Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Episode 5: Interview with Ann Budd & Knitting Howlers!

Hi Knitters, we're happy to share our 5th episode with you. Kim went to the Strungalong retreat where she got to meet and interview Ann Budd.  We are continuing to learn about podcasting and we are perfecting our style, I hope you are enjoying our conversations and knitting info that we are always excited to share with our listeners.This is another nice, long, meaty episode; so pick up your knitting, a soothing beverage and settle in for a great knitting session. Enjoy!

Episode 5 Audio

Whats in our Lesson Plan?

  • Show and Tell
  • Field trip Notes
  • Interview with Ann Budd
  • We are Uber Crafty!
  • Homework/Goals
  • What's on our Blackboard?

Show and Tell:

Marcy has been wearing and really enjoying her True sweater by Joji Locatelli. She is currently working on her Casual Kimono  pullover  by Bonnie Riley. She bought the gorgeous 100% Mongolian cashmere yarn from the  Lambtown fiber festival that we attended last fall. The cashmere and pattern are from Stitchsisterz Yarn

Marcy wanted to pick up and work on the cute Monster pants, but it didn't happen. She finished the Gray Lady Tablet case and is very happy with it. As part of the Stitches West KAL, Marcy is planning on casting on the pretty Be My Angel shawl by Martina Behm using her Huckleberry Knits singular in the winesap color. 

Kim's Doodler Shawl.
Kim finished her Bankhead hat by Susie Gourlay.  She CO three things: 1) the Doodler shawl by Westknits, 2) a pair of socks knit on magic loop 2 at a time with Invictus Yarn, and these socks will have contrasting heels and toes and (for the 1st time!) a Fish Lips Kiss Heel, and 3) another pair of vanilla socks, also 2 x 2 on magic loop with Zauberball yarn.

Kim's other Wips: 1) the Autumn's End pullover by Alano Dakos which is about 3/4 done, 2) the "Surprise! IDK where you came from" second sock (hopefully a horrible case of SSS will not attack her!)

While sick, Kim did some swatching for a few sweaters (there's no better time, right?!) 
1) the Breathing Space pullover sweater by Veera Valimaki using Madelinetosh Merino Light  and 2) the Heartfelt cardigan also by Veera Valimaki which will be knit out of merino light as well. Both of these sweaters are from the beautiful new book by Veera and Joji Locatelli, Interpretations vol 3.

 A good tip when swatching is to tie knots in your yarn tail to remind you of the needle size you used to swatch (for ex, a US size 5 would have 5 knots,) or if you are swatching with multiple sizes, as you change needles indicate the size you used by adding that number of purl bumps to the right side of your work. This works like a charm and your future self will thank you! Also, its always a fabulous idea to wash and block your swatch, especially before investing all of your time and $$$ into knitting a sweater.

A  Show and Tell Note, please check out the Sox Therapist's pattern, Fish Lips Kiss Heel because this very inexpensive $1  pattern will help her pay for some of her medical bills as she is battling cancer. 

Field trip Notes:

Kim attended the Strungalong retreat last November in Port Ludlow, Washington. She learned about this retreat from reading Spephanie Pearl-Mcphee's blog, The Yarn Harlot. This retreat is held three times a year and each session has a different theme. Last November, the amazing Judith  Mackenzie taught the spinning portion, Stephanie taught the knitting and Debbi Stone taught the informative technology class.

While at the retreat, it was really fun to meet and interact with the teachers and other attendees. Kim met:  Ann Budd, Jennie the Potter and Cecelia Campochiaro who wrote the amazing book, Sequence Knitting, along with many other amazing, smart, fun and creative knitters!

Ann Budd Interview:

It was such a pleasure to meet and interview Ann Budd. You can find all of her books here, and the information about her Knit For Fun retreats here.

Ann started working for Handwoven Magazine and moved over to Interweave Press in 1989, first working on the magazine and then as an editor in the book department.

This April's Knit For Fun retreat will be held in Park City, Utah and her guest teacher will be the amazing Nancy Bush. In September, the retreat will be held in Estes Park, Co and her guest teacher will be the  talented Galina Khmeleva.

Cindy Hallam is the event coordinator for the retreats and wants to ensure that all attendees will have a ball and that there will be many fun surprises too!

Ann mentions Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee and the lever knitting technique that she teaches. Head on over to Ann's Revelry group and join in on the fun.

Knitting Howlers:

We really like the Knitmore Girls podcast segment, "When Knitting Attacks!" We don't want to steal a segment name from them, so we came up with our own name, "Knitting Howlers." A howler is defined as," a glaring blunder, typically an amusing one." We know that we've had many howlers in our knitting lives and we will continue to do so (for your amusement, dear listeners : ) We also liked the name because knitters typically want to howl when their knitting misbehaves! ***By the way, we very much enjoy the entire podcast experience with the Knitmore's, please go on over and give them a listen if you haven't already. 

Here are the Knitting Howlers that we experienced since we recorded last: 1) Kim's vanilla socks had some very stubborn stitches that continually wanted to bale out of the sock experience. Even though she's picked up many, many dropped stitches over the years; these proved to be stubborn due to their placement and the dark color of the yarn. 2) Marcy experienced a massive Howler attack while working on her Casual Kimono sweater. There were multiple frogging sessions and issues with cables and finally, some errata in the pattern. The designer, Bonnie Riley, was very responsive when Marcy pm'ed her on Ravelry. She's back on track now and the sweater is coming along beautifully.

We are Uber Crafty:

Kim spent at least 15 hours over the past two weeks re-organizing her stash in both physical and virtual space. It had been at least three years since she'd gone through her stash, skein by skein, and made sure that everything was photographed, in the proper bin and on her stash notebook on Rav. Its a big process, but well worth it. If you're going to truly use that function on Rav, it can only work for you to its full potential if it's complete, accurate and up to date. Also, it's a great opportunity to de stash unwanted yarn and make sure that there are no critters lurking.
The mess that Kim had while organizing her stash.

Marcy took advantage of a wonderful, rainy weekend to get some sewing in. She was able to use up some fabric that was in her stash and sew up two adorable tops. She used the Simplicity pattern #1589.


Marcy has set an "in general" goal of finishing her Casual Kimono sweater before we record next. Kim, who really likes setting crazy goals and is comfortable with not accomplishing all of them, has decided that she wants to: 1) finish her Autumn's End sweater, 2) finish the "Surprise! IDK where you came from" socks and research and be able to talk to you guys about the whole after/fore thought heel subject, 3) enter her fiber stash onto her Ravelry notebook, 4) CO another sweater, 5) finish her Doodler shawl and 6) pick up her languishing Elsie shawl by Fiddle Knits. Good luck Kim! Stay caffeinated!

What's on our Blackboard?

In our next episode we will be in the classroom all alone and spend the entire hour (or two...) talking about our knitting and crafting. We will also have our 1st installment of the Ravelry research paper series. Thank you so much for joining us! Please subscribe to our podcast and join us next time. Happy knitting!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Episode 4: SW Part 2

Hi Knitters, we are happy to share our 4th episode with you, it's a long one so prepare yourself for a 2hr D2K episode getting to know more about Stitches West. So make sure an give yourself enough time to enjoy all the information we gathered, fun interviews from random knitters at Stitches, and getting to know us a little more.

Episode 4 Audio

What is in our lesson plan today:

Marcy and Kim on the last day at Stitches in the Marketplace!

Show and Tell:

Kim set some pretty crazy knitting goals last week! She completed  1)her MKAL Shawl by Nevernotknitting, the Four Seasons Shawl. This is a gorgeous cabled worsted weight shawl with botanical elements and was very fun and interesting to knit. The yarn used was Madeline Tosh DK in the Oceana color way.  She also finished her 2) Cabo socks, although there were some issues with starting the toe decreases too early (twice!) These pretty socks were knit with the Fishknits Panache sock yarn. Kim also finished, (well almost! and we're going to count it!) 3) Her Cattails sweater. Melissa Schaschwary designed this cute stripped open front cardigan and it's a great knit. Here is Kim's 1st Cattails, the modded version. Both were knit with Silky Wool. Here's Marcy's  cute Cattails.

Instead of casting on something new, Kim pulled her 4) Autumn's End sweater from Nevernotknitting out of hibernation. This gorgeous, lacy pullover is knit out of MadelineTosh Pashmina in the Amber Trinket color way. She is also continuing to work on her, 5) "Surprise! IDK where you came from" socks. This is bringing up some interesting conversation and blog reading about afterthought and forethought heels. We'll be delving into that topic in two weeks.

Marcy had some really good knitting time while recuperating from knee surgery and was able to finish her 1) True sweater coat by Joji Locatelli. This beautiful sweater was knit on size US 7 and 8 needles and used the Fiesta yarns Grace DK in the Sugar Cane color way. She loves the soft yarn and enjoyed knitting this garment. Sadly, due to sizing issues, Marcy had to frog her 2) Monster pants and hopes to cast on a new pair soon in a smaller size. She is continuing to make good progress on her 3) Gray Lady Kindle case for a friend. 

Both of us had a fun and yet crazy knitting week! Much time was spent perusing patterns on Ravelry, looking at our yarn in virtual and real form and generally planning our future CO's. Both of us have decided to finish up some of our WIP's before delving into our new Stitches yarn.

Research paper:

We thought it'd be fun to do a little bit of research about the topic that so many of us (at least here, in Northern California,) have been obsessed with in recent weeks: Stitches West. We were able to find out some fun information about XRX, the company that owns Stitches, and their first  knitting expo. That was held in October, 1991 in Cherry Hill, NJ. Part of the event was on a race track and was held under tents in a rainstorm! Stitches West is the largest of their expos and attendance is somewhere around 10K. You can find all of this year's Stitches events, here.

Interview with Laura and Pat:

Two Sw attendees, Laura and Pat, were kind enough to sit down with us and talk about their experiences at the knitting expo as well as their own personal knitting story. Thanks ladies! Both women are from San Francisco and one of their LYS's is ImagiKnit. We discuss some of the many needle options for knitters: magic loop, DPN's, straights and circulars. Socks can be knit with afterthought heels on magic loop and either toe up or top down. 

We mention many of the fun activities at the Stiches expos: the fashion show, classes, student banquet and classes. Two other LYS's were mentioned, Greenwich Yarn in SF and Fengari in Half Moon Bay. 

We touch upon the history of knitting, you can read about it here. There's a big difference between a narwhal (which is an amazing aquatic animal that pretty much looks as if it was created as CGI,) and nalebinding (a fabric creation technique that predates both knitting and crochet.) Kim was momentarily confused! We're going to blame that on the yarn fumes.

Field Trip Notes:

Marcy had a wonderful idea for us to talk about what we wore at SW. Here's what we chose:

Kim wore her Radian Yoke Tee by Wendy Bernard on Friday. On Saturday she pulled on her Lillian Tank by Amanda Reed and finished up the weekend by sporting her 3rd Hitofude by Hiroku Fakutsu on Sunday. Her policy for choosing knitwear for Stitches is to treat it like a 95 degree day and dress lightly.

Marcy wore her stunning yellow Veronika by CocoKnits on Saturday and her Snowflake Beauty pullover on Sunday. This gorgeous sweater was only the 3rd sweater that she'd ever made but the construction is quite complex.

Kim added to her fiber stash by purchasing: 1) Greenwood Fiberworks 4 oz sock braid. BFL/nylon blend, 2) Greenwood Fireworks Jingle Bells, heather BFL in a 4 oz braid, 3) two RedFish DyDyeworks, 50/50 blend of silk and superfine merino in a gorgeous red and a red and blue blend, and finally 4) a gorgeous and super soft Redfish Dyeworks 50/50 silk and baby camel in a green color way. Kim is really looking forward to spinning all of this amazing fiber and wants to establish the 15 minutes a day spinning habit.
 Top photo: Marcy and her son Wilson with his bear.
Bottom Photo: Bear for Brooke's new baby girl Lena,
both bears are from Ranch of the Oaks.

We both stopped by the Bar-Maids booth and picked up some of their Lo-Lo bars in the Red Clover scent and Kim also bought some of their Face Pudding. 
Marcy tells the fun story about her friend Brooke,  her adorable new baby girl Lena Elizabeth and the ever so soft and amazingly cute teddy bear from the Ranch of the Oaks booth that she bought in 2014 for her yet to be born son and again in 2016. You can visit Ranch of the Oaks in Lompoc on California's beautiful central coast. Check it out here.

Interview with Celine and Monique:

At the end of the day on Saturday we wanted to interview a few more attendees and we were very fortunate to come across a very special mother daughter duo from France. Thank you ladies for allowing us to interview you! 

These two lovely women discovered Stitches West a few years ago when they were visiting a family member in San Diego and they wanted to visit Ranch of the Oaks; yes the same one that Marcy was just talking about! It's such a small world! They were unable to visit the ranch because they had a booth at SW and weren't open to the public that weekend. Our French friends were so intrigued by everything that they heard about SW that they planned this trip around it so that they could first attend the expo and then go visit family. Good priorities! 

They attended and really enjoyed the Steven and Stephen show on Friday night. Celine took a class from Patty Lyons and really enjoyed it. She has knit Westknit's Enchanted Mesa and really and wants to knit another. 
From Left to Right: Kim, Celine, Monique, Marcy
On the table is Monique's fiber treasures from Stitches.

Fun and Games:

Head on over to the Stiches West Ravelry board and join in on the year long "Use up your SW yarn" Kal! There will be monthly prizes and lots of support and encouragement from other awesome knitters. We will also open a thread in our group; join us!

What's on Our Blackboard?

Our next episode will feature a special interview with the author and designer Ann Budd. Kim had the privilege of interviewing her in November at a retreat. We think you will really enjoy listening to how Ann ended up with a thriving career in the knitting industry. 

In two weeks we will be getting back to, or really just establishing, our regular schedule of recording every two weeks with one week being "In the Classroom," when we focus on our projects, a research paper and whatever we've become obsessed with recently in the fiber field! The alternate weeks will feature a "Field Trip" when we visit a LYS, retreat, festival or other event or group and do some interviews and generally mingle and frolic with knitters in the wild. 

Thank you for joining us today, please subscribe to our podcast and we look forward to "seeng" you again next time. Happy Knitting!