Thursday, October 30, 2008

Catching up

Wow! While catching up on posts I missed on my favorite blogs, I see that Prime Time Knitter has posted about mittens she is knitting for the Rochester Knitting Guild mitten drive! 

Thanks, Marjorie. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time is going by so quickly. I'm home for just one week before going to a conference and there's so much to do. A few too many things on the old to do list, ya know. 

Still. I do feel nice and relaxed after my vacation. I've started on my own pair of mohair/sock yarn socks and I'm on the second one of the pair. It's gotten cold here and I've gotten all my hand knit socks out to wear. They're not for everyone, but those of us who like to wear them, really like them. They are so cosy and comforting. 

Here I am using Red Heart Heart and Sole sock yarn, purchased at Michael's. It's very much like knitting with Regia.

What did I knit while away? Well, not as much as I thought I would. I took the Pine Tree Palatine with me in my hand luggage, taking the needle out and putting it onto a piece of yarn instead. Waste of time. Didn't touch it. 

Aside from finishing Michael's After Golf Socks, I knitted the back of a cabled cardigan using Stylecraft Freedom Spirit, shade 506 (Air) and have now started on the fronts. It's more or less a light blue yarn. It's what I expect Lopi Lite would be like. It wouldn't pass Marian's strength test, but once it's knit up, it's seems very nice. I bought it at The Wool Shop in Alnwick -  a very nice shop. The pattern is one of those where they expect you to knit it exactly as they say, counting row by row, rather than telling the knitter, do so and so until the piece is such and such a length. I'm finding the row counting very difficult. It's going quickly though. After this, I should get back to the Wedgette, really. Then theoretically, I will have added two nice pieces to my wardrobe.

Must. Not. Get. Distracted.

The weather here is turning cold. We even had snow flurries today. There is much work to be done in the garden, cleaning up and getting ready for Spring. I may have lost the Dahlia roots. There were reportedly two hard frosts while I was away. Oh, it went by so quickly. I wish I had had time to get together with you, Helen, Anne and Jo. Where did the time go? Don't worry, I'll be back!

Here is a photo from our Sunday walk around the Quaker Pond trail at Mendon Ponds.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Home again, home again...

I'd been hoping to post more while I was visiting my Auntie Margaret in and sister Frances, but it wasn't convenient due to dial-up and a wonky modem. Wherever the past two weeks went, they went very quickly. I had a very relaxing time and feel ready to face the world. That might be a dangerous thing to say. Let me take it back!

I split my time away between Northumberland and London. First, let me say the the socks I made for Auntie Margaret and Michael were a big hit. Remember how I knitted in a strand of fine mohair? I finished Michael's the day before I left for London (Thursday) and left them on his chair a bit damp. As we set out for the Alnmouth train station, I noticed that he had them on the dashboard. He had spread them out there to dry with the intention of putting them on later in the afternoon after his golf game, at which point his feet would be cold and wet. Well, he was still wearing them when I returned 5 days later. Hmm. What better compliment could I wish for?

Auntie Margaret reports that she has put her pair through the washing machine with no ill effects. I've started a pair for myself as I still have a good bit of the mohair remaining, pairing itthis time  with Red Heart Heart and Sole sock yarn. It would be nice to get a pair of gloves out of it too. Now I'll shut up about the socks.

Northumberland is an incredibly beautiful place. Like the Canadian Maritimes however, generation after generation has left for economic reasons. People  have mixed feelings about returning, saying it's very bleak, etc. Most families have relatives in Canada, the US or Australia. Those who remain are not unhappy with this state of affairs - the less people, the better, they say. 

In the Fall, a series of village fairs culminates with the Alwinton Show. This year, it fell on October 11th and as usual featured sheepdog trials, terrier races, wrestling matches, and the like, including an industrial crafts tent where entries are judged. It's kind of like the county fairs in the US, but with less rides. 

Oddly, sheep featured hugely, but no one was selling yarn or fleeces that I could see. If I missed it, it must have been quite a minor endeavour. Here are some pics I took of the entries in the Industrial Arts Tent. Sorry I missed the carved walking sticks. 

May I say that if it weren't for a certain Mrs Marshall, knitting would have been poorly represented indeed.  She won in almost every category. There was only one pair of Gent's Socks entered. Northerners, get knitting!

I think the tea cosy I knit this summer could have contended with this lot...

Some knitted dolls...

I like the stitching around the raglan seams on this winning pullover:

And here are some cute hats...

The fruit and vegetable creatures are always fun:

And check out the serious veg...

Auntie Margaret and I concentrated on the terrier show and races. Everyone brings their family dog and has a blast. It's a party for terriers, really. Here is our Fudge prematurely trying to snatch the fox tail on her way to the starting line:

Fudge won her first race but then got off to a bad start in the final. She is getting older and will soon be joining these retirees on the sidelines:

Here's a photo of the course itself, with the pups leaping over the barrier.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to get back to my knitting now....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Baby in the Big Smoke

We're in England this week. Down in the Big Smoke for the craft show, Origin, me an' Big Baby. I was last here in 1991. Back then, when you washed your face after a day out, the water down the drain was black with grime from the air. London was famous for it's smog, but no longer. Makes me feel like Rip van Winkle (not unusual for me, I'm finding). I've been wearing Big Baby, my February Lady cardigan, every day and she's proving herself to be very adaptable indeed.

Anyway, we've been all around, Big Baby an' me, notably to the posh craft show Origin at Somerset House. Here we are at left, leaving our mark in the crafting space. Passers-by were invited to write a phrase on a pice of translucent ribbon and weave it into a 3.6 meter high wire frame.  I contributed "Stitch by Stitch," not very original, but I wanted to keep moving and take in the rest of the exhibits.

My sister Frances and I visited during week 2 (the exhibitors change each week) and made a beeline for the textile exhibitors. To be brief about what appealed to me: lace stitches knit up in fine yarns on a machine, left unblocked and then lightly felted. Picture the Fir Cone stitch. Never mind, just Google it. More later.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sock Progress

One pair down. One to go. The lavender scent completely disappeared in the wash...

So, I'm using the mohair again in this next pair....gray Regia 3 ply with a strand of laceweight mohair. It looks steel coloured...I bought the Regia at a small yarn store in Ottawa within walking distance of Parliament Hill. It closed last year. They always had plenty of black and grey Regia in 3 and 4 ply. I pictured Canadian civil servants faithfully knitting their plain, conservative socks by lamplight, or by the excellent daylight let in through the windows of the Confederation Building. I have heard of one such man.

I'm getting dizzy. I don't know what knitting to pack. I'm telling myself that I wouldn't survive if my suitcase containing the Pine Tree Palatine got lost and that IT wouldn't survive if the needles were removed by airport security. I know. I could put in a lifeline. 

Point is, I'm making excuses. What I really want is to start the Morning Surf Scarf, on wooden needles and a plainish cardigan of blue-green attic yarn (Germantown). The one I'm thinking of has raglan sleeves and a pattern of holes around the yoke. I'll have to finish Michael's socks though.

 After our Saturday walk, we sat on a bench at the head of Hemlock Lake. Nice name for a reservoir that holds drinking water, eh?)

and looked at the view... while eating grape pie.