July Classes and Knit-Alongs

Summer is practically here, and Christmas is only five months away! Take a bit of stress off of your holiday planning and begin working on gifts and decorations.  It’s not all about early holiday planning though, there’s a few other things mixed in.

All classes will be at Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, GA.  Please sign up at least 48 hours before classes/KALs/CALs begin, by phone at 770-563-3130, or in person. This will guarantee your spot!  Space is limited.  Yarn and patterns for each offering must be purchased at Yarn Rhapsody.  It’s okay if you want to bring stash yarn, you’ll have to add $30 to the original class/KAL/CAL fee.

Knitting Classes

ElijahElijah the Elephant – 6-7pm, July 12, 19 & 26 – $60
An adorable elephant toy knit without seams on double pointed needles. Elijah was designed to be round and cuddly but still easy for little hands to grasp. He knits up quickly.  Elijah would make a wonderful gift for any kid – or adult.  Skill Level: Advanced Beginner, Intermediate

Reyna – Noon-1pm, July 15, 22 & 29 – $60Reyna2
Can’t figure out what to knit with that single skein of sock yarn in a variegated colorway that you’ve been eyeballing at Yarn Rhapsody. Here’s the answer! One skein of fingering weight yarn is enough to complete a shawl. Skill Level: Adventurous Beginner

Knit-Alongs

MinistockingsHoliday Mini-Stockings – 1:30-2:30pm, July 15, 22 & 29 – $30
Looking for a unique set of handmade holiday ornaments?  Mini-stockings can fill that niche.  Make one for every member of the family, or give to friends.  You can certainly make a tree full between now and Christmas if you wanted to.  Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Blue BirdHoliday Blue Birds & Gingerbread Men – 3-4pm, July 15, 22 & 29 – $40 – yarn kit included
These fun little toys make excellent stocking stuffers or additions to wreaths and holiday displays.  Both patterns use little yarn and work up quickly, so yarn is included with this KAL.  Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

Pacificus by Laura NelkinPacificus Top – 10:30-11:30am – July 22 & 29, August 5, 12, 19, 26 – $60
We may be kicking into gear for holiday knitting this month, but there’s still plenty of summer weather left.  Constructed in one piece, it’s perfect for a KAL spread over six weeks.  You’ll be more than prepared for those last hot, summer, evenings.

 

Classes Vs. KALs: What’s the Difference Anyway?

snake knittingWhat’s the difference between a class and a knitalong (KAL)?  This question has come up a lot in my knitting life lately since I began offering both options since beginning to teach group classes earlier this year.

A knitting class is easy to define.  Classes are situations where students will be learning specific knitting techniques, styles, or working through a complex pattern with the assistance of a hands-on teacher.  There’s several ways classes can be taught.  Some lead participants through a pattern row by row, step by step, others encourage a go-at-your-own-pace situation and will come to you as you reach a certain point and give individualized instruction.  In both scenarios you’ll have a certain amount of homework to try to complete before the next session.  I’m a fan of option two, with my own classes, I’ve seen a range of skill levels within the same class and feel that if I taught a row by row style class a more advanced student will inevitably get bored and shank me with a needle.  I don’t need any extra holes in my body at this point.

Knitalongs are a different beast.  KALs are group meetings where multiple participants will sign up to work on the same project togther, and if need be, help each other.   KALs are an opportunity to work through a project you know is within your skill level but you may be a little nervous about, or just a project you think is awesome and would like to work along with peers.  KALs typically do not offer the benefit of the dedicated teacher from a knitting class, in fact the KAL leader is most likely going to be sitting at the table working on their own version of the KAL project with you.

Hopefully that clears some things up.

 

 

The Great Knitting Update

It’s been an exciting week, knitting wise, and May was a nutty month period, I’m hoping June will bring a bit of breathing room.  Alas, I think it’ll be another case of no rest for the wicked.

I finally got off my butt and uploaded that pattern I’ve talked about a million times on this blog to Ravelry, and then crazy things happened.  It hit the Top 20 within 8 hours and the number one spot by Tuesday morning.  But knitting fame is fleeting and it’s backing down the list as other great projects climb the ranks.  You can download the beastie here.

After that pattern hit the top spot and I’m still a little awestruck that it did, I’ve already started work on the follow up.  I’m going a different route this time, it will be a long asymmetrical wrap in two colors, featuring mosaic motifs and inspired by the lace patterns of the Oomingmak knitters of Alaska.  The yarn is already on the needles and three pages in my infamous Moleskine are filled with notes with several pages to go before I can actually start typing it up.  I’m keeping the skill level in the range of adventurous beginner, mosaic is very easy to learn, but it’ll be helpful to have a little lace experience under the belt.

Square Web PromoSo that’s knitting life in a very small nutshell.  I’ve still got multiple projects on needles all in various stages of completion.  I may declare June no cast on month so I can catch up on things, but we’ll see how that goes.  World Wide Knit in Public Day is June 10th, if you’re near Gainesville, GA you should come.  June knitting classes begin this weekend.     July classes are mostly planned, I just need to work out dates and times.  I’ve got blog drafts in progress illustrating actual techniques coming up soon.

Personal life….well….work and knitting has consumed most of my time lately.  I’m okay with that.  Severus developed a bad urinary tract infection shortly after his pet guinea pig, Peanut Butter, passed on.  The vet said it was likely brought on by stress with the changes in the house, plus my neighborhood has had a severe problem with feral cats this spring, and several males were marking the house.  Sev is very territorial and  doesn’t react well to cats walking through the yard let alone marking his house.  He’s an indoor only cat, but he knows when and where the wild ones are passing through.  A lot of medication, fluids, and several calming remedies later he’s improved and is acting like himself again. Lucius, still thinks he’s a dog. Goober.

I watched one of my closest friends get married last weekend, and of course she looked absolutely amazing, and I’ve never seen a wedding so tailored to a couple before.  Everything from A to Z was tailored to fit their personalities. 

June Classes and KALs

Summer is here and it’s a matter of time before all of us Georgia folk are hiding in the shade or the comfort of our air conditioning.  Why not check out a few classes this summer and up your knitting skill level while it’s a bit toasty out.

All classes will be hosted at Yarn Rhapsody at 475 Dawsonville Hwy, Suite C, Gainesville, GA.  Please sign up at least 48 hours before classes/KALs/CALs begin by phone (770-536-3130), or in person.  This will guarantee your spot! Space is limited. Yarn and patterns for each offering must be purchased at Yarn Rhapsody. It’s okay if you want to bring stash yarn, you’ll have to add $30 to the original class/KAL/CAL fee.

knitangleKnitangle Shawl $60
A stunning conversation piece and quite possibly the ultimate knitting sampler, Knitangle is a gorgeous shawl. Designed for intermediate students, you will make bobbles (and learn a fantastic shortcut), twist cables, make lace, and even have a few short rows. Don’t be intimidated! This one is a challenge but a fun one.
Class Dates: June 3, 17, 24; 11am – 12pm
Skill Level Needed: Intermediate

Hitchhiker Scarf $60CIMG7865
Are you a newbie knitter looking for your first challenge? This one is just for you. Hitchhiker is a surprisingly flexible patter, nearly any yarn will work and you can stop short or make it as long as you like, all while you work on garter stitch, increases, and bind-offs.
Class Dates: June 14, 21, 28; 6pm – 7pm
Skill Level Needed: Beginner

mochimochilandMochi Mochi Land KAL $15
You’ve seen these tiny knit creatures popping up all over the place. Now you can make your own! You can choose your “critters” from the kits available on our wall and get a helping hand thorugh the tiny knitting process.
KAL Dates: June 3, 17, 24; 2:30pm-3:30pm
Skill Level Needed: Adventurous Beginner/Intermediate

limonade shawlLimonade Shawl KAL $15
It’s summer! This open lace shawl is a great accessory to your summer wardrobe, and it’s a quick knit. This one is suitable to someone wanting to attempt lace for the first time.
KAL Dates: June 3, 17, 24; 3:30-4:30pm
Skill Level Needed: Adventurous Beginner/Intermediate

 

When Pets Grieve Pets

There was a change in the house this weekend. I can’t say that I was surprised with it happened, but the timing was unexpected, with all deaths we always think we would have more time. Sir Peanut Butter Fluffy Butt, my first and only guinea pig passed away this weekend. I had been noticing he had been eating less lately, moving slower, and sleeping more his age had caught up to him.

PB wasn’t just my furry companion but interacted on a regular basis with my eldest cat, Severus. Sev introduced himself to PB by jumping on top of his cage within 5 minutes of walking into my home and meowing at him like he was a litter mate. I know it sounds a bit crazy, a cat befriending a rodent and vice versa but they got a long well. When PB was out of his cage, Sev would follow him around when PB would go exploring, it wasn’t unusual to have both cat and guinea pig snuggled into my lap when we would watch TV in the evening. They just got along, they didn’t seem to understand how predators and prey worked. As PB aged and seemed to want to spend more time in his cage than out exploring the house, Sev would often check in on him. PB would toss a treat his way once in a while. I don’t know if he was intentionally sharing or asking to be left alone, but he never hid from Sev.

Sev seems to be missing his friend. After discovering PB’s demise, I buried him, and cleaned out his cage. The empty cage sits in the corner of the living room until it is sent to it’s next owner (hopefully a child and their first pet) Sev looks at it and knows something is missing. At one point last night, I found him asleep on top of it. Today, Sev is wandering around the house occasionally meowing, this isn’t normal behavior for him. I think he’s calling out for his companion, but I could be wrong.

Lucius, the younger cat, seems baffled by Sev’s behavior, but otherwise doesn’t seem impacted. He’s trying to get Severus to play, and keeps getting smacked in the head. If anything Lu is a persistent little bugger.

So if you are an animal person like I am, send a happy thought Sev’s way, and if you have any tips to help him adjust to life without PB please send them my way.

A Whole Lot of Knitting Going On

It’s May, and holy cow is my dance card is full for the month.

I might as well move into my local yarn store!  Actually, people probably already think I live there. That’s okay, the bulky yarn section is full of soft squishy pillow like skeins that are good to snuggle with at night.

I made a post last month featuring classes that begin this weekend.  You can find that here.  One more has been added to the schedule after a demand from a few folks to offer another session out of Barbara Benson’s latest publication, after seeing the sample at her trunk show and book signing.

img_0992Beginning May 10th, Barbara’s Lacy Pinstripe Cowlette is a go! Oh, and guess what? It’s a weekday offering.

This one will run three consecutive weeks from 5:30-6:30pm at Yarn Rhapsody, in Gainesville, Georgia.  The fee is $60, and you will have to purchase Barbara’s book, Mosaic and Lace Knits, for the pattern, this one could not be featured as an individual pattern purchase on Ravelry.  Please contact Yarn Rhapsody at least 48 hours before the first session to get signed up.

Coffee and Wool now has a dedicated Facebook page too.  There’s a love/hate relationship with that site but it is a good centralized spot to land all things Coffee and Wool.  So if you woud like to give that a follow, the link is here. 

So besides classes and social media updates, what else is going on?
I escaped Georgia for the weekend, to attend a weekend long bachelorette party at Disney World.  Translation, I didn’t get any knitting done this weekend, but hey, ummmm Disney with friends.  The wedding associated with this bachelorette party is at the end of the month.  You know I love this friend dearly when I don a dress and heels to see her walk down the aisle.

Spring festivals are popping up left and right, so when I’m not teaching on the weekends, there will be some sneaking off to those. The Georgia Renaissance Faire is in full swing, that pilgrimage needs to be made.

And then there is a lot of watering the garden.  My little patch of dirt has taken off, to the point it may need it’s own state of the garden post.  I managed to make the first baby green salad of the year last night for dinner.  Growing my own food makes my soul happy.

So that’s it, things are a bit busy, but in a good way.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Knitting on the Road

planeI’m escaping Georgia tonight for some shenanigans with friends this weekend.  Being the fanatical knitter that I am, there is always at least a pair of socks on needles in my purse and there is always a project bag tossed in my luggage for downtime on trips.

I’ve been asked at nearly every gate waiting for boarding about the legalities of traveling with knitting needles, so it’s time for a quick primer on air travel with projects.  My experience here is limited to domestic air travel, other rules may apply to international flights.

Are knitting needles and crochet hooks allowed in your carry-on bag?
The simple answer is yes.  But when is the simple answer ever the complete one?  All it takes is one misinformed TSA agent or a flight attendant to think your needles look intimidating and you’ve got a problem on your hands.  As much as some of us love our nice, pointy, metal ChiaoGoos or Addis you may want to leave those home.  Kick over to wood or plastic, and circular needles would probably be preferred over straight.  Besides using straights in a tightly packed airplane may be uncomfortable for you and the passengers seated next to you.

How about scissors?
This is another yes, but, answer.  Blades must be shorter than 4-inches, and the type that fold up onto themselves are recommended.  Those nifty thread cutting pendants, or anything that looks like it may have a razor style blade are a no-go.

Regular needles, you know the ones you finish projects with?
Ummmm this one is a bit gray.  I’ve flown with finishing needles with rounded points, but I’ve heard more than one person complain that theirs was taken.  So, you may want to leave those at home.

So what do I do if TSA tries to confiscate my needles or hooks?
The most important part of traveling with craft projects is to be prepared, just in case.  Carry a copy of the TSA policies related to your particular project, there are some agents that may not be clear on the guidelines, but screeners can confiscate any items they feel are unsafe despite of the guidelines.  You can find some help with this information on the What Can I Bring section of the TSA website.

If you think an item may be pushing a guideline, put it in your checked bag, or have a self-addressed, pre-paid mailer to ship your item to your destination or back home, and don’t risk flying with expensive or sentimental items.

Always be polite, and informed if questioned.  From personal experience here, I’ve only been questioned about my knitting once, and after showing the screener the policy from the TSA site all was well.

Now that the technicalities are out of the way, now what?

Bring something small with you, socks, scarves, and other items of similar size are perfect on adventures.  Just think about projects that don’t require grand gestures to manuver when flipping over to do the next row, since space is limited, and your row-mate may not want to be covered with a half finished afghan.  Simple projects are best for a couple of reasons.  Patterns that require you to reference printed patterns may become fiddly in a limited space, also it helps if your project is simple enough to be able to stop quickly (God-forbid mid-row but it happens) and is easily memorized.

Other things to consider…
Yarn:  try to have yarn caked or rolled into center pull balls so you can leave your yarn in a project bag while you work.  Having a ball fall to the floor and roll halfway down the plane isn’t as funny as it sounds. Trust me.

Needle Holders: Travel isn’t alwasy the safest things for needles, find a way to protect  your needles when they aren’t in use.

Project Bags:  I’ve always had great luck with project bags that have carry handles built in.  You can loop the bag around your arm and have the yarn feed from it while you work.  No worries about anything falling in the floor there.

Knitting in airports and on the plane is an excellent way to pass the time and maybe spark the interest of your fellow passengers, so enjoy it!