Thursday, August 17, 2017

August Newsletter

My dear friends

Not sure about anyone else.  I am having a hard time believing we are in August.  Seems just yesterday I was planning out my summer days.  Days filled with hiking, gardening, family picnics, work, berry picking and so much more. Now, we are planning out school days, readying fair entries and buying winter jackets. Where did my summer go?  

The next guild meeting is on August 19th and will be at our usual place. We will be starting at 1. Our teaching will be about color and dyeing. We will also have a surprise topic!

Attached are the minutes from the May meeting.  See y'all soon!

Rebecca Marhenke

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Colony Days 2017

Artists Uncorked is a wonderful paint shop in downtown Palmer, Alaska.  Second Saturday Art Walk for June is the same weekend as Colony Days.  Colony Days is organized by the Palmer Chamber of Commerce.  The Art Walk is organized by Palmer Museum. Both organizations encourage sharing history and fostering community. 

This weekend the guild had the opportunity to provide a Make N'Take at Artists Uncorked.  The project chosen is a super easy hat which can be used as an ornament or a package tie on.  Even more awesome is the project uses paper tubing (paper towels rolls, toilet paper etc...) and scraps of yarn.  Great project for those ends of balls that always are stashed.

Petting Zoo & Guild info
Petting Zoo
As part of our mission, we educate people on fiber.  Many visitors new to the fiber world are unaware of how qiviut feels before being carded and spun.  Or what a yak looks like. Or how silk is created from the silk worm. 
Artwork: Painted & Knitted
More Knitted Artwork
So, for most of public events, we will have a petting zoo and knitted items to display as well as information about the guild.

Saturday, June 10th was also the 5th annual World Wide Knit in Public Day.  We happily celebrated the love of knitting by...KNITTING! (Suprise!!)  

Many many thanks to our Guild Members who arranged this event. Our next event is June 17th, we will be participating in a progressive knit in public, starting in Wasilla and ending in Palmer.

Remember, knitting is a portable project (except that king size blanket).  Take your knitting with you and enjoy the beautiful yet short Alaskan Summer.  Share your enjoyment of knitting.  

Finish this sentence in the comment:

I knit because....

Happy Summer!

Sunday, April 30, 2017



Noun - the point in time or space at which something starts.

Adjective - new or inexperienced.

Starting a project or task can be hard. Especially if you have the end goal pictured but are unsure how to get there. Where do you start? How do you begin? For myself, I use the list technique. I write the goal and make a list of what should be done. For knitting, I start out by drawing a picture of what I plan to make. Then, if a garment, measure who the finished object is going to. Map out the measurements and ease on the picture. 

Next...CAST ON!!!. 

Nope. Experience has taught me (and knowledgeable knitters have reminded me) that swatching is important. Once I have my gauge, then I can cast on. Casting on for a project is another beginning. Do I need a stretchy cast on? Knit cast on? Long tail? Cable cast on? Provisional cast on? Which one to use? 

Each cast on has unique feature and benefit.  Here is a link to the handout from our April meeting: Casting on.

What is your favorite cast on to use?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How Do You Hold Your Knitting Needles?

Do you ever get those painful cracks on your thumb?  You know, they just show up suddenly, at the tip of your thumb pad, and hurt like the dickens.  And, they take forever to heal. 

I got one about a week before I had to leave for fish camp.  This was seriously problematic for me for two reasons:  one, I couldn’t knit; and, two, I can’t pick fish if I have an open wound.

I couldn’t knit!!  This is a catastrophe.  I slathered the crack with Neosporin, put on a fingertip bandage, and grabbed by needles.  The yarn stuck to the edges of the bandage, and I couldn’t feel the stitches.  When it came time to purl, I was done – no way could I knit with a clunky, bandaged thumb.

This got me to thinking about how I hold my needles.  I’ve been knitting for 25 years, and I teach beginning knitters all the time, so I’m always talking about holding needles.  But, I really had never looked at how I hold my needles when I’m just knitting away.  So, I looked, and found some interesting things.

          I grab onto those needles as if, as my dad always says, I was killing snakes

          I lift my shoulders a bit and tense them up, and my neck, too

          And, I hold my right needle with the tip of my thumb!

I hold the right needle with my index finger along the needle pointing to the point of the needle, my middle and ring finger wrapped to the inside of my hand holding the needle, and my right thumb tip pushed hard against the needle, amazingly right where the crack is!

My first thought was, LIGHTEN UP!  I made a concerted effort to drop my shoulders and not grip the needles so hard.  Not easy.  I placed more of my thumb along the needle, rather than just pushing at it with the tip.  Felt weird, but it didn’t hurt, and it worked.  My rhythm was off, and my gauge a bit sloppy at first, but it’s coming along.  I imagine my neck and shoulders will feel better, too.

Oh, and fish camp.  My husband and I commercial fish in Bristol Bay each summer.  I’m one half of the crew, so I have to be at 100% the whole time.

You can get fish poisoning from an open wound.  That requires a trip on the 4-wheeler to the clinic, antibiotics, and you’re done picking for the season.  Can’t happen.

I suffer from those cracks a lot in the winter.  So, now, if I’ve actually figured out how I cause them, and can work to NOT cause them, I’ll be looking at a much nicer winter to come.

Kathy Meggitt

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Increase (or Decrease) Evenly Across A Row - Easily!!

How many times have you read in a pattern, "Increase (or decrease) x number of stitches evenly across row."  Yikes, MATH!!  There are formulas for this, so get our your reference books, paper, pen, and calculator.  Or, click on this link and let Knitulator do it for you!!

This great site is easy to use.  Just plug in the numbers from your pattern, and Knitulator will tell you exactly when to decrease or increase across the row.  How simple.

I tried it, and it worked great.

There is simple math for this.  Check out Lion Brand's site for a simple explanation.

Don't miss November's guild meeting, where Janet Sherry will be sharing all kinds of electronic wonders for knitters!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

September at the Museum

We had a great evening at the Old Schoolhouse next to the Dorothy G. Page Museum September 23.

Carolyn's Raw Fleeces

Carolyn Venhaus brought 3 fleeces, carders, and a spinning wheel.  Prospective member Johanna Crenshaw brought her spinning wheel, too. 

Becky's Picker

Becky Oviatt of AK Frayed Knot brought her picker and demonstrated it.  It picks apart the raw fleece a bit.  We had fiber from fleece to yarn.

Carolyn spinnig

Pauline and Crochet

Members Kathy, Rebecca, Darcy, Autumn, Theresa played with loom knitters making I-cord bracelets.  We had samples, and out knitting as well.

Member Pauline Hooten, also of Ididachain Crochet Guild, draped a table with gorgeous crocheted lace tablecloths and covered it with crocheted samples, books, and more.

The only thing missing was the public.  
Not one person attended.  

Maybe we're too early holding this in September, and it was so rainy!  Next year we might shoot for a bit later in the year, when there's snow.

But, we all had a GREAT time looking and learning, and knitting. An evening can't be bad when it's spent with friends and fiber!

Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed.
Rebecca learning to loom I-cord

Our Petting Zoo
Samples and pretty yarns

Thursday, August 6, 2015

NLVK's Dye Day and the Results - Amazing!

Hand Dyeing Yarns

At Friday Night Knitting last week, a bunch of us were showing off our hand-dyed yarns from July’s dye day meeting.  We all had a blast, but some of us weren’t as happy as we’d hoped with our finished product.

What does hand dyed really mean?  I checked with one of my favorite knitting authors, Clara Parkes of Knitters Review, in her 2007 The Knitter’s Book of YarnParkes discusses all the ways of dyeing yarn – from huge vat dyeing done on an industrial scale, to smaller vat dyeing done with more subtly, to immersion dyeing, and finally to hand painting or hand dyeing.

Each method has its purpose and place, and its unique product.

Then there’s the choice of dyeing the roving versus dyeing the spun yarn.  Much more subtlety can be achieved if the roving is dyed, and then various colors are spun together to create just what you’re looking for.  Think of Noro yarns.

Or, rather than just using a bottle of dye marked red, mix yellow and orange, and maybe blue, and even a little black for some depth, to create your own red.

Hand-paint yarns also offer unique knitting challenges.  Some are designed to self-stripe based on a certain number of stitches per row, like many sock yarns.  Some are just wild mixes of color that will do what they will do.  Others can be examined to determine what they’re most likely going to do when knit.

Knitter’s magazine K111 includes an article, Taming Color with Magic Numbers.  Author Laura Bryant,, talks about cross-dyed hanks, and dyed-around hanks, and how you can determine the Magic Number, which will allow YOU to decide how your hand-dyed yarn will work up.  With just a change of a few stitches, knitting can go from stacked colors or splotches of pooling to an argyle look!!  Check out this You-Tube from Knitting Daily about this technique

I've added Artful Color-Mindful Knits to my wish list at Amazon.  I want to dye a skein of sock yarn so that I can get that argyle look!! 

Twist Collective is a great site, too.  Check out this interesting article titled Planned Pooling .   

This is Rachel’s project – her daughter, Marcail, dyed four skeins of yarn, and had a specific plan.  Rachel’s knitting with two of the yarns to make a larger, denser sweater – mixing the two differently dyed yarns looks great! I think we’ve got a budding fiber artist there!

Autumn dyed her yarn a whole bunch of colors (isn’t it great – looks like a box of crayons with extra blues and greens), and then used a stitch pattern other than regular stockinette or garter stitch, which makes the yarn work and look different.

Maybe you had one particular thing in mind, but your finished product doesn’t meet that goal.  It’s NEVER wrong or bad, it’s just not what you had in your head.  So, make lemonade!

I guess the take-away here is that no matter what you’ve got, you can do amazing things with it.  

Kathy Meggitt