Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now time doth waste me

...or that's what it feels like, these days.

I'm not kvetching, really. It's just that the days are so short! There doesn't seem to be enough time to keep house, work, knit, be with people (even my husband...and after all, he lives with me!) and learn new things.

"Learning new things" takes a back seat too often. I need to learn more about code and various ways of posting images, because I know you don't want to have to click on links all of the time just to see what I'm talking about.

Last night I did take the time to dig into a few books to learn about new ways of casting off. I am finally on that portion of my Ultra Alpaca shawl. It's my own design, and I tried about four different ways of casting off.

  • CO in pattern. (Nope. Tried it with a needle one size larger. Nope.) Too tight, too flat.

  • Elastic CO. No, I didn't like the flatness of the edge.

  • Elastic CO with a larger needle...no...

  • Small picot CO. Yes. That one. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it, and it adds just enough stretch and curve to work with the edging.

I'm still trying to decide whether to add a knitted-on or crocheted-on border. Nothing too airy, I don't want it catching on things. It's meant primarily to be warm.


Also...I've heard that in spite of being half wool, it really grows when wet blocked. I like big shawls, but the holy terrors are entirely too fascinated by woolly things, especially Than Chai. I could leave out anything, even pure alpaca, and Thai Shan wouldn't do a thing except sniff it politely and walk on.

Would it have time to dry overnight in the living room, even with a space heater next to it?

Time, time, time....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

CT Wool & Sheep Festival, 2008

It's a lovely festival. 99 years old and going strong!

DH & I met up with Zantimissknit and her DH and had a great time. First face-to-face meeting for us all. They're terrific company......and terrific enablers! (Mr. Zanti has had some practice, too.) And as Zanti mentioned, the husbands had quite a lot in common. We had a comedy team and shopping to keep us busy.


Here we are with some of the loot!


The festival is smallish, but nicely laid out, with sheep and fiber and all. I got 4 skeins of gorgeous alpaca (knitted at a tight gauge it will make fabulous socks); one lovely coppery skein with glints of gold metallic thread (maybe enough for a lacy head scarf); 12 skeins of vintage yarn (30s and 40s!!); handmade soap...DH found a fantastic pair of black & white socks and 2-tone green fingerless gloves. I also bought fingerless gloves in a dusty cocoa color.




I also got in some good knitting time today. Finished the first Red Sox sock & cast on for the second; started the heel flap on the first Twisted sock for DH, and finished tinking back on my shawl. Quite a bit got done on the Retro Redux shrug too.

Small it might be, but we really enjoyed it. Including the lamb burgers.

A friend of mine (who was pushing me to blog in the first place) has also suggested I start adding some reviews to the mix. I used to write reviews and articles at Port Halcyon, a now-defunct online vintage magazine, so it's not unfamiliar territory.

Keep your eyes peeled. It could happen!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Backstory, Part II

I have a lot of catching up to do on all things, but especially things Knitty. Well, knitty. They're not all connected with the magazine. I did knit the Vegan Fox:


(And promptly lost it. No kidding. But I found it again at the end of the year, and gave it to Jen for Christmas. She loves it, I'm happy to say.)

Her husband got another hat, too. Here's DH modelling it. This one is my own design, and I'm pretty pleased with it. At that gauage it's also a great starting point to make a cloche. The yarn is vintage (1970s) ragg wool I found at my favorite thrift shop. It didn't even take the whole skein!


What else...oh, yes. It was the Year of the Sturdy Shawl. This one began as a stole for my MiL. Then I decided it was for me. Then my boss saw it and fell in love with the colors (she's a blue-eyed blonde) and we made a deal; if she paid for the yarn and promised to never expect something knitted again, I'd make it for her. My pattern...and her request was that I not publish the pattern, ever! Oh, well. She loves it, though, and wears it a lot.




Then I made a silk/cotton blend for my MiL (she's very allergic to wool).


My sister saw it when she and the boys were up for a visit in July, and just flipped out. So I went out and found more silk/cotton blend yarn and made a slightly different one for her! (No photo, I forgot to take one.)

What else...more wacky socks for DH. Checkerboard heels. He loves them. (Forgot to take a picture of those, too...maybe one of these days before he wears them out.)

I also made more socks for myself, and Branching Out for my friend Jen (in soysilk I got in a swap with Seven (Knitty); she got THAT as her birthday present instead of the Vegan Fox.

I also made one in laceweight merino for me. The yarn for that came from a frogged thrift shop sweater.




The Jimmy Beans Presto Change-o sweater was for a colleague's first grandchild (I subbed with Cascade 220) and the Fair Isle baby hat (my own design) was for a new employee's first child. (Don't believe what everyone tells you, the darned thing ended up being too big for her to wear before winter ended!)




Oh, I made a silk/mohair blend collar and belt, inspired by a 1921 pattern for a sweater collar. The buttons are the real deal; pure Art Deco.


This skating scarf and hat set pattern came from the same Bucilla Bear Brand knitting booklet. I added the lining and the trim. The scarf is about 7' long! And almost too warm. But I love the way it looks.



Last year I also made a couple of "Three Hour" sweaters, from a free pattern that used to be available online. It's from the 30s. Three hour my foot, but I finished each one in three days. That's pretty good!


Another mohair shrug, too, from the 1963 Spinnerin pattern I used for my very first sweater. Just as annoying to follow the pattern...and the end result was just as wonderful. (Still don't have a photo.)

Oh, yes, and the Y****** socks I made for my BiL were a huge hit with the nephews. They requested Nascar socks! *sigh* So Flattered Auntie fought over the design (and sizing...a small 6-year old and a big 10-year old and a strange mix of Fair Isle and intarsia...). But they were done on time for Christmas. I started the damn things in August!



I made some toys for co-workers (my own patterns):




A hot water bottle cover (my own pattern):


These are the Monkey Socks (Cookie A.'s pattern, from Knitty) that I made for Theresa:



I'm still on the board of the Robert Benchley Society, I'm proud to say. So I need to get going and do my judging for the annual contest! This year we are very lucky indeed; Bob Newhart is our finals judge! It's a real honor.

DH and I decided to attend part of the Wodehouse Society's gathering this year. It was held in Providence, and called "Divine Providence". I don't know when I've met funnier, more charming and well-read people. It was an evening and a half of pure fun! We still haven't attended any regular meetings in the area, though. There's a new president and apparently things are still falling into place for the year.

We also went to the California Art Deco Society's bash at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. The Ahwahnee is an Art Deco treasure, built in 1927. Parts of it have been renovated to an unrecognizable degree, but the common areas, for the most part, are still stunning. The music was out of this world, and so was the food in the dining room. Here are a few pictures:




Whew...some summary! That's all, folks. For now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's been a long, long time....

Well over a year, in fact! I won't 'splain, I'll summarize.

Busy year. Lots of working, lots of yarn. And knitting.

In August, on the 6th, we lost our darling Than Chai (Mr. Yarn Couch). He was the dearest, sweetest, kindest animal I've ever known. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. Pancreatic troubles...my poor boy. He was so dragged out, but sweet to the end. The staff at the vet's were nearly as upset as we were. When the doctor called to tell me he was gone, she was crying.

Here's the good news: on August 9, some Siamese kittens were born, in a cattery in MA. Sutton Meows (she handles them from birth and socializes them).

Fa Sing and Than Chai now rule the roost.

Here are some links to photos:


(Murdering the alligator; Than Chai [aka Destructo, the Wonder Kitty] finished the job a few days later.)


(The blue point is Fa Sing; seal is Than Chai.)