Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chugging right along

So a battle is raging within me, well raging might not be the right word, but I am mulling over something. I finished my STR "Puck's Mischief" socks on the way to Oregon in July. I used slightly larger needles than I usually do and loved the way the socks striped instead of pooled. OK the colors pooled on the foot but that is OK too. I wore them with pride in Oregon, their home state since they were dyed there. But even as I wore them I knew something was wrong. 

Do you see it with the left hand sock? They are just a tad too big. Now I can deal with that in the leg, it does not bother me there. But in the foot? I feel like I am walking in a woolly slip and slide. I tried to talk to myself and say it is not so bad but I am coming to the sad realization that I will need to rework the foot on both. It really does not matter color wise since they were already pooling. So that is one thing that gets moved from the finished pile back into rotation. But somewhere in my mind I am not too thrilled with the idea. It is almost like I think I have gotten all the fun out of this yarn already.

I am working along in my other knitting. I currently have three socks and a shawl on the needles. Oh and a sweater for D that is in time out due to a potential yarn shortage. I have concluded I will need more yarn to finish it. Now I just have to make a trip to the yarn store, poor me.

I am halfway done with the second sock of this pair for D. I bought this yarn at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival (SAFF) in September and cast on before Rhinebeck so I would not feel guilty about buying more yarn. I think this will bump D up to a full week's (7) worth of hand knit socks. 

I'm working on the second sock of this pair for me too. It is funny because I think both socks are in the same area (heel flap). This yarn I picked up in Oregon at Twisted. I cast these on so I would not feel guilty buying more yarn at the SAFF. Do you see a pattern? I guess I don't want to feel that my yarn stash is growing out of control. If I am working on yarn from each acquisition, I'm not just buying to be buying I am using as I go.

I am past the heel on the first sock of this pair. It always takes me longer to knit a patterned sock than just a plain one that I don't have to pay attention to. I can watch a TV show and go merrily round and round on a plain sock. I like to keep a patterned one in the mix to make things interesting and justify buying books with sock patterns in them.

This shawl is finished but is too small for me so I am going to gift it to someone at Christmas time. I have started the same pattern in a slightly larger yarn for me. One issue I have is that the yarn is a plain grey color. This pattern is nice and basic so it shows off the colors well. I worry that it might come out looking too plain in just the grey color. I guess I will let the knitting group weigh in on that in a couple of weeks. 

So that is my knitting work load now. I knit like I read books many at a time. Not the exact same time but they are scattered through the house and one even stays at work for lunch time reading. I guess I like to keep my mind active. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How the Internet saved me today

OK that sounds way more dramatic than it is. I had a Halloween party to go to today, in costume with a Halloween themed food item.

Now I think of myself as crafty not artistic. I know that some of my crafty stuff leans towards artistic but I see the world through literal glasses. I don't really make stuff up on the fly. I can follow directions, patterns and recipes. I can even improvise within guidelines, but I don't really have the original light bulb, aha moment. Artistic is just not me.

So I started searching through costumes and food recipes. For the costume I wanted something easy, cleaver and inexpensive. Thanks to a great idea on Ravelry I decided to go with Nudist on Strike/Protest. Regular clothes with signs. I did remember and episode of "Kingdom" with nudists that had their beach threatened, they remained nude but wore joke aprons that showed fake semi nude bodies. So I had to add my own risky semi nude apron I received as a joke bachelorette gift. I thought up some slogans "It's not rude to be nude".

I found a recipe for stuffed shell "eyeballs". I liked the idea of having something that is not a cupcake. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with cupcakes. I just wanted something savory instead of sweet. My dish won the food contest.

Thank you internet for planning my Halloween for me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Troubles

I was driving home tonight thinking about my current book on CD playing in the car, Life with Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. It was written in the 20's by a Brit and is held up as true British humor. I can not wait for it to be done. It is not like it did not have its moments but if I have to hear about one more whiney useless relative I may cry.

I knew I was in trouble when I considered quitting on the 4th CD. I talked myself out of it because there were only two more CDs to go. For some reason I hate leaving a book unfinished. I have finally learned to do it but it still takes and act of congress. (I have to really hate it in order to quit reading.)

I cannot stand useless, sponging, air headed, self absorbed characters. I wanted to smack the cousins in the book quite a few times. I'm sure it was written to make you dislike them, but I think I went a bit to the personal side.

The ironic thing is, I have two other books on CD riding around in the car with me. It is not like I don't have anything else to listen to. My personality even makes me go Hmmm.

I hear-by promise myself: if the next book I start to listen to is not satisfactory I may ditch it early. You all are my witnesses.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


New York Sheep and Wool Festival is held in lovely Rhinebeck NY. I flew solo this year. It is nice to not have to worry about other people's schedules and if they are judging you for stopping at both rest stops on the way to Rhinebeck. (What I have a small bladder) But it is a bit more lonely too. 

I decided to try going on Sunday this year instead of Saturday. Saturday is such a mad house, long lines for everything and the crowd is overwhelming. I had heard Sunday is less crowded and the book signing is that day too. Sadly the Yarn Harlot was unable to attend this year. I took my book just in case she was there. 

I have not made up my mind which is better. I guess both are better for different reasons. Saturday: more excitement, lots to see, better selection. Sunday: less people, other people's blogs to point you in the right direction. 

Our Tom Tom GPS almost got chucked out the window on the way down there! It kept trying to get me off the interstate to take me down back roads. No Thank You. We did that one year and I did not like it. My second issue occurred when it tried to make me take the 4th exit on a roundabout? That would be back the way I came? Just goes to show that you should always check the route before taking it. No I was not foolish enough to blindly follow it. I instead blindly followed my own stubbornness and tried to find it myself, after I verified it was trying to make me backtrack. Finally I got frustrated and pulled over and rebooted it. Worked like a charm, when I was 5 minutes from the fairgrounds. I should have just followed the yarn scent.

This shawl was absolutely gorgeous! If I remember correctly it was one of a set that someone designed for a friends' wedding. Custom colorway and pattern. I would love to see the pictures from that wedding.   I wonder if the bride wore white or had a dress color similar to the shawl. I can see it draped over a white dress to pop the color. Just fantastic!

Other shawls and wraps. Also beautiful. Can you tell I am itching to make another shawl or eight? I think my phase will start with some triangle ones first. I have some great alpaca calling my name, how have I been able to resist this long?

Yes that is a team of llamas (I think, can't see the ears) hitched to pull a buggy. There were three of them across. How cool of a ride is that? Talk about driving while impaired though, all those fiber fumes wafting back to you.

And we can not forget the other lovelies that grow us mine all mine our yarn. Sunday was pretty warm so the were panting up a storm.

I wanted to get a picture of how the kid was behind pushing the sheep but I missed it. 

There was some shearing going on in that tent.

See now quite as crowded as on a Saturday. But you could tell people were running lower. Yarn fumes had run their course and reality was just a step closer than the day before.

I had looked at my projects listed on Ravelry to see if I needed a color shake up. Turns out even though I like blue and green a lot, I tend to buy more reds. I think I see more shade differences in the red color family. It is not just red, it's magenta, burgundy, rose and scarlet. Blue is just blue to me. I know I've picked up yarn and said to myself no you already have blue socks. I'm only allowed one pair of blue socks? Come on! So this year I gave myself the ok to buy other colors besides reds.

You think I may have swung the complete opposite direction?

Fiber Optic yarn is new to me. They had great colors. I picked up one blue then the other blue and tried to decide between them, then I decided I did not need to, Hubby and I both like blue and both wear socks. Win - win. The green is a 10% cashmere blend, it feels so good. Who knew even 10% would change the feel so much. I'm trying to decide if I want my first cashmere socks or a lush cowl.

Shelridge Farm pulled me into my first purchase with them. I don't know if it is intended to be sock yarn but I know I intend for them to be socks. Don't worry there are two of each color, I just did not shlep them all out to be photographed.

The big news this year was that The Sanguine Gryphon got a late invite to come. I saw the booth early on but also saw the line. I decided to come back when I could get into the booth. I think I may have snagged the last skein of Bugga there. Who knows? It is called Blue Duke but I don't see it. I do love the color no matter what it is named. My dirty little secret is I almost put this back. Crazy I know. See it is also a cashmere blend, in a green, and just a bit more spendy. Then I thought "You're going to regret it". I would have too. The whole ride back home would have been a self cussing out session. I really do like it a lot. I am leaning towards a cowl with this one too. I think I want the cashmere near my face not my feet. But I am going to marinate on it for a bit before I cast on. You don't want to rush into these things.

Yay for me.

Oh and for the record, I did stop by the booth where the Socks that Rock yarn is sold, they still had some left but it was either in a colorway I already have or not to my particular color love. But if I had my heart set on some I could have bought it.

So the moral of my story is... it is ok to try a different day just don't have your heart set on anything because it may already be on its way home, but not your home.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Fun Day (Hubby Version)

This is Rhinebeck weekend and originally I planned to take a class at the festival but I could not decide so I kept the time off and decided to have a Happy Fun Day with the Hubby instead. We started off with our tea and scones in the am. Hey if it is good enough to start a weekend it is good enough to start a fun day too.

Then a factory tour of the Serotta bike factory in Saratoga Springs. They build custom bikes. Hubby knows how I love factories and he really loves bikes so it was a great fit. It was amazing that they could contain so much in a small space.

One of the frames
Finished bike frames

Various forks

D and Ford tri bike
They manufacture everything. Not all at this location. But they like having control over all aspects. If I remember correctly their allowable tolerances were with in a tenth of a mm. Don't quote me on that but it was impressive. Hubby wants one really badly but we are talking about a bike that goes for the price of a car. But he can dream all he wants.

Then he took me to one of my favorite places for lunch. Panera Bread. What can I say the boy knows how to romance me.

Next on the happy fun list was a movie. I feel so daring going to the movies in the middle of the day. We saw the new Bruce Willis movie, Red. We even went to the fancy theater, and got popcorn! I had to switch out the sock in my purse so I would have something to knit on in the movie. I knit on D's sock since his foot is longer and seems to take me forever. I have no idea what the lady next to me thought of my knitting but I know she was happy to see Ernest Borgnine. I really enjoyed the movie too. A bit of Ocean's Eleven without all the flashbacks. The cast was great. I do love a good ensemble cast, and this one worked very well together. 

We spent some time in the bookstore and I got a new/old bread book. Beard on Bread, it came out in the '70s and many people still think of it as a great reference. Some books can stand the test of time and apparently this may be one of them. I wanted a good basic book and this one came in at my price range too. All the kinks should be worked out of it by now, right?

The comfort of home called to us so we picked up a take and bake pizza from the store and happily finished it in each other's company. 

It was a great day and we need to make more time to have special days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival

I went to the festival a couple of weeks ago and realized I never showed off my fun. We had knitting group that day too so I was a bit pressed for time. I think it was larger this year but definitely still smaller than Rhinebeck (NY Sheep and Wool). 

This trip took the edge off but I still am looking forward to Rhinebeck. What can I say I like yarn! Yes I know I just bought yarn in Portland too, but I already have one skein used up for D socks and another sock on the needles. We will not count what is left, I'm just trying to make the point that I am using it and not just squirreling it away.

So my game plan was to do a quick survey of what the festival held then make a second purchasing circuit. It is easy to fall in love and then go two booths down and fall even more in love with something else. I did notice that sock yarn seemed to go up in price just a bit. Most skeins I saw ran for $22. 

I did take time for the sheep shearing demo, to clear my head before beginning the purchasing round.

Setting up the sheep for shearing

Starting off with the old machine, hand crank

Naked sheep rump!

I have many memories of the shaved fleece sitting on the plywood at home when I was a kid. I also have some not as fond memories of packing the wool down into big burlap bag like stomping grapes in a big old barrel. It was dark, hot and flea containing, but I never lost my love of wool.

Bit of wool
He handed out a bit of wool and talked about what we were seeing, crimp and staple length. I thought he was very informative. He did say this was not a full year's worth of growth for this sheep. Made me giggle to look down at a piece of wool in my hand and see a bit of poo on it. Ah homey!


You need to back up! llama
Yep, I was smart enough to do what that look said to do. I was raised around horses so ears are mood meters. I'm not sure if it is true for llamas but I do know that llamas spit, and that is not something I do not want to be covered in.

Festival action
I'm so bad about taking pictures but I forced myself to take a few. It always feels awkward. Where else should I feel less awkward? How may knitterly bloggers were taking pictures too?

Fleece for sale 
Lanolin goodness
I touched this fleece and it was rich in lanolin. Is it wrong that I wanted to buy it just so I could put my dry cracked hands into it in the middle of winter to be softened? Yeah I thought so too but it just feels so good.

Wheels but no action

My lovely stash enhancements. Four sock yarns, top left brown for D from Spinning Bunny, 2 on the left from Liberty Fibers, bottom from Decadent Fibers. The green sport weight alpaca yarn is from Times Remembered, I still have not used the grey yarn I bought last year, but this color called to me. I can see it in the Multnomah shawl, or another one. The brown and pink skeins are from St Mary's on the Hill. Beautiful charity yarn. I am thinking mittens or a lovely cowl?

Welcome to the stash my lovelies
The color is more true in this photo. OK I will admit to casting on the brown sock yarn for D's socks, partially to alleviate the guilt that more yarn will bring from Rhinebeck. Why do I think I need to justify it by using it?

I did make it to knitting group, almost on time. I can honestly say I'm not the only person to pet my yarns that day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A bit of this and that

I turned another year older this weekend. I fought off what I call a functional migraine before my birthday hit. I call it a functional migraine because most of the time I can still function when I get one, but I am slower, quieter and wincing. I hate noise and light with one.

But on to the happy stuff. My birthday was lovely. Hubby arranged for dinner at Smokey Bones. I got to share some time with old friends and a new one. I got to eat ribs and pulled pork! Yes I will have the combo plate, it is my birthday you know. I had a nice beer too.

Wore my "I am cool" high heeled boots. Turns out those boots are not made for walking, I think they may have tried to kill me from the feet up. So now I am back to my "I'm not cool" flat shoes. My feet may forgive me yet.

We went for a walk also this weekend. Even with bum feet I seemed to keep up with D pretty well. I guess  my elliptical machine workout schedule is helping me. I do 15 minutes in the morning before work. I've been sticking to the schedule for over a month now. Go me!

I signed up for a class at one of the local yarn shops. I've knit hats before but they never seem to fit correctly. So this may be a big learning experience.

Oh and my washing machine decided to stop working mid load. Good thing we have a shop vacuum! If it is the motor as I suspect, do you think it will be cheaper to repair or replace the washer? Yeah I don't know either.

Good Times!