After a long hiatus from my blog, I have exciting news! I am pleased to announce that as of November 1st 2016 I have become a free agent! I am now a self-employed independent instructor, provider of services, and designer!
This is something I have planned to do for sometime and things have come together at this time to make it happen! I will be teaching knitting, crochet, all about yarns & fibers, spinning, fiber preparation, beginning rigid heddle and pin loom weaving, felting, as well as offering pattern and yarn consultations, repair, finishing and blocking services.
I am contracted with Jimmy Beans Wool, where I have been working in the brick and mortar retail shop for the past 7 years, to provide classes and walk-in help. For those of you are used to visiting me in the brick & mortar store, you will still have access to my services just as before with the only changes being now ALL of my time can be devoted to helping you with your projects and teaching you new skills!
While I have been away from my blog I have been adding new skills! I am now also a certified instructor of Medical Qigong! Qigong is a movement & mindfulness practice much like Tai Chi but using easily remembered, repeatable exercises to bring natural balance back to your body, mind, and spirit.Qigong can be a great compliment to your crafting for reducing both mental and physical stress.
I am available to teach at other locations. Please contact me for scheduling and to work out details.
Exciting news! My very first published pattern! (Be sure to read about how to win a kit today only, at the end of this post!)
Let me start with a little background. Four and a half years ago I found myself at one of those pivotal points in life where decisions and complete changes in direction had to be made. It was a very frightening time for me. I had been a stay at home mom for 25 years. I was faced with all sorts of doubts about my ability to support myself and didn’t even know where I was going to live. I had some education to fall back on but no degree or current work experience. The one thing I did have going for me was my love of fiber arts! But I wasn’t sure how I could make a living with my skills & knowledge. I had done it all, from raising animals to finished garments, I had joined guilds, learned to judge and teach, dye, demonstrate, and write patterns among many other things.
During this decision-making time, I happened to see a Twitter tweet from Laura Zander, co-owner of Jimmy Beans Wool. She was interviewing to hire people! I took the chance and sent in my resume. She responded and we set up an interview. I was subsequently hired! Despite my lack of work experience, she took a chance on me for which I am deeply grateful everyday!
Last year I had another opportunity, to be included as a designer in Laura’s new book Stitch Mountain 30 Warm Knits for Conquering the Cold. I’m just beginning to get my feet wet as a designer, so this is a huge and very exciting thing for me! I wouldn’t quite let myself believe it was happening. Not until I saw the actual book! It’s still a bit surreal!
My design in Stitch Mountain is the Snowflake Hat inspired by local, snowboarding pioneer Jeremy Jones. To tell the truth I don’t know much about snowboarding but I do love the outdoors, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the back country so I think I understand part of what drives Jeremy. I’ve watched some the movies in which he was filmed boarding down rugged peaks and I was in total awe! He floated down slopes so steep I marveled that he could even stay in contact with the snow! His boarding is a thing of beauty beyond description! Amazing!!! If you get the chance, watch his movies!
Jeremy asked for a traditional Moriarty style hat, a style popular with skiers and handmade by the Moriarty family in Stowe, Vermont for decades. He also asked for the logo of the non-profit organization he founded, called Protect Our Winters (POW) to be part of the hat.
I wished to convey something of the complexity, skill and breath-taking ease that Jeremy exhibits on the snow, so I took the simple design and added some unique twists on techniques. It’s not an easy hat to start. Much like the self-powered ascents Jeremy now makes to snowboard back country peaks. Difficult to get there but oh so worth the ride!
This double thick hat is made with Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply in colors green and white and begins with a double-sided cast on, much as you would use for toe-up socks. This makes for a seamless fold at the bottom edge. The first row is knit flat, working one stitch from each tip alternately, double knit style, until all of the stitches are on one circular needle. At this point the hat is joined in the round and worked completely in double knit.
I hope you enjoy the entire book which is chock full of warm and cozy knits! There isn’t a pattern in this book that I don’t love!
In fact today, on the Stitch & Unwind blog by AllFreeKnitting.com, you have a chance to win a yarn bouquet containing all the yarn you need to make a Snowflake Hat, as well as your own copy of Stitch Mountain. Check out this giveaway as well as many others from the book for the rest of this month!
I am so negligent in posting this square. I do apologize!!! I seem to be very good at over committing myself.
Square #7 is the Barbara McIntire design on page 44. This one will be more practice with plaits and twists. This cable pattern is a Saxon braid which includes cable crosses and traveling stitches. There are three braids and two cables on a purl background.
Wow, where has the time gone! I do apologize for the delay getting this post out. I seem to live in the land of hopelessly over committed! LOL! I’ve been spending this past week or so digging my way out from under previous commitments. Once I get caught up I will be able to devote more time to sharing interesting stuff with you and working on my own design ideas.
Caught up! What a concept! Does it ever really happen?!
I was going to do an elaborate post giving you the math about how to increase and decrease evenly for any project. You should know that I’m a bit lazy with math, I have to work at it a bit. If it’s something that I use all the time, no problem! Things I don’t use all the time take more effort and work and I just haven’t had the to time for the effort with all my commitments. Searching for a quick answer, I started doing some research and found that others have already gone to the trouble of posting formulas and one website even has a calculator to do all the work for us! So, I’m just going to post links for the ones I think most helpful.
The Knitting Fiend’s How to Increase Evenly – calculator (a great site – she apparently wrote the decrease calculator first then copied for the increase calculator page, adjusting the formulas but missed changing the words from decrease to increase so please don’t be confused. It’s awesome that she’s done the calculator for us for free!)
For TGAAA square #6 the math is super simple! We start with 48 and increase to 72 – a 24 stitch increase. Since 24 is half of 48 it’s simple to see that we need to increase in every other stitch all the way across the row. This is the simplest and I believe will work well since the increase is in the garter stitch section. I would use a M1 increase, it shouldn’t matter if it’s right or left since it’s only one row of increases. Take a look at the video I’ve done on How to Make M1R and M1L Increases. There are written instructions below the video.
A bit harder increase would be to make all the increases inside the garter stitch borders, over 42 stitches. If you try to do this you will need to make two increases next to each other. Not something that is recommended but can be done using right and left lifted (aka raised) increases or two Knit Front & Backs. I think the lifted/raised increases would be less visible. Theresa Vinson Stenersen did an excellent article with great photos for her Knitty column, Techniques with Theresa. Increases . The raised increase is the last increase she shows on the page.
As always, I hope this helps and please feel free to leave comments and ask questions either in the comment section or through my contact page.
I will endeavor to get on a regular writing schedule and post your photos of those finished squares this next week when I post Square #7.
For square # 6 I’m going to go with the final square from the book’s easy list. This is the square designed by Ginette Belanger on page 14 of the booklet. This square calls for an US #6 (4mm) needle and a ball of your chosen yarn. There is a lot of trinity stitch in this one so I would suggest taking a look at your square #4 (the Burns Square) for guidance on needle sizing if you’ve been having gauge issues. Since there isn’t any garter stitch in the body of the Belanger square it shouldn’t pull in as much as square #1.
This square will give us more practice with traveling stitches and give us a hint of work with plaits. We will also learn how to increase and decrease evenly across a pattern.
I want to get this post out to you this morning but I also want to discuss how to increase or decrease evenly across a project. Unfortunately, because I need to prepare for a classes today I’m a bit pressed for time. I’ll write about how to space your increases and decreases evenly in my next post.
The focus of my writings has become educational. I hope to continue in this vein. In the Fiber Feature posts I have been giving an overview of the individual fibers used in many common yarns. I started with plant-based fibers, moved onto synthetics, then animal-based fibers. I’ll continue on with animal fibers with my next post on this new blog.
I am working on a page for this blog that will have links to all of my past posts published on the Jimmy Beans Blog. I’ll add links to the instructional videos I’ve filmed as well. Then, I will resume my two ongoing serials, Fiber Feature and The Great American Aran Afghan. Next Friday I will announce Square #6 for TGAAA KAL.
I have many ideas I would like to share with you. Managing a blog is a whole lot different from merely writing a post and WordPress is a new format for me. I’m learning a lot but slowly. I hope as I get things figured out that I’ll be able to put these ideas into words and that the writing will flow more naturally!
I love suggestions and feedback! Please tell me what you would like to read about! Is there anything that you’re curious about? Do you have suggestions for patterns, products, new techniques, anything that you would like to let others know about? Are there designers, indie dyers, quilters, spinners, or any other talented people who deserve recognition….? Techniques or puzzles you would like me to attempt to explain? Let me know about them!
I’ve just created a page where I will post the latest Jimmy Beans class schedule. Whether you’re local or just visiting Reno we would love for you to participate!
Well here it is! My own very first blog post! I had actually set this blog up a year ago but just wasn’t ready to start yet.
It is a bit daunting to be starting a blog of my own. Will I have anything to say? Will anyone even read what I write? So many things to think about!
I often feel a bit lost when starting something new. After all, this is a blank canvas! So many possibilities, so many directions to go! Where should I go with this blog? I suppose the only way to find out is to set foot on the path and see where it leads. I hope you choose to join me and offer feedback to help shape this blog.
Just a bit about me to start with seems appropriate.
I’ve been knitting & crocheting for over 40 years. I’ve dabbled in every stage of fibers from raising my own fiber animals to finished garments. I currently hold the position of in-house teacher at Jimmy Beans Wool. If you have questions about knitting, crochet, felting, or spinning a large part of my job is to answer those questions. I also work in the brick and mortar retail store helping customers find the right yarns for their projects. I teach classes, film instructional videos, fix mistakes, some tech editing, pattern designing, and repairs. Doing all this allows me to learn something new every day. Which is one of the reasons I love my work, there is always more to learn!
I love learning and sharing what I learn with others!
One of the many tasks that I have had over the last year or so is to write some of the blog posts over on the Jimmy Beans Wool blog. Now that I’ve started to find my own voice, the time is right to get my own blog rolling.
So, without further ado, I’m going to continue an ongoing thread that I started on the Jimmy Beans blog and the Jimmy Beans Ravelry thread, The Great American Aran Afghan Knit-A-Long! For those of you who haven’t heard about this, it’s a year long, work at your own pace, learning experience. As a knitting teacher I’ve had many people ask me to teach cabling, aka aran knitting classes. This project is a great way to teach cabling because of the diversity of techniques used in the various designs yet each square can be completed in a short amount of time.
Below, I’ve linked to the various posts I’ve already written and hope you will read them and join the Ravelry group as well.
For this knit-a-long (referred to as KAL from here on out), we are using the booklet put together by Knitter’s Magazine called The Great American Aran Afghan.
The KAL officially started on August 25th and I’ve announced 4 squares so far. Today will be the 5th. I chose to start with what I think are the easiest squares and we will be progressing to the harder ones as we go along.
I’ve chosen to use Cascade Longwood yarn for my afghan. This is a fantastic new yarn from Cascade Yarns that I just had to try. It’s plush, yummy, and squishy with fantastic stitch definition! I do find it a little splitty but not so much as to deter me from knitting with it. The pattern was written for Plymouth Encore but you may use any worsted or aran weight yarn you like. If I link to a product on the Jimmy Beans website it’s because I’m familiar with the website and know the products. Feel free to purchase your materials anywhere you like.
For square #5 I’ve chosen the square on page 34 of the booklet. This square was designed by Ann Strong and will further our learning by adding texture in the form of seed stitch to the cables and as filler in the center motif.
Materials needed for this square are:
US #7 needle, straight or circular
1 – 200 yd skein of your chosen yarn
This square is pretty straight forward. The Pattern Arrangement Chart looks a bit more complicated than what we’ve seen so far. It seems more complex because the designer did not incorporate the background stitches into her charts. As a result, the background stitches have their own sections between each Pattern Chart.
I hope you join us, if you haven’t already. I’m here to help with any questions or difficulties you may encounter. Feel free to leave comments, question, or suggestions in the comments on this blog or in the Ravelry thread. I’ve also created a Q & A thread in the Ravelry group, so you don’t have to wade through all the chat to find the information you want. To find me on Ravelry, my Ravatar is hojasdetejido.