Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just a quickie...

I finished my Amanda Hat
(with many thanks to my lovely hat model Emily...)

I like it... but it won't stay on my head. Maybe I made it too big? Or used too loose a cast on? (I was worried about it stretching enough and used the knitted cast on rather than my standard long tail.)
I love the way the yarn I used looks. It's Needful Yarn's Joy in, uhm, some purpley green colorway.

The hat is rife with mistakes. But the textural stitches and the modulating colors hide it. Plus I put the worst area, where I knit a quarter of the row instead of purling, to the back.
Now *that's* a mistake you can see.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mixed Nuts.

I went through several ideas for post title...

Best Laid Plans...

Rocktown, We Hardly Knew Ye...

Rollercoaster Ride of Yarn...

My Cup Spilleth over, with Yaaaaarn...

Two days ago I got news about my most favorite LYS that mixed me up and brought me down and set me in turmoil. (It's sounding rather dramatic, eh?)

Heidi , the proprietor of Rocktown Yarns, has decided to close her business so as to be able to spend more time with her 9 month old baby. As she put it... Now that Lena's crawling she wants to go places "off the rug", and Heidi doesn't want to spend all their time together chasing her away from the shelves and baskets of yarn. And though the store was holding it's own, it wasn't making enough to enable her to hire a nanny, or for her spouse to become a house-husband.


On the one hand... I am sad. Very, very sad and sorry to see a great store with an incredibly fun and welcoming atmosphere go away. RY was the best place for hanging out. Heidi was open and easy and glad to answer questions. This is a real loss to the knitting/spinning community here.

But on the on the hand... she is having a big closeout sale and there are some amazing discounted yarns available. Good stuff! Like Jaeger Matchmaker DK for $1.50 a skein. Cascade Venezia, a merino silk blend, for $3.50 per skein. Lots of yarns 50 to 75% off retail cost! Everything else at least 25% off! Wow!

Of course, on the third hand... I'm making attempts to balance my yarn in with projects out, and there's no way I can balance this kind of purchasing. It would take me years to make a dent in it.

But on the fourth hand... Someone is going to buy this. And I *am* going to use it (it's good yarn... not scratchy, novelty, iffy stuff). And I will likely never again find this good a deal. And Heidi needs to sell her stock. And without a local store (that I like... I don't care for the remaining place) I'm less likely to buy as frequently I was.

Of course on the fifth hand... I don't have that many hands.

So what to do...? Well, that's a rhetorical question of course.
DH and I set a budget. So much and *no more* for a one time yarn investment.

Uhm... I went a little bit over.

Oh, and Caroline? I'm sorry... I was going to look for you as well, but it was packed and busy and the yarn fumes combined with the waves of on sale radiation were just so overwhelming... I forgot.

But if you want I can go back... again... today...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Compulsive Much?

Since my first pair of socks, I have not gone long without a sock on the needles. Until this month. What broke the sock fever? The amazing Amanda Hat by Gina! I can make one up in about 6 hours if I don't let anything distract me (darn that work). I so enjoyed making this hat that I decided to make it again and again and again. I also decided to keep it interesting by using a different brand of yarn each time I made it. So here (since I haven't been able to put them onto Ravelry) is my Amanda hat collection:

Lamb's Pride, Forest Shadows
The Yarn & Fiber Company, Windham, NH

Sheep Shop Yarn Company, G093
Purl Diva, Brunswick, ME

Lorna's Laces, Bullfrogs & Butterflies
Purl Diva

Patons SWS, Natural Plum
Ewe & Me, Brunswick, ME

I have, in waiting, a skein of Manos (well, 3 actually) for my 5th. I just have to decide which colorway to go with.

I think my favorites (so far), texturewise, have been the Lorna's Laces and the Patons. The Patons SWS, however, was a bit short. I ran out with 5 rounds left and had to buy another skein. All right, I really bought 2 and will probably make a pair of mitts to match. For color, I don't think I could pick a favorite. I started with my usual color choices and then moved onto colors I don't usually pick. And I'm still looking forward to doing Amanda in Malabrigo and maybe Dream in Color. I would like to thank my model, Sam, who loves this hat as much as I do. He went right for the hat the first time he saw it.

I have been working on a few other things but I haven't taken pictures, yet. I am still working on the prayer shawl. I have 2 skeins of Homespun left and can't wait for this to be done. The Amandas have been great breathers during this project. I also knit, from a kit, a beehive baby hat. This is too cute and just needs the bumblebee buttons sewn on. The kit came with smiley plastic bees but I think I would like to find some little pewter ones. I'll get a picture up as soon as I get the buttons on.

And one last picture, my friend Kathy T., finished her 2nd object. Hooray! Modeled by her son Sam, a scarf for another friend. Is it the knitting or the camera that makes him so happy? Mmmmm.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


A little something I've picked up recently. It's fun... but I don't think it'll become a passion. For one thing those needles hurt when you poke yourself!

And for something completely different...

My Swap Pal commented! Whoo-hoo! I've got a Swap Pal! Anything you want to know... go ahead and ask...
I'm so excited!...

Monday, January 21, 2008

My view

On Mason-Dixon Knitting, a while back in December now, Ann posted a photo of the view outside the window at her desk. She asked for others to post the same.
Well, it took me while to get around to it, but where I'm living right now we have one heck of a view out the bedroom windows. In fact that entire wall of the room (looking out our back down to the creek and the bluffs above it) is all window.

So I here present several views out my window...

One of the three wall size windows showing a late Fall view. We'd had a rainstorm not too long before so the water level was up from it's nearly dry late Summer level. Though no where near it's mid-Spring gush.

A close-up...

Pretty, huh?

Last week we had the first real snowstorm of the Winter. I know you Northerners are scoffing at this paltry 6", but it was a goodly amount for down here in Virginia!

And it's purty too...

And then this weekend... The temperature dropped down to the low single digits overnight. It's so cold that the hot water pipe to the kitchen froze. Odd though... not our cold water, just the hot.

That there's ice on the creek...

But pretty!

Friday, January 18, 2008

To stash or not to stash... is that a question?

I'm not a resolution maker. Well, not in the sense of a once-a-year-big-time-promise resolution. But I do set goals, plenty of goals, all year long. And I'm setting one now.
I'm owning up to what comes in and how much goes out. Maybe I can run the totals down a little, but I will at least own up to it.

I have a big stash. Big. No, I mean BIG.

Well, maybe not that big. But enough that I can't store it all at home. Instead I have it temporarily tucked in a back room at work, and am looking at having to rent a storage closet to keep it.
It's time to own up to it. And maybe start to use up rather than add to. As much.

This is my yarn stash:

Forgive the blurriness. This is right before my camera broke. Yes, my stash broke my camera.
Right now I'm in the process of listing it all on Ravelry. I really love the database functions of Ravelry!

I don't have any photos of my fabric stash. It semi-fills 9 large plastic bins (about the size of blue lidded bin on the upper right above).
Once upon a time I got very organized and divided my fabrics into three color divisions (cool, warm, neutral) subdivided into three weights (tops, bottoms, outer). I swatched a tiny piece and stapled it to an index card along with the yardage, width and fiber content.

So I could add it all up and list what I presently own. But I'm not going to do that. What I am going to do is note yardages added as of this new year. So my souvenir yarn from Key West, and my Vivian Hoxbro kit indulgence, and the fabric that's on it's way to me from the co-op goes "in"...
Likewise, even if an item was started before Jan 1 I'm listing it as "out" if it's finished this year.

So if I get cracking on the sewing and knitting of UFO/WIPs I could be looking very, very good...

Friday, January 11, 2008


I have joined a Swap!

Scavenger Hunt Swap

1) Do you knit, crochet or both? How long have you been doing it?

I know how to crochet, but I am first and foremost a knitter. I learned to do both may, many years ago in the far distant past, but only picked up knitting again in earnest about 3 or 4 years ago.

2) What is on your needles/hook right now?

The big project is a sweater for DH. It's out of Cascade 220 Heathers in blue, and I'm mostly making it up as I go, using Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for help figuring. It's a ribbed body with cables in the front and saddle shoulders. Someday I have to write a post about my experience with figuring out the gauge. Aye-yi-yi!
I've also got a couple pairs of socks (a Monkey and my own design), a scarf (Phiaro, almost done), an afghan (Lizard Ridge), a lace shawl (MS3, yes I know I'm way behind...), and... I think that's it. But I haven't dug to the bottom of the bag(s) yet.

3) What is the most frequently used tool in your knitting bag?

Hmmm, that's tough to narrow down.
I use my Gingher tailor point scissors constantly, and my darning needles on every project. I use my needle gauge a lot. And I use lots of little bags and point holders to keep my projects in order.
My DPNs get a workout as I *always* have a pair of socks on the go. But I vary from 0s to 1s to 2s so that's not one tool.

4) What are your 3 favorite yarns (fiber type or brand)?

Claudia's Handpainted sock yarns (well, all of her yarns... love the colors!)

Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk (oh, the softness! the sheen! the rich color!)

Cascade 220 (nothing fancy, but so many colors, and a real workhorse.)

What are your 3 least favorite?

I don't think I've ever worked with a yarn I really disliked. I did use a handspun once that had a lot, a whole lot, of VM in it. But the texture and color sort of made up for that. Sort of.

ETA: I should mention though that like a lot of knitters I'm not crazy about acrylics and have found minimal use for novelty yarns. There are some good acrylics though, and I have occasionally seen an interesting item using a novelty type yarn so I'm not saying "Yuck!", but more of an "Ergh".

5) What is your favorite color?

Purple and green is my all time favorite color combo. All greens I love. But I also adore a good rich cool red.

6) If you had a 5 minute shopping spree in your LYS, how would you plan your attack?

First I would head to the Blue Sky Alpaca shelves (on the right) and dump it all in my basket. If I was thinking I would stop quick and grab up the ArtYarns worsteds (further to the right and down). Then I would turn to the left and clear out all the Claudia sock yarns. And her silk laceweight, which is conveniently located next to the Alpaca with a Twist laceweights.
Then I would start randomly grabbing greens and purples and reds and blacks everywhere! Until I was wrestled to the ground. Or overcome by the glorious yarn fumes.

7) What is your favorite FO and why? (post a pic if you have it!)

Wow, another tough question!
I think maybe my Rib and Cable mitts (from Interweave Knits). I love them because they are my favorite color combo, but a little whacky, and so warm!

(Special thanks to my hand model, Kristen!)

Second place would probably be my Ruffled Roses scarf by Annie Modesitt. Because I got obsessive and created the ribbon yarn used in the ruffle (I couldn't find the required ribbon locally so I used two others and sewed four rows into one wide lacey edged single ribbon.) and I love it!

8) What are your favorite things to knit/crochet?

Socks. On DPNs. Easily portable, and a simple one for busy times can alternate with a complex patterned one for more concentration friendly times. And I love the way handknit socks feel and look.

9) Do you collect anything?

You mean besides yarn?

What don't I collect! I like vintage/antique fashion prints, shoes and hats, and other accessories. Also art glass and ashtrays from the 50's and 60's (although I don't smoke, some of those old ashtrays were works of art). Plus pottery, both art type and from the 30's-40's. And Pogo comic collection books (remember the possum by Walt Kelly from the 50-60's?).

10) What are your five favorite things (not necessarily knitting related)?

DH and my family (including my cats).

My house (we rent, but I love it).

My yarn and fabric stash(es).

My choice of career (Theatre and Dance Costumer/Teacher).

That moment in early Spring when the tulips and daffodils have poked out their heads and sweet bursts of bright color return to the land.

11) Are you on Ravelry? What is your ID?


12) Do you drink tea/coffee/cocoa?

Yes to all three. In the winter I love to mix a spoonful of cocoa mix in with my coffee.

13) Favorite Sweets?

I am a huge fan of baked goods. Love 'em! I also like things like caramels and toffees.

14) Any allergies?

Nope! Except for mold. And some sort of tree bloom thing that happens around here in the Fall.

So no moldy trees please.

15) Do you have pets? kids?

Two cats.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas roundup

A few years ago (when DH was only a lowly DBF) he met a guy out on the disc golf course. Who introduced him to a few others who threw the disc. And some also did woodworking. And many also white water canoed. And they were all pretty cool guys and gals and...we now have this coterie of really good friends.

At the Christmas party this year we did our usual small gift exchange and I managed to knit and sew some fun things.

Joe's scarf:

Made from Needful Yarn's Joy in two colorways, a la Brooklyn Tweed's Noro striped scarf.

Maggie's scarf: Made from Classic Elite's Desert in the same pattern as Joe's scarf.

Carl's mitts:

Made from one of the same yarns as Maggie's scarf, using the Maine Morning mitts pattern from Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn.
I have another pair of mitts done that will be going to Amy when we see her. They're made out of the leftovers from Maggie's scarf so there's a lot more pink and purple in them.
I loved this pattern... so simple and very economical yarn usage.

Then I did one sewing item. Only one, but it was wild!
Sally's Disc Golf Bag:

Made from scraps of assorted tapestry and brocade fabrics. I did two outside pockets and a water bottle pocket, and a zipped flap (it's not a great zipper, but I was informed that disc bags are never actually zipped closed). The strap is a guitar strap bought with clips attached and just fastened onto D rings I sewed on the sides.
It was a major hit!

Finally, on our way home from visiting my folks in Key West we stopped by DH's Aunt and Uncle in North Carolina. She is a big time, serious UNC Tar Heels fan... so I made her Tar Heel socks:

Made from Cascade's 220 Superwash with Brown Sheep's Nature Spun in the heels. I hope they bring her (the team) luck!

I did some Christmas knitting for myself too...


From the Winter'07/Spring '08 Knitscene. Made out of Colinette's Lasso in Frangipani and Giotto in Magenta.

I rarely like the projects in that magazine (just not my style), but this drop stitch scarf was too cool. And I had been lusting after these yarns, not buying them because I was totally clueless about what to make out of them (I will buy when I'm only a little clueless, but not when totally).
I'm not going to make it as wide as the scarf in the magazine. In fact I'm pretty much ready to bind off and start dropping down. (I promised the Tuesday night knitting group that I'd wait to do that next Tuesday. So I'll post an FO photo next week.)

I'd better be ready to cast off because this is what's left of the Giotto (the smaller yardage of the two)...

Spool of thread for scale.
By the way... all yarns here were purchased at the best yarn store ever (well my local favorite anyway) Rocktown Yarns

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Can't Stop Knitting

Seriously, I can't stop. I kept putting off this post because I need to take pictures but I can't stop knitting long enough. I'll get those pictures tomorrow, maybe. In the meantime, for those not up on my life:

After working in VT for the past 13 months, I am now working in ME. Mid-coastal, I believe they call the area. I'm just north of Bath. Hopefully, I won't be there for as long as I was in VT. But I would like to send a great big thank you to the crew at the Swiss Host Motel in Burlington. Dawn & Annette, you helped make a little home away from home and it was nice to know someone was looking out for me. I can't imagine that I will be as lucky again in ME.

I'm working on two things at the moment. I finished Debbie's socks (Trekking from one skein even if it doesn't look like it) from Grand View and the 2 Christmas knitting projects, though I haven't given them,yet. I'll start on the 3rd project that was meant for Christmas after I finish one of the current projects. I'm working on a prayer shawl, I inherited it from a friend who tried it as a first project (Homespun!). She got a little overwhelmed by it (and decided that a dishcloth was a better first project) so I am going to finish it (she's providing the prayer part) so we can give it to a mutual friend.

My other project is the Amanda hat. It can be found over at Gina's. She's doing an Amanda hat KAL. If you haven't seen it, go check it out. She brought this hat to Grand View and it looked good on everyone! I'm doing my first in Lamb's Pride but I also want to try it out in Malabrigio and then in some of the other yarns that Gina recommends. This pattern is wonderful! I can't stop knitting.