Lots to Update

Wow. So it’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged. Not much going on really, except that it’s summer, and that means there are kid activities and family events to attend and even a quick weekend away, though I would not exactly call it a vacation. More on that part later. But suffice it to say, that even if my blog has been neglected in recent weeks, my knitting has not.

I made a pact with myself earlier this summer to be sure to knit something, even if it is just a few stitches, every day. Most knitters out there are probably laughing at me for this, because I am sure most of you do knit every day, or at least more than I do, judging from the number of FO’s I’m always seeing on Ravelry. But for me, for whatever reason, I love to knit, but often go days at a time without doing it. And then I’m mad at myself for not making progress on my projects. And the truth is, I feel better when I knit, so why not make a bigger effort to do it?

I haven’t quite managed to knit every, every day, but I’m getting closer. I’ve even got several projects going that are all seeing some progress, including an alpaca tube scarf, dishcloths, and yes, my own Color Affection shawl. The shawl is what I want to give a peek of today, because I have finally started the short-row section, and thus have added the third color to the mix:

Color Affection Progress

Color Affection Progress

Sadly, the longer I work on this, the less I am liking the color combination. Which is silly, considering that I am all about purple and green in combination, in so many of my yarn choices right now. And I’m sure it will be great when it’s done and it’ll look like “me”–whatever that is. So I’m keeping at it. In fact, I made a lot of progress on it so far this weekend, because of a weekend road trip that had me in the car for many hours. Hence, my next topic.

Yarn Tourism

Last week my daughter attended Music Camp at University of North Carolina Greensboro. On Friday, which was the last day of camp, each group gave a concert, and I did not want to miss it. So, my in-laws took her down there, and went to visit their daughter in Cary for a few days, and then met my husband, son and me back in Greensboro at the end of the week. It meant driving seven hours on Thursday, attending dinner and the concert on Friday, and seven hours in the car again today.

So, faced with a few hours to kill in the late morning/early afternoon, which was too long to do nothing, but not long enough to do anything major, I whipped out my iPad because I remember someone on a podcast I used to listen to mentioning that there was at least one nice yarn shop in Greensboro. The first one to come up in my search was Gate City Yarns, so I called to make sure they were wheelchair friendly (they are! yay!) and off I went with my patient husband. I was not disappointed. The shop is situated on a bustling main street of the likes that I did not expect to find in Greensboro. It would seem that there is quite the artist community there. with galleries and fun cafes and shops all up and down the row. The shop itself is roomy and inviting, with a big antique bathtub full of yarn inside. The place sort of gave me the modern, industrial feel, but with an air of coziness. (The comfy sofa with afghans draped all over it added to that feeling.)

I’m the kind of person who buys yarn by sight and feel. That is, if it looks pretty, I’m attracted to it, and if it feels nice, even better. Plus there was the whole “souvenir factor” of buying yarn in a new shop in a strange city. So, I got these:

Rainbow silk and lavender and green sock yarn

Rainbow silk and lavender and green sock yarn

The one in front is Schaefer Yarn “Andrea” in the colorway “Hermione.” (I have always been attracted to rainbows, and this is, indeed, the softest rainbow I have ever encountered.) It is a silk lace weight, about 1090 yards… which sounds like a lot but can be used up quickly. So, as usual I have no idea what to make with it that will bring out the colors in just the right way. I’m open to suggestions… I’d love it if I could get the colors to pool in such a way to achieve a tie-dye look, rather than a mottled, varigated look, but I don’t want to have to think too much.

The other yarn is Frolicking Feet by Done Roving Yarn, in the lavender and sage colorway. (Green and purple? Yeah, I told you I’m obsessed.) I did just sign up for a sock class on Craftsy , so maybe this will be used for that.

Oh, and I even had a knitting related birthday gift! Well, to be fair my husband and I are past the point of surprising each other with gifts so I sent him a link about a month ago and said, “Click here, honey, in case you mgiht like to know what I want for my birthday this year:

Addi Turbo Clicks

Addi Turbo Clicks

Yep, I am now the proud owner of a set of Addi Turbo Click interchangeable needles. I bought one pair in advance to make sure I can operate them, and after fumbling a bit, I did figure it out. So, I asked for the set, and my husband was sweet enough to get them. Kinda makes turning 48 not so bad. Sometimes.

Well, this blog post has been a long one! Hopefully I will start posting again so I won’t have to catch up so much all at once. If you made it this far, thanks for reading! And do let me know your ideas for that rainbow yarn. I don’t want to let it linger in the stash, but I do want to do something that will do it justice.

Homespun Yarn Party, 2012

Today was the annual Homespun Yarn Party, in Savage, MD. I’d never been to this event before, but this year, my friend Lynne from Knit Group decided that I had to attend, and offered to drive my van there. It was a little like the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, but in miniature, and it focused on small, local vendors with unique yarns and products. I went there not knowing what to expect, and I loved it!

Of course, I couldn’t have attended an event like that without having some yarn follow me home. I tried to focus only on yarns I had never seen or heard of before, and colors that pleased me, but WITHOUT focusing on purple for once, because that would have made things too easy. And I think I succeeded. Without further ado, here are my purchases:

This yarn is from Feederbook Farm. I like it because it has little bits that look like flowers in it. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but I love this.

Feederbrook Farm Yarn

Feederbrook Farm Yarn

This one is Biggie, by Dancing Leaf Farm. It’s mostly blues and greens, and it reminds me of looking up at a blue, blue sky at billowy clouds while lying on cushy green grass. I was also lucky enough to find a matching felted button in the button bin. I’m sure it was no accident that it was there, but I felt lucky to find it! I’m seeing myself in some kind of wrap with this:

Dancing Leaf Farms Biggie Yarn

Dancing Leaf Farms Biggie Yarn

This yarn is Chunky Bump by Mid Valley Fibers. I had never heard of this vendor before, and I just read their story when creating the link in this paragraph. You should check it out. I’m going to do something fun with this! (I also got a button pin kit, which I know will one day adorn one of my hats!)

Mid Valley Fibers Chunky Bump

Mid Valley Fibers Chunky Bump

This last one is Taffy, by Folktale Yarn. The vendor told me that the yarn in this one came from one of her own goats. And, looking at the tag on the yarn, there are all sorts of yummy bits mixed in, including sparkly sari silk threads. I just love it!!

Taffy, by Folktale Yarn

Taffy, by Folktale Yarn

I doubt I could have found such interesting and rich things at any other event. Plus, the best part? It was like being around old friends all day. It was crowded, but filled with local artisans and local spinners and knitters, so I was among friends. I saw lots of people in my knitting world who I know mostly online, but only see at these events, and friends that I see all the time at my own knit group. It was SO fun, and I’m glad I went.

Thanks, Lynne! It was great. Love you.

Biggo

You don’t have to tell me; I know I have enough yarn in the stash. But then last week, I saw Knit Picks’ new yarn, which is a new bulky yarn with a funny name. It’s called, Biggo, and I had to give it a try.

New "Biggo" yarn from Knit Picks

New "Biggo" yarn from Knit Picks

I’m nearly done with my charity scarf for work. And, there aren’t that many donations coming in, so I feel like I have to make more. Except that I am a slow knitter. So I’ve been looking for a bulky, washable yarn, and then this one just fell in my lap at just the right time.

Biggo is 50% merino and 50% nylon. I don’t know that much about fiber construction but it looks basically unspun and then wrapped in a thread. It’s BIG, hence the name, so it will knit up quickly. And it’s SO squishy and soft. I bought 4 hanks, and I’m actually hoping I’ll get two scarves out of it. Secretly, I want one for me. I think it’s going to be great for what I’m going to use it for but I have to wonder how it will hold up in something like a sweater. It’ll be interesting to see what others think of this yarn.

Hopefully I’ll have an FO report on the other scarf soon. Keep on knitting!

Knitting Weekend and Catching Up

Scarf Progress

Scarf Progress

I never quite know how to show a scarf in progress on my blog. For the most part, they’re long and unwieldy, and since I do most of my photos indoors at night, it’s not like I can take them out and hang them from the fence post to shoot them outdoors. So today, I’m enlisting my pal Hedda, my trusty hat model, so you can see the pattern in my scarf. Problem is, doing it this way doesn’t really show how LONG the scarf is, which is of what I am most pleased at the moment. It’s about 4 feet long at this point, which means, dear people, that I am nearly DONE, or at least about four-fifths done, and yes, I’m thinking of other knitterly things.

At least one person has asked me if this scarf is of my own design. Well, yes, and… no. It’s a simple thing, really, in a basic seed stitch with a plaited cable in the center. So, nothing earth-shatteringly new there. But, someday soon I will write it all down for the curious and post in these pages. Perhaps when the thing is finished.

I’ve been away from the blog for a long while. No good reason, really… but I will say that this summer I have been in a kind of a slump. It was just the scarf and me, all summer long, day in and day out… and I thought certainly it would be too boring to hear of this same project over and over, so, instead I’ve been quiet. While knitting this scarf I have been pondering my next one, which is a commitment I’ve made to do a Special Olympics scarf. In the meantime I’ve developed a strong love-hate relationship with knitting scarves at all, so I’m starting to lose hope a bit that the next project will ever get off the ground. What is it with scarves, anyway, and why does something that seems so simple take forever to do?

A couple of other things to catch up on:

A few weeks back I bought some new yarn that I had never heard of before:

mink and cashmere yarn

mink and cashmere yarn

This is the Mink and Cashmere Yarn from the Great Northern Yarns company. The fiber content is 70% mink (sheared) and 30% cashmere. It sounded on the surface, like it should feel like the most amazingly luxurious yarn ever made. Well, let’s say that I was somewhat under-impressed for what I was thinking it should feel like. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly soft, but I’ve had my hands on a mink coat or two in my lifetime and well? I guess I was expecting it to feel like that. And it doesn’t. Not really… but it did sort of remind me of this silk that I have, at least in the feel of it. I haven’t knit with it yet so I don’t know what it’s like to knit with. But I’m thinking maybe someday DH will get a scarf out of this to go with his dress coat. He can’t stand the feel of wool (“itchy”) so I think this will fill the bill for him, someday.

I have something else to share:

Jackie's Tam

Jackie's Tam

This is my friend Jackie, from knit group. She is a relatively new knitter, and she made THAT hat, from the book, Colorwork Creations: 30+ Patterns to Knit Gorgeous Hats, Mittens and Gloves. I’m very proud of Jackie. She came to us I think less than a year ago, learning to knit her first scarf, and now, she is fearless. She saw this book somewhere and I liked it and got one and loaned it to her, and off she went. Her very first hat looked as if it would fit a giant. If that had happened to me, I might have thrown the book across the room and stomped away in disgust, but not Jackie. She was undaunted, and tried again. I think, but I’m not certain, that this was her third attempt. And it was a huge success! Not only does the hat look great, but it looks great on her, a wonderful match to her coloring and hair. She says this hat is a gift for someone, but personally? I hope she gifts it to herself. I think Jackie deserves such a lovely thing.

As for me, it’s back to the scarf. I must keep knitting, must keep knitting, must keep knitting… ciao for now.