Saturday, December 12, 2009

Started a few things...

It's been a while.  I have been knitting like crazy but haven't posted anything. I like to post with pictures and I have been amiss at taking pictures lately. I dunno why.  I made Mom a pair of socks - my tenth pair - and forgot to take a photo of either of them.  You would think I would record a milestone in my knitting adventures but noooo - I forgot.  Must be one of those senior moments.

So here's what I did take photos of...

These are Star Crossed Berets made out of Paztaza.  An easy knit and a flattering hat to wear.  Should look great on the intended recipients.  I hope they not only like them but wear them too. 

I love blue - all shades.  Aqua is on top followed by baby blue.  So I took the light blue star crossed beret above and made this scarf to match out of Misty Alpaca Chunky.

Then I used some Blue Sky Alpaca to make these hand warmers to complete the trio.

I started a pair of socks for myself in a STR yarn I was saving for a special pattern.  I decided on the Diamond Gansey Socks from Wendy Johnson's Socks From the Toe Up. I'm almost up to the scary heel - ooooo!

As you can see I can be in baby blue from my head to my toes!

Another thing on the needles is a Mohair Wrap/Scarf from Last winters issue of Knit1.  The wrap was originally done in a chunky weight yarn.  I got the idea for Mohair from Alyssa (of Annie and Co).

I still have to make hats for the guys in the family - more of a yarn choice then anything else.  My son has requested a hat and hand warmers to match made from LionBrand Fishermans yarn in natural brown with a stripe of red.  This may become the seasons set - we'll see how many I can make before I get really bored.

And Finally here are a couple of picture of my Wyoming Alpaca sweater....

So that's what I've been up to - how about you?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Done with Wyoming and a Hat

I was so busy with Rhinebeck I forgot all the other stuff that's been going on.  I finished my Alpaca "Wyoming" sweater just in time to wear it to Rhinebeck and get buttons.  I love the way it came out.  I have to go get a couple of button down shirts to wear with it.  I have 1 skein left in my hands and 2 skeins hidden somewhere around this apt.  Hopefully I can find them this winter.  Its not that this apt is very big, its just that yarn hides very well.  I haven't had a chance to take any pictures of it yet.  (The sweater, not the missing yarn.)

 The other thing I was working on was a hat (by request) for my sister-in-funlaw, Dawn.  She gave me a few pictures of various hats and then described what she wanted from there.  Susie had a pattern she found and used but it wasn't quite it.  So I wrote my own pattern for this very simple hat.  I am formatting it now and hope to have it available very soon.  My next step will be to figure out how to post a pattern - Susie, oh Susie HELP!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

364 Days to the Next Sheep & Wool Festival @ Rhinebeck

So much has gone on in the last few weeks I don't know where to begin? Yes I do.  We went to the NYS Wool & Sheep Festival @ Rhinebeck on Saturday.  It was a lot of fun despite the cold weather.  This is my second year and I enjoyed it just as much as the first.  I didn't think it was as crowded but we got there a couple of hours earlier this year then last. We got there so early the artichoke man was just setting up.

Yet the crowd at The Fold (Socks that Rock merchant) was already many deep.  This was my first stop so I put hubby on the line and managed to get back to him with my finds by the time he reached check-out.  Not as long a wait as last year - a double size booth and two checkout lines helped move us along to other wool vendors quickly.

Next stop buttons.  I finally finished my Wyoming alpaca sweater and wanted special buttons. "Bread Butter and Sugar" makes ceramic buttons and they are great.  Delicate and tough all at the same time. I saw her last year and knew she would be there this year.  I love the buttons and I love my sweater.  Together we are all very happy.  After these two stops I really had no agenda, except I wanted more sock yarn, so we just wandered around.

I discovered a new (to me) wool company from Texas - Brooks Farm Yarn.  I snagged 4 skeins of their "Solo Silk" - its a 50/50 blend of silk and wool in a single ply sport weight. Yummy!

Then I found Periwinkle Sheep,
another inde dyer and scored medium weight sock yarn. Her stuff is very nice with supple color variations.  Karen from Periwinkle shared a booth with Sliver Moon Farm.  Picked up 2 small skeins of a nice rust color.

I stopped by Briar Rose but nothing hit me, I did see two gals wearing nice cardigans and they sent me to Decadent Fibers.  I got a cardigans worth of a lovely teal worsted yarn there along with more sock yarn.  

Then on to Ellen's Half Pint Farm.  Last year I got a great 50/50 blend of alpaca and silk that I am currently working on a wrap with in a colorway called aquarium.  I was anxious to see what kind of sock yarn I might find.  I was not disappointed - 3 more skeins.  

And the last skein of sock yarn came from Gale Evans - called cherry blossom although it reminds me more of fall.  She had such colorful roving I actually thought about not knitting! 

The thing I love most about the Festival is all the independent vendors.  One never knows who or what they'll discover in the next stall. I almost bought a dye kit.  Maybe by next year I'll get up my nerve.  I stared at the rug making - hmmm, interesting. So much warm, fuzzy, soft and colorful roving. Spinners wheels, dropped spindles - is there enough time not knitting to add something else?  Maybe.

Glass knitting needles and notions of all sorts.  Swifts and ball winders.  And yarn from such a wide variety of animals - sheep, goats, alpaca, ox, and rabbits.  Some sheep still had their coats, others were sheared and wearing quilted coats/blankets.  Alpacas jumped.  Rabbits were held. Goats were petted.

And let me not forget lunch, which I did forget to photograph.  While I was picking out yarn for a sweater at Decadent Fibers hubby had a lamb sandwich. He said it was delicious so I skipped the other fare and headed for the Lamb tent. We shared one of their lamb plates - 2 lamb chops, wilted spinach with garlic and a few lamb ravioli.  I have Celiac's so I ate the chops and the spinach while hubby ate the ravioli's (he said they were delicious and we should go the their restaurant. Unfortunately we forgot their name and none of the food vendors are listed in the program.)

Hot cider and a walk through building E for a basket, cheese and some jerky.  Now we were all set.  Wool fumes and well fed - what a great Saturday!  Now where are my needle?!

Monday, September 28, 2009

New House - New Stash Closet

We closed on our house last Thursday and no I didn't finish knitting anything.  I did knit a row or two of the hat I'm working on just to say that I knitted in my new house.  For the first 3 days it seemed that I just walked around and looked at the house.  I started to clean bits and pieces but I stared more then I cleaned.
There is a lot of maintenance that needs to be done. While hubby got the gutters re-attached and free of mud and muck, I cleaned about one sixth of the kitchen.  Just enough to make some food and a lot of coffee.  Although if I had cleaned that much kitchen here in Manhattan I would have cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom twice! LOL!
We cleaned out the wood stove and chimney so we could have a couple of cozy fires.  A cord and a half of wood was delivered early Saturday morning, it took us 2 hours to stack it all.  To some it may not seem like a lot of wood but for me it was a lot of wood!  
On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY We had no idea what we were in for so we went late in the afternoon.  This fair is huge with lots of great garlic, music, garlic merchandise and garlicky food. Next year we will be going earlier and making a full day of it.  We either ate or came home with pulled pork, pickles, garlic ice cream, garlic blackened string beans, coconut shrimp, salsa's galore, sauerkraut, jelly and jam, vinegar, garlic shots and a couple of garlic braids.  Good thing we both love garlic!
I finally stopped starring and got around to really cleaning on Sunday and knocked out the upstairs bathroom and my bedroom including a large walk in closet.
I now have a place to stash some wool and get it out of my son's closet.  It didn't matter before but now the teenager has discovered girls and become a clothes stallion.  Little does he know that its going in his closet upstate. Hehehe! Hear that wool stash - country air.

BTW - I cannot lift my arms above my neck today - it was a lot of wood!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pick It Up - Put It Down

I picked up the Wyoming sweater again and plowed through the first sleeve.  I then diligently started the second sleeve and am 4 inches from the bind off and I just put it down.  I don't know why, I just put it down.  I want to finish it.  Really I do.  I just haven't.
I started to work on a neck scarf with a dropped lace leaf pattern - making it up as I go along and trying to chart it out at the same time.  I started work on a hat, by request, for Dawn.  An overly long, slouchy, weeds type chapeau.  Also making it up as I go along.  If this one fails Susie has a back up pattern for me that she has used successfully a couple of times.
Susie is my blog mentor and I couldn't have picked a better one.  Her blog is really cute and really taking off.  She has been officially - commercially - recognized. She'll tell you herself when the time comes, but I wish her all the good yarn fumes a knitter could want. 
I am very excited writing this because I am closing on my house tomorrow.  I can't wait!  It's a short drive to the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival and I can't wait for that either.  It is going to be a very nice fall and winter full of knitting and house stuff and skiing for the boys and wool for me!
So maybe I better take that sweater to the closing (2 hour drive) and have two things to celebrate at the end of the weekend.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Socks finished, sweater to go?

I finished my socks! Yea! Finally! It seems like the longest month of sock knitting.  I have so many WIP that I had to make something for fast, instant, gratification. 
I picked up the new Vouge knitting magazine.  The one with the pink beret on the cover.  I made the chunky cable and bobble hat.  Pattern #12.  My first foray into bobbles.  Not for lack of ability but more like a lack of desire.  But on this hat they were very cute.  Now I have to design a pair of hand warmers to match (A request from the person who doesn't know they are getting the matching hat - well maybe until now) 
I picked up my alpaca sweater as the weather is giving us fall like glimpses.  I am finished with the body and now have to cast on for the sleeves.  Two of them.  I can always finish it for spring?!  No, no I must not procrastinate.
I have decided to hibernate the one strip scarf and the lace thread scarf for now.  I haven't picked up the blanket in a while.  More because I don't know just where I'm going with it.  Probably to the cave with the other stuff.  But ya never know what Mama Bear will knit while she is in her cave waiting for Papa Bear and Jr. to come home for their porridge.
I guess I'm just trying to get my head clear for The Wool & Sheep Festival.  I am dreaming of new sock yarn.  Last year I got enough great yarn to last the year.  But now the year is coming to an end and I'm almost out of "special" sock yarn stash.  I have a couple of skeins left. I know I can always get some very good commercial and widely available sock yarn but the "special " stuff is well -"special".  I like all the independently dyed sock yarn.  I like getting there what I can't get anywhere else.  I stock up and go through it all year long. I can almost smell the wool ...
But for now back to my sweater!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back Home / Back Knitting

I spent a week on vacation and I must admit I didn't get much knitting done.  I finished the one sock I started before we left and knit 4" of the cuff on its match.  I also did not finish reading my book, more like 2/3 through.  It was a great vacation!  You can tell because I got nothing done.
I am working on my sock today.   Susie gave me a set of short bamboo needles (she doesn't like wood - she's a metal snob and a disco queen!)  I was resistant at first because they were so short, but I found with this pair of socks that I love the shorty's.  I just ordered a set from Knit Picks.  While I like the bamboo I love the slickness of the Harmony Woods.  Slick but warm and no grain to feel as your needles pass by one another.  Bamboo may stop the needles from sliding out but it also drags the yarn.  Tight wood makes a difference to me.  I need some drag because I don't knit very tight - not tight enough for metal.  The Harmony's give just the right amount of drag without snag that I'm looking for.  And for what you would pay for one pair of fancy stix's elsewhere one can procure an entire set including metric sizes.  Those in between sizes can help make those socks just the right size.
At this point I have decided to add a stripe of red all around the blanket.  Its not really a blanket yet.  Its closer to a pillow cover, which it might become before all is said and done.  I am not loving how the back looks on a knitted blanket.  The last few blankets I made were crocheted and I can't help but think as I am knitting this how much "neater" it would be if it was just done in single crochet.  So this might wind up being a pillow cover and I might just start crocheting a blanket for the house.  Or at least find a different pattern that I think I'll like knitting better.  So its either a crocheted log cabin or a knitted hemlock ring or one of EZ's designs.
I think I'll cast on for something else while I decide.  What will it be?  We'll see. . .

Friday, August 14, 2009

More Socks and a Rhinebeck Rant

I finished the socks for Dawn and they fit her like a glove - so she says. Its hard to wear wool socks right now so I understand but come the first frost I hope to have a picture of them in action to post or I may have to kidnap them for the big web.
I tried to work on my Alpaca cardigan but the yarn just sticks to ya and does not illicit the same oo's and ahh's it got from me when I bought it. In this weather its more like ich and uck. This sweater will have to wait until fall.

I started a simple pair of 4x2 rib socks with "Socks that Rock" yarn in a colorway of jewel tones that I really, really like. I finished the first one in about a week. It had wandering cables spiraling down the leg and across the foot. Notice I say "had". I tried it on and it was too small - I went home and checked my sock yarn stash and I had nothing left that was close to this colorway. So yes I did - I frogged it. Here is a photo of the new larger sock sans the cables (they got lost in the colors). The yarn pools and spirals with the 6 extra stitches that it didn't do before. Before the entire sock was mottled (like the current heel portion) - which I liked - so I was a little taken aback by the new color pattern that was created. I still don't know which one I liked more. Funny how the variables of yarn+knitting works.

I started a log cabin blanket to match the house we are under contract for. It's in LionBrand Fisherman Wool in natural brown and the red stripes are in LionBrand Wool. I like the colors together, they match the cedar on the house. I decided on the thin line of color at the end of every strip. As perfect as the front may look the back shows the masochist side of perfectionism - lots of ends to weave in. I'm trying to weave as I go. I don't know if I'm going to do the whole blanket this way or if I'm going to add more red - we'll see.

Even though I am knitting a blanket for the house, we haven't closed yet, so I haven't canceled my reservation for the Roadway Inn in Kingston. House or not - I will be at the Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, for the entire weekend, this year. Last year was my first time there - I was so overwhelmed with joyous wool fumes that I missed the Ravelry lunch and couldn't stay for the after party. I did secure all the wool I wanted with no regrets in that department. So this year I will Ravelry! And I will go with hubby and maybe a few friends and we will stay for the weekend and we will Ravelry!

And I will restock my sock yarn stash. Its the one thing I loved most at Rhinebeck - all the great indie dyed sock yarn! I also secured a few hundred yards of natural charchol gray alpaca in sport weight and an alpaca/silk/merino blend worsted in beach colors. This year more sock yarn, less frenzy and more time to savor the wool fumes.

I pledged to Susie (AKA Knitting Knoobie) that I would try to blog every week but we are going on vacation next week and I won't be blogging then. I will be finishing my socks in air and reading on the beach. We are currently reading Wally Lamb's "The Moment I First Believed". Or I should say I am still reading (Susie finished and I think Megan did too). See ya week after next.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to Knitting

I decided I have to get back to my alpaca sweater so I can have it finished by the end of the summer. So I wanted to clear a couple of project up first.
I finished my green Baby Surprise Jacket and went to M&T Buttons to get some really cute buttons. The damn buttons cost more then the wool! But they are so cute and match so perfectly. The Lion Brand Superwash Merino worked out very nicely for this project. It took just one skein of yarn. I have a little yarn left and am thinking about putting a collar on it. I am putting this one away for the next baby shower/announcement.

I'm closing in on (finally) finishing the Kai-mei socks for Dawn. I'm almost at the toe. These should be done by the weeks end. The skinny scarf is about half way there. I want to finish my sweater. I also want to start a sweater for my son, a blanket for our home, a triangle scarf of my own design, another pair of socks and a few holiday gifts. So much yarn, so many patterns and projects ~ so little time.

Oh and I think I might have found a house! Well it was the second house that we liked and missed by 2 days. Seems the other buyers backed out and we have the chance to get it. I know this is just the beginning of the house closing adventure but I must have looked at over 50 houses and I'm just glad the foreplay is over. I know this is like wishing your kids would talk and then they become teenagers and won't shut up! ...but I'm still gald the looking is over and that my kid can talk!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Looking for a place to stash my stash

OK so I have been knitting like crazy lately. Lately being the last 4 months. The reason ... we've been looking for a house. OMG! What an experience ~ frustrating, exciting, too much emotion, timing, money. Needless to say - knitting yoga zen to the rescue!

And don't get me started on banks. Two upstate banks took all my info on the phone and gave me pre-approved for a few different kinds of loans in a few hours. Chase took an application from us 8 weeks ago and I still haven't heard back from them. When I inquired on the third week (after about 12 houses we were eying got sold), they said they were busy and would get back to me very soon. I'm still waiting, holding my breath and turning blue. Do you believe they had the nerve to call a few days ago and ask if they could help us in any way (like sell us a credit card or bank overdraft) and when my husband asked about the pre-approval application the Chase rep's reply was that it wasn't why he called and couldn't help us with that. Needles to say my husband is seriously considering closing his account with Chase for lack of service, any service. I have never banked with Chase and now I never will.

As fun as banks are the most fun has been translating real estate speak into American English. Country kitchen seems to mean needs a kitchen, no cabinets, or both. TLC - you would think it means tender loving care but it really means takes lunatic to consider. Needs work = total rehab. Gut job = tear it down. Cute = small. Quaint = old and small. Minor water damage = you'll need an umbrella and or a boat~inside. Off the beaten path = even GPS won't help you find this one. Reno started but needs to be finished = whats the old joke about first having to undo something someone else did before it can be done right?
We thought in March when we started looking that we would be in a house by the 4th of July. LOL! I've since found out that closing, itself, will take over 60 days. So I've now made reservations at the Roadway Inn for the NYS Wool & Sheep Festival since I don't anticipate being in a house anytime soon.
We did find a couple of houses we liked, one we were 5 days late on and the next we were 2 days late on. I feel like we're getting closer.

But back to the yoga zen thing. I finished my Ishbel in Cayenne. It still has to be blocked. The weather is finally starting to warm up here in NYC and I'm not really feeling blocking right now. This may have to wait until the weather gets a little cooler and thoughts of warm woolly scarves fill my head. But, while I was blocking my first Ishbel I noticed something very clever.

Very clever Ysolda ~ she has worked her initials into the pattern. I like that, she is an artist signing every Ishbel made.

I've started another Baby Surprise Jacket. Susie has also but she needs a more detailed pattern, so I am writing it down as I go to give her a cheat sheet she can refer to. Susie's on vacation this week so no knitting in the park. To tell the truth, too much knitting (ooh- did I say that?), its hurting my wrists. I bought a pair of stress gloves from Lion Studio but I don't want to push it.

So I read a book - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I could not put it down. Two days to finish and now I have to wait for Susie to get back and hope she has finished it too so we can talk about it. Susie recommended it as a first sort of group read thing between us and a third friend. Our own little book club.
Did I mention how much I love my Kindle? I have to go fill it up now for my summer reads ... And finish a pair of socks or a sweater or something.
BTW - We look at more houses on Friday ~ wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Soon or later everything gets blocked . . .

I figure sooner or later everything gets blocked. For me its usually later. I make it, put it together, wear it and then after a while I block it. Everything has to get washed - sooner or later. But there are things that I knit that won't reveal their true beauty until they are blocked. Sometimes its a cable that needs to be flattened to be seen, or a beret that needs a pie plate to take shape, other times its a lace that remains scrunchy until its opened up. I've only made a handful of lace things so far and I have blocked them all, except the socks.

Ishbel (by Ysolda Teague) is a lace scarf or shawl. It has points on the edge. My first fancy lace project with points! It's yummy but needs to be blocked sooner then later, like before it can be worn. I've never blocked anything that I had to pin into shape. Special tools and equipment were needed for such an undertaking. So after a little knitting in the park yesterday, Susie and I strolled down to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on 15th Street (just West of 5th Ave) to pick up a blocking kit. It contains straight wires in an assortment of sizes, 2 flexible wires for curves, stainless steel T pins and a yard stick. As soon as I got home I washed Ishbel in Eucalan and laid her out on a large towel on the dining room table. First I ran the wires along the edges, in and out - in and out. Through the straight edge and through each and every tip. Then I pinned her down and straightened the angles of the wires and pinned them down too. It had a shape now, and every detail could be seen. Then the hard part - waiting for this afternoon to unpin my little beauty. Tada! Here she is . . .I like the design very much. But i think its a little small for my taste so I am making another in a larger gauge. Size 8 /5mm needles and Lion Brand Superwash Merino in Cayenne. It will be great for winter. It has inspired me to think about making a pattern of my own design in this shape. I already have the yarn for it.

Susie and I went
up to Annie and Company last week, a yarn and needle work store on Madison off 93rd. Our favorite LYS employee, Alyssa (manager of the former Point on Bedford) is now working there. They have great yarn and what a variety! (Only they don't carry Cascade - Susie's favorite all purpose brand) While we were there knitting I picked up two skeins of ArtYarns Ultramerino4 in denim blues. I love blue, all of them. This is the yarn I'm saving for my design. I'll let y'all know when its done. Hopefully I'll learn how to post patterns before the summers end -

Monday, June 15, 2009

Did you knit in Public?

Last week was a very busy week. Susie and I went for knitting and tea at a Greenwich Village shop called Tea and Sympathy, followed by a margarita and nachos a little further east at Maraca's. We wound up at the Fire Store for a Firemen Calendar signing. A fun day with a little knitting here and a little knitting there. The rest of the week had a little more knitting here and there and before I knew it, it was time for knitting in public and BBQ! (Not at the same time) First we (hubby, son & I) attended the Big Apple BBQ @ Madison Square Pork, I-I mean park. Then on Sunday we went up to Woodstock - where I knit in the car, in a house, on a lawn, at the gas station, in McD's on the thruway, on the thruway and through a tunnel. (I was not driving)

I finished the Noro handle-bar covers for Vince's motorcycle. He can wear them on his feet until I get the rest of the cover knit. LOL ;D They came out really nice and knit up very fast - or so it seemed. They're for his birthday. I know I still have the second Kai-mei to finish for Dawn, but I was so excited about finishing Vince's socks that I cast on for Ysolda's Ishbell.

I'm using Blue Ridge Yarns Bambie that I got at last years Wool & Sheep Festival in Rheinbeck, NY. It's a superwash merino and bamboo blend sock yarn in the palest of greens with rose thrown in for good measure. The colorway is called Apple Rose. I like the slight sheen the bamboo gives the yarn. I don't know if I would have liked them as socks but I am liking Ishbell.

I haven't touched my Wyoming Alpaca sweater in a while. I'm going to have to start knitting at least a row here and there if I'm ever going to get the thing finished. If I do get the body done I'll have to turn this apartment upside down. I put two balls of yarn away for sleeves when I was originally making a top down, no pattern cardigan and wanted to make sure I had enough on the side for the sleeves. But I wasn't feeling the combo of the pattern (no pattern) and the yarn. I frogged it and started a different cardigan (with a pattern) that I do like very much. It's been so long since I put the yarn away that I can't remember where I put it! I'm hoping I don't need the two balls to finish because despite looking "everywhere" I still can't find that darn yarn!

Oh well I'll just have to keep on working on an Ishbell - or two. I'm thinking that this may be the shape of more scarves to come. They'll make great holiday gifts. Yes I know its early but we have a long list and I like things out of the way. Besides if I knit them up now I'll have more room for the goodies at the Sheep and Wool Festival come this fall. I'm already looking forward to it. Might have something to do with this fall weather we're having.