Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild to give knitters of all skill levels the opportunity to get to know other knitters, to learn new techniques, and to share their ideas, resources, and talents with the community.

Monday, December 29, 2014

I Found This Website

Now that the furor of Christmas is behind us and 2015 stretches out long and clean before us, I've started thinking more seriously about the BLKG Design-A-Thon.  January is when you need to commit, fill out an entry form (or two or three, if you're feeling brave and extra-creative), pay the $5-per-entry fee, and knuckle down to designing, swatching, knitting the design, and writing down the pattern because each entry must be accompanied by a pattern.  Do NOT think that you'll remember what you did (don't ask me how I know this), scribble things down as you do them.  Your sanity is worth preserving.

It's a scary prospect, trust me I know, but seriously if you find a stitch you like you can design something.  Think about a scarf.  A scarf is nothing more than a rectangle of knitting you wrap around your neck.  It can be long or short, skinny or wide.  Say you find a stitch you like, what's to say you can't cast on a multiple of that stitch, maybe plus a couple on each side to keep it from rolling up (if you decide that rolling up ISN'T a design element), knit on it for a few feet (four or five seems about right), bind it off, and voila! you've designed a scarf.  Or a cowl, if you join the ends of a shorter scarf.  Or even a dishcloth, if you use cotton and make your stitch in a square.

See?  This is not a scary idea.  No one's saying you have to design a sweater or socks or gloves.  Some of us will, but the rest of us might want to learn just one new stitch or play with a single cable or brave a bit of lace, and trust me on this, that's designing.

I was poking around the web last week, I don't remember what I was looking for, when I found this website called The Weekly Stitch.  Each week or so they post a different stitch.  I've already printed off three or four that might work with my design idea(s).  Why don't you go there and poke around?  You might find something that inspires, interests, or terrifies you, whatever will convince you that yes, you really can design some knitted thing.   (I'm going to put the link in the list along the right side of the blog page, and leave it there, so you can come here and go there easily.)

Happy designing!

As soon as I get it I'll be posting the info on what we have to prep for the January program which is learning how to make thrummed mittens.  My cold hands can't wait. 

P.S. Don't freak out, the designs aren't due until April or May.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Great Party

Last Thursday's BLKG Holiday meeting/party was a smash hit.  There was way too much food and all of it was absolutely delicious.  There were a few hot things like meatballs and cocktail weenies (I love those, don't you?) and the cold things were neverending.  There was pasta salad, hummus, shrimp, black bean and avocado salsa (oh, it was so good I skipped the chips), cheese and salami sticks, one of those veggie pizzas with crescent roll dough for the crust, fresh fruit, veggies and dip,  chocolate cake, cookies, some crazy delicious nut cookie bars, candy, and homemade bread with honey from one of the members' bees.  Mm, mm, mm.

Once we had eaten our fill and shared any Show and Tell, the dishcloth exchange commenced.  This year Andy collected the dishcloths and handed them out randomly so we didn't start with our own cloth.  Vicki read a Knitter's Lament and each time she said the word "the" we passed the dishcloth we held to the right.  There were a lot of "the"s and a lot of laughs and only one person ended up with the dishcloth she bought which she quickly gifted to someone and someone else pulled out a spare for her.  I love knitters, there's no end to their generosity.  Here's the one that I got, don't you love the colors?

Our new President, Julie, has declared January "Mitten Month" because our program will be learning to make thrummed mittens so make sure to knit or crochet a pair of mittens to bring to the meeting.  Instructions for program preparations will be in the newsletter and here on the blog as the meeting draws near.  For now I suspect that we're all too tangled up in holiday prep, baking, gift buying and wrapping, tree putting-up and all that crazy December... well, craziness.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (today Dec. 16 through Dec. 24), Joyous Kwanza (which starts on the 20th), Happy Solstice, and any other mid-winter rite you celebrate to keep the dark and cold at bay.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thursday, December 11 Meeting

This coming Thursday is the BLKG December meeting which is also our holiday party.  The new adjusted meeting time is 6:30 PM and I am certain there will be someone available at 6:00 PM if you need a spot of Knit Doctor-ing before we start.

Have you thought about what dish you're bringing?  There are no assignments, each member is asked to bring either an appetizer, salad, or dessert to share.  I'm a big fan of all three so I can't wait to see what you all bring.

The other requirement is that each person bring an unwrapped dishcloth.  During the party someone will read a story or a poem and when a certain word is read, the cloths pass to the left, or right depending on who's deciding.  By the time THE END rolls around we should each be holding a different dishcloth than the one we brought.  Please do not feel as if you have to make the perfect dishcloth or the most complicated patterned one, a dishcloth made with the simplest, Grandmother's Favorite pattern will be just as appreciated.  I always smile and think of the knitter when one of my BLKG Christmas dishcloths comes to the top of the pile.  Plain or fancy they're excellent for wiping counters and scrubbing plates.  You can never have too many handmade washcloths or dishcloths.

   I can't wait to see you all on Thursday!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hat Heroines

I stopped at Annie Jackson Elementary School the other morning to drop off some of the hats that Kris and Mitzi donated at last week's BLKG meeting and was told by the school secretary that "we've given out a lot of hats from you in the last week." 

Thanks so much, Kris, Mitzi, and everyone who has donated hats this year!  School kids are warm because of your generosity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tomorrow Night at BLKG

**Remember the meeting start time has been changed to 6:30.  Knit Doctor is still available before the meeting starts.

First thing tomorrow night will be Election of Officers.  In the November newsletter Beth sent out last week there is a page with bios of the candidates.  The only contested race is Treasurer so do a little homework, then come to the meeting to cast your ballot.

After the voting BLKG is happy to welcome Melissa of The Green Yarn Company.

Andy says she first became aware of Melissa and Carmen at the Spin-In in Waukesha, and was drawn in by their “recycle, reuse, reclaim, re-purpose” business practices. Come and see all the methods Melissa and Carmen have come up with to help us affordably increase our stash and beautify our projects.

The Ladies Behind the Green Yarn Company

It all started with two friends sitting on a porch drinking wine. Our business was born as a stumble upon of some great ideas two half-drunk women had. To some our concept sounded downright insane, and it still does. But the two of us are anything but normal. If you have read any of our social media, blog, or talked to either of us you can probably come to that conclusion on your own. But don't worry we aren't insane in a creepy unstable way, more of a fun crazy.....

We love yarn, we love fiber. We love to crochet and spin and knit, and be crafty and imaginative. We strive to put out a quality product at an affordable price and to help educate people and help them find what they want if we can, and sometimes it is not in our booth or our store and we are OK with that. The bottom line is, we want you to be happy and satisfied and we know that you will remember that and next time you are looking to buy something you will remember how helpful we were.

Come join us at 6:30 (new meeting time) for a little Guild business and a whole lot of yarn fun!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Knit-Away Day Recap

It was fun.

Not enough info?  Okay.  When we arrived at Chateau DePere there was coffee and sweet rolls to help us get the morning started right.  Everyone was happy to be there, talking a mile a minute.  Kathy passed out the pattern for The Elf on the Shelf, along with a jingle bell and pipe cleaner and a tiny bag of sand to use as a weight.  We each were given little hanks of yarn--red, green, and white--and we were off.

Chatter didn't really slow down much once the knitting started but I heard people helping other people learn to wrangle DPNs and reassurance that "yes, it's supposed to look like that."  Soon the bag of fiberfill was being passed up and down the tables as elf bodies got stuffed.

Before we knew it Kathy announced lunch.  There was such a gorgeous spread of delicious salads, breads and desserts, it was impossible to try every one, but we tried.

After lunch we kept knitting on our elves until time for what Kathy called a Chinese gift exchange.  Each of us was asked to bring a small knitting doodad wrapped but not labeled.  We each got a number.  Number 1 chose first and opened her gift, then Number 2 could either choose or take Number 1's gift, then Number 1 got to pick again.  I think I would have been happy with any of them.

Once the gifting was over we went back to knitting, and people started drifting away.  I don't think anyone got their Elf done but we sure had a good time.  Here's a link to the Wikipedia explanation of the Elf on the Shelf story.  I'm sure you can find the book at your local bookstore or order it from Amazon.

Twenty-three members and one guest attended, almost half of the membership.  We had a good time and will do it again.  You should come if you missed this one.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Knit-Away Day

I hope you're all signed up to come to the BLKG Knit-Away Day on Saturday, November 1 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.  Here's all the info you need from Events Chairperson Kathy Potter.

Cost: $7 per person (which you should have already paid Kathy at the meeting on October 9) but maybe you can still sign up by contacting Kathy at kpottergb(at)gmail(dot)com if you hurry, and then pay on the day, but I'm not making promises.

We'll meet in the Vineyard Room of Chateau DePere at 201 James St. in DePere, where there's plenty of parking.  Coffee, water, and breakfast rolls will be provided.

We'll be making the Elf on the Shelf.  The pattern and most supplies will be provided but YOU MUST BRING a set of 4 or 5 US6 double pointed needles and a yarn/tapestry needle.  Kathy said that tweezers will be handy for stuffing the tiny arms so bring some if you have some, there will be tweezers for sharing if you don't.

Lunch will be potluck (salad, bread, dessert) brought by members.  Kathy asked what we were bringing at the October 9th meeting.  Do you remember what you said you'd bring?  Contact her if you forgot or are a late sign-up.

At 3 PM we will have a gift exchange and draw for door prizes.  Bring a thoughtful, useful, interesting but inexpensive knitting notion or accessory.  Wrap it up, NO tag, for a "gift grab" and hope someone fights for it.  (I'm not sure this is exactly how Kathy means to run the gift thing but this sounds like what she said she plans to do.)

It promises to be a fun day of knitting and talking and knitting and eating and knitting and talking and getting knitting-related presents.  Y'all come!

**If you haven't done the River Walk in DePere, Chateau DePere is right next to it.  Consider coming a bit early or staying a little later and enjoy the autumn sights.   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meeting Time Change

Just a reminder:  the BLKG meeting will begin at 6:30 on Thursday, October 9 instead of 7:00 as in the past.

Jane Hansen of Autumn Larch Farm will be our guest.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's Happening on Thursday September 11

The September meeting launches the BLKG 2nd Annual Design-A-Thon.  Are you ready for some fun with a little learning tossed in for excitement?  We’ll do a quick (hopefully) presentation on what design is and is not, and go over what is needed for the entries.  More information will appear from time to time here on the Blog and in the newsletter.

For our new members or new knitters DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED.  The Design-A-Thon is also known as “Oh, Yes You Can!”  Our guild has representatives from all levels of knitting and this event really does level the playing field.  Promise.

It was also suggested that in honor of the end of summer we have a “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” segment.  Think of this as Show and Tell on Steroids!  Bring in what you have finished AND what you have on needle.  Share with us your triumphs and your tales of woe.  The best part of knitting is the sharing and the learning.  Share with us!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Knitting Tips from August, 2014 Meeting

We met inside on August 14th which turned out to be a good idea because nearly everyone at the meeting had at least one tip to share.  Vicki took good notes, I took some too, between us we hope we've got them all.  If not, remind me at the meeting next Thursday and I'll post them here.
Kris Kyles
1)    When making Top-Down socks, cast on over two needles, remove the extra needle, knit first row, then join into a circle.

2)  The Repeat Row Method. Make an index card with the number of rows in the repeat pattern on top of each other on the left-hand side.  For a 4-row pattern, for example, write the 1st 4 numbers from top to bottom on the card, then start a second column with the next 4 numbers, etc.  If you are on row 23, find 23 to the right of the 1,2,3, or 4 columns, and you will discover you should be knitting row 3 of the 4-row repeat pattern. My card looks something like this:

1 5  9  13  17  21  25
2 6 10 14 18  22  26
3 7 11 15 19  23  27
4 8 12 16 20  24  28

Nancy Snow
            Cast on over two needles if you find your cast on tends to be too tight.

Victoria Jicha
            Life line – inserted directly under the left needle, and several rows below the left needle.

Mitch Woesner
When knitting with two strands of yarn at the same time run them both through a drinking straw to keep them even and untangled.

? Thibaudeau
            Use a two compartment makeup bag for notions; keep sharp notions on one side.

Julie LaFavre
            I like to attend fiber shows. Before you go, have a pattern in mind that you would like to make, also the amount of yardage you need.  A lot of yarns can be specialty items and finding additional yardage is difficult.

Becky Moore
            Keep yarn skein clean by putting it in a zip lock baggie for road trips.

Sally Halstrom
When knitting with more than one ball, she keeps two strands in one bag to keep the yarn from tangling

Kathy Eisenshenk
            For clean edges, slip the first stitch as if to purl

Julie Deprey
            Do not knit mohair wearing black slacks

Pat Hickey
1)    To eliminate the hole when changing from K to P, wrap yarn in opposite direction then knit in the back of the stitch
2)    Repairing mistakes in lace – Block to the error, then the stitches will be easier to pick up…. And use a life line!

Andy Trotti
            No ruler?  A Dollar bill is 6” long.  Fold in half for 3”.  Fold in thirds for 2” and 4”

Cheryl Brocher
Elastic Bind Off (From Love of Knitting Magazine)

K1 *Reverse yarn over (wrap in opposite direction as usual) K1, pass YO over last knit st., then pass first st. over last knit st.  Repeat from * to end.  Cut yarn and pass through the last stitch.

Sewn Bind Off (From Cast On Bind Off) (Elastic edging for cuffs or neckline)

1. Measure a tail of yarn that is 3 times the width of the knitting to be bound off.  Thread this onto a blunt tapestry needle.  Work from right to left with the right side facing you.
2. Insert the needle PURLWISE through the first 2 stitches on the needle and pull the yarn through. Leave the stitches on the needle.
3. Insert the needle KNITWISE through the first stitch on the needle and drop this stitch off the needle.
Repeat steps 2 and 3.  You will end with 1 stitch left of the needle.  Insert the needle through this stitch PURLWISE, drop the stitch from the needle and weave the end in.

Laurie Brungraber
                      When making mittens, use a crochet hook to pull up stitches to close holes  
           in the first round of the thumb, then k2tog in the second round to decrease to the        number of stitches the pattern calls for in the second round.

Barbara Malcolm
            How to Remember Right- vs Left-Leaning Stitches (From fringeassociation.com)
A stitch will always lean in the direction the working needle is pointing when you work that stitch.  When you insert your working needle into the front of your stitch(es) as for K2tog or m1R—you insert it from left to right.  The working needle points to the right and the resulting stitch will lean to the right.  When you knit through the back of your stitch(es)—as with SSK or m1L—you insert the working needle from right to left.  The working needle points left and the resulting stitch will lean left.

I learned from the Yarn Harlot’s blog a few years ago that when the pattern calls for a ssk you can simply knit the stitches together through the back loops.  The decrease is the same (looks the same, leans the same) as if you had slipped them each to the right needle and then knitted them together.