Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ugly sweater

Yep, I knit an ugly sweater on purpose. I finally figured out what to knit with some of my hand spun yarn. Yes that little confession at Rhinebeck telling Hubby that I have not knit anything with my hand spun yarn kicked me in the butt. 

I used some of the more outrageous colored yarn to knit up a wee ugly Christmas sweater for the tree. Odd thing is now, I really don't think it is that ugly. I would not want to wear it myself but truly ugly? Nope. It was super fun to knit once I figured out how to wrap my brain around the pattern. Sometimes you just have to think of what the pattern is telling you and change it into the way my brain thinks. It was not hard just not written the way I thought it would be.

I can see knitting more of these out of more hand spun, or I could knit my tree some mini mittens to go along with the sweater. Or better yet, I could finish a couple of second socks for the human feet in the family.

You see the choices us knitters have to make?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I make this look good

I've lost another shawl to Gus.

Well, it is not lost, just on permanent loan to the Big G-man.

What? It looks better on me anyways!

With Gus' illness and age he gets just about anything he wants around here. I even put up a Christmas tree for him today. OK fine I love Christmas trees too. 

Just a reminder to love our furry ones as long as we can. I was reminded of that this weekend. Just know the Yarnkettle household has been sending out sympathy vibes all weekend. Peace and healing. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tea Tour

While we were camping at Rhinebeck we took the opportunity to visit our favorite tea shop. Harney and Sons Fine Tea in Millerton. They are the people that wooed D over to becoming a tea drinker. You know I should probably send them a thank you note.

I came up with the wild idea to visit their tea shop over ten years ago. D went with me for the ride and studied the catalog to find his other true love Lapsong Souchong. I've converted a few people over to the Harney side of tea, although no one loves Lappy like D does. 

This time we had a nice lady refill a couple of tins and we tried a few new ones. We got to chatting and it turned out she was a knitter too. A sock knitter too, although she knits toe up and magic loop. She even laughed knowingly when I told her how I knew a car belonged to a knitter at the grocery store in Rhinebeck. Its license plate was K2 TOG, meaning knit two together in the world of knitting. Poor Hubby and another lady looked like we had started speaking German. We may not have developed a secret hand shake but we know how to read each other's plates.

We talked of Ravelry, sock knitting, knitting in bed and what her proxies were bringing her from Rhinebeck. She had to work the weekend but good knitting friends never leave a knitter yarnless.

D asked her about the big Harney and Sons building we had passed on our way into town. And get this, she asked us if we wanted a tour!? Yes Please! We happily made our purchases and headed back down the road.

Sadly the man who started it all passed away this year.

We were buzzed in and shown by the call center/customer service area. So now if I have to call I can envision what that room looks like. It looked comfortable and had a quite few teapots decorating the area. 

Then it was on to the warehouse where all the orders are packed. Oh the smell! The enchanting smell of so much tea! I am fairly certain Heaven smells like Harney and Sons. OK my heaven would smell slightly of warm kitty fur too, but your's may not.

We walked past the blending tanks. It is true that the cinnamon tea has its own blending pot. I don't remember what they were blending but I know it was not cinnamon.

This is their tea bag packing machine. The big roll on top was the bag material and the lower roll was the tag material. On the bottom you can see the outer wrapping paper in red. We were given a sample of Mint Verbena teabags.

Another view with the tea bags made an wrapped.

A warehouse full of tea!

These machines were making White Christmas tea sachets. Only a few of the machines were in operation because Fridays are off days usually. A kind gentleman chased us down and gave us a sachet samples too. It smells wonderful. My sister will most likely be getting some of this kind this Christmas.

The loose leaf tea is still hand packed. All of these barrels? Loose leaf tea! Barrels and barrels of tea.

I told you it was Heaven.

See isn't quality control at a tea shop just so much classier?

D said I needed to wear the hair net for my picture. See even I-only-brought-camping-clothes Yarnkettle was let into the classiest tea warehouse.

It was the highlight of our weekend. An unexpected tour is so much fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


We finally made the decision to camp for Rhinebeck and it could not have worked out better. Which is still a bit of a surprise for us. We're from South Dakota where you never count on outdoor activities unless it is in June, July, August and maybe September. Our snow likes to surprise us. 

Anyways back to beautiful fall in New York state. Our mornings were spent sitting under some beautiful fall foliage. 

Leaves rained down on us from time to time.

And in keeping with Yarnkettle camping tradition we had rain lots of rain our first night out. It was great because it took away the heat. Then it was mostly the temperature D and I like best.

I went to a Ravelry meet up on Friday night but felt a tinge guilty leaving D alone with some of our new RV neighbors. He was perfectly happy talking to someone that hiked NY's high peaks. A nice cold beer and a fire is what he likes best about camping.

On our last night there I pulled out my trusty cast iron dutch oven and put it on a campfire for the first time. I had visions of true campfire cooking since I recieve it so many years ago. We had some lentil stew I'd made a while ago. We fired up an old sauce pan D's Mom had given him and made rice for the first time that way.

I overheard a kid walking by say me food smelled soooooooo good. That is right, my vegetarian cooking is now random kid approved. It tasted as good as it smelled. Lentil stew over rice is mighty fine campfire food. A little Chipotle sauce did not hurt either.

D is now thinking spring and fall camping is our goal. I liked fall camping because I got to toss a few leaves in the fire to light up the evening. Plus there were way less bugs and I put some of my knit items to good cool weather use.

I do so love camping just not as much when the air mattress goes flat on the first night. Good thing our sleeping bag is so squishy and soft. My bones did lodge a "we're not 16 anymore" complaint.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Rhinebeck 2014 The Haul

We did something new this year, we finally went camping for Rhinebeck! It was great and I will tell you more later, today it is about the yarn. But first I have to tell you what a mighty fine man I have. As we were waiting to get in to the festival I was fussing over him and worrying about how he was going to keep himself entertained. He looked at me and said "I need you to be selfish today. Don't worry about me." What a mighty fine man, yes he is.

I know I bought way less than in years past. Don't worry I am feeling alright. I did come back with more than half of the money I took down. I am a thrifty girl, ha ha, thrifty girl buying hand painted sock yarn I think not.

I made a bee line to the farthest back barn to check out Dragonfly Fibers. I was told I have a very determined walk. Apparently I was scanning but on a mission.

To the left is Starry Night in Djinni Sock. Look at me who claims to hate yellow and orange getting in touch with my inner color love. On the right we have Zombie Apocalypse in Damsel. D kept calling us yarn zombies so it seemed appropriate to get the yarn. Plus it is beautiful, no really beautiful.

As always I had to get me some Socks That Rock. Bottom is Muddy Autumn lightweight. Top is Tea and Alchemy in medium weight. I was happy to lend some advice to a lady near me that asked which weight would be better for socks. That is me the crazy sock knitting lady.

At Bittersweet Woolery I found Inverted Zombie Queen, I miss read the label and it has been Introverted Zombie Queen in my head since then. That is me an Introverted yarn Zombie Queen. What I can declare myself Queen of my own realm.

Since I love Star Trek I just could not walk away from the Trek colored yarn on the left. I remember watching those uniform colors all the time.  Into the whirled has some very nice colors. I resisted the one called Bazinga, but now I don't know how I did that.

The bag of odds and ends on the right is what I though would be great to practice some spinning. I can try out some things without feeling as if I am wasting good wool. I bet once I am done it will make a very interesting something or other. I really like the idea of being able to play with my spinning for a time. I learned a couple of different ways to ply that I want to check out.

So six pairs of socks, some replacement cubic needles and a bag of spinning fun, not bad for a days play.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oh My

As you can tell from my lack of posts my life has been a bit hectic. Only it really has not, it just feels that way.

NY Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck) was last weekend and it was all I could hope for and more. I have some stories to tell but no pictures to show. We went camping and it could not have been more perfect for us. We even managed to get all the camping gear put back away. Whew that is the one thing I don't love about camping.

Anyways Gus and Jack are doing well even though they are adjusting to each other again. Gus stays at the vet's when we travel so they can keep an educated eye on him. We call it a Jack-cation. It is a little bit of time away from Jack.

Jack has fun with an uncle that feeds him his Greenies and all is right with the world. Then he follows D and me around talking to us at the top of his voice for a few hours when we get home.

I have knit some things and bought some yarn, but have not taken any pictures. I have taken a sock yarn spinning class and talked with knitters. Which I heartily enjoyed.

This weekend I made four batches of lasagna, fed some hungry football watching people and gave a tray to my neighbor. She was just as happy as I would be if someone showed up at my door with dinner.

So I have stories to tell and may even have some time this coming week to tell them. Just know that I am one happy knitter still.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


You know how protective I am of my knitting time. I hate the thought that I would make something for someone and they would reject it. Or worse yet absolutely they would love it and that is all I would end up making for years and years to come. Hey why did all of you just think of my sock collection?

One of the conundrums of being a selfish knitter is that I fear rejection of my knit lovelies. I love them and D loves them and that is all that matters.

Well it is not. My mother-in-law (Mil) suffers from poor circulation due to MS. She says her legs and feet get very cold. My father-in-law confirmed this with a snort of agreement, there may have been muttered words like ice blocks, we're going to let that go.

After all the socks and wooly things I've knit I finally gathered my nerve and asked my Mil if she would like to try hand knit socks or leg warmers. The answer was yes, we could try leg warmers.

So I've been puzzling over how to make them. Well, not how, I'm pretty darn sure I know how to make a tube that fits over a leg, but what would make a successful leg warmer?

I've come up with a few questions, and since Mil reads my blog I'm gonna throw them out here for us to ponder before I buy some yarn.

  1. Wool is the best fiber ever but will she agree? I'm leaning towards a super wash wool because even I don't care to hand wash things but I have nice hand wash setting on my washer. I've made the decision to take the time to learn how to care for wool, superwash wool takes some of that pressure away, easier to care for with wooly warmth too.
  2. What weight of yarn should I use? My socks are typically fingering weight but they have to fit into shoes, leg warmers do not. There are a lot more stitches in a pair of socks than the sleeve of a sweater. So I am leaning towards a light worsted weight, really I can tell myself I'm making sleeves for legs.
  3. I should make sure the yarn is relatively soft. These will most likely go right next to her skin. While I have trained myself to love rustic wools, most people need something softer, at least as an introductory item. 
  4. What color? I know she likes blue but a nice burnt orange makes me feel warmer. Oh what about red? I know when I'm wearing a bright pair of socks I feel a bit peppier. What about a nice natural brown or cream? The knitter's world is full of color. Please, please don't say black it is too hard to knit in the winter.
  5. Oh what about the fit? I don't want them to be too tight or too loose. I'm thinking some ribbing up the back of the leg gives stretch but not bagginess? I cannot handle the thought of fully ribbed warmers. I don't like ribbing enough to do that. Sorry I just don't.

That is what I've been mulling over. Anyone have any other suggestions or thoughts? I think we both know each other well enough to know the first pair may not be perfect but they should be warm.