Sunday, April 30, 2006

CT Sheep & Wool Festival... and mini yarn crawl

'Went to the CT Sheep & Wool Festival yesterday in Tolland, Connecticut with Lauren and then met up with Jessica and HWJF. It was my very first festival of this sort and I think was overloading in terms of yarn stimuli, just a little bit (how will I ever handle "The Backroom" at WEBS?). While I don't think I was overly traumatized by watching the sheep sheering going on, I *was* amazed at the ability of the lone sheerer vs. the sheep. Singlehandedly holding down a several hundred pound sheep while holding clippers to the thing... well, let's just say it makes me think that I'm putting forth feeble attempts at restraining kitty (or should I say, Wolverine?) and trimming her claws. Yes, sad indeed.

I showed a boring level of budgetary restraint and refrained from buying anything... that's right, I bought nothing. And then, there was this place on the way home. So unassuming... so sad looking on the outside... yet, behold, such an above average yarn selection inside. And such a lovely staff. I had yarn lust over a few things and started rationalizing that I really *should* buy some Cascade 220 or Lopi to make those felted slippers I've always wanted to make.... and how those WIPs hiding away were no problem.... they could stand to be WIPs in perpetuity - that I wouldn't actually have to *finish* something before starting on a *new* project. Then I thought of Trooper and Lacey and what they would think. I had that beautiful llama yarn sitting and waiting for me to pick it up and continue and I felt better. The itch to buy went away and managed to leave as chaste as I entered.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Knitted aran pillow

So, I wanted to surprise my in-laws with a special Christmas gift last year. My father-in-law mentioned these pillows (at right) that were knit by Brendan's maternal grandmother about 20 years ago and how it was a shame that they were getting beat up. I never met Brendan's grandmother but attended her funeral with him in 2000 and she sounded like a very accomplished woman and talented, talented knitter. So, anyway, armed with this gift idea, I secretly observed these pillows on one of our trips and figured out the pattern. So, here are the old pillows (above, right)...

and the new pillow...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Indian Food and Stitchin' n' Bitchin'

Met up with some fine ladies and one guest blogger for an indian dinner pre-stitch n'bitch. I had a blonde moment and forgot, forgot (?) to order my dish HOT. The boti kebab massala was yummy though and it has been too long since my last indian food binge. I don't know how we started talking about it while waiting for our entrées, but somehow I brought up my dining experience when foie gras was presented in a non-paté form as my appetizer, that is, whole whack of marinated fatty liver on my plate. After reading about Chicago's decision this morning and the article background on just how those livers become fatty, I think I've decided I can live without foie gras completely.

Met up with more fine knitters at Stitch n' Bitch and an inquisitive author contributing to a book about 'subcultures in america'. Her section was investigating the knitterly subculture. Discussion ensued on the to-blog-or-not-to-blog question, Jessica's thoughts, and some other ideas. Lauren had very constructive advice about posting discussions or questions about any pattern problems I might have encountered (like the recent one concerning the VK 2002 "Double Twist" Green Mountain Spinnery sweater - but more on that later - I actually have future blogging ideas) .

Generally, I have/had? three main areas of concern for starting a knitting blog:

1) I wouldn't have enough interesting knitting projects to blog about. I have been knitting since I was 6 and have mostly stuck to bulky-ish sweaters that take a long (calendar) time to complete. I tend to like aran knitting after this monstrosity scared me away and I tend to like using unprocessed philosopher's wool. Boring, right? There is no Noro or Koigu or Karabella in my past. I'm just a plain jane knitter - usually on a budget (have you seen the Boston housing market?).

2) Procrastination. I might use the blog and the upkeep of the blog and the reading of other blogs as a prime procrastinatory activity that keeps me from performing basic tasks - like ADLs. I've picked up that little diagnostic description from dear Brendan - "Attention to Daily Living" - so someone with poor ADLs might smell kinda bad, be unkempt in appearance, etc. - it kind of indicates that someone is struggling to cope (I think). Now, I'm not saying that I'd go off the deep end with a blog and neglect daily showers and stuff, but I may get obsessive about it and spend a disproportionate amount of time with it. Sometimes, my knitting gets this way - I just want to finish something so I keep knitting and end up sitting in the same place on the couch with moving for hours - that can't be good? healthy? can it? Do other knitters manage a better KIP/life balance? They must.

3) Drinking the Kool-Aid. Brendan jokingly commented that blogging about knitting might be the first step toward collecting the intergallactic toll one needed for the Hale-Bopp Comet spaceship. A gateway step to further cult-dom.... Well, that is definitely hyperbole but how much street cred can he have after his DnD years?

The CT Sheep and Wool festival is this weekend... I've never been to such a thing, but I am happily being convinced that I *should* go.

p.s. Still no baby llama.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Llama, llama, duck, llama, llama

I missed the birth of a new llama at my M-I-Ls yesterday and Friday. Apparently, llamas can hunker down and wait out the weather before they give birth. I was hoping to see another spindly legged, skinny llama through the kitchen window when I woke on Saturday. Instead, I saw something like this... this is Navigator. The baby llama has not been born yet. I did get a treat, though - llama yarn from "Trooper" and "Lacey" - thanks guys. Your fibre is wonderful. I'm sure "slippy" isn't a technical term and it may have been just because I was trying to knit on my straight needles in the car ride home through a rainstorm late yesterday afternoon, but the yarn sure seems *slippy*. Then again, it has occurred to me that Philosopher's Wool is probably one of the stickiest, scratchiest things out there and I've been knitting a lot of that lately.

While the weather on Saturday wasn't perfect - it was dry enough to attend Shauna's wedding shower, held on the banks of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. My friend Shauna has lived in Boston for a number of years and is originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In the last couple of years, she has: cycled a century, completed 2 triathlons, and scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro. She has also met her Mr. Right and is getting married in Cape Breton in June.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Temporarily Abandoned Chenille Bears

I dropped these bears once I started trying to embroider the faces - this was much more challenging to me than I thought it would be... as a result, well, they're buried WIPs...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Regia baby sweater that's just not working for me...

This self-patterning yarn has been a big disappointment but I think it's partly due to my impatience and partly due to my pre-conceived notion of what this was going to look like. The sample knitted up in the store was ever-so-cute but they were out of that particular yarn colourway and that particular pattern. The store owner convinced me that any self-patterning yarn would yield the same results and she helped me find one that would self-pattern into quasi-fair isle rather than a striping pattern... In any case, here it is...

When I'm done with the VK Aran sweater, I'm going to frog it and attempt my first pair of socks.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Kian of Newton

I visited this beautiful baby and his mom on Tuesday for lunch and a walk through Newton.
He was the recipient of one of two white baby blankets in "Color 4 Me" but not the model shown below (3/22/2005 post).

Oh, and the white chenille bear below... well, that was intended for Kian before I knew he was a he and before he was introduced to the world last August. The name, Kian, means "king" in Persian. Kian of Kensington? Tee hee - I wonder what ever happened to Al Waxman?

Vogue Pattern from 2002

Here is (one of) my current projects... an Aran pattern from a Vogue Knitting issue, circa 2002, that I bought while visiting the beau in *Tulsa* before I ever thought I'd move there one day:

The recent past

In the recent past, I had completed an aran cardigan from Philosopher's Wool - an unprocessed wool, spun from a LesMoines Point sheep herd just outside Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

And, well, the infamous fair isle sweater shown below (no recent progress on that bohemoth) - I've got the body done, one sleeve done, and the cuff of the second sleeve done.

Cataloging my dark, dark past

Well, I've been trying to pull out ancient knitting projects (and really ancient crochet projects) to photograph them and post them. I learned to knit first when I was 6 or 7, but then started crocheting through age 13 or something... made lots of doilies.... My first knit sweater was completed when I was 14, so that would have been 1987 or so - needless to say, the patterns were not always the greatest in a historical aesthetic sense.

So, here is my first sweater - a simple Aran pattern from a Patons pattern book and Lewiscraft yarn. I believe it was mostly acrylic with a minor wool component - hey, I had a part time job as a busser (busgirl?) at the local Pizza Hut and the $3.75 /hr I was making wasn't that much spending money. :-) Here it is...

Next, I attempted colours in this wildly unsuccessful fugly sweater... well, in my defense, it *was* the 80s and I was only 14 or something, so clearly, my good taste had not developed yet. ;-) Anyway, this is Paton's Aztec-style (oh god, it's really called this) "Footloose and fancy free" pattern, knit in Beehive Shetland Chunky:

Oooh, and check out the photo in the pattern book - what the hell was I thinking?

A cotton sweater, this is the photo from the pattern... again, Patons... this one called "White and Bright" and knit in Patons Cotton DK.

Argh - next, well, a boyfriend sweater in Lopi in blue... and then I made one in green for myself (and it matched my eyes), but well, I ended up with the blue one and he ended up with the green one. This turned out to be a horrible picture - you can't really see the cable detail...

There was a lovely silk/wool blend scarf in brown (to match a new leather jacket) and I lined the other side with a beige silk fabric. No photos... gone.

Second and last boyfriend sweater - a beautiful aran in a pattern I loved... unfortunately, gone forever or I'd still be wearing it....