Sunday, October 27, 2013

Daytime training from August

I've been meaning to get the train ride out here since we've been back. It just never seemed quite done. It must be all the time I've spent at the dentist and with Gus at the vet's office. So without further ado our first day of training.

The first leg of our train journey was mostly during the day. As I mentioned before we boarded the train a bit after 5 am and promptly fell back asleep. Well except for the bit where the guy across the way from us pulled off his head phones and all I could hear was Mexicali horns. Grrr 

We woke to the lovely green farm land of Iowa. I do so love to pass through farm land. 

One car back from us was a windowed dining car. D had a bit of fun making shadows. Many of the passengers here stayed here during the day. It was reasonably comfortable and the windows were great to look out. We played a game of cribbage here, which I think D won. But the call of my knitting and book was not to be denied, as was an afternoon nap.

We had bagels for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch here. Good basic food nothing special. The high class food happened the next day. But my bagel came with a tiny plastic spoon that I hid away in my purse. I think this makes me an official collector of tiny plastic eating utensils. I have a silver fork from a fancy party and a wee white spoon from Amtrak. It is the little things that amuse me so.

Maybe if I find a tiny knife I will show my eclectic family to you. What did you not know I was this weird?

One of the stops in Iowa was Ottumwa, which made me giggle. It is a real place! Any takers on why it is famous?

It is Radar O'Reilly's hometown in MASH.

I really loved this portion of the train ride. I found it to be relaxing and exciting at the same time. I enjoyed it so much that it seemed to be a much shorter trip than it actually was. You know how that six hour car ride that you find just the right audio book turns into a pleasant journey. It was like that.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Technique Tool Kit

I've been going to Rhinebeck for seven years now and have never taken a class there. This year Ann Budd decided to come and teach so I went and learned. I took her class on Friday; Cast On, Bind Off. You saw my wee swatches for the class a couple of weeks ago. 

As a bonus I got to see some of the vendors in their prep time. It is hard to believe but this area was packed the next day. I mean packed.

The number floating around for Saturday's attendance is 47,000. 

A bit easier to believe when you see all those people. 

Anyways, my class was very informative. Ann was charming, entertaining and knowledgeable. She told stories of how she learned to knit in Switzerland.

We each received two binders that we filled with the printed instructions and our swatches. We started off the day with the red binder and learning how to cast on. A few I knew and a few I did not. Even the ones that I knew I learned a couple of helpful tidbits. Ann initially split us into three groups. Each group would go and stand behind her while she demonstrated. We then went back to our spots and worked up a swatch leaving the last stitches live but on a red life line. That way we would not be confusing the cast on and bound off edges. Her comment on this was ask me how I know that. 

The blue bind off binder was filled in the afternoon, with you guessed it, bind off swatches. I learned how easy and lovely an i-cord bind off can look. Now I just want to knit a vest just so I can do an i-cord bind off around the arm holes like all the cool kids can.

I just love that I have so many more tools in my technique tool kit. Thanks Hubby for encouraging me to go and Thanks Ann for teaching.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rhinebeck Stash Enhancement

I found a lot of great yarn at Rhinebeck this year so you best get yourself a nice cup of tea and settle in for a show. I of course took my mandatory yarn on the grass poses. 

My first purchase this year is was what must be my favorite commercial sock yarn, Socks That Rock. I picked up two skeins of lightweight, because with all the exercise I am getting I should be a lightweight too soon. (I know it really does not work that way but a girl can dream, right?) This yarn makes some of my most reliable socks. I just wish Hubby felt the same, ah well that just means that I keep trying all the new yarns I find for him.

Shelridge Farm had some Opal colored yarn that I could not resist. I've made D a few pairs of socks from this yarn and they seem to be holding up fine. The yarn is called soft touch but to me it has a nice rustic feel, I find it quite enjoyable to knit with.

I finally decided to get a new circular needle case, my plastic one from Knitpicks never really won me over. And the best part of this one? I found one that holds dpns too. Crippenworks makes a fine needle case. Want to see the inside?

It is quite stylish. The maker will replace the elastic closure if I simply send it to her.  I told her I was still happy with my original dpn case I bought about five years ago. She inquired how the elastic was holding up. It has just a bit more play so it is good to know that I can get it fixed if required.

I found some lovely green cashmere sock yarn at Ellen's Half Pint Farm, smooshy smooshy yarn. I always think of how Pa called Laura Half Pint in the Little House on the Prairie books. If you have not read them maybe you should. Ya know since one of them was set in South Dakota. Of course that was also the book that had a terrible blizzard.

I bought a button! Mostly because I've been wanting this one for a while now. 

I even made it into the souvenir tent for some shirts. I almost saw a fight breakout too. There is a very fine line between line jumping and asking way too many questions. Especially when the person answering your questions tells you the best way to get service is to get in the line.

After the ruckus I grabbed a falafel for lunch and took a trip out to the car. You know for unloading purposes. It is pretty hard to manage the crowds and your over filled bag. Plus I had to pick up my book for Ann Budd to sign. She told us in class the day before that sitting alone at a book signing is very lonely and boring, and you all know how badly I wanted another knitting book signed.

D could not figure out what the inscription meant. "Enjoy your trip to the Masters." He was trying so hard to figure out how golf was related to the book. Sock knitting Master Class, get it?

A new shawl pin from KokoNoelle. This year I decided to go with a neutral color so I can confidently wear if with my more colorful shawls like say my Color Affection AKA the-shawl-that-will-not-be-photographed.

Bittersweet Woolery finally got me to buy Frog Prince. Every time I see the colors they call to me, this year I answered. Plus that name is almost as good as the name on my first skein of her yarn, Terrible Lizard.

Into the Whirled called to me with a skein of Martini & Rossi and a braid of Romney fiber in the Aurora Borealis colorway. It is so hard to chose fiber, first I zeroed in on the colors I wanted then you have to decide what fiber content you want. I've heard good things about Romney being a good beginner fiber.

My surprise find of the day was Tucker Woods. I must have walked by their booth three times before something lured me in. When I first started knitting I listened to podcasts and found out what was popular and in demand. As my stash has grown I've been able to purchase some of these well known brands. But now I find myself looking more toward the lesser known and local farms. I find it very gratifying to be able to purchase yarn from the shepherd, or at least someone that knows how real sheep smell. Plus look at that awesome bookmark! This Iverness colorway just keeps making me smile.

My surprise purchase of the festival was this particular colorway from Mt. Rutsen Studio, limey green is so not me. But it is called Margarita and something inside me hummed at the thought of limey socks. I don't even care that much for Margaritas, but seriously happy to make some limey socks. It is like knitting has broken all my color hatred rules. Things ten years ago that I would have wrinkled up my nose at, now make me happy. And those stitch markers there? They were the ones I missed buying at the Southern Adirondack Festival. I came for the stitch markers and stayed for the yarn.

Not a bad haul if I do say so myself. Eight new pairs of socks just waiting to get on my feet and worn out. I am a happy knitter. Are we taking any bets as to what gets cast on first?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

So Rhinebeck...Not the Stash Post

Oh Rhinebeck (NY Sheep and Wool) I do so love thee!

Yep that is right I am hopped up on yarn fumes. I think some wore off on the cats and they may even feeling the effects too, or they might just be sleeping, who can tell?

I have some new lovelies to show you. But first I have to do my front lawn photo shoot, that  makes my neighbors think I am crazy.  I also know several new cast ons and bind offs. Ann Budd really is that nice in person too. (Can you tell I took my first Rhinebeck class?)

I finished a book during my drive time and started a new one. Poor Major Pettigrew is having a tough week. Did I tell you recently how much more reading I get done when I listen to books in the car? Even with the long ones I think I've doubled my reading.

The weather cooperated, sort of, the morning was just chilly enough for me to finally wear my Rhinebeck sweater at Rhinebeck. But once I made the lunchtime run to the car to empty my bag I stripped down to a t shirt. One lady walked by me and said she had just done the same thing at her car. Even the wool fumes are warm there.

My poor feet and I are going to bed so we can dream about all the wool we did not buy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I am a day away from taking my first workshop at Rhinebeck. I am working off two or three lists now, because I am a list person and one is just not good enough. Considering that they have repeat items between them, I don't know why I like having so many. I think it is due to my habit of writing things down when they occur to me. Things occur to me repeatedly so I have several working lists. 

Yeah that explanation does not seem right to me either. Let's go with I do it because it is who I am. 

Anyways I have a swatch and a half to go. So I should be set there. Of course I may do a few sock weight swatches just in case I want to have samples after class, or because I am really excited.

I have printed my tickets for getting into the fair on Saturday. Admission was included with my workshop fee so I don't want to forget those. 

I stopped by the bank to pick up a $20 in case I find something nice to buy on Saturday. You know if the whim hits me. 

I am also washing last year's Rhinebeck sweater just in case this year is cold enough to wear it.

Last year I tortured it by leaving it in the trunk, because it was so darn hot. How can I show off my wool knitting if it is 75 degrees outside? I want swoon from wool fumes, not pass out from heat exhaustion.

And on top of all that I am still exercising every day like I promised myself. Tuesday was my three week mark and I am going a bit farther each day.

My boy G has been having a difficult time lately too. He is not eating again. We've been to see the vet several times and we're working the problem. My boy is just as tough as his Momma so we will do what we can to get him back on track.

I do have a funny story for you about Jack but that will be another day, as I have to go hit the elliptical machine now.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival 2013

Last Saturday I took myself off to a lovely fiber festival. As I've said before I like it because it is quite a bit more laid back and relaxed than Rhinebeck. There are less people to rub against but there are also less sheep to rub against too. 

Hey lady you have a cookie?

I like cheek rubs more,  I can never quite reach that spot. Yep right there!

I had a very nice corn chowder bread bowl from the 4H booth but I ate it before it could get cold, so no pictures. Since my ice cream was already cold I took a picture of that instead. It is great ice cream that I only discovered last year. This year I did not care if it was chilly I needed a creamy sugar high.

And with that we move on to the non edible goodies. Well Jack would try to eat them but he is just a tad string crazy. I think he may be trying to floss his stomach.

I got two skeins of my now favorite sock yarn. Icy Acres Icelandic sock yarn. I am hoping they might have some brown yarn next year. They have lovely brown Lopi yarn but not in the sock yarn. I'll just have to make some more favorite socks to tide myself over.

In the same booth but different farm was my second favorite sock yarn from last year. Ensign Brook Farm's Cheviot sock yarn. Two bright colors, I really loved the one on the left but the one on the right convinced me it would be fun to knit with also.  Never mind the fact that I have a natural skein left over from last year too. So many yarns so little time.

This one I picked up for D. You know there is such a sock number discrepancy between us that I am trying to make up for. Alas if you don't come shopping with me, I don't know what colors you will like and I tend to pick the colors that I like, and then make socks for me. Unless I find a nice blue/black/forest green colorway. That color combination just screams manly to me. It may have something to do with the Black Watch Tartan being those colors and there is nothing more manly than a man in a kilt.

Back to topic, Foster Sheep Farm's sock yarn, dyed by Carole. You catching the local theme here?

Once early on D called me while I was shopping for yarn. I asked him what color yarn he wanted for his socks. He replied Chestnutty, so now when I see it I usually buy chestnut colored yarn, hence my skein from Ball and Skein.

When I was showing off my yarn to him he really liked that color. I am starting to believe that he just may be a squirrel at heart.

My first purchase of the festival was a bag by Jessalu. This one may break the sheep theme but I still have some lobsters on the inside. I like her bucket style too because I can wrap the handle around the bar at the American Legion and knit without taking up space on the bar. This knitter has her priorities.

This year's haul, 2 for him, 4 for me and a bag. I did forget to go back for some nice stitch markers at a booth. Maybe next year?

I even got my lost phone back so it is easy to say it was a good festival this year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

No excuses

A couple of weeks ago D and I were discussing my exercise schedule or lack thereof. Before we went to England in 2009 I was exercising regularly, but once we returned home I was out of the habit and stayed out of the habit.

I've been trying different things and times but nothing seemed to hit home because I could always make excuses.

So two weeks ago D gave me the idea to make no excuses for a month and see what would happen. My first thought was I'll start on my birthday. Which was really just another excuse/delay tactic.

But this time I did not fall for my normal trap. I started the very next day and have been going faithfully  since. I don't quibble over when to do it I just make sure that it is done. If I still need to do it at 8 pm, I haul my tired, cranky butt down and get on the elliptical machine. No excuses!

Today is my two week anniversary of not wimping out. There were plenty of times I could have said today is not a good day I'll do it tomorrow instead. But I have not.

I did not realize it when I started but I gave myself three conditions 20 minutes time, a mile or more in that time and every stinking day.

It is amazing what you can do when you don't talk yourself out of it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I think I need another weekend starting tomorrow. In my ideal world, there would be one day of the weekend that I do not leave the house. This weekend was less than ideal but more than fun.

Gus and I are both having issues and we managed to fill the weekday schedule. We were at the vet's office twice and I threw in a two - three hour dentist visit in. I don't think either one of us was really happy with the week but we got through it and seem to be improving.

I know going to a fiber festival helped me. That is right stash season is being celebrated right now. Saturday was the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival at the Washington County fair grounds.

I wore these socks made from yarn I bought last year at Ensign Brook Farm. At smaller less hectic festivals I like to show off what I've made with people's yarn. I like to think of it as the yarn visiting the shepherdess.

I had a lovely time telling Karin that her yarn made great socks. She asked if I liked the spin of the yarn and I had to consider for a moment. I do but I had never really considered that question before. It was nice to meet someone who thinks about those things as part of their job. It never really hit before that I was talking to someone who has the power to change. Is that how we should define local? 

In the same booth I told the shepherdess at Icy Acres that her yarn made the best socks ever! They felted a bit but did not shrink and make an excellent pair of house socks/slippers.

I got two more skeins of sock yarn from each farm. I will be lovingly adding them and some others to the stash soon. That is of course if I can resist casting on and finish some other lovely socks first.

After five hours at the festival we went to a couple friend's house and had a nice dinner. We lost horribly at pool but that was mostly due to me. They're such a fun couple because they really work together. They're always laughing and making us laugh. It is such a blessing to have friends like that. Plus she has a quilting machine and makes beautiful quilts. I got to watch the machine in action and was mesmerized. If you want to see her beautiful quilts just check out her blog. If ever I were to take up quilting I would have her and my mom to thank for it. But not just yet.

Today we made five trays of my Taco Bake for snacking while watching football at the American Legion. I over estimated how much we needed to make so now I will see how it freezes and reheats. It seemed quite the hit with the crowd, but then again they are a highly appreciative crowd when it comes to food. I had a couple of recipe requests. Whew, making that much food makes me tired.

Ooo I think D is making tea now so I am going to kick back and enjoy the rest of my weekend.