31 October 2012

isn't she grand!?! ~ posted by Melissa

Do you guys remember Penny, my very talented artistic friend?  If not, let me introduce you to her:

This is Penny, who come to find out has a heart of gold as big as the stack of hats she's holding.  And that's a mighty big stack ~ 33 caps, to be exact.  Penny and I have a friendship made in heaven ~ I had an enormous bag of leftover yarn from finished knits that was always meant to be turned into some sort of charity project, but could never find the time to make a dent in it.  Penny knits hats for charity and has lots of time but had run out of yarn.  So, about a month ago the bag of yarn changed hands, and those hands on the receiving end got busy and with needles still smoking, Penny delivered this giant mountain of love to her local homeless shelter yesterday.  And you can bet they were thrilled ~ and encouraged Penny to come back with more, which as you can tell from the grin on her face, does not break her heart!

Penny, you rock!  Thanks for putting the yarn to such good use and I know the people that benefit from your kindness during the upcoming chilly months will appreciate their warm noggins and all your hard work.  I'm so glad to know you!   ~ Melissa

If you've joined Ravelry, Penny is an honorary member of the knitwits ~ her rav name is knitwitless if you want to check out the project she created for these hats.

Who needs electricity anyway? - post by Guest Blogger Jeff

So as most of you probably know, we got hit pretty badly by Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy on Monday and Tuesday. Will and I have been without power since Monday evening, though, luckily we have a gas stove and hot water heater, so have been able to enjoy coffee and showering just like normal.

But what's a guy to do once it's gone 5 o'clock and the candles need to be lit? Why, knit contentedly on his Niebling by the light of an oil lamp, of course!

I've determined that if I'm only able to knit the smaller size, that would be about 101,148 stitches before the bindoff (I'm also considering a knit on edging since my crochet technique leaves something to be desired). Based on the fact that I've gotten through row 62, that's 11,880 stitches and about 11.75% completed (provided I don't do a knit on edge...) I'm thinking I'll have enough lace to do the small size plus a knit on edge, but not enough to do the large size. I still need to calculate the number of stitches that would be on the off chance. :)

Happy knitting everyone!

29 October 2012

I'm here! A post by guest-blogger Morgen

Greetings all!

Just a quick post to check in and let everyone know what I'll be doing this time around. 

When Melissa first floated the idea for a Niebling-Along I jumped at the chance.  How could I not?  A menu of patterns to choose from that rivals the Sears Christmas Catalog from when I was a kid, (I imagine now they "have an app for that" that my kid can get on his smartphone.) and the promise of a challenge.  A big challenge.  Just to add a little spice and kick it up a notch we'd be starting as everyone is headed into the holiday season.  I wanted a seat on THAT train of crazy.  Count me in!

I currently have 4 dogs.  (One summer I had 9!)  They are little dogs and they are better barometers of emotional energy in the house than anything else of which I could possibly think.  If I sigh in just the right way they are off my lap and out of the room like firecrackers.  They know when a storm is brewing.  (True fact and most times I am aware of it enough to take a step back and readjust accordingly.)  Suffice it to say they were wary around me for a couple of days as I sighed my way through the entire Niebling library.  I made lists.  I hemmed and hawed and assured myself that whatever patterns I loved and that I didn't choose I could always do in the future.  (Please don't let these be like potato chips where you can't stop at just one!)

One pattern I kept coming back to and it is the pattern I chose.  It is called Jesien ("Autumn"...a nice counterpoint to Melissa's "Spring")   But the pattern itself posed a bit of a problem for me.  What attracted me so much was the sheen that seemed to reflect off the piece which told me I needed to use a yarn with plenty of silk.  A yarn that was spun in such a way as to really bring out that sheen in the solid portions of the work. First I had to figure out what kind of yarn, then I could think about color.

I happened to stop into Serial Knitters in Kirkland and Debi, enabler that she is, said "Hey Morgen ahve you seen the knew Sweet Georgia we got it?  It's in the basket right up front, sock in the top, lace in the bottom.  She's mean.

I went to look and saw a couple of skeins of Merino Silk Lace in a gorgeous color called Tumbled Stone.  It was one of those rare colors that defies description.  If I had to call it something I guess it would be a beige of sorts, but in the right light it has a purplish sometimes pink cast to it.  It certainly wasn't what I had expected to choose, but it had the sheen.  Right there in the skein it had the sheen.  I bought all 4 skeins that Debi had.  That gives me about 3000 yards to work with.  I don't think I'll need anywhere near that much but better safe than sorry.

NOW my dilemma is what size needle to choose.    Again for me it is all abou the sheen and that will be conveyed in the solid portions of the leaves which I think will need to be knit at a slightly tighter gauge.  I'm thinking of a 3 or 4.  I don't know.

But I will have a few days to figure it out yet.  Wednesday I head out for the Fort Worden Retreat, so I am not officially casting on until after I get back, probably next Monday.  I took the picture of the yarn and printed out the pattern yesterday, our official start day.  Blog post today, and my plan is to spend one hour every day working on the Niebling in some capacity or other, gauge swatching, color coding the chart, winding up the yarn and finally casting on.  One hour per day committment until it's done (at which point I will likely be committed.)

What does it say about my life when I am looking forward to the one hour each day of a NIEBLING to provide balance and calm???  Ha!

I am really looking forward to this!  I am so glad to see everyone on board and am especially thrilled to spot on Ravelry that Kelly has already started and is also doing Jesien!  I'll have someone to bounce ideas off of if I get stuck!  (Plus she lives in my old stomping grounds where I grew up! ~~~~Waving to Kelly!)

THIS is going to be fun!

Hugs to you all,


28 October 2012

should have done more homework ~ posted by Melissa

So, this post no longer holds true ~ I was debating needle sizes this morning and after a lengthy Ravelry search of circular projects, I think that my 2500 yards of 'daffodil' will not be enough for 370+ rounds, even if I go down 2 or 3 needle sizes from the size I want to use.  Bummer.  Ah, well, better to get a late start than knit 350 rounds and run out of yarn after a lot of hard work.  I'll be watching from the sidelines for a week or so until my yarn arrives ~ I decided to stay with the Zephyr Jaggerspun but instead of a half-pound of 'daffodil', I'll be starting with a full pound of 'ice blue' and not the slightest worry of getting to the end of my cone before the end of my pattern.
Hope you all are having a good weekend ~ batten down the hatches, all you east coast peeps :)  ~ Melissa

I'm using my husband's computer today and found this old picture of Dozer when he was just a puppy ~ napping on the dock while we fished for trout a few summers ago.  It was a good day ~

25 October 2012

see you next 'fruhling' ~ posted by Melissa

can I get a drumroll, please.......

This is it ~ my jaunt into the insanity pool that is Herbert Niebling.  I've chosen 'Fruhling' (or 'Spring', which in all honesty is probably when I will finish this project).  I've decided to go with the Zephyr Jaggerspun in 'daffodil' and I cannot wait to cast on.  You can follow my progress here on Ravelry and I'll try to do periodic blog posts, also. 

Can't wait to see Andrea, Kelly and Morgen's choices.  I do think we all decided on different patterns so this should be really interesting!  The countdown continues....2 days to go!  ~ Melissa

...and when Jeff talks, ladies, we all should jump 'cause well, he's Jeff, that's why...let's see some pictures!!!

My foray into insanity, once again - posted by Guest Blogger Jeff

Hello there!

Once again, I've been convinced by my knitty friend on the West Coast to join another crazy insane KAL. (Actually, to be truthful, I think I may have been the one who ignited the Niebling spark for this KAL, so apologies all around *grin*).

This knit-a-long should be a lot more engaging than the last one. Don't get me wrong, the Bridgewater is a beautiful shawl, it just didn't keep my mind very focused on the knitting with all that garter.... :) (and I like to be engaged in what I am knitting). I think this time around I might have a lot of "huh? wth?" moments, and there may quite possibily be a lot of profane words being muttered under my breath. So excited!

And now...for the big reveal from JeffInAmbler (formerly jmkorn - too many people were calling me "Jim" so I had to change it!), I plan to cast on the Pomegranate pattern on Saturday. Though, based on the amount of laceweight I have for this project (2625 yards), it's looking like I'll only be able to knit the smaller version.

And... my lace of choice for this is Sweet Nothings Silken from Bittersweet Woolery in the colorway "Icelings":
Isn't it lovely?
I was tired of doing all of my large lace projects in white JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk, so when I found this lovely 80/20 Wool/Silk blend with subtle tinges of pink and blue throughout at the Garden State Sheep Breeders Sheep and Fiber Festival last month, I couldn't resist. I think it's going to be perfect! What do you think?
I'm dying to see what everyone else is doing pattern & yarn-wise! (That means post your choices! NOW! *grin*)
Postscript: This is a shameless plug to check out my partner's blog: Strings-n-Stuff where you can read all about our Rhinebeck experiences this year! :)

22 October 2012

another weekend come & gone ~ posted by Melissa

The weekend was a blur ~ filled with a road trip, a birthday party, yarn shopping, football watching and snuggling up in the blustery autumn weather.  All in all, a joy filled weekend but it was overshadowed by a huge, unexpected loss that one of the women in our knit group experienced.  All of our hearts, mine included, swell with sorrow and sadness for her and her family.  Another reminder to hug the ones you love and hold dear, and to live every minute to it's fullest. 
Hope everyone has a peaceful week.  I'm thinking about you, Chris.

isn't he handsome....

signs of fall everywhere

Suquamish Tribal War Veteran Memorial on the Suquamish Tribal lands...

the Seattle skyline from Suquamish...

Chief Sealth's grave and tributes left at his burial site...

19 October 2012

My road map on the Praire has me lost ~ posted by Kimberly

Well I have finally gotten the body complete on my Prairie but the directions for the edging has me completely lost. The more I read it the worse it gets. But I will say one thing my last major swimming lesson in the froggy pond was an amazing event. If anyone can get me back on the right track I whole heartedly know it is the women I have been knitting with on my journey across my Whidbey Island Prairie Shawl. So please if you have any advice on the lace edging let me know. Kimberly

Herbert Niebling knitalong - posted by Melissa

the genius at work

We're shooting for a week from tomorrow as our official cast on date for Nieblingmania ~ is everyone ready?  Kelli is opting out on this one so I believe aside from myself, there are 4 others so far that are going to play along (Jeff, Kelly, Morgen and Andrea).  If I'm forgetting anyone, chime in and I'll make sure I've got you added as an author on the blog.  If you're thinking about joining us and haven't added your name yet, here are the details:

  • Cast on date is Saturday, October 27th
  • It's a kal freeforall ~ everyone is knitting the pattern of their choice as long as it's a Niebling.
  • There is no deadline so no pressure to rush through his complicated designs ~ we're in this one for the long haul to help each other learn to read his patterns and hopefully, end up with some new knowledge and some amazing finished pieces.
  • You can post anytime you wish (i.e. pictures to share, successes and disasters along the way, questions, pleas for help, encouragement, kick in the butt, you name it!)
So, if you've chosen your pattern and yarn, feel free to post your choices so we can see.  If you'd like to join us and haven't yet, let me know either here or on Ravelry and I'll let you know what I need to get you added to the blog.  I'm ready for a good challenge and to get back to some lacework ~ I'm oh, so close to being done with my holiday knitting (4,700 yds since January!!) and can't wait to hunker down and get immersed in this knitalong with some really fun people!

We're a week away from kick off!  Excited??  I am :)         ~ Melissa

17 October 2012

Knitting In The Firs~ a post by Kelli

The 2012 Knitting Retreat in Bellingham,Washington was another success. If out of control laughter, overeating and knitting all day, are things you do or like to do, this retreat is for you. We enjoyed our time away greatly. We shared our favorite knits with each other, Melissa is modeling her very creative, multi-madeline Bridgewater. The garment of the weekend was the Churchmouse Easy Poncho, we should of gotten a picture, it seems I saw around 10 ponchos either worn or being knitted on. We saw stitching, quilting, woven projects, all while surrounded by items we brought from our stashes to donate in a Silent Auction, we raised over $1700.00, for a local women's shelter. The much needed time went by so fast and was a 'good' tiring event, I napped when I got home. Can't wait till next year. What a bunch of highly creative and inspiring ladies, that probably weigh a little more then when they arrived. It takes a lot of energy to knit that much~ Kelli

05 October 2012

Abe's vision ~ posted by Melissa

Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power - that is, power to move things...As yet, the wind is an untamed and unharnessed force; and quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made, will be the taming, and harnessing of it.     
~ Abraham Lincoln (1860)
One of the most incredible things that we saw on our camping trip was at the Washington-Oregon border.  As we crossed the bridge over the Columbia:

 and looked back to the Oregon side of the river this is what we saw:

and we were able to pull off the highway into a scenic rest stop so I could take pictures (lots and lots of pictures) of what is on the Washington side:

Something about the time of day, the unusual cloud formations and the low setting sun made for some gorgeous colors and shadows on the rolling hills, and the stark white of the painted windmills standing as majestic sentries over the river was absolutely awe inspiring against the terrain and the oddly colored sky which is still recovering from the massive wildfires we've had this summer.  We had seen these wind farms on our way to Oregon four days earlier but the air was stagnant and smelled of smoke and the few mills that were spinning were barely moving at all.  It was a welcome sight to see sunshine and blue sky and every windmill hard at work.  If you ever get the chance to see these, it's worth the drive.  These pictures do not do their enormity justice. 

And just to tie this post in to knitting, this scenery was the last of at least 3 things I saw on our vacation that gave me ideas for color combinations and maybe even an inspired design.  How can you not think about crafting when you wake up in the morning and see picot clouds in the sky?

04 October 2012

Deschutes Canyon ~ posted by Melissa

I waited to post photos from our vacation for a few days so I wouldn't bury Kelli's cute hat post right away.  Jas and I did a camping test run with the dog last week and we ended up in Maupin, Oregon.  The scenery was amazing, the early autumn weather was better than we could have hoped for with a tent (80 degrees every day and the nights were chilly but mild enough that we didn't mind the burn ban and no campfires), and Dozer, after figuring out that we weren't going to leave him in the middle of nowhere, settled right in and was fun to have around.

hazy wildfire sunrise at Snoqualmie Summit

We headed out before dawn and got a text message when we reached Snoqualmie Summit that Jas' coworker and his wife had their baby about 8 hours earlier and wouldn't you know it, we were going to be passing through Ellensburg about an hour later, so we offered to bring the new pappa a latte and stopped at the hospital and were priveleged to meet 10 hour old Neoma Jane on her birthday.  Remember all these baby things I made a few months ago?  I've been promised photos of Neoma in her knitted things as soon as they fit her.  She is adorable!!

We dropped off the main drag after leaving the hospital and took the Canyon Road along the Yakima River to scope out good spots for future trips.  We stopped at Umtanum Recreation Site to give Dozer a break from being in the truck:

Umtanum Suspension Bridge

I did not like being on a suspension bridge...over a river...which I could see through the slats moving under my feet...blech

Yakima River, Washington State
and then once again at the Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge where I went exploring for a bit and was tracked overhead by this Northern Harrier:

We crossed the Columbia River, headed south and ended up in Maupin, Oregon in time to get our campsite picked out and all our gear set up before dinner.  There were so many places to choose from this late in the season that we felt like we had the whole canyon to ourselves!

our own waterfront property on the Deschutes River

We stayed 4 days and quickly settled into a nice routine ~ Jas getting up first every morning and bringing me French Press coffee in bed (well, sleeping bag!), hours spent by Jas fly fishing, lots of knitting and relaxing by me and watching him fish (I could do that for days and days and days), watching for and waving at the whitewater rafters as they went by,

lots of walks and scratches and cuddles in the tent for Dozer, who was a patient pooch while he waited for his boy, who was never farther than just around the corner:

ever faithful Dozer

We saw lots of wildlife ~ wild rabbits, strange birds,

crickets and grasshoppers, bats and the dreaded snakes I was warned about (no pictures of those ~ I froze when I saw them and didn't think to grab the camera) and signs that those snakes had been where I was:

do you think this was once home to a rattler?
I was in charge of dinner our last night at camp, which I thought was delicious (bbq'd flatiron steak, steamed broccoli and grilled white cheddar peppercorn cheese bread) but aftwards Jason teased me that he doesn't usually eat vegetables when he camps with the guys (stinker!).  We didn't head for home on our last day until late afternoon, and while we were breaking down camp, some whitewater kayakers put in the river at our site so we got to watch them as they goofed around before heading downriver for the rapids:

All in all, the trip was a success and we've been talking about where we might go next.  I can't imagine ending up in a more beautiful place than Maupin is.

Mount Hood, Oregon