January 20, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is cloudy and windy and there's snow in the forecast, but it's warm and cozy in my house.

I'm having some tea in my new favorite mug, Girl With the Pearl Earring, and chatting with you, so this is a pretty good day.

Knitting from stash is going gang busters here.  I've been finding projects to match my yarn instead of the other way around and it's working for me.  It's still early in the year, but I'm liking it so far.

So, my birthday present to myself was a shopping trip to Vogue Knitting Live.  I picked up a couple of things I have wanted, but wouldn't buy, and I found two new vendors to purchase from.

First up, this is a llama/alpaca blend from a vendor new to me and they are in Yaphank, NY.  It's from the Long Island Livestock Company, and it feels (and smells) so good!  They're just starting up their website and blog page, but their booth at Vogue was chock full o' wool!  All of it soft and wonderful.

Then I found this at the Feederbrook Farm booth: never heard of them, but they're in northern Baltimore.  I made it a point NOT to buy sock yarn because I'm on overload, so I found this merino/silk/yak blend and it is softer than butter!  I've never knit with yak (in any proportion), and this yarn is worsted which I have very little of.  Love it!

And then, because I wouldn't think of ordering this book on line, but I've wanted it since forever, I got this:

Sorry about the picture, but every time I put the book down to take a picture I couldn't make Miss Kitty go away.  She loves the book too, I guess.  I'm going to use my smallest scraps to make most of the stuff in the book, because knitting with scraps is stash busting too.  Right?  And the author, Anna Hrachovec even autographed it for me.  Lucky me!

And to make sure I'd be comfortable knitting such wee projects, I got a couple of 'starter kits':

How cute are they?!

So, even though it's dark and cloudy, I didn't overspend, I didn't get home and regret my purchases and I even had money left over for dinner.

Happy birthday to me!

January 18, 2014

Knitting On The Side

Yes, I'm still working on my Acer Cardigan,

but haven't made more progress because some things came up.  I agreed to test knit a sock:

I can't show you the sock, but I can show you the yarn, it's Tosh Sock in chartreuse.  It's not nearly as bright as it shows up in the photo, but it is pretty bright and it's been balled up for at least two years.  Yikes!

And while I'm still working on Cynthia's husband's sock with Smooshy in cloud jungle, (sock #1 is almost finished, but I need him to try it on for fit):

I had a slight issue with my eyeglasses:

A little Krazy Glue and the glasses are kind of fixed, but now I look crazy.  I can see as clear as day as long as I tilt my glasses at the right angle.  Still, glue is better than duct tape.  Right?

I would have knit today, but I went to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC instead:

In spite of the fact that there seemed to be fewer vendors, it was crowded as heck!  There were plenty of New York vendors (Knitty City, School Products, Lion Brand), but I can visit them any time, so I stuck to vendors that were independent and/or new to me.  I found success and kept my spending to a minimum.  Yay!  Loot photos will appear in my next post.

I was there with Cynthia while she learned to 'arm knit':

She used three strands of yarn held together and stopped 'knitting' when the object was about 10 feet long.  What'cha gonna do with that, Cynthia?  She decided not to bind off but to take it home, cast on more stitches and see how it comes out.  It was a free class, by the way, and the yarn was free if you took the lesson.  Sweet, eh?  Maybe there's enough yarn to make two scarves.

All in all, it was a wonderful day inside, even though it rained, hailed and then was freezing beyond belief outside.

Guess this means I've got to get back to knitting.

January 11, 2014

Oh Happy Day(s)!

I rarely, if ever, have a day when I wake up and can do anything I want.  Reasonably, it would be on your birthday, or if you're a mother, Mother's Day (because everyone knows luxury days do not coincide with holidays!).  Well, I had just that type of thing happen for me.  Yay!  Let me thank my friend Mary in advance for all the joy she brought to my day yesterday and today, because this was her idea. Lucky me!

On Friday, we went to the 9/11 Memorial - not a typical thing to do especially considering how tragic that entire event was for everyone, particularly the people who were directly involved and are still suffering the ill effects of that devastation.  There was a visit to the actual location where the towers stood:

There were two of these pools, representing the north and south towers.  It was a rainy day, but the site was no less awesome in its hugeness.  As we went around the pool, we saw all the names of the fallen and someone left a rose in the etching of one of them:

It was then that I realized that the people who are still suffering have this site as the only resting place for their loved ones and I immediately stopped trying to take pictures - not only out of respect, but also out of a sense of how private and personal their grief is.

The new towers are huge and very New York City.  Tall, reflective and totally out of sync with the surrounding neighborhood, but beautiful for what it represents: restoration and renewal.

We did the outside tour, then the inside tour which made me cry.  You would think, after all this time that I would have been able to hold it together, but I fell apart.  The reality of it hits you all at once when you see the destroyed fireman's jacket or some unknown victim's shoes.

Enough about that because it's all still pretty close to the surface and not a necessarily happy event, but it was part of my experience.

Then we had a dim sum lunch at a local restaurant.  It was delicious.

After a nap and getting ourselves presentable, we went to see Motown at the Lunt Fontaine Theater:

It was excellent!  I was singing as quietly as I could, but the show had audience participation and everyone in the theater was singing!  When the character who plays Diana Ross sang Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand), she had members of the audience come up on stage!!  No doubt, those folks had VIP tickets and they couldn't sing worth 5 cents, but it was such a nice (and funny) part of the show.

After the show, we had a light dinner (it was late by then) and went to the hotel.  Now, I was there without my knitting but it didn't matter because we had a full day.

This morning we went to the Frick Museum to see the limited showing of Girl With a Pearl Earring.  It is a beautiful painting and I fell so in love with it that I bought the mug and a postcard:

The museum is the former residence of Henry and Adelaide Frick and when Henry passed away he willed his paintings and the contents of his house to the public.  However, his wife Adelaide continued to live in the house with her daughter after his death and the conversion from residence to museum didn't fully take effect until after her passing.

The paintings are awesome, and the house is huge!  I could fit my whole house in one room.  It's hard to believe that people used to live like that, and some people still do.  Oh man!  You need a riding vacuum cleaner to do the carpets, never mind the dust that could settle on all those paintings.  Yikes!

And now, because this is a knitting blog after all, I do have one finished object:

Yes, it's crochet, and they're only potholders, but it is finished and isn't that the point?

I'm also almost finished with the body of my sweater:

So, that's the round up so far.  

January 07, 2014

Sizzle to Fizzle

In my head my new year resolutions are easily attainable.  Three sweaters for myself, two hats, 15 pairs of socks, spin 52 skeins of yarn and still do my holiday knitting in the 12 months of 2014.  As long as I don't get sidetracked by, say, laundry or cooking dinner, I can get it all done.

That said, the year started off on a good note.  I have ten skeins of Valley Yarn Northfield in purple haze in stash and on January 1, I cast on the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.  I knit every day for four days and then I lost steam, but I got pretty far before I took a break:

Taking a break is good, as long as you intend to go back to the task at hand.  And I will.

Sidetrack - But I wanted to make the Barley hat by Tin Can Knits too - while it's still cold outside and my nephew can still wear it.  Having a winter hat during winter - especially considering how cold it is around here - is good.  So I cast on with my Masham hand spun and knit, then I was ready to decrease and bind off when I realized that my US #8 needles are gone.

I'll pick up the needles I need at Vogue Knitting Live, if they have needles there.  If not, I'll order some.  No problem.

Sidetrack - Now, instead of going back to the sweater, I decided that a quick crochet potholder would be quick to finish and give me some satisfaction.  I haven't held a crochet hook in years!  I found some Sugar and Cream cotton that I bought years ago to make dish towels with and cast on:

Ouch!  Crochet hurts!

Sidetrack - So, I went back to the socks I started last month: Cable Rib Socks by Erika Alexander:

Nice sock, nice design element -

but I think I might be playing yarn 'chicken' because the first sock is so big I'm worried about having enough yarn for the second sock.  Yikes!  Instead of stressing out, I just put the sock down.

Sidetrack - So, off I went to use my new-ish Turkish spindle, and spin this quarter of an ounce of fiber from Into the Whirled (one of a kind superwash merino):

Score!  I was able to finish.  Talk about a small victory, but a victory all the same.  It might be 10 yards after plying, but it's finished - almost.

Do you see a pattern here?  It's January and I'm already off track.  This doesn't bode well for me at all!