Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Woohoo!! The fun times are here!

Well here we finally go. Bryan is officially done with his 3 month probation, and now he gets every other weekend off and a trip home to Napa Valley, CA once a month! We leave for Napa in two days and I CANNOT WAIT!! I've never been to northern California at all, and I've always wanted to go. This is going to be so much fun! I will have my camera and video camera and will be posting a bunch of stuff as soon as we get back I'm sure. Today is all about doing laundry and other things to get ready to go.

So when we fly into Oakland, the first thing we're going to do is pick up our rental car and cruise the long way home via the Golden Gate Bridge because I've always wanted to see it. Bryan said we can walk around on it. That would be awesome. :) Then we're going to his Grandma's house, which is where we'll be staying for a few days. That's in Napa. We'll be exploring the town he grew up in, and doing a little bit of wine tasting probably. We're also going to do a lot of walking/driving around exploring the beautiful countryside. Then we're going to head down Highway 101 along the coast either north to stay by Humboldt and the redwoods at the Avenue of the Giants and everything, or we'll head south to stay by Big Sur and the Monterey Bay Aquarium and stuff. Oh, decisions.... :) My cameras are ready and waiting!!

In other good news, I believe I've chosen a studio! It's called the Rogers Foundation of Music, and I'll have a good-sized studio there as well as gaining access to free private lessons in jazz/improv and recording. I'll also have free unlimited access to a recording studio for me and my students, and might even have an opportunity to do some paid-to-sing type gigs recording on various recording projects they do there. I'm excited! It's going to be very nice.

We've been exploring the city a little more lately, and we went to the World War 1 Museum last weekend. That was pretty neat. I have some favorite restaurants and hangouts now, and I can even go to the Kansas City Conservatory to play the uprights and grands in their practice rooms. So that's nice too. One place I know I want to revisit is the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, which is free all day every day. There's some rooms I haven't seen yet. And I want to go to The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas about an hour away from here!! It's an incredible warehouse-sized mecca of yarn and spinning and all things fiber. :-P Mmmmm..... yarn, needles, drop spindles....

Speaking of knitting, I've been taking a break lately but not by choice!! I just realized that the yarn I bought for this amazing shawl was completely wrong for the project. Not even close to thick enough! :( And we're short on cash at the moment but all that will change in a month. However, I did a yarn swap recently through Ravelry, and my partner sent me the coolest yarns. :) I've decided to use a really cool sock pattern I've been wanting to try in this fingering-weight hand-painted sock yarn that she got me. It's these gorgeous colors of maroon and emerald with a touch of cream. It's going to be really pretty! I hope I can modify the gauge enough to be small enough for my feet! The trouble is that the yarn is heavier than the pattern calls for, and the pattern itself is already too big for my feet. lol But I went down a needle size, and I think I'm going to change the pattern a bit too. It's an easy one to modify, so that's why I picked it. Right now I'm fighting with the tangly mess I made of the skein trying to wind it into a ball, but as soon as that fiasco is over I'll be making pretty things with string again before you can say, "Bob's your uncle." lol :)

Well I'd better go. Mountains of laundry await.....


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Knitting, Designing, and Traveling

Hello! Well, I haven't updated in quite some time. I've been in and out lately, so that's probably why. For Memorial Day weekend Bryan and I went to visit my Mom while my Dad was gone fishing in Canada. We spent a day at the Brookfield Zoo while we were there, so that was very fun! Today I'm packing to leave this hotel tomorrow since Bryan will be traveling about Missouri doing various trainings and blitz stuff for the next two weeks. So I'm packing up to go to my parents' house for a couple weeks. That will be fun. Hopefully my cat Mia agrees....

This week I've been mostly running errands and hanging out at the hotel designing and knitting. I've got this new idea in my head lately about designing knitting patterns for all kinds of garments for people to buy on Ravelry. If you're not a knitter, Ravelry is a knitter's home on the internet. :) It's like Facebook for knitters, except better because you can find any pattern, yarn, book, designer, etc. on Ravelry and buy, trade, sell, and network. It's awesome! Anyway, I want to start creating designs and selling them on Ravelry. And who knows where it might go from there? There's all kinds of new young upstarts making it as designers these days in the knitting world, and many of them only started knitting advanced things like some of the stuff I'm doing now anywhere from three to six years ago! What if I could design things and actually start making a name for myself? So anyway, that's an idea that has been popping up in my mind lately for the past six months or so, and I'm ready to run with it now. .....Now if I only had the money to buy yarn to test out my designs! lol :) Well, I think I will be able to start teaching music again at least by the end of June. So that will be good.

Well, here are some of the projects I've finished lately. These are NOT my own designs. The first one is called Delphine from the book French Girl Knits:

It's made with Blue Sky Alpacas - Alpaca and Silk yarn (50% alpaca, 50% silk) in the "Blush" colorway. SO luxurious to knit with!! And to wear. :) I am SO happy with this top. This was supposed to be for my Mom, but it was just a bit too snug for her. :-/ So I adopted it, and I'm going to make it again for her in a larger size.

The next one is a pattern called Diagonal Rib Socks, and I think the designer is Ann Budd if I remember correctly. I changed the pattern a bit to fit my small feet! (Made the straight ribbing panels thinner but left the diagonal ones as written.) Here they are:

These are made with Claudia Hand Painted Fingering (100% merino) in the "Just Plum" colorway. The pictures don't do the pattern justice at all. It's really awesome!

Right now I'm working on winding this behemoth into the most gigantic ball on earth....

The Unique Sheep's Aurora in the "Chocolate" colorway. It's going to be the Mystic Earth wrap by a designer I have recently discovered and really love, and I believe her name is Anna Dalvi... Something like that. lol :) ....I've got the skein about halfway wound or more and the yarn ball is bigger than a softball already! Good Lord! 1300 yards of lace!

And then, to keep me busy until I have the money to buy the yarn I want to use for my new blouse that I'm designing, I am going to use this delicious stuff right here....

.....Claudia Hand Painted Silk Lace (100% silk) *drools a little bit* .... to make the Peacock Shawl by Dorothy Siemens! I can't wait! So many great goodies to get started on. :) Life is great.

After those comes a pretty Estonian Lace scarf designed by Nancy Bush that I'm going to make out of my ivy-colored KnitPicks Shimmer (alpaca and silk)... and sometime in the middle of all those I want to make both a pair of socks and a really awesome sweater for my amazing fiance Bryan. :) .....By the time I finish all of those things I suppose it will probably be just about time to start planning out who's getting knitted Christmas gifts this year and what they will be. .......Man, I really can't believe how much I've progressed in my knitting this year! Before this whole past year I had only ever really made scarves, one poorly made jacket, one poorly made sweater, sweatpants, and..... I think that's it! Now I can make socks, awesome tank tops, sweaters, baby blankets, and do really intricate lace patterns and other advanced techniques, and I'm starting to design! ....Woohoo! :) There's really nothing in the knitting world that I have much fear about trying anymore. .....Except steeks. Don't ever ask me to steek anything. I'll punch you... I also know a ton about different types of fiber now, which I had no clue about before. So that is an enormous help. Now nothing I make is scratchy or awkward and I know how to choose the best fibers and yarns to show off certain patterns or modify the look and feel of a garment.

I think a lot of my new knitting expertise comes from having gone to the knitting group for so long in Albuquerque too. Kim is the one who taught me how to make socks. :) I'll always think of her now every time I knit a sock.... And I learned and got ideas from seeing what other people were doing. It really got me out of my little comfort box.

Well, I suppose I'll go for now. I'm going to do a little more gigantic ball winding before finishing up the car packing. ...Ooh!! And Bryan just called and said he's taking me out to an Italian dinner with his coworker Roger. Yippee! :)

"For those of you who are about to knit..... I salute you." (LMAO, I'm such a dork.)
~Trudy~ :)