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Travels [with Knitting]

One of my favorite things about this time of year, is its natural path of reflection.

As winter deepens and it gets harder to move outward, it irresistibly becomes easier to move inward.

I love this time of musing and remembrance.

It’s a lovely setting of the stage for what’s to come while being a fond travel through the experiences just gone by.

Gathering these January thoughts, means I’ve been day-dreaming a lot about my near-past travels.

Branching out to more far-flung locations to teach and intersect with fiber folk has been a real desire of mine since I moved to Portland, and one of my dreams came true this June on a great Pacific Northwest adventure.

The record of this trek popped up here and there online while I was on the road but never made it into these journal pages.

But here is the January all ready to embrace the June…

The main event? Something called Fiber and Friends, put together and hosted by the lovely Dotty Widmann and her Net Loft tribe in Cordova Alaska.

Chic Knits Knitting Blog Bonne Marie Burns

Here, in a place only accessible by plane or ferry, was a gathering of teachers and crafters and the most incredible landscapes.

Cordova is home to the Net Loft, which is an incredible knitting and craft store, nestled under an even more incredible “hill”.

Chic Knits Knitting Blog Bonne Marie Burns

I cannot begin to describe the color Green as crafted by the Cordova sky and sea but suffice to say I was speechless (and grinning) a lot of the time I was there just by virtue of what I saw walking around.

Myself and a cast of teachers spent our days work-shopping in town – here’s the lovely students from my Pick-Up-and-What? class – and I salute their excitement and game!

Chic Knits Knitting Blog Bonne Marie Burns

We also had mini-classes for kids – in mine, we made friendship bracelets.

Chic Knits Knitting Blog Bonne Marie Burns

Chic Knits Knitting Blog Bonne Marie Burns


Midweek, we took a trip out the Copper River to the glacier area and once again, I was speechless.

In fact, my heart almost burst from my frame (click the picture to explode with me)…

Chic Knits Knit Blog Bonne Marie Burns




Chic Knits Knit Blog Bonne Marie Burns

Mary Jane Mucklestone and I are thrilled to be out on the Copper River!

Later that week the Fiber and Friends Retreat ended up with a big party out by Eyak Lake

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where we were feasted with the best grilled salmon I’ve ever had and serenaded by Belle Mickelson and bluegrass friends in what was one of the most magical afternoons of all…

Chic Knits Knit Blog Bonne Marie Burns

All in all, from the wonderfully welcoming knitting community of Cordova, to the feisty and most excellent curious students in my classes, to the magnificent landscapes and vistas, I fell head-over-heels with Alaska and can’t wait to visit again!

Monday Muse April 14, 2014

Knit Blog

…(circa 1960) the lovely Jean Seberg wearing a very current style and a very
lovely vintage cabled sweater…

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Knitting Tips & Techniques – April 1, 2014

Knitting Tips: Chic Knits Knit Blog
v.3 How I Knit Sleeves

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: Knitting Sleeves is in the top 10 things knitters (including me) just don’t like to do…
But what’s a sweater without sleeves? (three guesses and the first two don’t count cuz that’s a joke son!)

Lately, in the multi-project sample world I’m living in, there are WIP’s in various stages all over the place, so at the very least, if I am stumbling in my motivation to finish something, I can reward myself by working for a short while on a different design.

But at some point, it just has to be done…

Here’s how I knit sleeves without losing my mind:

  • one part Organization: gathering all the materials together that will make it a less frustrating outing. On hand? Needles, wound yarn, hanging stitch markers, measuring tape and snacks. :)
  • one part Nurturing: not procrastinating to the point of having to do both sleeves in less than 2 days – no elbow blow outs or repetitive stress please.
  • one part Commitment: know that the thing is just not going to knit itself and the only way I can wear or show the new garment is by biting the bullet (and then biting some chocolate).
  • and most importantly — one part Temptation: mainly in the form of viewables (movies, tv, netflix, etc) heavily supplemented by liberal periodic rewards of, again(!) bitti-bites of chocolate, not a lot, just a smalll break in the proceedings. THIS is my version of being a (sleeve) WHISPERER…and I will attest, it works.

Here’s what I’m working on right now – the first sleeve of a sample cardigan in lovely blue 10 ply wool — this is the result of two evenings knitting –

Knit Blog

All of the above tips were corralled and put into play in the making of this sleeve.

The viewable? Game of Thrones Season 3: episodes 1-4!

This is actually a little more of an action/intense oriented background event than I usually indulge in because of…

…no, not all the sword-play BUT the the fantastic WARDROBE dressing that is on all of the characters!

It’s a bit distracting because I want to stop and rewind and inspect the details of all those glorious costumes instead of keeping up a nice even tempo with my stitching.

This sleeve is being worked in-the-round (top-down) using two circular needles. This, for me, is the fastest way to make a consistently even fabric. YMMV, toolwise but the goal is the same.

Also, I’ve used my favorites, hanging markers to easily keep track of all of the sleeve shaping. Before I started, while gathering the yarn, needles and measuring tape, I counted out markers according to the number of decreases the pattern called for, using one color for the first row-decrease rate and a second color for the other row-decrease rate.

After I complete a shaping decrease, I hang a marker through the center of it. That leaves a trail of marker “bread crumbs” along the shaping line and there is no need to count anything except the rows/rounds between the decreases. When your markers are used up, your sleeve is almost done.

Then, when I’m making the second one, I take the markers from sleeve #1 as I make decreases on sleeve #2.

This is the easiest way to to not having to seriously pay attention while you’re stitching! You can just go round and round and round and every 8 or six or ten rounds or whatever’s called for, do the shaping as needed.

Not sure if I should admit this, but if it’s a Stockinette st sleeve, chances are I’m not even looking at it for a great amount of time while I’m working on it. At some point, a rhythm gets going and you only have to engage visually when you feel the end of the section and turn for the next needle’s worth of stitches.

All the more merry time to watch the on-screen drama or reach for that chocolate reward…

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