Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I'm in Montreal, writing on someone else's laptop so no pictures. I'm knitting the last toe on the last plain sock of the year and I have plenty of knitting dreams for the New Year.

1) Finish some projects like the Storm Water shawl and Citron.Those are the most likely to be done soon.
2) Less likely, but no less desirable to finish - the Pine Tree Palatine and the second of two lace curtains out of the pale green Icelandic yarn.
3) Mittens. I'd like to practice some new mitten techniques. Before I left the house I was flipping through Favorite Mittens: Fox and Geese and Fences by Robin Hansen and thought I might experiment with different fibres on the Double Rolled mittens on page 36. I'd like to start early and have a pile of mittens to give as presents and donate to the Rochester Mitten Drive next winter.
4) I really like the Yarn Harlot's reflections on knitting a pair of socks each month. By the end of the year, she had 6 pairs to give as presents and 6 for herself. Nice.
5) I'd like to make a garment for myself that fits and can be worn to work.
6) Mend Nadia's fingerless mitts that she loves so much.
7) Make myself some gloves.
8) I'd like to enjoy my knitting and balance obligation with pleasure.

This is what I'm thinking about just now, but the longer I think the more projects come to mind. I'll stop before I depress myself.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In the Vortex: yes we can!

It's almost a month since I wrote here last, that long dark month between November and December. I've been humming and hah-ing, writing and re-writing and finally conclude that if knitters near the Arctic Circle Lene and Harpa can present a good face during the short days, then so can I.

Love is an old pair of black gloves; at least it has been for me this past week. I knit them a year or 2 ago for my husband and he only recently complained in his mild way that the fit on the baby finger wasn't right. Don't worry, I won't torture you with photos except for this one which shows the fingers after I cut them off.

There's an article about gloves in the most recent issue of Cast On. It has now finally sunk into my brain that after you have knit the cuff and thumb and built up the hand, it's best to knit the baby finger first before building up the hand with a few more rounds and completing the other fingers. I don't like the way they tell you to close the finger tips like sacks of flour though. I prefer to kitchener them shut. Pigs will fly before I knit anyone else a pair of custom gloves.

Otherwise, all my knitting is plain socks and pleated tea cosies that I can't even show you because they're presents for familial lurkers on this blog, however I promised a link to the pattern to Debby and a few others at the LYS so here it is. And here's a photo of an old one. That's Aniko's sister making an appropriate face in the background.

A few weeks ago, when I was coming back from a cold or something, I blurted out that I had made soup with chicken's feet in it. A few of those present recoiled in horror. Well, I'm not alone in adding the feet to chicken broth and here's the proof. It's a long established ingredient according to Simply Recipes. And there's a kosher recipe too, over here.

And that's all I'm saying.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hard Frost

There was a hard frost here last night. When we went out this morning, the round yellow fruits of the Gingko trees across the street were drop drop dropping onto the pavement. The day was just beginning to warm up. A little later, we passed by a maple tree in Mendon Ponds park just as it decided to shed it's remaining leaves. One, two three, they all fell off with a popping noise.

This Coppertina Ninebark is still holding on to its foliage for the time being. And the greenery from the daisies is also quite stubborn. In a word, there's still colour out there to admire.

Back from Charleston, I hardly saw the place. I was in meetings almost the whole time, but it was overcast anyway. I know it's a beautiful city from past visits.

Very funny comments about the afghan. It's a Salvation Army rescue. I was just so excited about finishing Coquille. Here are some better pictures...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dirty Blonde

I'm going to Charleston. I may have to take Coquille with me damp!

Next up? Maybe Citron out of the Machair that Helen gave me. It was pictured on the Yarn Yard site in 2008, about 2 thirds down this page. It now appears to be a rare, discontinued yarn. Thank you, Helen!

Monday, October 25, 2010

When you just need to knit...

Maybe it's been a long day at work. Maybe you're coming off a complex lace jag. One more Russian chart will make you cry, but straight stocking stitch will just put you to sleep.

You like garter stitch, but you're looking for a project with a bit of interest.

Something that will let the beauty of the yarn shine through. Something that will use up that sock yarn you keep buying. Something that will show you a different side of short rows. Did I mention that you're not afraid of short rows?

Coquille. By Yarnerinas. You know you want to.

(Ravelry link here. Queues instantly!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What I bought at Rhinebeck

As a member of the consumer society, I have done my duty. Modestly.

I bought the requisite skein of yak fibre. I'll make some mittens. Supposed to be nice and warm.

Two skeins of Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II sock yarn in the Stonewashed Denim shade. which will likely become a shawl or two. Tina made a nice teal coloured Citron out of this yarn.

Skaska Designs 50% Silk/50% Merino. I'm sorry to say that I don't know more about this yarn, such where it came from, but it's awfully soft. It reminds me of Touch of Twist. He was there too, but I bought from him at Hemlock. I would buy anything from Galina. With my eyes closed.

Then 2 mohair/merino blended skeins from Persimmon Tree Farms. These are the folks who make Piggy Toes, which I used for the brilliantly orange scarf in the last post. Love their colors.

And lastly, 2 sets of leather handbag handles from Homestead Heirlooms, for which I paid more than I would have liked, but which are pretty nifty. They come with waxed thread and buttons to hold them on from the inside of the bag. I swear to get on with more felted bags from Malabrigo worsted. It felted in record time.

And that's that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Over the Hills and Far Away

I woke up on Sunday morning with the feeling that it was all a dream. Having set out in the dark on a Trailways bus at 5 am Saturday morning and returned at midnight Saturday night, it's hardly surprising. First time at Rhinebeck. Wow.

We arrived at the Dutchess County fairgrounds at around 10 am and the place was already packed. There were about 20 buildings, many containing vendors, some with animals. I got bogged down for the first 2 hours in buildings A and B, the highlights of which included losing my hat at Skaska Designs (Galina saved it for me) and a company that sells leather handbag straps. Plenty of knitting to look at, good and bad, but my photographic skills were out the window with my wits. Most of my pictures looked like this. Here you can get a glimpse of some of the lovely flowers which were everywhere:

I stopped outside and wolfed down my cheese sandwich. It's really easy to find a place to take a break. There are a lot of wooden benches scattered about.

I wish I had spent more time sitting and watching the passers by. Instead, I got caught up gawking at the consumer goods. Hemlock times 10. I'm pretty sure that I got to the noon time Ravelry meet-up, but did I really see Ysolda Teague donning a gigantic knitted Bob-head? Did I really go up to Casey and say something sentimental about Ravelry? Oy, what would I have done after sunset had I stayed?

After lunch I staggered through the remaining buildings. I passed long lines of young women queuing to buy Bugga and STR. My head was spinning when I saw a familiar booth: Persimmon Tree Farm, the vendor who sold me the yarn for my Eastern Canopy at Hemlock:

Late in the day, after a good sit down, I managed to get this shot of some of my bus buddies. Here's Tina Turner leading us back to our bus before the sun set.

Had a great time. I'm ready to go back next year. Next time, I'd focus my time with the vendors, sit around and chat more and try to see the sheep dogs. Once at Hemlock I saw dogs herding geese. I think. You never know.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rhinebeck Eve

I've laid out my clothes and packed my bag. I have only to make sandwiches and a thermos of tea, sleep for a few hours until it's time. Time to catch the bus and be off to Rhinebeck in the morning. I'll be a first timer at the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival. The GVHG bus leaves at the crack of dawn. Am I crazy or what?

I'll be carrying the blue mosaic bag of earlier posts.

I lined it with pink satin, sewed the zipper to the lining and tacked it inside the bag.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eastern Canopy

First things first: Status of the Blue Bag - I cut out a pink satin lining for it and found some blue buttons. I'd like to find a piece of card or plastic and cut it to fit the bottom of the bag so that it retains its shape. I'd really like to finish it up this week so I can take it to Rhinebeck. Shandy, it's the easiest thing to make. Just experiment with some leftover yarn that is suitable for felting. Try out a few sample stitches and shrink them and go from there. I knit it in the round which made the mosaic stitch a lot easier - you just repeat the same row twice! Mary Lou, looks like you need a break! I do my best to keep my work at work, but I know it's not always easy. For now, my gadding about continues. Today we went to Canadice Lake and I brought my knitting.

The latest:
Last week, I started out knitting a
Forest Canopy and ended up knitting the border and edging of Aestlight onto it (after adding about 40 stitches on to my last Canopy row). I'm calling my version Eastern Canopy. I just love that eyelet border!

Yarn: Persimmon Tree Farm - Piggy Toes B Pot Luck Yarn. 65% Superwash Merino/35% Bamboo. The skein has 560 yards/about 4 ounces but I only used about 3 quarters of it, maybe not even.

I finished it in the car today and took it on my walk by Canadice Lake. The colours of the shawl were everywhere around - in the leaves and the earth.

It was the perfect Fall day. Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

On the way home, we bought honey. We could see the hives behind the house. The stand is at the corner of Canadice Lake Road and Purcell Road. Mmmmm.

Once home, I blocked my shawl. It's 50 inches across the top while pinned.

Here's what I have left out of 4 ounces:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Up and down and back and forth...

My sister Christina has pointed out that my last post was a full month ago. And where haven't I been these few weeks? I feel as though I've hardly sat down until today, when I decided that enough is enough and I put my feet up.

I started the month with a visit to the Federal Building in Buffalo to be fingerprinted for my new green card. I learned that your fingerprints can actually wear off. Some of mine are almost gone. The officer taking my prints paused and regarded me with great satisfaction. "That's from work," she said. It didn't occur to me in time to say that it was probably caused by knitting needles. Books don't rub off your finger prints, tho if they could...

From there, we went on to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright House at GrayCliff on Lake Erie. We cruised through Cattaragus county, stopping only for Tim Horton's. We flew past the Zoar Valley which I really want to visit one of these days to it's waterfalls and old growth trees. Finally we wended our way up though Wyoming County to visit the Dancing Goat in Warsaw, where I welcomed Mara back to Western New York and purchased a skein of that Ella Ray Merino Laceweight that Chronic Knitting used for her Swallowtail. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. Eight and a half hours in the car that day and we never left New York State or went east of Rochester.

The rest of the month has been similar. I've picked raspberries in historic Egypt, giant mushrooms by Hemlock Lake and tomatoes from my own backyard. I've wandered the slopes of Harriet Hollister park. I've gadded about at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival and followed my favorite paths at Letchworth, where I must say there are too many people these days. I've knitted socks in the woods, at the car wash and on the road. I've showed off my summer knitting at the first Guild meeting. I finished the navy blue Swallowtail out of Mirasol Nuna - luscious Merino/Silk/Bamboo. Must mail it! At the Guild, I happened to glimpse 2 beautiful and perfect sweaters that Paula made over the summer out of Nuna. Very nice!

What have I not done? I have not finished the Swing Jacket or the Blue Mosaic bag. I've made a lot of progress on both but finished they are not.

The Swing jacket is almost done - just four more inches on the collar and then all I have to do is to sew the seams. I felted the blue bag. I had a disastrous adventure with a zipper which I sewed on and then had to carefully remove because it overstretched the edges. Sister Frances (not a nun) suggested the obvious - sew the zipper to a lining and then stitch the lining into the bag - brillant! Before I do that, however I must throw the bag back into the wash to calm the overstretched edges a bit. Pics below.

Puffball mushroom:

We picked this one, ate half and dried the other half in the oven for later:

View from Harriet Hollister:

Fiber Fest:

Nuna Swallowtail:

Hemlock Lake boat launch:

Letchworth trail:



Close-up after:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blues and Purples

I have interpreted the completion of the GS Catharina as a of license to start a whole host of new projects. The Swing Jacket is brought out only when mindless knitting is on the menu. It won't take long to finish it and the cold weather will motivate me soon enough. My logic may be bit shaky here, but knitting oughta be fun, right? Here is some of what I have been up to.

As mentioned in my last post, I started with playing with mosaic knitting, trying to take the technique beyond its usual geometric, crafty look. I used two pale shades of Berocco Seduce, a fine linen/microfibre yarn. One is off white and the other is a variegated blue/gray. I knit a 12' x 4.5" rectangle. I shaped one end of into a flap and sewed up the sides. The resulting fabric feels like a good linen suit jacket.

Here's a close-up. You can kinda, sorta see the mosaic pattern. Click. Click.

It's held shut by a snap underneath the button. You get to pore over your button collection for this project. Here, I've stuffed the bag with a little packet of tissues, but you can keep anything in it and toss it in your purse. Think presents!

Here's the back:

Next, I'll work a subtle variegated yarn against a bold background and see how that works out. I have some worsted weight so I'll make a larger bag. For the sake of comparison, I'll knit the same mosaic stitch pattern as I did for the small bag. I'm thinking of felting it. Hopefully it won't look too much like typical mosaic knitting, which I think rather imitates the look of very structured embroidery - okay in small bits. Mmmm..Malabrigo!

I also started a silky blue Swallowtail shoulder shawl for my elderly aunt (who is 91!)

Finally, I'm several repeats into the Handmaiden's Storm Water Shawl using 2 complimentary skeins of blue and purple Sea Silk. But let's keep that for another day.