Blossoms are blooming, bees are buzzing and I need to plant my sunflower seeds. A trekk to my my local nursery proved to be fruitful. I found various varieties of sunflower seeds along with hollyhock and zinnia seeds. I am excited to plant “Lemon Queen” (Helianthus annuus) a variety of sunflower grown for a multi-year bee count project to gather information about native bee populations. More than 100,000 citizen-scientists across the U.S. and Canada participate in the research by counting the number of bees that visit their “Lemon Queen” plants.
During a bout of Spring cleaning and organizing my stash, I found a group of knitted ribbon roses. The directions for the knitted ribbon motifs can be found in the Holiday 2004 issue of Vogue Knitting. “Nicky Epstein puts the metal to the petal with clusters of knit roses in Fonty/Russi Sales Serpentine.” The flowers are sewn together creating a piece of knitted jewelry. For my bouquet, I knit with Anny Blatt Victoria ribbon.
What should I do with my flora? Do you scrumble?
Look what happened…
I began each square with a new skein of yarn, casting on after finding the same color repeat in different places within the skein. Remember, my intention was not to seek perfection or precision. (See previous blog posts)
After playing around with the blocks, and the inspiration of Nicky Epstein’s, Block by Block, four blocks were joined. Below, are two ways the blocks may be worn.
Nicky Epstein…publishing diva extraordinaire. The prolific knitter and her designs “push the envelope of embellishment.” I recently found a copy of Nicky’s Signature Scarves at my local recycled book store and was immediately inspired to knit Yo-Yos scarf on page 76. Signature Scarves are felted, lace, floral, constructed, cut, and embellished with sewn-on elements.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend of knitting with Nicky Epstein at Vogue Knitting Destination in Oregon. My two favorite Nicky books were knitting on the edge and knitting over the edge, until my weekend of discovery. Each attendee received a complimentary copy of Knitting On Top of the World. Inside, I spied the Mongolian Warrior Pullover, which I had recently pinned on Pinterest. I was thrilled! Nicky used “the armor used by the hordes of Genghis Khan” for her inspiration. The Magical Capelet project for the weekend referenced Nicky’s most recent title, Knitting Block By Block. Four blocks of any stitch pattern and color were transformed into a magical garment. (For my magical capelet, I knit with Noro’s Kureyon and added a collar)
Listening to Nicky Epstein discuss her own way to create, I began to peel away the many layers of Nicky’s uncomplicated innovative techniques. In order to appreciate her “over the top” approach, requires patience and a desire to understand her design sense, level of intuition and creativity.
The Hotel deLuxe in Portland, Oregon was the starting point for a weekend of knitting, moonshine and the beautiful landscape of Imperial Stock Ranch. Arriving a day early, I decided to check-out the local flavor. On my way to Josephine’s Dry Goods on SW 11th Avenue, I got lucky and found Knit Purl located next door to Josephine’s. I found the perfect color of malabrigo’s Rasta to knit the Rasta Neckwarmer designed by Breean E. Miller. It was so convenient to walk next door and purchase the perfect buttons at Josephine’s Dry Goods.
Our journey began the next morning as we boarded a coach for our weekend with Doreen Connors of Vogue Knitting, designer Nicky Epstein, Dan and Jeanne Carver, owners of Imperial Stock Ranch. “Sustainability” is not just a buzz word for the duo…They live a life of commitment, hard work and respect for the land. I am proud to say, “I’m an Imperial Yarn Girl.”
After returning from “the ranch,” I had an extra day before flying back to Northern California. At the knitting getaway, I overheard fellow knitters talking about Portland’s flagship yarn store, Yarn Garden. With an extra day to spare, I hailed a taxi… destination Yarn Garden. I was greeted at the door by the owner, who graciously explained the history of the store. I was slowly drawn to her garden of temptation. A garden of beautiful yarn in three different rooms organized by gauge. By now, my suitcase and duffle bag were stuffed with yarn from Knit Purl and Imperial Stock Ranch, so I had a few skeins mailed home. Much to my surprise, the package arrived ahead of schedule. This was an unforgettable trip, one I will remember forever.