Monday, February 27, 2006
(Another knitter who also works at the store to help during knitting weekends was named Laurie...sadly, I didn't get a picture of her...she served us breakfast and snacks every day and was very wonderful, too.)
(On the left of the picture is Joanne, owner of the Chester yarn store I always write about)
The ride was 2.5 hours and we weren't sure we were at the right place when we arrived...it looked empty. But, after going in, drooling over the yarn and getting settled, I was very happy.
The rooms were a good size with two twin beds (very comfortable), a small fridge, microwave and a nicely clean bathroom (which is a necessity for me). I had a blast rooming with Donna (we're both Contact Lens Ladies) and we woke up happy and refreshed...or at least I did. The temperature was perfect at night...not too hot or cold.
The breakfasts in the morning were delicious (fresh eggs from Joanne's chickens, toast, homefries, juice and coffee one day and the next was homemade french toast with maple syrup from their own trees!) and Vivian (the owner) served us tea and desserts both days.
The store itself was impressive, though a bit cluttered with dated pattern books/yarn....the selection was an A-/ B+ in my opinion...from lots of Encore acrylic to Opal and Regia sock yarn to Berroco, Brown Sheep, Manos, La Gran Mohair, Debbie Bliss, 1824 wool, Noro, Fiesta La Boheme and more.
The pattern and sample collection was very good. Lots of Fiber Trends, Ann Norling and Noro and Plain and Simple. Very happy with what I could find.
All of this for $100 for Friday night, Sat and Sun. (except for the fact that I spent at least that much in yarn as well...whoops!)
I hope to go again soon and I think you'd love it, too!
Pictured: (top to bottom, left to right)
Donna, Vicki, Donna D., and Laurin
Ann, Margaret, Joanne (from A Knitter's Garden), Heather (more about her awesome stuff later), and Ericka.
(My friends are going to kill me that I didn't put the picture with me in it, but I am very un-photogenic...ugh)
The one problem was that I wasn't sure when starting this pair was if there was enough yardage. I shortened the leg part from 10 inches to 7 but, alas, it wasn't QUITE enough....the toe of the second sock (about 5 rows) wasn't finished...but the yarn was. SH*T!
But, my wonderful Vicki had an idea...why don't I find a yarn that is very close to one of the colors of this yarn to finish the toe....to my relief, I found that Debbie Bliss's Baby cashmerino (also a superwash blend) was almost the same exact smoothness and thickness of Socks That Rock...although slightly softer. So, I managed to find a beige-ish color to match and Ian couldn't even tell it wasn't part of the sock itself. WOO HOO!
If I could turn back time, I'd only knit the leg to 6.5 or 6 inches instead. Now, I believe the yarn skeins come in larger amounts of yardage, so that point is moot.....is that right?
Next pic is of the finished pair. (Thank goodness they're done and I was able to come home with a finished pair for Ian...he loves them!)
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
- Left mitten's cuff is not as straight and the gauge is a tiny bit off.
- Right mitten is very slightly tighter than the left.
- Right mitten came out a little nicer than the first (left) mitten.
But, all in all, I am very proud of myself. I usually don't take a chance with my knitting...if it's easy and the directions are clear, I'll do it. I'm a conservative knitter on the whole. NOW, I feel as if I've taken a huge leap in my knitting skills.
This project was very difficult (more in thought than practice), especially on size 1 needles. I was very lucky that the Knit Picks yarn was very nice and easy to work with and the pattern was/is clearly written with no mistakes (although at the time, I'm saying to myself, "What the hell does THIS mean?").
I'm very thankful to the Yarn Harlot (awesome as she is) to inspire and challenge me to do this project. I never would have attempted this if it wasn't for her. Hooray for Stephanie!
Must also give some thanks to Grumperina, since I feel that reading her blog has also inspired me and constantly makes me say "OOOH" and "AAAH" and "God, I wish I knew her!" Hooray for Kathy!
Friday evening, 5 women (including me) from my ManchVegas Knitting group plus Joanne and her three friends are leaving for the Grand View Lodge in central NH for our Knitter's Weekend.
I'm nervous (first time away from Ben in his whole life!) and extremely excited. I hope Ian will do okay with the kids without me (and hope he doesn't set the house on fire or blow it up) and that he doesn't go crazy while I'm away.
I'm looking forward to finishing:
1. Ian's second sock
2. The baby blanket I started
3. Maybe the baby cardigan
(the other two projects...Mary Jane Lace Cardigan and Cashmere shawl must wait....don't want to overwhelm myself)
and also have a GREAT time....plus buy the Falling Leaves lace pattern from Fiber Trends and some yarn to make that shawl for someone....not sure who yet.
Wish me luck and will write when I get back on Monday!
Sunday, February 19, 2006
This is a picture of us in October of 2002 at my baby shower...I was 7 months pregnant with Ben. She was just starting to become ill then of uterine cancer.
She will be missed greatly by all who knew and loved her. I love you, Grandma.
Friday, February 17, 2006
(Shouldn't I be starting on the NL mittens # 2?)
Rose Garden Fibers
Michele Auker (Shel)
Not only is Shel super, super friendly and is very quick at responding to emails...she gives great advice and is SO helpful.
Her yarns are to die for...I mean it...I've bought at least 5 or more skeins of her yarn and every single handspun, handpainted skein has been a DREAM! I've mostly bought the angora/wool blend (some yarns feature sparkly fibers throughout...very pretty) but her wool blends are just as wonderful. The colors are the best part....aside from the fuzzy softness of the angora/wool blend.
The rainbow skeins I bought made the best slipper socks...which I wear to bed on a regular basis and three skeins I still have...I just can't bear to knit it up....they are just beautiful and making me happy looking at them everyday.
Her Cinderella Fluff has got to be the best yarn so far....white angora/wool blend with gold sparkly stuff spun in with it...subtle but absolutely perfect...I made a baby blanket that was very hard to part with : )
She's recently started to offer fibers....and from the look of this.....well, you can see how delicious and drool-ifying they are. Soooo soft, too...it's BlueFaced Leicester top, I believe. I cannot wait to spin it!
You can see the drop spindle here, too. Shel handpainted it! So lovely....I'll put a close up pic next....it's only 20 grams...very petite and delicate for fine and medium yarns. You must check out all the other designs she has.....each one is very unique.
So...what are you waiting for....check out Rose Garden Fibers! HURRY! (oh and buy at least one skein to spoil yourself) : )
The card with the cats is adorable...I have two cats...Mr. B and Jack, although they aren't as cute as the ones on this card...
The tub herbs are going to be used very soon...this new house has a jacuzzi tub and I'll be getting LOTS of use of the tub tea...mmmm.
The SHWOOMP! raspberry lip balm is going to be used very sparingly....I am a lip balm/gloss addict (not afraid to say it)...and it is just....ooooh! YUM!
The candle has a very unique smell and I can't wait to burn it next to the tub while I'm taking my bath.
And, the book....my two favorite things...mysteries and knitting.....if only it had yoga, too....we'd be in business!
Secret Pal 7....YOU ROCK!!! Super thoughtful and I'm VERY grateful : )
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I used only one small skein of 100% angora yarn by Valeria di Rosa...55 yards to a skein....color 8003...baby pink or pale pink. The yarn was sooo wonderful....I could make myself a bed out of it and just cuddle all day long....mmmm.
The light and camera were both on my side today and this picture looks very nice...subtle...shows off the soft, fuzziness of the yarn. (tent fingers and say, "E-x-cell-ent", like Mr. Burns)
Will I complete one more baby project before the day is done? We shall see.......
SO....I decided to knit two tiny baby things for the upcoming baby girl of my husband's friend.
The book by Joelle Hoverson, "Last Minute Knitted Gifts", is pretty much my favorite knitting pattern book to date. Not that others aren't as good, but this one just has everything I love and organized just right for me. (The website.... http://www.purlsoho.com ....is completely and utterly my favorite luxury online yarn store...next to Knit Picks, of course) If you haven't knit anything from this, you MUST. NOW! (well, maybe you can wait a day or so....)
This cotton baby hat is made with less than one skein of Mission Falls 1824 cotton in the color Lilac. Totally soft, nubby and not as annoying to knit with as most cotton are...normally, I'm very anti-knitting cotton, but I made an exception this time due to the great yarn and very easy and enjoyable pattern. I believe you only need one skein for either of the two larger sizes as well.
As you can see, this is very cute and the icord tie makes it adjustable to tiny pumpkin heads to giant baby melons....very nice!
2006 Knitting project #3 done! (not counting all the other UFOs at this point...soon...soon...they will be done, too!)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Needed to add my UFO List for my own piece of mind. I'm losing track of what the heck I have to do after I finish the second mitten. So, here it is:
- Finish back and sleeves of white baby vest with ribbon ties.
- Knit a pair of one piece pink angora booties.
- Knit sleeves and finish yoke of Mary Jane lace cardigan.
- Finish Ian's Socks That Rock socks...almost half way through the second sock.
- Finish (or don't finish and continue savoring) cashmere handpainted shawl...it's looking very nice so far!
Oh, I also got myself organized and update my wish list on Amazon.com, which I hadn't done in a while and also cleared (and cleaned) out my yarn closet. Still thinking about putting up glass shelves in the bedroom to display all the gorgeous stuff I have. That's a project of the future!
What do ya think of the mitten? Would love some feedback! : )
The thumb was such a joy to knit....plain blue stockinette stitch. It was like heaven. Mmmm.
I have to say I'm as satisfied with the back as I am with the front, although the front is visually more impressive. The back was just as difficult, but it came out so perfect. I'm very proud of myself.
The right side of this left mitten looks weird in the picture....it doesn't really curve in like that...I think it just needs to be adjusted or something.
All in all..I'm head over heels in love with this mitten and I hope this feeling will offset my KAMS feeling....Knitting-Another-Mitten-Syndrome.
Wish me luck on casting on for the next one!
Reasons why yesterday was the best Valentine's Day that I can remember, in order of least to most important:
1. Ben was happy and good for me all day.
2. I got a lot of knitting done on my Northern Lights Mittens : )
3. Tim came home from school in a very good mood and didn't have a lot of homework.....this totally affects the rest of the night for me and Ian.
4. Ben ate dinner! He actually finished a whole bowl of mac and cheese....happy belly.
5. Ian and I got to go out to dinner at our favorite chinese restaurant...ALONE!
6. We had a chance to talk to EACH OTHER!
7. The food was fantastic (me...spicy beans with rice, Ian...chicken chow fun) as usual.
8. Ian bought me a CHAI! Yummy! (well, actually, I ended up buying myself the chai and him a coffee, but it was the thought that count : P )
9. Ian gave me a homemade (computer/photoshop) VDay card that was so awesome.....it surprised me and made me laugh...very close to the best card I've gotten from him ever. Loved it!
10. Last, but not at ALL the least...in fact, the most IMPORTANT and most THOUGHTFUL act in the history of our relationship....or at least WAY up there...Ian went to a yarn store to buy my gifts!!!!
He even brought Ben (who is not at all well behaved at a place like this...saying "PEEESE"...to be held and hiding in your shoulder....and picked out these things:
- Skein of beautiful rose colored locally handspun yarn.
- A 8 oz ball of a handdyed mohair fiber for me to spin...gorgeous dark rose/pink color.
- A pair of chunky bamboo needles with hand formed tops made into terra cotta pots with flowers inside.
- A very pretty shawl pin (much more sparkly and impressive in person) with purple and emerald crystals.
A color theme as well!
Okay....is this the best husband ever?
I LOVE YOU, Ian! (...and he's ALL mine!)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I'm still shocked that I've made it this far. I feel like that shoemaker in that children's story who wakes up to find the elves have finished all of his shoe work overnight.
"Did I do THAT? " I keep asking myself....or at least I always think I'm asking myself in my mind....
"Yes.....", my husband says with a sigh. "Do you have to keep asking that?"
I'm giddy...I'm pumped.....this is SO wonderful....I LOVE color knitting ! ......
...then I think (to myself again)....
"I have to knit another one, don't I?"
And I hear a slightly irritated voice say, "Yes...." and then a sigh.
The star pattern on the back of the mitten is turning out.....let me be less than modest here....friggin' awesome!
Even though moving the yarns back and forth (thank goodness it's only two colors per row) is a pain in the butt (or as we *partly* French people might say....ASS!), the results more than make up for it....as you can see from this slightly dark, but accurate, pic.
I can't tell you how excited I am to finish up the star part and begin the decreasing for the fingertips. EEE!
My oldest son, Tim, said to me last night, "Mom, can I have those mittens when you're done? I promise to wear them every day!"
And feeling so much love for him (as I always do), I took a deep breath, smiled and said, "Uh....I'll think about it."
(May not win Generous Mom of the Year award, but HELL, it's my NORTHERN LIGHTS MITTEN for goodness sake!)
*I still might give them to him...of all of the men in my life, he'd be the one to appreciate them the most....he loves the 2 pairs of socks I've knit him and all the teddy bears, etc. And I love him : )*
I really can't believe I'm the one doing this...I'm finding more confidence in myself than I thougth possible. Hooray for Knitting Olympics!
Sunday, February 12, 2006
The colors I've used this day are: bark, orange, apricot, peach, red and blue.
Getting very close to the star pattern and I'm excited to see how that works out. I figure I have 6 more days to work on this mitten before I have to start the next.....and I have around 60 or less rows to go, so 10 rows or more per day should be sufficient.
What do ya think?
I was very happy to get as much done as I did. It was surprising how quickly I got used to switching the two yarns back and forth after a while. Getting the new and old ends secure is something I'm continuously working on, so that it looks neat and the ends aren't in my way.
It upset me that the ribbing with two colors is not at all like ribbing with one color...with one color, the ribbing is elastic and stretchy...it pulls in nicely on the purl columns. BUT, with this two color knitting, the yarn isn't all connected, so it's flatter, less elastic and stiffer (or is it more stiff?).
The yarn is a dream...very soft for wool and easy to work with. The pattern is okay so far....not too confusing and the color chart also has an additional symbol chart on the back, just in case you can't tell if the color is the same or just slightly different.
So far so good...wish me luck!
She's had cancer for at least a year now (I lost my grandfather to cancer as well when I was 10) and she's hung on for as long as she could. She'll be going into a Hospice in Rhode Island (that's where I was born) and I plan to visit her with my sister and Mom on the 20th.
She's always loved red and that's also a very lucky color for the Chinese. I hope she'll hold it, feel it's super silky softness and know how much I love her.
Yarn used: Fonty Angora/wool blend and Fonty Serpentine Ribbon....both in red
Added small, glass rainbow red cube beads on the ends of the fringe. It looks more beautiful in person...like my grandmother.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
This is the second skein I've spun for Joanne of The Knitted Garden in Chester, NH. This skein is even a little prettier than the last one...more purple in this one, I think. The yardage is slightly less, though....like 70 yards instead of 75. Here's the "SKEIN INFO":
100% Leicester Lamb, Handspun on Drop Spindle
Color: English Garden (I chose this...)
WPI (wraps per inch): 8 (making it either heavy worsted, bulky or super bulky...depending on what chart you consult)
Stitches Per Inch: 3 to 3.5
Needle Size: 9-11 (American)
If you look closely, you can see that the yummy yarn is nestled in the fork of my oh-so-awesome lilac tree, which will be blooming in the next 2 months or so, I think. Now, I don't know if it's a tree exactly...I always thought that lilacs only came in bushes, but this "bush" is at least 10 feet high, maybe higher. What's up with that?
You can also see my new business card (I seem to order them monthly...thank goodness for Vistaprint!)....had to get new ones this time because of our address/phone change and all that. I was also able to add my blog addy to the last line, which was cool. Plus, don't you just love the pic on top? So serene and peaceful....a perfect representation of knitting, spinning, yoga and Reiki.
What do you think?
I thought of plying this yarn with a spool of DMC silver metallic thread....and as you can see...it looks kinda cool. It reminded me of a can of peaches with whipped cream on top...hence the name of the yarn. It was smaller than I thought it would be...only about 25 yards...but a nice lesson on plying with something other than the yarn itself. It was fun : )
I gave this mini skein to Vicki (it was her bday yesterday) because she is my Spinning Angel. I really mean it. I can ask the most idiotic questions about spinning and she answers with respect and a great sense of humor. She's the best spinning teacher....if there's anything I've created that's worth a damn, it's due to her. Of all the people I thought would appreciate this yarn, I knew it'd be her....
...and she DID!
Therefore....spun skein number 9....COMPLETE!
What do you think? (Be honest, but also kind)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I squealed and shrieked and smiled until my face hurt.
Then, I RAN downstairs to the iBook and looked at her website. There wasn't anything similar to the yarn I have, but...oh...the gorgeous, hand-dyed yarns and rovings....it was breathtaking...must have been on the computer for ages just looking and DROOLING! (she also has Perfect Buttons, literally)
This amazing artist is named Robin Pascal and you can find her here:
I emailed and babbled on to her about my love for this yarn and asked if she'd be making more...also somewhat begging her to create some colorways I was thinking of....she wrote back the next day! Awesome! She was very friendly and said she would be ordering and creating more cashmere in about a month.
EEEEEEEK! (a few jumps in the air and a little dance)
I'm sure my husband will be less than thrilled for me and my find....primarily because it means spending more money on yarn..."don't you have enough yarn already?" is the look I always get...sometimes the words, too. Clearly, he is a HAYSE...husband and yarn stash enemy. Must find suitable way to deal with him....
More later...I hear footsteps of the manly variety....
Friday, February 03, 2006
The colors could look much better here, but it's not too muted...in real life, there is:
- a soft, sherbet pink
- a pale, plush apricot
- a tangy, lemon yellow
- and a fragrant, soothing lavender (well, not actually fragrant...just go along with me, okay?)
And the feel of this thing is like....well...a Puffs Plus tissue rubbed on your nose after using the harshest- toilet-paper-known-to-man on it. It's like....
Maybe I should be alone with my cashmere now.....
1. My lace weight Mary Jane cardigan that is at least halfway done and is coming along very well (sorry no pics yet).
2. The second Socks That Rock sock in Smokey Topaz for my husband.
3. The ever-so-soft white merino wool baby vest that I'll be giving as a gift in March.
4. Finish spinning the final 2 ply yarn for Joanne...which I only have half of one single ply done so far.
So, why am I starting ANOTHER project when I know very well I have to finish those 4 things as well as begin my Knitting Olympics harder-than-hell color intarsia Northern Lights Mittens from Knit Picks?
Am I crazy? (just nod yes to be safe)
But, in my defense, I had just gotten my copy of "Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls" by Martha Waterman and was just dying to knit something. I dreamed about it all last night.
This morning, I jumped out of bed, got Ben busy with some breakfast and a counting video...then snuck upstairs. I found this AMAZING 100% handpainted cashmere in my stash...now, it's lace weight (instead of the fingering weight called for in the pattern) and only 2 oz (instead of the 4 oz called for in the pattern) BUT I'm going to deliberately ignore those two important details and....
....DO IT ANYWAY!
So what if it comes out to be a shawl for a doll? So what if it ends up looking like crap? Will this deter me? NO! (Although, secretly, I'm hoping and praying to the Knitting Goddess that she will surprise me with both details being irrelevant....just this once...and my shawl will be gorgeous and perfect!)
Please don't burst my bubble okay? Or, at least, let me live in my own dreamworld for this one project...or for all my projects...either is good : P
Cross your knitting needles for me!
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Okay, so guess what? It's DONE!!!! My little baby Leicester Lamb yarn is plied! Woo hoo! (okay, taking a little breath....)
After my rest, I couldn't wait to finish it, so I threw (gently) each ball into a old gift bag and hung each one on the door knobs of my kitchen cabinets. Brilliant....worked perfectly....
Then, I started spinning in the "S" direction (counterclockwise) with my "Z" singles (clockwise spun). As I was spinning, the yarn just CREATED itself. It was like magic. Complete magic. It was so amazing that I couldn't stop...
I was so entranced that when Ben came in and said "Juice, Mama" and I tried to keep spinning while reaching toward the other counter for his juice cup. Didn't work. Darn it. Had to stop.
Finally, after I think an hour or hour and a half of spinning, it was done. OH, it was a good moment!
Next step....winding it onto the niddy noddy...was hoping I would miraculously have more yardage, but I was disappointed : (
Measured, tied and then onto the second most fun part....SOAKING! : )
Got out my blue mini tub and filled with very warm water, 1 capful of Eucalean, and 1 capful of Suave Milk & Honey hair conditioner (have you smelled this stuff? mmm...it's heavenly). Soaked for about 15 or 20 minutes. Hung to dry....took about 24 hours and I rotated it from time to time...I think it dried quicker because it was hanging very near to the wood stove...nice trick there.
So....what do you think?????
Off to rest my spinning arms (and hands) : )
Now, on to the more important phase (my first...I'm a plying virgin)....the 2 ply!
1. Wound the newly spun yarn off of spindle onto niddy noddy. Measured and tied 4 places.
2. Remove from niddy noddy, place around my nice dining room chair, remove ties and start winding a center pull ball.
3. Now that arm is tired (and I got some upper arm exercise for the day), rest both arm and ball on table. (ahhh....)
4. Do again for the next ball....only after refreshing self with small piece of Dove dark chocolate. Mmmm!
More later......must regain s-t-r-e-n-g-t-h!