Thursday, September 30, 2010

Autumnal Beret wip

Originally uploaded by Crafty Andy
Since last year I wanted to make this Beret and this year I got to start. I got a superwash Cascade yarn and the Rowan Kid Silk-Mohair blend, it is so soft , it screams. I am mixing these two beauties to make this a very soft and fuzzy Beret. It is in the spirit of Autumn that I embrace the browns, let's see what happens. So I end the month of September 2010 on a soft note and start the month of October 2010 on a soft note as well. There is a little trip in the works that is fiber related, but you will witness what happens in a few days. I will start this project with DPNs, but will be moving to Addi Lace circulars, because the kid -silk mohair blend loves to be on Addis. A versatile mix of Super Kid Mohair and Silk which can be cleverly adapted to a lot of projects and when blended gives you a delicious halo to play with.  This is  a Moss Stitch Beret by Kent Turman and is a free Pattern on Ravelry which you can find HERE . Thanks for stopping by!

MFKR 2010 Day 4

Originally uploaded by Crafty Andy
Here I am at the last day of the MFKR 2010. I am always amazed at how little I sleep and how much energy I get, but I enjoy it while it lasts. By the time this class is taking place, I have already brought my suitcase down and I am ready to leave at any time, my room is cleared and my key has been turned in.

This class gifted us with the ability to use the remnants of sock yarn to create a beautiful masterpiece. Too much work if you ask me, but worth the effort. You will have a lovely washable blanket if all your yarn is super wash, otherwise don't wash it; or it may shrink unexpectedly lol. The blanket is made in rectangles and the stitches are picked up, given you the advantage of joining as you go. Certainly James has a very creative mind and he uses his creativity to make things happen. We got a chance to see some of his wonderful sock yarn that he sells at his website , reasonably priced and reasonable shipping for something coming from New Zealand..

Thank you for the great class my Dear friend. James has been my Internet friend for a longtime, but we have never met until last year. I wish I could spend more time with him as I really like him and know we will have many things to share. The other fact is that he has candy all the time, chocolates and anise candy. Everything in moderation.

This day is sad and happy. You leave your new friends and you end your weekend of fiber fun. I tend to look around for things left behind, I usually take them with me and contact the owners, you can be assure that if I saw something that belongs to you, that I thought was important, that was left behind, I will take it with me and contact you. This day , the last day people are like lost, not knowing when to leave or what to do. In the end we all went home, I had three more guys going with me to the airport in the Shuttle, but we did not want to leave. There was so much lonely fiber left behind, I could not allow that to happen, plus you get to hang out and relax before the flight home.

This retreat was full of surprises, full of great workshops and full of wonderful people. There was some tension in the air and there was a lot going on that a lot of people did not see, but this is not a kiss and tell. I enjoyed the time I got to spend talking with some new friends and getting to hang out with the people I met last year a bit more. I look forward to our next year retreat and I hope that we get the chance to make it happen at Dumas or a place that has similar accommodations. I did not get to teach a class, but I have no regrets. The food was great and we had private rooms.  I think that I like Seattle as our home away from home, not much care for lots of rain, but as with in Ferenginar, there are 150 names to describe rain in Seattle.  I say I would not mind living there, maybe not too close to any volcano, but far enough to be able to run with all my yarn and instruments of fiber construction.

We got breakfast and we kind of planned or mentioned next years retreat. This concluded another successful Men Fall Knitting Retreat thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, like Michael Wade and Daniel Herrera. I say that even though there was a bit of disarray in this year's retreat, everything came out fantastic.  Intrigue , Mystery ? Something was not right, this year, but I am not telling anymore, this dies right here, but I thought I would mention it. Let me tell you Wonder Mike and Daniel had a lot of support from all of us and our sponsors, and we were not going to allow this to be less than the success it was.  We are always grateful to our sponsors, I was one of them with a pattern and I brought something that Andrea Wong, from , kindly donated, my friend John Wise was the winner of this price. See you next year guys and thank you for a wonderful time. I have to thank Karin Skacel for her support and Earthues for their kindness and wonderful workshop. I also want to thank Benjamin Levisay from the XRX , Stitches Gatherings for his sponsorship of a scholarship. We all got a benefit from the people sponsored by you. I have some exciting projects that are coming alive, just stay tuned, this is Crafty Andy, Thanks for stopping by .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Devil you Know Mission

A little break from the Retreat Posting there is another Day, day 4 the sad day, because we leave friends behind and come home, some of the friends come along with us as we live close to each other.  This is from my Ravelry Group  Battlestar Galactica FPB .  In this competition we were to work on a WIP therefore the Name "The Devil You Know" . My call name is Triton.  I have to say my  mission has been  accomplished. Making yarn is a pleasure, the plain white one was done in an afternoon and in a hurry, because I had a deadline lol.  Not much fun, yet when the twist was set the smell of new wool is always nice.  It was a lot of fun to make,  I spun a total of 819 grams or 1.80 pounds ,1770 yards or 1633 meters, 1.633 kilometers of yarn, a bit shy over a mile  in total, before plying it. Thanks for stopping by.

  This yarn below is 180 gms and 182 yds. This is the result of my spinning this Month
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This yarn below is 170 grams and 125 yards
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This yarn below is 125 grams and 205 yards
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This yarn below 69 grams and 145 yards
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This one is 95 grams and 83 yards
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The STO yarn completed last nite is 180 grams and 145 yards.
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This concludes my mission of the Devil you Know Yarn.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MFKR 2010 Day Three part 2 Earthues

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This is our Host Kathy Hattori from Earthues. We all loved her, we could not get enough from her and she knew she had captivated our attention. Everyone was so excited. Myself I was going to overdyed some yarn I did not like much, but mainly because I wanted to see the effects of overdyeing it with indigo. I have wanted to take a class like this, but was not able to get the money together in time, or the times it was offered around my area was not very goo as I had to travel by public transportation.
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This place was truly magical, Kathy is truly magical and her knowledge and expertise was out of this world. Specially after reading the article in Spin Off Magazine in which she is featured and Earthues as well. What amazes me is the color depth and vibrancy of natural color dyeing. Properly done you should not impact the environment in a negative way. One thing I kept hearing over and over is to balance your dye bath after you are done. Is a chemistry thing, but it is better if the water goes with a neutral PH into the ground or for the runoff.
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Most of the pictures outside and with me in them were taken by my friendly assistant Kent. He was very instrumental in my having as many pictures as I do. Thank You Kent.
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Here we have Kiwi James in the middle from fibre Alive blog and owner of JOY of Yarn . James has his own line of sock yarn kettle dyed by him, with different materials and sometimes commercial dyes, he came to learn and find out like we all did what was Indigo dyeing all about. Behind him we have Rusty the gentleman that won the scholarship from XRX The company that does Stitches Events around the country, Thanks to Benjamin Levisay and his generosity we got a scholarship. I forgot the name of the guy in front of them, but he is a very nice guy as well.
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Here you see Joe Wilcox talking, he never stops, which is fantastic as he has so much to say. I am never tired of listening to Joe. You may notice all the stuff on the table, which is everything that is used to make color naturally. This was a very exciting class, so much to learn and not enough time, but Indigo is a class on itself.
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Once you prepare your skein with the loose ties, so that the dye takes well, you kind of soak it in hot water, then after 20 minutes or so you do the first immersion.
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 I was not the first in line, we had to make a line and take turns.
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When the yarn gets dipped for about 15 seconds you take it out and the yarn looks greenish, then it starts to get blue. You don't necessary get the color your yarn looks like, you will need to get it darker and longer, 1 to 2 minutes next time until your color is about two shades darker than desired. Only time and experience will teach that, Kathy was kind enough to let us know, lol!
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So here we were opening up the fiber so that the dye gets oxidized and there are no undyed areas. You need to spread the yarn and open it up to the air. The gloves were completely necessary, no need to have the Andorian blues on your hands.

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This place is fantastic and I believe everything in here is naturally dyed. I got myself an Indigo Kit and a Regular kit for my own Xmas Present shh! I will be very surprised.
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SO here is the kit and the yarn after it was dipped three times, 15 seconds, 1 minute and 2 minutes (twice). The lighter areas were done on purpose, so that I can see what over dying did on longer exposure times. Thanks to Michael Wade for making this possible and for Kathy for the great Lecture. Thanks to all the guys with cars, Troy you are a gift, thanks for the lift. Hope you enjoy the small journey, and there is a bit more coming on, but that may be in a day or two, I have some spinning to do,but before I go. Later that day we got the best of SHow and Tell and Kevin was the winner you saw his picture in a previous post.  The shawl he made won a fantastic price from A Verb for Keeping Warm which has a new store opening soon  , on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland.  Then we had PJ Movie night where we witness Young Frankenstein and Hair Spray we also had a clip of an Urban Movie in which Michael Wade is participating.  More information here.

First two minutes of "Tightly Knit" (featuring @knitmoregirls, @LuckyOx42, @Miss_kalendar & me) can be seen here: Thanks for stopping by!

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MFKR 2010 Day Three part One

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Our teacher John Wise was very kind and brought samples from his stash to give to us for practice. I too the Turkish spindle class. You may ask yourself why? I already know how to spin on a drop spindle and a wheel, so why would I take a class like this one for beginners?
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The fact is that I have found that I learn a lot from different perspectives, and I did learn something new from this gentleman. Is like from the classes I have taken from Michael Wade, there is something new I learn from all of them. John has a different technique or approach and it was fun. I can now buy a better Turkish Spindle or more expensive if I may and be confident I will know how to work it. You make a half hitch and then when you have yarn you go over two of the legs and under one as you wind on. The advantage of this is you have a ball of yarn already for plying. The bigger the spindle the bigger the ball lol!
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Here I am doing the spindling, the short video is just a video presentation of the class, but not in it's totality. The sun came out and John wanted to go outside for the class and on Spinning in Public Day we got to spin with this gentle guy.

So here it is Day Three part one , before the Earthues experience. I want to tell you about it right away, but I have to calm myself down, it was an extraordinary experience and I will tell you in a few. Thanks for stopping by.

MFKR 2010 Aay Two Addendum

This addendum pictures are possible by Michael Wade allowing me to borrow some of his pictures ©. The Class with Franklin Habit in Photography was spectacular , not only because it was with him, but because of his ability to bring forth ideas in your head. 
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The idea comes from the fact that you don't need to carry all this equipment with you, but look for opportunities that nature will give you  to see where the exact light that you need for the picture is or to play with the shutter speed or aperture of your camera to get as great a picture as you can muster.  It also makes you look at the surfaces closest to your subject , How is light being filtered?, What is it being reflected off?  Because in the end it is going to inform you camera and your eyes what did it look like even when it did not look like that.  Different lights have different properties, we know that from physics, the same that it travels different on different surfaces.  Optics in Physics was an interesting subject.
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So in the end we came out a lot more knowledgeable than we came in.

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Here you have a picture of yours truly taking the toe up class, in magic loop no less.  Nigel is a great teacher and it was the first time that I notice that West Coast Canadians do have a different accent.  Sometimes when you have an accent like me, it takes a bit more to understand people with accents, but is amazing how we all sound so different yet speak the same.  That is unless I am tired in which case my English goes back to archive and Spanish comes up front, so when I am talking I am in translation mode.  Later on I will have Day Three which was a fun and short day.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

MFKR 2010 Day Two

The day started as usual with Breakfast and the eagerness to learn and share. My first class was with Mr. Franklin Habit, which is a great guy to know. Franklin is a very respectful and honorable guy, nonetheless he has the advantage of keeping in his memory the experiences of life, so don't even think of messing with us short guys, we have an amazing spirit specially when you have the outlook in life that we do. I like my new found friend. Namaste.
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His class was on photography, and worth every minute of it. What are the things that you have to take into consideration when taking pictures and what not to do. Reading the manual, but mostly he explained certain terms that I was not sure about, mostly because of new vocabulary, which now will be enhancing my life. Most of my pictures after the class have the touch of his teaching. He taught us how to make a light box to take pictures of our stuff aka wools and items for showing and showcasing. I was lucky this year and was gifted with the class. Last year it got filled very fast. I love photography as you can tell and love to experiment with the light and the depth of the field.
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The picture above is definitely an example of a picture taken in a spontaneous way, but taking advantage of the light source and the subject. Thanks to Franklin Habit I will be able to take better pictures and be a bit more daring.

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Nigel on the right side of this picture was the next teacher for the day.  Turkish cast on and designing your own sock, there was too little time , but we manage to cast one and do some roes of toe up socks.  He is a great teacher  and definitely his class was worth taking. 

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It also involved magic loop and I was able to work on the sock without going insane, magic loop is not my favorite was of knitting, but I saw that you need the right length of cable and with the right technique, magic loop can be very good technique for socks.

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After that there was Lunch and the tour of Skacel, which I decided to stay in. It must have been a success because the guys came with smiles on their faces, as I did last year, fantastic purchases. I got the Skein above from Tom who got a bag, so I was happy to purchase one from him. This yarn is fantastic I just did not want to purchase a whole bag. lol, really I did not. Nevertheless we had an invitation  from Karin Skacel to her house for Dessert and Wine or Coffee or cupcakes, it was a great venue as I got to see her and say hello, she had some toys for the boys to play.  We so some new products like the one below and got to play with them,  New Addi Clicks Bamboo and the Addi Tunisian Crochet Clicks which will be a fantastic addition to my sets once they are out.  I was gifted the addi hook which I am very thankful for.  Thank You for allowing us in your Home and share  with your family, I felt honored indeed, there was another contest, we love contests don't we.  John Wise won and there was another winner, which escapes me at the moment.
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There was a show and tell and believe me there was a lot more to show, some items are ready to be published so we could not take the pictures or were requested to not post them in the net.  We can do that, it is nice to keep a secret , it is even better when you ask and people let you know what when and where.  As you can see Men Can Do Lace, lots of wonderful lace projects , I did not win with my show and tell, but I won because I was among all this wonderful craftsmen and artisans.  We can sculpture lace believe it or not.  I entered the Apollo Shawl which I donated to the Group and the Paean Scarf.  Thanks for allowing me to support the craft among men.

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Men in Kilts are very sexy, specially when they know how to properly wear them.
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Kevin was the Show and Tell Winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This concludes our day two and of course we went to bed around 1 AM and then I got up at 5 AM, energized and ready to start the day.  I took advantage of the energy to do some meditation and get my luggage in shape, my room had a bathroom so it was nice not to have to go out in the middle of the night , we old chaps have to think of those things. We did not have a shower, but I would shower before going to bed.  Tomorrow or later on depending on how I feel I will describe to you Day 3 which was the day we got to Earthues .  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MFKR 2010 Day One

Five years ago I would have not thought it possible that I would be posting so much about my life online.  It has been almost five years since my first blog entry. Time truly runs like the wind. This post is about the MFKR , so let's get going on that subject.  Men across the miles from all walks of life, come and flock like birds to our retreats.  It is about men knitting and sharing in the craft, is not about TV, or social status or sexual orientation.  You can crochet, spin and even weave, but the main focus is knitting.  This is the third MFKR and my 4th MKR.   Dumas Bay Center is a great place, affordable, clean and very reachable by transportation from the airport.  We have friends in Seattle and the surrounding areas.  I think we all our going to move up there some day and have a village outside Seattle of the Men Who Knit, I hope you enjoy the journey I will take you , this retreat was a success in itself, no comparison , each retreat has it 's own value independently of the others.
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This is the first night and after dinner we did not do the getting to know each other, rather we introduced ourselves quickly, then proceeded to see the fabulous prizes our sponsors donated. Needless to say Skacel is always here, we got our back packs from them, very handy I may say. Michael has put all the prices in display like a real store in this cabinet, and it is wondrous we all look forward to the swag.
Is this SABLE (stash addition beyond life expectancy) maybe lol. The Jane Ellison  Noro Men book was a gift, but this is not the only book we got.  The Entree to Entrelac: The Definitive Guide from a Biased Knitter Book was a gift as well. Biased knitting , now I know how to use my Knit Picks overspun  bargain yarn and make an entrelac vest, you bet. We got Curious Creek Fiber, we got Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs GothSocks  yarn, the Skacel ag, Simplicity yarn by Skacel, Candy by and some yarnies from New Zealands best Little Yarn Shop   , James has beautiful colorways and does the yarn dyeing himself. It is Kettle Dye and Very affordable , the shipping is not bad.  "Girl on the Rocks " an Etsy shop as always very kind with great stitch markers and notions hand made. Valley Yarns gifted us a skein each and a full Afghan kit to one of the guys. We got wool SOAK for rinsing the wool.  We also got patterns, from Stephen West, Marlowe Crawford, Franklin Habit, Crafty Andy (Also a Moth Be gone Sachet designed by Kate Godfrey), pattern, Kieran Foley pattern, brigade Pullover by Todd Gocken. I hope I did not miss anyone. We got a tape measure from ChurchMouse Yarns and Teas. There was plenty of fiber for free, we got  a chance to take some Wollmeise  that our friend Kerry donated, some yarn from Anzula "Oasis" that was left over form the New Zealand retreat. Lots of unspun fiber for the taking. The first night was a success with two classes starting almost immediately, Drop spindle with Michael Wade and Cast Ons with Tom Belunis later on that nite.  I slept very little that nite and every nite, is the adrenaline I guess.

Tomorrow is another day and I will have to leave it for tomorrow so that you keep an interest on this retreat that has always been beyond my expectations.

Monday, September 20, 2010

MFKR2010 Enhancement

Originally uploaded by Crafty Andy
This is in a snapshot the things I got, most of it was gifted, some of it was bought. WE got to see the new and exciting products from Skacel. We went to Earth Hues and Indigo Dyed some yarn. I took several classes and got something from each class. It was a wonderful experience , many new friends and renewed friendships. There will be more detailed posts as the week goes by, I have lots of pictures to organize and tag, and look at. I did not get much of anything done,but I did get to Crochet and knit and even spin with some of the guys. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 17, 2010

MFKR Thursday 2010

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Originally uploaded by Crafty Andy
So it has begun the MFKR 2010. Wonder Mike is actually showing us the wonderful prizes that we are going to have the opportunity of getting. Each participant gets one of the wonderful prizes donated by our  kind and wonderful sponsors, I will be sharing the list of sponsors of which I have the opportunity of being one, by donating a pattern and some wonderful Lavender Sachets, designed by Kate Godfrey, which are a nice way of promoting yourself in the field. It is very early and the excitment of the day is startting. Today I have a photography class with Franklin Habit and a Toe up Class with my friend Nigel. We also have a tour of the Skacel Warehouse and they have new products in the market, oh my!  Hope you have a wonderful Friday, we had 39 guys ths year, a lot of new people, which is fantastic. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fulling is fun

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Originally uploaded by Crafty Andy
I was trying to full this case and I may still do some more, but in the meantime it is just here, ready to be used. I used some wool/silk blend and some wool/mohair and overdyed it with some chery Kool AId. It is that red, you are not seeing visions. It is a bit more subtle and I am hoping that it will last me a bit longer than the chenille one. This is one of my crochet projects that I am taking on my trip back to the Pegasus, it is Galactica approved. I hope you have a great week and I will be kind of out of contact until I come back from the MFKR 2010. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Colonial Cell Caddy

Originally uploaded by Crafty Andy
This is not all the yarn that I will be using, I will be using a wool-mohair combo that I homespun before. I will be overdyeing the silk - wool blend with some cherry Kool Aid so that it is Cylon Worthy and in combination with the cylon colors. My old caddy has seen a better day and I am in need of making a new caddy for my communications device aka Cell phone. I am actually trying to make it full a bit by agitating it. Anyway this is a quick crochet project, I hope to be done by the end of the day and have pictures of the dry FO tomorrow or so. Below is the wool-mohair combo I will be using to make this project a better fit for this covert COlonial Mission.  Thanks for stopping by.
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