Happy New Year 2015

Recently, I received an email from WordPress detailing the stats this past year for my blog.  I originally decided to blog about my various creative endeavors with a pair of knitting needles and yarn in order to give the creative side of my life “purpose.”  Not to soon after I started blogging, I began teaching.  From teaching, I was asked to become a part of a design studio/yarn store in my local town.  So you see, stats were not on my radar.  I was hopeful that someone would find my posts interesting, but it did not matter.  I wanted a platform which would enable individuals to “see me” through my stitches.  I’ve tried to maintain a personal distance communicating only one stitch at a time because “words” are many times misinterpreted.

In retrospect, 2014 was a wonderful year.  My husband and I cruised up the Danube River for two weeks.  An experience I will forever hold close to my heart.  One morning, while cruising, I was awakened by a glow filtering through the drapes in our cabin.  I grabbed my camera and captured the sun coming up.  Perhaps we’ll see Istanbul or Paris this year.IMG_3076

I ended the year by making a new acquaintance at Eddies’s Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale, CA.  Sally-Ann Flak, a talented artist, taught a class at The Bee.  I plan on taking a pattern drafting class this month and a Moulage class in February.  Check out a picture of me wearing a scarf and holding another on Eddie’s Quilting Bee Facebook page.  I was able to finish both scarves in Sally-Ann’s class.

To all sticks-a-gogo’s friends, Facebook friends, and my friends in the real world, Happy New Year!

Who Needs Jewelry

This week while working (if you call surrounded by gorgeous yarn, patterns and buttons work), one of my students stopped by Very Knit Shop in Los Gatos, CA to model her completed scarf from class.  The focus of the class is to combine 20-30 different yarns, gauges and textures in order to create random blocks of pattern and color.

The gallery downstairs was having an artist’s reception and my student was attending, proudly wearing her scarf.

I’m always surprised when combining different yarns and ribbons with Loopy and Luscious by Natalie Wilson, another option for embellishment adding just the right amount of style and design.  For the pattern, checkout http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter02/PATTloopy.html

Luscious and Loopy with oil painting

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Sunflowers and Sun Damage

I’ve been spending more time in doors this summer due to the water shortage in California. I was not able to plant my garden of sunflowers, zinnias and marigolds this year.  Though I did manage to plant about a dozen sunflowers for the birds and bees. The sunflowers are contained within a planter in my backyard, so I can look out and enjoy the activity of the bees and the beauty of the sunflowers while I knit.

Sunflower Hedge #3

Actually, the water shortage has forced me to limit my exposure to the sun which has been a good thing.  Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma.   A non-life threatening condition that has been treated with topical chemotherapy. I’ve become hyper-diligent about wearing sunscreen and a hat outside and especially during my daily exercise routine. Of course, the sun damage did not just happen…over time, worshiping the sun slathered in baby oil and scuba diving in Monterey Bay did not help.

Mary Lou #1 001

Yes, I’ve taken all of this in stride, excited about my upcoming trip to Central Europe. I’m looking forward to the architectural history of the region along with local cultural fare.  I hope to discover Czech glass and wonder if I’ll see any yarn. I have a map of Prague from (The New York Times Europe Issue, Sunday, April 20, 2014) and want to shop at Prague Thrift Store, Bohemian Retro and Pour Pour.

Mary Lou #4 001

Recently, while visiting the Very Knit Shop, I captured an image of my latest  two projects on display.

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Yarn, Stitches and Textured Scarf

This evening, I put the finishing touches on instructions for a new class tomorrow at the Very Knit Shop in Los Gatos, CA.  The instructions consist of 334 rows and eleven different yarns knit in K2 P2 rib, stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch and garter stitch. Combining different yarns and textures together with knit and purl stitches creating patterns of knitted fabric, suit my fancy these days.  The first scarf I designed, sold during the holiday season.

Sampler of Textures #2

On display, a second piece of “neck candy” has created quite a buzz.  To meet the demand of our curious knitting public, I’ve scheduled a workshop.  The eleven different yarns used in the Yarn, Stitches and Textured Scarf are various Habu yarns, SMC Select Pertinio and Debbie Bliss Angel.

Stitches and Yarn Textured Scarf #2

Let The Yarn Speak

It’s no secret that I’m more about letting yarn do what it’s supposed to do.  What do I mean?  Mohair added to any fiber, man-made or naturalSampler of Textures #5 creates a beautiful subtle halo of color and softness, but combining novelty yarns together “knit as one” or with a natural fiber does not interest me.   Yarns have their own fiber content, color and texture waiting to be transformed.  Knit as individuals, different gauges and fiber content used in the same project creates a juxtaposition of weight and appearance which produces an interesting sculptural quality.  In my personal opinion, combining yarns “knit as one” does not allow the individual yarn to speak for itself.  Knit and crochet stitches translate for the yarn a language for all to see.

A sampler of textures expressed in the following images were knitted using Alchemy Yarns, and Habu (top left)  and Habu and SMC Select (bottom two images).  Using a size 10 US (6mm) needle, the stitches in the pieces were stockinette stitch, garter stitch, K1, P1 rib, K2, P1 rib, (RS) K1, P1 and purl back on the WS, seed stitch and Polperro Laughing Boy stitch.  Kits for the scarf pictured below are available from lena@veryknitshop.com.

Sampler of TexturesSampler of Textures #2