Sunday, September 15, 2013

We're on Facebook!

In order to keep up with changing times and changing trends, the Machine Knitters Guild of Minnesota now has a group page on Facebook. It is a closed group (to keep the spammers/scammers at a minimum), but you can send a request and the group administrator will approve your request. This group's purpose is to keep you informed of upcoming events, share projects, ask questions or just chit-chat! It's also the place for past and present MKGM members to reconnect with each other.
In case you didn't know this, either, we're also on Ravelry, the premier forum-based site for fiber enthusiasts. This is an excellent site with groups for different fiber (or non-fiber) interests, and a place to look up paid and free patterns, buy and sell yarn stash, show off your finished projects, and ask questions about your unfinished projects. Have a certain amount of yarn, but don't know what to make from it? Put in the yardage of the weight yarn you have, and up will pop pattern ideas that use the same amount of yarn.
It is hoped that by embracing technology that MKGM can attract some new, and younger members to ensure the continuation of the guild for the future, and to keep the craft of machine knitting alive and healthy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2013


 The Machine Knitters Guild of Minnesota plans on participating in this annual event for the first time ever this year. Hopefully we can generate enough interest to make it an annual event for the guild to help raise awareness of our machine knitting craft!
WWKiP is a fairly new tradition, and is actually a week-long event, although most clubs, yarn stores and other organizations host a one day event at some point during the week. MKGM will be doing the same (details at end of this post).
From the official website:
World Wide Knit in Public Day was started in 2005 by Danielle Landes. It began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each other’s company. Knitting is such a solitary act that it’s easy to knit alone somewhere and sink into your work without thinking about all the other knitters out there. Neighbors could spend all their lives never knowing that the other knits. This a specific day get out of your house and go to a local event (with your knitting in tow) just for you and people like you. Who knows you might even bump into your neighbor! Consider this a spark, to ignite a fire; getting all of the closeted knitters out into fresh air.
WWKiP Day is unique, in that it's the largest knitter run event in the world. Each local event is put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers. They each organize an event because they want to, not because they have to. They bring their own fresh ideas into planning where the event should be held, and what people would like to do. If it weren't for these volunteer hosts, WWKiP Day would still just be an idea. So when you go to your local event, make sure you thank your host(s) and if you're inclined, bring along some yummy treats to share.
In the past some people have used this event as a means to show the general public that ‘not only grannies knit!’ and while that’s great and all, keep in mind that without those ‘grannies’ we wouldn’t have the wealth of knitting knowledge that we do.
WWKiP Day is really about showing the general public that knitting can be a community activity in a very distinct way. In some places there are many different knitting groups that never interact with each other, on WWKiP Day they come together in one place, making them hard to miss.
2005 there were about 25 local events around the world. In 2006 there were about 70 local events. 2007 there were almost 200. In 2008 there were 800 events, and in 2009 there were 751.
Over the years there have been local events in Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United States… and so many more countries.
WWKiP Day takes now takes place from the second Saturday to the third Sunday of June each year; making it a week long celebration of knitting and other fiber arts.
World Wide Knit In Public Day spreads the word that knitting is COOL! While all of us know that, many people in the world aren’t aware of knitting or knitting machines. By knitting (by hand or with machine) in a busy public place, we raise awareness among the general public.
We’ll have some large sandwich-board signs made to help you find the group.
You are welcome to bring your machine. Just remember that there aren’t any tables, so you’ll need a stand, chair, and your supplies. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it!
You can also knit by hand; OR just show up and do some seaming.
In case of rain (which is all it has seemed to do this spring), we will cancel and shoot for a sunny day in 2014!
World Wide Knit in Public Day
Saturday, June 15, 2013
10:30 a.m.
Minnehaha Park: 4801 South Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55417 (We’ll be between the Sea Salts Cafe and Minnehaha Pavilion.)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Building an Ark


Glub, glub, glub…that’s the sound we’re making as we try to keep our heads above water. So far the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul for you non-locals) metro area of Minnesota has received more rain than Seattle, Washington! That’s saying a LOT. Out of 31 days in May, 23 of them were cold, cloudy and rainy. We even had measurable snow on the first few days! Where’s our spring? The state’s annual fishing opener was a bust in some locations due to the lakes still being iced over! One thing’s for sure: We still need our sweaters.
A knit-in was held on May 25th, but there were very few knitters that showed. It could be that we’re all grumpy and depressed from lack of sunlight and warmth, or it could be that it was Memorial Day weekend. Your author stands with the incessant rain and gloom.
As part of our ongoing drive to get ourselves out in the public arena, we’ve been looking into demonstration times at the different local county fairs. Nothing concrete was planned at the May meeting, however, but it was noted that this year we do not have a demo slot at the State Fair. It’s unfortunate, but there’s still hope that we might get in due to a cancellation. That being said, just because we don’t have a demo slot does NOT mean that we cannot show our knit items, so get those machines humming, and get something made for the Fair! This is our greatest opportunity of the year to show off what we can do! There could be a blue ribbon in your future!
We now have more information on our big 50th anniversary extravaganza! We already know it will be held on Saturday, October 5th (this is a change from the original post stating it would be held the same day as the knit-in), but the time has been narrowed down to be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.. It is being presented as an afternoon tea. We will be having a vintage style show, so get out those items you might have knit 50, 40 or 30 years ago. Even if you haven’t been knitting that long, bring along something you’ve made, and wear it. Don’t worry if it no longer fits (because it’s too big, right?) We will have “models” there to wear those items for the show! It’s shaping up to be a wonderful celebration of 50 years of knitting. Save the date, and plan to be there!
Ellen knit this really pretty afghan at the May knit-in.
She shows off some more of her knit/fleece hats. Isn't the pattern on the blue one on the left gorgeous?
She also made some Norwegian dish towels.
Carol knit this lovely blanket as a wedding gift. It says "Bless This House" at the top, and has the date and names at the bottom. The middle is a pattern of a house in dollhouse form.
Carol shows off her first baby hat knit on her circular sock machine (CSM) that she just refurbished.
Diane knit this one baby bootie as a sample. Pretty tuck stitching! Nice and thick to keep little toes warm.
Karen was also working on baby booties.
MKGM members don't just knit. Karen is also a weaver and made this really cool table runner!
Carole shows off a summer top with "bedazzled" jewels stuck to it. Very pretty and "bling"-y.
Carole shared a really nifty idea for making sock blanks. Knit two separate cones or balls of yarn together...
...then dye the sock blank. When dry, unravel the blank, and wind the two balls of yarn back into separate balls...
...and your socks will knit up perfectly matched each time! No more pulling through the ball of yarn to try to match the pattern! Thanks for the awesome idea, Carole!
Carole also showed a cool way to use up odds and ends of sock yarn. Knit them into a hat as a contrasting color! It looks like complicated colorwork, but it's just self-patterning yarn bits. They don't even have to come from the same ball of yarn or dye lot! Isn't that pretty?
Sue knit this cute girl's summer top.
And using the weaving technique of the machine was able to make these potholders/trivets.
She had made a few of these circular baby blankets at the May knit-in.
Mar shows off a different technique for making pom-poms. Wind the yarn with a yarn winder until you have about a half inch thick ball of yarn. Carefully remove it, keeping your finger in the center hole. Tie yarn around the edge tightly, cut, and you get this great big fuzzy pom-pom!
Mar also tried knitting a hat with two different yarns together. Didn't the striping come out really cool looking? It looks like one strand of yarn that was dyed to self-pattern!
Mar also knit a baby sweater that was a pattern provided for one of the classes at this year's Purls of Joy seminar.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Knitter’s “College”


Okay, now really. Enough with the snow already! We just broke our old record for snowfall on a single date in April. Usually by now the tulips and daffodils are at least coming up, if not actually in bloom. Ha, ha. Joke’s on us.
Spring (ha!) is usually the time to start thinking about graduations, but here at MKGM we’re thinking of starting college. Knitting college, that is! We have taken on quite a few new members over the past year, and many of those new members are also brand new machine knitters. With resources limited or almost non-existent for learning how to use our machines and to actually knit something with them, it was suggested that perhaps a more experienced knitter could sit with some of the newbies at a knit-in and show them some things. Well, it was decided that perhaps we could go one better. Perhaps we could hold formal classes. A committee will be formed to come up with a plan for this nifty idea. It was suggested that a fee be charged (with the funds going to the guild) to those students interested in order to help cement their commitment to the class, otherwise it won’t be worthwhile teaching, or fair to the other students. Stay tuned for details as a committee is formed and comes up with a plan! Your author plans on attending any potential classes, as well, because everybody can always learn something new. Buttonholes, anyone?
This knitter had to miss the April meeting to attend her son’s final college jazz concert of the school year, and she wishes his band had set a different date. This sounds like it was the meeting to attend; if not for ideas, at least for the belly laughs! Remember my post talking about those slipper patterns Judy passed out? Well, this was the meeting in which they were supposed to be knit, and then shared.
As it was reported in the newsletter:
We had everything from Barbie doll sized slippers to ones that would fit Bigfoot. Some older patterns were so poorly written, that they were almost impossible to decipher. The newer knitters especially thought they learned a lot even if their slippers weren’t fantastic looking. All agreed that this format was a great idea and would work for lots of other items. Thanks, Judy!
There were also slippers with two heels in one slipper! That’s what can happen sometimes when you’re relaxed, enjoying short-rowing, and your mind wanders!
Don’t forget: Our next knit-in will be held Saturday, May 25th at the Crossings! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Did You Know?

We all know that the only way to knit with a heavier yarn on a standard gauge machine you have to knit with every other needle, and even then results may be sketchy at best. However, did you know that you can knit with a lightweight yarn (fingering or lighter) on the bulky machine and get a light, airy fabric?
With spring finally upon us we are looking for ways to knit lightweight fabrics. Tired of mittens, hats, scarves and sweaters? Try knitting a tuck stitch wrap, shawl or fashion scarf on the bulky machine (either punch card or electronic tuck) with a lightweight yarn! With plenty of weight, and good blocking, you will end up with a beautiful lacy project perfect for warm summer evenings! Experiment with this technique for other things, too, like table runners or lacy antimacassars.
Who knew? Now you do!

To see examples of this technique, see the previous post titled: "Show Me The Money".

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Show Me The Money!


March is here, and spring has officially begun according to the calendar, but of course this is MinneSNOWta, and we’ve been getting some good snowstorms. For some reason Ma Nature just loves to hold off on the major snowstorms until the end of the winter just to toy with us. Maybe that’s where the term “March Madness” comes from? Just a thought.
Anyway, other than looking forward to spring, there is another March event that the MKGM now eagerly anticipates each year, and that is our major fund-raiser, the Silent Auction! This month saw our third annual Silent Auction, and there were some really fun bidding wars going on for a few of the items available. Sure, those that won those items may have overpaid a little for them, but the money all goes to a good cause: our guild!
There was no program for this meeting, of course, but Judy passed out different slipper patterns to every member, admonishing us not to open the sealed envelopes until we got home, and no trading allowed! Each of us is to knit the pattern in the envelope, then share the finished slippers and give our critique of the pattern at the next meeting; what we liked, what we didn’t like, what we would change, or whether the pattern was worth knitting in the first place.
Yarn for sale!
Some kits along with the yarn to knit them! And one of those teeny tiny looms. Remember those?
Even old magazines are good for ideas and techniques, if not patterns.
Lots more magazines and yarn.
Occasionally a knitting machine shows up for auction. This year there were three. The machines may not knit, anymore, but they are a great source for parts that might not be obtainable, anymore.
Auctioning off a partial can of Coke. Okay, not really, but there was a yarn winder, knitting needles, another knitting machine, patterns and even a stamping kit for other fiber-related crafts.
Lots of hand-knitting needles. Somebody must have decided that they don't want to take that kind of time to produce knits, anymore. Lots and lots and lots of patterns, technique books, kits and yarn.
More yarn. Isn't that royal blue gorgeous?
Assortment of different yarn remnants and a lace angel kit!
More yarn. That big blue ball in the plastic up front was won by yours truly! Also, that blue in the back left. Now it just needs to get up and knit itself into something. What, you mean I have to help it?
Perusing this year's goodies.
Taking a shopping break.
There were also show and tell items. The auction isn't all about shopping!
Donna made this really lovely neck-warmer.
And a very nice blanket.
Nancy made this "thinking cap". It's a brain! The knitting wasn't so difficult, just a basic hat, and many, many feet of i-cord. What took so long was tacking that i-cord to the hat! She made two of them, and decided that's enough!
Marilyn shows off one of the knit and fleece hats she made that Ellen had demonstrated (see previous post).
She also made this gumdrop hat.
New member, Sue, shows off a shawl she made at the knit-in. Can you believe this was knit on the bulky machine by using lightweight yarn? Look how light and lofty it turned out by doing it this way! Who'd a thunk it?
The other shawl Sue knit on the bulky machine. Ready for spring!
Bruce's take on the circular baby blanket.
This one in fun, suimmery colors!
Bruce is also a weaver, and showed off some of the weaving he has done.
Mar shows how you can salvage a boo-boo. This is one of Ellen's knit/fleece hats, but because it was knit too short, rather than gather the top, which would make it even shorter, she simply sewed straight across and made it a square hat. Don't unravel, get creative!
Mar is also working on meeting her charity hat quota. She's pretty close, already, and it's only March!
Loads more hats!
Carol also did Ellen's hats in a couple of sizes.
Polly made bags.
And is that not the most fun hat you've ever seen?