Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Of course, I gained tons of inspiration from just sitting and watching everyone at Stitches West in Santa Clara. It's a 24-hour fashion show. Everyone is wearing clothes they either knitted or crocheted. You can really start to recognize trends and fashions. I saw lots of mitred square sweaters and jackets, lots of lace shawls and this year, even lots of crocheted pieces.

In the past, when I've needed a crochet or knit inspiration jolt, I've driven over to Sawtelle Blvd. in West L.A. to the few blocks dedicated to Japanese shops, restaurants and markets. There's a big bookstore on the east side of the street, just north of Olympic called the Asahiya Bookstore . It's on the 2nd floor of this mini-mall (just upstairs from Beard Papa, by the way). Everything about pop culture is located in this store. I usually make a beeline for the craft section.There are lots of books and magazines dedicated to knitting and crochet. Most of these magazines are beautifully photographed. I cannot read Japanese, but I can understand the crochet diagrams. About a month ago I picked up two magazines on granny squares. You know my saying, "Granny Squares are the Building Blocks to Fashion."
That very day, I met up with my friend Rhoda and showed her the magazines. Her gaze stopped at a black and red granny square purse. She had that look of want on her face. Now I know what to make for Rhoda for her upcoming birthday.
I'm using Bernat Lana Wool in black and TLC Amore' Yarn in Garnet for the handbag. I'm not exactly sure what shape this bag will become, but I know I'll have to line it. Results to follow.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Not Stash....COLLECTION!

Bel Canto DK Yarn from Yarn Place
Euphemisms 'r Us! I've decided that my yarn is not a STASH. It's a COLLECTION...like rare antiques, ancestral dishes or vintage jewelry. I added to my collection this past week at Stitches West. The Market Place was incredible. I kept going back and seeing more collectibles. I didn't buy half as much as many of my fellow SnBr's. I tried to restrain my collecting, since I did sign up for Knit From Your Stash 2007.
The Bel Canto yarn, above was recommended by teacher fabulosa, Sally Melville. She often takes a lighter weight multi-colored yarn and knits in a slip stitch pattern with a solid color, like black.
Socks That Rock from Blue Moon
I already started a crochted top-down shell with this yarn. I just couldn't resist the texture! So silky and smooth!
Braided Leather Strap from Homestead Heirlooms
I'm going to use this strap for my next hobo-style handbag.

Cotton Crepe from Just One More Row

I have some ribbon in similar colors that I think will work well with a side-to-side jacket.

At the student banquet on Saturday night I actually WON some yarn. It's the most beautiful Ultra Alpaca....perfect green/brown color...love it!

Prize Ultra Alpaca from Berroco
I did purchase a few more accessories as gifts....can't show them yet! All in all, it was a glorious vacation. I learned a lot, met some wonderful people and enhanced my yarn COLLECTION.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stitches West - Day 3

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Ellen's Stripe Homework
Another busy class day for me. 8am, Sally Melville's "Stripes & Stripes that Aren't." Excellent class! We covered tech-y stuff like knitting vs. weaving in tails; we talked about viewing possibilities and color/texture combos; stripes and how they work in a garment and how to knit various types of stripes that are horizontal, but actually look vertical.
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Sally's Sample of Windowpane Knitting Using Ribbon and Mohair
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Sally, Modeling One of her Creations
Sally is really a fabulous teacher. If she ever comes to your town to teach, register for the class....you'll learn a lot.

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3 Ladies in Their Sally Capelets, Noro Yarn

After class it was time for lunch. I checked the bar to see if I could find any of the other L.A. contingent. They were nowhere to be found...probably shopping in the Market Place. I was really tired of hotel food, so I jumped in my car and drove to the nearby In 'n Out Burger. It was delicious and about 20 bazillion dollars less than lunch at the Hyatt.
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My afternoon class was with Debbie New was called "Cellular Automaton Knitting." Huh? For some reason, I had in my mind that we'd be learning Debbie's biomorphic freeform knitting. Nope. This was way more mathematic and resulted in triangular textures or colors. Part of the description, "Cellular automata are systems where each small unit behaves according to a rule applied to the conditions in its immediate surroundings." So, you can make your own rules, then you have to stick to those rules for the pattern. It's difficult to explain. I'm glad that I learned about this system of knitting, but I may not use it soon..maybe later.
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Debbie's Octagon Baby Sweater - Cellular Circle
I met up with the group for drinks in the bar later and for the Student Fashion Show and dinner. There were door prizes, an OK dinner and excellent fashions. I'm exhausted and hope to have an uneventful drive home tomorrow before the Oscar pre-shows!


Friday, February 23, 2007

Stitches West - Day 2

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Half of Ellen's Side-by-Side Teddy Jacket

Today was a full-on class day for me at Stitches West in Santa Clara. My all-day class was called "Side-to-Side Jacket" taught by Judy Ditmore. I learned a lot of good knitting tips and tricks in this class. The jacket is constructed from cuff to cuff. Below is one of my fellow-knitters, Jennifer, modeling one of the sample jackets. We made small teddy bear jackets so we could complete the pattern in order to understand it before beginning a larger jacket for ourselves. I used super bulky yarn. I finished half of the sweater and about one-third of the other half. This was an interesting lesson in construction. I will definitely make one of these for me.
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Sample Side-to-Side Jacket

We had a two hour lunch break so we could go into the Market Place and BUY MORE YARN. I'm happy to say that I resisted the yarn, but bought a really nice leather and silver purse handle made for a knitted or crocheted hobo-style bag. I met up with a few of the L.A. SnB'rs, including Madge, Jillian, Annette, Carolyn, Mary and more. After our afternoon class session, we met up again in the Hyatt bar for snack and drinks.....my favorite part of the day!

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L.A. Bloggers
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Far Out Freeform

Tonight there was a fashion show of designs for yarn manufacturers, magazines and books. There were some standout designs, including a darling crocheted tank top by our own Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky! The model was too speedy for me to get a photo of this great top, but you'll be able to see it soon as part of Vickie Howell's yarn collection called "Love." Way to go, Dude!

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Noro, Knitted and Crocheted
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After the fashion show we had dinner and there were door prizes. I didn't win anything, but I had a very nice time sitting with a group from the Bay Area.

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More classes tomorrow! I'm exhausted. Good night!


Thursday, February 22, 2007


Sally Melville's class "First Choices" was great. It was basically a theory class. Here's the description: "We all run the risk of producing garments that look awful. Why? We make a decision in the first 20 minutes of the project that dooms it to failure. Review the decisions; yarn, color, stitch pattern and silhouette. Then discuss basic pattern drafting so you'll be able to make a neckline that flatters, a sleeve of the right lenth and a garment that fits."
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Sally Melville
This was an invaluable class. It was a lot of information to take in, but Sally gave us a handout with all of the info and I took copious notes. One of Sally's great solutions if you don't like the color of a sweater: Dye it! She knitted a swatch with leftover yarn in various loud colors (see center swatch). She then dyed the swatches different colors. The result is a marvelous blend of muted colors! Brilliant!
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Dye Those Cosby Sweaters!
After a short blog-break, I went back downstairs to the Market Preview for all Stitches registrants. The most fun is waiting in line and seeing what all of the other people are wearing. There are so many knitted and crocheted creations walking around......very inspiring.

No Photos Allowed! Yeah, right. I took some covert digi-cam shots in the Market Place. The amount of yarn is unbelievable...choices, choices, choices. Talk about yarn overload! I met up with some of the bloggers and SnB members from L.A. I hope to have a few drinks and throw some stitches with the SnBr's tomorrow and Saturday.
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Diving for Yarn @ Yarn Lady Booth
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Looking for a Book? It's at the Stitches Market Place!
I was actually a good girl. I only bought 3 skeins of Blue Moon "Socks that Rock" yarn, medium weight in a colorway that includes purples and warm browns....gorgeous!
Tomorrow I'll be in an all-day class, starting at 8 am with Judy Ditmore called "Side to Side Jacket." Description: "This wonderful one-piece jacket is a joy to knit and flattering for all figures. Start at the sleeves and knit to the center. With this knitting project you may change your mind at any time. Freedom while knitting is the goal."

Gotta go wind up some new yarn now!


Casa de Everything

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I drove up to Gilroy, CA yesterday...on my way to Stitches West in Santa Clara. On my way, I stopped at Casa de Fruta in Hollister. Many people suggested that I would like this place. They were right!
Casa de Fruta is basically an overgrown fruit and nut stand, along with some roadside attractions. It seems that this family farm is now a corporation....it's great. There's Casa de Fruta, Case de Wine, Casa de Carousel, Casa de Choo Choo, etc. I purchased some yummy homegrown tangerine marmelade.
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Back on the road and on to more important shopping. My next stop was the Premium Outlet in Gilroy. Lots of stores to choose from. I ended up doing most of my shopping at the Coldwater Creek outlet. Interesting clothes...very much like Chico's. I bought a few tops, some killer tooled leather slides and I found this fantastic boiled wool sweater with almost the exact design as my yarny Dansko clogs! I know...this might just be toooo cute for me, but I couldn't resist.
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I was tired after shopping, found a hotel, ate dinner and went to bed while watching "American Idol." This morning (Thursday) it was really raining hard. I loaded up my car and drove about a half-hour to Santa Clara and the Hyatt Hotel. I registered for all of my yarnalicious classes and then hot-foot it over to the Westfield Mall. I needed to get to the Apple store so I could figure out how to blog from the hotel and hook up the air port, etc. The Mac-Genius at the Apple store was very accommodating. As you can see, I'm hooked up!

I attended an afternoon class with the faboo Sally Melville. It was BRILLIANT. I'll blog more about that later. I'm off to the preview of the Stitches Marketplace! Can't wait to see all the yarn and accessories.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Trunk Show

Ellene Warren @ A Mano
I stopped by A Mano Yarn Center on Sunday morning to view Ellene Warren's trunk show of Koigu creations! There were people taking a class from Ellene to learn to crochet her gorgeous Lotus Shawl. Ellene had samples of all of her Koigu crocheted and knitted pieces in the shop. Seeing these creations in person was so inspiring. I immediately bought 3 skeins of Koigu from A Mano's owner, Shannita. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be "Knitting from My Stash -2007", but I just couldn't resist! Also, I am attending Stitches West this week and I'll be purchasing yarn at the Marketplace, so I'm on leave from KFMS-2007 for this month!

Here are a few of Ellene's faboo pieces:

You can also check out Ellene's blog to see what she's working on. Congrats on a great Trunk Show, Ellene!


Mardi Gras 2007

Brit, Ellen and Mary Jo
The Market was packed both Saturday and Sunday. I met up with Brit and Mary Jo on Saturday. We had lunch and listened to The Big Boys Dixieland-style band in the East Patio. Later, we moseyed on down to the West Patio where T-Lou and his Super Hot Zydeco Band were entertaining the crowds. We ended up doing a little shopping in the FM and the Grove and called it a day. The crowds really were overwhelming. Of course, Larry was there, photographing everything ALLLLL day!
Ellen & Larry on Saturday

Incredible Mardi Gras Beads
I'm particularly fond of the Zydeco GUMBY Ya-Ya Beads

Mardi Gras Revelers
It was unbelievably hot this past weekend! 91 degrees at the Original Farmers Market on Saturday! Phew! It's usually cloudy and cool and even rainy during M.G. Oh well...it was fun anyway, even though the heat made the crowds slightly more dense.
The Bird Lady of Mardi Gras
San Fernando Valley Banjo Band
On Sunday, Larry and I got to the FM around 1-ish. We watched the San Fernando Valley Banjo Band, followed Eddie Baytos and the Nervis Bros. while they marched and seranaded various tables, and then ended up on the West Patio to see Lisa Haley and her Zydekats. Skip Edwards was playing accordion with Lisa's band and Skip's a BIG DEAL...they were fantastic.
Eddie Baytos and Jimmy Z
Skip Edwards and Lisa Haley
Again, I left early for some quiet. Larry didn't get home until after 9pm! It seems that I missed most of my friends on Sunday: Christine and Michael, Robbie, Josefina, Gus, Miss Pat, Natalie, etc. Sorry, kids....next year, we'll have to arrange a meeting time and place.
Larry on Sunday
Ellen on Sunday


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery