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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Air quality in Northern CA

This time around the fires are far from our city, but there are hundreds of them and we get the smoke from there. Every day we are watching the air quality report and it is BAD!
Many people went to the ocean shore. It is a trip from here, since we are in the valley and need to go around the mountains. We are trying to stay home, but it gets to me even here. I do not feel the smoke, but my head does.
Yesterday I took these pictures at about 6pm.

The sun is actually absolutely red, when you look at it, but on the photo it is a source of light (I guess the camera feels it has to be truthful).

O.K., I did darken it a little. A lot, actually:)
Isn't it beautiful, though? Somehow I do not believe we will have fireworks this year on the 4th of July.

Tomorrow we are leaving for a few days to San Francisco. Our daughter is moving back to CA from sometimes cold Michigan. It will be so nice to have at least one of our kids nearby.

Happy 4th of July everybody!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The TNNA buzz

Did you read many reports from TNNA by bloggers? I did. What a fun and exciting place to be! Look at Franklin's way to relate Scenes from TNNA , then maybe move to see the travels of "The Sock" of Yarn Harlot and a great photo montage of Kristi Porter. Take a peek at ColorJoy as well. Thank you all for posting the descriptions of what you saw and experienced. There are many other places to visit, but I leave it to you to find them.
After reading all these blogs, I promised myself to go there in January. It will be in San Diego, much closer to home.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Two Current Projects

I am in the middle of two interesting projects. At this time I cannot talk about them, but I can show you the yarns with which I am working. These yarns are new to me. So far I love both. What's not to like. Look.

Do you see what I mean? Of course, if you are not into these type of colors...I happen to like them. But go beyond the color. By the way, my new love (my MacBookPro) is modestly serving as a background for the Sublime angora merino.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Big Fire in Northern CA

We have made the national news. The reason is not a happy one. There was a huge fire near my college and city called Paradise. The southern part of Paradise was evacuated and our Butte college is still closed. As many as 74 homes were destroyed. I cannot even imagine what it feels like. I am hoping none of my friends lost their homes.

A Few Days in San Francisco

Once in a while I have to go to the city and get the energy from the streets full of people. Although I live in a small town now, I grew up in a large city. It is very natural for me to love the feeling of being in a huge crowd and have my own space at the same time. I do not know, if I am making any sense here, but that's how I feel.
San Francisco has a very interesting feature: it is a big city on a relatively small piece of land. I can go on and on about so many things that make this city one of the most interesting places in the world. I get much inspiration by just walking on the streets there.
I love architecture, so here are some shots from my last walk in downtown of San Francisco.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Week full of surprises and fun

I do not think I am back to normal state yet. It was some week!
On June 4th my blog was visited by 400 people. I am so glad you all came and I hope you enjoyed my talk with Carol. She is a very talented designer and an interesting person. Agree? Knit So Fine is a beautiful and very informative book. No wonder so many people are following the blog tour.

Just a few days before that I got my new MacBook and as you know it takes a very long time to load all the stuff on it and organize and... no kidding, get used to it. But who is complaining. Not me. I love it.

Now, back to June 4th. I went to get some stuff for my computer and Dawn calls me and tells me to go home and get my surprise. I was trying to get out of her what it was, but she did not budge. Oh, well. I went home. There was a note on the door that I need to call to get my delivery. Shortly after I made a call, the delivery man was at my door.

And there it was. People from Martingale and Co have sent me this beautiful bouquet with the thank you note. They have been so wonderful to us all along. Dawn, of course, got hers as well.

Closer to the time I needed to go to our Wednesday knitting circle, Dawn calls again and asks me, if I liked the book. Well, I did not get the book.
Finally, my advance copy of our book Casual, Elegant Knits came. I had to take a picture.

Don't they look lovely together?

Here, take a quick look inside.

Hopefully, it will be on the shelves on the week of July 21. You can see more then. Dawn and I love the way it came out. Our two years of work (which was very interesting and educational) now materialized in 96 pages of beautiful photographs, charts, diagrams, patterns and more. It is so hard to believe that it is done. If you are going to TNNA, go to Martingale booth. They have this book and some of the garments from it. I wish I could go there and see it. So, do it for me, please.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day Three of The Blog Tour for Knit So Fine

Did you catch the first two days with Carol and Andrea Lyn on Fiber Forum and Lisa and Courtney on RosieBlogs? It is so interesting to hear what goes into making a knitting book, don’t you think?

Today is the third day of the tour and I would like to begin my part with a little story.

My mother-in-law used to live in Philadelphia. Before coming to the U.S., she lived in Russia and was quite an avid knitter. During one of our visits to Philadelphia my husband suggested that we surprise her with a trip to a knitting shop. I have to admit that I did not oppose to this idea too much ;) That was the first but certainly not the last time we visited the Rosie’s Yarn Cellar. What a charming yarn shop! My mother-in-law was speechless. She had never seen so much yarn, needles, books, buttons, and all that she needs for knitting in one place. The ladies who worked there were very helpful and pleasant as well as very knowledgeable. I do not think they remember me since I was coming there only once a year or so, but I surely remember them.

When I saw this beautiful book called Knit So Fine at our local Barnes & Noble, I had to pick it up and at least look at it. The cover photo of Lace-Trimmed Raglan was calling me to knit it. The projects were beautiful and the yarns... I love the yarns! I could not be happier. I am a big fan of fine-gauge yarns. I looked at the back of the cover and became even more excited. The book was written by the owner of Rosie’s Yarn Cellar, Lisa Meyer, and by two other wonderful designers, Laura Grutzeck and Carol Sulcoski. Congratulations to all of you!

Now, can you see why I am so thrilled to host here Carol Sulcoski , who is one of the authors of Knit So Fine?

Today, Carol is visiting here with me to share some thoughts about the book and answer a few questions that I have for her.

Faina Goberstein: Hi, Carol. Congratulations and welcome to my blog. Could you share some thoughts about the book and the yarn choices you have made for it? Last week you have sent me a ball of Svale that you chose for one of your projects. Can you tell me about this yarn and the use of it for the book?

Carol Sulcoski: Sure. Dale of Norway is perhaps best known for their stranded-pattern ski sweaters and their Baby Ull baby yarn (it’s great for lace, too!). But in the last decade or so, Dale has been introducing some less traditional yarns that are quite lovely. Svale is a blend of cotton, silk and viscose, and it combines the coolness of these fibers along with a bit of drape. I like the way Svale feels; it’s soft and a little crunchy.

I chose Svale for the Skater Inspired Sweater. I mentioned previously how my son’s skateboarder tops, which feature faux layered sleeves, inspired me to create an adult version. I wanted to start with a DK or sport-weight yarn for the T-shirt part, and use a fingering weight for the faux sleeves (I figured a lighter-weight yarn was required for the long sleeves so they wouldn’t be too heavy to be attached to the short sleeves). I paired Svale with Dale cotton called Stork. If you don’t want to knit the attached long sleeves, you could very easily just knit the T-shirt sweater in Svale and wear it in warm weather. So, Faina, what did you think of the Svale?

FG: You know Carol, at the first glance I did not think much of this yarn. I am not much of a cotton lover in general. One way to find out if I like this one or not is to make a swatch. So, I took my size 6 needles and knitted this swatch using two stitch patterns.

Here, take a look.

I was pleasantly surprised that the more you knit with this yarn, the softer it becomes. Finally, I had to admit that I would like to wear a garment out of this yarn. I can see why you chose Svale for this comfy sweater.

When you are working with a fine yarn, is the project taking you much longer to knit ?

CS: It all depends. One of the things we wanted to do in the book was to show knitters that a garment doesn’t necessarily need to take a long time even if you are knitting with a skinnier yarn. So some of the items – like the striped vest – are knit with 2 strands of a fine yarn. But it is true that fine yarn projects often take longer to knit. We think they’re well worth it, though, because the end result you get is so terrific! For example, you may be able to knit a chunky sweater in a weekend, but where I live, a sweater that is that heavy and warm can only be worn a few times in the winter when it’s very cold. On the other hand, a sweater knit in a skinny yarn can be worn three seasons of the year, maybe more, depending on where you live.

FG: How important is it for your readers to follow your directions on making a gauge swatch and finishing techniques?

CS: That’s a great point. Whenever you knit a garment, you need to pay attention to gauge and knit a good-sized swatch with your yarn before you plunge ahead with the sweater. And if you are going to spend a little longer knitting in a fine yarn, you want to be extra-sure you are knitting something that will fit beautifully.

FG: How different is it to work with fine yarns and do you have any special tips on handling it?

CS: The first section of the book has a section devoted to tips on using fine yarns. For example, if you’re used to knitting with bulky yarns, we suggest going to a DK or sport- weight yarn first, before picking up the skinniest lace-weight, to make it a more gradual transition. But I find that whenever I start a new project or work with a new yarn, after working with it for a little while, it starts to feel comfortable. Doing a gauge swatch is a good way to get used to the feel of the smaller needles and skinnier yarn.

FG: Could you tell me why should I consider using skinny yarns?

CS: There are so many reasons!!

Fit – fine yarns provide you more opportunities to customize fit

Flattering – fine yarns don’t add bulk and therefore are more flattering to wear

Climate – fine yarns are more versatile; you can wear them more days of the year

Economical – if you’re on a budget, fine yarns give you more knitting bang for the buck as your yarn will, on average, be cheaper and you will get more knitting time out of most projects

Style – there are certain design effects that you just can’t do with chunky yarns. For example, Laura’s beautiful lace stole. You just can’t knit floaty, ethereal lace with a chunky yarn.

FG: How many sizes of the garments do you offer in the book?

CS: This varies a bit. There are some garments that are one size fits all – the lace stole, for example, and the beret. Others are written for four to five sizes, ranging from approximately 32 to 34 inch finished chest to 48-inch finished chest.

FG: Is your book for young people only?

CS: Hmm, I guess that depends on what you consider young! I’m in my early forties, and I would wear just about anything in the book. But we made a conscious effort to try to come up with designs that would appeal to all ages. I think that many of the pieces are versatile enough that you can incorporate them into your wardrobe, regardless of your exact sense of style. What you wear them with and how you accessorize them can change the look dramatically and tailor them to your own unique sensibility.

FG: Did all the authors have the same vision for the book? Does your book represent very different design styles or you all agreed on one and followed that?

CS: Having worked together before at Lisa’s knitting shop, I think we understood each other’s styles pretty well and they seem to balance each other out. My designs are, I think, more accessible for less experienced knitters, while Lisa’s travelling-stitch legwarmers, for example, are designed for more experienced knitters. Laura’s designs tend to have a more urban feel than mine – like the stunning wrap dress – whereas mine may be a bit more casual, like the skater sweater. I think that makes for a stronger overall book since you get a variety of styles.

FG: This Ruffle Scarf is stunning, Carol. Where someone can purchase this beautiful and useful book?

CS: Right now, the book is on sale at, Barnes & and other on-line bookstores. It is also being shipped to knitting shops; I know that some on-line retailers, like WEBS and Jimmy Bean’s Wool, are listing it as “in stock,” and I hope that your local bookshop and LYS will have it soon if they don’t already! You can also order it directly from Interweave Press’ website.

FG: This is all so interesting! Thank you so much for being here today and giving us a great preview of the book. I am sure that your book will be very successful. Make sure to schedule some California trips for the book- signing events!

CS: Thank you, Faina for letting me visit your blog! I look forward to seeing your book Casual, Elegant Knits when it arrives at the end of July. May I ask: did you use any skinny yarns in your book?

FG: Thank you, Carol for mentioning our book. Dawn and I are so excited about it. As a matter of fact, we did use some fine-gauge yarn for our projects. But, this is your day and we can talk with you about our book some other time.

Congratulations again to you, Lisa, and Laura! I am looking forward to the day four with Kat Coyle and the rest of your blog tour . So far it is going fabulously!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Interweave Knits Winter 2008

Last Thursday I got an unexpected call from Eunny Jang, the editor of Interweave Knits. She asked me if I would not mind if they included my design in the Winter 08 issue.
My possible answers were: Hmm..., let me think..., no, not really, o.k., go ahead, sure, thank you very much. Guess which one I chose?!
I am truly happy about this. The yarn for my project will come soon (I can't wait!) and I will start playing with it. I do not teach during summer, so it could not be more perfect.