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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sock It To January!

Materials for the January Sock Sessions: 

For the "Learn To Knit Socks" session with Barbara Malcolm and Pat Hickey, knitters need
about an ounce of worsted weight, solid light-colored yarn and a set of 4 or 5 Double Point Needles in size 6 or 7 (or 5 or 8, whatever they have in that range) in wood or bamboo; don’t bring metal needles because they're too slick for beginners.  Barbara will be making a Guild Blog post after the holidays with links to a few YouTube tutorial videos so those with little or no experience with DPNs can practice casting on and knitting a couple rounds before that night.

Below is a video tutorial to start with that Cheryl Brocher put on my Facebook wall.  Thanks, Cheryl! 

"Knitting with double pointed needles can be a little tricky to get used to at first, but here is a link that has a video on how to do it step by step:

For the “Toe Up Sock” session with Denise Kleczewski, knitters need some worsted weight yarn, 2 each of size 7 circular needles (or close in size), and 1 safety pin. 

If you have questions, please contact Barbara bookie1510@hotmail.com or Denise pinkpopcycle@yahoo.com through their emails. Otherwise, we’ll see you the 3rd Thursday in January at the new location. It will be a sockful of fun!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Start the New Year off with a Bow!

I'm sitting here thawing out after having to shovel the driveway to make my car stick to it (darned wet and packy snow) and reading the bloglist on my blog, Crazy Writing Person Who Also Knits & Sews.

On the LoveKnitting blog they've got a "recipe" for making knitted bows and for some crazy reason I want to.  Knit bows, I mean.  I am SO not a bow person but I want to make a bow.  Knitting a bow beats the devil out of shoveling snow, just sayin'.  *taps lips with forefinger*  Wonder if I have some sparkly yarn down in the dungeon, uh, stash?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Big Changes

I had a great time at last night's Christmas meeting.  There was a lot of laughing, a lot of eating, and dishcloths going every which way.  New President Kathy P kept us moving along and well-informed.  The game that Becky and Janette had for us to play convinced me that I need to spend more time watching Christmas movies.  Congrats to Anne T for winning!

The big changes decided on at last night's meeting are that we will be moving our meetings to Grace Lutheran Church, right across the park from our current meeting place, and our meetings will be on the third Thursday of the month rather than the second one.  The meeting room is much larger and will accommodate our rapidly growing membership, it's still free to use, and it has a kitchen.

Don't worry, I'll keep reminding you as the time draws near.  None of us are going to remember this with that Jolly Old Elf making his appearance TWO WEEKS FROM TONIGHT.  Sorry, I lost my head there for a minute.

As the date for the January meeting draws near I'll post detailed directions, parking info, and which door to enter.

Also in January membership dues of $20 are due.  Anyone who joined in September, October, or November need only pay $5 to be covered for 2016.  Once you get the new sticker on your membership card/nametag be sure to take it with you when you buy yarn or fabric, many stores extend a little extra discount to Guild members.  That alone could be worth twenty bucks a year, not to mention all of the things we learn from each other over the year.  The Bay Lakes Knitting Guild is worth every penny, and it'll help us to be able to pay someone to come and show us or teach us even more stuff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Do You Have Your Dishcloth Ready?

The next meeting on Thursday, December 10 is our annual Christmas Potluck & Dishcloth Exchange.  I have to admit that this unwrapped, simple gift exchange is one of my favorite times at Guild.  It's hard to get uppity when you're knitting a dishcloth, that simple utilitarian item, so there's no pressure to make one with fancy yarn or a fancy pattern to impress the other knitters (because you know that sometimes the thought crosses your mind about other projects).   To me, a dishcloth is a small, square opportunity to try out a stitch, a technique, or a color combo in a way that can't go too far wrong.  Even if you royally screw up, you've still got a piece of knitting that'll mop up spills or wash your face before bed.  I use every exchange dishcloth I've gotten, use them to scrub dishes and floors and dirty feet, and each time I think of one of you knitting it and say a silent "thank you."  I can't wait to see what everyone brings.

The other thing to be thinking about is what you're going to bring for the potluck.  Trot out your favorite dish-to-pass be it appetizer, bread, dip, salad, whatever floats your boat.  Make sure to bring what you'd like to drink and a serving implement if needed; the Guild supplies plates, silverware, and napkins.  Don't worry too much about calories because most of us will eat standing up and everyone knows that calories you eat standing up don't count.

Our new Membership Chair, Kathy Eisenchink asked me to post this information about membership renewal date being changed and the amount of dues going up a bit:

          "At the last Guild Meeting, it was decided to move the annual membership renewal to January, therefore, renewal dues of $20.00 will be due by January 31, 2016.  (The exception being anyone who joined in the months of September, October or November; their renewal dues will be with $5.00.)"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What Are You Doing Next Weekend?

I got a postcard in the mail yesterday from Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill in Valders giving the dates of their annual holiday open house.  It runs Friday, November 20 from 1pm - 6pm, Saturday, November 21 from 9am - 6p, and Sunday, November 22 from 10am to 3pm.  Here's what the postcard says they'll have:

"Many beautifully handcrafted will be offered for sale, such as baskets, silk scarves, woven rugs, polymer buttons and pottery, to fine wearables created by local artisans.  The fiber enthusiast will find an exquisite rainbow of rovings and yarns.  Demonstrations will take place throughout the event.  Our farm and woolen mill is nestled in the gently rolling hills of northeastern Wisconsin, just minutes from I-43.

Make your holiday gift a "Gift from Nature."

It isn't far from Green Bay and it's really easy to find.  You should probably stop in and get some Christmas shopping done for someone on your list--or even for yourself!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Materials and pre-knitting for “Knitters Teaching Knitters”

Materials and pre-knitting for the November 12th meeting, “Knitters Teaching Knitters”

If you have any questions, please contact the teacher through their email.

Barbara Malcolm (mosaic knitting):
    1.  2 colors of cotton yarn (high-contrast solid colors preferred)
    2.  Needles to suit yarn (one or even two sizes smaller if you knit loosely [most dishcloth patterns call for US 7, I use US 5 to get the same result]).

Kris Kyles (cable knitting):
1.    Worsted weight yarn
2.    US 7 or US 8 straight needles
3.    A cable needle or 1 double point needle

Kathy Potter (linen stitch):  Two choices

A. linen stitch scarf:
1.    2 skeins of sport weight or DK yarn (two colors that blend in a scarf)
2.    32” US 6 needles circular needles  
3.    Cast on 449 stitches


B. linen stitch sample:
1.    1 skein of sport or DK weight yarn
2.    straight or circular needles US 6

Vicki Jicha (weaving-in tails/blocking):

1.    Tapestry needle
2.    Swatch or small piece of knitting, either stockinette or garter stitch 

Becky Moore (fair isle knitting):

1.    Some colored pencils
2.    4-5 same weight remnant balls of yarn, (at least golf ball size) one should be  your dominant color 
     3.    Set of straight needles, appropriate size needles for the type of yarn you’re using

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Thursday Program Info & Prep


Who among us does not remember Roy G. Biv, the character that helped us learn about colors in grammar school? Regardless of whether you are an intimate friend, only an acquaintance or a perfect stranger to color, The Bay Lakes Knitting Guild is hosting a program at the October 8 meeting to help you. Novices and experts alike, will become more familiar with color and more comfortable choosing color combinations for your knitting projects. Laura Quinn has a vast knowledge of color that she has gained through a lifetime of use, study and exploration in all aspects of her life. Laura will present a fun and engaging program sharing this knowledge.  
After learning about the components of color and how one could put combinations together, she will lead us through color exploration using color exercises, the color wheel and yarn.  **A nominal fee will be charged for the color wheel and tools.  

Laura also asks each of you to bring scrap yarn from home.  Please bring:  a variety of 12 or more remnants of solid (or mostly solid) colored yarn in any weight. Each color should be put in its own individual small plastic bag. Label the bag with your name if you wish to take it home with you.

 Please come join us, this is a program you will not want to miss

**Presidents Note**  With the help of an outside donation, the Guild is able to cover the cost of the materials for members.  Non-Members will be charged $5.00

Monday, September 21, 2015

Go And Pet An Alpaca For Me

I got an email from Andy yesterday saying she'd gotten an invitation to this event and asking me to share it with you.

The Annual Open House for Shillcox Shamrock Lines Alpaca Farm

Sunday, Sept 27th 
10 am to 4  pm 
5118 Co. Trunk X, De Pere

Alpaca Products, Music & of course, live alpacas.
If I wasn't going to be out of town on Sunday I'd be there, so I'm counting on one of you (or some of you) to go and tell me all about it at the next meeting.  Okay?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What's Happening At The Meeting

The next meeting of the BLKG is this coming Thursday, September 10 and we'll be back inside The Zeimer Building of the First United Methodist Church.  Doors open at 6:00 pm for Knit Doctor, meeting begins at 6:30 pm.

We have new Program co-chairs, Becky and Jannete, and they've declared this our "Back To" meeting as it's Back to School season and Back to Work from summer fun.  At our "Back to" meeting this month, they're planning some ice-breaker activities since some of us have been with the Guild since dinosaurs roamed the earth and others are Guild newbies.  That means everyone bring and wear your NAME TAG, please.  If you can't find yours or never got one, print your name on a piece of masking tape and stick it on so we can call you something other than "hey, you with the string and sticks."  Becky and Jannete said something about asking everyone to fill out a survey but they promised snacks while we do it.  Be sure to stick a pen or pencil in your knitting bag.

Speaking of bringing things, if you weren't at the August meeting in the park, Kathy P talked about planning a project, like last year's Shelf Elf, for us all to do at the Knit-Away Day on Saturday October 17th.  After a lot of discussion it was decided that I'd bring a stack of free ornament patterns to the September meeting so everyone can gather the supplies during the month to bring along, so those who choose to play along will all knit some sort of ornament, probably not the same one.  If you don't celebrate Christmas or aren't interested in making an ornament, bring a project of your own and knit on it.  So I'll be bringing copies of some free patterns and you'll be bringing $10 (exact change, please) to pay up when you sign up.

Also at the Knit-Away Day, since it was so much fun last year, we'll be having a Gift Grab so please bring a small wrapped gift, something not too expensive and knitting-related.  Kathy has hopes that there will be a lot more gift grabbing this time too.

***Keep in mind that elections are coming up in November.  The offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer need to be filled.  Consider stepping up and helping the Guild stay the educational and fun place it has grown to be.  If you do decide to run for office remember you won't be alone, past officers are willing to help you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What To Do If You're Not Getting Gauge

I'm a regular reader of the Glenna Knits blog.  She's a Canadian sweater designer (who loves cables) and avid sock knitter.  Her blog posts are often instructive and informative.  This latest one has some very valuable advice about getting gauge and how to make adjustments to get a sweater that fits and is the fabric you want so I thought I'd share it with you since, despite the current heat and humidity, sweater weather is on the way.  Click the link below for a short lesson in getting gauge.  (Don't panic, it involves swatches.)

What to do if You're Not Getting Gauge

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pack 'Em Up

The August meeting of the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild is tomorrow Thursday, August 13 at 6:00 for help from the Knit Doctor, then the meeting starts at 6:30.  Since it's summertime, we'll be knitting in Jackson Square Park across the street from our usual meeting place.  Bring a lawn chair.  (As always, we'll move indoors if it's rainy, windy, chilly, or too buggy.)

But I'm mostly writing this blog post and sending it around to all of you so that those of us who made a Yarn Bowl at the July meeting and event remember to pack up your yarn bowl and bring it along so we can ooh! and ahh! over them all.  Even if it didn't turn out exactly the way you hoped it would bring it anyway, we won't know the difference.

See you there!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Are You Thinking About A Design?

I have to confess, I'm kind of on a stitch dictionary buying jag lately.  AT gave me Barbara G. Walker's Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns last spring and then I found Barbara G. Walker's Charted Knitting Designs in hardcover, no less, at Goodwill about the same time.  (Does anyone have the yellow covered paperback from Schoolhouse Press that I could compare my hardcover to?)  Then at the Yarn Bowl event PH gave me a poster with mosaic knitting swatches on it she'd used to teach a class, the patterns coming from the Barbara Walker Treasuries and the dam broke.

People, I am on a stitch jag.  I found a cable that looks like a tree and a mosaic pattern that looks like a person.  Can I join them in something?  I don't know but I think I'm going to try.  I might have to buy stock in Post-It Notes, I have so many pages marked.

What all of this blabbering is leading up to is I want to point out a couple of the websites I've listed under "Websites & Pattern Links" in the right column of the blog.

In "The Weekly Stitch" the blogger has posted a video of a different stitch every week since 2011.  I found the site in late December 2014 and at the end of January 2015 she announced that she's taking a break.  I thought "oh great, as soon as I find you you quit" but then I realized that she didn't erase all four years of stitch videos, she's just not making new ones.  I haven't seen them all but the ones I have looked at are excellent.  Check it out.

The other site is "Purl Avenue" which has a stitchinary, not videos but good, clear directions and sharp-focus pictures, and some free patterns that look interesting.  Do you make hats or mittens for charity?  Pick one of the stitches and put a column of it up the mitten backs or up one side of the hat.  Smack a square of some fascinating stitch at each end of the next garter stitch scarf you knit.

These two sites are just the tip of the iceberg of information and inspiration available FREE online for your knitting pleasure.  Take a scroll through them the next time you need to make a baby blanket or your mother-in-law wants a shawlette and take one of the stitches out for a spin.  Make a resolution to find a new stitch and knit a dishcloth using that stitch once a month.  You'll build up a supply of excellent dish and washcloths, have a quick hostess gift handy, and something all ready for the Dischcloth Swap at the December BLKG meeting.  What a great idea I just had!  You'd be a fool not to take it and run with it.    I'd be a fool not to grab that idea and run with it.

I've been knitting since June 2007 and until the BLKG Design-A-Thon in 2014 I'd never so much as deviated from a pattern.  Oh, I'd pick my own colors but I was a slave to the pattern, stitch count, row count, stitch pattern.  I make a "knitting resolution" every year and 2014's was to learn to cable better so I swatched a bunch of cables, figured out a basic shape and stitch count to make fingerless mitts, and slapped my chosen cable on the side opposite the thumb.  I must have knit the first one ten times, but I persisted and had mitts and a written pattern to enter.  I didn't win.  I didn't expect to win, but I had a pair of cabled mitts that I'd designed myself and a new bravery when it came to my knitting.

All of this is a roundabout way to say, "Hey, be a little brave and try a new stitch, and maybe design something simple and enter it next time."  It's only knitting, you guys, you can unravel it if it goes bad and no one will ever know.  Plus, as KW says, knitting yarn twice halves the cost so you're getting double value for your yarn dollar!  See you at the August 13 meeting in the park across from First United Methodist Church, our regular meeting place, unless it's raining and then we'll be indoors in our regular room.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

An Excellent Evening Despite the Drizzle

The weather didn't cooperate for the BLKG's annual picnic--again--even though we pushed it back into June hoping for less rain.  Fifteen hardy knitters made the trip south of DePere to Echota Gardens and it was well worth the trip.  Echota looks like a gardening or decorating magazine feature article with flowers and succulents planted in salvaged and reclaimed oddities like cowboy boots and old coffee pots.


The clubhouse/party room was perfect for our meal with lots of seating, a bar, and a covered pool table with ample space for all the potluck goodies.  President Julie started a round of "You know you're a knitter if..." with "you ask your husband to bring your knitting bag and he asks which one."  We heard about having multiple pairs of the same size needles and yet being unable to find a matching pair.   About having many UFOs and WIPs all over the house and hiding, uh, stashing yarn everywhere.  About making sure you have your knitting before a trip to the ER and you're the one on the gurney.  I wish I'd written all of them down but there was too much laughter.

There were chickens to see and even a baby donkey.  Plants and planters were examined and bought.  It was only right since we got to use the room for free and the business wasn't even open to the public.  

You're really sorry you couldn't make it, but I hope to see you next month at Paintin' Pottery & Bead It even if you're not making a yarn bowl.  Come and kibbitz.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

BLKG Picnic

I got an email from Events Chair, Kathy Potter with all the details about the Picnic so I'm passing it all on to you.

"The BLKG picnic will be held on Thursday, June 11th from 5:30 PM to 8:30-ish.  We will gather at Echota Gardens -- rain or shine.  (Click the link to their website, click "About Us" where you'll find a map to their location.)

Everyone should bring either a salad, a bread, or a dessert to share.  Bring your own beverage (spirits are allowed), a chair (if you can, there will be seating in the lodge), your imagination for a gardening project, and a smile.  The Guild will provide plates, plastic silverware, and napkins.

Chris, the owner, is a Leinenkugel beer fan.  If anyone has a beer holder mitt they'd be willing to donate that we could leave with him, I think he would love it.  Let Kathy know if you have you can contribute.

If there is anyone who has not signed up yet, send an email to kpotter(at)gmail(dot)com." 

The July 9th meeting will be held at Paintin' Pottery & Bead It, 520 George St. in DePere from 5 PM to 8 PM.  We will be making the yarn bowls that we signed up for at the last meeting.  The cost is $25 per person ($36 for those who wanted the large bowl) which includes everything needed to make a bowl.  Click the link to their website for directions and click Gallery for glazing ideas.  There is a coffee shop there as well, with some good decaf brews, so even if you're not making a bowl bring your knitting and come knit while we glaze.  Email Kathy (address above) with any questions.

Kathy emailed those of us that signed up at the meeting that it'd be a good idea to stop in to pay for our bowl and maybe pick out glazes or paints to save time that night.  I think that's a terrific idea.  We don't want a traffic jam at the cash register to interfere with our creativity now, do we?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Five Years of Bay Lakes Knitting Guild Fun

President Julie recapped many of the fun things we've done, guests we've hosted, and techniques we've learned over the years.  Here are the Charter Members at last week's meeting.

There have been three Yarn Crawls: one to Milwaukee yarn shops in 2012, one to Madison in 2014, and last month's visit to Xpressions Bead & Yarn and then the Alpaca Fiber Fest.

We had one Knit-Away weekend to the Landmark in Door County and a Knit-Away day to the St. James Inn in DePere where we all made shelf elves.

For knitting in public, we've gone to Stitch 'n Pitch Brewer games, Timber Rattler games, and Bullfrog games, plus we knit in the park across from our regular meeting place in the summer.

Guests have been many and varied:  Ann from Shepherd's Purse talked about Free-form Knitting, Melissa and Jessie of Hello Purl talked about taking fiber from Lamb to Yarn and brought spinning wheels for us to try, Jane from Autumn Larch Farm gave a presentation on her farm, sheep, and wool, and brought soaps and garlic that she produces, Wayne from LondonDairy Alpacas came with yarn, roving, and designs, Melissa from Green Yarn Company brought reclaimed yarns and talked about repurposing found sweaters and even shredding old jeans to make yarn,  Sean French, a Physical Therapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, taught us how to avoid pain and numbness from overusing muscles.

Program Topics have been just as fun and interesting.  We've learned how to "read" our knitting, how to read patterns and charts, even how to write patterns.  There have been programs on Increases and Decreases, I-cord Bind off, EZ's sewn Bind off, Seaming, German Short Rows, Finishing Techniques in Crochet, How to use Ravelry, Yarn Storage, State Fair Knitting, Knitting with Beads, Knitting with Wire, Magic Looping, the Barbara Walker Project, a whole knitting bag's worth of Cast Ons, and many more.

For the last two years we've had a Design-A-Thon that challenged us to try our hands at making up a design, knitting it, and writing the pattern to share with the Guild.  It's been both scary and exhilarating.  You should try it.  Come on, even a dishcloth in a cool stitch counts.

We've knitted preemie hats, baby hats, chemo hats for veterans, afghans for newly christened babies, mittens for cold schoolkid hands, and given it all away.

Our December meetings are filled with laughter as we share a potluck of salads and desserts, then exchange dishcloths while listening to A Knitter's Night Before Christmas.  That's one meeting you shouldn't miss.

It has been a fun five years and I can't wait to see what comes in the next five.  Knit on!