Martini's Shaken In Plastic

Author: Valerie LaVay /


I had a busy week back East as was expected. And yes, there were many Martinis and since there was no shaker at my mom's house I had to improvise using a plastic bowl with cover. Sigh. The unexpected part was how much knitting I actually got done while I was there! Most of my evenings were spent watching the old movies on TCM while knitting. I managed to make my mother a coat scarf out of three skeins of somewhat fluffy yarn that was a variegated cream to brown concoction with random splashes of gold painted on it. It was quite pretty even though I would end up with gold particles on my clothes every time I picked it up. I knit 13 stitches on size 13's. I got the idea from a book I'm reading on knitting called "Knitting for Good!: A Guide to Creating Personal, Social, and Political Change Stitch by Stitch". It's by Betsy Greer. It's a fantastic book! I also managed to finish a little coin purse I had started back in April and a square for the latest charity knitting project I am working on. I also worked on a scarf that has been designated as the "travel knitting project" which means that I only take this project on trips. It's a small scarf being worked on small needles so quite portable and easy to knit when on a plane. Between my scarf project and my podcasts, the trip out to Philadelphia was fast! I wish I had some knitting with me the day I took the train to New York City since I managed to get to the train station much too early. Oh what I could have done in an hour plus while I was waiting!

Since I've been home I have done a lot of squares for the afghan project because I have been home with a cold. I haven't had a cold in two years. That's what the East Coast will do to a person. LOL

Make Mine A Double!

Author: Valerie LaVay /


I am heading out of town for a week to visit family in Philadelphia. With laundry to be done and the suitcase to be dusted off I am doing the most practical thing right now and bloggging. I own the word procrastination. As families go mine is pretty interesting which has me planning just how much underwear I really need to pack because I am thinking I really need to fit a bottle of gin in my suitcase. The thought of not being able to get to the State Store for several days is positively scary! Pennsylvania has control over the liquor, so there are these charming State Stores where you can buy only liquor and wine at non competitive prices with limited choices. If you want beer, god help you. That is a separate trip to a beer distributor with even more limited hours than a state store. The last time I was home I was drinking martinis out of juice glasses and throwing the olives somewhere in the bottom of the glass before finally going out to buy myself a martini glass. Ahh family.

On the knitting front the news is just as grim. I am nearly finished with my second lace knitting class. This time it's a scarf. Seems simple enough but there are three panels and working the lace pattern on every row. I am taking a class with a bunch of professional knitters. Translation: everyone else has natural talent and then there is me. Sigh. I personally feel lace knitting is equivalent to the fifth layer of hell but yet I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It is a great exercise in concentration but remains a challenge to a non detail, fly by the seat of your pants kind of person I am.

I managed to finish knitting a scarf for a friend and am working on squares for another community project. I plan to take a few projects with me on the plane. These are the official "airplane projects". I only take them when I travel so the chances of them being finished in my lifetime are questionable until I take a 20 hour plus plane trip someday. It's a thought!

Cheerio!

I Need A Martini! Sooo What Else is New???

Author: Valerie LaVay /


It's hard to believe that it's October! It's sounds incredibly trite to say but time really is flying by.

Exciting things have been afoot in my knitting world since I last posted. My talents are growing in leaps and bounds! Well, not really but I am trying. I completed a class where I learned how to knit lace. The project is a lace shawl with a beaded border. I am just over halfway done with it. It has been quite a challenge! Reading the pattern is not difficult, it just requires a great deal of concentration so I have been locking myself up in my office where there is silence and my high intensity lamp. LOL As frustrating as this process has been, I guess I must like something about it because I signed up to take a lace scarf class which starts in the middle of this month. OMG! The teacher is wonderful which is the main reason I'm jumping into yet another challenging project. Rick's specialty in knitting is lace, and he has done some beautiful pieces. For you Ravelers, he is Rick Martin and is in my friend's list if you want to check out some of his work.

I am THRILLED to report on two FINISHED PROJECTS! The first is that my tarot cloth is finally finished! I cast it off yesterday in the presence of my two knitting buddies. It was quite a moment of relief. This cloth was my first non scarf project which I started 3 years ago. It's just a simple rectangle and I really can't explain why it has gotten lost in the shuffle for so long other than to say that the yarn, is slippery and bumpy and when I was first knitting I found it to be quite a challenge just keeping it on the needles. It has some mistakes in it of course. My favorite is that i managed to knit my stitch marker into it. It's a beautiful marker too. A dark pink polka dot bead wrapped in black that is now a "charm" on the piece. In those days I didn't know how to unknit for one thing, and for another, I didn't realize it wouldn't come off I guess. LOL

The other finished project is a group charity project I've been working on all summer.It has been hosted by a local yarn shop called THE RECYCLED LAMB. A group of us have been working on the WARM UP AMERICA project and will be donating 13 afghans to the Denver Rescue Mission's Family Division. There were many squares donated from various people making this a real community project. We all enjoyed it so much! Rick likens it to a quilting bee, with all of us gathered around each week knitting the squares and then piecing the blankets together giving us an opportunity to get to know each other a bit better. My ability to knit and drink with my knitting group wows the other gals. Until they see the quality of my knitting. LOL We are excited that there is a new project starting this week! The group we will be knitting afghans for is a local group called Family Tree. They provide shelter and temporary homes for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. We have set a goal of 8 afghans and I believe they are to be delivered around the holidays.

This last Saturday night I hosted the Downtown Denver Stitch n Bitch's monthly Sit n Spin. Two of the gals in our group are expert spinners and have graciously offered to teach the rest of us how to spin. A few of the gals have wheels and others have spindles. I was surprised at how different and beautiful the wheels all were and portable too! WOW I have a spindle and it's not only very portable, it takes to the air well. OK, so I didn't actually throw it but I was tempted! There were a dozen of us spread out in my family room spinning, talking and eating(too much good food from everyone) and drinking (calms the nerves while spinning LOL)

For this month's knitting for myself, I am already working on a SWAMP WITCH shawl. It is a pattern from ANTI CRAFT. It's simple and fun. It uses four different yarns, so it's a good project for those extra balls of yarn in your stash. The pattern is available free on Ravelry.

The best part of this time of year for me is knitting outside on the porch or backyard and taking in the already changing colors of the leaves while I keep an eye on the fur babies. YAY!

One Olive or Two?

Author: Valerie LaVay /


A lot has gone on in my little world of knitting since the last time I posted here. I actually finished the shawl for Afghanistan and got it shipped out in time! YAY! It was such a relief to be done with it! The day after I mailed it out I started making a ribbon purse that I had bought the material for way back in April. It is a Louis Harding purse from her "Gathering Roses" collection of accessories. It was fast and easy! I got it done in just a few days. It was so much fun working on the big 17 needles again!

As far as my charity knitting projects go, I have been involved with a "Warm up America" group at a local yarn shop called Recycled Lamb. We've been working on the afghan project since June and have nine afghans thus far thanks to many generous contributions of squares. The afghans will be donated to the Denver Rescue Mission's Family Division. It's fun to be helping a local cause. This past week I switched from knitting squares to joining strips! Rick our fearless and self proclaimed OCD victim has everything color coordinated so the afghans look beautiful. The man has vision! He has a picture of one of the afghans on his Ravelry if oyu are interested in seeing what they look like. His Ravelry name is RickMartin. His other finished pieces are worthwhile to look at as well. He does some incredible work! I am going to take a lace shawl class from him in September. He promises that I CAN be taught. We'll see LOL.

While working on the squares, my friend Lois found out about a project to Knit For the Troops in Afghanistan so I am working on a scarf for that as well. The deadline for that project is September 15Th and I am more than halfway done. YAY! I have a vision of the soldier who is wearing my scarf, somehow rescuing the woman who is wearing my pink shawl and they fall in love and get married. IMAGINE!

For myself, I have started a shawl! It's a beautiful somewhat muted multi colored hand dyed wool I bought from a friend who was unloading some excess from her stash. Since I wear a lot of black (Ya think?) I thought a splash of color would be fun. I am doing it in a simple design I came up with that is a modification of a pattern I saw. I am doing the shawl in stockinette with a garter stitch border to keep it flat. The SS really shows off the colors well.

I would love to make a nice warm scarf for the upcoming cold weather but that is on the back burner for now. Too many things on the needles!!

I plan on knitting squares for the afghans while sitting on the beach in California. I am also bringing a Koigu scarf with me on the trip that I've been working on since the winter. It's a pretty multi pink purple mix of colors. It's a good plane project because it's small.

My wild and crazy knitting group has been all around downtown Denver and North Denver this summer. There has been much drinking (not by me of course) a lot of bitching and a bit of stitching. Linsey, our head honcho or HBIC (as she likes to be called) comes up with the most interesting bars to go to and this past week was no exception! The Horseshoe Lounge is a no nonsense bar service only kind of place specializing in Rockabilly music. LOL I will say that the olives in my martinis were some of the best I've ever had! The pizza was excellent as well and they have a Spiderman pinball machine! One of the gals in the group reads the runes and I read Tarot cards. Together we gave one of the gals a double reading! She laid runes down on top of my cards to see how they correlated and the result was amazing. I can't remember if I got a lot of knitting done that night. I lost track after my third martini but I do vaguely remember Linsey "fixing" my scarf for the troops, TWICE. WOW LOL

We have started doing spinning classes at people's house once a month on Saturday nights. I am looking forward to going and finally learning how to use my spindle! Tam and Shellie are our experts who are willing to teach the rest of us. Why I am not sure. These gals are too nice for their own good! I can guarantee that I will put their patience to the test! I'd better bring some good food or booze to the party when I finally show up. LOL

September brings the return of Angelique who has been gone all summer doing production work for a rock group. YAY! I love the energy of this wild group of knitters. They know how to party and they know how to bitch. Knit? Oh yea, that too. See you in September!!!!

Estes Park Wool Market & Shawls

Author: Valerie LaVay /


A few of us from my knitting group went up to Estes Park last Saturday to attend the Wool Market. It was a beautiful day for a drive. My fellow passengers were able to work on some knitting on the way up. I'm not so sure that they were doing it as a part of Knitting in Public Day (which was last Saturday) or because no one dared pay attention to my driving. I was amazed at all the yarns and cool knitting related products before me as I stepped into the main building. Fortunatley I was with some very experienced shoppers who attempted to guide me a bit on this my first time. I think the words "down girl" were mentioned but I scarcely remember as I was in a haze. I am a shameless sniffer of silk yarn and finally had to buy a hank of it just to satisify my nose. Fortunately my one friend is a vistual calculater for any type of yarn requirements for standard projects. She's also quite savvy about prices as well so at least the yarn I bought for my stash could actually be used to make something someday when I am free to knit for myself. These days I am fully occupied with charity knitting because I love the torture of living by deadlines that I cannot meet.

I am fairly certain that I have mentioned the shawl I am knitting for the women of Afghanistan. It occured to me about two weeks ago that I may not make the deadline for sending in this shawl. It has to be just over six feet long and I might be at 3 feet. I got a brilliant idea when looking through a knitting book called "Big Knits" when I saw a wrap that could be made in just 10 hours using number 19 needles and super chunk wool. YAY! Why didn't I think of this before? Brilliant! I ran over to the yarn store that I had just bought yarn from and told them about the project I wanted to do. They found me 10 skeins of chunky wool that was on sale for half price! I was thrilled! I went home and started it up that night and after two nights I was half way done. The pressure was off. And then it hit me. Well, actually a dread feeling started creeping in when I gazed upon my bulky patterned piece. It has to drape over her head and then be wrapped around her neck and flow down. Something that resembles a shag rug, DRAPE? CRAP! I went to the web site and confirmed that the requirement is for medium worsted wool. Gee, that's why I had chosen the yarn I had in the first place. DUH!!!! So now I have two half knitted shawls. At this point both useless on their own but wait, I have another brilliant idea. Perhaps I could join the two and have a one very interesting (albeit UGLY) shawl. Perhaps not. OK so it's back to the needles for me. July is weeks away. As long as I don't get any more brilliant ideas I may still get this done. I dont know, perhaps I should change my moniker from Psychic Knitter to Psycho Knitter. After all, being crazy is part of my charm.

Fearless

Author: Valerie LaVay /


It has been such a long time since I have posted on this blog! I spend way too much time posting on my other sites I guess! Recently I have been consumed with knitting this pink shawl. It have developed a nice little pattern for it. It's a combination of a checkerboard pattern that I found in Interweave press' book "Knit & Purl" and just straight up knitting. I have had to start over several times and have had a few nasty mistakes that needed correcting but I am still enjoying knitting this shawl. I have knit two other shawls but they were on size 17 needles making them quick projects! I had hoped to make myself a really cool colorful bag for the summer but I doubt that's going to happen as this shawl drags on. I had bought the yarn and ribbon for the bag back in March. I should have started it then LOL It's all Louisa Harding materials including the pattern. I love her accessories! To add yet more madness into my life I am going to join a few of my friends at a local yarn shop to knit for Warm Up America. It starts in June and runs through August. It's only once a week for an hour or two and it sounded like fun to us. It seems that all of my knitting right now is for charity. I really have fun knitting these simple projects. I love working with all of the fun different color yarns that I normally would not wear. What I need to do is to find more time for knitting so that I can do it all! On a technical note, blogger is driving me crazy or should I say crazier? A few of my links to my friends have disappeared and don't even get me started on the RSS feed thing from Ravelry! Perhaps my page is haunted LOL LOL

Harmony Needles

Author: Valerie LaVay /


I just got my set of interchangeable Harmony needles this week and I love them! The colors on the needles are so pretty and the needles are easy glide and nicely pointed. As soon as I got them I transferred my kitty blanket onto the new cable and I must say it's so much easier to work with circulars with no memory cord. I'm loving the flexible purple cable. The set goes up to only size 11 needles so I had to get the additional larger sizes along with a couple more longer cords but now I am set as far as circular needles go. I highly recommend these needles. I got them from knickpicks.com which was a recommendation from a lady working at a knitting shop.

I incresed my yarn stash substantially last week when I wandered into a yarn store that was having a major sale. I got some Louisa Harding ribbon and yarns along with her book on accessories. I am now armed with enough of her yarn to make two handbags, and two scarves. For now I am happily working on my knitting for charity projects. The knitting is simple which allows me to do it while working or listening to books on tape. Of course I still have lots of projects that are a little more challenging still on the needles so there is not a shortage of things to knit!

I Might Be A Project Harlot

Author: Valerie LaVay /

I am thoroughly enjoying the book "Yarn Harlot" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It is laugh out loud funny. I managed to read half the book in one sitting which is a record for me of late. I particularly identified with her chapter called "Cracking The Whip" where she describes going around the house and rounding up all of the partially finished projects. I have recently discovered that I am a bit out of control in this aspect of my knitting as I now have more than six unfinished projects on the needles. I always have a good excuse for starting yet another project though. For instance, I am working on a knitted coin purse I started yesterday because my thinking was that I would be going that evening to the yarn store that I bought the yarn from and I wanted to start the project in order to see if I wanted to purchase more yarn there to make more of the purses. Make sense? Of course it doesn't. LOL Also yesterday I purchased a set of 11 inch circulars because I HAD to start my new snuggles cat blanket to get a feel for how it would look. I have yet to get the coils out of the cable. I'm told hot water will do it. I could go on about all of the unfinished projects I have and the whys of it but really it all boils down to knitting ADD. It's just good to know that I am not alone in my madness.

St Mark's Coffee House

Author: Valerie LaVay /

Tucked way up on 17th street in Denver is this wonderful coffee shop called St. Mark's Coffee House. This was the meeting place of the other Downtown Denver knitting group this week. It's a great area although the parking is really tight which means I had to park way down a side street which when you don't know the neighborhood can be a bit disconcerting. It's a good thing I had my walking shoes on as opposed to the three inch stilettos I usually wear (ROFL) There were quite a few more people there this time around. We took up two areas. New to me was the airline pilot, the travel editor, the young feisty political gal and the Republican from Texas who is voting for Hillary. LOL An eclectic group to be sure. In the four plus hours we were there we ran through many topics, none of which had anything to do with knitting, of course. Much to my delight the later it got the busier it got in the coffee shop. The funniest part of if all was that I recognized the guy who worked in the music department of the old store I used to knit in! He stopped and chatted with us for a while. Pretty surreal to run into someone like that in a relatively large town but in many ways Denver has the feel of a friendly small town where such a thing can and does happen. There is a bar right next door called of all things "Thin Man" after my favorite movie series starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. I was really tempted to duck in for a martini. It would have been too cool. Next door to the bar is an up and coming Italian restaurant called Il Posto which I would love to try. I can't complain though I had an awesome pot of black pearl dragon tea that was fragrant and tasty.
Thanks to one of my online knitting friends, I found out about an organization I recently joined. It's a group called Hugs for Homeless Pets. They have a donation program called "The Snuggles Project" where you can knit blankets for shelter animals and donate them to participating animal shelters in your area. I thought it would be a fun project to work on in memory of my 2 shelter cats. I was excited to start my blanket and I cast on a bunch of stitches before getting out my tape measure to see if I was close to the 14 inches needed to make the blanket. The gal next to me said "Ummm Valerie, your needles are only 8 inches long." You don't have to be a knitter to know I was not going to fit an extra six inches on those needles although it did take me a minute before it sank in. LOL Did I mention I am NOT good at details????? Anyway if you or someone you know would like to know more about this wonderful volunteer group, go to www.snugglesproject.org to get the scoop. Meow!
My only thoughts on the drive home was why the radio was showing the Beatles "Get Back" when what was playing was a song with the lyrics that said "oh oh oh (or was that ho ho ho? LOL) it's magic never believe it's not so" Well it was a magical quirky night...........

Bohemian Girl Takes On Denver Knitting!

Author: Valerie LaVay /

Last night I ventured out to meet up with a new group of knitters in Denver. The quaint little crafty shop is located on a street called Broadway. It is about a block away from an old indie movie theater, in a neighborhood that is a little on the edgy side. I had to park down a side street and hike it back up to the main street. Interesting. The store has a craft room in it's basement and it was full of knitters! There had to be 20 people there. The crowd, much to my delight, was what I expected. There was an artist, a gallery owner, another yarn shop owner, a couple from Boulder (who was expecting their baby that day! ) a writer and ummm a tarot reader (ME!) There was a huge double size banquet table down the middle of the room and old chairs and a sofa all very retro. There was music playing and the heater was humming. Fantastic! There was talk of the recent caucus, along with various knitting stories and admiring the awesome knitted pieces being created around me. Several people were making sweaters, some were making socks, there were 2 gals just learning to knit, and of course a few of us working on scarves. I was in knitting heaven. The group was just what I expected. They were mostly in their 20's and 30's with a couple of slightly older people (who me? LOL) I look forward to getting to know them better and hearing their stories. In the meantime I am planning on joining up with the rowdy knitting group next Wednesday night who meets at a bar up on Colfax. Drinking and knitting. I will have to bring a simple project LOL

Fusion Knitting

Author: Valerie LaVay /


I took a class tonight at one of the local knitting shops making a scarf using two balls of verigated yarn to create a wonderful fusion color striped look. The pattern is knit/ purl which makes it slow going for me but the look is really beautiful and once you get used to the technique you can do some really creative things with it. I feel I would have done much better had I not had a spltting headache. LOL We had a high wind whip up here tonight which was a frosty delight. NOT! At this point in time I have 3 scarves on the needles, one afghan, one baby bib and the always lingering tarot cloth. Hmmm I guess I SHOULD finish at least one of them before I take on yet another project. LOL In all fairness though, I do like to have a baby bib going all the time because it is an easy project to work on that I can lay down quickly should a call come in during work. OK so one excuse down five to go......