Arne and Carlos Visit Portland!

My already well used and much loved collectin of books by Arne and Carlos

Arne and Carlos rock!

Most of you following me these last couple years already know how much I admire and enjoy their knitting books.

Magnus Garden Mouse transformed into a Christmas Mouse

And you have been witness to my adventures knitting their patterns for Christmas Balls and precious Knitted Dolls!

Just finished the overalls and sweater for Magnus Garden Mouse - a pattern featured in "Knit and Crochet Garden". However, in my house, Magnus has been officially elevated to head "Christmas Mouse".

Arne and Carlos

But best of all, just a couple weeks ago, I actually had the opportunity to meet Arne and Carlos and take their class - "Knitting Christmas Balls"! That is my sweet beautiful daughter, Diane (Craftypod) standing next to me and who made it possible for me to take the class.

I still have not managed to get my feet replanted firmly on terra firma!!

They were so gracious and lovely with every single person in class, taking time to sit and knit with them, or sign copies of "55 Christmas Balls to Knit", or offer insights and help as needed.

I mentioned on Instagram that they are like sunshine flooding a room when they walk into it - and I am sure anyone who has had the opportunity to meet them in person will heartily agree.

Considering how dark and painful my life has been these past three months, a big dose of sunshine was just what I needed; and I welcomed the chance to actually meet Arne and Carlos.

Here is a link to their website: Arne and Carlos.  A little video here. And follow them as they travel around the world and as they play at home on Instagram - arnecarlos.

KnitPurl, Portland OR

The class was held at KnitPurl - a lovely yarn shop in Portland. They seem to specialize in exquisite yarn and I can't wait for a return trip just to browse and enjoy a less distracted visit.

In addition to the gorgeous yarn, I was especially impressed by the thought that went into lighting - clear, bright and perfect for showing off true color. No need to head for a window to determine color.

And down stairs, a classroom!

Knitted Christmas Ball class with Arne and Carlos

Smiles and personal attention - and lots of laughs and fun! I was so enchanted observing Arne and Carlos interacting with other class members that I am pretty sure I had a big, silly grin on my face the full two hours.

Didn't make much progress on my Christmas Ball (pretty red and white yarn in foreground supplied as part of the class fee by KnitPurl), but I learned so many tricks for improving my technique - in spite of my enchanted state of mind!

Knitted Christmas Balls

I learned that blocking using a wet towel and iron will hugely improve the look of the finished balls. Carlos told us to press them flat - but Arne teased him, reminding him that he once tried pressing over oranges - that option actually worked for me. A tennis ball would be a better option I suppose.

Knitted Christmas Balls

And I got to watch first hand as Arne showed me how to knit into the back of a decrease stitch to preserve the surface design. Finally no more randomly disappearing stitches!

And if they do disappear - or I make a mistake - there is the duplicate stitch for repairs! Wow! They share this information in the book, but I just must not have paid attention - thinking it was for embroidering a full design over the surface of a ball. But it is great for hiding little - uh - mis-knits!

Knitted Christmas Balls

And I learned how to do a much much much better job of creating a hanging loop! And attaching it so that future balls will not sag into a tear drop shape!

This technique is covered in the book as well, but usually by the time i get to the hanging loop stage, I am so anxious to hang the ball I just pull through a bit of yarn.  Not any longer.  This is a far superior hanging solution.

Knitted Christmas Balls

Tada! Two newest Christmas Balls - just off the needles. Much improved.

And check out the cool tweed yarn (KnitPicks City Tweed) used for these two little beauties. Inspiration from Tony over at BonitoClub! He is currently engaged in knitting all 55 balls in tweed and as I understand it, not only has he inspired me to use tweed yarn for Christmas balls, but he has also inspired Arne and Carlos to give it a try! (You can also follow Tony's progress on Instagram - bonitoclub)

"NORWEGIAN KNITS WITH A TWIST" by Arne and Carlos - published in English by Trafalgar Books was just released in September. I LOVE this book. Seriously - I LOVE this book. I have marked over half the projects as MUST MAKE! That never, ever happens!

I will be reviewing this fabulous book in November because it is the perfect Christmas gift for anyone on your gift list who loves to knit.

Now - back to the needles! Christmas is traveling toward us at lightening speed!