Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm Ravelrized!

Woo-hoo - was ever-so-patiently waiting for my Ravelry invite (ok - not so patiently), when I saw a posting on the Lime 'n Violet Message Board about how you can check your place in the queue. To my delight, I had been sent an invite FIVE WEEKS AGO, which was apparently filtered to spam. The brilliant Casey & Jess built the feature to automatically resend the invite and I will start adding my 'stuff' soon. It's daunting to think about entering all the info (vague recollection of uploading all my CDs for iTunes!), but it will be such fun to be part of the exponentially growing community that is Ravelry!!

While waiting I did finish the 'experiment bag' and have cast on the Landscape bag from KnitPicks. I still like the bag, but have found the pattern to be very 'fiddly' and quite annoying. The design requires constantly tightening and loosening stitches to make sure the color changes at the right spot. on. every. row. I will definitely NOT make this bag again!

And I completed some finishing... for some reason I delay my toes (love the Kitchener grafting though!) until I have several pairs.
Below L-to-R: Cobblestone, Lacy Rib from Sensational Socks, misplace cable pattern, and Cookie A's Monkey socks.

They look good on my long-limbed model, don't they?!

Happy Knitting -

Monday, July 23, 2007

Creative Storage Solution!

I've been thinking about a design for a circular needle case for a while... just haven't gotten around to actually making it. What I want is a cross between the 'notebook' style of the KnitPicks binders (not very pretty), and the plentiful handsewn cases in various Etsy shops (or from my own sewing machine).

I discovered that the clear plastic sleeves for DVDs are a great size... I was just working out how to turn that into my ideal circ case.

Then I was at my local Staples and found this... an 'expandable file' for CDs/DVDs with an elastic closure. And only $3.99! What a bargain! I think I may have to go get a second one... perhaps a third!

And it comes with stickers to put on the little file folder-style tabs - perfect to label size and length for each pocket!

I love repurposing things - what a bargain!
- JavaNut

Friday, July 20, 2007

Baggin' It!

I'm obsessed. Once I decided to join the Purse/Bag KALCAL and didn't, I've been determined to make a bag.

I bought yarn, but didn't know what kind of bag.

I found the French Market Bag on knitty that I love, but the yarn I bought wasn't the right gauge/weight. And since I've only felted one Booga Bag before, I didn't want to just wing it.

I ordered the Landscape bag pattern and yarn from KnitPicks. I'm impatiently waiting for it to show up.

I'm too impatient - so I'm back to winging it with my original yarn purchase. No pattern in mind, but I do plan to mimic the handles of the French Market Bag... So bag in progress, and a gratuitious photo of the Ladder Shawl I made for my grandmother. Not the best photo, but I love the way the colors and textures worked together (it doesn't have the gray-ish cast of the photo - much more lavender tones with pinks and dusty blues).

I hope I'll have the experiment bag by the time my KnitPicks' order shows up. And then to experiment for a laptop case... and then...

Happy Knitting!
- JavaNut

Saturday, July 14, 2007

SouthBay LYSs- oh so many!

Those of us living in the Bay Area are so lucky to have many LYS around... Some I frequent a lot, some I've only been to once or twice, but here's my listing. And this is only in the South Bay... there are more in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and on up the peninsula!

368 E Campbell Ave,
Campbell, CA

As the name indicates, focus on sustainable materials and eco-friendly yarns. Friendly and helpful owner & staff, and they carry one of my new favorites from a mill in Michigan called Shepherd's Wool. Right in the heart of the quaint downtown area in Campbell

Commuknity & the store blog => CLOSED
1345 The Alameda
San Jose

Commuknity (this is my FAVORITE store name!) is a very spacious store with a wide range of yarns (luxury to medium/affordable). The staff is very pleasant and helpful, comfy sofas, some workshops & classes. Sign up for the their e-newsletter to learn of upcoming sales and events. They also have a ‘frequent buyer’ program and track what you spend toward earning credit.

Knitting Arts => CLOSED
14554 Big Basin Way

Knitting Arts was a favorite but has shifted to mostly higher end yarn & prices. Great stuff and one of the best staffs - very helpful and there is always someone available (without being pushy). Sign up for their e-newsletter to learn of sale events, and also the schedules for their weekends of free workshops (and regular classes). They recently started having knitalong workshops as well and always have inspiring garments on display. They have a frequent buyer card, too.

Full Thread Ahead & the store blog=> CLOSED
169 Main Street
Los Altos
650 948 9036

FTA is my other favorite even though it's not on my standard 'route.' The owner, Hollis, is warm & welcoming and quite helpful (as are her staff). They don't carry the bigger brands (Rowan/Debbie Bliss, etc) since there is another yarn shop a block away that carries all those. They have a great selection and wide range of prices. The yarn is nicely organized by weight and they also recently began carrying their own brand of yarn. They also have frequent buyer club and track your purchases for you. Sign up for e-newsletter to learn of new yarns, sales and other events.

Purlescence Yarns
586 S Murphy Ave
408 735-YARN

I've only been to Purlesence once and the highlight was finding Socks That Rock! Like any good yarn store, there was an area with comfy chairs for knitting, and they also had more roving and spinning supplies than I've seen elsewhere. They also have quite a few classes (see the website).

Yarn Place=> CLOSED (moved to another state, I believe still online store)
123 Fremont Ave.

This is not the place to go for atmosphere or to spend long hours. It's a small retail place with a limited selection. They offer primarily their own line. I found some good lace weight yarn, a bamboo yarn that I love and recycled Sari-silk yarn (which is what I went for in the first place!). They provided a heavy-weight, clear plastic bag with a zipper as their bag - I thought this was a great touch.

The Knitting Room
1195 Branham Ln
San Jose
(408) 264-7229

Bobbins Nest Studio
1171 Homestead Road, Suite 130
Santa Clara, California 95050

This is the newest shop & I haven't been there yet, but I'm sure with a knitting and quilting stock, it will be a lovely spot.

Uncommon Threads
293 State Street
Los Altos

151 E. Main St.
Los Gatos

Friday, July 13, 2007

A different WIP...

Well in the midst of the final finishing steps of a few projects, I thought I'd post about a different kind of WIP! I've recently re-moved back into my house after living in Mississippi/Louisiana for 18 months (working with school systems in Katrina-impacted areas!). And in returning, I've turned what was a guest room into my "project room" - for knitting, sewing, bookmaking, etc.

I'm so excited to have a dedicated space for whatever creative mood hits me... But right now, it is definitely 'in progress!' I've repainted - two different-colored walls, and the rest of the room is a bright white. I found a great cubby-style bookcase at IKEA - bottom cubbies for patterns and books, the rest for yarn (silly me thought I might actually have some room for fabric there, but I haven't even brought in the yarn from the garage yet!). I'm going to build some shelving and a work surface in the closet for my printer, paper-cutters, etc..

The colors are much 'brighter' - light, without being pastel-y. I can't wait to get the closet built out and organize all the 'stash 'n stuff.' And I'm still on the search for the perfect fabric for a valance and to re-cover a parson-style chair for the desk.

If anyone has other great knitting/sewing/craft rooms or nooks -what has worked for you?

Happy Knitting -

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Too Late for the Party...

I missed the party... again!

I want to join a KAL, and have been watching for one that either inspired me to try something new, or would fit something from my 'future project' wishlist. After listening to a couple of the She-Knits podcasts about the purse/bag KAL/CAL I decided that might be a good one to join - I've thought about felting a bag so this would be my catalyst to get started. Then I heard about Mystery Stole 3 and was so excited... but missed the deadline. So I went to sign up for the KAL/CAL and that had closed. sigh.

So... I will continue to search and wait for the 'just right' KAL to join - but in the meantime, I bought 4 colors of Cascade 220 to create a bag anyway. And although I didn't actually finish my Lace Rib socks (just one toe left to do!), I still cast on the Icarus Shawl in a pale, multi-colored yarn. I don't have a pic of that yet (only 8 rows), but I also couldn't resist this incredibly soft merino lace yarn from Aurora Yarns... SOOO soft and gorgeous colorway from pale lilac to deep violet.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

My Sock Stash Overfloweth...

I told myself that I can't cast on anything until I finish at least one of my socks (and thereby free up a set of sock needles, too). I did finish my Clapotis - yay! I made it with bamboo yarn from Yarn Palace and although I LOVE the way it drapes (photos soon), I don't think it was the best yarn choice because of the drape. Perhaps I'll make it again with something else since it's such a great pattern when I want to knit something that doesn't require much concentration.

My hope is to finish one pair of socks today... then what to cast on next? More socks? I just did inventory of my sock yarn and have 28 pairs-worth. Yikes! So more socks would be good. But I'd like to knit something for my mother's birthday next month - she wouldn't wear any socks. I'm nervous about her sizing for a sweater until I can measure one that she likes to wear (a task for my next visit). Living in Florida means there's no need for scarf/hats/gloves. And I don't think she'd wear a shawl... hmmmm. Good excuse to go browsing thru my pattern books!

But first - I'm off to make "American" pancakes for my summer guest. Alina is a university student from Romania who is here for the summer to work and see California. And one of her first requests was "will you teach me to make pancakes?" What a great way to start a holiday!

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Joining the SOCK craze...

As with blogging, I'm late to the party for sock knitting... In the past I always thought it was a lot of effort for a garment that wasn't very visible and presumably would get above average 'wear-n-tear.'

This is true.... however, after listening to podcasters, reading blogposts and viewing incredibly enticing pictures, I decided to give it a try. I have a hard time with moderation in many things, so why would sock-knitting be any different? Having completed my first pair, I now have 4 different pairs on the needles and one pair waiting for kitchener toes.

Left: Lace Rib Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks, knit with yummy Romantic colorway dyed by Handspun and Dyed Too. It looks perfect against my Double Delights!

Right: Jaywalkers in Lisa Souza's Mars Quake. I was originally expecting more purply colors, but I love this colorway - looks great with the new growth on one of my rose bushes (a promise of beauty ahead!).

And one last pic because the Eye-of-Partridge heel on the Lace Rib sock is my favorite of all so far: