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, December 31, 2013

Yarn Resolutions

The last post of the year. I've gotten some lovely yarn this year, made a few projects, completed some of them, too, though that is never a foregone conclusion.

I have a few resolutions to make. Of course I shan't keep them, but it is traditional to make resolutions at the beginning of the year.

1. I resolve not to buy so much yarn this year. I am at 21 bins, and could add one or two more.
2. I will knit my stash. I will use all that lovely beautiful yarn I've acquired over the years.
3. I will finish the projects I have on the needles before casting on new ones. Well, most of them, at least. Well, some of them, I'm sure. In some sort of order.
5. I will make some items for myself.
6. I will blog more.

Well, maybe I'll keep some of them.

This is a cowl I made for Peggy, who had been my advisor in college and one of my favourite professors.

Made of Malabrigo Mecha, the colours are Polar Dawn and Lotus. Done in a seed stitch, I carried the yarn, but I think if I make another one (and I will, I promised my cousin one, the yarn is bought, and it is waiting to be cast on), I won't carry the yarn, but will cut it and weave in the ends. The carried yarn in seed stitch is unsightly.

A chemo cap for my friend Priscilla, this is Madeleine Tosh Vintage, in Smokestack and Chamomile. It wasn't until I finished it that I realised it was the colours of the Boston Bruins Hockey team. Go Bruins! Boston Strong!

A new year, with old yarn, for new projects. I think it will work.

Monday, December 16, 2013


It's 16 December and I might as well face facts that none of the Christmas knitting is going to get done this year.

Like last year.

Oh, I have a good excuse or two, but really, it all comes down to the fact that nothing will be ready in time to be shipped for the holidays. Well, except Miz Kitty's shawl, but that wasn't really a Christmas present, only it turns out that it will be, because none of her kids can make it home for the hols this year, and will be the only thing she opens that day. If it gets there in time.

I got slammed with a really bad cold this year, one that lasted more than a month. I'm still hacking up a lung every now and then, though I'm feeling better. During much of that month that I was sick, time that I would normally spend knitting was spent sitting on the bed, trying to get a deep breath into my lungs, and then coughing up most of a lung.

It wasn't pretty.
And then there were the chemo caps to finish. One down, one to go. I just can't wrap my hands or head around what I want to do with that gorgeous Madeleine Tosh (smokestack and chamomile), except that I've got a hundred stitches on the needles and about an inch of 2x2 ribbing.

So, the well laid plans of mice and men (and bears) oft gang awry.

I'll get the Christmas knitting done after the holidays, when I'm feeling better.
And I'll feel like a heel because none of it will reach the recipients in time to open under the tree on Christmas morning. But it will get done. Eventually.

Le sigh.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I was going to write a post about all the cool yarn I bought on Small Business Saturday, but seriously, who needs to see more yarn? Even though every bit of it has a project attached to it (no free-range yarn this time), I think I'll wait til the projects are done and post pictures of them.

Most of my Christmas knitting is on hold because I've been not only working on several chemo caps, but I have had the Cold of Death, and haven't felt much like knitting. Mostly I've wanted to lie down on the bed and try to breathe. Today is the first day I've actually felt like knitting, and I cast on a cowl for a friend. But nothing is going to be done on time.

And that sucks.

I've been looking at the list of all the things I want to get done and if I knit non-stop every day without going to work of stopping to eat or bathe, I might get it all done.


This is one of the chemo caps I did finish. It is made with Cascade Alpaca, and is an adaptation of the Wurm pattern one can find on Ravelry. I did not use the pattern's fold-and-pick-up-stitches beginning because picking up stitches in black yarn is an exercise for masochists, so I just did a standard 2x2 rib for an inch. I hope the recipient likes it, and I hope that it fits her. It was kind of cool and fun to knit.

This is the actual colour of the hat, jet black. It's very soft and floppy.

The colour is completely off, but gives one an idea of what the hat looks like with the ridges.

The top of the hat. I have never had so many stitches left over at the end of the decrease rounds. I think there were 44 of 100 left over. I like the star-y looking thing on the very top.

And now, back to more knitting. I might be able to salvage something out of this damn cold.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's been lovely, but I have to scream now

More than a month without an update.
Bad blogger! No merino for you!

I haven't written anything because I haven't finished any projects. And I do so like to post pictures of my projects.

Le sigh (that's French).
OK, no it isn't.

I've been working on several projects like a fiend. My shawl for Miz Kitty is almost done (just attached skein #4 of 5), and Siobhan's cowl is, well, languishing. I don't even want to think about the other Yoolistide presents.

I got the word that three more friends were diagnosed with breast and/or ovarian cancer. So it's the Mad Knitter to the needles! Honestly, my friends have got to stop with this cancer nonsense. It isn't good for them. Seriously.

I am making a Wurm hat for Judy. I decided that picking up a bunch of tiny stitches in black yarn was about as ridiculous as it comes, so I just did a 2x2 rib and called it a day. I want to do 10 repeats of the worm pattern, and am somewhere in the fifth repeat, so I guess I'm about half way done. Go  me!

Prisca's hat, well, I keep on trying different yarns. Prisca is a big gal, with a big presence, and with a big head, so I'm thinking sport weight yarn is not going to work for her. So I got some gorgeous Tosh in chamomile and smokestack to make a Wurm hat for her. Need to cast it on, but I think the colours are going to totally rock her stripy socks. I wonder if she wears stripy socks?

This past weekend I was down in Provincetown, and my friend Adrienne said that I could stay at her house during Bear Week in July. Ummmm, yeah! Only a fool would say no. So I'm going to make her something in pink and black, her favourite colours. However, it is going to wait until I'm done with holiday and chemo knitting. It just has to. I'm thinking of a shawl in black, with a pink fleur-de-lys in the middle. Or something. I'd have to learn intarsia to do what I want to do, but worse things have happened to nicer people, and I've always wanted to learn intarsia. I suppose I could double knit it, but by the time I finished it, I think we'd both be in our dotage.

Enough with the blogging. I gotta get my needles in hand and all this yarn knit up. Christmas is only a month away. Thank you. It's been lovely, but I have to scream now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Panic: The Realisation of Christmas Closeness


Only 73 days until Christmas!


Get a grip, Ken, get a grip.

That's just over 10 weeks for knitting everything up. Which means I have to find that second ball of Madeleine Tosh, STAT! For the blue cowl.
I have to tink back a row of 224 stitches on the red cowl to find where I made a mistake.
I have two, count 'em, two Ameeta scarves to finish, and one of them has to be ripped back at least 20 rows or more, because, you know, I skipped a row. I'm such a dunce sometimes.

And am I at home, knitting my fingers to the bone?
Not no, but HELL NO!
I'm at an internet cafe, writing a blog post, reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (on line), and swilling cola like it was, well, cola.

Where are my priorities? Where is my Calvinist work ethic? Where is my Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee-tenacity?

Out the window, apparently.

I'll get to the knitting. If it gets done in time for the holidays, so much the better. And if it doesn't, then I'll hand over an unfinished garment, and if the recipients are upset with that, then they don't deserve the fruit of my labour.

Now, back to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rhinebeck or. . .


I won't be making it to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival this year.


Think of the hit my yarn stash is going to take because I won't be there to sop up new yarns from different places.

No, don't look at earlier posts, detailing all the yarn I bought in August in Seattle, none of which has been knit yet. Don't look over there, la la la la la, look over here. Oooh, shiny!

Seriously, though, I've got a few things going on that weekend, like a Dar Williams concert, and I'm going to Provincetown on Saturday to help a friend deliver cupcakes from his business. And, true, I now have 21 bins of yarn sitting in my room, taking up most of the free space there. I really do need to start knitting my stash. My friend Erick has threatened an intervention in my yarn buying, so I guess it's getting pretty dire.

But I did so want to wander Rhinebeck, and see all the cool yarns there, and look at the alpacas and dream of taking one home with me, and eat maple cotton candy. Not this year. Next year. Because by next year I'll have run out of yarn!

It's good to dream.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Twenty-four Inchs, or Bust!

Whenever I start a new circular project that isn't a hat, my friend Valaree reminds me that the Sainted Elizabeth Zimmerman insisted that no one needs circular needles that have a cable longer than 24 inches. I do not know if this is true (and I suppose, with my mad librarian skillz, I could ascertain if it were), but I suppose it is. That said, what the hell am I doing knitting a cowl (I almost typed, "scowl") on 24 inch circulars? There are well over 200 stitches of worsted weight Madeleine Tosh cast on for this project, and the damned thing is all bunched up together. Elizabeth Zimmerman may well have been able to knit hundreds of stitches on 24 inches, but I, alas, am no Elizabeth Zimmerman. I look at it and have a hard time getting a sense of what it's supposed to look like, and how many iterations of the pattern I'd like to do (the pattern calls for five, but I'm using a heavier weight than the pattern calls for, so I'm thinking three). Elizabeth Zimmerman, you may be the patron saint and goddess of knitting, but 24 inch circs are not always the ideal needles for every project!

There. I feel better now, having got that off my chest. I mean, seriously, what would I do with a sweater knit in the round in bulky yarn (my favourite sweaters!)? I doubt I could get almost 300 stitches of bulky weight yarn on 24 inch circs. What, never! No, never! And we won't go further with the lyrics from that song.  What's sauce for the goose may well be sauce for the gander, but not for the swan, the hen, nor the pheasant. What worked for Saint Elizabeth will not necessarily work for me. I shall knit future projects on circular needles I deem appropriate, and if that causes Elizabeth to spin in her grave, well, we'll then consider the soil well aerated.

I feel so relieved.

Here is my Milanese Loop cowl, for Siobhan (the pattern is free and can be found on Ravelry). The yarn is Madeleine Tosh, Betty Draper's Blue, Limited Edition.

You can see how the poor thing is all bunched up and unhappy on that 24 inch circular needle.
But I am loving what I can see of it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I am not a monogamous knitter. At any given time, I'll have two, three, fourteen projects on the needles. Sitting here, in the internet cafe, I can think of at least nine eleven twelve projects I've got going. There's Libby's scarf, my scarf, Paul's scarf. Then there's Kristen's cowl, Siobhan's cowl, and the scarves for Grace and Maddy. Miz Kitty's big alpaca shawl. Corey's scarf that never ends. I don't even want to think about the lace shawls I've got going, from which I've taken a little "vacation". And all the projects I'm planning and for which I've bought yarn. No, I'm not even going to go there.

Part of the situation is that when something gets too big and doesn't fit easily into my backpack, it becomes at-home-knitting, and I spend very little time at home, which means that I don't work on these projects very often. Or lace things that require thought and attention and counting. I can't bring those to knit-night, because I can't participate in the conversations around me, because I'm too busy making sure I'm knitting two together and making yarn overs in the right spots. Which might be why I make so many scarves and hats: they're mobile! And, being the yarn whore that I am, I want to start using the yarn that I buy right away, so I often buy needles to go with it so I can start working with it on the train trip home from the yarn store. Which might explain why I have nine or twelve size 6 circular needles, all 16 inches. Oi.

But now I am deep in the throes of my holiday knitting. I have decided, for the sake of my sanity, that I will only knit one project at a time. I will finish, in some order, the projects I've got going (since most of them are holiday presents of one sort or another), and not drive myself crazy. Of course, I do get a little bored sometimes (the knit-one-purl-one of yet another Noro Striped Scarf is putting me to sleep!), but I am persevering. In fact, I've got about another 50 rows to go on that damn striped scarf before I can bind it off. After this I'll finish Siobhan's cowl. Then Kristen's. Then Grace's and Maddy's scarves. Somehow I have to get Miz Kitty's shawl in there, too.

Monogamous knitting is a challenge to me, but maybe I'll get everything done on time this year. Unlike last year. No, don't let's think about last year. Quelle debacle! (That's French.)

Oh, and I don't even want to think about the baby sweaters I need to start. I wonder what kind of yarn I'll buy for those? Or maybe I should just shop my stash.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I had to buy two more bins this past weekend for my ever-growing yarn collection. I am now up to 21 bins. I know that some people have a lot more yarn than I do, but I can only knit so fast, and I don't always remember what's in the bins (yeah, yeah, gotta get it all catalogued). My friend Sue came up with a twelve step programme for yarn buyers, and with due respects to AA, I offer it here.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over yarn, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, then quickly dismissed this idea.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and knitting of natural fibres as we understand them.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our freezers (and bins, and closets, and underwear drawers, and crawl spaces).
  5. Admitted to God, but not to ourselves, or to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, because we have none.
  6. Were entirely ready to have friends remove all these remnants and then remembered item #2 and hid everything.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove. . . wait. . . humbly? Pshaw!
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends by sucking up to them with knitted fineries.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would require using any yarn that I wanted to keep for myself. Forever.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. Said no knitter. Ever.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with yarn, as we understood it, praying only for knowledge of yarn's will for us and the power to carry that out. Then realising this is a giant FAIL.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other knitters, and to practise these principles in all our affairs. Alas, affairs bite us in the ass, and so we turn to knitting.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Seattle Yarn Carnage: Part the Third

Today I did not buy yarn.

But I wanted to.

On our tour of yarn stores in the Seattle area, we pulled into Port Gamble, and the very first store I saw was a yarn store! The Artful Ewe was sitting there, with yarns on the bench outside, and the door wide open. Luckily, we encountered this store today, because it's only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Because all the other days the owner, Heidi Dascher, is dying yarn. Or spinning, or weaving, or doing other things.

And I didn't buy yarn. Mostly because I shot my financial wad earlier in the week, and couldn't afford it. However, Heidi allowed me to pick out what I wanted and put it in a bag. I gave her my information, and in a couple weeks I will call her and she will ship it to me! All the yarns I chose were hand-dyed, and I chose blues, greens, purples, oranges and blacks. Gorgeous wools and wool-silk blends.

Since I can't show you my yarn (since it's still at the store), here are some shots of the store.

The Artful Ewe, Port Gamble, WA.

These are the yarns from which I chose the skeins the store is holding for me. I didn't want to leave! And I didn't want to stop, but somehow, I decided enough was, alas, enough. But I am very much looking forward to getting my skeins of yarn next month.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Seattle Yarn Carnage: Part the Second

Today we went to Debbie Macomber's A Good Yarn Shop (the store's website isn't up yet, so I am unable to provide a link). The address is 1140 Bethel Avenue, #101, Port Orchard, WA. There were a lot of wonderful yarns, a lot of Cascade products (I love Cascade, but I am able to get it back home in Boston, so it isn't on my list of things for which to look). But there were some local goodies that caught my eye and emptied my wallet.

The first yarn in today's carnage is a beautiful wool, from Oregon. Imperial Yarn, this is 4 ounces, 220 yards, of pure wool. I noticed, while on the website, that this yarn can be found in nine different stores in Massachusetts. I've never seen it before, and I've been to at least four of the stores listed. No matter. It's in my stash now, and I like it.

The next two yarns are a 50-50 mix of silk and bison down. From The Buffalo Wool Co., this lace weight yarn caught my eye, and I just had to have it! There were other colours I would like to have gotten, but it's an expensive item, so I limited myself to only two skeins. The band says, "From the downy undercoat of the American bison comes the surprisingly soft, seriously strong fiber we call 'Buffalo Gold'." This particular iteration of their yarn is called Sexy. It surely is!

Next up in utter fabulousness is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu. This yarn is 60% merino and 40% bambu. I am not a big fan of bamboo, or even bambu, yarns, but this stuff was so soft and amazing that I couldn't leave it alone. This colourway is called A Hazy Shade of Blue, and it is smoky, with black and grey highlights. So pretty. I got two skeins so I could make a vest, even though I don't much like making V-necks. The photograph does not do it justice.

Finally, I bought a skein of Cascade 220. Obviously this is something I can get this yarn at home, but this is a colourway that I haven't seen in a long time. I had started a sweater in Cascade Pastaza in this colour a long time ago, but the sweater was infested with moths, and I don't think I'll ever be able to finish it. I bought this skein in order to be able to order it as worsted wool, because I still like it, even thought the wool does not have the sheen of the Pastaza. I'll live.

These are the yarns I bought on the second day of Yarn Carnaging in the Pacific Northwest. I hope to get a few more yarns before I return to Boston.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Seattle Yarn Carnage: Part the First

Over the last weekend, I helped drive my friend Rachael, along with her mum, her two dogs, two cats, and caged bird to Seattle. Rachael is moving to the area, and her mum and I were along to help drive her there. The dogs, cats, and bird did not help at all with the driving, and one of the cats, Evil Steven, did his very best impersonation of the little girl in The Exorcist.

It wasn't pretty.

You know, I brought along five knitting projects to work on when I wasn't driving, but since I did the lion's share of it, I actually did no knitting at all. Go figure. And now all those projects will be flying home with me at the end of the week.

Yarn Carnage, however, has already started. There are so many amazing yarn stores in the area, and I visited two of them today. My object is to buy yarns that I cannot get back at home in Boston. Things that are local, or unusual, or hand spun and/or dyed.

At Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, I was impressed by the collection of yarns (I didn't check out the teas, but my friend Laura did, and said it was a small selection but an excellent one). I asked to be shown local yarns, and a salesperson gave me a wonderful tour of the yarns, pointing out what was local and different, and things I'd not be able to find at home.

First up, from Insouciant Hair (Artisan Yarns from Carefree Animals), the yarn band says, "Insouciant Hair is dedicated to making breed-specific artisan yarns with fiber from micro-farms throughout the Pacific Northwest." There were several yarns from which to choose, and because I wanted to continue yarn carnaging, I only bought two varieties. First up, a skein of Corriedale Wool. Fingering weight, 400 yards, undyed. The band goes on to say, "Corriedale is known for its wonderful combination of softness and durability. It is a multi-purpose yarn with loft and luster that is a joy to work with."

Next up, from Insouciant Hair, two skeins of Romney Wool. Sport weight, 250 yards, this is an undyed grey. From the band, "Romney lends itself to a large array of projects Although not often worn close to the skin, Romney can be used for mittens, hats, shawls, and sweaters. It is also generally thought of as good wool for felting.

The next item up is not quite local, but not something I've found in any of the Boston stores. Jared Flood's Brooklyn Tweed yarns. The band says, "SHELTER is an artisanal, woolen-spun yarn made from the fiber of Targhee-Colubia sheep grown in the American West. The yarn -- spun in the historic mill town of Harrisville, NH -- has been meticulously crafted to suit the needs of the passionate knitter."  I don't like to order yarns on-line, so I haven't seen or worked with this before. It is a bit scratchy, but I think it will knit up beautifully. Three skeins, 140 yards each, for a baby sweater, the colour is Button Jar.

Finally, two skeins of Spincycle Yarns, from Bellingham, WA. Rachel and Kate own this company, and dye and spin the yarns. I bought some of this a few years ago, on my first trip to Seattle. I haven't knit it up yet, because I only have one skein each of two different (but not complementary) colourways. But now I have these two skeins, and I think something might come of them. While we were in the store, we spoke with a woman who owns a yarn store in central Washington, and one of the women involved in Spincycle is her niece (not sure which one, though). These are a superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool, 200 yards each. The wool is dyed before it is spun, Dyed in the Wool.

The next stop on the Yarn Carnage Tour was Amanda's Art-Yarn, in Poulsbo, WA. We didn't have a lot of time, so I took a quick look-see around, and liked what I saw. A nice collection of yarns that would make any knitter happy. Meanwhile, my friend who was touring with me noticed that there were Breyer horses on a shelf, and spoke to Amanda about them. I checked out the local yarns, and added a few to my collection.

I bought six skeins of Color Dance Yarns, in various colours (no website, but a Facebook page, which I just "liked"). On the back of the band, "Color Dance Yarns are an artisan-dyed in the Pacific Northwest."  Below are my purchases.

Marina, a superwash Merino. The photo did not capture the intensity of the purple in this yarn, and I'm looking forward to knitting it up.

Purple Haze, another superwash Merino. There are bits of green and blue along with the purple. I think it will knit up very nicely.

Nightshade, shades of purple, black, and grey. Really pretty, superwash Merino.

I love the name of this colourway, Distracted Cherry. It's a cloudy red that is really very pretty. Superwash Merino yarn, just waiting to be knit up.

This is Caribbean, a really pretty blue-green that reminds me of pictures of that sea. Superwash Merino.

Finally, Swamp Thing. Shades of mossy green, it actually reminds me of the colours I saw on a swamp tour in Louisiana I took, way back in 2004. Superwash Merino. Of course, the name of this colourway has me singing, "Swamp Thing! You make my heart sing!"

This ends this portion of the Yarn Tour Yarn Carnage of 2013. I'm sure there will be more to follow.

Monday, July 29, 2013

After Hiatus

I took a little hiatus from writing, both this blog and another one I maintain. It's been a good rest, but I feel the need to get back to writing, writing about knitting, and writing about buying more yarn. I have not stopped knitting, however.

So much has been going on. One of my favourite stores, Mind's Eye Yarns, closed, was sold, and has re-opened under a new owner. The feel of the store is very different, and I like it. I've shopped there once, and look forward to going back. Wild and Wooly, another store I liked, has closed. I only found out about the closing a week after it shut its doors, and I'm sad I didn't get a chance to walk in and say good-bye.

I completed a sweater that I'd been working on for a long time. Well, actually, it was put aside for a long time. I began it about five or six years ago, got involved in grad school, moved, and only rediscovered the pieces of the sweater in a bag while unpacking. The front panel, back panel, and sleeves were all done, it only needed to be sewn together. With the help of my friend Claudia, the disparate pieces of knitting became a sweater. Of course, this was in June, during a heat wave, so I haven't actually had a chance to wear it, but it's done!
Above are the disparate pieces of the sweater, before Claudia worked her magic.

Apersett, knit in Rowan British Sheep Breeds yarn, blue face Leicester.

At Claudia's suggestion, we did the collar in the round, rather than on straight needles as suggested by the pattern. If I were to make this sweater again, I would re-write the details about the shoulders, collar and make the sleeves shorter.

The pattern came from this book

There is other knitting going on, I've got a bulky sweater in blue on the needles (Cascade 112), and the front and back are done, joined, and the collar in process. The arms need to be added, and  it needs to be blocked. I don't have a picture of it yet, but it's coming along swimmingly. But we have been in the midst of a heat wave, and I don't have an air conditioner.

Other projects include more scarves than I can manage, a baby sweater, the plans for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Sweater, and some hats. I've got two cowls going, and they're going to be the death of me. Why are yarn overs so hard? Okay, they're not, but sometimes I don't count right. A mathematician I am not.

I'm heading to Seattle in nine days. I am planning on some major yarn carnage. The friends with whom I am traveling are unsure how I'll get there, but if I have to, I'll rent a damn car and buy YAAAARRRNNN!!

Worse things have happened to nicer people.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival

Yesterday I went to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, along with Lucy and Hugh and two younger folk. This was my first time to this particular festival, and I was really excited. Not only would I get to see sheep and goats and alpacas, but I'd get to spend some time with folk I like a lot.

I paced myself, and didn't buy the first yarn I saw (you knew there would be some yarn carnage, right? I mean, I am a yarn whore), but judiciously checked out the merchandise at various vendors. The only thing I absolutely had to have was undyed black alpaca.

I got more than just undyed black alpaca, though. But I didn't spend all my money, and thought I did quite well.

A hand dyed wool from Jan Marek Raczkowski Studio. There were five of these (all from different dye lots) the first time I walked past, and only three left when I returned at the end of our day. I bought two of them. I am thinking a sweater or a vest.

A skein each of undyed black and silver alpaca yarn, from Big Red Acres. So soft, so sleek. I am thinking a hat or a scarf, with alternating stripes. The picture doesn't do justice to the silver yarn.

This gorgeous yarn from Decadent Fibers LLC, is 90% wool and 10% nylon, for making socks. Hugh has said that he will teach me how to make socks with this awesome blue yarn. I have long avoided learning how to make socks, since I know that I will suffer from second sock syndrome.

This is a terrific purple made of wool, from Zwool. It's a heavy wool, a bit scratchy, but so beautiful that I couldn't leave it behind.
This black and white twist is alpaca, about 300 yards, from A Touch of Twist. A scarf? A shawlette? It's so beautiful and soft, I couldn't resist.

These two skeins come from Sweet Maple Alpacas, the top a marled brown and cream that just called my name. The lower one of the skeins of undyed black alpaca. Interestingly, both this one and the other skein of undyed black are different shades, coming as they did from different animals on different farms. Still, both are really beautiful and lustrous.
This was the loot I brought back with me. I can't wait to knit it up.
While at the NHS&WF, Hugh and I met a delightful lesbian couple whilst in line to buy lunch. We sat together and exposed ourselves to some delightful conversation (one of them was at Simmons GSLIS when I was there, though we were in different tracks), and got to feel the raw wool that they had just bought. Soooo soft. Sooo sensuous. It makes me want to become much more serious about spinning.
I got home late in the afternoon, exhausted, happy, and weighted down with some very fine yarns. And brochures and cards from some of the vendors whose wares I wanted to buy, but didn't. I think I might be contacting them in the next few weeks to add some of their fine yarns to my stash.


Friday, May 10, 2013

And So It Goes

While not having internet at home makes it difficult to write a blog, being away for almost two months is not good. Bad blogger! No biscuit. Or worse, bad knitter, no yarn!

A lot has been on here. Windsor Button Shop, a favourite yarn store, closed after more than 75 years of business. Today is the last day of Mind's Eye Yarns, another favourite, closing after 16 years. Fortunately, someone has bought Mind's Eye, and it will reopen in June, though I'm not sure under what name. But it's still sad to be losing a local institution, so close after losing another local institution. Now where will I learn to use my spinning wheel?

I've been busy knitting, at least, if  not blogging. I've got a bunch of projects on the needles, a cowl for my god-daughter, in Milanese loop, using Madeleine Tosh DK. A sweater for myself, using Cascade 128 chunky. Several Noro striped scarves, in Silk Garden and in Kureyon. I've been working on finishing a sweater I started five years ago, using Rowan's British Breeds yarn (blueface Leicester). I've had some help with that, since I've never had to sew sleeves on before (all my other sweaters have knit the sleeves from the body of the sweater). That should done just in time for summer! Oh well, at least I'll have it for next year.

Tomorrow I'm going to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival with some friends. I will try to bring home only pictures, but I have a sense that I'll be bringing home some yarn. At least I won't be bringing home a sheep or an alpaca.

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Bins

I know I said that I was going on a yarn diet this year, but the well laid plans of mice and men oft gang awry. And man, have my plans gone totally awry.

I have had to buy some new bins to hold my yarn.
Three of these four bins are now filled with yarny goodness. One of them actually is holding my projects-in-process, two hold yarn, and one holds, well, nothing quite yet. But I thought it might be a good idea to get an extra bin, in case I need it.

In other news, I finished another Noro striped Scarf, for my friend Carlene.
This is done in Kama, probably the softest Noro I've ever knitted with, and is:
26% wool
25% alpaca
25% silk
12% cashmere
12% angora.

The colours are muted, but I like it. However, even though this is four skeins, there are only 75 metres on each, so the scarf is just about four feet long. Now I need to get it to her!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Red Line Yarn Crawl

I haven't had much time to blog recently, because I've been knitting so damn much!

Right. And if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

I've had some set backs in the Ameeta scarves I'm making in Malabrigo Rios. The purple one is coming along quite nicely, but the teal one, well, I think I skipped a row about six inches back, and I've turned the RS into the WS and the WS into the RS. Not good. Not good, at all. So I need to frog that. I've put them aside for the nonce, since I do not like contemplating ripping out six inches of knitting. I might need a glass of wine for that one. I have finished a striped scarf in Noro Kama, and I like it. After I've sewn in the ends I'll post a picture of it. Plus, the fibres can't be beat: 26% wool, 25% alpaca, 25% silk, 12% cashmere, and 12% angora. It really is the softest Noro I've ever encountered, and there were only two knots in four skeins! I think that might be something of a record for Noro.

I made it to the Red Line Yarn Crawl yesterday, and hit Mind's Eye Yarns and Stitch House. Windsor Button Shop wasn't sure if they'd still be open for the Crawl, since they will soon be closing their doors, apparently forever. Which really sucks. But I made it to the two stores that were participating and got some yarn at both of them. More Noro Silk Garden to make yet another striped scarf (I know, I keep saying I am not going to make any more of them, but the colours are so enticing!), and some Rowan Pure Life yarn, in Black Welsh, which is a brilliant coffee brown. I'm thinking a sweater.

I have been perusing Ravelry and looking at shawl patterns. With the Neighborhood Fiber yarns I got in Pennsylvania, I am thinking stripy shawls.  I will need to get one more skein in order to make thre shawls, but I will probably call Forever Yarn and see if Yan has the colour I need, or if she can get it.

This is the shawl I'd like to make with the Neighborhood Fiber.
Ravelry information can be found here:

I've got some busy times ahead of me, what with knitting, frogging, re-knitting. It's a wonder a body has time to go shopping for yarn!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Ain't Askin' For Much

Today's post is made with apologies to ZZ Top.

I been up, I been down.
Take my word, my way around.
I ain't askin' for much.
I said, Lord, take me downtown,
I'm just lookin' for some Tosh.

With the immanent closing of the Windsor Button Shop in Boston, I've been buying some yarn. Madeleine Tosh, to be exact. Well, some other stuff, too, but the Tosh works with the song, see? In fact, I did my very best to clear out their collection of Tosh, and add it to my stash. In fact, I totally blew my yarn diet. Which brings me to the next verse.

I been bad, I been good,
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood.
I ain't askin' for much.
I said, Lord, take me downtown,
I'm just lookin' for some Tosh.

While I didn't go to Dallas or Hollywood, I was bad, and barely good, and I did make a couple of trips to Windsor Button "just lookin' for some Tosh."

At least four hanks of Moorland, in DK weight.

Only showing two here, but four hanks of Ink, in DK weight.

Two hanks of Lolita, in DK weight. I'm  not even sure what I'll do with this, but whatever it is, it'll be good.

Three hanks of Huechera in DK weight. I'm thinking this will make an awesome shawl.

One hank of Cousteau, in DK weight. I might combine it with. . .

. . .The one hank of Manor (in DK weight). I think these two will look good together. And if not, well, there's plenty more Tosh out there.

There were other purchases at Windsor. Some alpaca, some Malabrigo Rios, and a few other things. But this is a post about Tosh. Madeleine Tosh.

Take me back, way back home,
Not by myself, not alone.
I ain't askin' for much.
I said, Lord, take me downtown,
I'm just lookin' for some Tosh.

The lyrics to Tush were written by Frank Beard, Bill Gibbons, and Dusty Hill.