Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year of Knitting-and another free pattern

We've been snowed in here since Christmas Day.  It is the most snow I have seen since I was my kids age--12 to 14 inches.  Thank goodness it happened over our holiday.  Being a teacher, I love snow days, but grumble when we have to make them up because it always takes those wonderful teacher workdays away.  We still have one to make up in February due to a recent snow day. So now on to the year in review--Knitwise.

January--After teaching a beginning Knitting class at the local library, I decided to start a monthly Knit and crochet group.  I moderated and am the only man present.

February--Continued to knit and prepared for 10th Anniversary trip

March-  Compiling supplies for Anniversary Trip

On the Hotel Balcony at Chincoteague Island
April-  Attended Soxperience on Chincoteague Island for my 10th wedding Anniversary.   I had a great weekend learning new techniques and was the only man attending the workshop.

May-  I find out there are Men's Knitting Retreats held in various regions of the US and World.  I begin to read about these, most importantly the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat, just outside of Seattle, Washington.

June- Went to Tennessee to visit my Grandmother.  She had a great visit with my children and I took my Mom to Hobby Lobby for the first time.  She was hooked.

July- I find out that XRX, inc.  is sponsoring a scholarship for one person to attend the Seattle, Men's Fall Knitting Retreat (MFKR).  It just takes a nomination from yourself or someone who would like to see you attend.  My wonderful wife nominates me for the scholarship.

Cap I made with Birthday yarn
August-  I go to Knit Wits in Virginia Beach for the first time on my birthday.  I love it.  I get some great birthday yarn, orange of course.   Later that week I find out that I have won the MFKR Scholarship.  I am in knit heaven.

Enjoying knit time at the Retreat
September-  I attend the MFKR and fly cross country to Seattle, the first time I have ever flown alone. I have a wonderful time and find out about a design opportunity.  I come home and work feverishly to design a pattern to be published.

Swatches, drawings, and  design letter

Swatch of Stitch Pattern
October-  I find out that my design is accepted and pending completion (and shipping) by December 10th will be published.  I begin work on the pattern.

November- I work the whole month on my design.  My brother tries on the cap and it looks as if it was made for him.  I must design a cap for him (in black he requests).  I also worked my first bazaar and I feel like it was successful as I sold all my scarves, a girl's and doll's poncho set, and made a few contacts. The knit and crochet group donate a total of 9 afghans to our local Social Services.
My brother's cap that I designed for him.

December-  Pattern and Display pieces completed and mailed to Seattle.  I cried when I sealed the box, two months worth of work is hard to part with.  They look amazing and the company loves the work.

I continue to design, my second piece is in my last entry and the third is coming after this ramble.  What an amazing year!  I am hoping that the next year will bring more designs, work, and knitting.
And now for the pattern.  I created this for the Random Acts of Kindness Forum on Ravelry.  I wanted the recipient to have something original and from a yarn I truly love.  And it is a perfect one evening knit you can enjoy daily during this season.  Click on the title for the Google Document version.

Bulky Weight Yarn (I used Fat Sheep by Farmhouse Yarns  50% wool, 50% mohair)
Size 10 long circular needles or DPNs
Coffee Cup or tumbler for blocking

Gauge:  3.5 purl stitches to an inch (approximately 12 stitches to 4 inches in pattern

Stitch Pattern   "Mock Cable Rib"
Rnds 1, 2, & 4:  *P5, k3*
Rnd 3:  *P5, sl1, k2, YO, psso the k2 & YO*

P- purl          sl- slip                     psso- pass slipped stich over
k- knit          YO- Yarn over

Cast on 32 stitches and join for working in the round being careful not to twist the cast on stitches.

Work in Pattern for a total of 3 repeats (12 rows).  

Bind off loosely.  I love to use Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn bind off for these projects, because it makes a stretchy top for a variety of sized cups.  

Copyright December 2010, Small Town Knit Guy Designs.   For personal use only.
Please request permission before copying or making items to sell.

Wet block over a tumbler to get the coffee cozy shape (a little bigger at the top than at the bottom).

Have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just in time for the Holiday--Free Cowl Pattern

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa.  Last Monday I Priority Mailed my knitted Men's Reversible Ensemble (beanie, fingerless mitts, and scarf) to Skacel for their approval.  By Friday I was on pins and needles because I had not heard from them.  I emailed them from my mother's house and got an immediate response.  The pieces and pattern had arrived and to quote the email, "They look GREAT!"  I was so happy that I nearly cried.  I worried all week, because as many of you know as knitters, crocheters, or crafters in general, you can always find something wrong with your work.  I was extremely proud of my first ever design and publishing contract and prayed all week for it to arrive safely and for the powers that be at Skacel Collection, Inc. to like what I had created.  And they did.  Praise God!  So, In honor of my first pattern being published, I decided to knit up a quick and easy cowl.  I also decided to post the pattern here for free as I want to share it with my readers and others looking for free patterns.  My hope is that you like it, will try it, and tell me what you think (especially if you find a mistake so I can correct it).  It is quite warm, as the weather has turned very cold here in NC (colder than I can remember it getting this early in the winter).  The yarn I used is discontinued, however you should be able to find a great substitute at your LYS or Big Box store.  Ravelry calls it super bulky, however I found it to be more of the bulky/chunky variety.  I really enjoyed working with it and wish I had more, but, alas, it is discontinued.   The yarn color inspired the name (looks like candy) and stitch pattern (reminds me of steam rising from a warm drink).   It knits up quickly (I finished mine over a weekend).  My wife is modeling the cowl in these pics.   The pattern is written below or can be found as a Google Document here:  Peppermint Hot CoCowl

Peppermint Hot CoCowl
by Rusty Boyd, 
Small Town Knit Guy 

Warm ribbing in a wavy pattern!
Difficulty level:  EASY!
Dimensions:  Approximately 7.5 inches wide x 11 inches in length 

Materials:  2 balls OnLine Linie 146 Montana in the Ruby Fire  colorway (01) (my wife is modeling) 
1 skein Loops and Threads Charisma  (my daughter is modeling)
 (or bulky (#5) yarn of your choice that gives you the approximate gauge)
                  size 11 DPN or long circular for magic loop 
                         (or size that gives you approximate gauge)
                  cable needle
                  tapestry needle
                  stitch marker

Gauge:  Not entirely important but -- approximately 3.5 stitches and 3 rows per inch (pre-blocking)

               CN-Cable Needle

Stitch Pattern:  Wavy Rib (from Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary 1030 Stitches and Patterns)                     modified for working in the round    multiple of 6
         Rounds 1-6:  *P4, k2*
         Round 7: *P2, sl 2 to cn and hold to back of work, k2, p2 from cn
         Rounds 8-12: *P2, k2, p2*
         Round 13:  *Sl 2 to cn and hold to back of work, k2, p2 from cn, p2*
         Rounds 14-18: *K2, p4*
         Round 19: *sl last 2 p st from previous round to cn and hold in back of work, K2, p2 from cn, p2,
                             sl 2 st to cn and hold in back of work, k2, p2 from cn, p2
         Rounds 20-24:  repeat rounds 14-18
         Round 25:  repeat round 19

Cast on  60 stitches. Place stitch marker to mark beginning of round.  Join to work in the round.  Work pattern stitches through round 25.  Repeat rounds 20-25 to desired length (height).   To bind off I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind off.  (Click for link to Knitty.)   It gives a stretchy bind off which will be helpful when pulling this over your head.  Use tapestry needle to weave in ends.  Blocking I feel is unnecessary with this type of accessory, but you can if you like.

copyright 2010
Rusty Boyd
Small Town Knit Guy 
For personal use only,  Please ask permission before duplicating, or making items to sell.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Does this sound like Small Town life?

Last Thursday I took a day off from work for a Knit-a-thon on my pattern that is being published.   I worked all day long (4 am to 5pm).  I did take about an hour off to get lunch and prepare for my knit group party.  We had a small group that evening, but ate, knitted, exchanged gifts, and had a great time.  Friday was back to work (2nd grade Math teacher that I am),  lesson plans written, grades recorded, progress reports printed, papers graded, and lessons taught.  We rushed home to a quick dinner and then off to ring hand bells at the town's annual tree lighting.  It lasted over an hour.  Saturday morning brought a very chilly day for the Murfreesboro Christmas parade.  It was great to watch my children enjoy the parade.  My daughter attended an all day birthday party and I knitted and wrote on my pattern while she was gone.  Sunday morning brought a rush to be to church early as my wife and I had to play hand bells once again.  Between church and the annual Christmas at Chowan University Concert, I finished writing (I should say typing my pattern as it was written in my Knitting Knotebook  as I knitted it up) my pattern.   The concert was great and I am glad that I did not skip it.  After the concert it was off to the drugstore as my wife and I are feeling under the weather.  When I returned I printed the pattern, boxed everything up and sealed it.  Needless to say, I cried.  Over 2 months of work went into this and I have to send it cross country.  I have a lot of time invested in it, and separation anxiety, I guess.   I will feel better when I see it in print.  I wish I could share all the pics I took this weekend but I have to wait until I have a publishing date.  This week brings two more concerts:  Community Christmas concert and the NC Symphony on Wednesday.  Friday we begin to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.   Oh, for those of you who read regularly, the Bazaar was a success.  I sold all my scarves and several other items as well.  In honor of my first pattern being published I will be working up a surprise free pattern to post here as a Christmas gift for my followers.  It will be a knit pattern and quick to work up.   Look for it over the next few weeks. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fiber Beat, Hat, and Bazaar

Here I am blogging again.  As I write this I am waiting for my wife to finish a workshop so I can go home but wanted to share all that is going on this week.  Today on my lunch break I had the chance to listen to Fiber Beat, episode 12.  This episode contains an interview with Kathy Hattori who led the indigo dyeing workshop I attended in Seattle.  I learned even more about dyeing than on the day I participated.  The episode also contains an interview of yours truly, Rusty Boyd , the Small Town Knit Guy.  It chronicles the winning of the XRX, inc. scholarship and knitting facts about me.  If you are interested go to Itunes, podcasts, and search for Fiber Beat.  It is episode 12 which has these interviews.

As I listened today, I remembered that I took my birthday yarn and a hat pattern to Seattle with me.  While, I was there, I completed what is my favorite hat.  The yarn is a bulky wool and mohair blend.  The colorway is Tropical Punch.  The pattern I used is from Pie Knits (free download) called Subtle Cables.  My daughter is modeling the hat for me in the pic.  I call mine Sunburst.  The yarn was from a local farm in Tidewater Virginia, hand spun and hand dyed,  and I loved it the minute I picked it up out of the bargain basket.  I have since purchased two more hanks of similar yarn from the same yarn shop, Knit Wits of Virginia Beach.  I already have a pattern picked out to work them up after I finish the pattern publishing work.  They are a lovely deep wine color and I will enjoy working with the yarn.

This Thursday I am doing my first Bazaar.  My wife has more in the show than I, due to my recent publishing work.  I just want to see what people will say about my work and if they will buy it.  In the area which I live there are not many who appreciate the work that goes into a hand crafted item.  The Bazaar is only a 2 hour event in the middle of the day so I won't have a lot of time invested.  If things sell well, I will have something to look forward to next year and will be able to keep a stock of items made up for such occasions.  I have 3 scarf commissions through my work that I will begin in December.  I will also take orders if necessary to make up some items (after Christmas).  Well that is all for now.  I will let you all know how the Bazaar goes and hope that I will be able to post some pics of the Design and publishing work if Skacel says it is a go.  The said I could post to Ravelry but I would love to post here and on Facebook too.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

4 Years and Counting

Four years ago today I had a total knee replacement.  I am always reminded of the date because it is on Veteran's Day and because I have a yearly check up on that day.  My check up was wonderful.  The knee bends more than it did last year, I am exercising again, and I have lost weight.  The doctor was pleased with all these things.  You may be asking why a then 35 year old man had to have a knee replacement.  Well, here goes:  about 15 years ago I had a horrible car accident which severed my left leg at the knee.  The doctors worked diligently for 3 months to save the leg, which they did.  However, by the time they finished and I was able to begin physical therapy, I had only about 30 degrees movement in that knee.  I lived this way until 4 years ago when I finally found a doctor who would do more than an x-ray  to find out why I was having pain and what real shape my knee was in.  Reason for a 35 year old to have a knee replacement:  the only cartlige left in my knee was less than the size of a dime and the only thing holding my leg together was one ligament, which was quickly tearing.  My doctor is renowned for finishing a knee replacement in 35 minutes, mine took 2 1/2 hours.  I am totally pleased with the results. 

You may be asking, why am I writing about this on a Knitting blog?  Well because it was on my mind today and if not for the car accident, I may not have taken up crochet again (and eventually learned knitting).  At the time of the accident, I was very depressed and after watching but soooo much TV, I asked my mom to bring some yarn and crochet hooks to the hospital.  I am so glad I fell in love with the craft again.  I needed something to do and crochet required no moving around in the hospital.   I could stay in bed and craft to my heart's content.  So today on Veteran's Day,  I am thankful for all those men and women who have served our country.   I am thankful for my knee replacement and a great doctor.  Finally, I am thankful for remembering 15 years ago I can do something creative.  Share a craft with someone you love this week.  I taught my daughter to knit earlier this week.  My hope is that she will carry this with her through her life.  And if she needs it to help her get through something, it is just like riding a bike.  It will come back to her as soon as she picks up the needles. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Charity Donations--From the Heart

This week the Murfreesboro Knit & Crochet Group had their monthly meeting.  Our first Charity project has been over 10 months in the making.  We decided to do afghans but needed recipients.  After a few phone calls, Social Services of Hertford County said they had persons who could really use the afghans.  They are called "wards of the state."  What this means is, they are deemed incompetent and the state takes over their care.  They either have no family to take care of them, or their family is unable to take care of them.  They are in long term care, from nursing homes to group homes, wherever a bed was available when they were placed in the state's care.  Even though they are residents of Hertford County, they could be anywhere in the state and Hertford County is the agency that cares for them.  I am unsure about the others of my group, but it did my heart good to know that something I made was going to be given to someone who did not have the comfort of family or home (things I equate with the holiday season).  I hope that the afghans find a great home with these wards, offering the warmth of the holiday season both physically and spiritually.  I have included a few pictures to show the beautiful work of the group.  Thank you to both Social Services of Hertford County and the Murfreesboro Knit and Crochet Group.  Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Seattle-Day 4-with surprise news

Franklin Habit and me

Needless to say by Sunday, September 19th, I was pretty tired but still ready to go and knit with the guys.  I took my last knitting class that morning.  It was the sock yarn blanket with James, who is from New Zealand.  I could not wrap my needles around this project.  I got the general idea and thank goodness a pattern was included, but I think I was too tired, it was too early, and the yarn was just too tiny for me that morning.  I am anxious to try this idea again, maybe with a worsted yarn and when I am not exhausted, and with no distractions.  The concept is not difficult or new to me, I just don't think I was prepared for the class that morning.  I also think I was on yarn/knitting overload.  After class we all said our good-byes and many headed on their way back to their homes.   Lots of hugs were shared.  I got to take a picture with my knitting hero, Franklin Habit, although, after attending the Retreat I have a roomful of knitting heroes now.  Those of us whom were left at the retreat center, sat around and discussed LYS snobbery against male knitters.  We also discussed which shops were very welcoming to us.  If I am ever in California, I know which yarn shops to visit.  I finished a hat (I'll include an in progress pic as I haven't taken a FO pic yet) as we talked.  Kerry and I headed out around noon and went to Kent to visit Renaissance Yarn.  We got lunch and went back to RY and knitted until just before they closed.  Kerry's flight was scheduled for around 9 pm and mine was scheduled for 10:20 pm.  We did some airport shopping getting last minute gifts for family.  I got my wife a Forks, WA/Twilight travel mug and my son a Bigfoot (the myth not the monster truck) cap.  Kerry and I said our goodbyes and I went to the Alaska Airlines area of the airport and found dinner.  After dinner I took out my knitting (I still had around an hour and 20 minutes to wait).  A woman came and sat by me and I found out that we were both headed back to Raleigh.  We talked about my knitting and I continued to knit until the flight was boarding.  I took a pill to help me sleep before I got on the plane.  Alaska Air is wonderful.  They have bigger seats (leather with and adjustable headrest), personal DVD players to rent, and more room than you'd expect.  The flight would have been the best I had ever take, but the older woman who was sitting behind me had an annoying voice.  When she finally settled down for the night, she kicked me in the back all night long.  I was exhausted by the time I got to Raleigh.  I got a large coffee and a sausage biscuit for my 2 hour wait.  I took out my knitting and knitted incorrectly because I was so tired (thank goodness for lifelines).  I rested a little on the last flight and in the car ride home with my dad.  I have never had such a great knitting trip.

The hat I mentioned working on and completing while in Seattle.
My first design packet, submitted to Skacel.
Have I mentioned that Skacel gave us a letter which basically commissioned us to design something using their new yarn.  If they liked our submission, it would be published (we write the pattern and knit a prototype to send in.)  The design, swatches, and letter were due on October 4th.  I sent mine out Priority Mail, and it arrived on time.  The decisions were to be made on October 6th.  When I got home from church on October 6th, the email arrived and Skacel liked my design and will publish, pending my completing the pattern and getting everything in by December 10th. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seattle-Day 3-Dye Another Day

Low tide at Dumas Bay (Puget Sound)

My feet in water from the Pacific
Dipping the fiber in the pot of indigo dye

Separating the fiber to ensure oxidation

all the things used for natural dyeing (the cloth was dyed with mud)

(Yes the title is a play on words from the song by Madonna.)  The weather in Seattle was much as I expected:  rain, fog, a little dreary, but not all day long.  There were some bright spots and day 3 turned out to be one of them.  We had the least rain on Saturday.  I had no classes that morning so was able to get some much needed rest, knitting, and picture taking done.  After lunch that day we endured horrendous traffic to get to our field trip.  The trip was to Earthhues, a natural dyeing studio.  I spent an enjoyable but long ride in the truck with Geoff, Joe, and Stephen.  I am used to being in a completely different state when I spend an hour in a vehicle, or at least in another major city.  The hour spent in the truck was well worth it.  We were introduced to all the natural things that they use to dye fabrics, yarns, and other medium without using any chemicals.  The colors were brilliant and I wanted some of everything, but we were there to indigo dye.  I had my LYS, Southern Purls outside of Ahoskie, NC, order some lace weight dyeable yarn before I left for Seattle.  What I received was the softest baby alpaca in a natural color from Plymouth Yarns Dye for Me.  I have not begun to work it up yet but it dyed the most gorgeous color very close to Carolina blue, appropriate don't you think.  It was a long afternoon but well worth the trip.  Kathy, our "cruise director," was very gracious and kind, answering all of our questions and helped us prepare our fiber, dip it in the dye, rinse it when we were done, and told us about things in the shop.  I did get some more of their dyed yarn.  They had mini hanks of yarn dyed in various colors and ranging in length from 10-20 yards.  I chose 5 hanks in various colors and fibers to practice some new knitting stitch patterns and create scarves for my daughter's American Girl dolls.  We returned for dinner and voting on the Best in Show hand knitted items we shared on Friday Night.  Kevin won with his wonderfully created Wrap based on The Little Prince.  We were then treated to a pajama party with a short film, featuring WonderMike, on the Knitting Community and Yarn Bombing, Young Frankenstein and Hairspray to finish.  I finally went to bed after midnight having worked on my orange hat to near completion.  As I write this I am missing my new friends on the West Coast and want to knit with you some more.  I have been inspired to design and am working on my first real pattern at the moment.  Wish me luck as I am going to submit it this weekend.  Day 4 and the Journey home coming soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seattle-Day 2- More Knitting

Me-Knitting my hat

the needle room

Orange yarn, my favorite
the doors to yarn heaven--Skacel

So, I think that I forgot to tell you that on Wednesday when I left, I was so very worried about my knitting needles getting through security.  Well my knee replacement set off the sensor and they ran all my stuff through the machine twice I think while I was getting the pat down.  Knitting and needles made it through safely.  On to day 2.   Breakfast was French Toast, bagels, bacon, sausage, cereal, and the list goes on.  My first class that morning was Photographing your Fiber with the very knowledgeable Franklin Habit (whom I have been waiting to meet since I saw his picture in an Addi Turbo needle ad).  I learned a great deal from him and was able to take some of the best pictures ever after his class.  Immediately following his class I took Nigel's sock class.  He taught us the yarnover increase, which I need to practice because I ended up with some holes.  I think I will be able to figure it out and use it on some socks in the future.  We had a quick lunch then were off to "Yarn and Needle Heaven," the Skacel office and warehouse.  We took a tour of the facility, warehouse, offices, needle room, and were able to see samples of yarns knitted and crocheted.  It was fantastic.  I think we scared the UPS delivery guy, he just had a look on his face like, "do you need me to call someone for help?"  They assured him it was alright and we went into the warehouse to shop.  Yarn bags were flying everywhere.  Several people shared bags.  I could have bought more yarn, but opted for the ultimate Addi Turbo Click interchangeable needle set.  We then went back to Dumas Bay and had dinner before a wonderful party.  Karin Skacel invited us over to her house for dessert and drinks.  I had the most wonderful gourmet cupcakes and a "blueberry tea" which was warm and had liquor in it (must look up the recipe for that one).  We all had a great time at her beautiful house overlooking the water.  Then it was back to Dumas Bay for more knitting and sharing.  Two more days to come.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seattle- West Coast Men's Fall Knitting Retreat- Day 1

wild blackberries on the side of the street

Shoppes of Bainbridge

Streets of Bainbridge Island

Another view of the Grounds at Dumas Bay.  This could be seen from the window of our conference room.

The grounds at Dumas Bay

View of  Seattle from Ferry
Another view from the Ferry
So I arrived in Seattle the day before the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat (MFKR) began.  It was a very long day as I had a 2.5 hour drive to the Airport, then about 7 hours on the plane.  I had a great deal of time to knit that day.  I knit in the truck with my dad driving to the airport, while I waited for the first leg of the flight, during the 2 hour layover in Charlotte, and on the 5 hour flight to Seattle.  I was so tired when I got to Seattle that I had to decline an invitation for dinner and company from some of the other men who were attending.  I got a great night's sleep and a little exercise the next morning.  Kerry picked me up from the hotel and we got breakfast before we picked up Kurt at the airport.  Then we all went to Bainbridge Island for a couple of hours.  Churchmouse was the most awesome yarn shop I have had the opportunity in which to shop in several years.  I got some beaded silk yarn (for my lovely wife), cotton bamboo for a baby hat, and knitting needles that I needed for my own hat project.  Kurt got a bite to eat at an organic food store and then we headed off to All Points Yarn.  We visited with Morgan for about an hour then headed to Dumas Bay Retreat Center for a weekend of fun.  Dinner was great and then I had Spinning Class with Michael (not stationary biking).  It was great to learn the in's and out's of making my own yarn.  I brought back about  8 ounces of wool top to practice spinning.   After I spun I went downstairs to check out my swag bag.  It was a drawstring backpack from Skacel that was loaded with yarn,  a men's pattern book from Noro yarns, the brand new "Entre to Entrelac" book from XRX, inc. (who sponsored the scholarship my wife won for me), and a notebook full of patterns by up and coming designers I have admired for quite some time.  And I forgot, after dinner we had a raffle and I won a huge hank of lace weight alpaca from Briar Rose.  It is in dark natural masculine colors.  What a great evening.  I sat up and knit with several of the guys while another class was going on.  Then it was off to bed.  More to come on day 2 tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Technology Doesn't Like Me

This has been a bad week for me with technology.  First my cell phone music player stopped working.  Fortunately, after a recharge of the battery, it suddenly started working again.  It has to hold out until March when my contract is up.  Must have been one of those weird tech glitches.  Just recently someone hacked into my hotmail account and started sending e-mails about some meds.  I, of course, could not get anyone at MSN to contact me so I had to get a new e-mail address.  I have to hold on to the other one until I get back from Seattle for plane tickets, info, and the like.  Went with gmail since that is related to this blogspot site.  Hoping that the problem does not follow me to my new address.  I manually input all my addresses in on a different computer, just in case it was in my laptop.  (Doubtful since it is an Apple.)
I went through a bunch of steps to stop the emails and it hasn't happened since yesterday afternoon.  Hoping it is fixed.

Now on to the good stuff.  The shawl I knitted, just because I had the yarn, had a sizable ball of yarn left over.  The model, my daughter, has requested her own size shawl out of this yarn so I am currently knitting this up for her.  I will post pics when it is finished.  I finished an afghan for a friend who had her son 2 weeks early.  It is a diagonal pattern and should be very warm in garter stitch.  I also knit up the swatch for Wendy Johnson's Shetland Shawl KAL.  I am including both pics.  I hope to get a lot of knitting done this weekend as I will be vacationing in Williamsburg, VA with my in-laws.  Maybe I will have more pics to share next week.  Enjoy the Holiday.  I will be starting to get ready for the West Coast Men's Fall Knitting Retreat next week when I get back from the short vacation.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

School is in, Knit time is out

So the students come back this Wednesday.  I am a little excited about a new year with a new group of kids.  The down side is that I think like the t-shirt I recently saw: "My job is cutting in on my knitting time."  Fortunately I have finished 2 projects this week and may finish one this weekend.  I am going to try to include the pictures of each project.  One is an afghan which will be donated in my Knit and Crochet group for our Charity Project (10 afghans by Christmas, we started in January and I have 6 confirmations).  The other is a shawl I had the yarn for and just wanted to try.  It is acrylic yarn and a free internet pattern.  I am dying to try it with a more luxurious yarn.  My daughter is modeling it and liked it so much she wants one for herself.  I will have to see if I can make one half that size for her.  I am very lucky to have children who appreciate all the things I make for them.  The weekend project I need to finish is a baby afghan, which is unfinished because the baby came almost 2 weeks early.  I will make a picture of the afghan, which was knit corner to corner, next week.  By the way, all the pictures were taken with my new camera which I purchased for my upcoming trip to Seattle, Washington for the West Coast Men's Fall Knitting Retreat.  This is still the bright spot on the horizon for me.  I will have to bring my wife something nice back from Seattle. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What an amazing week!!!

Several months ago,  I read about the West Coast Men's Knitting Retreat in Seattle, Washington.  Since I am "Small Town Knit Guy" and the only man in our local Knit and Crochet group, I thought, "How nice it would be to get together with other men who knit.  However, being a public school teacher with an obsessive yarn habit,  I knew a cross country trip was out of the question.  Then an unexpected surprise came.  About two weeks ago, a scholarship contest was announced for the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat (MFKR).  All it took was a nomination from someone who knew you or yourself.  Not being one to toot my own horn to get a prize, my wife nominated me.  For those who are on Ravelry, the nomination can be seen on the Fiber Beat page there.

Now comes the waiting.  August 6th was the deadline for nominations and I was checking Ravelry and Fiber Beat website everyday, to read the other nominations and check for news.  I left last Sunday afternoon to visit friends in Fredericksburg, VA.  My wife and I busied ourselves with shopping and talking with old friends.  I got some great deals on yarn: novelty, beaded,  Patons SWS, and the real find of the week....At the Goodwill store, my friend's daughter found a cooler full of yarn (I was teaching them how to knit while we visited).  She wanted the yarn for knitting practice, lots of worsted on top of the cooler.  Her mom said 10.99 was too much, so she came to find me.  Upon digging through the cooler, which was taped across the top (no lid) I found a cone of lace weight yarn, A 5 POUND CONE of lace weight yarn!!! (and a little white lace weight  wound in a 3 strand ball.  Needless to say we bought the yarn cooler.  I gave the girls the worsted and I took all the lace.  What a find!!

So back to the scholarship...On Tuesday night, in between shopping, talking and knitting, I checked all the sites again.  The Scholarship committee chair wanted my phone number.  I gave it to him and said I would await his call.  To make a very long story short:  my wife's nomination won me the scholarship!!!.  I can't believe that in a month I will be attending the MFKR in Seattle, WA.  In Small Town Murfreesboro, NC, I am the only man I know that knits.  Now I finally get to meet others who share my passion for knitting.  Check back for updates as the Retreat approaches.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What an addiction!

When I started my knitting journey over 5 years ago, little did I know it would become a complete addiction.  I had always wanted to learn to knit, but only learned to crochet.  Between my mother and my great Aunt Elsie, I mastered crocheting at the early age of around 9.  I was content with crochet, and thought knitting was hard at that age because of the 2 needles.  I still yearned to knit.  When my Aunt Elsie passed away, I thought all was lost because she could never get my mom to take up knitting.  So my wife and I checked around and around and found a Michael's store that taught knitting classes.  We both signed up.  In just one hour we learned the basics: casting on, knit, purl, and casting off.  From that day on, I have been on a mission to learn everything I can about knitting.  I have been on a second mission to share my knowledge with others.  Last Fall I taught a group knitting class at my local library. In January, I started a once a month Knit and Crochet group at the same library.  I cannot get enough yarn.  Every time my wife and I go on a trip somewhere, I Google the local yarn shops in hope of finding some fabulous fiber with which to work.  I have come to love the art of knitting (and I do still crochet from time to time) so much that my wife converted a section of our sun porch to house yarn and make a comfortable area to teach knitting lessons.  We call it "The Knitting Knook."  I am hoping that this fall the "Knook" will take flight and regular lessons will be offered.  I hope to offer some free patterns here as well as pictures of finished items.  Come back often and see what is going on with me, Rusty B., the Small Town Knit Guy.