This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Plans gone awry, and others to fruition

Some days I just can't brain because I have the dumb. I had yesterday off, with not plans other than to throw some clothes in the washer to fetch groceries sometime before bed. So tried to knit. I dropped a stitch on a hat, and so help me, was completely unable to pick it up and ladder it through with a crochet hook. I know how to pick up stitches with a crochet hook. It's plain stockinette. I did nothing but split the wool of each stitch. So frustrating.

Then I thought I could knit. I'm doing the fairly easy dragon scale pattern. I know that one starts on the bottom row of a pattern and moves to the left. I can read Hebrew and Arabic, I know about reading from right to left. Instead, while I read it in the correct direction, I started on the top row, rather than the bottom. Then I did the purl row right after it, so now I have to rows of 40 stitches each to tink. I decided I was not smart enough yesterday to fool around with sticks and string any more, so I just put it away. A perfectly good day for knitting gone to waste.

Something that did go well was that my friend Greg came over to learn how to do the decreases for his hat. I'd taught him to knit last month, gave him some yarn and needles for Christmas, and we sat down, he learned quickly, and I started him on a hat in the round. I did not tell him that knitting in the round is a little harder than knitting flat. What he didn't know did not kill him. So now he's made a really kick-ass hat. He came by to learn the decrease pattern, so we did that for a bit. His stitches are still a bit tight, and he had a bit of a challenge to knit two together, but he did it and eventually he'll relax his tension to something a little easier to manage.

This is the hat Greg made, with yarn I got for him. I cannot remember the brand, but I do know it is a superwash wool. His colour choices were black and red. He has decided he never wants to knit in black yarn ever again. And I don't blame him.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Hats and Stash Busting

While I haven't posted much, I have been trying to knit some every day. I completed two hats, made from yarn that I got at Forever Yarn, one for me and one for Brandon. I had noted that I kept buying yarn there, but never knitting it up. So I finally sat down and used some yarn from that store. Here are the results:

The yarn is Woolfolk and the yarn is super soft Merino. I can't tell you what the colourways are, since they don't really list them on their website, so we'll call them Grey and Creme. That works for me. I had a lot of fun making these hats since the wool was so wonderful to work with.

I have been thinking of other things to make with yarn bought at this particular shop, and I'm scouring Ravelry for patterns. The first time I was there I got some gorgeous Shibui Silk Cloud in a red colourway that has since been discontinued. I have three skeins, 330 yards each, and I'm at a loss for what to make. The patterns I seem to like most blend the Silk Cloud with other yarns, and I'm trying to stash bust, not buy more yarn.
I can't remember the name of the colourway, but I'm so disappointed that they discontinued it. This is a true "fuck-me-red".

I've been thinking of stash busting, and last night I cast on and knit the first four rows of some Baah La Jolla (in London Blue). No pictures yet, since four rows of garter in fingering weight yarn doesn't look like anything, but my plan is to make the Dragon Scale scarf, and you can see it by clicking the link dragon scale scarf.  I think it's really pretty. If I make this for the three friends at our annual Div School reunion, that's three skeins out of my stash. I know I have some purple La Jolla, so now I need to check the stash for other colours.

I like the idea of stash busting. I think I'll make a list of who should get what, and get started on some of these projects. And I hope I'll be able to post some of them before too long.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Forever Yarn Visit 2018

I've been home from Pennsylvania for the better part of a week now, and I had all last week off from work (New Orleans really does shut down when it gets a snow dusting), and I'm only now getting around to writing this up. Bad knitter, no Malabrigo!

As we do every winter, we had our annual reunion in Sellersville. As I do every reunion, I made my way to Forever Yarn to visit Yan and to add some beautiful stuff to my stash. I actually made it to the shop twice, since Yan was not there on Saturday, since she was at Vogue Knitting. But she was there on Sunday! But to assuage my sorrow at not seeing Yan, I got some Madeline Tosh Twist Light.
The green is Forsta 426 and the speckled is SS Jade, and I'm thinking a Death of the Moon shawl.

I returned to the shop on Sunday, and got to see Yan. Since the store has moved to a new location, she gave me a little tour. The walls are white and there is a big window that lets in lots of light. It's much brighter and cheerier than the old store, and while everything isn't out yet, I'm looking forward to next year's visit, the wall cubbies all filled with gorgeous yarn.

I picked up a few more skeins. Yan suggested something I've never seen before, Woolfolk. It is a very soft Merino wool, worsted weight and is the softest stuff I've ever knit with. I hate to say it but it makes things like Mad Tosh and Malabrigo Rios feel rough. Brandon picked out a skein and I've already started knitting it. Unfortunately, it's white, and will have to be washed when I'm done. White yarn seems to pick up every bit of dirt on your hands.

One project on the needles, one ready to be wound up. The grey skein will become a hat, too. The colourways are Too and T2. *Sigh* I kind of wish colour names would reflect reality and not some bizarre nomenclature that is meaningless. This shit is worse than Mad Tosh's colour names.

This yarn, Woolen Boon, comes from New Hampshire, and how could I resist anything with the tag line, "Wicked Pretty Yarn For All"? I'm not sure what it will become, but it sure is pretty. Colourway is Dress Blues.

For the second year in a row I got some Qing, a hand dyed yarn from England. Brandon picked it out and I need to figure what I can make for him with this. The colourway is Fox Glove.

New to the store is Walk, a hand dyed yarn from Germany. The colourway is Treasure Island, and I think it could make a right pretty shawl.

Shibui Silk Mohair is something one can never go wrong with, and I saw a larger shawl paired with Habu, a simple knit on big needles. It was knit with two skeins but I wanted more of a scarf, so with a cast on of 30 stitches I think I can make a right pretty scarf for myself. Or someone else. The Shibui colourway is Blueprint.

Finally, Yan gave me a skein of Madeline Tosh Merono Light, colourway Laurel. A little bit of lagniappe far away from the home of lagniappe. I very much appreciate the gift.

I have been visiting Forever Yarn for several years: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018, and I don't think I've ever knit anything from the yarn I've gotten there. It's become part of my core stash. I need to look up all the things I've gotten there and start knitting it. It's such beautiful yarn, and it would probably be happy becoming something beautiful and useful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

After the long time of not knitting. . . .

Since June, I have not done any real knitting. I say that I've lost my knitting mojo, and I haven't really touched the projects I have going since then. I think part of it is linked to depression. While I love New Orleans and I like living here, I am homesick for Boston (Narnia and the North!). I miss the fall colours, the brilliant oranges and reds of the sugar maples, and the cool sweater weather, which we don't really experience in Louisiana.

Last year, after I moved here, a friend asked me to knit him a hat. I have an ample stash, much of it dedicated to becoming hats eventually, so I agreed. Of course, he wanted a black hat, and I don't keep a lot of black yarn in my stash. I put the project aside, to address later. Last week, after not being able to get back into my complicated patterns already on the needles, nor being too interested in the projects for which I bought a lovely pattern (the yarn is from the stash), I just sat there, staring blankly at the tools of my craft. So I remembered he wanted a hat, and I thought that making something simple and not too challenging might be the way to ease back into doing what I love so much. I went to the Quarter Stitch and picked up some lovely Malabrigo Rios in Pearl Ten. Black with a silver sheen to it, the yarn looks like a black pearl. My friend gets his black hat, and I get to knit something other than jet black yarn.

I finished it last night. I'll give it to him sometime over the holiday weekend. It was not difficult to knit, I actually enjoyed it, and loved counting out the decreases when I reached those rows.

The next item on the list is a hat for a friend who has Crohn's Disease and has lost a lot of weight and who is always cold. He lives in New England, and it is cold up there right now, so I'll do four inches of ribbing so he can fold it over his ears to keep them warmer. I just have to wind the yarn, Malabrigo Rios, Bobby Blue, and I'll be on my way!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Oft gang awry

I decided to make a Honey Cowl for my friend Bobbi this year. I'd promised her something a few years back, but never found the right yarn for her. I found out she loves the colour Celadon, and I immediately thought about Mad Tosh's colourway, Celadon, in a lovely Vintage. Not having any in my stash, a friend brought me some whilst visiting New Orleans. I've made the Honey Cowl several times, and one year it was my holiday go-to, and I made about eight of them. Not a problem. I checked the pattern, cast on the required 220 stitches, did the four rounds of stockinette, began the purl/slip purl/slip pattern, and upon the second row, discovered I'd purl/purl/slipped and had to pull the whole damn thing out and start anew.

The second time I cast on the 220 stitches, began knitting it, and upon starting the fifth row, discovered that it was twisted. I frogged the entire thing. And I did check for twisting, no, really, I did! The cable between the needles was very twisty though, and it fooled me. So I bought new needles with a non-twisty cable, and thought I'd lick that problem from the start!

The third time I cast on the 220 stitches, got past the four rows of stockinette, started the pattern, and dropped a stitch. No problem! I've learned how to pick up stitches with a crochet hook (after knitting for almost 15 years). Except I was in the airport waiting for my flight to Boston and didn't have a crochet hook with me. so I ripped the damn thing out and let it sit for over a week (that'll teach it!).

The fourth time I cast on the 220 stitches, I got through the four rows of stockinette. I started the purl/slip pattern, I decided to check if we were OK and hadn't twisted, and as I was doing so, more than 15 stitches slipped off. I was able to save about 14 of them, but the last one slipped down to the very end. My efforts to pick it up were less than spectacular and so I ripped the whole thing out.

Tonight I am going to cast on for the Spiral Staircase Shawl.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Boston and Seattle Yarn Carnage!

After a brief (!) hiatus, I'm back. I've been in something of a knitting slump this summer, and really haven't done any knitting since June. I'm trying to pick it up again, and finish the two Death of the Moon cowls I have on the needles and maybe start a project for myself. I've been trying to cast on a Honey Cowl in Mad Tosh  Celadon, but I've managed to twist it both times I've done so. Might need to try different needles, since the cables in the circulars I'm currently using are rather twisted. Or maybe I can soak them in very hot water to relax them, at least long enough to cast on and start the process.

Last week I helped some friends move from Boston to Seattle for their retirement. We drove 3200 miles in four days (I'm still exhausted, a week after we arrived), and I had one day in Seattle to go yarn whoring. I also had some time in Boston to do the same, since I was there a few days before we left, and I managed to visit one of my all time favourite shops, Mind's Eye. I did not leave empty handed.
One of the two bison cows, with a calf each, we saw in North Dakota, at the Painted Canyon,
part of the Teddy Roosevelt State park. These beasties are HUGE!

At Mind's Eye, I got caught up with the owner and one of the employees, which was quite lovely. And I bought some Shibui Silk Cloud and some Shibui Rain to make a scarf, where you hold the two together and make something stunning, which is always the case with Shibui yarns.
Shibui Rain, 100% cotton

Shibui Silk Cloud, 60% Kid Mohair, 40% Silk
While I cannot remember the name of the pattern, it is a striped scarf, which knits the two yarns together for a length, then just the Silk Cloud, in stripes that get more and more narrow.

I had a $10 credit, and since I have no idea when I'll be back up in the Boston area, I got these two skeins of Blue Face Leicester, undyed. I love BFL, it's soft and warm and knits up nicely.
These two hanks from the UK, West Yorkshire Spinners, and going to make a lovely couple or three hats. There is no website, but there is a Facebook page one can visit. I've just liked and followed!

The knitting  group I used to attend no longer meets at the yarn store which hosted us for so many years, for reasons I won't go into here, but I did manage to meet up with them, at a local restaurant. They have a signature yarn, The Teal Gang, which is produced exclusively for them by an indie dyer.
See Janye Knit produces this 75% superwash merino 25% nylon yarn. I can't wait to knit with it. It was very kind of my Boston knitting group to give this yarn to me, and I so very much appreciate it.

The trip to Seattle was grueling, for several reasons. Three adults, two dogs, two cats, and three birds. Just unloading at each hotel took abut 30 minutes. And we had to sneak the cats and birds in, since most places that are labeled "pet friendly" are only dog friendly.But we managed. We got to Seattle on Friday night, and I had one day to hit the yarn stores. I didn't have much money, and our time constraints let us hit only two, The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble, and Rainy Day Yarns in Gig Harbor.

At the Artful Ewe, there were so many yarns I wanted to take home with me! I settled on four hanks, all hand dyed, all a blend of Merino, silk, and yak down (60%, 20%, 20%). I really wanted to take the whole store home with me, but settled on these:
 These will become a Death of the Moon shawl for someone, the purple and silver playing off against each other quite nicely.

These will also become a Death of the Moon shawl for a friend here in New Orleans. The colours are not quite as close as they look in this photo, the brown is a bit deeper and the green a bit more olive. I'm really looking forward to knitting these yarns. And the silk just makes them shimmer.

At Rainy Day Yarns, I told the nice lady that I wanted local dyers, local yarns, things that I couldn't get in New Orleans. She pointed out several sections, and I wanted to take them all home with me. I settled on three skeins. The first, Hula Hut Yarns, offered a wonderful selection. This one, Zelda, really appealed to me.
I have absolutely no idea what I'll make with it, but it's bright and funky. Maybe something for Brandon. I think he'd look good in this colour.

The owner of the shop also dyes yarn, and I got these two, Midnight in the Harbor and Tangerine. The Tangerine is more of a rich gold, and I'm thinking a shawl using the two skeins together.
The colours are very Hufflepuff, but when I got them, my friends and I had been talking about apiaries, and all I could think of was bumble bees and honey bees.

This was the extent of my yarn carnage. Not as bad as it could have been, and not as much as I had wished to bring home with me. But I'm really happy with all my selections.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In Which Our Author Frogs Over 900 Stitches, Reknits Them, and *gasp!* Buys Yarn

I've been diligently working on the Death of the Moon shawl. I've got 52 rows and the bind off yet to do, so I'm feeling pretty good about it. I had a little hiccup when I discovered that I'd made some mistakes in knitting (I should never knit late at night when I'm tired, when there is insufficient light) and I ended up tinking over 900 stitches. Tinking. Nine Hundred. Stitches. That was a FML moment, to be sure, but once it was done, I got it re-knit in record time, and now I'm coasting to the finish. I did the last purl row last night (338 stitches, I feel like I deserve a prize), and now twenty rows of garter in only one colour. One thing I've been doing differently this time around is that I'm carrying my yarn, rather than cutting it at the end of each colour row. I will mean so many fewer ends to weave in (and I must admit, I still haven't woven in the ends from the first iteration of this shawl, the one in Fog and Emerald that I completed last year). I'm not sure how this will play out in blocking, but if it means I don't have dozens (literally, dozens!) of ends to weave in, I'll be happy. I shan't post a picture because it just looks like a big lump of grey and red yarn. But soon, very soon!

My friend Franklin posted on his FB page the note that Neighborhood Fiber were making Pride Flag yarns! I have bought some of Neighborhood's yarns when on visits to Pennsylvania at Forever Yarn, the only shop I've discovered that carries them, but I've never knit with them. I think next year that will be my goal, to knit up what is in my stash. All that aside, since June is Pride month, I got these wonderful yarns on order!
I have absolutely no idea what I will knit with this collection, but I'm sure it will be fabulous!