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.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mark's Hat

So Mark likes the colour green. So I made a hat for him and he got home today from his family's holiday feast, and found a box from me on his front step.

This is the hat.
Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 50% alpaca, 50% wool.

This is Mark in his new hat:
This is Mark in his new hat. Handsome fellow, eh? I think he looks dashing in his new toque. Of course, in his e-mail to me, he said that it is only about 50 degrees in his area, so not quite cold enough to wear a nice warm toque.

My other friends who recieved knitted goodies from me haven't sent me any pictures, but when they do, I'll post them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hats for the Holidays

Living in New England one's ears often get cold in the winter time. What could be better, then, than hats to keep heads warm, even if they aren't heads in New England.

This is Jake's Tychus hat, in chunky Malabrigo. School colours, of course, to match the scarf he got last year.
This is Jake's scarf from last year. It looks a bit brighter than the hat, but the yarns are actually the same dye lots.

Tim's hat in Noro Silk Garden. I didn't realise that there were only 109 yards, and realised that there wasn't enough yarn to make four inches of ribbing, so I ripped it back and decided an inch and a half of ribbing would suit.  I had my doubts about the earth tones, but it did come out well.

Mark's hat, in Berroco's Ultra Alpaca. Mark likes the colour green, so rather than make a solid hat, I thought I'd do a bit of Fair Isle.

These are the hats for the holidays. When they're done, I'll post the Scarfs for Solstice.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ameeta Scarf

I am chugging along on my holiday knitting. Ask me at one point, and I am certain I'll get it all done. Ask me thirty minutes later, and I'll assure you that there is absolutely no way that I'll get it done before it needs to be shipped out. I have been hard at work on Deniss A. Saganai's Ameeta Scarf, the pattern for which can be found here:

It's a fun and funky basket weave scarf that I'm intending for a ten-year-old girl. I'm using Malabrigo Rios for it, in Purple Mystery. It is absolutely stunning. I have at least one, perhaps two, more repeats of the pattern before it's done. I'm hoping to finish it tonight.

Here's what it looked like this afternoon.
It has a scalloped edge which just tickles me!

Here is a view of the basket weave pattern.

The colour is so rich and imperial in its purpleness, that I am looking forward to taking a picture of it in the sunlight, just so its true hue can be seen.

When this one is done, I'll have only two more to go, and they are both more than half finished.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hats and Hats!

OK, so it's been ten days since I have had time to post. The Catholic guilt is sometimes overwhelming. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

So here is the fantabulous Dawn in her Unspeakable Cthulhu hat.
I made this for Dawn's birthday, and she was really happy with it. This is she modeling it for me. I think it looks terrific, if I do say so myself.

I finished a hat for a friend this very morning. It is in Noro Silk Garden, which, I must confess, as I have countless times before, not my most favourite yarn.
I am not much one for earth tones, but even I have to say this came out rather well. I originally had four inches of ribbing, but realised there would not be enough yarn to complete the hat (there are only 100 metres!), so I frogged back to an inch and a half of ribbing, and did only three-and-a-half inches of stockinette. I just had enough yarn to finish, and if I make another Silk Garden hat (which only has 100 metres of yarn!), I'll use only an inch of ribbing. However, it still came out rather well, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Knitting as Fast as I Can!

I am hard at work on my holiday knitting. Yes I am. Don't look at me like that. OK, I'm typing my blog right now, but really, I've had my big Italian nose pressed to the grindstone trying to get this stuff done. There's a small glitch, though. The diamond pane scarf I'm working in merino/alpaca is working my last nerve. It's a twelve row pattern and it is looking mighty fine, but I'm so horribly bored with it. And I could put it aside, but it is a holiday present that has to be finished. I reckon I've got eleven more repeats of the pattern to complete before it's done (11 x 12 = 132 rows). If I weren't sitting at the computer typing this blog entry, I'd be knitting it right now. Really. No, really.

In the fourth version of the Noro Striped Scarf, I've finally attached the second Skein A and Skein C. So that means I'm just past half way done on this scarf. I hope to have this one done by the new year. Because it isn't a holiday present, and other stuff takes precedence over it.

I need to go through my stash and find the purple Rios Malabrigo I have (I know there are at least two skeins of it), so I can make this scarf:
Of course mine will be mostly purple, and n ot all varied like this one (and no, I did not take this picture, it's from the pattern on Ravelry). The pattern can be found here:

I think this will be really pretty in the Rios, and I hope the recipient (a nine-year-old girl) likes it.

If I hadn't moved this summer I'd have all this knitting done by now, and could be working on some of the sweaters I have on the needles for me. Dammit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cthulhu's Unspeakable Hat

I finished the Cthulhu's hat for Dawn's birthday this morning. In Berroco Ultra Alpaca, the pattern can be found here: .

OK, I have to admit. I didn't use the yarn recommended. I didn't use the size needles recommended. I didn't exactly follow the pattern as written, except for the Cthulhu part. But it's based on Finlay Logan's pattern. I just, um, adapted it.

I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca for this hat. The ribbing is done with a US 6 circular. The solid colour parts are done on a US 7. And the Fair Isle bits are done with a US 8. My Fair Isle technique is not terrific, but it worked out OK. Hell, it's a hand-made hat, it's supposed to be a bit imperfect.

The Cthulhu hat as it is.

A blurry detail photo of Cthluhu.

I will be giving Dawn her hat today, for her birthday. One of the ones that ends in a zero. If she lets me, I'll put up a photo of her wearing it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stash Sunday: What's Happening to Me????

Historically, I've been drawn to shades of blue, grey and sometimes black when buying yarn. I have more blue yarn than any knitter should have in his stash. But recently my eye (and hand) has been drawn to undyed, natural colour yarn. Shades of white, cream, grey, beige, brown and chocolate brown yarns sit on the shelves and call my name. What is happening to me? I used to be into colours (well, shades of blue, anyway). I used to eschew browns and beiges as boring and tiresome. But now I can't get enough of them. I will admit, I'm more attracted to the darker shades, rather than the lighter, but still, the undyed yarns want me to want them.

This is the newest addition to my stash. I passed up all sorts of beautiful colours to buy these skeins. These are Plymouth Yarns Homestead, pure wool. I've never seen it before, but I am really happy with it. I am thinking a couple of hats, Fair Isle style.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blogging Ideas

One of the (many) things I beat myself up about is that I don't post very often. I try for once a week, and am lucky if I get two posts up in a single week. Partly it's because I don't currently have internet access at home, and partly I feel that if I don't post with a picture (or two or three or more) then this isn't worth reading.

Last night at the knit night at Stitch House, I was speaking with a woman who suggested WIP Wednesdays and FO Fridays and other themed days. I've done something like this in my LiveJournal blog, having a themes on certain days, such as Thursday Randomocity. I'm not sure I can have a finished object each Friday. I am not a speed knitter, and have so many projects on the needles at any given time that sometimes I sit in my room, surrounded by various works in progress and try to figure out which one I want to work on at a given time. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that the best I can do is get some ice cream and look through my stash.

But it's worth a shot. If I give myself some regular themes, I might get more posts up. Oh, and how about Stash Saturdays (or Sundays) when I feature some yarn from my stash and talk about what I want to do with it? Of course, a small part of my brain is telling me that blogging is the ultimate exercise in egoism, but I still enjoy it.

OK, enough egoising. Since it's Saturday, logically it should be Stash day, but since I'm house-sitting for friends, my stash is nowhere near where I am. So some finished objects.
The fourth version of the Noro Striped Scarf, this made of Noro Kureyon instead of Silk Garden.

A detail of the Noro scarf. I really love the red and purples mixed with the various shades of grey in this stretch of the scarf.

A Tychus Hat. I always want to type "tuchus"; go fig. This is made of chunky Malabrigo. It's really H U G E, and think it might be too large for the guy who is getting it. He's well over six feet tall, so it might fit him, but I have my doubts.

A hat in Cascade Alpaca, which is more greennish than bluish, but here it looks blue. Go fig. It came out really well, and I'm looking forward to giving it to HM (no, not the Queen).

And finally, a work in progress. This is in Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and will be a Cthulhu hat for a friend of mine. Since I don't have a printer, I'm following the chart to knit the Elder God from my computer, which means it's less portable than any hat has a right to be. I'll post it again when it's done.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Knitting for Yoolis

I have been trying like mad to get all my holiday knitting done in time. Yeah, yeah, it's still October. But it's the end of October! Only six more weeks of knitting and the holidays will be upon us! ONOES!

*runs around in a panic, arms flailing*

Yeah, so I'm knitting at a relentless pace. Got one hat done. On the needles are a shawl and a scarf. The shawl, well, I've completed five iterations of the pattern. Four, or maybe five, more to go. The scarf? Well, let's just say that I'm not even half way through the first skein yet. And the last scarf I'll be making? I've got the yarn. I've got a pattern. Now I need to find time to start it. Of course, I need to finish the shawl (116 stitches per row, 32 rows per iteration). *pant, pant* I'm knitting as fast as I can! Why, yes, as a matter of fact I do wake up at 5:00 am in order to get more knitting in.

Then there's the stuff for the Reunion '11. One scarf is done. Eleven more projects to go. Yeah, right. I'll get it all done. Really. No, really! At this point I'm not even certain what I'm making for two of the people. I'm going to try to make things from my stash, but I might have to go out and get *insert trumpet of doom* more yarn! ONOES!!! Seriously, what man wouldn't want an alpaca shawl? And what do you knit for the man for whom you have already made that alpaca shawl? As well as a couple of hats and a scarf? How many scarves does a man need, before his neck can be warm? Oh dear, I'm channelling Dylan there.

That's it. After the hols and Reunion '11, I'm working on things for my own damn self. I've got half a dozen sweaters on the needles. I'd like to finish at least one of them before spring!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rhinebeck: Part the Second

One of the things I wanted to do at Rhinebeck was buy yarn. I am a yarn whore. I admit it. I own it. I put it out there. So I went with the idea of buying stuff that I couldn't find easily at home, in my local yarn stores. I didn't bring all that much money, and since one cannot bring food into the fair grounds, some of that money was wasted (wasted, I tell you! wasted!) on food and drink. However, here is some of the stuff I was able to buy.

I wanted to bring an alpaca home with me. Truly, I did. But that, of course, cannot be. So I bought this little knitted finger puppet of an alpaca. Or a llama. It will have to do.

Pure alpaca yarn (almost as good as an alpaca!). I want to make a fair isle hat for myself in these colours, dark chocolate and white choclate. Yum!

Yes, more alpaca! This will become a hat for a friend, a fair isle hat in three colours. I think I'll have enough to get two hats out of this, with some careful planning.

This is a mix of merino, angora and silk. It absolutely shines in the sunlight. I already know I want to make a shawl with this, but now I'm hunting for a pattern.

Merino and angora. This is a gorgeous blue. I also got one of these in purple, but it didn't photograph very well (the colour looks more blue, and doesn't reflect the rich amethyst tones of the yarn).

This is pure merino, I think (the yarns are not with me where I'm blogging). I love this type of yarn, and look forward to making something nice for myself with it.

I also bought a drop spindle. My friend Jay knows the maker, and tested it for me, pronouncing it a well balanced spindle. Please note the fleur-de-lys design on it. I love the fleur-de-lys, so this makes me very happy. I had my first spinning lesson today, about which I shall blog later.

So this is some of the loot I got at Rhinebeck. I'm looking forward to making stuff with this yarn.

I only saw one person I know whilst there, but there's always next year. I had a terrific time, and plan on being there again next year. Only this time, I'll start saving up for it sooner, much, much sooner. Like this week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival: Part the First

Yesterday my friend Jay and I trekked from Boston to Rhinebeck to experience the Sheep and Wool Festival. It was the first time for both of us. Jay has been involved in fibre arts (knitting, weaving, spinning, dying, etc.) for a long time. Not realising just how big this was, we left at 7:30 am, made good time, and then spent just over an hour going the last 1.25 miles. Sheesh.

But it was worth it! Man oh man oh man! was it worth it! We had decided early on that we wouldn't buy any alpacas (or sheep or goats), even though the Land Rover was big enough for one or two (though not big enough for a llama). Okay, we didn't have enough money to bring home any livestock, but the Souay sheep, the Icelandic sheep, and the Welsh Black Sheep all caught my fancy. I would have been happy to take any of them home. Of course, I live in a third floor walk up flat, have no yard, and have no knowledge of what it takes to be a shepherd (um, grass? shelter? I dunno), but still, I wanted to take them all home with me.

And there was yarn. Lots of yarn. I must admit, I bought a lot of it, and there was more that caught my fancy. I tried to stick with yarns I can't find at any of the yarn stores in my area, things I'd never seen before, or yarns from farms that usually only sell directly, or at festivals. I collected a fair number of cards from various yarn sites and will be organising a shopping tour via the internet at some point in the not-too-distant future.

So a couple of things we learned from our first time at Rhinebeck:
  • Leave earlier if going on the first day of the festival. We got there at noon, they close at 5:00, and there was still much left to explore, booths unvisited, yarns unbought.
  • Get there the night before. The gates open at 10:00, and it would have been better to have had more time there. 
  • Bring more money. I will need to save up for more stuff next year, especially if my goal is to get products that are not available locally, yarns or roving (first spinning lesson later this week, but that's fodder for another post) or even fleeces.
  • Book a hotel and stay for the second day. One cannot truly see it all in one day. I am not so much interested in the livestock shows, since I'm not really in the market for livestock, but there were many more booths I'd've visited if I'd had the time.
  • Bring more money.
  • Hydrate. I didn't drink enough water.
That all said, I had a terrific time. Jay was fun to hang around, and when we were visiting the sheep in their pens, he was really informative about the fibre that each animal provided, how well it spun, if it felted, what it would be good to mix it with, and so on. He really made my experience at the festival better by a hundred fold. His advice about yarns and what colours go well together (I'm good at that, he's better) was indespensible. He's funny, smart, and has an English accent that is to die. And is an excellent traveling companion. Every time he asked, while pondering a hank of yarn, "Do I need more sock yarn?" I would enthusiastically answer, "Yes!" Because I know one can never have too much yarn, sock or otherwise. But he wisely refrained from buying too much. So did I, but I did come home with a lovely stash. I will post pictures about the stash later, today I want to post pictures of all the cool beasties we saw.

Near the entrance to the festival, there were some animals for feeding, and this kangaroo, carrying a joey in her pouch. I wonder what kind of fleece one can get from a kangaroo, and how spinable it is?

Some alpacas. One can really see their relation to camels here. The alpacas are small, very soft, and have beautiful eyes.

Llamas! I llove how their ears llook llike horns.

Love her hair!

 Cashmere on the hoof! I didn't buy much cashmere yarn this weekend, but I thought these goats were so cute.

These two pictures are of Souay sheep, one of the oldest breeds in Europe. They were left in the islands north of Scotland by Norsemen (remember, "viking" is a verb) and were basically a larder. They were left to breed wildly, and this is probably what sheep looked like in Europe 3000 years ago, at least according to the shepherd. They were very gentle, came up to us, and were friendly. This particular breed of sheep is not shorn, but rather combed for its fleece.

These two pictures are of Black Welsh Mountain Sheep. While their fleece looks dark brown in the pictures, it is actually black after the dust and dirt is washed from it. These guys were among my favourites.

One of the Icelandic sheep. These guys were not interested in coming towards the crowd. But they are the providers of a yarn I love, so I thought to include them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holiday Knitting

This is a shawl I'm making, from Cascade Epiphany. I have completed one and a half iterations of the pattern, going for ten complete iterations of it. It is the Upstairs pattern from Ravelry. I found out this weekend that Cascade has discontinued Epiphany, which is really too bad, because it is so sensuous. It is, or rather was, expensive, but still, so beautiful, and I'm really enjoying how it knits up.

This is, of course, unblocked, but it gives a good idea of how it will look when it is done.

I have also started a new Noro Striped Scarf, even though I said I wouldn't. A friend has asked me to make one for her, after seeing the last one I made, and the conversation ran like this:
She: This is really beautiful.
Me: Do you want me to make you one?
She: I don't really wear scarves all that much. But this is really beautiful
Me: Do you want me to make you one?
She: No, I still have the first scarf you made for me, but wow, this is really beautiful.
Me: Do you want me to make you one?
She:      Yes.

I've started it, and gotten about seven inches of knitting done.
I'm currently knitting with the two skeins on the right, and will add the ones on the left as the others run out. There is some purple in skein B, and a lot of purple in skein C, which ties them together. And there is some bits of purple in the Skeins A, so it should work nicely all together.
I hope.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yet another Noro scarf!

OK, so I know I said that I wouldn't make any more of these! So sue me!

This one is made with Noro Kureyon instead of Silk Garden. It is a bit rougher, more wool-like (imagine that!) than the Silk Garden ones. It will be for the reunion in January.

The colours are very warm and bright, and I love the intense reds, purples, and blues. I like the bumble bee-like stripes on the lower left (bottom picture). The person for whom I made this likes colour, and this, I think, at least, fits him and his personality. Now, if you can ever get him to play House of the Rising Sun -- heaven!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yarn CSAs

I've added a new gadget to the side bar of the blog. It's a section called Yarn CSAs. If you click the links, you'll end up at the websites of some places where you can sign up for fibre! I have not actually joined any of these CSAs, except for the one at Juniper Moon Farm, when it was located on Martha's Vineyard. Money woes have precluded me from joining a CSA recently, so I cannot actually recommend any (except Juniper Moon). Caveat Emptor.

My experience with Juniper Moon was very good. I got two or three skeins of undeyed merino and four skeins of undyed cormo/something blend (I'd have to dig through my stash to find it, and I'm at the library right now). The yarn is beautiful, well spun, and I am going to take a dying workshop and dye some of it before I knit it up. But I know when I have the money to spare for some of these CSAs, I will definitely sign up again. As I do so, I'll winnow them out and keep the best and jetision the ones that don't meet my standards. But until then, I shall leave the links on that section.

If you have any fibre CSAs to recommend, please let me know. If you have any experience with the ones listed (and I will add more when I have the time to research them), please let me know.

In the meantime, I'm getting ready for Rhinebeck in a couple of weeks!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Light Dawns Over Marblehead

One of the things I like is knitting with soft yarns. Alpaca is a favourite, but there are yarns like Cascade's Eco Duo, and today, Juniper Moon Farm's Chadwick. It's 60% merino wool and 40% baby alpaca, and it is very soft indeed.

And one of the things I've noticed about these really soft yarns is that they are not plied and are very splitty. I'm making a scarf with the Chadwick, and yes, it's so soft. It is for the mother of a friend of mine, and I thought a soft, gentle scarf would be ideal.

But it's splitty.
Wicked splitty.

But it's also soft.

So it has finally dawned on me that the really soft yarns are probably soft because they are not plied too tightly, and that gauziness is part of what makes them soft. I suppose this would be obvious or self evident to some knitters, but usually I'm too busy reveling in the fact that the yarn is so soft, when I'm not whinging about how splitty it is.

Light really does dawn over Marblehead (it does! really! I've seen the sunrise there), and sometimes that marble head is my own.

This is the scarf I started this weekend from Juniper Moon Farm's Chadwick. The pattern was taken from Knitting for Dummies. I know the picture is dark, but I did use the flash. Not sure what is going on here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Making a list, checking it twice

As most many some knitters know, the holidays are a great time to give hand knitted gifties. Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, New Years -- they all are suitable for gifting. Yesterday I created my Xcel spreadsheet for who is getting what. So far one of the gifts is finished, and a second is more than half way there. I've been consulting patterns, yarn stocks, and needles to figure out what's what this holiday season. Ravelry is my new best friend.

I keep thinking I'm going to get it all done in time, even though I know I'm not. I need to keep in mind that some things need to be there by Christmas morning, and others not until January, when some friends will celebrate a reunion (these aren't really Christmas gifts, I'm just calling them that, so I can avoid lengthy explanations). I keep telling myself I'm the Little Engine Who Could -- "I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!" I only hope I don't end up like the Engine in Mr Mike's Least Loved Bedtime Tales (cf. Saturday Night Live, ca. 1977), who, upon trying to go up the big hill, says, "I think I can! I think I can! Heart attack! Heart attack!" Or some such equally macbre ending.

So this year, I'm making the following:
7 scarves
2 handbags
3 lacy scarfy thingies
4 hats
1 lace shawl
1 heavy shawl

It's times like these that I wish I knew how to make socks and mittens. The rest of the scarves should be easy to make, since they'll all be one colour (I think), and just textured. Follow the pattern and voila! a textured scarf! Easy and eventually one memorises the pattern. I will admit I'm a bit stonkered by the handbags. They will be felted, and I've done precious little felting in my day (just some pot holders, to which I'd assign a grade of B+), but with Cascade 220, one can never go wrong. And the colours! So hip! So modenne! So now! Purple and Green. Who wouldn't want a felted bag in purple and green?

I've got about 11 weeks to get it all done. Let's see, if I quit my part time job, learn to live on air, and don't sleep for the next 10 weeks, I should be able to just about finish it. Oh, and I'm not including the double knitted scarf that I started in March. I don't think that will be done til next March.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad News / Good News

First, the Bad News. I found out this weekend that one of my favourite yarn stores closed. Sheep Street, in Canton, MA, was a small store that packed a powerful punch. I always found something cool to knit with when I visited Sheep Street. The owner was kind, helpful, and always had a smile. I'll really miss this store.

However, the bad is ballanced with the good. This weekend I discovered a new yarn shop, The Creative Stitch, in Hingham, MA. The owner was extremely helpful, friendly, and made me laugh. She also showed me her personal yarn stash. To say that she has achieved SABLE is a vast understatement. After seeing her stash of yarn, I will never again state that I have too much yarn. Never. I only have 13 bins. She has well over 125 (I think the highest number I saw on one of her bins was 138). A lovely little shop, friendly and welcoming. Whenever I'm on the South Shore, I think I'll tug my friend Lisa's sleeve, and say, "Hey, let's go to The Creative Stitch."

Ave atque vale, Sheep Street.
Hello, Creative Stitch. I think we're going to have a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brooklyn Tweed Noro Scarf

I swore I would never make another Brooklyn Tweed Noro scarf. I made two of them, they came out nicely, and I gave them away. Then while at the yarn store, I saw some Noro Kureyon, and decided that this could make a wonderful scarf, following the pattern from Brooklyn Tweed. I think I like this one best of all. I am almost done with the first skein of Colour A, and almost done with Colour B. I'll be adding the second Colour A soon, as well as Colour C.
Here are some pictures.
Here's the entire scarf. I really like the way the colours blend into each other.

This is the scarf, looking from the cast on end up to the end still on the needles. Because the yarn is kind of schlubby, the width isn't quite the same all the way up, but then, it's a hand made object, not something made by a machine, so a bit of inconsistency is not only expected, but desired.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Do You Do With It?

I have mentioned before that I have a large and overwhelming stash. I may not have achieved SABLE, but what I've got would keep me busy for at least ten seven five years. I've got some great yarns in my stash that I don't know what I'll do with, even if I ever get to them. There's the three skeins I got in New Orleans, made of baby alpaca, silk, and bamboo. There's the handspun/hand dyed brightly coloured skeins that I got on vacation in Seattle. I have single skeins of Manos de Uruguay in an eye searing acid green, another skein in a cobalt blue that is just beath taking. There are the six skeins of beautiful black and grey alpaca I got when I was a newbie, that will make a great sweater vest. Except I don't really wear sweater vests. Thern there are the skeins of the more pedestrian yarns, Cascade 220, in assorted colours, Lamb's Pride, in a colour I've not seen since I first bought it, but from which I made a sweater for a friend (I over bought the yarn, and ended up with some extra skeins, and liked it so much, thinking I could incorporate it into a sweater, that I didn't return it -- haven't made that sweater yet, either).

And that last sentence is the kicker. I've got odds and ends in my stash that need something else to make them complete. Like the six skeins of Lopi I got on sale from the yarn store that was closing, and need six more in order to have enough to make a sweater (I'm thinking stripes). But I haven't been to a store that carries Lopi in a long time. If I made all the hats and scarves that I have bought yarn for, I'd drown in hats and scarves. And my friends would drown, too, because nobody needs that many hats and scarves! And the sweaters! Gods below! If I make all the sweaters I have yarn for I'll be wearing a different sweater every day of the week for two weeks running! Green ones, blue ones, black ones. Alpaca, wool, llama/wool, alpaca/wool: everything except acryllic. I look at that yarn and say to myself, "What was I thinking???"

Well, I wasn't thinking. I'm a yarn whore, which is a bit like being a dachshund. If I see it, it's mine. Simple as that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oh, for the time to knit!

Since graduating from library school, and whilst looking for jobs, I have been temping at a local hospital, sort of as a secretary-ish kind of job thing. This week the doctor is out on vacation, there are no patients to be seen, and mostly I answer the phone, tell the patients that the doc isn't in this week, and then fax prescription requests to the doc who is covering. Oh, and the filing is all done, too, since the doc isn't here to generate more crap that needs to be filed. So I have time on my hands. Lots of time. On my hands.

I would love to knit while sitting here. Think of what I could get done. Heather's hat. The Noro scarf (which is now at 29 inches). Several holiday presents. Eight hours of knitting. Well, with breaks to check Joe.My.God and other blogs. But still, I could get most of my holiday knitting done here.

Alas, the desk I sit at is in very public view. In a wee office, to be sure, the ante-room to the doctor's office. But it has an open door, nothing to shut. And everyone who walks by can see me. So if I were knitting, I'm sure I'd be admonished for it.

It's a damn shame. Because I've got some knitting in my backpack. I know I could answer the phones and knit at the same time. Well, not the exact same time. I'd put the knitting down, take a message, fire an e-mail off to the covering doc. Then pick up the knitting again. No problem!

But I'll be good, as dear Queen Victoria promised when she was a mere slip of a princess, and save the knitting for when I get to the library tonight. Because that will be an hour and a half of nothing much to do, too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Noro Striped Scarf

This is the latest Noro project. Let's face it, as much as I complain about Noro's propensity to tie random colours ont the yarn creating abrupt shifts, the colours are always amazing. This scarf is in Kureyon, 100% wool.

I am liking the way the black has shifted to green and now brown, and the brown from the second skein has shifted into magenta. It's always fun to see what will turn up next with Noro. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bad blogger, no biscuit!

Since my move to a subset of Boston, I do not have internet access at home. While I can (and have) updated from work, I feel a bit guilty about it because I'm supposed to be, well, you know, working. So I haven't been updating as often as I'd like. No biscuit for me, alas.

So what have I been up to? Well, I sent my second Noro Striped scarf to my friend Mark.

Here is Mark modeling the scarf, made of Noro Silk Garden. Notice the big patch of green under his chin. Luckily, green is his favourite colour! After knitting this scarf, I promised myself I would not knit another Noro Striped Scarf. Ever. Again. No, not ever! Except I was at Mind's Eye Yarns and saw some Noro Kureyon that spoke to me. I bought four skeins, and have started a third NSS. This one is 100% wool, though, and I will post pictures when it gets a few more stripes and the colours become a bit more varied.

I bought a couple of skeins of Cascade Sitka yarn. It is silky soft, and is made of 80% merino and 20% kid mohair. I got two skeins of the black,

 but might go back and trade one in for the light brown and make this scarf:

This is the Nested Boxes Scarf, designed by Betty Balcomb. I did not take this picture, I ganked it off the internet. However, this is an example of Mosaic knitting, and it is something I have not yet tried. I think it would be fun, a bit of a challenge, and would look good when done. The pattern is here:
Of course, that would also be fun to do as double knitting.
So much yarn! So little time!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good Night, Irene

Yesterday we got slammed by Hurricane Irene. Except by the time it reached Boston Irene was a tropical storm, and aside from a few trees and branches falling, and some communities losing power, it was, more or less, a long and tiresome rainstorm. And what else can one do during a major rainstorm, with the subway not running, the stores and restaurants all closed, and the news blaring warnings about not going outside except knit? I pored through my stash, looking for a specific collection of skeins to make a shawl for Miz Marilyn. I bought the yarn last spring, thinking I'd get to it this summer, but the recent move from Somerville to Boston put the kibosh on any large projects I was contemplating.

I cast on and began to knit. Didn't like the needles.
Ripped it out, got different needles, and cast on again.
Wanted more stitches.
Ripped it out again.
Cast on a third time, and got about three inches of knitting done.

I. Don't. Like. It.

So tonight, when I go to Nine Inch Needles, I'll rip it out again, cast on again, and make what I thought of making the first time I considered this project, rather than the one I thought of with all the improvements.

Another thing I've done that makes me question my sanity is that I got more yarn to make yet another Brooklyn Tweed Noro Scarf. I have already made two of them. I gave away the last one because I was so annoyed with it be the time I was done that I didn't want to wear it. But the other day, whilst at my LYS, I saw some Noro Kenyon that would make a terrific scarf. I was drawn to it, I heard it call my name. but I needed two more skeins to make the scarf. Oh, look, listen! there were two other skeins of different colours calling my name. "Ken!" they called me, "buy us! Make us your Noro scarf!" Resistance was fulile. Befoe me I had Colour A, Colour B, and Colour C. So sometime this fall, I will again undertake a Noro scarf. Sometimes I wonder if I don't need medication.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival

OMG! OMG OMG OMG! I think I'm going to be able to go to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival this year! This is the first year in many years that I am not in graduate school! I don't have classes on Saturday mornings! I don't have an internship on Sundays! I don't have a metric arse-tonne of homework to complete over the weekend! My friend Kim doesn't live too far away from the festival! I can stay at her place!

I just wrote an entire paragraph with eclamation points. I've wanted to go to Rhinebeck since the first time I ever heard of it, around my first year in library school. A group of knitters I know were going to drive up to Albany, not an impossible drive from Boston. And I couldn't go. I had papers to write. I had Colon Classification to learn about. I had tomes of esoteric library knowledge to assimilate. Oh woe is me, cried I. And I vowed, then and there, as God is my witness, that I would never go hungry again, neither me, nor any of my kin that I would go to Rhinebeck at the first opportunity I could, in the very year I graduated!

Now, with my shiny new degree in one hand, and my unemployment status in the other, I have the time to go. I can wear my Pirate Hat, and be a Yarn Corsair! "Yaaaaaarn!" I'll exclaim, waving my knitting needles like a cutlass. "Yo-ho-ho, and a skein of homespun!" And I'll fight to the death any knitter who thinks they can get between me and that last skein of knittable goodness over there. Because what I really need, what will make me happier than anything in the world, is more yarn.

Oh, and to spend some time with good friends at the Sheep & Wool Festival!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yarn Cataloguing

Because I have been saying for so long that I would do it, I finally began the Great Yarn Cataloguing Fiesta. I catalogued the first bin of my yarn. It went well. I have headings that include what brand of yarn, what fibre, how much it cost (not something I can always determine), where I got it (city, state, and store, if possible -- which is possible for most of the local yarns I own), weight, length, and its relative thickness (I have a propensity for worsted and chunky yarns). All was going swimmingly, when I opened the second bin and a small, light brown moth flew out. When my heart slowed down and I was able to breathe again, I choked back the desire to scream, rant, and swear in six languages (I only swore in four). I contacted Those Who Know, and was given much good advice:
  • Microwave the yarn for 2 minutes, in 30 second intervals
  • Freeze the yarn for two weeks, defrost, and freeze again
  • Use cedar chip sachets (made from the cedar chips people use for their pets)
  • Lavendar sachets
  • Sachets of 1 part rosemary, 1 part peppermint, 2 parts cloves
I'm going to try most of these. And I'm going to buy some big zip lock baggies to store any yarn that isn't already in a zip lock baggie.

And hope that I can salvage most of my yarn stash. 'Cause it not only represents a lot of money invested in this hobby, but a lot of time, energy, and thought, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Towers of Bins of Yarn

I know I've complained about my stash a lot. I know it is out of control (meaning, my yarn buying habits are out of control), but I thought I had only twelve bins of yarn.

I have thirteen.

I've just moved into a new apartment, and the only place I really have to store anything is in my room. I no longer have access to an unused front room or a basement. Most of my worldly possesions are in a rented storage facility. The rest are in my room. Including thirteen bins of yarn. Honestly, after the unpacking is done, and the furniture is rearranged, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them. They're so big. Right now they are stacked in several high rise towers, but that is not exactly attractive. Though I wonder, if I just keep in my mind that they are filled with yarn-y goodness, that I'll come to see them as beautiful?

I keep reminding myself that I really have enough yarn right now, and need to start knitting it up and making all those sweaters and things. I think that if I knit up all the yarn for which I've specfically bought for making sweaters, that when I'm finally done I'll have twelve sweaters. I don't even have room for five sweaters! Where am I going to put twelve? I reckon I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

I have a lot of lace yarn, too. I've only made one thing in lace, and while that came out well, and I want to make more, I am, quite frankly, intimidated by lace making. Or maybe not the knitting itself, but the blocking. I am not the best blocker in the world, and just thinking about blocking a lace piece scares the crap out of me. After all, it took me a few months before I felt I could block the first lace piece I made. I shudder to think of knitting a bunch of lace, and then having it stare at me in its unblocked silence, mocking me while I quiver in the corner, staring at it in uncomprehending horror: How the hell am I going to block this thing?

I am sure I'll get over it.

I'm about to start on a lace pattern in Cascade Epiphany (60% Royal Alpaca, 20% Cashmere, 20% Silk). I was advised to knit a swatch and block it. But I think I'm going to go full balls to the wall and knit it without a swatch.

Sometimes you have to live dangerously.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two posts in the same week! Two posts on consecutive days! You'd think I was a real blogger!

I was hanging out at Mind's Eye a couple weeks ago, when they got in some gorgeous yarn. I offered to start the sample hat that is in the store to show off how fabulous this yarn is. Here is a picture of the hat.

Isn't that hat gorgous? Doesn't it just grab you? It's Juniper Moon Farms, in the Chadwick line, which is 60% merino and 40% baby alpaca.

Of course, I didn't knit the entire hat.

 Just the ear flaps. But what's really cool is that Lucy (the owner of Mind's Eye) and I knit at the same gauge. Her hat. My earflaps!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Old Projects

In the midst of my move, with all my needles still packed (and a quarter of my yarn stash still at the old digs), I've been working on old, abandoned projects. I finished some hats, and have recently picked up a belt that I was working on, oh, five years ago, for a friend. It's from one of the Stitch and Bitch books, and you cast on 9 stitches of Noro Kenyon, knitting a moss stitch on size US 11 needles, for so many feet (must unpack the book and check how long it needs to be) and then felt it. My friend Steven might like such a belt, so he's the lucky winner. Of course, it is the most brainless and boring thing to be knitting, and I think it is best done in company, because I'm boring myself with it. But Steven will be happy. And I want to knit more things that I get to felt. I've only felted a couple of things, some pot holders/trivets. I used Lamb's Pride Bulky, and loosely knit some squares, and felted them. They came out OK, but I learned that yarns that are silver or white don't felt as well as yarns that are actually dyed colours. My very wise friend Jay told me that's because the bleach that is used to strip any natural colour to make a white yarn interferes with proper felting. I think I packed them into a box that went into storage. Oh well, I can always make more.

My computer at home is not yet set up, so I have no pictures to post, but I will, eventually. I've got my yarn, my clock radio, and NPR, so I'm good to go, at least for a little while.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The yarn is packed. The projects are packed. The needles, straight, circular and double pointed, are packed. The bag of tools (stitch markers, scissors, measuring tape, gauge and needle measurer, tapestry needles) is packed. The knitting books are packed. I'm ready to move. In fact, I've already moved eight of twelve bins of yarn to the new digs. I want to cry: I miss my yarn. I haven't done much knitting in the prelude to moving, the packing, the throwing-out, the trying on old clothes to see if they fit, the rediscovery of knitting books I'd forgotten I owned (fell behind a bookcase). Now all I have to do is remove myself from one domicile to another. Have I mentioned how much I dislike moving? Quite aside from the expense, the mishegas, the agita, it leaves me no time to knit. I spent some time at Nine Inch Needles last night to knit with the boys. I had to dig through a couple of boxes to find a project I could take with me, because all my projects are packed.

This too, will pass.

I probably won't post again til after I've moved. And had a very strong gin & tonic.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's been a long time since I last posted

It has been too damn hot to knit. I never thought I'd say that, since last summer I whipped up six shawls in alpaca (and bought an air conditioner in order to do it), but packing for my move and a lack of internet at home has made both knitting and blogging just a tad difficult.

Currently on the needles a seven year old project, abandoned and re-taken-up. It's a hat in cotton and I'll post pictures when I can. Meanwhile, the Christmas knitting list has begun, and I know what I'm making (and what yarn I'm using) for a few people on my list. I'm giving out about five things this year, and I've got the yarn for four of them, the patterns chosen, and one of them actually started! The last one I've picked out the yarn, but not bought it yet. Since I'm no longer in school, I'm a little more relaxed this year about getting my holiday knitting done before September, though as it's almost August, I shouldn't get too relaxed. I'll try and post pictures of the yarn and discuss the patterns, after I move.

Oh, and one final thing. Whilst packing, I found my copy of Knitting With Balls, by Michael del Vecchio. I repacked it, of course, but all my knitting books are in a couple of boxes, and are labeled so. They will be the first ones I open in my new digs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still Crazy After All These Years

So a while back I mentioned that I went through my stash box and picked up a project I'd begun seven years ago, and put aside. Well, it's done. Hooray! I've even sent it off to a friend. I hope it fits him. Now I want to make one for myself. In blue, of course. But I'm going to figure out how to do  it in the round, because I really hate seaming things.

Here is a picture of the seven-year-hat.

I know, it's very dark. I took several pictures of it, and they all came out this dark, and yes, the flash was used. The main colour is rich purple, the lighter colour is lilac, and the third colour is black.

If I can figure how to make it in the round, I'll be very happy. I've already got the yarn, and it's already cast on flat, because I cast it on when I cast this one on, seven years ago. But this time I hope there won't be a seam.