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.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

BLKG 2nd Annual Design-A-Thon

It is time for us to get really, really, REALLY serious about the Design-A-Thon.  I don’t know about you, but I have a couple ideas bouncing around in my head.  By this point in time the ideas should be bouncing around on my needles, but…
First there are some dates that you need to make note of
March – deadline for submission and payment of $5 per item
April – the judging
May – the awards presentation

General Information about the Design-A-Thon
            Last year we “published” a booklet of patterns.  If you are sharing your pattern, the pattern MUST be turned along with your entry.
            Your entries will be held until the May meeting when the awards are presented.  This give us time to photograph and proof the patterns.  It also allows us to display our work once again for all to see.
            There are two categories.  Professional and Recreational.  You are a professional if you:
                        1) Sell your work 
                        2) Sell your patterns
                        3) Teach for money

            Judging will be done by all members present at the April meeting
What Design is
            There are many definitions of Design. 
                   To sketch or plan a product before it is constructed
                   To create, fashion, execute, or construct something according to plan
                   To devise or contrive
                   To plan and make something artistically or skillfully 
                   The arrangement or pattern of elements or features
                   The combination of details or features of something constructed
                   Plan, describe, draw, draft, trace, outline, invent, sketch, formulate,                                                 think out, delineate.
            There are three basic design elements.  Color, texture, and pattern.

Now for the fun part
            All of this is in the 2013 handout, so if you kept that, you can skip this part!
            Decisions and actions
                   1) What do you want to knit?  Sweater, baby blanket, or a scarf?  Maybe a shawl, cowl or hat?  Look for something you want to make.
                    2) Take measurements.  WRITE THEM DOWN.
                    3) Choose your yarn.  This will be the heart and soul of your project.  The yarn determines your color, texture, and stitch pattern.  If the yarn is bumpy or fluffy or multicolored, then you may want your stitches to be simple garter or stockinette.  Highly colored yarn may mask a fancy stitch pattern, so stick to simple stitches here too.  If you have found the coolest stitch pattern, then go for a yarn that is simple in color and texture.  If your stitches re going to be stockinette or garter then by all means feel free to choose yarn with bumps or lots of color changes.
                        4) Choose your stitch pattern. 
                        5) Swatch.  I know.  The evil swatch.  A waste of time?  I assure you, it is not.  Your yarn and needle choice will make or break your project.  It is recommended that your swatch be at LEAST 4 inches in width and 5 inches in length.  It needs to be large enough for two full repeats of the stitch pattern and two full repeats of the stitch rows.  You may have to adjust the size of your project or change your needle size in order to have your chosen stitch pattern fit the size of your chosen project.  Remember that some stitches (ribbing and cable, for example) draw your yarn in.  I know this all sounds quite vague, because it is vague.  There are countless resources if you need help with swatching.
                        6) Write your pattern as you work.  You may think you will remember what you did or any changes that you made, but you will not.  I speak from experience.  Experience echoed by a million other knitters.

Finishing thoughts
            When I change the sleeves of an existing pattern from short to full length am I designing?  No.  When I change the collar of a pattern am I designing?  No.  When I change the collar and sleeve length AND the stitch pattern am I designing?  Yes.  If I have changed the pattern enough that the original designer would have trouble recognizing it, I am designing.
            Personally, I doubt that anyone so going to knit something that someone has not knit before.  We are dealing with two stitches here.  Knit stitches and purl stitches, everything else is just a variation of those two stitches.  And when it comes right down to it, a purl stitch is just a backward knit stitch.  Now we are down to one stitch.
            Not until around the 1850’s did we begin to write patterns down.  Knitting without a pattern?!?!  What did they know that we don’t?  Have fun with this.  Challenge yourselves!

Andy Trotti, Program Chairperson


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mittens, Please

I stopped at Annie Jackson Elementary School on my way to work this morning to drop of a few hats and one pair of mittens, all sized for bigger kids.  When I said the magic word "mittens" the secretary said, "It's like you can read minds!  We're desperate for mittens."  So, ladies and gents, fire up those needles and crank out a pair.  If you need yarn, BLKG has a store of "charity knitting" yarn, mostly worsted weight is my guess.  Contact Vicki Jicha and ask her to bring some to the next meeting or offer to meet her for lunch and a yarn hand-off.

I did a little pattern surfing on Ravelry and linked to a few patterns that look quick to make.  I'm a new convert to the speed and ease of 2-needle mittens.  Yes, you have to sew them up the outside of the hand and cuff and the inside of the thumb but they go fast (especially kids' sizes) and they're ambidextrous, by which I mean they fit either hand.

Basic Two-Needle Mittens (worsted, knitted flat)
Last Minute Mittens (bulky, in the round)
Mittens-In-A-Day (super bulky, knitted flat)
45 Minute Mittens (super bulky, in the round)

If you have some scraps of yarn and a couple hours, how about whipping up a pair of mittens for a kid, especially for those "big" 4th and 5th grade kids.  Why not spend the afternoon with a friend, put on a pot of coffee and eat the last of the Christmas cookies while each of you knits a mitten?  How much fun would that be?  You'd have a pair in no time.

See you February 12 when we'll finally learn how to make thrummed mittens.  Start praying now to keep snowstorms away, I hated missing that meeting.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Darned Snowstorm

Last Thursday's BLKG meeting was cancelled due to a snowstorm.  I was disappointed, I'm sure you were too, but it was really slick out there.  Better safe than sorry.
New President Julie sent us all this email about it and set a new knitting challenge for February, so I thought I'd blog it just in case someone missed it.  Read on for details.
"Our cancellation of the January meeting was unfortunate.  Mother Nature always wins!  Had the meeting gone on as scheduled, Marsha and I would have had treated you to this fabulous decorated cookie.  Unfortunately a very successful deer hunt leaves me very little freezer space.  We will reschedule our treat night to an open one and I’m sure it will be fabulous also.
Looking ahead, our February meeting is close to Valentine's Day.  Keeping with a theme, I invite you to “Knit Red”.  Anything red!  Maybe a charity hat, a fuzzy pair of slippers, get started on your December dish cloth, or perhaps knit a swatch with a new stitch pattern for the Design-a-thon.    BKLG members do not have idle needles!
We moved the January “thrumming” program to February.  I am looking forward to a very interesting “Mitten” show and tell, and “Knit Red” show and tell, along with your regularly knitted items.
Board meeting starts at 5:30, 6:30 Member Meeting and Knit Doctor.   Design-a-thon registration will be due, and $15 Membership dues are due by March 31st.
See you in February.
Julie LeFevre"
The suggestion to swatch a stitch pattern for our Design-a-Thon entry in red yarn for the February meeting is brilliant.  I'm excited to see what else Julie has in store for us.
(You don't think Julie and Marsha sat down with that giant cookie, a gallon of milk, a "chick flick" or three, and polished it off, do you?  Nah, they wouldn't do that.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Get Ready To Thrum

(I got busy over the weekend and neglected to post and send this.  Sorry for the lateness of the info.)

At the meeting THURSDAY, 1/8 (that's this coming Thursday, three days from today) Laurie's going to teach us how to knit thrummed mittens.  She was working on one at the December meeting, it's got those little tabs of wool inside that keep your hands toasty warm.

We need to do a little prep-knitting so we're all ready to go when it's learnin' time Thursday night.

Laurie says,  "For the January thrumming technique we will knit a small swatch.

Each person should bring the following:

1) small amount of wool yarn
2) small amount of roving in a contrasting color (about 1/4 of an ounce) if you have it
3) straight or double point knitting needles - any size ok, but recommend size 5 to 7

To save time at the meeting, please cast on 20 stitches and knit 4 to 6 rows in stockinette stitch.  If you're knitting in the round on DPNs or Magic Loop, cast on 30 stitches and knit 4 to 6 rows in stockinette stitch.
If you do not have roving, JoAnns carries Patons Classic Wool Roving for about $6.99.  One skein provides more than enough to complete a pair of mittens.  I will bring extra roving to the meeting , so do not feel you have to buy a skein of this just to try out this technique!"

My fingers are freezing at this very moment.  I could use some thrummed mittens right now... although they might interfere with the typing.  See you Thursday at 6:30.