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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

WIP Wednesday

It isn't that I've been neglecting my blog, but you know, I've been dealing with the aftermath of the shootings at Pulse in Orlando, the sadness, the rage, organising, and raising money for the survivors. I've been busy.

But I've also been knitting, and these are the things that have been keeping me busy. The first, a shawl for my friend Paul. Knit from Good Karma Farm yarn, I got the Spruced Goose (the bluish yarn) at the NHS&WF (May, 2015) and the Steel Grey at the Fiber Festival of New England (November, 2015). It's knitting up really nicely and after a few false starts, is coming along.

The other project on the needles is Death of the Moon (Josh Rykes) for Adrienne. In Baah La Jolla, Black Pearl and Pretty in Pink. It has a kind of 50's feel, and it reminds me of the pink and black Bridge Mix candies.
I know it's not for everyone, but I love black licorice!

This is what the shawl looks like so far. I've completed up to section 6 and have just started section 7. It's slow going because it's gotten too hot to knit outside, but I try to get a few rows in every day.

I love this pattern, and plan on making five or six more iterations of it before all is said and done. I have a couple hats on the needles that want attention, but I'm ignoring them (hands over ears, eyes shut, singing, "La, la, la, la, la!") I also promised a friend I'd make a hat for an auction he's holding for charity, so I need to root through my stash and find something that will work for that. I'm busy knitting, just not as prolifically as I'd like. And I'm sorry for neglecting my blog. I'll try to be a more faithful writer.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Magnolia State Fiber Festival

Who knew that there were fibre festivals in the south? Unfortunately, none of them is in Louisiana. But that's OK, because we drove three hours to Mississippi to attend one. The Magnolia State Fiber Festival was held in Vicksburg, and two knitting buddies (Jeanne and Claire) and I left at god-awful:45 AM this morning to attend. They each attended a different class, so we had to get there early before the first one started. No matter. We had a terrific time. It is, admittedly, a small festival, with no more than 40 or so vendors. And there were no live animals, but what it lacked in size, it more than made up for in enthusiasm. The vendors were really engaging, very friendly, and because it wasn't too crowded (there was always a constant flow of people, but not like other festivals I've attended), were able to sit and talk with one about their fibres, dying, preferred things to knit, and so on. I even made two Ravelry friends today! How cool is that?

Even though I was on a limited budget, I did manage to get some yarn. Like dear Queen Victoria when she was a mere slip of a princess, I was good*, Or maybe I was able to be good because there was no ATM at the festival (at least I didn't see one, or the hit to my wallet would have been greater!).

The Yarn!
From the delightful  Kimarie Hazekrigg of kimarie's knit knacks, She had some beautiful yarns, and I took home one skein of blue yarn (of course), and a packet of rainbow dyed merino.
 This is Texas Bluebonnet, and I am really going to enjoy knitting this up. It's a superwash merino.

I am thinking a hat for myself with the blue yarn, and a scarf or cowl with the rainbow. Perhaps with a wedge of black yarn between each colour. I need to get on Ravelry to find a pattern that works for me and for this amazing yarn. Kimarie is one of the people who friended me on Ravelry.

From Stacey Blanton of Brazen Stitchery, some yarns inspired by two of my favourite series.
This first, is a half skein, named Salazar Slytherin is my Homeboy. Fingering weight, merino and nylon, I'm thinking it would make a great hat. I've never made a hat with anything finer than DK, so this will be interesting. Stacey also friended me on Ravelry
There were yarns for Gryffindor and for Hufflepuff, but alas, the Ravenclaw did not come out quite the way she wanted. But I like green (once it was my favourite colour), and so I'm going to try with this to make a hat.
This is the Fires of Mordor. She had several LOTR referenced yarns, but this one spoke to me. I would like to pair it with a smoky grey, and make a Death of the Moon shawl with it. In real life it's more russet than orange, and this is the first time I shall knit with yarn that has sparkles.

From the stand of Bex Oliger of Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, I got this amazing safron yarn. Merino, dyed by Th' Red Head Designs, it isn't quite as orange as the picture suggests.I might try to pair this with some yarns I got at the NHS&WF over the years, to make a shawl. I wonder who will get it?

As well as yarn, there was someone selling hand made soaps. From Shalene Weddle of My Heavenly Creations, I got some wonderful smelling Rosemary Mint soap. I cannot wait to take a shower with this!
I have seen soap sold at every fibre festival I've ever attended. This is the first time I've gotten any. This smells so wonderful! And soap making is something I'd like to try to do. I have a book. I have a recipe. What can stop me? Other than the need to buy about $75 worth of tools in order to make it.

From Gulf Coast Connection, June Pegram gifted me with a bit of lagniappe. After giving me some wonderful advice about pre-drafting roving, she gave me a wee bit of roving from the Gulf Coast Native Sheep, an endangered species which she is helping to conserve. Thank you so much, June!
Someday I'll be able to spin. Not today, perhaps, but someday.

There were yarns I wanted to buy, vendors who had some great things. Unfortunately, my wallet is not as deep as my desire for new yarn. I have added to my personal database of favourite indie yarn folk the following:
Knitting Rose Yarns, by Lise Wilson. Most of her yarns contain bison fleece, are so very soft, and look so very knittable. Yarns that I wanted to take home with me, which had no bison (surprisingly) were the blue and the black yarn on the right of the picture, So beautiful, so shimmery!

From Wool of Louisiana, by Kelli Caruth Miller, these lovely undyed yarns. Thankfully, these vendors sell their wares on-line. And we all know that I love receiving packages in the mail!

In all, it was a very enjoyable festival. I really liked the small size, because the chance to interact and really talk with the vendors was so easy. Sure, I've talked with vendors at larger festivals, and those discussions have been most enjoyable and informative. But they were almost always interrupted by someone who had a question about specific yarns, or wanted to buy something. Today, with the lower attendance, it was a much more relaxed pace, and I came away having learned new things, made new friends, and acquired more fibre. It was also a good chance to spend some time with Jeanne and Claire, who were funny, informative, and who kept me on my toes.

*The story goes that when Princess Victoria learned how close she was to the throne (she was the Heir Presumptive of her uncle, King William IV), she is reported to have said, "I will be good."