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.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Miscellaneous End of Month Catch-Up

I was having a text conversation with a friend the other day, and she had seen photos of my completed Death of the Moon shawl (pattern by Josh Rykes) and I offered to make one for her. We decided on a combination of purple and cream. I know I have purple fingering weight yarn in my stash. I might even have two skeins of it. But I am pretty sure I don't have a creamy colour (not really my palate). So I've been trying to find it on line. I've checked Webs (America's Yarn Store!), but they don't have it. And I checked Periwinkle Sheep, but I didn't see what I wanted (either in colour or fibre). I think when I get paid, I'll call Stitch House in Boston, since no one local carries either Periwinkle or Baah yarns, and see if they can mail me some. I think the colourway La Perla would do nicely. Now, I have to slog through 27 pages of my yarn catalogue to discover where the purple La Jolla is stashed.

After buying their gorgeous yarn for a few years, I finally cast on (after about 8 attempts) some yarn from Good Karma Farms. A blend of 60% wool with 40% alpaca, it's soft and knits up very nicely. I'm making a man shawl for a friend of mine who had a bout with cancer a few years ago. Since his treatments ended, he finds it difficult to get warm, so I'm making up some hats, the shawl, and if I have time, a scarf for him. Because yarn is love. I'm more than half way through the first skein.

Last year I made a cowl for my cousin Alexa in Malabrigo Mecha. She asked me to make one for her mother, my cousin Claudia (Alexa is my first cousin once removed, her dad is my first cousin, his wife, Claudia, is not a blood relation, but I consider her my cousin anyway). Using the colourways London Sky, Paysandu, and Polar Night I whipped up this cowl. Now that the summer is coming, I need to get it to her. My understanding is that it is in the 80s up in Boston.

I wound some yarn on the swift this morning, and explained to Brandon why we didn't knit from a hank, why a swift and winder were useful tools of the trade, and why I bought one (when I got serious about this hobby, I decided get the necessary tools). I'm ready to cast on a Death of the Moon in Pink Rose and Black Pearl Baah La Jolla. I can work on two projects at the same time!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Yarn Carnage, or, Stuff I Got At The Fair

So of course I bought some yarn while I was at the NHS&WF. That was the entire purpose for going! Well, and to see some much beloved friends. And to eat hot & sour soup at Mary Chung's (and at Mary's, forgot to order the soup, damn it!). And go to Knit Night. And to visit my old job. But mostly to buy yarn! Because we are Yarn Corsairs! I even wore my Jolly Roger boxers to the Fair!

Of course I visited all my favourites. From Mad Color Fibers I bought three items. First, yarn to make a Police Call Box (I can get the pattern from her website or FB page).
It also came with a very cool stitch marker, and I think I'll give this to my friend William.

She has also started a series of yarns that are named Godric, Salazar, Helga, and Rowena. I bought Salazar and Rowena. I'll get Godric and Helga in the fall (she had Helga, but I didn't have the money for all three). Interestingly, she uses the movie version of Ravenclaw's colours (silver and blue) as opposed to the book's version (bronze and blue). She has a yarn in bronze and blue called Allons'y, and I may get it and substitute it.
Salazar and Rowena
I'm going to use this to make a scarf for myself, I think. I am thinking of a 1x1 rib, in Salazar, Helga, Rowena, Godric order. Dunno. Suggestions are always welcome.

From Good Karma Farms I bought some bulky yarn to use with the skeins I got last year to make a shawl for a friend of mine who has undergone treatment for cancer, but cannot get warm.
I matched the dye lots as best I could. I had bright sunshine, but I think the bottom skein might be a different lot. Not that it matters, since I'm doing stripes that will encompass each skein one at a time.

This yarn is for me. I want a hat in Good Karma yarn. Maybe it will bring me good karma?

From Jan Marek Raczkowski, I bought a single skein of Blue Faced Leicester.
I am not sure what will happen with this skein. I've got 250 yards. I might add it to something and make a cowl. It's a lovely DK weight. I do wish he would set up a website.

From Sunrise Hill Farms (the one in Vermont, not Washington), I bought some undyed Shetland wool. This is soft and felt good. I might get a hat or a small cowl out of this.
I've really been getting into undyed yarns, oh, for the last three years or so. I've got quite a bit in my stash, but I've not knitted with them. I just like looking at them and imagining. Eventually, though, something must be done with them.

This yarn, from Blue By Ewe Farm, is also an undyed wool. A blend from Lady Lorelei, a Wensleydale and Guenevere, a Romneydale , it's heavy, soft, and wants so much to be knit up into something lovely. Maybe I'll call and order one more skein and make a cowl for myself.

I had hoped that A Hundred Ravens and Periwinkle would be at the festival, but alas! they were not. So I bought these minis at Stitch House. I am planning on making the Mighty Mini from A Hundred Ravens, one in the gradient purple (Hekate) and one in the gradient blue (Mermaid Tails). I need to get some black fingering weight yarn to complete the pattern, but I'm not in any hurry, since I've got so much else to knit!

For my dear friend Adrienne, who likes the colour pink, I bought these at Stitch House as well. I think a Death of the Moon shawl for her would look just awesome in these colours, Pretty in Pink and Black Pearl, La Jolla from Baah Yarn.
Tomorrow I shall buy some Chiagoo needles from Miss Betty and get it started. I could use my Knitter's Pride, which I love! but I don't think that the black yarn will read well on the green needles, and I have already detailed what a shitshow that was when I was knitting this pattern in Emerald Isle. I think this time around I'll make things easy for myself.

There were so many other yarns I wanted to buy, but didn't have the money. Next time, I'm going to specifically save for some yarn from Dirty Water Dyeworks, which has some of the most gorgeous yarns I've ever seen. I like to think I totally enabled Lisa to buy some of her yarns this trip!

Monday, May 16, 2016

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, 2016

This past weekend I traveled from New Orleans to Boston to attend the 40th New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. While I did many other things (visited my old knit-night group, went to a couple of favourite restaurants, saw many friends), this was my main reason for going.

Huw and Lisa and I arrived about 15 minutes after the festival opened on Saturday morning. First we watched a bit of the demonstration of the border collies herding the sheep.
The dogs waiting for a command from the shepherd. They were alert and ready for action.

The shepherd giving commands to the dogs, herding them into pens.
It was an interesting exercise, and we watched for about 10 or 15 minutes, but the yarn was calling us! We visited the usual suspects, Mad Color Fibers, Jan Marek Raczkowski, Dirty Water Dyeworks, and Good Karma Farms. At least one of our Triumvirate bought yarn at each of these vendors. One of the cool things is when vendors recognise you. Heather from Mad Color jumped up and gave me a hug, and Jan Marek shook my hand and gave me a huge smile. I was so happy to see these vendors and to be able to buy some of their gorgeous wares.
Jan Marek Raczkowski's yarns displayed at his stand. I bought some BFL.
Other vendors included Spring Pond Farm. I didn't get anything from her this year, but did in November. I took her card and when I have some more money, I shall order some of her yarns, especially the black undyed alpaca she has. And maybe some of this undyed cream, and make some black and white Fair Isle.

Of course there were beasties. Goats, and sheep, and alpacas.
Some Shetland Sheep.

Two newly shorn alpacas.
This is the first time I remember seeing lambs. This Clun Forest lamb is getting his dinner.
I always enjoy seeing the animals, and I always want to take them home with me. I reckon Huw's Landrover can fit a couple of alpacas. Oh, and watching them lie down from a standing position really brings home the fact that alpacas are camelids. They fall to their front knees, then lie down with their hind legs just like camels.

Of course I bought some yarn at the fair. This is it in aggregate. In another blog post, I'll talk about the yarns that I got, and why, and what I plan to do with them.
Some of this was purchased at the Stitch House, but all of it was acquired this weekend. And I know what is going to happen with at least 11 of these 14 items.

After all was said and done, we left the festival, after having been there for about five hours or more. We were tired. We were happy. We were laden down with yarn. I can't wait til next year!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Finished Objects!

Finished Objects! Either something I recently finished, or recently blocked. I love finishing things. One of them was a UFO floating around for a while, but I grabbed it by the balls by the needles and manfully finished it! Which reminds me of a book in my library. . . .

The Manly Art of Knitting, by Dave Fougner. My friend Joe sent me a copy of this book, and it includes patterns for knitting a hammock, using the handles of two shovels and rope of a certain gauge. I haven't tried it yet, but it does intrigue me, and it's available on Amazon for not all that much money.

For my friend Dolci, I knit a cowl/hood made from yarn purchased at the NHS&W Festival in May, 2015, from Jan Marek Raczkowski, who does not have a website, but who produces some of the most gorgeous yarns I've ever seen. The picture does not do justice to the colour, a variegated lilac. The pattern is an adaptation of feather and fan, and worked out well (in my humble opinon).

In this detail, one can see a better representation of the colour. 

Using Malabrigo Rios, in Teal Feather and Purple Mystery, I made the New Bittersweet Cowl for my friends Maddy and Gracie.

In these details one can see how the New Bittersweet Cowl looks. I think these details work better than the photos of the full cowls. They really stretched, almost double, when I blocked them. I'm really pleased with them.

The final FO is a cowl I made with yarn picked up on the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl* of 2014. It was a kit from Mind's Eye, with a pattern for a striped scarf. I offered to make it for my friend Corey, but he decided he wanted a cowl instead. So I cast on using circular needles and joined, being careful not to twist. I changed the yarn every two rows, knitting the first, purling the second. The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride and something quite variegated that I can't remember.
It's pretty and reads as purple when seen from a distance, since the Lamb's Pride was a very rich purple colour. I hope he likes it. I had put it aside for a while because it was a bit boring to knit, but now that I'm in a house with a television, I don't mind this sort of thing anymore.

That concludes Finished Objects. I hope you enjoyed this tour. I've got more to block and more to knit. And if I'm lucky, I'll be casting off something very soon!

*Please note that this is the website for the GBYC of 2015; there is no website as of yet for the Yarn Crawl of 2016.