A Knitting Annoyance

Little gray yarn ball

Little gray yarn ball

Every knitter I know can relate. You know, when you get so perilously close to the end of a pull skein of yarn, that no matter what you do, the yarn wants to knot up on itself? Yep, that’s where I’ve been, for more than a week. I finally gave in today and wound my loose little skein into a ball, which produced a macadamia nut-sized ball, that has since rolled away from me at least a dozen times.

A surprising amount of knitting can occur with a macadamia nut-sized ball of yarn. I’ve been knitting and knitting and knitting all day, and I swear that it hasn’t gotten any smaller. Not one bit. And, correspondingly, the knitting that I have been working on all weekend isn’t getting any bigger, either. I know this is known as the Knitter’s Black Hole, and I am here to tell you that I have been stuck in its depths for months and this project, I am sure, will just NEVER be done. And still I knit, never giving up hope that someday I can look at this project and say that I completed it. Even if, sadly, it takes me a year.

I know there are those of you who will tell me that having the macadamia nut-sized ball of yarn in the middle of my project is much better than having it at the end, when somehow, the macadamia nut-sized ball of yarn is just inches short of not enough. Sigh… this is true. So for now, I will count my blessings, and keep knitting.

Just a Lovely Afternoon (not) Knitting at Knit Group

I always have a great time at knit group, and today was no exception. Except, for some reason, I didn’t knit a stitch. Often it happens that I knit very little at group time, because there’s always food, and conversation, and patterns to search for on the iPad, and all that sort of stuff. Today I think I was more focused on photographing knitting than working on knitting. It wasn’t my goal to show the projects in progress from a technical standpoint, so that you can really get a sense o the project. Instead, I was after the art of knitting, and the beauty of stitches. I only snapped a few today, but I will get more next time. These are the ones that caught my eye today, though…

We also welcomed Kayla and Lily to our group today. Kayla just moved here from Hawaii TWO weeks ago and was already seeking out the company of knitters. I hope she’ll find a home with us! And Lily? Miss Adorable, she is! As you can see in the photo she loves to help her mama with her knitting! (Don’t worry, Kayla, Aunt Marie will have Lily knitting in no time!)

Sometimes, it’s less about the thing, and more about the people. Today was one of those days for me. I am glad to have my knitting friends, and I’m already looking forward to next time.

In the meantime, I’ve got lots of knitting to do! Catch you later!

Festival Booty

Here is my yarn haul from this year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival! I didn’t go in wanting anything in particular, but in the end it seems color and gradient yarns won the day. My photos aren’t the best this go-round, but hopefully good enough to get the idea. I was afraid to take the yarns out of the packaging for fear that they’d never get back in!

First up is this little set of skeins from Miss Babs:

mini skeins of yarn in greens, blues and purples

Miss Babs Polydactyl set

This is a Polydactyl Set to use for the Pterodactyl Polydactyl Scarf, but they told me it’s also enough yarn to make an Albers Cowl, which I have been drooling over for quite some time.

Next up is my gradient kit from Unique Sheep:

Unique Sheep gradient yarn set in greens, blues, purples and pinks

Unique Sheep gradient yarn set in greens, blues, purples and pinks

Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the vendor who was selling these but I have been drooling over these yarn sets for a very long time. You can probably see why in the photo; the colors are simply astounding! No, I don’t have any idea what this one will be yet. I’m waiting for the Yarn Gods to speak.

Last, but certainly not least, is my gradient yarn from Fiber Optic:

Fiber Optic gradient yarn from deep blue to purples to oranges

Fiber Optic gradient yarn from deep blue to purples to oranges

I can definitely say that I have also been eyeing the Paintbox Gradients from this company for quite some time, and to see the yarn in person is nothing short of amazing. The photo here doesn’t do it justice at all with how rich the colors are. I will have to re-shoot when I take it out of the box and start working with it. This one, I definitely have a plan for. I am going to make this shawl, which was hanging over my head as I was eyeing the yarns. I’m pretty sure it was sending me subliminal messages, daring me to make one:

Evenstar Shawl in Fiber Optic Gradient yarn

Evenstar Shawl in Fiber Optic Gradient yarn

This is the Evenstar Shawl pattern by Susan Pandorf. I’m not a Lord of the Rings fan but she says it is inspired by that. I guess that means that if I ever get this one done, I could equally wear it to knitting events and nerd conventions! Haha. (The last one I attended a couple of weeks ago was crawling with Jayne Hats. I’ve got one of those on the needles, too.) So, I don’t know what I was thinking because this shawl is HUGE and will probably mock me for the rest of my days. But the yarn is so pretty I could not resist.

The lady in the Fiber Optic booth was very helpful to both my friend Nancy and me, in choosing yarn and reaching things and running crowd interference. We both really appreciated that! She also told both of us about a technique called “The Magic Knot” for joining yarns together, and told us to look it up on YouTube, which, of course, I immediately did:

I have never used this join, but it certainly looks very easy, and I’m going to try it! What say you, knitters? Does this join really work, and does it hold up over time? I’m guessing I would otherwise do a Russian join but the Magic Knot seems so much less fussy!

Sigh… at the rate I’m going with my current project, I may never get to find out, one way or the other. It’ll be a while yet before I can move on to anything new. That’s ok, for now my new yarns can be my pets, and I will show them off at knit group and dream about what someday they will become. In the meantime, I’ve still got lots of other knitting to do, and a deadline fast approaching!

Goodnight for now; once again, I’ve managed to go past the Pumpkin Hour. Tomorrow is a long day, with a full day of work, long meetings, and then tomorrow night Boyzilla is performing in his school’s Spring Musical. He’s in High School Musical, Jr. as “Skater Dude #2,” or something like that, which means he’s in the chorus. I can’t wait to see this! Look for pics of that in this space, soon!

Sunday was Festival Day!

I feel like I had the best day, EVER. I know I say that nearly every year about the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, but this year, I think I mean it. My good friend Nancy joined us for the fun (she was a newbie!) so I had the fun of showing her around and watching her light up as she encountered some of her favorite yarn vendors in person. I tried something new for lunch (artichoke hearts sauteed in garlic) and engaged in quite a bit of fiber-related retail therapy myself.

Last week I posted on Facebook that I managed to snap one of the umbrella canes on my beautiful cherry wood floor swift by Strauch Fiber Equipment Company. I contacted Otto, and asked if I could bring my swift to him for repair, fully expecting that he would take it home and fix it sometime in the future. Not only did he fix it for me AT the festival, but he fixed for me for FREE. I can’t believe he did that, considering that I’m the one who broke the thing! Thanks, Otto! I really appreciate you!

The best part of today’s show for me, though, was seeing a lot of people I know, and being among the kindred spirits in the knitting and fiber community. It was a beautiful day, the pace was relaxing because it was Sunday instead of Saturday, and I got to see and meet a lot of people.

Below is my gallery of photos! If you click the photos, you’ll see detailed captions.

More about my purchases in another post, but I am sure you will notice a sort of a theme to my shopping this year when you see it. I didn’t have any particular shopping goals in mind, but the yarn fates were at work and guided me very specifically this year. You’ll see… soon. For now, I’ve got to get to bed, else this tired wheelchair battery will be of no more use to me than a pumpkin at midnight.

Thanks to my wonderful husband for helping to make this such a special day! I love you!

Goodnight for now.