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!