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, 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.