownish scraps of Cascade, I had more than enough grams to do the job. I did end up going into the second skein of fingering weight wool, but I've had it in my stash for so long and I will not make any socks from it so it's OK. I used over a dozed packets of orange kool-aid. I had previous dyed one skein with tamarindo flavored kool-aid and it was hideous brown, then I over-dyed it with red and yellow mixed (trying to make orange) it came out persimmon. Then I added orange, but by then it was tired and it wouldn't take any more dye.

I had a lot of fun mixing the colors back and forth.
Here's the finished product. It's brighter in real life, but not as bright at the yarn picture above. I did lose some dye while I was felting. I didn't heat set the kool-aid. It's never been an issue before, but I really pushed the dye on a couple these skeins. It might be that I pushed too much.
I used the pumpkin to hand out candy Halloween night. Now it sits on the table as a Thanksgiving decoration.

Lots of Chemo Cap Knitting

Wow, has it really been that long since I posted? I've gotten lots of knitting done.

I've been working on chemo caps. Not the funnest subject, but both Anita and Jack enjoy their hats. I see Anita wearing her's all the time. I've even gotten emails from coworkers commenting on the hats.

Anita is one of the nicest people in the building and we are all pulling for her. She's about to take her 5th chemo and the tumor is shrinking. The doctors think this could be the last treatment and then surgery. This is such a good sign. The red hat below is her graduation from chemo hat. I'm working to finish it before Nov 6 in case they do make that her last treatment. If not, her last treatment is the week of Thanksgiving.

The pink hat was the first hat. It's pink for breast cancer of course, but it looks so good on her. I knit this one first because I knew she needed a hat and I knew it would go much faster than Shedir.

In reality, I knit Shedir for me. The pattern seemed intriguing and I thought it would look so cool. The pattern is intriguing, but I don't like the way it fits her and don't get me started on the yarn. The Calmer is fantastic until you wash it. I admit the instructions say hand-wash and I did machine-wash it. When I washed it, it faded, it pilled and it lost stitch definition. Honestly for the money, I would not buy it again. It was nice to knit with, but it goes down hill from there.
Anita liked the pink hat so much, I knit a green one. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture before I gave it to her. Instead of a button, this time I sewed down the flap and she accents with a pin. Usually a pretty bee pin, but she can use whatever she's in the mood for.

Then there's the red hat. As I said it's her graduation hat. We're going to attach a tassel (temporarily) to signify the graduation, and some other co-workers are going to buy Christmas pins to use as the accent. This should see her through the holidays.

I'm using the Pi Topper Chemo Cap pattern from Elann and it is amazing. When I finish Anita's red hat, I'm going to start on yet another one in peacock green/blue for Pat's MIL. Pat is one of the guys that works with Anita and he sees how much Anita enjoys her hats and asked me to make one for his MIL who is battling ovarian cancer. Not knowing her at all, so I don't know what color would look good on her, I found the color for ovarian cancer ribbon and matched the Elann Esprit color closest to it. It's a beautiful color and I think anyone would look good in it. I will finish it by next week. Hopefully no later than Friday.

Then there's Jack. He is two years old and going through chemo for Leaukemia. His mom, Kim, is a client of my company. I'm on that team, but I don't really know her, but who can resist knitting a hat for a 2-year-old. Jeri gifted the denim yarn. Thanks Jeri. I used the Karlchen formula to knit the hat. On a conference call yesterday, Kim said Jack loves his hat and wears it all the time. He calls it his lid. I think that is soooo cute. She sent the nicest thank you note and knowing that Jack uses the hat makes me want to knit a couple more.
Jack and his family have a long haul ahead of them. They could have to endure 3 years of treatment, but the fantastic news is there is a 95% cure rate and Jack is expected to make a full recovery.
I'm thinking he might like a bear lid in Knitpicks Swish. It's so soft.