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 22, 2012

Birthday Yarn

This past weekend was my birthday (never mind which one), and as it has in past years, Webs tent sale fell just on the very day of my nativity. I'm so lucky! So a friend and I motored out to Northampton for the day, and I got myself some birthday presents. I love birthday presents!

Aside from lots of sale items, Webs puts up their own tent, but also, around the perimeter of the parking lot, are tents from local vendors, farmers, shepherds, and yarniacs. Things sold here are not things you can find in regular stores. While I didn't have much money, I was able to indulge a bit, and you can be sure that I collected business cards from every booth I visited. And I took copious notes. There's a certain burnished bronze yarn I want. Lace weight. It rocks my stripey socks.

OK. So even though money is tight, I bought myself some stuff, both from Webs and from some of the local vendors. Here it is in pictures.

From Webs, I got some Noro Kureyon.  The dominant colours are blues, cobalt, dark, intense, royal, with a few others thrown in (hey, it's Noro!). I am going to make yet another Noro Striped Scarf, but instead of using two of Colour A and one of Colour B and one of Colour C, I am using four different colourways. I think it will work, and if it doesn't, well, I'll still have an amazing technicolour scarf.
There's some purple, and red, and orange and black and green mixed in with all the blues. I'm really excited about this project. Maybe I'll even keep this scarf for myself.

I also got some Malabrigo Rios, in the delightful teal feather colour. I have a project already planned for this yarn, I'm making a scarf for the daughter of a friend with it, and for her sister, I'm making one in purple. I've got the purple yarn (got it in New Orleans in February!), and now I have the teal.
I love working with Rios, it feels so good to knit with.

I have seen this yarn around in a few places, but while I was at Webs thought I'd get it on sale. Jojoland Fantasia is a superwash wool, with vibrant colours. I think a 1x1 rib, in alternating rows will make something quite nice.
There is a bit of purple running through each skein which I think will work nicely together. There are other colourways that I like, and I think it would make a good sweater. I need to mull that over a bit.

There were a lot of other yarns at Webs that I saw that I wanted to take home with me. Madeline Tosh's entire collection yarns, in just about every colour, was just begging to be put into my shopping cart. Lorna's Laces were calling my name, too. Alas, unlike my first trip to Webs, when I had saved up mucho dinero over the course of the year, this time I was limited in my budget. But there will be other trips, and I took notes on all the things I wanted. And I should be able to order some of this stuff at my LYSs.
 Some of the yarn that was just hanging around at Webs this past weekend. Alas, I didn't buy any of this, but I was sorely tempted!

Yarns that I got outside, at the vendors' tents are unique and sometimes handspun or hand dyed. Brook's Bend Farm supplied me with two skeins of the prettiest Shetland wool, in undyed, natural hues (the website is still in development, but Suzanne Webber assures me that it will be up soon).
The picture doesn't do it justice, but the white is really very creamy, and the brown is an intense chocolate colour. I'm thinking a scarf or a Fair Isle hat. This yarn is so soft that I don't think I'll want to give it away. They had a nice collection of undyed yarns.

I will keep their contact info, and will definitely be ordering more from them. Hmmm, I'm thinking holiday presents.

Barbara Parry was there with her collection of Foxfire Fiber yarns. Her yarns are so beautiful, and every time I go to the tent sale I end up buying something from her. I haven't knit it up yet because I can't find a project worthy of her gorgeous yarns. This year I got yarn that is 80% wool and 20% alpaca. The colour is Nightshade, and I am thinking a scarf would suit this yarn.

The purple and black yarn, with a wee hint of brown, is so gorgeous, and so wonderful to feel. I might never knit with it! I'll just put my hand in the baggie and hold it.

Finally, from Rue at Kama Suutra Fiber Arts, this gorgeous hank of hand painted yarn. It is 100% superwash Merino, sock weight yarn, 405 yards. I could make a small neckerchief with this, or a lovely scarf.
 This yarn is very soft to the touch, and she also had a burnished bronze that I fell in love with. Alas, budgetary restraints kept me from getting both skeins. But I noted it and will order it when I can afford it.

 This was my birthday present to myself. The best thing is that I really do have projects for all this yarn, and will even keep some of them for myself! I had a terrific day, got some terrific yarn, and am looking forward to some terrific knitting!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Knit Night

I am finally getting serious about my yarn collection. Recently, I had to buy a couple more bins to hold it all. I've been putting the stuff that's been sitting on the papa-san sofa in my room into zip-loc baggies, and noting where I got it and what it is. There's a lot of yarn on my sofa for someone who isn't currently buying yarn. I wish there were an on-line way to catalogue the yarn, or something like Library Thing for yarn. Sure, there's a feature on Ravelry to list one's stash, but mine has gotten a bit out of control, and needs some serious catalogue help.

I have been attending a couple of knit-nights, on Mondays and Fridays. The one on Mondays is for gay men, held in a small and uber cool cafe. The other is held in one of the LYSs I like to frequent. The Monday group has kind of died a slow and painful death. I was the only person to show up the last two weeks, even though I'd gotten commitments from a couple of other knitters that they'd be there. I will give it a few more tries, and then I think I'm done.

The Friday night group has wine! I think that's why it's so popular. I stick to seltzer water, myself, since wine makes me giddy, and when I get giddy I tend to think of ice as the past tense of water. I am often the only guy who shows up at this knit-night, though sometimes there's another guy there. And often there's a dog or two there. Jeannie, a retired racing greyhound, is the sweetest dog, with a pretty face, and a strong desire to get skritched. I oblige her as often as I can.

It's gotten to the point where my Friday night knitting group is the high point of my week. I like seeing what everyone is working on, and usually bring three of four projects I have on the needles with me. Of course I usually only work on one, perhaps two, of them, but I never know what I'll be in the mood for when I am leaving the house, so I bring a variety to choose from. It keeps me out of trouble.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Charity Knitting

A couple of friends of mine who sing in the Boston Gay Men's Chorus asked me to knit up a hat for the annual auction the Chorus has as a fundraiser. While not overly fond of choral music (I have been in choruses in high school and in college; what killed it for me was singing Frostiana), I readily agreed to whip up a toque for them. Using some amazing Madeline Tosh Superwash worsted weight merino wool, I made this hat.

The colours are Betty Drapers Blues and Terra. I keep wanting to add a "cotta" to that, but that ain't the name, so I restrain myself.

My friends, who are both named David* (they go by Dave and David, or Dave and Theo -- don't ask, just go with it), and are collectively known as "The Daves" have been trying to convince me to start selling my knitting on Etsy (that is a post for another day).So I worked up a little description of the wool and myself:

About the wool
Merino wool comes from merino sheep, the aristocrats of the sheep world, who are, even for sheep, unspeakably stupid. Merino sheep produce very soft, warm wool, which spins beautifully and holds dye well.  Knitting with merino wool is a sublime experience. Wearing garments made from merino wool allows one to experience the sublime as well.

About the knitter
I have been knitting for almost ten years, focusing mostly on hats and scarves, occasional sweaters, and most recently, knitted lace. I only use natural fibres: wool, llama, alpaca, silk, cashmere and mohair. I prefer to eschew bamboo yarns, though I am sometimes seduced by its siren charms. I like working with jewel tones, tending toward cobalt blues and emerald greens, however undyed and natural coloured yarns have caught my attention. Recently, coming out of left field, is a fascination with yarns that are dyed red, especially knock-me-over-and-fuck-me red, as unscientific as that sounds, but one knows it when one sees it. Completely unprofessional photographs of some of my knitted goods may be seen at my knitting blog, The K is Silent, or on my Ravelry page, under the name bearknit. Commissions are cheerfully accepted, with prices ranging from more than you can imagine to more than you can afford. I may be reached at

*This happens in gay relationships. I once met a lesbian couple who were both named Cheryl.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Charity Knitting

This past weekend I went to the Stitch House for a look-see at yarn spun from the wool of Jacob Sheep. The National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association was there, because Jacobs can get Tay-Sachs and as a fund raiser, they sell yarn from a farm in Texas where this was initially discovered. So being the socially conscious knitter that I am, I bought four skeins of yarn from them. Farmer Fred, who owns the sheep, has named his beasts, and I bought yarn from Alexa and from Precious. The yarn itself is not as soft as merino, and is spun in such a way that it is thick and thin, but it knits up nicely, and I might make a shawl for someone using this yarn. I do have a cousin named Alexa, so there's a thought.

The NTSAD folk were handing out small skeins of yarn that could be knit up into 7X7 squares, which will later be sewn into a blanket, which will be auctioned off as a fund raiser. I have made one square using a seed stitch. I may make a second square (it's on the needles, but I'm doing it in stockinette and it's smaller and will need blocking *sigh*).

Surprisingly, using size US 8 needles, I got perfect gauge and have a perfect 7X7 square.

This is yarn from Precious.

This is yarn from Alexa. I think doing a shawl with wide stripes of each yarn would be kind of pretty.

Knitters at Stitch House working on their 7X7 squares.

It was an enjoyable day, and ended well: four skeins of yarn and a delightful tofu dish in Chinatown with a fellow-knitter.