Monday, August 30, 2010

Knitting Around the World and Weaving Close to Home

Well I finally found a knitting shop here in Rehovot. It reminded me of some of the knit shops I found in France—very small storefronts packed inside with yarn and notions. This shop had sewing stuff, including lots and lots of buttons, on one side. On the other, all the yarn. And in the middle, racks of pantyhose and socks.

I talked to the owner a bit. He gets most of his yarn from Turkey but due to recent political happenings that source will likely have to change. I mentioned the great yarn store and warehouse I visited in Argentina and he asked me for specific information. So who knows—maybe my world travels this past year will mean that the Israelis will soon have access to Argentine fibers. That’d be pretty cool.

Meanwhile, on the home front, there’s a weaving class coming right up. I took a weaving class a couple of years ago and it was really, really fun. Here are the details for that class—you can call the shop to reserve a spot:

Double Arrows Bowl Basket

September 7 
6:00 - 9:00

Upper beginner level / intermediate


Beginning with a quality oak base, we will weave this fruit bowl you will be able to use the next day in your kitchen! Side embellishment will include learning how to weave two-toned arrows. Great basket to learn how to weave with round wooden bases. Color choices will be available.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Inspiration Everywhere

Shalom Y'all,
Well I haven't seen anyone knitting yet here in Israel but I'm keeping my eyes peeled. Meanwhile, I'm having a great time taking in the sights and imagining how I might incorporate some of the stuff I see into knitting patterns and color schemes. That's what happens whenever I travel-- I don't see a manhole cover, I see a sweater pattern. Soon I'll post an update about all the great new stuff arriving at the store-- yarn and patterns and books Suzanne and Lindsay picked up at Market (oh yeah, and all those BAGS!). For today, here are some pictures from the trip:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Around the World in 80,000,000 Stitches: Greetings from the Middle East

Shalom Y'all!

This week (and next) I’m knitting in Israel. Today we went to the open market, which features stalls filled with fruit and veggies and clothes and—pretty much you name it, they got it. There are also lots of little shops and we tracked down a store with yarn but not much. So I’m still on the hunt for Tel Aviv’s answer to HCW. Meanwhile, I have a couple of travel related thoughts, epiphanies, and other revelations.

First of all, right before I left, my latest issue of VOGUE Knitting arrived. Nice timing. I packed it for my trip, which included 17 hours in the air and about 8 hours of layovers (hey, at least 7 of those hours were in Paris where, yes, I did some shopping right in the airport). For as much as I enjoyed the latest VK, even I can’t make a single magazine last that long. So I also treated myself to a PEOPLE magazine. Sometimes I think that’s the real reason I fly places—the airport is about the one place I can give into my guilty-pleasure PEOPLE reading.

I believe it was with Suzanne, back when we were flying to Market in January, that I had a conversation about how these days we don’t even know anyone in PEOPLE anymore. I was thinking about that as I read my two in-flight magazine choices. And what really cracked me up was that I recognized a lot more names (of designers, companies, yarn, and related products) in VOGUE Knitting than I did names of today’s celebs in PEOPLE. And I also got a whole lot more excited looking at the patterns in VK than I did looking at half-naked starlets on the beach in PEOPLE.

So I think I’ve entered a new phase. I remember realizing I was middle-aged when, instead of reading magazines featuring cover images of women who apparently never ate, I started buying magazines that featured high fat food on the cover. Now, move over food pictures, I only want magazines with cover photos of things I can make myself with needles and yarn. I think I’ll stick with this phase for a very long time.

And speaking of knit magazines—I interviewed designer Cathy Payson awhile back for INTERWEAVE Knits. I’ve been thinking of Cathy for a couple of reasons lately. First, she’s one of the guest teachers for the knitting retreat I’m going on starting September 12th. That’s the Knitting and Yoga Adventures trip, and this’ll be my third year. If you haven’t been, let me tell you, it’s out of this world, on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. I know it’s short notice but I think there are a few slots left so if you want to join us, check out the website and you can also read the blog I write for the group.

The other reason I’ve been thinking about Cathy is because she told me that when she travels she sees ideas for knitting everywhere she looks. Me, too. Come to think of it, Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed) showed us images of a hat and the Seattle library he designed the hat after, and also some Roman architecture that influenced his work. So in the past few days I’ve had a lot of inspiration—especially in the Paris airport and in the Tel Aviv open market. I’ll post some of those inspirational pictures soon.



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to School-- Not Just for Kids!

Hey Y'all,
So school starts any second now. That means all sorts of things. For me, I can't help but still get excited remembering the August issue of Seventeen Mag. Remember that? Issue as fat as a phone book, packed with ads and back-to-school fashion ideas like how to somehow turn four articles of clothing into 70 different outfits. And is it my imagination or did they always recommend owning at least one kilt?

I know that some of you are about to gain some free time (hahahaha-- free time!) after shuttling your kids around to camps and the pool all summer. What to do with this newfound temporal abundance? Take some classes of your own, of course! As ever, HCW has a bunch of classes coming right up. Whether you're looking for beginner pointers, are ready to take your skills to the next level, or are hoping to take the plunge and pick up a "side craft" (e.g. setting aside your knitting for a few wet felting lessons)-- we've got lots of good ideas for you. Here's a rundown of what's coming up. And you can always check out the website for ongoing updated class information.

Don't have time for the full meal deal?
Sign up for an EXPRESS CLASS!

August Dates
19th 6:30 - 8:30
29th 3:00 - 5:00

Second Friday of every month
Next class: September 10, 10-2

We will explore the methods of wet and nuno felting and create lovely one of a kind masterpieces, from bags to hats, scarves to booties and much more.
This class meets the second Friday of each month from 10 am to 2 pm (that includes a short lunch break).

This picture is of a nuno felted and shibori dyed scarf, which we will focus on this week unless the regulars want to do something else. Mary will provide everything.You will need wool fleece, which you can purchase at HCW. Bring a few old towels and dress in
comfortable clothes. Wet felting can be quite a workout.

Aug 22 & 29 (a 2-part class)
9:45 am - 12:45 pm

Have you ever knitted a pair of socks and worried that maybe you knitted the cuff just a little too long and think: Will I have enough yarn to finish the sock? This class will relieve all that "sock anxiety"and you won't have to submit any claims to your health insurance company.
This class is designed for the new or experienced sock knitter.

Skills taught:
Knitting socks on 2 circulars
Learn to customize the fit of your sock
Start your sock with a "magical cast on"
Sewn Cast off (Elizabeth Zimmerman)

Materials: Sport weight yarn
Suggested yarn:
Koigu Kersti- 3sks
Indulgence 6 ply - 1 sk
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport- 2sk

2 #2 or #3 24" circular needle ( or size to obtain gauge knit at 6.5-7sts/inch)
2 ring stitch markers , calculator, tape measure and knitting gear
Please have yarn wound and ready to knit!

August 21st, 1:00 - 5:00
Deb Marvin

With the option of learning either
Magic Loop or Traditional Double Point, students in Sock Express will spend the afternoon learning to make a sock from start to finish! Starting with the cuff, students will learn all the elements of sock knitting: cuff heel flap, heel turn, gusset construction and shaping and Kitchener stitch.

Yarn: 1-2 skeins of Noro Kureyon or Silk Garden (we are using a worsted weight yarn to make an average sized short cuffed sock in order to complete the sock in one class setting)
MAGIC LOOP OPTION: 42" or longer US #6 or #7 needles
TRADITIONAL OPTION: US #6 or #7 double points. Students may want to wait till class to work with Deb on needle selection.
Tapestry Needle
Students should bring their knitting gear
PREQUISITES: students should be independent in basic knitting skills, knitting in the round helpful but not mandatory

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Camp-Tastic! (Another Summer of Converting the Kids.)

Last month was Hill Country Weavers' Summer Camps for Kids month and, as usual, it was a smashing success. I popped in one afternoon to check out what the campers were up to and I must admit I was humbled. These young designers were weaving like old hands at the four harness loom, creating amazing fabrics with groovy color combinations. The kids learn knitting, too-- as all children everywhere on the planet should if you ask me-- but perhaps because weaving remains a mystery to me it was the sight of all that loom work that left me dumbfounded and inspired. I really do need to sign up for one of those Weaving for Knitters Classes* soon.

Leading the camp were Corinna and Taylor-- not the first year these young women, both past attendees of camp when they were younger, ran the show. I asked them both to share a bit about their experiences with the camp.

Corinna started out as a camper when she was around eight. She's 21 now. She made the transition from camper to helper when she was in middle school and by 8th grade she'd signed on as a teacher at camp. These days she spends most of her time at Carnegie Mellon University where she's majoring in dramaturgy and minoring in French. She weaves and knits but admits weaving is her true love. "I love seeing the different projects the kids come up with," she says. "Everyone gets to be their own designer."

Taylor started out at camp when she was 12 and moved up to helper the very next year. She's 18 now and just graduated from high school-- any day now she's heading off the the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Corinna calls Taylor-- who first picked up needles and yarn when she was eight-- a "knitting prodigy" but she loves weaving, too. "It's fun to watch the kids finish a whole project in one week," she says, adding, "It's interesting to see how it evolves, how they learn the whole process."

Over the years, these talented young teachers say they've both learned how to explain things better. "You have to really understand the process to be able to explain it," says Taylor. "It also helps to 'get' what they don't so you can understand how to explain that, too."

I was totally blown away-- by how calm Corinna and Taylor were in a room full of young weavers, by the progress everyone was making, and by the projects they were working on. But don't take my word for it, check out these pictures. But first-- that * up above? If you want your own camp experience there are lots of great classes coming up including Weaving for Knitters on August 12th. Call the store to hold a spot.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Okay y'all, listen up. This is a BIG DEAL!! At the end of this post you'll find info on this month's excellent First Thursday Sale. But first, let me tell you-- Suzanne is turning SIXTY which is, of course, the new 20! So in addition to the sale, there will be delicious cake for you, so you can help celebrate properly. Now here's what else I want you to do-- use the comments section here to wish Suzanne a Happy Happy Happy Birthday and tell her why you LOVE HER SO! Not that you really need an example, but I'll start things off here with my comment:

Happy Birthday! Thank you very very much for being born. You have CHANGED MY LIFE. If not for you, I'd still be knitting with crappy polyester yarn, I wouldn't know how to make socks and maybe even I wouldn't have stuck with knitting, so I'd wind up face down in the gutter, because without knitting my life would have turned out terribly I just KNOW IT! And thank you for taking me to Market in January. And thank you for being patient with me and letting me do the blog which I am SO PSYCHED to do. I hope you have the very bestest of birthdays and, oh yeah-- Girl? You are looking like TWO MILLION BUCKS these days. Wait, make that THREE MILLION!
Love, love, love,
(Okay y'all, your turn-- please leave a comment. And keep reading for the sale info)

First Thursday Sale And it's the BIG one!!
Don't be late, we're serving cake!
It's Suzanne's 60th, so to honor her summer time birthday save 25% off all Summer Yarns!
This includes yarns containing cotton, plant fibers or blends of both!

Wait there's MORE!

Allowing Aging Adults Reduced Prices!!
If you are are 60 or older you can add an extra 5%!!

And even MORE!!

ThE bIrThDaY bOnus!!!
HCW is launching it's BiRtHdAy BoNuS program this month so If your birthday is in August you can add an extra 5%!!!

*sorry we can't combine the A.A.A.R.P. discount with the birthday bonus discount (maybe for her 70th) ;-D