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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Yarn Carnage, or, Stuff I Got At The Fair

So of course I bought some yarn while I was at the NHS&WF. That was the entire purpose for going! Well, and to see some much beloved friends. And to eat hot & sour soup at Mary Chung's (and at Mary's, forgot to order the soup, damn it!). And go to Knit Night. And to visit my old job. But mostly to buy yarn! Because we are Yarn Corsairs! I even wore my Jolly Roger boxers to the Fair!

Of course I visited all my favourites. From Mad Color Fibers I bought three items. First, yarn to make a Police Call Box (I can get the pattern from her website or FB page).
It also came with a very cool stitch marker, and I think I'll give this to my friend William.

She has also started a series of yarns that are named Godric, Salazar, Helga, and Rowena. I bought Salazar and Rowena. I'll get Godric and Helga in the fall (she had Helga, but I didn't have the money for all three). Interestingly, she uses the movie version of Ravenclaw's colours (silver and blue) as opposed to the book's version (bronze and blue). She has a yarn in bronze and blue called Allons'y, and I may get it and substitute it.
Salazar and Rowena
I'm going to use this to make a scarf for myself, I think. I am thinking of a 1x1 rib, in Salazar, Helga, Rowena, Godric order. Dunno. Suggestions are always welcome.

From Good Karma Farms I bought some bulky yarn to use with the skeins I got last year to make a shawl for a friend of mine who has undergone treatment for cancer, but cannot get warm.
I matched the dye lots as best I could. I had bright sunshine, but I think the bottom skein might be a different lot. Not that it matters, since I'm doing stripes that will encompass each skein one at a time.

This yarn is for me. I want a hat in Good Karma yarn. Maybe it will bring me good karma?

From Jan Marek Raczkowski, I bought a single skein of Blue Faced Leicester.
I am not sure what will happen with this skein. I've got 250 yards. I might add it to something and make a cowl. It's a lovely DK weight. I do wish he would set up a website.

From Sunrise Hill Farms (the one in Vermont, not Washington), I bought some undyed Shetland wool. This is soft and felt good. I might get a hat or a small cowl out of this.
I've really been getting into undyed yarns, oh, for the last three years or so. I've got quite a bit in my stash, but I've not knitted with them. I just like looking at them and imagining. Eventually, though, something must be done with them.

This yarn, from Blue By Ewe Farm, is also an undyed wool. A blend from Lady Lorelei, a Wensleydale and Guenevere, a Romneydale , it's heavy, soft, and wants so much to be knit up into something lovely. Maybe I'll call and order one more skein and make a cowl for myself.

I had hoped that A Hundred Ravens and Periwinkle would be at the festival, but alas! they were not. So I bought these minis at Stitch House. I am planning on making the Mighty Mini from A Hundred Ravens, one in the gradient purple (Hekate) and one in the gradient blue (Mermaid Tails). I need to get some black fingering weight yarn to complete the pattern, but I'm not in any hurry, since I've got so much else to knit!

For my dear friend Adrienne, who likes the colour pink, I bought these at Stitch House as well. I think a Death of the Moon shawl for her would look just awesome in these colours, Pretty in Pink and Black Pearl, La Jolla from Baah Yarn.
Tomorrow I shall buy some Chiagoo needles from Miss Betty and get it started. I could use my Knitter's Pride, which I love! but I don't think that the black yarn will read well on the green needles, and I have already detailed what a shitshow that was when I was knitting this pattern in Emerald Isle. I think this time around I'll make things easy for myself.

There were so many other yarns I wanted to buy, but didn't have the money. Next time, I'm going to specifically save for some yarn from Dirty Water Dyeworks, which has some of the most gorgeous yarns I've ever seen. I like to think I totally enabled Lisa to buy some of her yarns this trip!

Monday, May 16, 2016

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, 2016

This past weekend I traveled from New Orleans to Boston to attend the 40th New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. While I did many other things (visited my old knit-night group, went to a couple of favourite restaurants, saw many friends), this was my main reason for going.

Huw and Lisa and I arrived about 15 minutes after the festival opened on Saturday morning. First we watched a bit of the demonstration of the border collies herding the sheep.
The dogs waiting for a command from the shepherd. They were alert and ready for action.

The shepherd giving commands to the dogs, herding them into pens.
It was an interesting exercise, and we watched for about 10 or 15 minutes, but the yarn was calling us! We visited the usual suspects, Mad Color Fibers, Jan Marek Raczkowski, Dirty Water Dyeworks, and Good Karma Farms. At least one of our Triumvirate bought yarn at each of these vendors. One of the cool things is when vendors recognise you. Heather from Mad Color jumped up and gave me a hug, and Jan Marek shook my hand and gave me a huge smile. I was so happy to see these vendors and to be able to buy some of their gorgeous wares.
Jan Marek Raczkowski's yarns displayed at his stand. I bought some BFL.
Other vendors included Spring Pond Farm. I didn't get anything from her this year, but did in November. I took her card and when I have some more money, I shall order some of her yarns, especially the black undyed alpaca she has. And maybe some of this undyed cream, and make some black and white Fair Isle.

Of course there were beasties. Goats, and sheep, and alpacas.
Some Shetland Sheep.

Two newly shorn alpacas.
This is the first time I remember seeing lambs. This Clun Forest lamb is getting his dinner.
I always enjoy seeing the animals, and I always want to take them home with me. I reckon Huw's Landrover can fit a couple of alpacas. Oh, and watching them lie down from a standing position really brings home the fact that alpacas are camelids. They fall to their front knees, then lie down with their hind legs just like camels.

Of course I bought some yarn at the fair. This is it in aggregate. In another blog post, I'll talk about the yarns that I got, and why, and what I plan to do with them.
Some of this was purchased at the Stitch House, but all of it was acquired this weekend. And I know what is going to happen with at least 11 of these 14 items.

After all was said and done, we left the festival, after having been there for about five hours or more. We were tired. We were happy. We were laden down with yarn. I can't wait til next year!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Finished Objects!

Finished Objects! Either something I recently finished, or recently blocked. I love finishing things. One of them was a UFO floating around for a while, but I grabbed it by the balls by the needles and manfully finished it! Which reminds me of a book in my library. . . .

The Manly Art of Knitting, by Dave Fougner. My friend Joe sent me a copy of this book, and it includes patterns for knitting a hammock, using the handles of two shovels and rope of a certain gauge. I haven't tried it yet, but it does intrigue me, and it's available on Amazon for not all that much money.

For my friend Dolci, I knit a cowl/hood made from yarn purchased at the NHS&W Festival in May, 2015, from Jan Marek Raczkowski, who does not have a website, but who produces some of the most gorgeous yarns I've ever seen. The picture does not do justice to the colour, a variegated lilac. The pattern is an adaptation of feather and fan, and worked out well (in my humble opinon).

In this detail, one can see a better representation of the colour. 

Using Malabrigo Rios, in Teal Feather and Purple Mystery, I made the New Bittersweet Cowl for my friends Maddy and Gracie.

In these details one can see how the New Bittersweet Cowl looks. I think these details work better than the photos of the full cowls. They really stretched, almost double, when I blocked them. I'm really pleased with them.




The final FO is a cowl I made with yarn picked up on the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl* of 2014. It was a kit from Mind's Eye, with a pattern for a striped scarf. I offered to make it for my friend Corey, but he decided he wanted a cowl instead. So I cast on using circular needles and joined, being careful not to twist. I changed the yarn every two rows, knitting the first, purling the second. The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride and something quite variegated that I can't remember.
It's pretty and reads as purple when seen from a distance, since the Lamb's Pride was a very rich purple colour. I hope he likes it. I had put it aside for a while because it was a bit boring to knit, but now that I'm in a house with a television, I don't mind this sort of thing anymore.

That concludes Finished Objects. I hope you enjoyed this tour. I've got more to block and more to knit. And if I'm lucky, I'll be casting off something very soon!

*Please note that this is the website for the GBYC of 2015; there is no website as of yet for the Yarn Crawl of 2016.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lagniappe

Since I finished knitting Death of the Moon, I have been wondering how to weave in all the loose ends. On most rows there is a yarn over after the first three stitches, so those ends don't have a lot of space for weaving, and some of those stripes are only two rows wide. I hied myself over to Bornside Yarns (which is literally a block from my house), and asked Miss Betty for advice. She advised not crossing the yarn over into the main body, which was also my original thought.

Miss Betty and I got to talking about various yarns we like to use for making sweaters, cardigans vs. pullovers, and when sweaters are best worn in New Orleans (honestly, I'm not going to need my heaviest sweater in this town, because the winters are neither long enough nor cold enough). I mentioned that I like Rowan's British Sheep Breeds yarn, which are in a bulky weight and come undyed. I have in my stash some of the Black Welsh and some of the Jacob, enough to make a couple of sweater-vests for myself, and maybe even some Blue Faced Leicester. When Stitch House decided to discontinue carrying them, I bought almost the entire stock, because it was on 50% sale.

Miss Betty mentioned that when the contractor her son uses lost his mother, he gave her a couple of bags full of yarn. She had made something for the contractor with that yarn, but she still had a bag with 12 skeins of bulky weight yarn in it that she didn't know what to do with. Would I like it? Is that a rhetorical question? So I came home with a bag full of beautiful yarn. So what did I get? The yarn is Jaeger Natur Garn, made in Great Britain. It is 100 grams of pure 100% virgin wool. There is no indication of how many yards or metres, but if it is 100 metres, then it's about 109 yards. That's enough to make a sweater. It could probably be used with Lamb's Pride bulky if I wanted to add stripes or colour work. I think it will be fun to knit with.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Blocking

I decided today, since I have the day off, to block some finished objects. Blocking is one of my least favourite things to do, along with sewing in loose ends. These FOs are cowls for Christmas! I knit them last year and because if all the mishegas associated with my move to New Orleans, never got them to the recipients. So they'll go out this Christmas, leaving me time to work on UFOs I found while cataloguing my yarn. All those sweaters. Which I probably won't wear in the south, because the winter doesn't really get cold enough. Is it too late to take up skiing?



In Malabrigo Rios, we have two cowls for a pair of sisters. The pattern is the New Bittersweet Cowl, and can be found on Ravelry. It's a fairly easy lace pattern, and it knits up very quickly. One of these was knit in Purple Mystery and the other in Teal Feather. Soaking these in cool water really brought the lace pattern out, and stretched them out quite a bit. Before they couldn't be wrapped twice around one's neck, and now I believe that will be rather easy to do.


This other cowl being blocked is in Blue Face Leicester, yarn bought at a S&W festival in 2015, from Jan Marek Raczkowski Studio (there is no website, this is a Ravelry link). It's a gorgeous light purple. I adapted the feather-and-fan pattern to be done in the round, rather than just length-wise like a scarf. It can be drown up like a hood, too.

And in other news, I finished the Death of the Moon shawl! Sound the trumpets, raise calls of, "Huzzah!" and general kudos all around. I still need to sew in the loose ends, and I need to block it. Not sure how to tackle that, but I'm sure I'll be resourceful and get it done.
I'm really pleased with the way it came out, can't wait to sew it and block it. I shall bring it with me to the NHS&W festival next month. I made this with the last yarn I bought at Stitch House in Dorchester before I moved. I just might keep it for myself.

I feel, after not posting any pictures of knitting for a while, that this is text light, but picture heavy. I can deal. I'm just happy to have these done, and ready to go to their new owners this Christmas.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Planning Future Projects

I was able to tink that row on my Death of the Moon, taking out 421 stitches. I corrected that yarn over, and got right back to knitting that row again. And sure enough, I enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first. After knitting four rows yesterday, I have only five more to go, the final cable row, four rows of garter, and the bind off. Then I have to sew in all those ends, and block it. The end is in sight!

I think my next project will be the two bear hats I started in Boston and only recently unpacked. I'm making them for my friend Tom and his husband Tod, one is in green Mad Tosh, with a brown bear, the other is in blue Mad Tosh, with same brown bear. As Christopher Moore would say, "Strong like bear." I needed to enlarge the pattern to make it easier for my aging eyes to read, and I'm looking forward to getting it done and getting it in the mail. Of course, by the time they receive it, summer will be here and no one in their right mind will be wearing a wool stocking cap. But I like to believe it's the thought that counts.

A while back I planned a man shawl for a friend of mine who was experiencing some health problems and found that after his treatments couldn't get warm. I realised that I didn't have enough yarn to complete the project as planned, so the next time I was able to get some Good Karma Farm yarn, I stocked up. That yarn is now unpacked and catalogued, and this will be my next project. My plan is to finish this before I go to Boston, and to try to arrange to meet with this friend for dinner while I'm there.

Finally, for planned projects, a friend in New Orleans is in the Big Easy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and is planning a fund raiser in July for a local charity (not sure if it's St Anna's Food Pantry, or St Lazarus' House, but both are worthy causes), and he's asked me to knit a hat for the silent auction. I've got some left over Tosh I could use for this, or maybe some Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I'm planning on a relatively easy Fair Isle pattern, which always wows the non-knitters.

Of  course, all of this could change at the drop of a hat, and I could be working on completely different projects than those planned here, but I like to be mindful of what's in the queue, and even if I deviate from the path (which I know will happen!), know that these are things that I both need and want to get done.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Knitting it a Second Time (because the first time was so much fun!)

I spent very little time knitting this past weekend, since it was the French Quarter Festival, and I wanted to see and hear lots of music. While there were more than 15 stages set up throughout the Quarter, local street musicians were also playing, and I heard several that were very good indeed.

Jo-el Sonnier was at the Cajun and Zydeco stage, and he was rockin' that accordion like nobody's business. The woman to his right was a helluva fiddle player, and I really enjoyed this show.

This is one of the local street performers did not have a sign with his name, but he was playing some awesome fiddle, too.

This local band, while a bit scruffy looking, was making awesome music. I didn't get their name, but if I see them again in the Quarter, I'll be sure to pick up their CD.

There were other performers, both official and on the corners, who really made it a wonderful weekend. I had a terrific time, but got very little knitting done. About two rows on Saturday and another two on Sunday.

Which leads me to reflect on what happened today. I met a friend to knit at a cafe, and I did Row 5 of the Section 11 of the Death of the Moon pattern. This involved some cabling, and since we were sitting outside in the humidity, I found it a bit oppressive, and was knitting very slowly. I started Row 6, and misread the instructions, and did a yarn over (cue Ominous Music). The yarn over will not affect the current row, but will affect the next, since things won't be quite lined up. So this evening or tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to tink back about 440 stitches. All my careful counting for naught. I suppose that the attitude I should take is that I enjoyed knitting this row so much the first time, that I can enjoy knitting it a second time! Woo-hoo!