Back from Long Beach, attending TNNA trade show. I told my husband that I was going out of town for a couple of days and he asked where I was going? I said Long Beach. Then he asked since when is Long Beach out of town?

We live in Venice Beach and Long Beach is about 25 miles from our home. It takes about 30 minutes drive if there is no traffic. So it was sort of funny for me to call Long Beach out of town and staying at a hotel when I could have been in my own bed, silly me. I’ll know next time. I think it would have been easier for me to just drive down each day….. oh well.

Got there on Thursday and took a weaving class. It started out really well then my eyes started crossing and my counting got confused and I got confused but I at least got the idea. I’m not the greatest weaver but I hung in there. All those stripes! Yikes my eyes!

Friday was “Sample it!”one of the most fun parts of the whole event. This is where the merchants put a small sampling of their wares together and you can purchase the items. I’ll write about these in another post. The line to get in was looong, everybody loves Sample It.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday is the actual show. The layout of the convention center was confusing to me but I was already tired and confusion came easily or perhaps all the wool fumes got to me. When I looked at the map it seemed pretty easy and straight forward but in person it seemed different. I carefully mapped out the booths that I was interested in first.

The dark purple area to the left were the knitting related booths and the orange area are the Needlepoint stuff. I always check it all out because I love looking at all the pretty Needdlepoint canvases. And once in a while they stick a yarn or fiber related booth in with the Needlepointers. I always admire the needlepoint work but just can’t seem to have the patience to do it. Needle felting maybe but not needlepoint.

Unicorn Books, was my first stop they are my favorite part of the show. I wanted to say hi because they are so nice and to get tickets for the book signings I was interested in. We get to meet the authors of new books, which is great. I get to ask questions about their book, how long it took to write it, what inspired them, is this the first book they wrote etc. Love this part of the show. Of the 14 books they had my two favorites were:

The Artful Color Mindful Knits by Laura Militzer Bryant. As a dyer this book is full of wonderful information about color repeats, how to dye or pick yarns for “stacking” colors or “pooling” etc. The “magic number” how many stitches do you get from a color repeat. As I say, love this book and will get lots of use out of it.

And the Principles of Knitting, revised and updated from the original version. A must have for a serious knitter. It’s a huge book and full of Methods and Techniques. Those were the two books that I really appreciated getting.

Next was Skacel, I always love visiting this booth because they have hands on “try this” and their products are of highest quality. Visiting with Karin and chatting about knitting and felting is always a lot of fun for me.

They had the addi Quick Neelde Felting tool! I can hardly wait for mine to arrive.

Last but not least I met the lovely lady from Kollage, square needles and Made in the USA! I cast on immediately to try these needles and I love the yarn also. 80% milk-20% cotton, so very soft!

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To be fair, because I was complaining so much about the cold weather. It is just beautiful outside! It’s as good as one could ask for January weather. Not a cloud in the sky and sunny & warm.

Ooops!Oh NO!A mistake way down there!

12 Rows! Do I Frog? (rip back)

How did this happen?
How in the world did I not notice this?

This is setting the finish this project “goal date” way way back!

Hours and hours of knitting!I hate when this happens!
But wait maybe all is not lost. I have a handy dandy little tool made just for this job.
I’ve had this little tool in my “knitty” bag for a long time and this is the first time I’m actually using it. I see it when I open this Namaste magnetic “buddy case” (one of my favorite holders of tiny tools) but have never used it before. I somehow knew that one day it may come in handy. When I go to a yarn store I usually look at their tools and gadgets wall first. I love finding little tools that help to get the job done.
I love all gadgets and good tools. A well designed tool makes or brakes the ease of the job. Picking up dropped stitches is tricky but when it’s over ten rows and in garter stitch it can be a nightmare. In the first place I am hugely surprised that this happened. It’s such an obvious mistake. Why in the world did I not pay closer attention? I know better that this! Shish….. Often I get mesmerized with the stitches and forget to pay attention to what I’m doing. I don’t know why I’m so surprised I make mistakes all the time. I guess the reason I’m so surprised is because it’s such a blatant blaring mistake.If the mistake happens in a place where it’s not that noticeable I usually leave it but when it’s so up front and center…. well I just can not leave it.
When I teach a class and prepare my handouts, I always put this quote on every page: “Admire Your Work Often”. By this I mean stop and look at what you are knitting catch mistakes early. Obviously if I had caught this mistake earlier it would not be this huge fix.
So you are as good as your tools. If I did not have this little handy hooky tool picking up these stitches from stockinette to garter stitch would not be as easy as with this brilliantly designed tool. I have no idea what this little tool is called and also have no idea where I got it. (sorry).
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As I was writing this post I ran across this handy little tool called “fix-a-stitch”.
I’ve never seen this tool used before but if I see it somewhere I will pick one up.Who know I may make a mistake again someday ;-)Although I think the latch hook tool seems more efficient.

Currently on the needles, close but “no cigar”. I’m frogging.

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Why do I pick one project over another? Simply because it sang to me.! No logic no rhyme or reason it simply caught my fancy. I will not knit on commission and have a hard time knitting for others. Unless the person is very dear to me and most of all a knit appreciator. Someone who really knows how much actual work goes into a hand knit item.

I’m lucky in my immediate family they just don’t like hand knitted items. For whatever reason I don’t know because I so love wearing them. This turns out to be lucky for me. Other than once in a while I will knit a pair of wool socks or a wool hat that is it for my immediate family. If I’m wearing something and a dear friend admires it I have happily given them the piece. But no knitting on command or commission it seems to take all the fun out of it.

Many many years ago, I was around 18 and a bit inexperienced with these matters but I was young. I was knitting a shawl for myself and my roommates boyfriend asked if I would knit him a cabled “fisherman” type sweater. Somehow he talked me into it offering to buy all the materials and paying me to take on this commission. I guess I was flattered that he would pick me to knit him a sweater. I told you I was a bit naive about this stuff.

We went and bought the materials and I got started right away but I was young and there was some partying to do so the knitting got put on the back burner. I think I finished the back and halfway up the front. And the project slowly became a night mare. I hated knitting on it and the boyfriend started to get inpatient. Why aren’t you knitting? He would ask me periodically. First it was kind of polite “oh I’m busy with some other things” and slowly but surely it became an issue!

One night I was getting ready to go out and “the boyfriend” (I really have forgotten his name) demanded that I stay home and finish his sweater! Are you crazy? No he says I’m paying you! To which I said if I pay you will you leave me alone?

Not being a monogamous knitter I have several projects on Hiatus. All different stages of progress’ and my organization of these projects leaves much to be desired. Seems when I put a project on a time out they seem to get forgotten. This is a little scarf I started a couple of years ago and I took it out again hopefully to finish this winter while the weather is still cold. When the weather is warm it’s really hard for me to knit something so warm and Alpaca is a very warm fiber.

I’m using a size 4 addi turbo lace needle. With a piece of felted strip. I was at Madrona Fiber Fest and there was a lady from Skacel demonstrating “artfelt”. I made this little piece and did not know what to do with it. When I got home I decided to pick up some stitches and start a scarf.

From the Skacel web site:

“It’s not needle felting. It’s not wet felting. It’s not fulling. It’s artfelt® – and it is revolutionizing the way we felt.”

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I often like to mix it up and use felted material with hand knitting. I’ve made several other projects this way and I’ll share  more of this technique as I progress. The knitting part I’m using a technique called Shadow Knitting.

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I just checked the weather and even though it’s looking warm and it’s telling me that it’s nice, I’m cold there is a cold breeze from the ocean and if this scarf was finished I’d be wearing it. Then do you see how it’s telling us that it’s warming up? That is very deceiving it’s winter warm, when it will reach the “high” but maybe for 5 minutes at noon, and it gets cold. I apologize for those who are suffering from a “real” winter but we are just not used to this stuff here in Southern California.

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I belong to several different guilds, it’s a wonderful way to connect with other knitters, spinners, weavers and fiber artists. Not to talk about the chit chat and wisdom and friendships developed. Part of “coming out of the closet” no I’m not gay, but for most of my knitting life I bought my yarn went home and knit whatever I was working on.

I had no idea that there was this huge knitting community out there. About ten years ago (I think) I walked into a new yarn store in the area and suddenly discovered there was a huge knitting community right in my neighborhood.

Then I attended my first Stitches and could not believe what I saw! Hundreds of knitters running around crazed! The market place! People wearing magnificent hand knit garments! Wow! Who knew.

When one of the ladies I met asked me where I usually knit? I was kind of confused I thought she meant what part of the house? But she meant what yarn store, which guild I belonged to or what Stitch ‘n Bitch. It was like a foreign language to me. I told her that I usually knit in my den.

She blurted out “Oh you are a closet knitter!” Well I’m out of the closet now!

At Stitches West they have a dinner with a Student’s fashion show. At my friend Kathy Silverton’s suggestion I entered my vest I made from Patons Classic Wool. It is a freeform piece that I crochet and when I got tired of crocheting I knit.

There was so many absolutely beautiful projects that quite frankly I thought they would laugh at me for this pieced together made up project made from ordinary yarn that I bought a JoAnn’s. No fancy hand dyed beautiful stuff but ordinary low cost Patons wool.

I have not been back since but this year I’m going! And maybe I’ll enter another piece I’ve knitted, but competition is fierce! Some of the work I’ve seen around is really magnificent.

Location:El Segundo, California

We are usually spoiled with great weather but this morning “Baby it’s COLD outside”

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You know what this means? I get to wear my wool! And this afternoon I’m going to a get together with other members of my Knitting Guild. I love getting together and knitting with friends. We discuss our knitting projects and anything else that may come up. This guild has a lot of members here is a picture of our Christmas Party Pot Luck meeting.

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I especially love to go to this knitting guild because I get to drive along the coast and the view is wonderful. It’s held in El Segundo, California. Which is just adjacent to LAX and is a unique little town often forgotten by Angelinos. When I drive up there it often reminds me of a little village.

I’m still rather new at using WordPress so excuse the “mess”. As I’ve been telling all who will listen, after my Blogger Blog was deleted I decided to move over to WordPress. Needless to say everything is different here. But I’m learning.

On the needles, Wingspan Dickey

 

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I would like to be but there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the organization that is needed in my life. I ran across this weblog by a lady named Jenn, she calls her blog “mama jenn”

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OMG to be that “organized” is a bit too much for my little brain. I write this blog by “the seat of my pants”, just sort of sit down at the keyboard and hope something develops. I sort of knit like that too, I get an idea of some project and start knitting.

One day my son was watching me knit and as I was casting on stitches he asked what I was making. And at that point I was not quite sure. Then he looked at me and said “you don’t even know what you are knitting”. I confess I have knit something and then let it develop into a project. For me this is the fun part and it is my hobby. There are no rules! The knitting police is not coming by to to check.

However the “blog” police is out there and I better watch what I write! As I found out in one milli second they can pull the plug. 

I rarely use straight knitting needles, although for many many years I did not even know that they had circular needles. I’ve been knitting for over 60 years and the knitting world as everything has “come a long way baby”.

I now use interchangeable circular needles for almost all of my projects. The weight of the project distributes better on the cables therefore taking the weight and strain off the wrist. And when you knit as much as I do you want to save your body parts as much as you can.

I also carry these knitting projects from place to place and the tips need protection some times so the stitches don’t fall off the needles. I also like to keep a small crochet hook handy in case I drop a stitch or two. I first saw these Needle Keepers on Etsy.com (the two blue tubes in the picture) then I realized that I already had better tubes that I kept after using the beads that they originally held. (JoAnn’s glass beads).

I knew they would come in handy, perfect for holding dpn sock needles and crochet hooks and now Circular Needle protectors. I just cut a small slit at the bottom with a razor blade and voila! A Circular Needle Protector with a crochet hook holder. Light weight and only $2.39 with beads in them! After you used the beads keep the tube, recycling is a beautiful thing.

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