Recovery and letdown

to say that Rhinebeck this year was the best ever may actually not do it justice.  all of my Rhinebecks have been memorable, from the “what’s this fiber festival thingy” that was my first Rhinebeck, when I was a new knitter and had no idea just what Rhinebeck meant to the fiber peeps, to the later heady days of dragging friends with me (some from Canada) and knowing people as I passed them.

this was probably my 5th Rhinebeck, and this one was a totally different experience for me.  1) This time I was going as a spinner as well as a knitter, 2) I was going as a stasher who has so much yarn, it actually stresses me to think about it and 3) as a knitter who realizes how large her circle of friends is because of this craft.

those 3 facts allowed me to experience this Rhinebeck differently.   I didn’t actually plan on buying a lot of yarn as my spinning fiber stash needs the help, NOT the yarn stash and I was going as a member of a pretty freakin’ cool house of women who knit and spin and are snarky, sarcastic, warm, loving and funny as hell!

So this weekend was a weekend of knitting and talking and singing and eating and some dancing and cooking and fighting with furnaces and watching the clouds roll by on stunningly beautiful fall days in Upstate NY (hey, Duchess County is upstate to me!) and buying yarn that I wasn’t expecting to (Sanguine Gryphon was there! you can’t just buy one! or 4!),  and getting great deals on awesome fiber and running down hills to tackle friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

there will be pictures of yarn and fiber up on Ravelry, but here’s a picture of one favorite memory of this year.

Me and my llama, me and my llama

Oh, also what happens when 13 women all think to bring an “extra” bottle of wine with them (this is only the reds, whites are in the fridge)

Wouldn't be Rhinebeck without the drinkies.

And finally, the haul

To some, this is a shocking amount of yarn and fiber. Slackers 😉

For whatever reason, for the next little while, this song will remind me of this weekend.


Thanks to the women of RhineTEN and Julie, Penny, Melanie, Melody, Abbie, Jen, Annie, Erin…the list goes on and on.


The proceeding sugar crash has been brought to you by an insane amount of Maple Cotton Candy….

Further posts will occur as blood sugar evens out.

We have coffee, we have treats, we have cash, we have cars.

This is going to get ugly, AND I CAN’T WAIT!!!

More later, with stash enhancements.

This is a test

Playing with technology is fun. Let’s see if this works.

If this really works, I am SO getting one of these for myself!!!

Yeah, I’ve got issues with posting. I have great intentions then real life gets in the way 🙂

September was crazy because some things were happening at the job that I never saw coming. Good things, thank god, but still took me by surprise.. Hopefully in a few weeks all will be resolved and I’ll be able to talk more about it, but it’s kept me busy and worried and not to focused on blogging.

But, as usual, when I’m that stressed, i tend to knit like a fiend and September was no exception! I got a one very large project started and finished and another really large project which is almost done.

I got a bit of a bee in my bonnet when I saw one of my friends “favorite” a shawl on Ravelry. It was the 3/4 Happ Shawl and caught my eye because I had been looking for a large size shawl that could wrap around me and this fit the bill quite nicely! And I even had the yarn for it!

I made it out of the Blue Sky Alpacas I had languishing in my stash. I had fallen in love with the teal and cream combination years ago but never quite figured out what to do with it, so there it sat, like a sock on a gym rod. But it was the perfect yardage and I immediately cast on and away i went!!

And went, and went, and went. I forgot how long it takes to do a shawl that large. Its entirely possible that I blocked it from my memory! By the end there I was almost at 500 sts per row and the only thing that saved me was the fact I ran out of the contrast color! We will not discuss binding off which took almost 1 whole subway ride.

And here it is! Isn’t it pretty? I can’t wait for it to actually be cold enough to wear it!

But once that was done, cold hard reality hit and I realized I only had 3 weeks left until Rhinebeck. And I still had a whole sweater to finish knitting. Um, yeah. So despite massive startitis, I hunkered down and concentrated on finishing up Royale. I really do love this sweater and once I figured out how to read the pattern (I swear I know how to knit) I’ve really been on a good clip and I’m predicting I will have a finished sweater by the end of is weekend at the earliest and mid-next week at the latest.

People, Rhinebeck is 2 weeks and 2 days from now!!!! Get knitting and bring that stash down! Then you’ll have plenty of storage space for the goodies you bring back 😉

Dear Real Life

you have taken up way too much of my time these past 2 months.  the only knitting i’ve accomplished has been while on some mode of transportation.  the only photos of said knitting have been taken with a phone camera instead of a real camera.

the only things i’ve accomplished recently are frogging projects that are JUST NOT WORKING,  finishing up some long lingering (and newly rediscovered) projects, working on some travelling socks, and trying to get some speed on 2 long term projects.

the frogging was actually quite cathartic.  i ended the sad story of some handspun that just wasn’t working out as a shawl and it will live again in another design.  another was a pair of gloves i was test knitting, but there is a better version of the pattern now so i’ll try them again and this time not make as many mistakes.  so both of those i actually consider a win.

in the “omg, i didn’t realize i had even knit this!” dept, i was cleaning out some project bags and found a hat i had all but finished (only had blocking and weaving in ends to do).  silly me! anyway, its a really cute Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret made in what i think may be Malabrigo Worsted, but since there was no tag, i can’t be sure.

Here it is blocking on a plate in my kitchen (no, those are not granite countertops!)

and i finally finished the languishing Show Off Shawl, which i did with my  first really successful handspin (Into The Whirled BFL batt purchased at Rhinebeck last year).  Just wanted a simple shawl to show off the color progression that I managed to acheive.

isn’t it pretty?

what wasn’t pretty was the panic i had at the very end.  there was very little yarn left and i thought i might not have enough to bind off.  i had JUST BARELY enough yarn to finish!  and after weaving in the ends, i sort of felt a bit ill at the wee amount of yarn i had left.

yeah, that really is only about 6 inches worth of yarn.  NOT FUN!

but the shawl is lovely and i’m really happy with it and can’t wait for fall to come so i can wear it.

here’s a sock that got started on a trip to DC.  sock number 2 is almost done so yay!! It’s the Lace and Cable sock by Wendy Johnson.  I’m really getting into toe-up socks now that i have figured out the joy that is the toe up slip stitch heel (i still hate short rows even though i’m better at them than i used to be!)

But thanks to the heat, there hasn’t been as much knitting at home as i would like.  just too hot and while i’ve used my AC more this summer than i have in the last 3 summers COMBINED, i try not to keep it on all the time.

hey, the more money goes to the electric bill, the less money i have for Rhinebeck 🙂 its all about priorities people!!

In 2007, on my annual trip to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (known to fiber enthusiasts simply as “RHINEBECK”), i made a bit of an impulsive purchase.  it was a purchase fueled by the desire to learn more about the fiber arts, while totally ignoring the fact that I was still a newbie to any fiber art other than knitting.

I purchased a spinning wheel.

Specifically, this one:

It’s the wonderful little Ashford Kiwi, with it’s wheel painted red, almost hidden by all of the other yarny goodness that we purchased that day.

I loved that wheel, although for the first year, I swear it had it out for me.  it wouldn’t spin evenly, the bobbin was always uneven, things got tangled.

then I realized, it had nothing to do with the wheel and everything to do with the fact that I VASTLY overestimated my skill in spinning.  I realized this when I traveled to Sock Summit and took a class on Spindle Spinning.  it was there that I realized that I couldn’t draft for shit and that my bobbin was uneven b/c I was taking too long to switch to the next hook!

and so I came home and applied myself to this new (to me, anyway) art of spinning.  and I loved it.  and I got good at it.

and then, I sort of outgrew my wonderful Ashford Kiwi.  The bobbins just didn’t hold enough, I couldn’t really change the options on it easily, etc, etc.  it was such a wonderful wheel to learn on, but here I realized that I had come as far as I could and it was time to get a new wheel.

that’s the bitter part.  i sold my wheel to a newbie spinner, gave it a hug and set it to its wonderful new home in the Adirondacks with an enthusiastic new owner.

and with that money, and some other funds I had been saving, I purchased a new wheel, one that has a wider array of configurations, more options for growth and, having played around with my friend Julie’s wheel, was like a dream to spin on.

I purchased a Lendrum Original Folding wheel with the Double Treadle.

it was totally sold out all over the US, so I called The Woolery to place my backorder.  I was told that they would be in by mid-June, shipped out immediately, so I figured I’d have mine by the end of June.  a bit sad for the delay, but all in all, not a huge hard ship.

then the Woolery worked their magic (I LOVE YOU!), and all of a sudden I got a notification that my wheel had shipped and would be arriving on June 2nd.

so I worked from home that day and obsessively tracked the UPS website.  And was reminded why, in my mind,  UPS stands for “U People Suck” (my opinion- don’t bother suing!).  At 3:05 pm, I hit the refresh button, only to see that a delivery attempt had been made but the recipient was not home.

BULLSHIT! especially since I was sitting on my sofa at the moment they were NOT RINGING my doorbell.  so I booked it down the stairs, realized the UPS truck was still on the block (although all the way down the other end) and in 85 degree heat and in platform heels, ran full out down the block to catch up with them.  you bet your ass I caught up with them! and then I ripped the UPS driver a new one (“sorry, that was my fault” he said; “no shit” i replied) came back upstairs, wrote a grumpy email to UPS and then…

you think I would have ripped open that box right then and there, right?

nope, I went and did more work.  I was quite proud of myself actually!

but at 6:05 I signed off and jumped on that box like a cat with a catnip mouse.  really, it was embarrassing.  not enough to stop me at the time, but in hindsight.

and there it was, in it’s glory

and I immediately marveled over the myriad parts that came with it.  there was the regular flyer and mother of all, the fast flyer, the plying apparatus (larger mother of all with a larger orifice and bobbin and a HUGE drive band), and a really nice tensioned lazy kate (although I still swear I’m buying one from a friend’s husband- can’t show it yet, but soon, I hope).

I assembled it and although it was 80 degrees at this point and i was sweating like a pig, I had no choice but to start spinning.

You wouldn’t be able to resist either 😉

This was absolutely the SWEET part 😉

happy knitting (and spinning!) to all the fiber crazies out there!

this is called part 2 because part 1 was written on my iPhone during a really boring meeting and karma kicked me in the ass and has locked up the post.  so i can’t get to it and i can’t post it.  lovely.

let me sum up:

Most Boring Knit Ever: Actually known in real life as the Tea Leaves Cardigan.  Once you get past the yoke, it’s just miles and miles of stockinette, which is a really good sedative (not good for finishing) or best accomplished in a movie theatre (sweater comes to us thanks to “How to Train Your Dragon”).  But despite the “OMG BORED NOW”, it turned out lovely and beautiful and perfect for taking up to Toronto for the Knitter’s Frolic last weekend.

I traveled up to Toronto to go hang with Glenna and sit on her sofa and watch DVDs and knit.  And yeah, we planned some yarn shopping in there for one of the days.  The weather was fairly horrid most of the weekend, rainy and windy and cold, otherwise known as the perfect weather for knitting and lazing about in coffee shops.  you see, knitters like the rain and cold because it’s the perfect excuse to sit on our butts and indulge in our favorite pasttime 🙂

And indulge i did!  The morning of the 6th, I cast on for the Whisper Cardigan.  I’m making in in Mad Tosh Prarie, a lovely single ply lace weight yarn, in a dark rose color called Isadora.  Thanks to all the sitting around and knitting, I’m done with the sleeves and the back and on track to be done with the whole sweater by this week! here’s a crappy shot of it at my desk.

which is perfect, because i need to start Glenna’s Royale Sweater.  Made of course, with some of the yarn purchased from the Frolic.

At the Frolic, I did my part to support the Southern Ontario Indy Dyers Market to the fullest extent.  There was Viola Sock purchased at the Naked Sheep, many different weights of MCN purchased from Indigodragonfly, and a whackton of yarn purchased at Tanis Fiber Arts.

this here is the Tanis Fiber Arts in Poppy that I’ll be using on my Royale sweater.  Isn’t it pretty?

I’ve got a ton of other yarn to show you, but for some reason, my camera is acting up and won’t take accurate color shots which is really annoying.  But this weekend is a 4 day weekend, so i’ll have time to investigate the issue and fix it.

Buying another camera right now is out of the question, but the reason for that will be explained in a post coming your way soon.  🙂

especially when i didn’t post AT ALL in the month of March?

well, i’ll sort of keep it.

didn’t really accomplish much this last month. some spinning which still needs to be photographed and putting some UFOs into the FO pile.

See my Leyburn Socks?  They are finally done!

Work continues slowly on my Tea Leaves Cardigan, which for some odd reason I do not have a picture on my server despite taking a picture this morning before i left the house.  It’s going slowly because I’m on the stockinette portion of the pattern and omg, it puts me to sleep.  So I tend to take it with me if I’m going to the movies since I don’t need to look at the work and I can knit it in the dark.  I’ve seen “How to Train Your Dragon” twice in the theatre (yes, i love that movie, why do you ask?), so I’m about halfway done with the torso.  I might switch to doing the sleeves; at least there are decreases to keep track of.

Watch, I’ll finish the sweater just in time for the temperature to hit the 90s for a week straight.

I’m starting on another summer dress!  It’s Gudrun Johnston’s Little Black Dress although for me, it’s being made out of KnitPicks CotLin in Planetarium.  I took this picture with my iPhone, but while it doesn’t catch the color, it at least shows the stitch pattern pretty well.

I doubt this will be done in time for the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic which is about 3 weeks away (OMGYAY!), but hey, a girl can dream! I’m heading up to Toronto for the Frolic to visit my friend GlennaC and spend some money.  But only some.  Like maybe 1 or 2 skeins. *shifty eyes on lookout for random lightning strikes*

yeah, it’s an exciting life, isn’t it.

2 weeks of Insanity

And sadly, not the fun knitting variety.

Work was, once again, crazed, and has caused all sorts of hijinks which have led to much cursing on Twitter.  The only saving grace has been the hour I run away from my desk at lunch and hide away for some solitary knitting.  It really is the second best part of my work day (number 1 being when i leave 🙂

But the real insanity has been my entry into the Knitting Olympics.  Since I’m not the world’s best team player, I decided against the RavOlympics and went on my merry way determined to finish a major project (anything requiring more than 1 skein of yarn).

I was originally going to do a waistcoat or vest, but then my conscience got the best of me and I decided what I really needed to do was finish a project that had been languishing on the wall o’ project since mid-Nov of ’09.  It was my lovely Nuss sweater, made from Berroco’s Blackstone Tweed, a wonderfully soft blend of Merino, Mohair and Angora (spun smoothly enough that i wasn’t breaking out in hives just looking at it).

And this was a possible goal for me!  When I re-started the sweater, it had been 3 months since I’d touched it, so it was almost like starting over.  So a sweater in 2 weeks was difficult, but not impossible.

Well, friends, then I did something foolish.  I signed up for a spinning course.  The spinning course was only once a week for 2 hours a class, but oh the distraction!  I didn’t want to come home and knit, I wanted to come home and spin!  And play with my batts and combed tops.

But just as Olympians before me, I pushed on through the pain and persevered!  And just an hour ago, I finished my sweater!

And then thanked God that I’m only crazy enough to do this once every 4 years.

Wanna see?

Pretty Nuss Sweater

Now, where’s my Gold medal?