30 July 2008

SOS (Save Our Stitches)

Look what my friend Ruth sent me!

It's one of her adorable little stitch savers. And she personalized it for me! How cute is that? :) Thank you, Ruth!

And just look at these lovelies. Habu bamboo laceweight (from Knitterly).

And another.

I transformed the red into a lovely scarf for my class at Knitterly on Ice Queen, in case someone didn't want to knit mohair at this time of year. I know, it's almost inconceivable that someone might not want to knit mohair! ;) Here's a sneak peek at the Delta Queen scarf.

I have a few tutorials on this one, though, so all you get right now is a sneak peek (unless you take my class - heehee). :)

I am in mad passionate love with the bamboo laceweight. It has the hand, sheen and drape of silk, but it doesn't fuzz up like silk. I cannot wait to knit the second hank. It's just waiting on a pattern worthy of it. Yummy yummy stuff!

ETA: Oh! I almost forgot! The silver yarn ball jewelry is finally back in stock! Woooo! You can get yours here.

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28 July 2008

Monday's Musing

What I'm thinking about this week....

"Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone." - Jerome K. Jerome, The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, 1889

"Every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending." - Author Unknown

"Opportunity is as scarce as oxygen; men fairly breathe it and do not know it." - Doc Sane

Have a great one, everybody! :)


27 July 2008

The Fair, Part I

It's fair time! I am a total sucker for the Sonoma County fair. Love it! :) I have a ton of pictures, so I'm going to split up my posts and start with (big surprise) the kid and fibery stuff.

Besides entering his rabbit in the show this year, #1 Son entered a stool made in the 4H woodworking class the toymaker and fine furniture/cabinet-maker extraordinaire
(aka my husband) taught this past year. And he won 1st place! Wooo!

And so did the other two kids who entered their stools from the class,

in their respective age divisions!

How cool is that?! They are all Windsor style stools, made with hand tools (including a shaving horse) and without any metal or other types of fasteners. The legs fit through the seat and are lodged tightly. They were all painted with milk paint.

This was the first year that I entered a piece of knitting in the fair, and I have my friend, blogless Dana to thank for finally getting it together! She enters every year, and she was right: the fair is way more fun when you (and your kids) enter!

I admit, part of the reason that I have never entered is the giant and probably irrational fear that they will lose my entry. And this year, it looked like they had. Honestly. I entered the original Muir, and my husband and I looked everywhere for it, but could only find one piece of lace anywhere. Then we had the fair volunteers helping. No one could find anything. They looked in the book, and it had been judged, which was a Good Thing because that meant it was, indeed, there. Somewhere. But where?

And then, someone with sharp eyes found my name attached to a shapeless blob in a display case. We all looked closely, and there it was!

Nice display, eh?

I know, I'm dripping with sarcasm, here. My new-found knitting friends Diane

and Cindy

agreed that quilters had arranged everything. And the quilts truly were gorgeous and beautifully displayed! But the knitting display really left something to be desired. Cindy's lovely Swan Lake mystery stole was folded into a nondescript little square. She had been looking right at one of her pieces beside it (she entered 8 pieces and took 7 ribbons!) and didn't even see her shawl. Her friend Diane, who overheard my panic, finally found it right after mine was located. Diane and I had a wonderful chat before the boys dragged me away from the knitting to look around more. I was so relieved that they hadn't lost my Muir that I forgot even to be happy that it won a first place!

There was a spinning display (but the picture turned out terrible) and weaving.

I was kicking myself for not entering some of my handspun. I didn't even think of it! Next year. More tomorrow!

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22 July 2008


Blackberries, that is. :)

And they were deeeeeee-licious!


20 July 2008

Monday's Musing

My thought for Monday....

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
- Mahatma Gandhi

And on the lighter side....

"Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much."
- Oscar Wilde

I love Oscar Wilde. :)

Have a great week, everyone!


18 July 2008

Tutorial: Beaded Picot Cast on

The second part of my design process series.

After I decided on the one scallop in the middle of the scarf, I set about to find a good picot cast on that could be beaded. Since I am designing the scarf to be grafted in the middle, I didn't want to do a provisional cast on and picot bind off. (btw, the scarf will be grafted in the middle because the feather and fan lace stitch used in this scarf is not symmetrical.) I tried the cast on that I had seen some people use on Ravelry when knitting my Ice Queen cowl. I decided the picots were a little too close together:

so I ripped it out. And then I started again, casting on one more stitch between each picot. And here is my version of the beaded picot cast on!

With a knitted cast on, cast on 6 stitches.

An excellent video of the knitted cast on can be seen here.

Knit one stitch. You won't need to turn your work at all, btw, because you have been casting onto the left hand needle, off of which you will be knitting.

Place a bead on the second stitch and replace the stitch on the needle to knit. Alternatively, you can use this method to place beads with small holes.

Knit the second stitch.

Bind off one stitch.

Knit another stitch.

Bind off that stitch and then slip the stitch on your right hand needle back onto the left needle. Repeat!

It's just that simple! But as you can see, quite lovely. In the case of my scarf, I cast on 14 picots.

I have the safety pin marking the right side because this is a garter stitch scarf and I don't want to have any doubts in my mind which side is which!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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17 July 2008

I couldn't wait! plus a coupon

I know today is supposed to be the picot cast on tutorial, but I promise I'll have it tomorrow. I just couldn't wait to show you my new penannular pin! I am absurdly and ridiculously in love with it. Look!

And it totally works!!! This is what it looks like "open."

And here it is closed and locked.

To insert, move the stick portion down and through the garment:

bring back up through:

and then slide the pin around to lock in place.

I lovelovelove it! (Okay, I'll shut up now). You can order it here.

To celebrate, I have a coupon for $6 off your purchase of $20 or more! Go to Designs by Romi, order, and then enter the code SWIRL upon checkout. Good through July 22! Eeeeeeeeee! :D

Beauty shot:

and I couldn't resist another beauty shot. :)

Hope you all like it!

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15 July 2008


A few weeks ago, I set about to write up a pattern for an Ice Queen scarf, largely so that I could teach a summer class to people who weren't sweating while knitting mohair. I promised a series detailing the process, and here I am: finally delivering!

The first decision: how many scallops? I am picky picky picky. I began by taking a look at the Ice Queen that I have in progress. Even though I had an idea in my mind's eye of how a scarf should look, I wanted to see it for real. Here it is with two center scallops.

And here it is with one.

I decided on a scarf the one scallop in the middle. Later on will come a larger scarf/wrap with more scallops, but this first scarf is written for a heavier yarn, dk or fingering weight, and it needed to be minimal. You can also use mohair, of course. But it's summer, and even we mo-hos take a summer break from the fuzzy stuff. ;)

Next up: the picot cast on. I decided to use a picot cast on instead of the provisional cast on and picot bind off used on the Ice Queen cowl. I thought it would make a lot more sense. Tune in next time for a picot cast on tutorial!


14 July 2008

Monday's Musing

I love this quote. :)

"I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live."
- George Bernard Shaw

And now, I'm off to work hard. Have a great week, everyone!


13 July 2008

Great class; terrible pictures

Yesterday, I had the honor of teaching a class at the lovely Nine Rubies Knitting in San Mateo. There is a definite zen quality to the store: very relaxing and calming, with beautiful displays of color and texture. Saloni, Sudha, Jocelyn and staff were wonderful, as were my students! I did a six hour workshop on techniques used in the Ice Queen cowl and Delta Queen scarf, the new flat version of Ice Queen that is coming soon! At 16 students, we took up half of the floor of the shop. I hope I sent my students back home armed with enough information to start knitting their mohair without too much frogging. Everyone was very patient while we worked on swatches!

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but in the scheme of things, it wasn't a bad thing to forget. I did get a couple of terrible cell phone pictures.

And I think Jocelyn got a couple of pictures before she took off. :)

Thank you everyone, for making me feel so welcome and for being such great students! I had a fabulous time.

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09 July 2008


Opal inspired me. I admit it, I haven't been spinning. But looking at this gorgeous eye candy, I couldn't resist and I did my ten minutes. :)

I have some beautiful Ashland Bay merino top, procured from Ba, the local fiber pusher
my friend who taught me to spin.

The short staple length has taken some getting used to, but I am now swearing less and spinning more. Here's my progress so far.

I am feeling contemplative and melancholy, and spinning was just what the doctor ordered. My mother would have been 65 today. She died in 2005, but she was lost to me years before that. She is finally at peace. I miss her terribly.

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06 July 2008

Monday's Musing

An apt quote for all of us who fear failure:

"Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet." - Robert Schuller

Have a fabulous week of successes! :)


05 July 2008

Tutorial: The Side Picot on Muir

Lately, I've had a few questions about doing the picots along the side of Muir, particularly the beaded picot. So here we go!

At the beginning of the row in which a picot falls, cast on 2 stitches using the knitted cast on. This cast on allows you to knit extra stitches onto the needle before the stitches in the row are worked.
It will look like the following picture after the stitches are cast on.

Edited because my brain was obviously on a different planet when I wrote the tutorial: Knit the first two stitches you have just cast on together through the back loop, twisting the stitch. For a beaded picot, place a bead on the next stitch using a crochet hook or other method. (Ignore the next 3 bead placement steps if you are not beading the picot).

Bead placement step 1: Place bead on crochet hook as shown below. Hook the stitch over which you wish to place bead.

Bead placement step 2: Pull stitch through bead.

Bead placement step 3: Replace stitch on left needle.

Knit stitch through the back loop then bind off one stitch. Knit the next stitch on the left needle and bind off another stitch. Two stitches have been cast on and immediately bound off and you have now worked the first stitch in the row. Continue with the second stitch on the chart. (There is no change in stitch count on picot rows.)

And there you have it!

Perfect picots!

For those of you who do not yet have the urls, here is a beaded swatch for Muir, and here is the full beaded chart.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask away: here on my blog, in the Yahoo Group or in my Ravelry groups (Muir-along or Romi's Studio)! I will respond to any questions on my blog in my next post! Hope this helps. :)

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03 July 2008

Happy Independence Day!

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

...and so it began. Full text here. Scan of the original Declaration of Independence here.

Happy birthday US!


01 July 2008

And for those lovers of silvery things...

A Muir penannular pin in brushed nickel!

I really really love the brushed nickel finish. It is satiny and lovely. And it's available now! Here! On my site! :)

Don't forget the coupon
to celebrate the new release! Enter codename MUIR at checkout for $5 off your order of $15 or more. Good through July 7th.

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