Monday, July 11, 2011

So much for frequent posting

Estelle Cardigan from Quince & Co.  in "Twig" Colorway

Hedera Socks (Cookie A.) from Knit. Sock. Love. Pine Star Studio yarn.

Son Stuart ready to take on Chicago with 3 Euroflax Linen string bags

Stephen West's "Daybreak" for my brother Stuart's 50th birthday

Polyphylla Cowl knit in my handspun AVFKW BFL "The Peacock's Wild Plume"

Malabrigo Silky Merino "Cloudy Sky" knit into Churchmouse Yarns English Mesh Lace Scarf (beaded)

Multnomah knit with Auracania yarn

Cookie A's BFF socks knit with Pinestar Studio Merino

Berroco "Seduce" in color 4493 (discontinue) to become Norah Gaughan's "Flow" tank
Okay, besides meeting a bunch of terrific, salt-of-the-earth knitters today, here's a bit of what I've been knitting:

Who Knew?

I just had a fantastic time at the Bristol (Maine) Area Public Library. I'm here in New Harbor for five weeks, and Zig saw in the Lincoln County Times newspaper that there are "Knitting Lessons" held every Monday afternoon from 2-4pm at the Bristol Library. So off I went, armed with my latest project, Norah Gaughan's "Flow", which I'm knitting with Berroco Seduce in a GORGEOUS discontinued colorway (4493).

But enough about the project - the cool part was the knitting group itself. Led by Judy, a former school media specialist from Hebron, CT (synchronicity, anyone?), the group meets in the children's room of the most excellent Bristol Area Library - a happening place in its own right, but that's another story. Judy greeted me warmly, and immediately introduced to Bunny (another Connectikite - from West Hartford) and Penny (!) originally from Newburyport, MA. Judy and Penny have retired and live right here in Bristol, and Bunny is retired and owns land near Pemaquid Lighthouse - she and her husband plan to build here.

In addition to being an expert knitter and former children's librarian, Judy is also an avid quilter and the mother of one of the managers at Rising Tide Food Co-op in Damariscotta. We are members there. And I quilt!

Okay, it gets better (or, more synchronized?)...another woman arrived (actually there were about 15 women there at one point - I didn't get to meet all of them), and introduced herself to me as Marlene. Turns out she's Marlene Loznicka, an artist who owns (and lives at) the Schoolhouse Gallery not 1/10 of a mile up Huddle Road from our cottage. We have always admired her paintings (sort of dark, with lovely golden light) of the Maine landscape, and have visited her gallery before.

Bunny was talking of her desire for a classic Maine cape house - Penny lives in one. Bunny is picking me up at 10:00 tomorrow morning to go visit Penny at her Cape house. !!!!!!!!!

I am most definitely going back to Bristol Area Library next Monday - maybe my mom will want to go, too!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What I Do For Fun In Winter

Besides knitting, of course.

Every summer we spend at least one month on the Maine coast. What does this have to do with winter fun, you ask? Well, we always make sure to visit "I'm Puzzled" in Nobleboro, Maine during our summer vacation, to stock up on jigsaw puzzles. It's a tiny little place on Route 1 not too far from Damariscotta, owned by Bob Havenstein, a thoroughly charming gentleman who also sells kites and lobster. The first time we stopped there, we were astounded by the sheer number of jigsaw puzzles - thousands of puzzles ranging from easy children's puzzles to 10,000 piece juggernauts.

Half a year later, there comes a day when I start to come down with cabin fever: I've done all the laundry, read for 4 hours, knitted for 7, and finished cooking. What to do but go to the puzzle closet?

Here's van Gogh's "Sunflowers" - a 1,000 piece puzzle I just finished a few days ago:
van Gogh's Sunflowers
"Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, 1845" by Franz Xaver Petter

Just started this lovely still life - another 1,000 pieces. It seems easier than the sunflowers - more color variation, I guess. It's funny - I'm doing these puzzles on the living room floor, which could never have happened when Owain the Corgi was still alive - he would have come trundling over and stretched out contentedly right on top of the pieces!

Ada Lovelace sock detail
Of course, there has been some progress on the knitting front. I started the first of a pair of "Ada Lovelace" socks from a Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club kit I received last May. Finished the first sock on Tuesday, but only after deciding I really didn't like the fancy lace cuff - thus the simply 2 x 2 rib. Haven't started the second sock, because my guilty conscience caught up with me and forced me to recommence knitting on "Brea", Rowan's cabled pullover. Almost done - just one more sleeve to go!

Ada Lovelace sock #1

Brea Pullover - just one more sleeve to go!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day

Bright Socks for a Winter Day
February 1, 2011 - the sixth snow day of the school year - all since returning from holiday break. It looks like tomorrow, Ground Hog Day, may be the seventh. Sigh. One can only hope that it doesn't turn to ice. Roofs are sagging, icicles are nearing the ground.

Bright Socks for a Dark Winter
But all this snow does provide time for knitting, thus another pair of socks - the 3rd pair in 2011 - has been finished. I call these "Bright Socks for a Dark Winter", because the colors, and the fact that they seem to be mismatched, cheer me up. Plus, they're stash-busters! What could be better?

Speaking of stash busting, I've joined several "Stash Control/Stash Knit Down" groups, in an effort to get a handle on just how much yarn is upstairs, waiting for me to knit it into something. Or things. And I would have been, until 2 days ago, PROUD to claim that I haven't added new yarn to the stash this year. But.

On Sunday, January 30, 2011, I purchased 1608 yards (8 skeins total) of Quince & Co. yarn from the KnitWit yarn shop in Portland, Maine. Listening to Paula, of the Knitting Pipeline podcast, sing the praises of this new yarn line, started by Pam Allen, I simply couldn't resist. So, I bought 4 skeins of Chickadee, a sport weight wool, in "Petal", a gorgeous pale pink. It will become the Kilkenny Cowl (a Quince pattern). I also succumbed to the temptation of Tern, a wool/silk fingering weight blend. 4 skeins of Tern, in "Seaweed" will turn into the Bellefleur Shawl. Kudos to KnitWit for being the first (and only) yarn shop to carry Quince & Co. yarns  - and to the very friendly woman there who helped me with my purchase.
Quince & Co. Tern

Quince & Co. Chicadee


Bonnie Bishoff Shawl Pin
I also purchased, because I could not resist the loveliness of it - a shawl pin made by Bonnie Bishoff.

The good news - not that acquisition of more yarn is "bad", exactly - I've used up 3122 yards of stash yarn so far this year. That number will continue to rise, as I forge ahead on "Brea", a Rowan cabled pullover (I'm almost half done!), and I cast on today for a new pair of socks. I'm thinking I'll start one of the kits from BMFA Rockin' Sock Club. I subscribed to the club last year, but have not renewed my membership - I simply cannot justify a second year of shipments when I knitted only 2 of the 6 kits I received in 2010.

Now - off to cast on some socks!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Love Saturday Mornings

The sun streams in through the front window, so brightly that I have to shade my eyes when I look outside. Icicles sparkle, snow gleams, and stray snowflakes drift by. I can hear a junco calling - one of the few animals brave enough to be out and about. I'm certainly not going out there: the deck pops and groans in the cold, so why should I risk it? I'd much rather sit here in the sunshine with my laptop warming my - what else? - lap!

Zig's on the couch under the afghan I knitted for his 40th birthday. That afghan is now 13 years old (Zig's 53rd birthday was the day before yesterday), but still keeps whomever it covers toasty and safe. "Weekend Edition" beams sanity into the living room, and I'm about to resume work on the first of a pair of stripey socks, using Koigu and Shibui Sock yarns. The socks are part of my effort to use up stash yarn - I've got enough sock yarn to knit up AT LEAST two dozen pairs of socks, whether they be top-down, vanilla, stockinette workhorse editions or toe-up, Cookie A./Cat Bordhi nouveau-construction-technique works of art. I have, after all, been a subscriber to several years' worth of Redbird Knits SOTM club (12 kits each year), and last year I subscribed to Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club (6 kits) AND Crown Mountain Farms "Knitting For Fun" Club (another 6 kits). Rather than assiduously keeping up with each shipment, I've allowed the kits to accumulate, unknit, to such a degree that I've lost count.

Yesterday afternoon, in between spates of shoveling, I started, but quickly frogged, the "Bunny Hop" sock pattern from Redbird Knits. I didn't care for the angora fuzziness, although the base yarn, Casbah Sock from Handmaiden Fine Yarn, is gorgeous. I'm thinking I'll save it for one of Romi Hill's small shawls - it's much too pretty to be hidden under jeans.

Handmaiden Casbah Sock Yarn

Also finished and blocked the "South Seas Table Runner" from Knit 2 Together by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark. I used Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy yarn rather than Euroflax Linen as called for, and I'm happy with the result, although I made some mistakes in the piece, so it's not good enough to give to anyone. I'm thinking I'll sew some beads to the four corners to give it some weight...
South Seas Table Runner

South Seas Table Runner detail

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 18, 2011

What should have been just another day at work morphed into a summer vacation day, courtesy of snow followed by sleet followed by freezing rain, followed by rain. Seems like the entire state of Connecticut had the day off; at least the public schools did. What's a woman to do, but stay at home, where it's safe and relatively un-slippery, and knit?

Husband's new Market Bag
This safe, dry knitter finished the second of two market (aka string) bags, using up virtually all of some unidentified hand-dyed cotton boucle´ for which there is no other aesthetically pleasing purpose. The first of these bags is going to the safe, dry knitter's husband, who is in dire need of a new (well, replacement) string bag, as he (the husband) trashed another string bag (just how does he DO this? how do you unravel a string bag with grocery items?) that the safe dry knitter had graciously knitted for him last year.

The second string bag is going to the safe dry knitter's father for his 84th birthday. The safe dry knitter is not quite sure that the octogenarian dad will know what to do with the string bag, but the octogenarian's wife will, so that's okay.

Dad's Market Bag

Now to summarize the other knitting that's happened since the Tucson post. After finishing the Pimpelliese scarf, I cast on for the famous "Citron", using Sanguine Gryphon's Sappho I lace yarn. I finished that on the plane from Tucson to Chicago. I'm please with the finished product, and look forward to wearing it one of these chilly winter days.
Citron Shawlette on the blocking board

Detail of Citron Shawlette
 After casting off Citron, I began Romi Hill's Merope, the first in her 7 Small Shawls to Knit booklet. I used Swan's Island Sock Yarn in a lovely, subtle ice blue color. That shawl screamed on the needles, at first (it starts with 3 stitches, so of course it's fast!), knitting up so quickly that I was on Row 70 before I knew it. The finished shawlette gave me my first experience at blocking lace, and just as every lace knitter has ever explained, the process seems magical - you start with a lumpy bunch of stitches and end up with a crisp, defined piece of art!
Merope on the blocking board - pinned to within an inch of its life!
Detail of Merope


Merope after blocking

Merope Shawlette
Edge detail of Merope
Interior of Merope shawlette

After finishing Merope, I cast on a pair of vanilla socks for Zig's birthday. Yes, he's already gotten several pairs of socks from me, but you can never have TOO many pairs of socks, right? Right?

Horned Lizard and Sock

Zig's Vanilla Socks knit in Opal yarn

Well, I began this post 3 days ago, but life interrupted, so I'm posting on January 21st, 2011. And guess what? It's ANOTHER snow day (which is why I have time to write) here in northwestern Connecticut. It's lovely as it falls, covering the old, dirty snow with a layer of lacy white, but shoveling awaits, when and if the storm stops.

What's next for knitting? I just finished the South Seas Table Runner - it's soaking before I block it on the board. Still working on Rowan's "Brea", a pair of "Tree of Life" mittens, and Robyn Gallimore's "Bunny Hop" socks. More soon on all of these projects!