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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.

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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 😉

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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!!

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A bit of Bittersweet

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!

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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.  🙂

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but yeah, life got in the way.

January and the beginning of February have been busy knitting months.  I continue with my personal challange of knitting from my stash and have been doing quite well!

The Multnomah shawl is done and looks lovely!  the gauge was a bit tight, so its a bit shorter than i had intended, but it’s still lovely and smooshy and warm.

Next up was Shalom, using up all 6 skeins of the Malabrigo Worsted i had laying around.  Its now my second most favorite sweater (Brea still takes top prize).  Sadly, all my pictures of it pretty much suck !

That’s it for the finished, but tomorrow I hope to finish my second pair of Jaywalkers.  I’m on the gusset section of the second sock, so hopefully i’ll be done by tomorrow night.  here’s another crappy picture:

Plus some spinning: This is a Merino/Silk blend that i loved when I saw it, hated when i was spinning it, and ADORE it now that i have about 100 yards of it.  AMAZING!!

also, i really like that shot!  i’ve been playing around with  my camera and i’m finding out all of the interesting things my cheap ass point and shoot can do and it’s fantastic!!!

Anyway, there is actually a reason I need to be done with my socks by tomorrow.  More will be revealed tomorrow while I’m either working from home or bored out of my mind at work.

now i’m off to lay in bed and fall asleep without earplugs.  the snow has made the roads all nice and quiet, so as long as kitty stays calm, it’s going to be a really nice sleep tonight!

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oh dear sweet god…


After Phase 1 of Project Reorganization:

Phase 1 only because i need more of those nifty little organizers.

But the change is already better.  So far, sock yarns, worsted weight yarn and DK weight yarns are now fully visible whenever i open that closet.  the front 2 organizers slide right and left, making it very easy to see what is behind them, so accessibility is not compromising storage potential.

I need a few more for cottons and a remainders bin.  then i need to sort through the “reclaimed yarn”, otherwise known as the frog pond, and get that under control, and then destash all of the extra yarn that is hanging out that i’m NEVER going to use and get it out of my house where it is just taking up space.

i’ve already identified 2 projects, 1 of which will be made of yarn i didn’t even know that i had before i started this reorganization  (4 balls of Rowan Kid Classic will be made into a capelet- very excited) and the other is a little shawl made of the Sanguine Griffin Bugga yarn that i stroke (and sometimes whisper “my precious” ).

But for now, its off to launch a website and dream of getting out of here at 5:30.  tonight is knit night, but last night was a miserable night’s sleep, so i’ll be heading home, for a spot of knitting, a spot of tea, and a sleeping pill (probably in that order).

oh, and more bins for organization.

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Quick Update

the past few weeks have been insane, with work and new offices.  today’s post was made possible by the fact that our servers and phones were totally down for hours, but at least internet came back up.

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there are certain events in a knitter’s calendar that are sacred.  most come along every year (Stitches, the Romney Wools sale in Toronto, Maryland Sheep and Wool) and some come on a varying schedule, sort of like the 29th of February (Sock Summit comes to mind).

For this knitter, that most holy of days (weekends really), is Rhinebeck, properly known as the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.  In previous years, i have conned people into driving me up at ungodly hours, but this year, Glenna and I got smart and rented a house.  ok, so we still conned someone into the doing the driving, but this time it was a lovely knitter named Liz who i feel privileged to know in person, as she is delightful, funny and loves Jane Austin as much as i do (also agrees with me the ending of the new BBC adaptation of Persuasion makes the blood boil- this is always a sign of a smart woman).
we headed up on Friday afternoon (sadly, i was still doing work via BlackBerry) and checked into the house, which we discovered is just about the cutest thing ever.  good thing too, b/c roadwork caused a detour that added 10 minutes to the drive (at best.  in the dark and trying to avoid the local fauna, make that 20).  but yeah, the house was adorable.  Awesome kitchen, propane fireplace and a STUNNING view.

Glenna made a very yummy dinner (using the aforementioned awesome kitchen) of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and some roasted beets (yay beets!).

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and i saw it all b/c my cold was killing me and not allowing me to sleep.  but it really was a beautiful sunrise and the dawn of a great day.  it was cold, but at least the predicted rain from the Nor’Easter (wtf, it’s only mid-Oct!).  after a lovely breakfast of homemade egg mcmuffins, we headed off to the fairgrounds for the frolic to begin.

There was a ton of fiber for spinning that was purchased by me (Into the Whirled and A Verb for Keeping Warm got A LOT of my money), as well as some more Briar Rose, some Brooks Farms Foreplay and even a Qiviut blend that just rocked my world.  And because I’m practical, I even stocked up on bobbins for my Ashford Kiwi and an Ashford Competition Lazy Kate.

And I was good because until the very end, I avoided the temptation of more STR and did not go to The Fold.  At the very end of the day, when I no longer had any willpower, I took a quick peek inside, but I was good at keeping myself to only one skein of mill ends.  This was much more successful than the lack of restraint I showed at Sock Summit (one trip, 7 skeins of STR.  That’s a record for me).

The handknits were definitely working overtime.  It was freezing cold and so my awesome Heather Hoodie Vest had to be worn OVER my polar fleece jacket (which was over a long sleeved shirt and a tee-shirt).  But at least it didn’t rain, which would have been gross and muddy (although, less crowded which would have been nice).  There were a lot of  last minute “omg, I have to knit a hat/scarf/mittens”  FOs displayed since the normal “oh, look at the sweater I knit for Rhinebeck” were under coats and stuff.

While at Rhinebeck, you always meet friends of friends and this year, I met a very cool woman named Sarah who lives about 10 blocks from my house.  It was one of those funny conversation where you start out at “what state do you live in?” to “what city?” to “what borough” to “what street do you live on?  I live in Bay Ridge too!”  All in all, pretty awesome.  We have yet to meet up, but that may be b/c my life has been nuts the last few weeks.

Here are some teaser shots




The rest of the pictures are over at my Flickr account, here.

And here was some of the stuff I was wearing:

heather hoodiemeret

Now that the Rhinebeck knitting is over, its time for Christmas knitting.  Lets see how many socks/hats/mittens/neck warmers I can knit between now and Dec 20th.

Here’s a pretty thing that I made.  I haven’t decided if it will be an X-mas gift or stay home with me.  It’s SOOO SOFT!

pretty thing

It’s a good thing that Christmas technically has 12 days.  It really means I have until Jan 6th, to finish all of my Xmas gifts.  I’m taking all the time I can get because I have 3 sets of socks (at least), one scarf, one hat, and possibly some mittens.

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4, 3, 2, 1…

countdown to escape has commenced.  yep, my company is closed tomorrow, so everyone is pretty much just watching the clock for the last 20 minutes.  i predict a stampede to the elevators at 5pm.

i have decided to be be productive and update the blog.  tons of updates since the last post!!

4) Damson Shawl by Ysolda-

loved making this pattern.  made a few mistakes b/c i got caught up in the monotony of the garter stitch, but easily rectified and it came out beautifully in the end.  made in  Malabrigo sock, since i have plenty of it in the stash.  now, i just need a bit more of a nip in the air and i can wear it!  isn’t it pretty?damson 1

damson 2

3) a new WIP- the Meret

a non-knitting friend very generously gifted me with 3 skeins of   Marisol Yarn Miski, just for taking care of her kitty while she was on vacation (granted, this was a bit traumatic since kitty got sick).  the yarn is STUNNING and soft (100% baby llama!) and i think i made it all of 24 hours before i had to wind it and start knitting.  the yarn is worsted weight, so this beret is going to be a very quick knit as long as i stop getting too distracted while i’m working on it.  last night, it feel victim to the pilot of “Glee” (OMG!GEEKSQUEE!) and i had to tink back one row 3 times.  there was cursing.

but this morning, the Meret and i got in some quality time together on the subway and now its going quite well.  if i continue at this pace, i should be done by the weekend! wanna see? btw, i don’t usually use that many markers, but with all the screwups i made the night before, better safe than sorry.


2) My 2009 Rhinebeck Sweater

since i’m not using anyone’s pattern, but rather a combination of math and the genius of EZ, it has no other name.  but its going (slowly).  i forget how much longer it takes to knit a sweater in DK rather than in worsted weight.  its a bit of slow going, but it will be worth it.  well, as long as i can get it done by Rhinebeck.

sweater 1

1) and this is the biggest news!

2 years ago at Rhinebeck, in a fit of “sure, i know how to spin!”, i purchased a spinning wheel.  i got a very cute Ashford Kiwi that had been modified to fold the treadle up, therefore allowing it to take up less space in my teeny NYC apartment.  it got home fine, looked lovely.

and then i started spinning.  and what had worked so nicely for me up in the wilds of upstate NY refused to cooperate in the big city.  after a few fits and starts, i finally gave up before i broke the thing and there it sat, “like a gym sock on a shower rod” (10 points if you can name the show and episode of that quote).

until 2 weeks ago, when i went to my friend Julie’s house.  you see, Julie is a spinner.  a REALLY good spinner.  and she sat me down on a machine that is similar to mine and we worked out some of my issues with my lovely little wheel.  and i was determined to go home and spin.

and so i did.  and look what i got out of it!

spinning 1

spinning 2

i can’t remember the yarn content, but i suspect it is a nice and slightly slick merino.  all that i have is on that one bobbin, so i’m taking it to knitting tonight in the hopes that Julie can help me figure out how to arrange that beautiful single ply in order to make it something even better.

needless to say, since that was successful, i have pulled out a shit ton of all the fiber i have accumulated and will be playing with it over my 4 day weekend.  its supposed to rain one or 2 days, and that really works for me because there is a lot to get done and i want it all!!!!!

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