Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Yesterday was WWKIP and I did so at the Farmer's Market with some really cool ladies. That WeHo group is so much fun! Thanks for welcoming me with open arms. Ellen even helped my with my WIP, an Alien, by crocheting the eyes for me. She is awesome!

I took Dad out for dinner at Todai, an all-you-can-eat seafood and sushi buffet place at the Beverly Center. He was in heaven. I was, on the other hand, really full and uncomfortable after my plate of yummy sushi followed by a strawberry and cream crepe. Yep, they have made-to-order crepes. Really cool. Our evening wasn't over yet, as Dad wanted to buy a Buddha statue for the garden. We went to Pier 1, where I just knew they would have exactly what we were looking for. Sadly, they did not. At 8:45 on a Saturday night, we were not prepared to admit defeat. We raced across Hollywood, through Silverlake, into downtown, took a left at Chinatown, and found ONE SHOP still open. Dad got the perfect garden Buddha and we headed back to my house to reflect on our successful mission. It was a fun night, Dad, thanks for always keeping it interesting. Love you!

In other news, I bought a knitting machine. The LK 150 pictured in my last post. I am determined to figure this sucker out. I practiced for a few hours and have this to show for it!

OK, I know it doesn't seem like I know anything, but that bit there on the right? That is real progress!

It is that time of year for me to bid farewell to my senior knitters. It pains me to see them go, but i LOVE the time we spent together, knitting and learning. These kids really make my job meaningful and fulfilling.
This is Brittany and Orchideh, two of my seniors. Brit (on the left) is holding a bacteria rattle I made, and Ochideh is showing off the Spongebob toy she INVENTED! She said she couldn't find a pattern so she made one up! Oh, really? That's easy enough, go for it!

Next up is Amanda. Ah, Amanda. She is on Ravelry and is always searching for new patterns to challenge herself. This is a little bird that she knit a few months ago. She is so fast! She can whip out two of these little dudes in one class period!

Amanda was also one of the first kids to try the Sheldon turtle from Here is an orange version:

I am really proud of my knitters this year. Not only have they donated more items than any previous class, but they have advanced the furthest and learned the most. Goodbye seniors! Keep knitting!

As for my own knitting, I have been slowly finishing toys and such this week.
This is a set of baby rattles modeled by 1-day old Josh! I went to visit him in the hospital on Friday. A good friend from work made him! We are so proud and the happy family is now at home and comfy.

This is my attempt at the Robot doll by Jess Hutchison. I saw her toys on the cover of Craft magazine and was sad to see that the pattern was not inside. I wrote to her to buy the pattern, but it is no longer available. So, I drew out what I wanted, using her photos as a guide, and I knit one up (I actually made 2, but the second is armless). This is a prototype, since I messed up the seams and I think the body doesn't look quite right.

Charlie has been sick this week, moping on the couch and getting to eat human food. Ah the life. Here he is in a typical pose at the end of the couch in Mike's office, watching "daddy" work.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Machine Knitting Class and more!

Thursday night I took the first in a 10-class series of Intro. to Machine Knitting. i really thought that my hand knitting experience would come in handy (heehee) but it turns out that machine knitting is NOTHING like hand knitting. Unfortunately. So, I sat down at the drafting table with the big piece of equipment strapped to it, and i was immediately intimidated. By the end of the 3-hour class I had made tons of mistakes and a few small swatches. What I love: how fast it goes when you are doing it right. The evenness of the stitches. What I don't love: casting on, trying to fix dropped stitches, binding off. I keep reminding myself how frustrating it is to learn to knit. I see it on the faces of my students each time I teach them something new. There are women in my class who are there for the 4th, 5th and 6th times. They are still trying to master it. Can I do it? The appeal is this: being able to come up with a sweater design then voila! it pours out of this machine with a few swipes of the carriage. I know there is more to it than that, decreasing and increasing, but I think I get it and with more practice I can really get into it.

All of that said, I want to buy a LK-150 Silver Reed knitting machine. I am looking to borrow one at first, make sure I like it. If any of you know of one floating around out there gathering dust, I would like to talk to you. I promise to be gentle with it and return it in great condition. At the end of the class I am hoping to buy my own machine, but I can't quite commit just yet. Big purchase, you know.

Hand knitting update: I just finished the Hansigurumi Deep Sea Angler Fish. This one was great to knit. I made a few modifications for myself, but the pattern, as always, was a pleasure to work with.

I am not sure what is next to cast on. There is a cute alien toy at ravelry that I might try. I have lots of bright colors in lamb's pride bulky that I can use up.

School is almost finished, 2 weeks to go, and that means my knitting students will be turning in their final sweater sets. I hope to have them all delivered to Stitches from the Heart by the end of next week.

Have a great week and don't forget next Saturday is Knit In Public Day. Go out and knit!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Monsters and a few cute sweaters

I always feel like such an older version of myself when i catch these words coming out of my mouth..."I can't believe it is June already!" and "where has the time gone?" OK, I am starting to come to terms with the fact that time does pass more quickly now that I am no longer a kid. But, really, when did this happen? As a teacher, i am always eager for summer to get here, but I feel like this year it has snuck up on me. I honestly still have Christmas gifts to return. Late last week, I realized that I needed to get my summer project planned. See, each summer I pick something that I am going to learn to do, or repair or make better in my life. One summer, long ago, it was to learn to knit. Two summers ago, Dad and I built the knitting oasis out in the garage. For awhile there, it looked like this summer's project was going to be me building a new fence between our house and our northern neighbor. Dad and I still might get that done too, but I really needed something to DO that would be mine and would be fun.
I googled different types of classes that I am interested in and found a Machine Knitting class at Otis College. Otis is an art school near LAX that has an awesome Continuing Ed. program.
My official summer project is to learn how to use my knitting machine. And I will do it in 10 weeks. 10 classes, 3 hours each, and my utmost determination. Should be enough. If any of you are interested in signing up for this course, it begins this Thursday evening, 7-10 pm. Give Otis a call and you might be able to register over the phone. The teacher has knitting machines for us to borrow and she also sells them at wholesale.

I have some finished projects to post. Here is the Daisy sweater written by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. One of my knitting prodigies, Brittany, knit this for a family friend. This is a pretty cute baby wearing a wonderful sweater. I am sad to see Brittany leave my knitting class, but I am so proud of her accomplishments and her desire to challenge herself when picking out her next project.

Here is an update of the companion cube I posted a few weeks ago. This is Griffin, the kid I knit the cube for. He LOVED it!

This is the Wonderful Wallaby sweater knit in cotton 2-ply (blue and white). I am keeping this sweater for a kid I might have one day. This sweater is what inspired me to become a better knitter. Years ago, when I only had one knitting friend (her name is Marcy) I was always so jealous that she could read patterns and actually make more than scarves. She was working on this sweater (a bigger version for herself) and I was in awe of the front pocket and how she just made it appear out of nowhere! YEars have gone by and I have since been let in on a few of the knitting secrets. The biggest secret so far? Don't be afraid of a pattern. Just try it. If you are afraid, do not ACT like you are afraid. No one will notice.

This is the latest Hansigurumi design to fly off my needles. It is the Loch Ness monster, of course. I LOVE the way her patterns are written. The shaping is perfection. The face is adorable and there is always so much personality in the finished animal.

I finally have completed my version of the flying spaghetti monster. This one is for a student named Chauncey. We made a deal. If he earns an A this semester I will knit him something, my choice. I chose this strange creature and I can't wait to give it to him.