Guild meets the second Tuesday of each month, September through May, from 7-9 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2225 East Fourteen Mile Road, Birmingham, Michigan. see a map »

Bring your knitting and join us for an evening — we’re sure you’ll want to become part of the flock!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Socks

I think I've freaked out my new teaching partner by telling her that not only do I knit, but on a Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. I'm updating my guild's blog. . ."you're really into that, aren't you?" she asked. . .if she only knew.

Many know that my New Year's resolution was to make a pair of socks each month. Socks have been tricky for me to fit correctly, or to keep for myself. My first pair ever was knit on the beaches of Florida two years ago in February. They were made out of Patons merino wool on size 6 needles and after wearing them 2 or 3 times, Joanie shrunk them in the wash. Not a good start.

Socks are a great project, they keep your interest, are small to carry around and extremely useful when they're done. I find the self-striping yarns amusing and can't wait to see what color comes out of the ball next. You should know I wear a size 12 shoe, and my foot is bigger than what most of the patterns easily found are written for. I know this, because I've made a bunch of socks that wind up on Joanie's feet. She's a size 8. Need I say more?

Sometime last year I bought Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch. I thought my problems were over. This is a fabulous book that lets you knit a gauge, plug in numbers from that and compare them to the size of foot you're making and has terrific stitch patterns that allow you to build a perfectly fitting sock. Sounds great until you realize I hate to make gauge swatches, especially on small projects. Joanie continued to get more socks. One pair I made was too big, and if you didn't know, loose socks wear out more quickly due to the friction of them rubbing around against your foot and shoe. I almost cried when I saw the hole apprearing, and I'll admit I wore those socks with a gigantic hole in them until I couldn't stand it anymore. Realizing my gauge issues, I thought, "I've got 3 skeins of Lola, one pair can be my practice pair and the other 2 will be perfect." Faulty logic, I know, but that's where it is. My first pair are a bit big, but will work around the house and are cozy and warm. Finished on Monday evening, behold:

The January Socks

You can note my lack of planning and matching sock size to the yarn amount I had. . .see the purple toes? I thought I might not have enough yarn to finish, so I left the toes until the end. I was right and couldn't find a perfect match on the sock yarn, or even some interesting solid of the same weight. I used Pure Merino Heathers for the toes, it's a bit heavier, but not too bad. And anyway, who sees my toes that often anyway?

On a roll, and headed to a meeting, I started my February socks early. I used some yarn I bought at a super sale at Beaumont some time ago and cast on some basic, no frills socks after I finished dinner at SEVA . Cast off last night. Behold:

The February Socks

or are they January 1.1?

Kim tipped me off that Beaumont was having their big sale this week. I went during lunch and found some great yarn at 75% off. My aunt got caught up in the frenzy and bought a bunch too. . .and will be asking soon what she can make with it. I think I'll consider making some Fuzzy Feet slippers with some, (look at pictures from the designer's blog here) and maybe a vest for Joanie. Who knows? Some of what I found was chunky weight, some worsted, so it will be a challenge to find a way to use it all, but how could I pass up wool at around $2 a skein? The colors are shaded interestingly--they look sort of kettle dyed or something. I'll let you know how it knits up.


I just had a thought. . .do fuzzy feet count as socks?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

About those comments

Having received verbal comments about how folks couldn't comment, I thought I'd check things out. To leave a comment, you'll need to click on the link that notes how many comments are made. A pop up window will appear and you can write your comment. After doing that, scroll down and select how you would like your comment credited (your identity)--either anonymous or you can enter your email address to have your name attached. . .for those protecting privacy, you could include your name in the post, and post it by anon. . .does that make sense? Anyway, after choosing your identity you will need to click on publish. Once that happens, a comment should appear.

Will you all please try this out and help me ensure that it's working?

I'll take pictures of my "January socks" and post them later this week and since I've started my February socks already, I may get a picture of one of those already. . .For those of you who don't know, my New Year's resolution is to make a pair of socks each month this year. I'll update you in between grading final exams this week!
--tanya

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Random thoughts while surfing

In thinking about fieldtrips for the summer. . .I ran across this farm in Swartz Creek, near Lansing. Following links, I found this mill in Frankenmuth. . .Any thoughts?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bravissimo!

An Evening in Paris was great fun! Plenty of knitters were spotted out in public wearing fine handknits and creating new items of beauty. Not only were we surrounded by folks with similar interests, but we sat amidst gorgeous rugs. Joan fingered one before the concert and stated, "this is a single spun wool. . ." and began to wonder about the woven construction. . .only fiber addicts. . .Knitting, rugs, food, and MUSIC. The musicians were amazing. It was a perfect combination of sensory delight last night. My favorite part of the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings performances are that they spend time educating their audience about what exactly it is that they're playing. Not only do they spend time teaching us about the instruments they play, they discuss the music and the composers. In the course of that brief education, the musicains spoke to their audience and tried to make connections between the knitting we were doing, and the way that the composition was written. The pianist (I forgot to grab a program, or I'd tell you her name) even wore a beautiful handknit shawl made from her dog's hair! Great fun. There was a good share of knitters in the audience, and when I purchased my tickets over the phone, the woman on the other end indicated that they had a good response, and maybe it would be come an annual event! Please say it's so!
At one point in the concert, knitters were asked how much progress they'd made. I'd bugged Joan for a consult before the concert, ripped and begain knitting again. Here's where I started(notice the band of light and dark blue at the top--I really thought it didn't work, but none of you agreed with me, and I kept second guessing myself. . .)
And Here's where I ended the concert. I like the small peeries and more angular rows. I've even knitted a few more sections this morning. I'll add pictures as I go if you're interested, just leave a comment to encourage me! I'm pleased with the changes, and am energized to begin knitting with renewed fervor, but it seems like two steps forward, three steps back. Anyone who was part of our knit-along that begain November 1 will realize I'm not very far. Should we plan another get together?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

36 Scarves!

Okay, I'm truly exctied about our scarves, but irritated by technology. . .a really long post with links and everything just disappeared. I'll try to be equally as witty and entertaining as I rewrite it all for you. . .bummer. Pictures to come as I receive them from Coralee.

But really, 36 SCARVES! Many hands really do make work light! Louise and I kept repeating on the way home, "We Rock!" We're so pleased and proud to be a part of such a generous group of knitters. Judith made the most (somewhere around 9 or 10, she modestly can't remember. . .) and Camille won "knitter's choice" the scarf we enjoyed the most! Two more prizes are up for grabs next month, but the charity focus remains for the year. So, when you find yourself between projects, knit a scarf (or hat or gloves) for SOS (South Oakland Shelter). There are many in our area who need our warm creations.

Welcome to new members Coleen and Phyllis! We're glad to have you, and look forward to inspiring and being inspired by your knitting!

An Evening in Paris--
Don't forget Sally's concert this Friday. It's a great time to hear some amazing musicians and knit without folks thinking you're a bit off. . .Judith won the raffled ticket, and I know several others will be there to socialize with. It's a fabulous group, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Knit Michigan--
Harriet and Coralee won the raffle tickets that were provided by the organizers of this event. Check out their website and consider joining us for the marathon. There are plenty of interesting classes offered, vendors galore, and the company of others who enjoy fiber! If you've agreed to work in the learn to knit area, look for an email coming from me this weekend to give you more specifics on what to expect. If you need a break from charity scarves, knit a chemo cap--even if you're not attending, someone will bring it for you.

Errata--
A minor error in the newletter--February's meeting is on Feb 27, not Feb 20. When planning, we needed to adjust the date due to the school district's mid-winter break. Please make a note.

A major error in the project directions! See below for a corrected version. Vivian Hoxbro's website has several free patterns to use this technique, Kim's sachet heart can be found here, and more inspiration can be found in Domino Knitting and Modular Knits. Knits from a painters palate and Moular Magic look promising as well, as do No Pattern Knits and Dazzling Knits although I haven't personally looked through any of these books. Have fun playing with this technique.



Directions for a Domino Square or Modular knitting

Black Sheep Knitting Guild, January 2007


Basic square: garter stitch, single color:
At the beginning of each row: sl 1 = with yarn in front, slip first stitch purlwise, move yarn to back. The sl 1 in the mid-row decrease is done knitwise.

Cast on 15 stitches using the knitted cast on method
Row 1: sl 1 and knit (k) to end of row.
Row 2: sl 1, K5, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k to end of row
Row 3: sl 1, k to end of row
Row 4: sl 1, K4, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k to end of row
Row 5: sl 1, k to end of row
Row 6: sl 1, K3, sl 1, k2tog, psso ,k to end of row
Row 7: sl 1, k to end of row
Row 8: sl 1, K2 sl 1, k2tog, psso, k to end of row
Row 9: sl1, k to end of row
Row 10: sl 1, K1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k to end of row
Row 11: sl 1, k to end of row
Row 12: sl 1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k to end of row
Row 13: sl 1, k2tog, psso (you should have one stitch remaining on your needle)

Notes:
The sl1, k2tog, psso creates a double decrease in each even numbered rows forming a mitered square.

Slipping the first stitch of each row creates an even chain selvedge that makes it easy to pick up stitches for the next step of the process.

2nd square: Basic square, garter stitch, 2 color striped
Leave remaining stitch from first square on needle, and using color A, pick up 7 stitches along edge of first square. Cast on (using knitted cast on) 7 more stitches (15 stitches total).

Row 1: as above using color A
Change to color B, follow directions for rows 2 and 3
Change to color A, follow directions for rows 4 and 5

Continue to knit changing colors every 2 rows.

3rd (and more!) squares: Pick up along one edge ½ the number of stitches you’ll need, and cast on the other ½ either before or after you pick up. . .use solid colors, or a variety. . .the design is up to you!


For more patterns and techniques, see Domino Knitting, by Vivian Hoxbro, or Modular Knits: New Techniques for Today's Knitters by Iris Schreier.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Where has the time gone?


I can hardly believe it's been a month since our December meeting. . .my few short weeks off of school led to no real project completion and only left me more tired than before the break! I guess I shouldn't complain, since I know many had no time off what-so-ever.

I'm posting a few pictures from the December meeting and a few from a get together at my house where many guild members dyed their own yarn with KOOL-AID! yes, the stuff you drink! We had a great time, and created some beautiful hand painted yarns.

In December, Judith kicked off our charity project for 2007 and distributed bags of yarn to be knit into scarves (or hats if you desire) for the South Oakland Shelter. Judith will collect these at every meeting and drop them off at the shelter when she gets a bag full. I've already seen some really beautiful and creative items made from the mystery yarn we received. Remember, there is a prize for the knitter who makes the most, and for the scarf that wins "viewer's choice"--the one guild membership votes as the most attractive. Each category will be awarded a small token of thanks at the January, February and March meetings. Keep on knitting!

There has been a suggestion that we make note of how we make each scarf and create a booklet of patterns. . .we'll talk more about this at the meeting this month.

Our January meeting will teach a technique called modular or dominoe knitting. Bring some scraps of worsted weight yarn and some needles and we'll demonstrate and teach this addictive technique. Louise and I began a knit-along project on New Year's day and have some fun samples to share. I even made a charity scarf using the technique!

February is fast approaching. . .make sure you put Knit Michigan on your calendar. This charity fundraiser benefits four local cancer charities. Admission for the market is only $10, but you can particpate in the marathon and attend classes from 9am-Midnight. We'll be raffling off a marathon admission at our meeting again this month, but check out their website for more information. www.knitmichigan.com

Please also add to your calendar Feb 27 as the meeting date for February. The literature from the guild includes this slight change to the 3rd Tuesday meetings, but I wanted to make note of it here as well. The Berkley School District will be closed on our typical meeting day due to their mid-winter vacation--and we didn't want to skip a month!