Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tucson Knitting, So Far

It's pretty obvious that I have more time than is usual. It's a rainy day here - VERY rainy for the desert - and we're all just hanging out for awhile before venturing out and about.

Pimpelliese looking purple
I cast on for Pimpelliese last Thursday at Bradley Airport while waiting for my flight to Chicago's Midway en route to Tucson. At the time, I was battling (and losing) an attack of stomach flu, so I didn't get very far. But I've since gotten better and have completed this lovely, simple, easy-to-memorize shawlette. It used less than 1 skein (100g) of YarnAddict Easy Care Merino sock yarn (sorry, it's been discontinued) that I received as a prize from Rachel of the Knitcents podcast. Thanks, Rachel! The color is a lovely variegated orchid, but it has a way of looking either very pink or very purple in these photos.
Pimpelliese looking pink

After completing that shawlette, I immediately cast on for the previously-viral pattern, Citron (from Knitty) using Sanguine Gryphon's Sappho I lace yarn in the "Bright-Voiced Nightingale" colorway, purchase in October at Stitches East in Hartford. I'm about 25% done - seems like more, but it grows exponentially as it's knitted. Never thought I'd succumb to the virus...I still haven't knitted a Clapotis, and it seems like I'm the only Raveler who hasn't!

Citron in Sappho I (sorry for the blur)
Citron in Sappho I - what is it with these weird color differences? I'm not changing any lighting or camera settings!

When (if) I finish the Citron while still away from home, no worries - I brought yarn and the pattern for Romi Hill's Merope shawlette from her Seven Small Shawls To Knit booklet. Here's the yarn - it's Swan's Island Sock Yarn in a lovely ice blue.

Swan's Island Sock Yarn for Romi Hill's "Merope" shawlette
That's it for now. No plans to visit any Tucson LYS's while here - there's no room in the suitcase for any stash enhancements.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas Season

It's been a tough - and very weird - autumn. My sister was dangerously ill in October (thankfully, she's much better now), and ever since then I've been under the weather myself, hit by a variety of ailments, the latest being a nasty stomach flu that I fell prey to on the very day I was scheduled to fly to Tucson for the holidays. Needless to say, the flight was a horror. But that's all over now, and all I'm contending with today is a chest cold.

Christmas has come and gone, and with it, a plethora of knitted gifts. As always, some were appreciated more than others. That's why I find myself knitting fewer gifts each year - if they don't get it, they don't get it! Get it?

Here are a few of the things I knitted:

I downloaded a pattern for Christmas ornaments knitted with sock yarn. Dug out scraps of sock yarn - mostly Koigu - and found some sparkly silver novelty yarn for the "sockets". These came out pretty well, and I gave them to friends.

The trick is stuffing them evenly so they don't look all lumpy.
The biggest Christmas project was a tree skirt that I designed myself. I had intended to surprise Zig with it, but it was too big a project to work on only when he wasn't home. I hoped that he would be his usual unobservant self, but one evening he asked me what I was working on, so I told him. He was really pleased, and loved what I'd done thus far. I finished it with time to spare, and it looks fantastic under the tree, even if I do say so myself!
Fair Isle Christmas Tree Skirt - not a great photo, but our old laptop (the one with all the good pics of the skirt) - was stolen.
Jess and her stocking along with a horrible pic of Stu - nice shorts, son.
I knitted Stu's girlfriend Jess a stocking this year. She was really happy about it. I also gave her a pair of self-striping socks, and the "Lena" scarf knit from yarn purchased at Stitches East this year from Kitchen Sink Dyeworks.
Jess and Penelope with the Lena scarf!

Johanna's Coffee Press Cozy
I gave both of my dear friends Pam and Johanna  a French coffee press with a "snuggly" or cozy:
Pam's Coffee Press Cozy    Pam's was knitted from String Theory sock yarn; Johanna's from Lollipop Cabin sock yarn (both with doubled strands).    

There was other stuff, too - I used Mason-Dixon's pattern for felted Christmas trees and knitted a small forest to surround my cottage tea cozy - but again, the pics were on the stolen laptop. I do have them on CD, I think, but that's back in Connecticut.

"Snotlings" Stitch Markers. The name belies their incredible cuteness.
Last but not least, my son Abe presented me with the world's coolest and most unique (uniquest???) stitch markers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hedgehog Puppet

Here he is. I am in love.
Hedgehog Puppet

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Day After

As promised, photos of the haul.
Needle-Felted Pumpkin Kit.

Cashmere Fingerless Mitts Pattern Springtide Farm

2-ply Cashmere from Springtide Farm

Yarn Bowl from Jennie The Potter

Yarn Bowl - interior

Yarn Bowl - exterior

Yep - it's a genuine Jennie The Potter item!

Soho Hat pattern from Springtide Farm

Deep Ruby 3-ply cashmere for Soho Hat. Yarn (or should I say treasure, from Springtide Farm.

Okay, this is NOT from Rhinebeck. But I just got around to taking the photos, okay? Crown Mountain Sock yarn "Apollo" in "Locomotive Breath" colorway. Remember? Jethro Tull?

Apollo label

More details from the Apollo label. This information could save someone's life someday.

And the cutest for last. Fiber Craft Studio's Hedgehog puppet kit. I think I'm going to go knit this RIGHT NOW.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hanging With The Rock Stars

The 2010 New York Sheep & Wool Festival is in full swing. Well, it might not be swinging as I write, since it's probably closed up for the day, but it WAS fully a-swing earlier today. Son Abe, friend Pam, and I drove over early today. We cruised through ALL of the barns, ate lamb ravioli, lamb chops, and lamb crisp. Only kidding - the latter was actually made with apples. Hmmm...lamb crisp....

Sorry. Where were we? Oh, yes, the fest! I haven't kept strict count, but I'd say this is at least the 10th year I've gone. But this year saw a number of firsts:
  1. Pam bought tickets online so we cruised through the entrance gates. Go, Pam!
  2. Materials purchased were more ceramic in form than woolly.
  3. I couldn't finish all of my apple crisp.
  4. I went to the Ravelry meetup! I went Ravelry meetup!
  5. I went to the Ravelry meetup!

Here I am with Ravelry Bob, the canine boss of Ravelry.

Now, you might think that this is Ravelry Bob icognito, but it's really Ysolda Teague! I know, I know, THE Ysolda Teague. Now that's who I'm talking about when I say rock-star! 
But that wasn't all, not by a long shot. Here I am with Granny G from Crafternoon Tea With Granny G, one of my favorite podcasts. How I love her voice, her knowledge, and her baking. It was truly a thrill to see and hug her.
Pam and I had a fine time hanging out with the several hundred other Ravelry enthusiasts.
Abe snuck off to the side to grab a photo of the official photo.

He is a fine son - when I chickened out on asking Rainy Day Goods for a photo, he tapped her on the shoulder as I was wandering away, and dang if he didn't get the shot.

6. Yes we're still talking about firsts. We stopped at the Fork in the Road.

More later on acquisitions, which include but are not limited to: cashmere, roving, and hedgehog makings.

Hedgehog makings???

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Paradox Wrapped Inside a Conundrum

Okay! They're done! And they fit! And I love them! Yahoo! And the best part? I still have 2/3 of the main color skeins, and 85% of the mitten lining color skein!

Now I'm starting "Brea", a Rowan pattern designed by Marie Wallin. I'm not using Rowan Lima (WAY too pricey) - instead I'm using my favorite workhorse (but still lovely) Cascade 220, in a heather gold shade. Beautiful. Not too far in yet, but it's easy (idiot?) knitting, perfect for TV viewing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No New Knitting

No knitting progress today. Spent hours (literally? 6 1/2 hours) sorting through bins of leftover yarn. I now have two large bags of yarn ready to take to the thrift shop, and another large bag that went into the trash. I have a much clearer vision of what I have and what I can/want to do with it. I didn't get done with this task until almost 5:00, just in time to sit and finish a hilarious YA novel from school, Josh Berk's The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, recommended by 7th-grade student Hannah. It was a hoot! Now I'm starting The Doom Machine by Mark Teague. Yes, it's that time of year again, when I find myself reading nothing but YA novels. How else to recommend them to my middle school readers? It's a bit daunting to think of the 150+/- young adult books that arrived recently. They're ready to go, but don't I first need to read them? ALL OF THEM?  I need a clone. No, I need 10 clones, minimum, to keep up with all the reading.

I love my job.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Stuff

Felted Flower Tea Cosy
Where does the time go? I think I need to follow the protocol to establish a habit - blog every day for 28 days. Um, maybe not.

Paradoxical Mitten #1
School began on August 30, and it's starting to feel as though we never left. I'm involved in contract negotiations, which means a number of late nights trying to hammer out an agreement that both parties will find acceptable.

Haven't spun any fiber since the summer. I have two pounds of undyed merino fiber, but I want to hold off until I've attended an all-day spinning workshop in October.

Felted Christmas Stocking with Needle-Felted Stars
Meanwhile, knitting continues apace. I've finished several things in the past week or so. The Riverton Fair is coming up (October 9) and I'll be exhibiting a variety of things. I don't care if I win ribbons - I just want to support the fair by exhibiting at least a few items every year.

Ribbed Raglan Pullover

"Strider" Cowl
Red Fox Socks

Face Cloth

3 out of 4 Christmas Stockings knit for the friend of a friend
"Faux is Fair" Socks


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Best Yet

I plied the first skein skein of my merino/tussah silk yarn yesterday, and I am in love with it. This is a 3-ply, worsted weight yarn, soft and relaxed. And the colors! Silvery gray with hints of pale pink and green, with occasional bits of white and camel brown. The skein has 182 yards of loveliness. I'm in the middle of plying a second skein, and still have approximately 4 ounces left to spin. That's probably NOT best practice - plying before spinning all the fiber, but I simply couldn't wait.

Here's a closeup of the finished yarn:
And here's what the fiber looks like before spinning:

I purchased one pound of the fiber from Sheepshed Studio/Mountain View Farm at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival last October. The subtlety of the colors, their sheen, and the softness of the fiber drew me in, and that settled it. I was a bit worried that the silk would present a severe shedding problem, but it was not much of a issue at all.

Still using my trusty Louet S15, purchased way back in 1983 or so! It's a simple (some might say unsophisticated and limited) wheel, and sometimes I am tempted to abandon it for a better one. But what would/should that be? Kromski, Ashford, Schacht, Majacraft? What I really need to do is take some lessons, preferably with someone who can provide a number of different wheels to test drive. Perhaps Halcyon Yarn in Bath.

But I do love my plain old S15, which is no longer in production. I'll be lugging it up to Maine on Friday, along with a big basket of fiber!