October 29, 2013

The Latest News

Simply Notable is a website that has a lot of free patterns for crafters.  The patterns are well written and look pretty quick, so if you're in need of a cute last minute gift you should have a peek.  I am making the Gift Cardi-gans which take about 30 minutes each to make.  These are only missing the buttons, and I'm saving that for last because no project that requires buttons goes without button drama:

I'm using my best scrap acrylic because I'm sure the folks that get them won't keep them - why should they?  If anything, they will probably be passed along to the next gift card recipient or toss them.  When Mary Jo said she needed them, I thought 10, maybe a dozen.  Turns out she needs 25.  I like a cute project just like the next person, but 25 is a bit more tedium than I like.  So I make two or three a day and I've made 14 so far.

I'm also working on a pair of socks called Pinstriped Socks out of Lollipop Yarns in the Life is Beautiful colorway:

This is my first time doing an after-thought heel, so my adventure is just begun because I have no idea how much room to leave for the heel.  These socks are supposed to go to a friend of my son, but if I get the math wrong then they'll go to me.  I should have made them two at a time so I could guess how much yarn would be left for the foot on each, but I'm going to believe I have enough yarn.  Time will tell.

I made a few purchases this past week and, honestly, I don't know what I was thinking of since my list of craft needs is few, but my list of craft wants is never ending.  It is my dream to do all the craft things that pop in to my head, but it's not possible because I'm already knee deep with what I have.

In case you haven't heard, I have lots of white fiber, but I don't make lots of white things:

And I especially bought this Turkish spindle from Threads Through Time (Etsy) so that I can attempt to spin sock weight yarn:

And working with self-striping yarn made me have the dream of spinning my own sock yarn, and dyeing it myself.  To that end, I purchased this book for almost free from SloCrafty (Etsy):

Oy!  Maybe I've mentioned this before, maybe not, but you should never, ever, ever shop after midnight!  Stuff that looks good at night when you're tired doesn't always look the same as it does during the day when your sense of reason has some bearing.

That said, I found someone's destash on Ravelry (I won't tell you who because I want more of her stuff before you get it), and found some Duet Dee-Kay:

These socks don't have colorways, but the Neopolitan on the bottom I've been wanting for years!  I'm going to make some socks for me with it.  The one on the top is for my aunt who asked for warm socks knee socks.  With this yarn, I'm sure the socks will be warm, and it'll also get extra points for being pretty.  It comes from a yarn shop (A Swell Yarn Shop) that is now closed (I heard the owner shut down because she's having a baby).

Last, but not least, in an effort to support Dawn and James from the Wolfe Farms Podcast, I purchased some yarn from Fishknits (Etsy) and another upside down picture.  A portion of the proceeds goes to Dawn and James to offset the cost of their dog Fuji's chemotherapy.

She sent it with a button and some candy which I ate immediately after the photo!

Well, this post is on overload with the pictures - so I'm going to knit or wash dishes ...

October 28, 2013

Rhinebeck 2013

This post almost didn't happen, so better late than never I think.  I read that there were over 40,000 people in attendance this year, which I feel will ensure the event happens again next year.  It was chilly in the morning when we arrived, but it got warm during the middle of the day - which is how it usually goes.

Here's my loot. 6 lbs of Romney fleece:

It's double bagged to avoid the knitting group from suffering nausea on the bus ride home.  It doesn't look like much until you open the bag:

You can't realize the wonder of this fiber until you see (and get a whiff of) it:

There's a pretty long staple length, so this fiber will have to be combed instead of carded:

I also got two WooLee Winder bobbins, 1 skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight in the Rhinebeck colorway 'Little Bo Peep', and a pattern for the Acer sweater:

I don't know how the picture came upside down, but you get the picture.

I spent most of my time on line at Miss Babs (nearly an hour)!  The line was down the aisle, out the door and I was 10 people back from the entrance.  I was shopping for Tracey to buy Yowza - Whatta Skein, and believe me, it is worth the money.  It's soft, and the color is so vibrant that if she doesn't want it, I'll take it!

On my way out of the park, I did snap one picture:

This was the only part of the park that was empty when I left.

Rhinebeck is the fiber/yarn/livestock event of the year and people come from all over to attend.  If you're a newbie to the event next year, here's a bit of useful information:

Saturday at Rhinebeck is a madhouse.  People come from all over the world to attend by busload and carload, but parking is no problem.  There are a lot of hills to climb and you wouldn't guess it, but shopping and standing in line all day is exhausting, even if it is exciting.  Most of the shop owners are there, so it's nice to see them in person, along with your Ravelry friends and some of the podcasters, too.

Sunday is a whole different ball game.   If there were 40,000 people there on Saturday, then there are half that many there on Sunday.  Sure, some of the stuff you wanted might be gone, but there's always a lot left on Sunday, and it's a lot less hectic, less crowded and the food lines are shorter.  

And if you ever want a mug from Jennie the Potter - you have to be on line on Saturday at about 6 a.m.  Or you can find her online, place an order and wait. 

Next blog will be about the knitting.

October 22, 2013

Something Like Magic

Every time I finish an object, no matter how big or small, I am still impressed with myself.  Sounds a little arrogant maybe, but I took some yarn, needles and a set of instructions and worked them it to the end.  Not bad for a lady who can barely count past 59 without some minor inconvenience, and in spite of the fact that I am math challenged in something as simple as consecutive numbers, I finished.

Pattern: Caffe Macchiato
Yarn: Vesper Superwash
Needles: Karbonz, US #1

I used the Fish Kiss Lips Heel (cost for that part of the pattern was US $1) which I think has finally sunk in. With no counting, flaps or gaps - well, I did have a gap because I didn't quite get it the first time around - the instructions are easy to understand and there are YouTube tutorials for folks like me who are visual.  The instructions for a 'regular' heel are included for free with the pattern, so it's your choice.

The socks mostly match, I was off by a couple of rows at the top and again at the heel, but who cares about the part that goes in my shoe?

So now I've got to wait for some inspiration to hit me while I'm winterizing the house.  The nights are cold, the flowers are all closing down for winter and I should have raked some leaves while I was outside taking pictures of my feet.

Next post will be about my Rhinebeck purchases.  The weather was beautiful!

October 18, 2013


It's the night before the big day and I'm mostly packed and ready to meet the bus at 7:30a.  By almost packed just means I've packed empty bags to carry my loot home in, and I've picked all the layers I'll be wearing so that I can shed them as/if the temperature should rise.

My camera is charged and my knitting is packed - well ready to go anyway:

But tonight I'll be dreaming about the trip.  The trees are as lovely as the yarn and fiber in the booths:

Yes, it gets crowded, but everyone is laid back, not like rush hour on the subway during the work week.  Everyone just moseys along:

And I get to see some of the people that I only know from online (they are real people after all!).

And then there's my favorite part of the trip - fried dough!

If you have never been to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck), you should put it on your bucket list.  It is arguably the largest of the sheep and wool festivals and whatever you're looking for in the fiber world, you can probably find it there.

After tomorrow's trip, I will have new pictures of all the things I see (except for the fried dough - that won't be new), and while I'm not planning a whole lot of purchases one never knows, do one?

October 17, 2013

Done, Done and Halfway Done


Now that Spinzilla has ended and my spinning muscles have somewhat recovered, I am back to knitting.  It feels so good to have needles in my hands again!  I was only gone from knitting for a week, but it's kind of like coming home after a long vacation.  I love knitting.

I had to put a couple of things down to participate in the spinning event, but I picked them up the day after I submitted my data.


First up is my second Noodle:

Once again, I don't mind making toys ... I just prefer not to.  This toy has no tail yet, but I had to put it down because I just had to quit while I was ahead.  It'll get a tail, just not today.  It comes in 8 easy pieces and the most tedious part for me is sewing everything on.  Still, it is cute, and the safety eyes and nose came from 6060 on Etsy.  They snap on, but they don't snap off.  I used Plymouth Encore (75% acrylic/25% wool) and US #5 needles.

Half Done

Second up was the Caffe Macchiato socks which were cast on before I had to put them down:

They're cute with a simple one row repeat and fast to knit.  The socks are right and left foot specific and the first sock started out a left sock, but ended up a right sock.  The patterning is on one side of the leg and on the top of the sock only, and the rest of the sock is plain.

I'm also using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for the first time, there's no heel 'flap':

Interesting construction with YouTube videos so you can see how it's done.  It was easy to do and I like the way it feels on my foot.  I'd use it again, but I heard that the Fleegle Heel is easier and I'll have to remember to try that technique when I'm making my next pair of plain vanilla socks.

I'm using Vesper sock yarn and US #1 Karbonz.  Here are my issues:

The yarn is fine, it feels better as a sock than it does when you're knitting with it.  I realized that it's probably the amount of nylon in the yarn that makes it uncomfortable to knit with.  The colors are fine and the sock feels good on my foot, I'm just not real thrilled with superwash, it has nothing to do with the manufacturer, just a personal preference.

The needles, in my opinion, are poorly constructed.  The sharp silver tips are connected to a carbon barrel and the join between tip and barrel is horrible.  The tips are not rounded so there's like a little nib on the very tip which is sharp and scrapes against the barrel of the left needle.  If you push your needles around with your finger you might draw blood.  If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't get them.

Hopefully these socks will be done by the end of the month so I can get to the next pair which I have already picked out.

My next post will be all about the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.  I have a short shopping list since my house is overrun with yarn and fiber.  First on my list is a Turkish spindle, second is a bag of raw fleece (hopefully a sweater's worth), and last on the list is fried dough.  Yum!

Maybe I'll see you there.

October 15, 2013

The Last Bit

I am pleased to announce that Spinzilla has ended.  The goal was to spin as much fiber as possible in one week and that's what I did.  I'm happy to have participated and because of it, I participated in my first Google 'hangout' with Laura Linneman of The Knit Girllls and friends.  Now there's a new piece of technology that I will hopefully remember if it ever comes up again.

In an effort to stash down more than an effort to get yardage, I spun the Cheviot.  Worst experience of my spinning life!  It was not my intention to spin anything that would be toil and trouble, but that's what I got and I wasted two days on it.  It wasn't a bad fiber, it just needed a lot of prep work which I did not do.  Dang!

The second fiber was North American Wool which was clean and soft and wonderful to spin.  Boring, I'll admit, but after the Cheviot fiasco I couldn't have been happier.  I got better yardage and it felt good.

Next was Rhinofluff BFL.  Color at last!  I just couldn't pick another white fiber to spin without going stark raving mad.  I got 185 yards of Navajo (chain) plied yarn.  It's not quite done (unwashed), but I'm sure it's going to be perfect when it is:

Last up was some Polwarth from Into the Whirled ... in the Calico blue colorway.  I split the braid in two, but I was only able to spin up one half of the fiber.  Drats!  I powered through knowing that every inch of fiber added to my total.  It's not measured yet, I won't be able to do that until later today.  I have until midnight to turn in my final number.

So far I have spun, in one week mind you, over 1400 yards of fiber (not including the the last bit).  Woo hoo!

Now that Spinzilla is behind me (mostly), I'm going back to knitting.  I'm going to have a field day since my knitting list is long and the time from now until Christmas is short.  Yikes!

October 11, 2013

More Spinzilla

I'm on my third braid of fiber for Spinzilla, which lasts for one week.  During the 21 days of the Tour de Fleece, I only managed to spin up 4 braids, and in real life it usually takes me a week to spin one braid, if I dedicate myself.

The yarn for Spinzilla is measured in singles (unplied yarn), and the objective is to spin as much as you can in one week.  I'm not feeling very confident, even though I'm spinning all the time like crazy.

Day 1 & 2:  I wasted two days in an attempt to spin up the 8 ounces of Cheviot I purchased from The Woolery.  I knew it was a mess when I took it out of the bag:

It was full of veggie matter, it smelled awful and I thought I could spin it and clean it at the same time.  Like I said, two days wasted.  I should have combed it first.  At any rate, I ended up with overplied singles measurement of 384 yards which I ended up making into a two ply yarn:

The only thing this yarn is good for is potholders.  I'm too disappointed to talk about it.

Day 3:  The second fiber I spun up was 4 ounces of North American wool from Paradise Fibers.  This yarn was white, clean and a joy to spin:

I spun this up quickly and my singles measured 475 yards and is Navajo plied:

About now I was tired of spinning up white fiber - even though I have a lot of it to spin:

And that's only the white I could get my hands on - there's more than that around here.

Day 4: decided that some color is warranted, so I found some Rhinofluff, 100% BFL which is a joy to spin not only for texture, but for color.  Thank you Sojourn Knitter!

This yarn is turning out very thin, but the spinning is going kind of fast so I think I can finish it by tomorrow.  I'll still have time during this week to start yet another braid.  Maybe this Icelandic:

What do you think?

October 08, 2013

Spinzilla - Day 1

Spinzilla lasts for 7 days.  All I have to do is spin as much fiber as I can for 7 day, not my usual 21 days when I'm spinning for the Tour de Fleece, and post my progress online.  What could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters, my laptop lost it's mind and told me that I don't exist.  I took it to Best Buy and they told me they could have the laptop back to me in 5-7 days.  Dude, I don't have 3 days, just patch me up and send me on my way.  I went to a different Best Buy and they fixed me up right away.  Thank goodness!

Then, while oiling up my wheel, I somehow managed to break my tension spring:

It's totally unusable.  So I went to the hardware store and they guy said they don't have this spring.  He showed me some alternatives and said, "If you can find two of what you're looking for, you can have them for free."  I found four!  I saved 40 cents!  Woo hoo!  This one was perfect:

These will do if it ever happens again (of course if it does happen again I will have forgotten where these springs are):

Here's my spinning progress so far:

This is an 8 ounce ball of Cheviot which I've barely made a dent in, and here's what's left after spinning for 4 hours:

Tomorrow I'm going to spin all day. I will feed the mangy cats, then come back home and plant myself in the spinning chair and get back to it.  I have 3 more big bags of white fiber which I'd love to get out of the fiber cabinet before I go to Rhinebeck this year.

October 03, 2013

Knit n' Fit

Fitness is not my thing.  In fact, when my doctor asked me if I do any exercises, I told her 'fork lifting' (as in food on a fork, lift to mouth, repeat).  When she asked me if I would consider a diet, and I told her it was culturally unacceptable (what in the world does that mean?!) and I immediately flashed back to smothered pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy and collard greens, or pernil with potato salad, rice and beans all on the same plate.  Slurp!

That said, it may surprise you to know that tonight I went to my first Zumba class ever.  Why? Because it was at a local community center, which means no air conditioning (Oy!) and I  I thought it would be a toned down version for senior citizens, but no!  I sweat so badly you could have sucked me up off the floor with a shop-vac!  There are no pictures of that, thank goodness.  You're welcome America.

I was knitting while everyone was filling out the paperwork that said they're not responsible if you catch a heart attack because you didn't know when to duck out of the exercise.

This is the Cafe Macchiato sock by Marian Moldon:

I'm using Vesper 100% superwash merino in the twitterpated colorway, and US #1 needles.  The yarn is thin, the needles small, and the pattern has a one row repeat so they're easy.  The pattern is free until October 5th, so head on over to Ravelry if you want it.  There is one thing, the pattern calls for the fish lips kiss heel which you have to purchase separately for US$1.00.  Or you can use the heel flap of your choice.  I purchased the fish lips heel pattern.  So far, so good.

Yesterday I finished making my first Noodle stuffed toy.

In case you don't know, James and Dawn of the Wolfe Farms podcast have a chihuahua named Fuji who has lymphoma and is undergoing chemo. You can hear about it here.  The pattern is a paid for pattern and $2 of every purchase goes to the family to help offset the cost of the chemo.

This toy was made with Red Heart yarn and US #4 needles, with safety eyes and nose purchased from 6060 on Etsy.  You make the head and body as one piece and the rest of the pieces are made one by one.  Everything was fine until the yarn started to squeak while I was knitting.  Yikes!  And assembling things does not make me happy, but I muscled through.

It's a fast knit and when it was done, my son insisted it go to his daughter.  Snatched!  How could I say no?  So I've cast on for another Noodle using some more acrylic yarn and I'll just have to deal with the squeaking.  It'll be worth it.

So that's it.  I had to blog before the pain of exercising sets in.