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What else I learned at camp

At any knitting conference, I learn as much from other knitters as I do from the instructors.  Here’s a few things I learned from fellow campers.

Betty Dong, Photographer

First, check your camera for the flash card before packing.  I left mine at home, but have been rescued by Betty Dong who took all of the pictures I am posting from camp.  She even let me download them from her card before I left Colorado.  Thanks, Betty.

This is Betty H.’s afghan for grandchild #6.  Every year Betty gives a birthday sweater to each grandchild under 13.  Then on the 13th birthday, they each get an afghan designed to their own personality.  This is Betty’s tradition.  Betty is way too smart to try to knit for a teenager, so the knitted gifts promise ends there.

Betty's afghan

This afghan is not due until next year, but #6 and #7 are twins, so she started this one early.  What I learned from Betty is to beware when you establish a tradition.  What sounds good for one or two grandchildren can become a real challenge for 7.

Ann is another veteran of camp and a marvelous knitter.  This is her new jacket which she is knitting from some recycled silk she found hiding in her stash.  It is beautiful and fits perfectly as all of her sweaters do.  But—–it weighs about  50 pounds.

I learned to use those three skeins of recycled silk in my  stash in projects one at a time.  Or to start working out before I knit a vest.

My Mentor

Mary Ellen is my mentor and I have written about her many times.  It is her attitude that I want to pass on to other knitters.  This year she brought another intricately cabled jacket.

Adding a pocket

As she began to talk about it, she began the “well, I just did this . . . .I didn’t want that so I left it out . . . . I like pockets so I
created some patch pockets . . . . anyone can do this . . . .just make it to suit you and not the pattern . . .I think the yarn is too soft for this design, but it is still warm.”

Mary Ellen always reminds me that I am in charge of my own knitting and to learn from each project and move on.  I hope this is also what I teach.

Sally Jo is a new camper from Denver.  She brought the hat from the front of Boutique Knits by Laura Irwin.  I love this hat.

Sally Jo's Boutique Knits hat

She also brought a short row scarf I have seen online before.

Even cooler is the hat she created by combining some principles from each of those patterns.

The lesson here is to use the parts of patterns you like to make new things.  I love it when someone does this with one of my patterns.

Maggie is the high school friend of my roomie, and she told me some interesting stories.  She usually knits for friends and one requested this cabled scarf made from Muench Touch Me, clearly the world’s most touchable yarn.

Maggie and Muench scarf

Maggie was disappointed in the scarf, but tried a version in a wool for her friend’s husband.

Voila!  This is how the scarf is supposed to look.

This is a great reminder that all yarns don’t work for all patterns.  This is another reason I swatch.

Beverly brought two new campers with her and they taught the best lesson of all.

In our first multiple show and tell, they showed us the fun of knitting with friends.  One pattern, three yarns, three very different sweaters.

When you find a pattern you love, use it often.  No one will know, and you will have quick knits that fit.  I have four versions of
the Zen Sweater—none of them in Zen yarn.

More later.


What is Brioche Knitting?

Colorado Knitting Camp 2011

Wrong question.  The better question is what can I make with Brioche Stitch.  Nancy Marchant is the Queen of Brioche.  Back in the 70’s, Nancy moved to Amsterdam.  Knitters there showed her this stitch and she loved it.  Then she began to wonder why so few people seemed to use it.  And why no one was doing anything new with it.  So she began to develop this stitch any way she could.

The result is her website which teaches the stitch and includes a bunch of free patterns.  Then the development really took off.  She figured out how to do this stitch with up to 5 different colors in one fabric—–using only one color at a time.  She developed so many stitches that she needed a book.  So she wrote the only book in existence about Brioche.  At least the way she does it.  Yes, it is knitting, and there are several ways to do everything in knitting.

I bought the book when it first came out and made one of the scarves.  It was fun.  But not nearly as much fun as spending three days with Nancy and really seeing what can be done.  Here are pictures of her projects, some of which are in the book and some which are in pattern form.  Just look.

Stegasaurus Shawl tip

Stegasaurus shawl edge

Stegasaurus Shawl front and back

Leafy Lace scarf


Herfst Avond

Project under construction

This one has my name all over it.  Actually it’s my hands all over it.  Anyway, I must make it.  I love leaves.  Remember that all of these two color projects have the colors reversed on the back.  I’ll show you  more later as well as what the campers brought for “Show and Tell.”

Hello from the Colorado Knitting Camp

But don’t expect pictures.  Not even of the beautiful hailstorm last night that covered the lawn outside my window with golf ball size hail and made the water in the large pond splash upward about 2 feet with each strike.  I jumped up to get the camera and capture this for you.  I turned it on.  It said “No card.”  I left my flash card in my computer at home.  No place to easily get another, so I’ll just have to make do with some pics of what I’ve been doing before camp.
The House piece is about done.  I have quilted it and now have added some embellishments.  Remember this was first conceived as a retirement home on a hill with two porches–one for morning coffee and the other for evening drinks.  So much for dreaming.  Anyway, the inclusion of the spinning wheel ( a pin one of my children gifted me) immediately establishes that fiber stuff is happening here.  The hanging basket is just for decoration, but it may get some seed beads to hint at blooms.

Seriously important is Jake’s face in the window.  This is one of a pair of earrings I bought at a craft fair in Athens, Ga., some time ago.  They looked a bit like Jake to me.  The other one is somewhere in a dressing room in a Target in Brisbane, Australia.  Once you lose an earring, you are left with an embellishment.  It’s a rule of mine.  I don’t have a Bella charm, but if I find one, it will be added.

The “bugs” are beads I bought at The Sewing Bird many years ago.  I like them.  The are a bit fantastic, but this hanging is a fantasy.

I’m still wringing my hands over the border—or the non-border.  Haven’t decided.  I may just turn the edges under and whip them to the back.  Then I can change my mind if I get a better idea later.  Some famous Greek once said “Art is never finished.”  I’m keeping his philosophy alive.  Maybe I should get a T-shirt . . . .

I made paper flowers.  You just collect pretty paper; this stuff came from magazines.  Then you tear it into circles of varying sizes.  Start with some ugly pages until you get the hang of it.  Then you glue them together.   Then . . . . well, if you are interested, there is a free pdf file on the Interweave Press “Cloth, Paper, Scissors” magazine website.  It is named 4 Free Mixed Media Collage Techniques.  The fourth article is Painted Paper Collage by Serena Wilson Stubson.  She tells you exactly how to easily make these and what to do with them.

Here are closeups of my favorites:  This is the brightest one, but this silver and pink one is my favorite.

What am I going to do with them?  I don’t know why you ask.  You know I have no clue.  Maybe a picture; maybe to decorate a folder.  Hmmmm.

Oh, and I knit a new collar for Bella.  Note the pearls.  They are from an old necklace that belonged to Steve’s Mom.  It is already starting to stretch too much, so I may have to think of a different way to get pearls on her.  She is so ladylike that she deserves them.

Bedecked and Bedazzled-Jewelry

Sorry so long since I posted.  Computer issues which seem to be continuing.

I’m making jewelry.  I’m using the skills I have.  Bending and coiling wire are not among my skills. I am using knitting, crocheting and plain old needle and thread sewing.

I have made some necklaces . . .

And some bracelets . . .

And even some earrings . . . .Oops, I didn’t take a picture of them.

I have used beads, soft wire, pre made clasps, but, mostly, I have used yarn.  Thin yarn, thick yarn, stiff yarn, drapey yarn, ribbons novelties—if it bends, you can use it–

–even fabric.

Ravery is filled with ideas and I am stealing them as fast as I can.  Lots of free patterns.

I have learned some things.  I tried knitting with wire years ago when Nanci Wiseman’s book came out.  It hurt my hands, so I quickly gave it up.  Crocheting wire is totally different.  I think it is the hook that helps me to pull the wire through the stitch without undue struggle.  Anyway, it doesn’t hurt my hands at all.

Then I began to look at the patterns.  Most of the things I wanted to wear were crocheted.  Hm-m-m-m.  Yes, I began to get an idea.

Lots of knitters wish they had learned to crochet.  If you can crochet, you can edge knitting beautifully and easily.  You can also join or stabilize seams to eliminate sagging.  You can even alter the size of a sweater in just a few minutes.  Of course you can embellish surfaces, create button loops, heck, you can even create buttons.

Crochet is not hard.  What is hard is practicing the chain stitch until you have developed your own rhythm.  What do you do with miles of chain stitch?   Light Bulb!

What if I taught a beginning crochet class and the practice exercises all produced items of jewelry?  Brilliant!  (well, at least it is an interesting idea)

Along the way, I can teach how to string beads to add to crochet or knitting and how I cheat to avoid having to learn wire skills and jump rings that won’t close.

I am thinking three classes.  Class 1 would be learning to chain st and to add beads.  We would make a necklace.  Class 2 would introduce single crochet and how to add closures (findings in the bead world);  we’d make a bracelet.  Once you can single crochet, you can do it all.  The last class would be crocheting with wire and how to alter your knitting with your crochet hook.

Anyone interested?  Let me know.

More later.

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