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, July 21, 2015

Lady Dye Yarns

When I was a small child, my parents had a recording of Barbra Streisand singing to Chopin's Minute Waltz. I can barely remember the words, but thanks to the magic of Google, I found them.
I have got a minute, just a little minute
I have only got a minute, just a minute
I have only got a minute that is all the time
I have to sing this tiny minute waltz

It isn't easy but I'll try it then
I've gotta say goodbye but first I'll take a minute
And put in it every note that Chopin wrote
And I shall sing the little minute waltz
(Words by Don Harper, music by Frederic Chopin)

There are more verses, but these suit my purpose. My friend Diane Ivey, of Lady Dye Yarns, and a consumate dyer, is going to a major trade show, and has asked her friends to knit up samples for her to take with her. I volunteered. I received four skeins of fingering weight yarn, blue, green, orange, and pink. Fingering weight. Allow me to let that sink into your brain. 
I usually don't go any finer than DK, sport if I absolutely have to. But fingering. Yeah. I have big ol' clumsy man-hands. Tiny needles give me cramps. But with the instructions in my e-mail telling me to make something(s) using two skeins and to keep two skeins, I accepted the challenge. It did not help that I was on vacation last week and did not leave myself much time to knit. Now that I'm home, I've been desperately searching for patterns to use with fingering weight, while keeping an eye on the calendar. I have thirteen days to make this. I've got twelve. I can do it in twelve. If I can find a pattern. Eleven. I am down now to eleven days to make what I'm going to make, and I have finally found a pattern that might work: Lefties, by Martina Behm. The pattern is written so one may use up leftovers from skeins previously worked. But I think I'll just dive in here and make it with all brand-new, never-used-before yarn.
This was taken from Martina Behm's Ravelry page.

It's this, or a feather-and-fan scarf. 

Yeah, right.

This is Diane's yarn. I'm not sure of the fibre content, but it sure is pretty.

Another view of the gorgeous colours.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Farmers' Market, Provincetown

So a wonderful week was spent in Provincetown, where I got some knitting done (though not the amount I had hoped, considering all the yarn I brought with me). I did finish a hat, and I got a bit done on a cowl, but I brought four skeins of Cascade Superwash 128 and circular and DPNs to work on a hat project I've got going on (more about that later, when I have more than two hats to show off for all my labour). But vacation time isn't always the best knitting time, and I like to listen to the radio while I knit (NPR junkie here), and sometimes where I'm sitting (like, on the deck), just doesn't get the best reception.

Whatever. What I was really waiting for during this entire week was the Farmers' Market that is held here on Saturdays. I usually arrive on Sunday, so I have to go the entire week before it manifests. Today there was someone selling the most gorgeous corn on the cob and blueberries, someone selling imported Italian olive oils (from Toscana and Puglia) and aged balsamic vinegars, and someone selling artisan breads. And of course, someone selling yarn!

There was a tent from Biltmore Wool Barn, in Brewster, MA. I cannot find a website, but the phone is on the sign below.

There were many skeins from which to choose, and I tried very hard to limit myself in my selection this year.

With a good selection of Blue Face Leicester, Merino, Silk, and blends of all of the afore mentioned, it was very hard to make a selection this year. 
I got this with a project for my friend Adrienne in mind. She loves this colour, and she lives in Provincetown, and in fact, it's at her house where I'm staying. I'd love to say I made something with yarn from her town's Farmers' Market. This is 60% merino and 40% silk, 520 yards, 9 ounces.

This I got for Brandon's mum. She loves blues and browns, and i think I have something to mix with this at home. It is 100% Blue Face Leicester, and is a superwash yarn. With 430 yards, and 4.6 ounces, I think I can get something pretty out of it. The picture does not do it justice, it is a beautiful golden-brown colour.

Now I need to search Ravelry for some patterns to use on these gorgeous yarns. I cannot wait to knit with them!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Tangled Web

Yesterday, before going to work, and after getting home, I spent six-and-a-half hours untangling a single skein of yarn. I bought this yarn during the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl back in September. It's a lovely wool, black and blue, my favourite colours. I didn't open the hanks to check them, foolish me. One hank is fine. The other was, well, calling it a mess is not really accurate. It was just pitiful.

 This is the offending yarn, all rolled up in a ball, next to the unoffending hank. It's Artyarns, Zara Hand-Dyed. It's merino wool from Italy.

My friend Bee is a yarn whisperer. She's probably the best person I know who can disentangle  yarn problems. But I have to admit that I did pretty well today on my own. Even though I used more than six hours of my life that I will never get back. But I'm not bitter. Much.

Of course, six-and-a-half hours of untangling yarn leaves me wanting a stiff drink, but I shall forebear and leave the vanilla vodka bottle, the one I received as a gift two years ago, yet unopened.

I will cast on this yarn and start the next iteration of the Spiral Staircase Shawl. I think it will work well, because the colour lines are long before they change. It would probably work better in stockinette, but I'm going all out garter with these shawls.