Sunday, November 23, 2008

FO Extravanganza

In between a busy work schedule, the usual Autumn craziness, and getting ready for vacation, I somehow got an amazing amount of knitting done. I was driven by the approaching holiday season to get as many projects off the needles as possible, while still sticking a little special something in here and there. So I give you, the Cavalcade of Finished Objects!

1) Seafoam Shawl

US8 circs (and the longest cord I had) and almost every inch of 4.5 skeins of Artful Yarns Serenade (cotton/angora). The yarn is a very pretty lavender and mint green marl. I think the size came out just perfect for those cool evening boat rides in the Keys, and the little ruffle is uber cute without being too... girly.

2) Victorian neckwarmer

This is the Susie Neckwarmer done in Araucania Copihue (100% Alpaca) in a very pretty colorway called Winter Boquet on US11s. I spotted the yarn as an upcoming sale at Elann, ordered the pattern, then waited to pounce on the yarn when the sale finally arrived. Exactly five skeins and I may have enough leftover to trim a hat. I was that close. The pattern is easy to memorize and knits up like a shot - it took me just two days from cast on to cast off.

3) A Christmas Surprise

4) Kath's Estes Vest

[insert photo here]

(yeah, I know I promised a photo, but life got hectic this week for both Kath and myself, so you'll just have to wait. It's worth it - I promise! heh)

I am so fricking proud of this piece. It's the Estes Vest from the Fall 2008 Interweave Knits. It knit up quick and the cabling was easy to memorize without becoming boring in the least. I love the effect of the honeycomb and although I was apprehensive about all that applied i-cord the end result is so worth it. I pretty much followed the pattern exactly, although I did add a few more pattern repeats before the waist shaping and I moved the pocket opening away from the edge a little more. Also I did the i-cord in the same needle size as the pattern, not one size down as was suggested. I will probably knit this again in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky for myself.

Other than that I've been plodding along on Mister Tim's Uber Cool Sweater and have made decent progress on the oh so boring seedstitch side panels. I'm taking three skeins of this yarn with me to Key West to work on the entrelac sleeve panels. I also did another panel for The Eternal Lizard Ridge and swatched for Vivian from the winter issue of Twist Collective using Peace Fleece. Got gauge dead on first try, and Peace Fleece fluffs up so nicely on washing. I almost can't wait to get home and start this one for myself. My other travel project will be something I've been wanting to start for awhile. It's the Smoke Ring in a wonderful wool/angora handspun that I bought... o my lord, something like 15 years ago from a lady named Connie Lamm on eBay. The names of the sheep and bunny are Pepper Jack and Holly - I wish I still remembered which is which, but I love that I know their names! The yarn is about a fingering weight, so it should work fine for this pattern, although I will spend some time swatching to be sure. My main concern would be to run out, because there ain't no mo'!

I also attended The Northeast Handspinners Gathering the begining of November. It's the first time I've gone to an event with classes and everything and I have to say I was more than a little overwhelmed. I'm not a big fan of events with lots of scheduling, and this was definately one of those, but the people were awesome, the vendors were terrific (I gave in and bought just one thing - a pattern by Anne Hanson, Autumn Arbor Stole. Mmmmmm!), and the classes were... fun! I took a class on spinning cotton with Norm Kennedy who is fascinating to listen to even though I know I'll never take up spinning cotton; I took a class on spinning wool with Libby Sheen who is the most charming lady you'll ever meet and who actually got me to spin not only long draw but something called "from the fold" which is what I've been watching the ladies in spinning circle do all this time but couldn't figure out how they did it; and I took a jewelry-making class with Leslie Wind to make shawl pins with nothing more than needle-nosed pliers, a hard surface to bang on, metal wire and hammers of all sorts. We bashed and bent and laughed for three hours - it was the most fun I had at The Gathering! And here is what I have to show for it...

a cable needle necklace, 5 different sorts of shawl pins, an orifice hook, and a pair of earrings! How cool is that?

This weekend it's been non stop errand running and cleaning and packing in preparation for our Thanksgiving exodus to Key West. The condo is all set, the rental car will be waiting at the airport, the knitting has been packed (priorities, people!), and the weather looks like it will be terrific. We even have our Thanksgiving dinner reservations all set. Less than 12 hours and we'll be on our way... we'll have the laptop with us so I'll try to post a few pictures ever couple of days. But if I don't get to it, I know you'll understand! heh

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


1) I get to keep my son (he's 20 yo)
2) my (step) grandson grows up in a world where someone who looks like him can grow up to be President.
3) Alpaca Kathy - we don't have to move to Canada after all, but thanks for the offer. ;-)
4) There are not enough hankies in my house...

Congratulations, America. You done good.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nesting in the Fall

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last blog post. So to the three people who read this blog, I apologize. However, Fall is a time for cleaning and sorting and putting-by, which is exactly what I've been spending the last month doing. Between Rhinebeck and fall house cleaning and The Mister's starring and directing in The Boston Fringe Festival's Second Place Winner "The Movie Mogule" (!!) and the fall push at work, I've had little time for anything fiber-y. Take this weekend for example - Saturday we finally had a whole day free so we popped up to NH to see my folks. Daddy (80), Mom (70), and Nana (93!). Picked apples in the back yard, knit, chatted and generally had a lovely day. This morning got up early, put in the laundry, made a full breakfast, and sent The Mister packing to view auditions at The Firehouse (he's directing one of the short pieces for the New Works Festival this year). Put in another load of laundry, cleaned off the front stoop (putting all the pernnials to bed and putting the annuals into the compost pile), and put on a big pot of potatoe leek soup to cook. Spun a bit and decided to enjoy all the sun that pours into my office now that the last leaves are off the trees and do a bit of blogging.


However, some knitting progress has been made.

Kath's surprise is nearly finished; I've got it done and seamed, and on Tuesday the ever-kind Blogless Sara (aka Mrs. Onion) has promised to show me how to do an applied i-cord. From the pattern I'm estimating about 20 miles of applied i-cord will be needed. *sigh* I'd post a picture but, well, Kath has been known to stalk my blog, so that will just have to wait. The curious can always check my Ravelry Project page.

I've also gotten the body of the Seafoam shawl done and have washed and blocked in preparation for the ruffled edge. I've got until we leave for Key West at the end of the month to get this done, so I've put it aside to spend a little time with The Mister's entrelac sweater, which has been languishing for over a month. I'm just doing the seed stitch panels at the sides - a little boring, but I can't move on to the sleeve panels until I'm done, so that's going to have to be enough incentive to stick to it. I'm planning on taking the panels with me on the plane, and in the car, and on the beach in Key West so they can be done and ready for their own seed stitch panels by the time we get home in early December. I'm relatively optimistic that this year The Mister will actually get his Christmas Sweater at Christmas (or at least before the New Year). Then their's Eddie James' Christmas Sweater - a Cambridge Jacket that currently has the front and two back panels finished and is waiting for the arms, collar and zipper. I figured, since he's at school in Maryland, I have a little extra time on this one.

And that's it for the knitting. It's been slow going with everything else going on. I've managed to get a little bit more spinning done on the special order roving from Sereknity, but nothing to write home (or here) about. I'm going to try to spend a little time each night at it this week, since I'll be attending and taking classes at The Gathering over next weekend and I want my spinning skills well warmed up. I have two spinning classes and one class on making shawl pins! I'm a little nervous about the spinning classes, but I gave the schedule to Julia months ago, and signed up for what she pointed to. I know she'll steer me right!

I'll leave you with a couple of shots from Rhinebeck. I went by bus, I had a blast, I got a signed copy of "It Itches" (thank you Franklin!), I shopped a little, and was completely and utterly overwhelmed. The place was a zoo - I've never seen anything like it. For example, there was exactly one person I desperatly wanted to run into at Rhinebeck - my friend Annie from Canada. She in her tiara, and I in my Happy Hat. You'd think two people so.. adorned.. could find each other even in a crowd that big, wouldn't you?... :-(

But we will meet up, dear Annie. I just know we'll manage it eventually! xoxo

Veeeery friendly sheep in the sheep tent!

Obligatory shot of autumn leaves.