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, September 29, 2014

Monday Morning Miscellany

I'm still exhausted by the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, but, I must press on. I still have a metric shite-tonne (is it a swear if I type it in British English?) of knitting to do for the holidays. I'm almost finished with the feather and fan scarf, just nine more inches (and a bit) and it will be done! I reckon that if I knit three inches of fabric every morning, why, then it will be done it no time a-tall!
 Detail of Feather & Fan

Feather & Fan

I will move onto the scarves for my niece and nephew after this are done. Red Malabrigo for him, Green Juniper Moon Moonshine for her. I'm looking forward to knitting these, and think I'll use the Irish Hiking Scarf pattern.

The other thing on the needles is a honey cowl, done up in tussah silk, all from The Artful Ewe, in Port Gamble, WA, which I bought last year. I just added the second skein last night.

I wasn't sure if I liked the colour, but in the sunlight, it really shines with bits of black, grey, and green. I'm not sure who is going to get it, though.

Over the weekend, I moved six bins of yarn to a friend's basement. It's not that I don't want my yarn (I do, I want all of it!), but that I have only one room in my apartment, and 25 bins of yarn take up a lot of space. So, until I'm living in a better (and roomier) situation, those six bins (and probably another five or six) will be living "off campus" as it were.
There's a lot o' woolly goodness in them there bins!

This weekend, I opened my mailbox, and discovered this:
My friend Joe found it in California, and shipped it to me. The last time I mentioned this book, about a year ago, I had seen it on Amazon, and they were charging well over $100 for it. Not worth it for a book published in 1972. I know that Joe didn't spend that much on it, and I am absolutely delighted with it! It gives basic step by step instructions for men to knit, advises them to let a "professional" block their items for them, and includes these projects:

  • A dog bed (for man's best friend)
  • A cap (done flat, with the seams crocheted together)
  • A wall hanging (to display the blue ribbon your horse or cow won)
  • A blanket for your horse (knit on a rubber hose that has been sliced to an appropriate size, the ends sharpened, and knit with extra bulky/chunky yarn)
  • A slipover sweater (a vest, basically two squares of knitted fabric, sewn along the sides, leaving armholes and a neck hole)
  • A hammock (knit with rope on pool cues or shovel handles)
I think I would like to knit the hammock, actually.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, part the third.

There is so much I want to blog about, but not having internet at home has put a couple of road blocks in my way. There's the rest of last week's yarn crawl, the fact that I have moved six bins of yarn to a friend's basement, or the cool new book I received from a friend, or the frustration of hunting for needles that I know I own but cannot find, or the frustration of knitting several rows on a honey cowl, but seeing no change in its width, or the fact that my feather and fan scarf only needs 12 more inches before its done!

Deep breath!

OK, let's finish out the yarn crawl. We went to a total of seven stores on Sunday (and to two stores during the second and third days of the crawl, for a total of nine!). I really can't remember the order, so here is some of the yarn I got on the crawl

At Elissa's Creative Warehouse, I bought these two intriguing skeins. TSC Artyarns, a merino wool yarn that I think will be fun to knit up.
I also ordered some yarn from the Creative Warehouse, but they called me to let me know it will be a while before it comes in. Which is not a bad thing, since I have so much to knit right now.


At The Black Sheep in Needham, I think I fell in love. Several times. They have a really nice selection, and I got some wonderful yarns, a few patterns, and decided that their big door prize was the one I was going to try to win in the drawing (I've since sent in my passport cover).

Some beautiful Road to China yarn, by The Fibre Company, which is alpaca, cashmere, baby camel, and silk, is really lovely stuff. It is lush, luxurious, and will be fun to knit up!

What trip to a yarn store is complete without some Malabrigo Finito?  I'm thinking about a lacy shawl for the niece.

Black  Sheep was selling this little oddity: a zipper with a ball of yarn. You got a free pattern to make a scarf in one colour, then to knit the sides to attach to the zipper, for a zippered cowl. I have absolutely no idea if I will ever make this, or for whom, but it was quirky and I liked it.

This pattern uses Baah Yarn to create a beautiful cowl. Want to try it, it looks like a fun and challenging knit.


A trip to JP Knit and Stitch was fun, but a bit more disappointing. I hadn't been there in a long time, and their selection of yarns was smaller than I remembered. They are primarily a fabric shop, and it almost feels like they are phasing out the yarn. They do, however, carry Dirty Water Dyeworks yarns, and I was delighted to add this skein to my collection.
This is Clara, 100% blue faced Leicester. All 550 yards of it! I am really looking forward to knitting this up. DWDW is a local company, and I've seen their stuff before at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival.


The final stop on the Yarn Crawl was Mind's Eye Yarns. Always a delightful place to shop, we called them en route, because we weren't sure we'd get there before the 5:00 PM closing time. They told us to come on over, that they'd wait for us. And so we did!
I got this wool to make a big heavy shawl for a friend. I think this will be the knitting I bring with me to the reunion in January. Well, one of the projects, at least! This is put out by Brown Sheep, and will knit up very nicely.

 This kit is one skein of Lamb's Pride, and another skein which I cannot remember, to make a striped scarf. Hugh has already cast his on, and I will do the same soon. Looks like a fun knit, to create a striped scarf with the stripes along the length of the scarf.

Mind's Eye also had the best swag! There was a tote bag with the yarn crawl's logo, and these goodies:
A skein of Cascade alpaca! 

This pattern, and. . .
 The yarns to make it! Kraemer Yarns, which I'd never encountered before. I wonder if I'll knit it up? I know at least two people who have recently had little girls, though this is more for a toddler. I'll think about it, though.

Finally, in our swag bag were these two skeins of CoBaSi (cotton, bamboo, silk) yarn by HiKoo (which does not seem to have a website). I've wanted to try this yarn out for a while, so here's the perfect opportunity!

So, this was the 2014 Greater Boston Yarn Crawl. It was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. Maybe I'll be able to hit up some of  the stores I missed this year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, part the second

On Sunday, my friends Hugh and Nicole met up with me for some Yarn Crawling Whoring! We weren't sure how many places we'd hit up, but we figured we'd get to three or four. Seven stores later, we were exhausted, broke, and very, very happy.

The first place we hit was In Stitches & The Threaded Needle in Weston. A lovely little shop with lots of gorgeous yarn and canvasses for needlepoint (some day I'd like to learn needlepoint; there was an awesome Chinese dragon canvass, for only $950!). I did something I've never done before: I bought a kit for making a cowl. By buying the kit, I saved about $100 on yarn, since I only needed a half skein of each colour. And there are 10 colours to knit with this cowl.
The kit was short one colour of yarn, but the store took my name and address and will send me the missing skein as soon as they get it in stock. I'm excited about this, since I want to make it for my niece, who is going to college up in the NY snowbelt.
Since the niece's favourite colour is green, I thought this might make a decent scarf for he r for Christmas. Juniper Moon Farm, Moonshine is 40% wool, 40% alpaca, and 20% silk. This colour is Forest.

Our next stop was The Iron Horse, in Natick. Our intrepid driver, Hugh, got the Doris Day spot, right in front of the door!
Hugh's Landrover, parked right in front of the Iron Horse.

We got there, but the Closed sign was on the door. We decided to go across the street for some grub, but while admiring all the pretty stuff in the window, the owner flipped the sign and opened the store for us. What a lovely store! I only wish I'd found it sooner! The owner, Deborah, owns a farm with alpacas, sheep, two kinds of fibre goats, and bunnies. She puts out her own Brand of hand dyed yarn, from her own beasties. I will definitely be returning to this place! Oh, and this afternoon, while thinking about this blog post, I got a call that I'd won one of the door prizes, which turns out to be a sweater's worth of Lamb's Pride yarn! Hugh said he'll fetch it for me and bring it to knit night on Friday.

 These four skeins of Malabrigo are either for me or for my friends Maddy and Gracie, a couple of sisters of my acquaintance who are wonderful and who know how to take care of knitted things.

This is one of Iron Horse's own yarns. I'm thinking this would make a great cowl for my niece, in the avaElongated pattern (see Ravelry) by Jenny Sorensen.

After the Iron Horse, we had some lunch, and I cannot for the life of me remember the order in which we visited various yarn stores (I suppose I could check the time stamps on all the receipts. . .). So because I have already taken pictures of it, I'll go next to Island Yarn Company. Small store which packs a huge wallop! Another store I'd never visited before, and plan to visit again. They have their own line of yarns, and of course I bought some!
This is one of their own yarns, the colours really appeal to me! 

More Juniper Moon Farm, Moonshine! I have in mind something for Gracie and Maddy. It is obvious how much I like these young women (they're both in high school), since I'm buying multiple skeins of yarn for them!

There were more yarn stores and more skeins of yarn. I'll post more about the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl later, in parts the third and maybe the fourth!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, part the first

The Greater Boston Yarn Crawl is happening! Right now! It started on Thursday, 9/18 and ends up today. And I've been good, oh so good! I've only hit two stores so far and only gotten four skeins of yarn! Of course, I'm meeting some friends later today for brunch and yarn whoring! But I'll be good. Just like Princess Victoria.

Friday night at knit night at the Stitch House, I picked up some Madeline Tosh (what else?). Some fingering weight (Tosh Merino Light), colourway Moorland. That's green to us normal folk.
Okay, it's a crappy picture, but it gives an idea of the colourway.

I also got a bulky weight yarn called A.S.A.P. (as soon as possible, of course). The colourway is Vishnu. I think this will make a great cap.

Yesterday my friend Nicole and I made it to Craftworks in Northborough. It's mostly a gift shop, but has a small and excellent collection of yarn, which takes up about a third of the shop. And who should be there but Kate Bachus of A Hundred Ravens. I got some Hundred Ravens for Christmas last year, and while it's still in the stash (I don't know what to make with it, or for whom), it's wonderful yarn. So after I exposed myself to her conversation (Kate is really quite delightful!), I got some yarn.

The TYCHUS yarn colourway is Mockingjay. Again, a crappy photo, but one gets the idea of the colour.

And DANU: Oceanus! This green is so wonderful, and I already have a project for it. In fact, I have two different projects for it! There was only this one skein, but I was informed that I could order it. And so I shall. I'm really happy with this yarn, and am looking forward to knitting it up.

Today we will hit up more stores for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl. I'll post about that tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finished Object Friday

So after writing an entire blog post (with pictures!), my computer decided to update everything and I lost what I had written. Since I wrote it Thursday morning, I have absolutely no memory of what I wrote (except that it was finished objects, and I was going to post it on Friday, as a Finished Objects Friday kind of post, as you do).

So, let's see. I finished Brandon's scarves, both of them. The first, in Mad Tosh DK, is Scarlet!

The second Irish Hiking Scarf to be finished. Just three more to go!

When I was in New Orleans, I bought some Malabrigo Rasta, which Brandon liked. For his wardrobe of scarves. Yes, I think I need to teach him how to knit. This knit up quickly, fat yarn on fat needles. A simple pattern of 2 rows of garter, 2 rows of 1x1 rib, repeat ad nauseum.
It's thick, it's heavy, it'll keep his southern self warm in our New England winters.

What's on the needles now, I hear you ask? What? You didn't ask? Cheeky. I'll tell you anyway. One honey cowl in tussah silk, that right now looks like death on a cracker. Needs a few more rows before it looks like anything a-tall. And I took that beautiful merino/silk yarn that I got in Provincetown at the Farmers' Market and am working a feather-and-fan pattern. I've done only three iterations of the pattern so far, so it looks worse than death on a cracker. Tonight I'll wind the Malabrigo Rios, in Ravelry Red, for my nephew's Irish Hiking Scarf. I like having three projects going at a time. Of course, it means I make no discernible progress on them a-tall, but it makes me feel industrious to have them going. As well, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and can't decide which one to knit at a given time, so I'll be sitting, surrounded by unfinished projects, unable to make up my mind which to work on. Such is the fate of the non-monogamous knitter.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Feeling Overwhelmed

I finished a project yesterday morning. Brandon's Irish Hiking Scarf in Mad Tosh Scarlet. It looks good, and I just need to block it. So I needed to cast on another project. I want to make a cabled scarf for Julie, and I have this wonderful handspun/hand dyed purple yarn, so after perusing Ravelry, found a cable scarf pattern, Palindrome, that shows cables on both sides. I'm not sure if this is the right yarn for it, but I'm going to keep knitting for a while. I love the IHS, but it has a wrong side that is just not pretty. If I can find something that looks good with cables on both sides, I'll be happy.
This was taken right before I finished it. The ends are all woven in, and it's ready to block.

This morning I didn't want to work on any of the projects I've already started. I think I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by what I want to accomplish by the end of the year. Which meant that I simply had to start a new project, and start it NOW! I couldn't find the yarn I wanted, a deep black undyed alpaca, but I did find the yarn I just got in New Orleans! Fat yarn! Fat needles! Things knit up so fast with that combination. So I cast on a few stitches and knit 10 rows. I am knitting it with beautiful needles that were made by my friend Joe. Joe is married to my friend Sue, whom I've known since I was 15, back in high school. I officiated at their wedding, and Sue's oldest is my god-daughter. I officiated at her wedding, too. These needles, size US 13, are wooden, smooth, and warm to the touch. I love using them. I felt quite overwhelmed this morning, knitting something for someone I love, using tools made by someone I love. I almost never use straight needles these days, preferring circulars for just about everything, but it is somehow very fitting that these needles are making this particular gift.

Malabrigo Rasta yarn on home-made needles

Something that has made me laugh today is the way a friend stores is yarn from past projects.
Hollow glass heads make wonderful places to store yarn

Friday, September 5, 2014

Knitting at Southern Decadence

While I was in New Orleans, two new friends asked if I would teach them to knit. So I brought one of them down to the Quarter Stitch, and we perused yarn. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am a self proclaimed yarn snob, and I prefer the high end yarns. So we looked at Malabrigo Rios, and a few others. They settled on Malabrigo worsted. JP likes orange, and got glazed carrot. Mike likes pink and got something that I cannot remember now. But it was PINK!
This is the glazed carrot that JP fancied.

This is the pink that Mike fancied.

Using the long-tail cast on, I put 20 stitches on each needle. I showed them the basic knit stitch, and warned how not to add stitches on the end by knitting the loose stitch below. They caught on fairly quickly. JP was trying to knit loosely, and Mike's endeavour reminded me of my own first scarf: tight to the point of being able to stand up by itself. There were some obvious screw ups (who doesn't make some mistakes the first time they knit something?) but by and large, the lads got it. Later I showed JP how to purl, and to make stockinette. We kept a three stitch border of garter on each side, to keep it from curling, but he got the purl stitch pretty quickly. I warned him about yarn-overs, and he liked the look and feel of the stockinette. He did have, however,  29 stitches on his needles the last time I saw his work, but since they live in California, I reckon some other teacher is going to have to correct JP's tendency to unwittingly increase his scarf.

JP hard at work.

Mike hard at work.

While the lads were hard at work on their garter rows, I had frogged a project, and was intent on casting on 220 stitches, sans stitch markers to mark every 25 stitches. It was heavy going, since I was also trying to keep an eye on the newbies. I think they got it, and they have since discovered that one can learn knitting techniques on YouTube. I hope to see them again, and I hope that knitting takes with them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quarter Stitch, Or, Yarn Bought on Vacation Does Not Count Against One's Yarn Diet

I was in New Orleans for a few days, and if it's New Orleans, then it must be The Quarter Stitch!

The good news is that they're going to be putting up a website soon. Really soon. The photographer was there while I was perusing the yarns. And of course, perusing means buying!

First, they always wrap it so prettily. Curled ribbons and confetti hearts.

Malabrigo Rasta, colourway is Solis. Brandon said he wants a wardrobe of scarves, and chose this. I am really going to have to teach him how to knit if he wants a wardrobe of scarves.

Malabrigo Mecha, colourway hojas. I want to make cowls for my cousins Janice and Claudia, and will buy some matching colours from my local stores. But this stuff rocks!

Finally, some Welsh yarn. Colinette, colourway Thunder. It's pure wool, and I'm not sure what I'll do with  it, but it's pretty and will make someone a wonderful. . . something.

I've cast on the fifth Honey Cowl, this is tussah silk from The Artful Ewe. It's knitting up very prettily, though I think I should have gone up a size for the needles. Even so, I'm pleased.