Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I've Returned

I've actually been home for over a week, but I don't know where the time has gone.

The trip was great fun. I only wish it could have lasted longer!

Gerry, and Ian (my nephew/Gerry's son) and I decided at the last minute to head out on Saturday night instead of getting up before the sun to head out on Sunday. It was a good thing we did, because after stopping from 3 to 9am to sleep/shower/eat we still did not arrive in Old Fort until 1 am Sunday night/ Monday morning. We had to be at the workshops by 8am. If we had left on Sunday we would have had to drive straight from Gerry's house to the workshops with out eating or sleeping!

I did get to finish the Double Worsted Throw in the car ride, so that part of it was good (not to mention a few good laughs along the way.) The throw ended up being almost 5' square, and fit perfectly, when folded in half, over the over sized recliner in Don and Glenda's (Gerry's inlaws) living room in the SC condo.

My visit to Old Fort, North Carolina was great. I finally got to see the Pisgah Yarn and Dyeing Factory, and meet Flo- who by the time we met face to face already felt like an old friend. I also got to meet several other friends from the Peaches & Creme group on Ravelry- Maile, Kim, Marie, and Zara were among them.

Teaching the workshops was a lot more fun than I expected, even though I was exhausted from the drive and the sleep deprivation. I think they were a success. Everyone in my beginner crochet class could do a sc stitch by the end of the class- although a couple were still struggling to keep a straight side edge on their swatches- and for a two hour session, I call that a great success! There was also a class each for my Kid's Reptile Bath Set, and the Floral Edged Bath set.

Here's the Reptile set:

We focused on the turtle soap sack for this, as again it was only a two hour block. Several people had the soap sacks done by the end of the class, and 1 person had completed the lizard washcloth, and Snake back scrubber before the end of the workshops on Tuesday.

For the Floral Edged Bath set we focused on the motif chain for the towels/bath mat. Two hours really wasn't enough for this project, but everyone seemed to get the idea of making the chain, and joining for the body of the pieces. So, although I would make sure to have a longer class next time, I was still pleased.

Marie, that I met at the workshop had actually done some pattern testing for me. Here is the sample she made for my Simple Summer Wrap:

Here's her work, being modeled by Flo, who was very surprised to receive this as a gift from Marie at the workshop.
I love this wrap, not only is it super easy, and quick to make, but every time I think of the inspiration for this piece, and see the finished product I chuckle. This was actually inspired by a shawl worn by a villainous alien in an old made for TV sci-fi film. I love the costumes in sci-fi films, but this is the first time I have successfully taken something so out there and translated it well into the real world.
After a day and a half in Old Fort, it was time for us to go and meet the rest of Gerry's family in South Carolina. Unfortunately my plans to meet Melanie, and Cat did not work out on this trip. Maybe next year? (Melanie, if you are reading this people at the workshop were talking about you and your blog- all good stuff, but I was so tired I don't remember what was said, or who said it)
Despite that disappointment, South Carolina was a lot of fun, too. We toured Charleston, which was a beautiful city, full of wonderful architecture- the likes of which you would never see in New England. Another thing in Charleston that you would never see in New England were the beautiful handmade Sweetgrass Baskets. Apparently the art was brought over from West Africa by slaves. The technique is passed down from mother to daughter, and is still only practiced in these two regions. The basket were rather pricey, but I did have to bring home a sample.
This is a small piece, about the size of a softball, but I loved the loopy sides on it, and I thought it was the prefect piece to bring home as a memento from the day. I bought this at the open market place in Charleston, where Gerry, Robin, and I walked around for a couple of hours, after Robin's parents took the kids home early.
I also had my first trip to a Hobby Lobby while in SC. Gerry's daughter Ella became very intrigued by a knitting book I bought for Gerry's birthday (it was the day before we left) and had to get some yarn to start a project. So, the three of us set out one evening to find some for her. We arrived at Hobby Lobby about 1/2 hour before they closed. The place was huge, and I would have liked more time to look around, but I did manage to get a few tools I needed, most of which were on clearance, and a ball of yarn. The yarn was Lion Brand Sockease. I had heard of it, but had never seen it. At $6.50 for a 100gm ball I couldn't pass it up. I was glad I got it because on the way home I finished the other socks I was working on, and needed something new. The shawl didn't end up being good car knitting.
Here's the sock ease, and the beginnings of one of Cat Bordhi's Dove socks, from the New Pathways book.
Well, this post has gone on way too long. I hope to have my next post soon!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Heading South

Today is the first day of a greatly needed vacation! It's been over 3 years since I have taken a vacation, and I've been really feeling it for months now.

My plan was to have today to spend getting everything in order for my trip, but then I realized it has been a shamefully long time since I have posted here. So, I thought I would give a quick update on what I have been doing.

First of all I have some new designs that will soon be up on the Peaches & Creme website. There are two kits that will be released at the workshops on Monday where I will be leading classes for each of the kits, as well as a beginner's crochet class. I'll share pictures of those projects, as well as some others when I return.

As for my other WIPs, I have two big ones at the moment:

This is a throw blanket I am making as a host/hostess gift for my Brother's in-law's. I'll be staying at their 2nd home in South Carolina for a few days after the P&C workshops. I wanted to bring them a handmade gift, and had trouble deciding on exactly what to make. I had a few things started, and wasn't crazy about any of them. Finally, late Thursday night, I decided on this throw. It made from Peaches & Creme Double Worsted Weight, as well as some worsted weight- double stranded. The black and grey DW has been in my stash forever, waiting for inspiration, and the rest of the colours are large quantity left overs. I spoke to Gerry about it, and apparently I chose the colours well. He said it will match his MIL's decor perfectly. That was good to hear since it was over 2' square by the time I told him about it.

In this picture it's about 3' square. I will work it to 4' square, and then possibly add some sort of decorative border, or just finish off with a few rounds of black and grey stripes (I have the most yarn in those colours).

This rumpled ball of knitting is my mother's shawl that has been in the mental works for months now. My plan was to have this be my major road trip knitting. Unfortunately I have had so little time to spin that I don't think I have enough yarn to go very far with it. I do think if I get all of pre-trip chores out of the way by 2pm today I could potentially spin away for a while, and finish off the bobbin I have going now, then ply some more before the trip. I wouldn't get to set the twist, but I think it would be okay. I could set it in the hotel, and have it for the ride home next weekend.

I tried to spread the fabric a bit to give a glimpse of the emerging lace pattern, but it couldn't do that too effectively with only one hand, and I needed the other to take the picture.

I showed this to my father, and he said it looks like an old hair net. Just the sort of thing you want to hear after many hours of spinning, graphing, and knitting!

I have one last thing I will share before I go. This is not one of my projects, but a belated birthday gift from my brother:

This was Gerry's first pair of socks! Can you believe it!?

I was so honored to receive such a gift I didn't even have the words to express it!

They are quite warm, as they are made with Cascade 220, but I have still been wearing them quite a bit. In fact, I am wearing them now!