Kansas City Plaza Art Fair Recap!

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The Kansas City Plaza Art Fair was incredible. The crowds are mind-boggling, I recall reading somewhere that the expected number of attendees were 300,000. I don’t know if I’m correct on that number but it felt like that many people once the sun went down on Friday and Saturday evening.

People visiting our booth, knitters/crocheters and those just drawn by the color, were definitely appreciative and very happy to see an indie dyer included in the fiber artist category. I felt quite honored to be part of this show.

Below are an assortment of photos from the weekend in Kansas City, and several of a new finished project that was on display. There was a second new finished project which I’ll post photos of in a day or so.

Click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view.

The new colorways of Lost City Silk yarns were a popular attraction!

This is a new modification on the Hindwing of the Monarch Shawl.
Notice how much lacier the lower section is. Details and an updated pattern to come soon.
Edited to add: The new modification to the Hindwing of the Monarch Shawl is now available!
Download Monarch Shawl version 1.5! 

Close up of the Monarch mod and beading. 
The wall of yarn (after a few customers have shopped). 
These guys visited the booth and were kind enough to pose. Colorful fellas, not very chatty though. 
We were open until 10pm both Friday and Saturday night. 

Stage lighting was important to show off the lace designs after sundown.

What’s up next for LCK? We’ll be at the Art on Main in Jenks, Oklahoma on Saturday October 8th, then off to War Eagle Fair in Hindsville, Arkansas the weekend of October 13-16. More to come about the November and December schedule.


Winfield bound!

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Congratulations to Kay from Norman, OK! She’s the lucky winner in our naming contest who suggested Manique as the name for our new dress form.

We’re leaving today for the Walnut Valley Festival – commonly referred to as Winfield. Because stock can change dramatically during the festival season I’m removing all of the paypal buttons in the online shops until the festival season ends. If you’d like to purchase yarn, please send an email from THIS PAGE with the fiber type and colorway. I’ll check the availability and send you a paypal invoice.

If you’re not familiar with Winfield, it’s a large international guitar festival held each September in Winfield, Kansas. Official competitions include not just guitar but banjo, dulcimer and fiddle too. Thousands of people will show up to camp, play music, and have a good time. Check out some of the videos on YouTube for WInfield! The other thing about Winfield is there a lot – and I mean a lot – of people wearing tie dye! I’ve got mine ready!

I’m reknitting several patterns for display in the Lost City Knits booth for the festival season and having a heck of a good time doing so. Yesterday I finished another Monarch, this one in lace llama. I bumped up the needle size to get more openness and a larger shawl. Using the larger version (available as part of the most recent download) I also modified the Fringe Chart a bit. As you may remember on the last Monarch I knit only row one of the Fringe Chart and bound off on the back side. I liked that so much I did the same thing this time! The edging points are pointier and the Fringe looks much more butterfly-like to me. If you’re knitting Monarch – I recommend this modification!

I’m also knitting another Maaema, this one in the Wool Tussah Silk Fingering, bumping up the needle size to an 8US this time and adding beads on row 2 and row 7 of the set – up on each end. Fun!

There are four projects in my knitting bag for Winfield. I just never know what I’ll want to work on between music sets and customer rushes.

How many projects do you take with you when traveling? One big project or several smaller ones?


We’ve brought a new member onto the Lost City Knits team! She’s great at standing still and willing to have her photo taken any time we ask. What a trooper.

Monarch Shawl
This morning I draped the newest Monarch Shawl over her shoulders while she stood quietly on the studio porch next to the yarn I dyed yesterday. Then I escorted her off the porch and into the sideyard of the studio (also known as the pet cemetery but I didn’t tell her that). 
Monarch Shawl
Monarch Shawl

The problem is that we don’t know what to call her. If you’ve got an idea we’re having a contest on the Fans of Lost City Knits Ravelry Forum. Join the group (yes only members can participate) and post your name idea in the appropriate thread. People can show their appreciation of your cleverness by hitting the “LOVE” button. I’ll chose a name on September 13th. 
The winner will get a skein of Lost City Knits yarn. Chose from colorways in either Wool Tussah Silk Fingering, Worsted or Lost City Knits Sock. 

And the new Monarch? That’s knit in our Wool Tussah Silk Worsted colorway Wild Plums. 

Arts Festival Oklahoma!

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The Autumn festival season began this past weekend with a short trip down the turnpike to Oklahoma City for the three-day Arts Festival Oklahoma on the Oklahoma City Community College campus. This was our second year at AFO and we really hit it off this year with a new booth location and some mighty fine weather. While Saturday was hot, both Sunday and Monday the temperature remained in the eighties, and everyone was delighted the Sunday morning’s cool front signaled the end of an especially hot summer here.

This was our first trial for a new set up which we’ve jokingly dubbed The Wall of Yarn. The yarns on the wall are the wool/tussah silk from Oklahoma raised sheep. In fact, our friends Sue and Nanc, the sheep farmers, arrived early Saturday morning to see the full range of colors that their sheep turned out to be! I think they were happy. When we picked up the fleeces from Sue and Nanc they were all white – okay not really white but what passes for white sheep for who live on a real farm. Being able to hang the skeins grouped in color ranges makes it easy for the customer to say, “I like blue” then see – and fondle – plenty of yarns in her favorite color. On the tables there are llama and alpaca yarns in baskets, sock yarns on another hanging rack and merino yarns on their own display as well.

I don’t know why but there are still people who are completely unaware of the popularity of knitting. It’s exciting to explain that – no, knitting isn’t a dying art and no they don’t have to settle for the old yucky chunky itchy acrylic yarn sold in craft and hobby big box stores.

As for my Finish or Frog goal – well – I’ve already fallen off the wagon. During the drive to OKC I made plenty of headway on the Bryn Mawr Skirt and even knitted down to the toe of the first Burlesque sock during slow moments on Saturday at the festival. I was feeling so good that I cast on another project. Here is an almost complete Monarch Shawl in the Wool Tussah Silk colorway called Summer Plums. (I’ve upgraded this wool from Sport to Worsted after doing several more wraps-per-inch tests. When you see it in person, you’ll understand why!) Look at the fun color play in this yarn.

Monarch Shawl in Summer Plums colorway
Burlesque Sock

Upside down Bryn Mawr Skirt

Employing a book light for car knitting on the way back to the farm

As I said, this is almost complete, only two more rows on the Fringe Chart. I’d like to finish it tonight. I’d like to finish the toe of the Burlesque Sock tomorrow night. I definitely like to finish the Bryn Mawr Skirt this week as well. All three are possible – especially if I don’t sleep or eat.

Summer Sightings

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It’s only the first week of June yet it’s summer – full on summer – in Oklahoma. As I write this post it’s just not quite 2 pm and already over 90 degrees F/ 32.2 degrees C and the temperature is still climbing. Any lengthy time outside results in my feeling like a slug or a puddle or a sloth. I become slow moving and just a little melty.

Despite heat-induced sloth-like behavior I experience, the beauty of the season is hard to ignore. For instance – lilies. How can anyone ignore lilies?

How about this Blackberry Snack ornamental lily?

Or my newest ornamental Elodie.

 Or the abundance of Great Spangled Fritallaries?

I’ve sighted a few Monarch butterflies (of the lepidoptera variety not the fibery kind) and even several wild silk moths here at the farm although I’ve yet to get photographs of any. 

On the fibery goodness front there have been a few new arrivals as well. A big order of local wool just returned from the mill. So far I’ve only dug into the bags of sport weight wool blended with 30% tussah silk to dye. The first colorways are turning out lovely! A few early skeins have been snapped up at our farmers market but I’ll get the skeins photographed and up for sale on the blog this week.

Wool/Tussah Silk Sport Weight 220yds

Wool/Tussah Silk Sport Weight 220yds

This new yarn will be perfect for the Monarch Shawl in it’s original size. One skein, one shawl. I love that. I think you’ll like these colorways too.

In celebration of summer (or maybe as a coping strategy) I’ve declared open season on popsicles!

Let the brain freezes begin!

SWAK Knit Out 2011

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Last weekend was another great SWAK Knit Out weekend. I don’t know how Keely does it every year – there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the planning and executing of such an event. When I arrived late on Thursday to set up for the LCK Trunk Show that was beginning the following morning two of the three teachers had yet to arrive. Fiona Ellis made it from Toronto to Oklahoma without much mishap. Franklin Habit later arrived from Chicago without much trouble but Jane Thornley and her husband had a dickens of a time getting to Guthrie, OK from Nova Scotia. Problems on each end of the flight resulted in Jane and the Hairy-Legged-Swift (as she calls her devoted spouse) riding a bus from Tulsa, OK during a thunderstorm to Guthrie and arriving at 4am.

I had enrolled in Jane’s Yarnscaping class that took place at 2pm on Friday and it was hard to tell that she’d only had a few hours of sleep. The inspirational Yarnscaping class included Jane passing around her first yarnscaping journal so we could all see and understand how she had begun to create her own designs from museum visits, flowers, and paintings. Before long we all had a chance to use our sketch books and colored pencils to begin something unique and seemingly unstructured. I say seemingly because while Jane’s style grows organically it does help to have some understanding of garment construction and have a few known stitches in your repertoire.

Friday night Franklin Habit presented an excellent presentation on knitting in history with detailed accounts of translating famous works like Jane Gaugain’s Knitter’s Assistant and Weldon’s Practical Knitter into something a modern knitter can understand. While Franklin is obviously brilliant, his wicked humor kept us laughing all evening.

My Saturday class line-up included Fiona Ellis’s Morphing Cables. Fiona is not only sweet and funny but has a glorious style with cables as is evident in her book Inspired Cable Knits. She’s also addicted to icord and uses it as a design tool. Since it’s been a few years since I’ve done any cabling I am very glad I enrolled in Fiona’s class. Now I have a better understanding of how to take a simple cable and create something as elaborate as a celtic knot in a cabled garment.

After a leisurely lunch I headed back into class this time with Franklin to gain a little more experience with Lace Edgings: Before, During and After. If you’re into lace – this can be a very important class to take. What I discovered was that I’m completely capable of adding a lace edging to the outside of a finished shawl. I don’t know why I’ve shied away from this for several years. It’s not nearly as scary as say…steeking.

With another evening shindig that included a fashion show of numerous knitted patterns from books we’ve all drooled over I finally had time to hang with my good friend Cathy who’d driven to Guthrie to “yarn sit” with the trunk show while I was in class. Cathy and I have done Knit Out together numerous times in the past and it’s just not a Knit Out if I don’t get time to unwind over a bottle of wine with Cathy!

You may be wondering where are all the photos that go along with such an adventure? For some reason I was having so much fun that I never pulled out my camera until Sunday during Franklin’s Photographing Your Fiber class. Generally when you see nice photos on my blog they’re the work of Christopher. Mine are ummm… somewhat more amateurish. I have a sweet little point and shoot Nikon Coolpix. It’s not unwieldy, it fits in my purse, and yet is still a good bit beyond my ken. Apature? White Balance? Depth of Field? (well I do kind of understand that one without much explanation) Shutter Speed? Lighting is different colors? It’s enough to make my head spin, but Franklin has a way of making all this important information much easier to understand. While I still have a long way to go I’m now more comfortable with experimenting and not getting frustrated with the results of my photography.

Everyone was asked to bring a finished project or two with them so finally I pulled out my trusty little digital camera. (Which by the way, is more sophisticated than the cameras used by Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams! Why knew?)

I took a few standard photos of my newest Monarch Shawl (Llama Bamboo Sport colorway Red Dirt Roads). The lighting is pretty decent in this first one but for some reason I’m still getting my angles wrong and catching things like the baseboards in the photo, or cutting the tips of the shawl out of the photo. All of the following are my unedited photos.

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

My camera has several fun settings that for the first time I played with – like black & white and sepia.

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

You all know me well enough by now to know I like to get outside and have some fun, so I took the Monarch out onto the sidewalk and draped her over a broken cement plant holder. Not as fun as I’d hoped.

Monarch Shawl

Then I spied some great wrought iron chairs and pulled one out of the shade and into the light. The wind began to lift the edges and for some reason I forgot about trying to get a good shot of the shawl pattern overall and spent my efforts trying to time the clicking of the shutter button to catch when the wind would pick up the edge of the shawl and give a nice shadow on the sidewalk. It’s trickier than it sounds considering I don’t have (or haven’t found) a continuous option on my camera. You know what I mean right – that rapid fire clicking of the paparazzi snapping thirty photos in as many seconds?

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

Monarch Shawl

I’m still catching things like the yellow sewer grate in my photos and missing the very edge of the shawl as the wind whips it around but I’m more confident than I was last week. It’ll take some time before the information I learned in Franklin’s photography class becomes second nature but I’m learning!

SWAK Tote Bag

To commemorate the weekend – Franklin drew Dolores on my new knitting project bag!

Signed by Franklin Habit!


Monarch Shawl – Released for Migration!

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The Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus, is perhaps the most famous butterfly in North America or even the world. These amazing creatures migrate northward up to 3000 miles each spring after spending their winters in Mexico or California.

Great clusters of them can be seen during the migration period, entire trees can be covered with their cinnamon, orange, and gold wings providing a most amazing sight. There are many unknowns about the Monarch’s migration process because the individuals never make the full round trip. It is their children’s grandchildren that return.

This shawl’s pattern was influenced by the Monarch’s wings. Should the completed shawl be worn by you for awhile and then passed on to a child or grandchild, well, that would seem appropriate, too.

Original Design was knit in Lost City Knits Llama Bamboo Sport, natural colorway. A second has been knit (but not yet photographed) in Lost City Knits Llama Bamboo Red Dirt Roads, and Extra Virgin colorway.

Materials Needed: 220 yards/201 meters of sport weight yarn. Size 7 US/ 4.5 mm circular needle. Four Stitch markers.

The Monarch Shawl pattern is now available in the LCK Pattern Shop as a FREE download!

Happy Knitting and Happy Butterfly Watching!
ps if you knit a Monarch Shawl – we appreciate your linking it in Ravelry! 

Dear Knitters – please accept my apologies but there were several errors on the Written Directions. No changes have been made to the charts. A new version with Written Direction corrections has been uploaded. Please be sure you have downloaded Monarch Shawl, v1.1 if you are using the Written Directions.

Lost City Denise