Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's been a while, and things are bad

Last week was dreadful in many ways:

Monday, I went to the dentist to discover I have 5 cavities. Tuesday, I was driving home and an idiot pulled out directly in front of my car. Result - $4,800. in damages. My car is still in the shop. Wednesday, the kitten's eye looked runny. Thursday, an emergency trip to the vet - kitten has an eye infection.

This week: my "other brother" (the one born of another mother), his mother passed away yesterday morning.

Are we done yet???

Whine over.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rhinebeck was...

Awesome. Inspiring. TIRING. Way too much fun, as usual. I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to meet any of the bloggers I love to read, except for the lovely Dr. Steph, who I ran into at the Morehouse Merino booth in the Horticultural building. On the other hand, I got to see my childhood friend and walk around with my mother and eldest DD B - 3 generations of knitters and 2 of spinners (my mother doesn't spin). I bought more fiber than I had planned on, and very few of the things on my shopping list! I couldn't find Evelyn Clark's new book on triangular shawls anywhere, and am sorely disappointed, but I know I can order it online, so no big deal. I didn't find any silver knitting charms, but I found lovely buttons. I spent much money at Carolina Homespun and Delly's Delights, two of my favorite vendors. I didn't get to shop much at Liberty Ridge, although I wanted to. I worked on my Dragon sock, laughed at the line for The Fold to buy Socks that Rock yarn, and generally had an awesome time. We had lunch courtesy of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) that was wonderful - My mom and I split a hot chicken breast sandwich with bacon and cheese on a kaiser roll and a warm ground lamb and cheddar wrap in a wholewheat soft taco. My dad (who went to the rock and mineral show) found shrimp rolls, which made him happy. The weather was beautiful, if a little warm, and everyone there is always so happy to be there, so jazzed about what's going on, that I get a buzz from it all. I saw people wearing gorgeous knitted items everywhere.

I took pictures of things that made me laugh, and things that were beautiful:

The line for Socks That Rock at the Fold:

Deep fried pickles, anyone?

the Complaint Department:

The "good old days..."

The Rhinebeck Mascot

A wall of color at Liberty Ridge Farms:

Too much funnel cake!

B fell in love with beautiful laceweight from Maple Creek Farm in seafoam colors, I loved the pastel lavenders, so I bought these skeins for us:

I had to have this gorgeous roving from Frelsi Farms, it's Icelandic sheep and silk:

I bought this colorway (Twilight) of Ashland Bay roving at least 10 years ago and adored it (it's spun up, and the photos are in this entry). I thought it was discontinued, but it turns out it's not merino, but "Fine Wool!" I bought all that Delly's Delights had, which was a lot:

I also bought this merino/cashmere/angora blend. It is unbelieveably soft and yummy:

I bought a toy based on recommendations from my spinning guild - a mini-niddy for sample skeins.

I had to have this 50/50 wool and mohair blend from Friends' Folly Farm:

Carolina Homespun provided these temptations:

4 2-oz put-ups of Chasing Rainbows bombyx roving (2 are presents)

a Bryspun size 4 24" circular and a Lantern Moon Destiny size 4 32" circular

a hand-turned hair stick

I also got DD #2 (J) a beautiful spindle from Hatchtown Farm (no pic, she stole it already). She likes to spin, and her spindle is a very basic thing, so I thought she deserved this one. She REALLY wants a wheel, but I want her to practice with a spindle for a while; then she can use one of mine. She's not happy about that - B has her own wheel, which I bought when B was about a year old, and J is jealous and wants her own wheel, too. However, I'm running out of room for wheels, so no wheel for J at the moment. :o(
I bought this beautiful button from Great Adirondack Yarn Co.:
I adore dragonflies, so I'll use this on a jacket or cardigan that closes only at the neck. I'll look around for a pattern, or make one up. Maybe I can add a button to the Pearl S. Buck cardigan? I would knit an I-cord loop at the top of the neck. I know it's a terrible picture, but my current camera doesn't like closeup shots.

I'm sorry it's over! We had so much fun. Now I'm looking forward to cooler weather and spinning up some of what I've bought.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too Long Away

It's been too long since I posted, but it's been hectic around here. Two weeks ago, DH and B (eldest daughter) had sinus infections. Last week, B had fallout from the antibiotics and was home Thursday and I had a UTI, so I was home 2 days, Wednesday and Thursday. Our new kitten, Isaac (Sir Isaac Newton) slept on me both days and wasn't running around as much as usual, but I didn't realize what it meant. Thursday afternoon, all of a sudden, a HUGE swelling popped up on his shoulder. It got worse and worse, and resulted in an emergency trip to the vet (thank goodness she's open late on Thursdays), with an end result of him having an abcess that she cleaned out. He's being confined to the bathroom with an e-collar on and taking antibiotics. The vet isn't sure if it was a reaction to his kitten shot or if one of the other cats bit him. I think it was one of the other cats! I'll know for sure today when I take him for a re-check. The vet called me with the test results, and it was a strep infection! Poor baby, he's so angry at being confined. He cries and scratches at the door, but the last thing he needs is for one of the other cats to annoy him while he's not 100% OK.

The Print O'The Wave stole continues - I'm on the last side (thankfully) and am pushing to be done already. I want to start a pair of socks! And a shawl, and a sweater... I hate being monogamous. It's so close to being finished, I'll take pictures while it blocks.

Last night was my spinning meeting - Spinners' Study Group of Long Island. It was a lot of fun - people brought equipment such as a charkha, hackles, skein winder, and electric spinner to demonstrate, and for the other members to try out. I love this group - they all are friendly and helpful, it's always a joy to go.

Rhinebeck countdown - 2 more days (counting today)!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Round the Bend

One short side of the stole is now complete and I've rounded the second corner and done around 6 repeats. Corners are harder than the sides to do because each stole stitch is knitted into twice with the edging and the edging stitches really like to try to escape from the dpns. It looks ok, the real test will be when it gets washed and blocked. The ball band says dry clean only, but silk's been around a lot longer than dry cleaners, and I hate dry cleaning. Besides, dry cleaners don't have a clue about blocking. Yesterday the didn't behave at all well, so it's in time-out in my knitting bag.

I like to wash my FOs and then block. I generally don't block the pieces and then sew up, although I probably should as it would make it easier to sew, but my logic (such as it is) is that I'm going to be handling the sweater and getting it dirty again, so do the wash and block all at once. I don't pin anything except shawls, either. Sweaters get washed and patted into shape. I'm really considering using superwash for sweaters instead of regular wool, so that I can machine wash them. Laziness abounds, but honestly I don't have the time to wash sweaters. I have Cascade superwash in plum for Rogue and will see how that works out. On the other hand, I adore wool, so I won't quit using it, and I don't think outer sweaters (as opposed to sweater tops) need to be washed every time they are worn. I only use superwash for socks, though - I will NOT handwash socks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I Wanted to Go and Play!

I wanted to go to Spin-Out but I couldn't - we had made a date to paint the middle daughter's room. My mother, sister-in-law and I spent the entire day first mucking it out (think Augaean stables), moving furniture, then painting. It looks wonderful now, but still - I'd rather have been in the park! The pictures look so wonderful ... :o( Maybe next year, but I NEVER turn down free help with projects like painting.

I barely got to knit at all since Thursday, either, so I feel like I'm behind on the Print O'The Wave stole. I've only done 6 repeats on one of the ends, so it's barely begun. Now that I have a new camera battery I'll take a picture, but it looks like a tangled wadded-up mess at the moment because most of the stole is on a large circular with the edge being knitted on sideways.

I'm trying to decide what's next. I'm torn between a Flower Basket shawl in the dark green handspun, a raglan pullover with lace borders in OnLine Clip cotton, or a Swallowtail shawl with hand-dyed souvenir mohair from London. Decisions, decisions... I also want to start a pair of toe-up Feather & Fan socks. I'm going to base it on Wendy's pattern, but do the feather and fan on the foot as well. I really want to try Judy's Magic Cast-On for toe-up, and I have lots of Koigu that I bought thinking that 2 skeins would be enough to make Here There Be Dragon socks (my absolute favorite sock pattern). However, 2 skeins of Koigu is NOT enough for Dragon socks, so I'm hoping that toe-up feather and fan will be the way to go. I also bought ArtYarns Regal Silk in color 109, which is a marine blue that I bought from Fabulous Yarn (go visit them, they're wonderful), to make Annie Modesitt's corset tank pullover with sleeves, and I want to start that, too. I have yarn and the pattern for Rogue, which I want to make as a cardigan a la Claudia. I think I have too many choices. Maybe I'll have one of the daughters draw a name out of a hat!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Plugging Away...

I'm still slogging along on the Print O'The Wave stole. I have grafted the two halves together, picked up all of the stitches, knit the miters, and started the knitted-on edging. I had to abandon doing it on the LIRR, as the trains shake so hard the stitches come off the needles. Has anyone else noticed the error in the edging pattern - it's supposed to decrease back to the original number of stitches, and the extra decrease isn't there. I added it in myself, but is it just me? (Please don't answer that...)

I'm not really loving this project - it's dull. The middle is a 12-row lace pattern with purl on the even rows. It should be easy/mindless knitting, but I have to pay strict attention because the yarn is incredibly slippery and likes to try to escape off the needles and ravel into a huge mess.

I still have a tiny bit of the first skein left. Loop Yarns came through again and sent me another skein of the silk so I know I can finish this thing. There are lots of other things I want to start, but I can't let myself do that - otherwise, I'll have 10 new projects (or more) sitting around gathering dust. I'd post pics, but I have no camera battery at the moment.

I usually have 2 projects going - socks for commuting and a large project for home, but right now it is all lace all the time. I'm afraid to start anything new because I'm sure I'll neglect the stole. Just keep going...

A New Kitty

Of course, after Humphrey passed there was a gaping hole left behind. I decided I didn't want to go the rescue route. Because we still have 5 cats and a 5-year-old, many of the rescues won't consider us at all. I knew I wanted a ragdoll, so I started checking for local breeders, and I found one in Peconic, on the North Fork of Long Island. If you know Catapano Goat Farm, they also breed ragdolls and cocker spaniels. We had a tough time finding the farm, but it was worth it. We brought home a male blue bicolor and named him Sir Isaac Newton.

My cats have odd names - we have Tiger, named by my eldest daughter when she was 6. He's a classic black/brown/gold tabby. Next is Oscar Wilde, who is also a tabby, but looks like a Maine Coon that got shrunk in the wash. He's small, attitudinous, a pain in the ass, and gay. Charles Darwin (Charlie) is next, an enormous black-and-white tuxedo cat, then Antoine-Laurent LaVoisier (Lovey), an all-grey longhair with green eyes. Finally we have Margaret Meade (Miss Moggie), a dilute calico-and-white, and our newest addition. Yes, they are named after scientists. I like a theme. Isaac is a bumptious boy, about 12 weeks old with all the kitten craziness that entails. He's settling in nicely, with a little hissing from Charlie, who's jealous. I'll post pictures of them when I get a new camera battery.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some Spinning

I just finished spinning up @ 2 pounds of merino roving that I bought 10 years ago (yes, 10 years, be quiet) at MS$W. It looks black, but is really an incredibly dark green with bits of red and blue in it. It was absolutely amazing to spin, it felt like silk in my hands, and I'm sorry I finished it! I think it was an Ashland Bay roving, but if it was the color is since discontinued... The larger skein has about 530 yards, the smaller about 270. I planned on making a sport to dk-weight 3-ply yarn, and I think I succeeded. This yarn makes me incredibly happy, because it's what I planned on, it's NOT thread, and the plying worked! I'm thinking of making a Flower Basket shawl out of it. I know that 3-ply isn't supposed to be as good for lace as 2-ply, but I'll swatch and see how it looks. Maybe I can finish a shawl in time for Rhinebeck. Here's a lousy picture. The bottom skein is the one I spun first. It's OK, but I think it's too loosely spun and plied. The top one is much better. I'm spinning some Rhaphsody roving, the Barefoot Blend in "Fireweed" from Paradise Fibers ( It's a blend that's meant for socks, with superwash, mohair and nylon. It's a challenge for me to keep it consistent, as it's a little felted from the dying and there are some neps. I'm loving the color, though, and I can't wait to see if I can knit socks with it. I'll post a picture when I can - my camera battery decided to drop dead and since it it's an older model (Canon G5) I'm going to have to look for a new battery. It's so tempting to just buy a new camera!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Half a Wave

Finally, a knitting post. This is half of the Print O'The Wave stole from Eunny Jang's old blog, Here it is:

Right now, it looks, in the immortal words of rabbitch, like boiled ass. Here's a detail shot:

The other half is on the needles, with 2 repeats out of 17 done. I am pulling my hair out because I am using Claudia's Handpaint Silk in Carribean Blue, a lovely yarn with 1100 yards in the skein, and I am convined that I will not have enough yarn; so convinced that I ordered another skein. Which, of course, means that I will finish the thing with inches to spare and have an extra skein. Now, I'm going to cower in a corner because I've probably incurred the wrath of the Knitting Goddess by trying to outwit her ....

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We lost one...

My eldest cat passed away this weekend. He was a 14 years old sealpoint Siamese, and I am bereft. Thankfully, the dear daughters are NOT clamoring to replace him immediately. I don't know if I want to; I've had Siamese cats since I was 6 and it feels very strange not to have one now, but I really need some space to mourn. Humphrey (named after Humphrey Bogart) was very special and of course he cannot be replaced.

Regularly scheduled knitting posts will commence soon, but this took precedence. Rest easy, my friend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Starting up

This is the beginning, let's hope it's fun. This will be my space for knitting, spinning, and annoying stories about daughters and cats (and occasionally, the long-suffering DH).