September 21, 2014

World Wide Spin In Public Day

Did you know that Saturday was WWSIP?  I didn't know anything about it, but my friend Sojourn Knitter knew and she invited me to spin in Union Square Park.  While we were both running late we got there in plenty of time to do some spinning and to make a spectacle of ourselves.

When we arrived, the park was crowded, but not overly so, we had plenty of room to spread out.  We had seats in the shade and after getting set up, we had plenty of company!

I wish I was able to take pictures of the folks who stopped by to ask questions, especially the children who wanted to give the wheel a try (no way!), or the adults who asked why we were there, or to let us know that they thought all spinning was done in a factory.

People crowded around and they were from Copenhagen, Asia, Ireland and we heard things from adults like, "Look, they're making thread." or "They're looming. Have you ever seen such a thing?" and one man said the last time he saw a spinning wheel was on a 7th grade trip to Amish country (he was about 40 years old).  OK ...

It was a good day to spend in the park in an area that was clean, if smelly, in the shade and free of bird poop!

But, before I left, I popped in to knitting class where there were two new students and in pops Mary Jo.  She had on the new sweater she made with her own two hands - her first ever sweater and every stitch was done by her:

Congratulations Mary Jo!  Your sweater looks great and you did it all in two weeks!  She knit for hours at a time - unbelievable!  The pattern is Avocet B, a free Berroco pattern and the yarn is Red Heart in natural, I believe.

And in case you think I've been a dirty rotten slacker, I did some knitting too!  Finished a few things, in fact:

Great Wall Socks III by Qianer Huang, made with Malabrigo sock yarn in the natural colorway using US #1.5 needles - and it almost killed me to make these socks!  It took all of my time and attention, and they're going to be a very nice holiday gift.  One gift down, many to go, but I'm starting early.

I also finished the Weather the Weather hat by Megan Williams, which is a free pattern on Ravelry, using Rowan Felted Tweed in gray, using US #8 needles:

And right now I'm working on the Alva sweater by Signe Stromgaard for Filcolana, another free pattern, using Shepherd's Own wool in brown using US #8 needles:

I hope to have the sweater done in time for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.  It's an easy pattern and it goes quick if you can cable without the needle.  Of course, it takes time and energy to finish a sweater, and wanting it done in time has caused me to lose track of which row I'm on - and reminded me how much I dread the words "at the same time ...".

There, another post with actual knitting on it.  Are you surprised?  There are quite a few things I've worked on and I'll talk about them in the next post.

Until then, happy crafting to you.

September 19, 2014

There And Back

I said I would be back, and here I am - again.  Who knew that the end of summer would be such a busy time for me!  I took a short trip to San Diego, CA for my niece's wedding.

The lovely Lita married the handsome Leandro, and it was a very festive wedding.  Too bad I couldn't find my stupid camera and had to use my cell phone:

So here's a few crappy snapshots.

The newly married Lita and Leandro (yes, he's wearing tennis shoes and yes, her hair is brown, blonde and red, but they're young and unconventional);

The first dance.  Leandro called Lita his soul mate and team partner, that he wouldn't be anywhere without her.  It was so sweet!

The cake topper, which I found interesting, but I'm too old to appreciate:

The parents of the bride, Joe, Lita, Leandro and Jeannie:

And just the siblings, Cyndy, Joe and me:

I'm happy to say that my brother, is doing well and in good spirits.  He moves a little slower (don't we all?), but he has the same sense of humor and as much vigor, not to mention inner strength, as he's always had.   I pray he goes into remission and stays there so we can all grow old together.

When the wedding was all over and done with, we all went our separate ways, Cyndy, Greg and family (three sons, Joe, Dan and Ed) went back to Seneca Falls, I came home to the Bronx and Lita and Leandro went back to Colorado.

We danced and sang and did all the things we could pack in to a family reunion, such as it was, but my best memory, aside from seeing Joe in good spirits, is this:

The happy reunion in California was happy and that's what I want to remember forever.

August 20, 2014

Failure to Launch

Once upon a time, a lady started a knitting blog - and then one day, without so much as a fare thee well, her blog died.  The end.

The blog may have taken a back seat because of other things, but the knitting - among other things - did not.  I spent my summer exploring options to knitting.

For instance, I was 'fadoodling' around on YouTube and came across a few videos about making paper beads, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I found some old wrapping paper, you know, the good kind that doesn't rip when you cut it, and gave paper beads a try:

Not too shabby, and a nice break in the knitting action.  All I need to do is learn how to cut in a straight line so my beads will be the same size and poof! I'll have a new craft that'll last as long as my vision holds out.

I went to Wal-Mart one day and found myself in the craft aisle.  As I bypassed the acrylic yarns and the crochet cotton section, I came across some crafts for $1.00 or less.  I was with my friend Maria who can spend two hours trying to choose between two colors of the same yarn (true story!), and while she was in quiet contemplation I made my way to the cross stitch section and found two little kits for 97 cents.  Jackpot!  I found this:

So while everyone is spending a pretty penny on patterns from The Frosted Pumpkin, which costs a pretty penny and the pieces are rather large, I got to do some stitching on the cheap.  Yay me!  Now I know that I would never finish a big piece of stitching because I just don't have that big of a desire to do so.  Got that out of my system and I feel better about it.

Did you notice that there wasn't one blog post about my spinning for the Tour de Fleece?  I saved it for the Ravelry forum, but I did get some spinning done:

I love spinning.  I really do.

And I did some knitting too.  I made the Lavender Cardigan for my neighbor's daughter using Valley Yarns Goshen in the linen colorway:

The sweater was supposed to be for me, but the pattern is written for one size - and it's not my size.  However, anyone who knows math can upsize the sweater, but not me.  Even if I knew how to change stitches to inches, I would lie to myself about how 'round' I really am and I'd still have gotten it wrong.

And with the leftover yarn I made the Oaklet Shawl:

And there's more of that yarn around here, mercifully only a skein or two.  This shawl is going to charity.

There's way more that got made, and not blogged about, but I'm going to save that for the next post which will happen in a few days - not months.

For now, Miss Kitty and I are going to sign off and wish you all happy knitting.

June 26, 2014

The End & The Beginning

I have so much to say and so little time to say it lately.  The podcasting is a little more time consuming than I thought it would be, but I have no regrets - other than that blogging seems to have taken a back seat.

Not everyone is interested in video podcasts, so I think it only fair that I share what I can't fit into a 30 minute time slot, along with other things I didn't get to talk about.

First, there's my newly bound off socks called Ugly Duckling Socks by Karin Aida:

I used to spin yarn and put it in my stash bin because a) my handspun never looks like the braid of fiber I ordered and it takes some getting used to seeing it in yarn form, and b) sometimes the yarn is just too busy.  Lately, however, I've had a second look at the hand spun in my stash - and as the saying goes 'there's a lid for every pot' and for my wildly beautiful and colorful handspun, there is a solid colored companion to rein it in with.

The socks being fraternal doesn't even bother me, every 'box' has it's own identity and I love each and every stitch.  I love the socks, but I love more that I don't have to knit anymore - all socks going forward are at will.

And then there is the heartbreak that is the Monkey Socks by Cookie A:

Honestly, the skein of Pagewood Farms in lilac fields (#42) was not impressive, and while I was making the socks I still wasn't impressed, but then, when they were washed and blocked - awesome!  Imagine my heartbreak when trying to get them on my feet only to find that they wouldn't go past my heel!  Shucks!

The last two pairs of socks fulfill my commitment to make 26 pairs of socks in 12 months.  I did it!  I had my doubts, but I powered through - I even made socks I didn't want to make, with patterns that were poorly written, and quite a few pages long.  Whew!

So, you'd think I would have had enough, right?  Not so fast!  I've been seeing the Mystik Spiral socks pattern go viral and it seems like everyone has a pair, or two, and I've been drooling over this pattern since I don't know when.  I was saving my self-striping yarn for a special occasion - like the end of the 52/26 pair plunge, apparently, and now I have a chance to have a pair of my own.  Woo hoo!

The Moms With Yarn Ravelry group will be hosting a sock KAL in July, and while you may think I've had enough of sock knitting to last me a lifetime - or at least another year - au contraire, mon ami!  I picked out yarn from stash: Fishknits Yarn in the Fuji - Fight Like a Girl colorway and purchased the pattern today:

And I am ready to go!  Only four days until we start and Tracey is cooking up the details as I type.  I won't win any prize other than a new pair of socks, that is, and I'm still excited.  Yay!

Finally, with the Tour de France/Fleece coming up, I'll have handspun galore - maybe.  I'm not going to join any of the Ravelry teams this year, I'm just going to enjoy the race on TV while I spin and cheer on my favorites (whoever they are this year).  Maybe this year I'll just get the t-shirt.

June 25, 2014

Moms With Yarn - Episode 6

Happy Summertime!

Finished Objects:

Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi by Melissa LaBarre.  This is the first of two sweaters for each of her daughters, this size 8 is for her middle child.  Just needs two buttons and to have the ends woven in.  Good thing she had the notion to make a larger size when she started - two years ago!

Monkey Socks by Cookie A.  I made them for myself using my pink Susan Bates needles, because pink = US #2.  As it turns out, they're pink, alright, but they're US #1 and as a result, the socks don't fit.  Luckily, they have a home to go to.
It also means that I'll have to make another pair.

Lonely Skein by Diana Rozenshteyn.  Made with US #6 needles and mystery yarn. This pattern is too pretty to make with yarn I didn't enjoy, so I'll make another with yarn I spun myself.

Works in Progress:

Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi by Melissa LaBarre, size 6, for her youngest child.

Skyp Rib Socks by Adrienne Ku.  One done, one to go and Tracey isn't feeling the love!  She needs suggestions for sock patterns - so feel free to leave your non-cable sock suggestions for Tracey in the episode thread of our Ravelry forum Moms With Yarn.

And while you're offering up your suggestions: why not join the group?  That's where you can get details about our upcoming KAL.

Ugly Duckling Socks by Karin Aida.  I used my handspun Rambouillet, so these socks are far from ugly ducklings!

You'll need to watch the podcast to see what Heather made enticed me buy!  Luckily I have a supplier - thanks Juanita!

June 19, 2014

Moms With Yarn - Episode 5

There was a lot of show and tell this week!

I must have fallen down the rabbit hole is the only reason I can think why this post is going up one week after recording.  

Finished Objects


  Little Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos

  My Knitted Heart Vanilla Socks by Elizabeth Suarez


  Show Off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell

  Lavender Cardigan by Schneckenstrik

  Torrent Socks by Emily Wessel and Alexa Ludeman

Works in Progress


  Skyp Rib Socks by Adrienne Ku


  Lonely Skein (which hasn't yet been uploaded to Ravelry, shame on me!)


Tracey gave up on the Kollage Square Needles, they just weren't her cup of tea, so she went back to using her go-to needles which are Chiao Goo needles.

I tried the Nova Cubics which are square needles, and I love them!  I ordered two sets from Jimmy Beans Wool.

If you are so inclined, pop on over to our Ravelry group.  Tracey and I are cooking something up for a KAL and a prize, but you'll have to wait until next week to find out the details - only because we're still working that out.

May 29, 2014

Moms With Yarn - Episode 4

Tracey and I managed to crank out one finished object each!


Sharon: Broken Seed Stitch Socks by handepande (free Ravelry download)
US #1/2.25mm needles / Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn & String Theory Bluestocking (multi)

Tracey: My Knitted Heart Socks by Elizabeth Suarez
US #1.5/2.25mm needles / Blue Moon Fiber Arts lightweight
Tracey learned how to do the kitchner stitch using this site, and she scored her yarn from here


Sharon: Lavender Cardigan by Schneckenstrick, test knit socks to be named
Tracey: Little Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos, another pair of My Knitted Heart Socks

We also have a Ravelry forum called Moms With Yarn, and you don't have to be a mom to join, so won't you pop on over and see what that's all about.

A huge thank you to:

Heather of the Bunniphish Crafts Podcast
Diane of Knitabulls Podcast
James and Dawn of Wolfe Farms Podcast
To all the people that joined our Ravelry group and subscribed to us on YouTube!
Thank you, gracias, merci, dziękuję

If you have any questions about anything we talked about in the video, please don't hesitate to ask.

May 19, 2014

Steal Away

On Saturday, I was up at 3:45 a.m., hot into a cab and went to the Port Authority where I met up with Sojourn Knitter, then hopped onto a bus to Northampton, MA.  Why?

I went to WEBS!  It's been on my bucket list for years, and my friend and 'road dog' traveled all morning in the dead of dark to arrived at about 10:30a.  When we got off the Peter Pan bus, we walked to the store, a mere four blocks away.

Seeing the store, which I thought was much larger than it was, I was not disappointed.  If you ever went to Seaport Yarns when it was at the seaport, WEBS is that size, which is pretty impressive.

With no plan, my shopping list was short and there was only one imperative - no sock yarn.  I have plenty and even though I was trying to stash down (and because sock yarn doesn't count as stash),  I went off the rails.  Honestly, how can I say no to yarn at $3.79/ball?

There were vendors outside, and there were the tents and there were even items for $1.00.  Yes, the lines were long, and you should have seen the folks who were clearing off those tables!  They had shopping carts full.  Yikes!

Inside the showroom, there was everything you could possibly want in yarn, fiber, needles, patterns, and books at 30% off!  I was in heaven!

So here's the haul:

A bag from Stitched by JessaLu, not on sale, but cute as a 'gift wrap' since I plan to put a gift in it.  Her shop is closed until June because she's vending on the road, but she has some really pretty bags and she is so nice.

There was a table full of coned yarn, and this cone weighs 2.5 ounces and only cost $20.  I don't know about you, but that's a lot of cotton for a really good price:

I've been coveting these books by Ysolda Teague for a long time, and I could only find books 1 & 3, and they were 30% off.  And of course, I never have enough US #2 needles:

Lastly, I did buy some yarn, but I'm going to hold out showing it here in case I don't get to use it until who knows when.  Maybe I'll flash it on the Moms With Yarn podcast ...

The upside of having gone to WEBS was that it is now off my bucket list and in my memory bank.  It was time (and money) well spent.  The lines were long, but they went fast and I made a new friend while waiting.  I bumped into Mimers66 (Amy) of the Hudson Valley Knits Podcast and her friend Sandy.

Would I go again?  Absolutely!

May 14, 2014

Moms With Yarn - Episode 3

Sharon & Tracey are knitting and talking about it in episode 3 of Moms With Yarn.

Finished Objects:

Pattern: Cable Rib Socks by Erica Alexander from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks
Yarn: Austermann Step (multi) / Creatively Dyed in the Ancient colorway

Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre (free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Handspun Punta yarn in the Fall 05 colorway

Tracey: Lin Lin Shawl by Yoko Johnston (paid for pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Plucky Knitter Scholar in the Headboard colorway

Works in Progress:

Broken Seed Stitch socks

My Knitted Heart Socks
Little Oak Cardigan

Thank you to all the people who watched our first two episodes, subscribed to our channel and left comments - especially those who left feedback.  Tracey & I are trying to get better at the tech stuff.

May 13, 2014

Punta From Start to New Beginning

Some time ago, I purchased some Punta fiber from She Spins because it was pretty and I'd never heard of Punta.  I was intrigued by the fiber, but was sucked in by the colors.

I'm always willing to try something new and lately I've been doing a lot of spinning.  The colorway is Fall 05, but I think the colors look more like Summer, so I put off spinning it.  Not that it matters when it gets spun, just that I spin it well enough to make something out of it.

When it was all done up: I was tickled pink (and orange and yellow and ...):

My 2-ply yarn had 423 yards..  I was trying to figure what I could make with all that yardage and started the Crocus Shaw, l but nixed it because the colors of the shawl were being drowned out by the pattern and all I could see was the vertical striping which I wasn't pleased with.

A short Ravelry search (I searched by yardage), and found the Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre, and I was smitten.  So I started knitting and in the end, this is what was left:

But this is the result:

The shawl is just the right size, just the right colors for Fall or Summer, and I a love the way the stripes lined up on both sides of the shawl almost perfectly.

Amazing how string turns into things, isn't it?

May 08, 2014

The Pain & The Joy

I honestly don't know what I was thinking when my uncle asked me to make him knee socks, and I said yes.  Where was my brain?  He's 6'1" tall and wears a size 12 shoe.  I didn't realize how tall the leg had to be, or how long the foot had to be and that all of my knitting dreams would be put on hold.

In the beginning I was so enthusiastic because I love knitting socks and it seemed such a challenge. I dug around in my stash figuring that one skein of yarn wouldn't cover the job.  I was glad to find two colors that (sort of) go together.  Creatively Dyed Yarn in the ancient colorway, and Austermann Step in color #23.

Using a US #2 needle and doing two socks at a time made the knitting go slowly, so when I got to the heels I switched out to double points which changed my whole attitude towards these socks.  I finished the foot on one sock and half the other in one evening:

And then they were done!  The socks are much larger than my large sock blockers, but how is that a problem?

The Austermann Step had two knots in it, and the pick up after the knot picked up the striping pattern in reverse.  I was too tired of the socks to care, and they will be in my uncle's shoe anyway.  As long as they keep him warm, I'm sure it won't be an issue.

But now I crave something that will turn out as planned with no surprises.  So when a friend of mine said she had clear rain boots and only a few pairs of hand knit socks to wear with them, I offered to make her a pair.

My stash dive came up with String Theory Bluestocking:

And some Cascade Heritage sock yarn in black and chose the Broken Seed Stitch Socks, which I've made before and it's a relatively easy free pattern on Ravelry:

After making knee socks, these are a breeze!  No stripes, no knots, just wonderful yarn - and the sock in the picture was knit in two days.  I'm zooming!

Now all I need to do is find something to knit with big fat needles so I can give my hands a little break and I'm all set.

May 05, 2014

Technical Difficulties

Tracey and I were finally able to post another video of Moms With Yarn after overcoming technical difficulties.

During the time it took to overcome the technical difficulties, I wasn't just sitting around waiting for my computer to come around to my way of thinking.  I knew that wouldn't happen.  So I finished the log cabin blanket:

This pattern is a recipe, so you can make it look like anything you want.  I chose Lion Brand Wool Ease in both sport and worsted weight: in white, heather gray, navy and heather blue to use up some old stash, US #6 needles, and I knit until I ran out of the sport weight white which has been discontinued for years.

I'm also working on my uncle's knee socks.  My biggest fear is that they won't fit and he won't tell me.  After all that time and effort - all I can say is that it would be less stressful to make these socks if we lived closer together.

The top of the sock is the Cable Rib Sock pattern by Erika Alexander (Favorite Socks, Interweave Knits), I used Creatively Dyed yarn in the Ancient colorway for the top of the sock and Austerman Step for the striped foot.  I used both Addi sock rockets and Signature Needles, both in US #2 needles.  The foot of the socks is plain vanilla.

I'm also working on a shawl called Crocus, but I'm second guessing my choice of pattern because it's just not the same with no beads on it, but I think I have a back-up plan.

Tracey  is working on the Lin Lin Shawl using The Plucky Knitter's new yarn line called Scholar in the Headboard colorway and using US #8 needles.

Tracey also mentioned a shop on Etsy called Grandmas Handknitting, where they're offering 10% off during the month of May if you use the code MAYFLOWERS.  That's a good deal!

Thank you to the people who gave feedback, we really appreciate it.  And thank you to the new subscribers, we got more than we expected and we are tickled.  We're doing our best with tech issues, I'm the idiot in charge and mostly I pray.

Enjoy the show and thank you so much for watching.

April 16, 2014

New Things

Knitting is my love and has been for decades, and it always will be.  There are just times, like when the knitting mojo takes a vacation, that I crave something else to do until it returns.

After making the Mock Cable Wave socks (and failing to alternate skeins) and a mild case of disappointment:

I made it three quarters of the way and then the 'oh so similar' second skein was darker, not that it matters, it'll be in a shoe, but still ...

Maybe I needed a wee break, to try something different.  So I pulled out my newly acquired Zoom Loom and made these:

What fun!  I'd rather crochet a bunch of these together than knit - for the moment.  I'd actually have to pull out my crochet hook to gather them, but it looks so easy!

And then I remembered my other 'distraction': cross stitch:

It's slow going and I'm learning as I go.  You'll have to stay tuned.

And so, what with it being Spring and all (even though it snowed last night and my tulips fell down and can't get up) I went a little further in the 'changing things up' department.  Tracey and I embarked on a little online adventure:

Tracey (tbmccarthy on Ravelry) is working on: 
Lin Lin Shawl (as yet unpublished)

I finished:
Spun BFL from Crown Mountain Farms

Is that enough newness for Spring?

April 10, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day

It might be spring according to the calendar, but according to the temperatures around here - well, all I'm saying is don't leave home without a scarf.  It looks so sunny outside, and from the window it looks warm and wonderful so I took a walk to my back yard dressed thusly:

My jacket and my Haberdashery Cowl:

My Cup of Tea socks:

While I was taking those photos I glanced over and saw these 'eggs' growing in the dirt.  I don't know what they are, other than pretty, but there's only two of them and from where I was standing I thought they really were eggs:

Feeling inspired, I took myself for a little ride to a couple of different points at Clasons Point (again), only this time I had a cohort, Mary Jo, who took me to someone's back yard for a better view and his back porch is so huge he has his own goldfish pond:

I didn't want to invade his privacy any more than necessary, so I aimed my camera towards the Point.  I had no idea there's a boat entry ramp that allows you to take your boat right into the Bronx River:

And there's public access to a jetty which, if you're daring enough to withstand the river spray, you can grab your lawn chair and soak up some sun.  Just don't stand up if your chair isn't weighted.

And I thought to myself how fortunate I am to be able to walk to a place that is so well kept, peaceful and quiet during the day.  Yes, it was windy and freezing cold, but it made me feel better about having to go home and do the stuff I don't want to do, like dinner and dishes.

I hope you were able to do something with your day today that made you feel invigorated and ready to face whatever comes next in your life.