Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

In spite of my lingering H1N1 misery, I managed to finish the match to the mitt that went missing at Rhinebeck. It is not a good match. Gauge is off. Thumb gusset is a bit different. Finishing is rather wonky, but I don't care. They keep my hands warm and fingers free during my long morning commute so what else could I ask for. I'll make some fancy ones some day but tonight they will look just fine for the Halloween *hurly-burly. Oh to glory be!

*If you have never read The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes you have missed the best book ever. Really. I just found it on and that is just spooktacular!

Friday, October 30, 2009

All You Have to Do is Ask

Sister commented in an email that it would be nice to have a pair of those big wool socks I am always posting about. I have enough sense to know that non-knitters don't really want a pair of those intensely wooly sheep-to-sock things. They want a pretty pair of Regias made from one of Kaffe Fasset's glorious colorways that I have had stashed away for quite a while. I am more than happy to oblige. Anytime. Anywhere.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oldilocks and the Three Sweaters

Once upon a time there was a knitter whose intention was to knit a few baby sweaters to give as shower gifts.
The first sweater was too small. Much too small.

The second sweater was too big. Much too big.

Hopefully in Oldilocks box of remaining baby yarn there will the inspiration for one that is "just right".

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Little Baby Talk

Daughter's friends are experiencing a population explosion so of course she asked me to knit some baby things to give as gifts. This was much harder than expected. Finding patterns that were cute but also useful was a challenge. I spent hours on Ravelry looking through every pattern and comment without finding much that struck my fancy. Walking through Joanne's Fabric I spotted Chic Knits for Stylish Babies by Patricia Wagner on the book rack. I loved everything in it. Here is the beginning of the Irish Leprechaun sweater. I seriously could make everything in this book. I love it.

Over on Knit Picks it was the Baby Surprise Jacket that got the most raves from new moms so I picked up various colors of Crayon to try my hand. I also got the DVD because I've heard this pattern is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Age of Aquarius

Last Friday night, Daughter and I went to see the Broadway revival of Hair. I have wanted to see the tribal rock-love musical ever since my parents told me I couldn't. I knew there was nudity. Real nakedness. I knew there was sex. Lots. Real nasty stuff. I have known all the lyrics since I was 14 so the foul language was no surprise either. I guess I should have warned Daughter. She spent the night with her mouth hanging open looking at me like.." wahhhh? You're kidding right?" I also should have told her that the "tribe" comes out and touches you, climbs on you and sneaks up on you. Heart stopping. You also get things thrown at you like these flowers. I loved it. For 3 whole hours I was 14 again.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Missing In Action

Not only did my weekend in Rhinebeck turn out to be a giant bust health-wise, it also turned out to be a heart breaker when I lost one of my very favorite pair of mitts. I made these out of yarn from one of my very first attempts at spinning on a wheel. I loved them. They are sure nothing to brag about but they were thick and soft and we had been through a lot together. I am hoping that when I feel better and I have the strength to knit again these two leftover balls will be enough to make a replacement. I really need something to feel better about this week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not About Knitting

I can now explain my very uncharacteristic Rhinebeck funk. I arrived home from my weekend feeling extremely fatigued and achy. Later that evening the chills set in and I realized I had a temperature of 103. After tossing and turning my way through the most brutally ill night of my life, I called in sick on Monday and made a doctor's appointment. In the doctor's office they gave me a mask to wear and immediately escorted me into the "flu" room. The doctor gave me a quick once over, looked me straight in the eye and said "You've got H1N1". I burst into tears. He then assured me I was not going to die, only feel like I was and then gave me all the latest CDC recommendations. I left with a note saying not to return to work until I was 24 hours free of any fever. So far so good. Then things took a very bizarre turn.

The principal at my school said I needed to provide documentation to the Health Department that I had swine flu and could I call the doctor and get them to fax them something. No prob. I called and they said they would prepare something and send it over. At 7 pm my phone rang and it was the doctor's office explaining that since I was not diagnosed with a lab test, only by symptoms, the doctor could not put it in writing that I actually had the dreaded bug, only that I had a " viral infection". I asked about testing and they said they no longer test for it. No doctor does. And besides, the insurance companies will no longer pay for the $400 test. It is only diagnosed by symptoms, as the only flu present at this time is H1N1. Hmmm.
I freak out when I realize that now I have to call my boss back and tell her I officially only have a "viral infection" when I already told her I have swine flu. How do I do that without looking like a total boob? I know what the doctor said to me and he made it very clear that I have "it". So not only am I miserably sick but now I am miserably upset at being put in this insane documentation situation. I work with small children up close and very personal. I can see why the school officials want to know what's wrong with me so they can act in the best interest of our students. The doctors and the insurance companies are playing this game that is leaving our kids in danger. Without any official documentation, I am under the Health Department's radar, so no public safety restrictions apply to me at all. I could go back to work anytime I want. Do you really want me sitting next to your child?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Survived Rhinebeck 2009-But Just Barely

The 3 day weekend started like this. Knitting peacefully on the train at 7 am on my way to meet up with daughter in NYC. Don't let those calm fingers fool you. I am not a good traveler and I was a disaster for the entire weekend. I could not have felt worse if I had contracted the swine flu and the plague all at the same time. My insides were in an uproar.

The problem started when the weather report looked terrible. Cold, snow and rain and then more of the same. Geez. I must have packed and repacked my suitcase a dozen times all week. I was in quite a state even before I left. Happily the doom and gloom did not materialize on Saturday. It was a decently cold day, perfect for showing off the Lopi. I would also be showing off my handspun handknit fingerless mitts but I lost one somewhere in the crowd. I am more than brokenhearted but I was NOT going to backtrack a zillion miles for it.

Around 3ish it started to get uncomfortably chilly so we called a taxi, changed our train reservation and headed back to the city earlier than we planned. 3 hours was more than enough time for me to see (buy) everything I had come for. My Knit Picks Market Bag was perfect for holding my pitifully small amount of goodies.

I love my little Golding spindle so the first stop was to buy another. I also bought some Merino roving from the same people that I always visit at the MD S and W. With so many new vendors to see, I am disappointed I did not bring home something unique to this festival but the choices were just too overwhelming and the crowd was impossible to maneuver through. I feel lucky I managed to buy anything at all. I am also ticked off that I didn't take more photos to share. I apparently just walked around in a daze.

The best thing I did get, thanks to Daughter's sharp eyes, were some absolutely delicious apples. They were in a basket in a wool vendors stall and being blinded by all the fiber, I would have never seen them. We enjoyed them on the train ride home since getting food there was IMPOSSIBLE. The lines were crazy long. A couple that shared the taxi back to the station with us said they waited 50 minutes for a sandwich. Speaking of taxis, we didn't know you had to call ahead to get a cab to pick us up at the Rhinecliff train station. Quite a few of us got stuck there until someone rounded us up a cab.

We did make it in time for the Ravelry meet up where we got to say hi to the big knitted Bob.

Would I go back to Rhinebeck again? Nah....we have it all right here in Maryland. Rhinebeck is bigger but bigger isn't always better when it just becomes too much. For kids, Rhinebeck wins hands down. It has much more of a fair atmosphere. Games, rides, etc. So if I ever have grandkids, I'll borrow them for a weekend in October. But I'm driving. Forget those damn trains and don't even get me started on taxis.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

While I'm Away.....

Barring any unforeseen circumstances (H1N1 comes to mind) I should be roaming around the grounds of the New York Sheep and Wool Festival today. While I am off having a mild nervous breakdown due to sensory overload I am sharing my latest FO with those of you who have not hopped on a plane, train or automobile to join the East Coast Fiber Frenzy. My latest spin-as-I-go adventure (disaster) was yet another pair of socks. As you can see, the carefully hand painted Gulf Coast roving, once split for spindling, decided to take on quite a life of its own. I tried, in vain, to make sure I was evenly dividing up the light and dark but Miss Second Sock is woefully pale and GREEN. I even tried some frogging with redistribution of the yarn with no real noticible change. No matter. My favorite wear-around-the-house socks are now full of holes after 2 years of hard wear and several darnings and sadly need to be retired. My new little sibling socks will be just fine and dandy stuffed into slippers and tucked under flannel PJs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Ticket to Ride

Tomorrow morning I will be on my way via Amtrak to New York City to visit Daughter. She has a few must-see places for us to visit, most notably a place where cupcakes are to die for. Later that night it's off to Broadway to see Hair. I know every word to every song so I feel sorry for you if you are unlucky enough to be seated nearby. The next morning Daughter and I will catch the Knitter's Express to Rhinebeck, our maiden voyage to what I hope is an overwhelming experience of fiber festivities. I am so beyond excited.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fiber Frenzy

As cold weather rapidly approaches I have been stepping up my efforts to prepare as many of my fiber samples as possible. Washing and combing is yucky enough on the deck so there is no way I want to find myself tempted in January to crank up the drum carder on the kitchen table.

I have prepared bag after bag of things to spin in the dark days ahead and stuffed them into all the nooks and crannies of my already overloaded little house. With my trip to Rhinebeck now only days away I am starting to seriously worry about where I will be able to squirrel away anything more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spring Fever

That bag of raw Shetland I washed last week became this lovely pile of lavender and blue wool. The blue was an accident but it is carding up nicely with the purples.

Then a bit of it became a sample of 2 ply almost lace weight that I love, love, love. It looks like that spring shawl I've wanted may be back in business.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When Was My Last Tetanus Shot?

Spent the day playing with my little drum carder using up all the bits of leftovers from recent combing adventures.

Ended up with a handful of ouchies.

And one cute little batt.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Sincere Apologies

Last week I complained about having to work with Noro's Kureyon as I finished up the handle on Daughter's neglected bag. I compared it to my own worst handspun. Then I washed and blocked it and took it out in the sun to get some photos. The colors took my breath away. They way they fade in and out of each other is something I could NEVER hope to achieve so I had a lot of nerve comparing anything I could EVER make to this. Daughter's knitting is not too shabby either. It's too bad she is not a fan because she really has a talent.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A First

Here is the result of my very first attempt at spinning enough of the same thing in order to make a garment bigger than a pair of socks. It started out as a rather tiny shrug and kept growing as I happily discovered I had more than enough yarn to make an entire full length raglan cardigan. I even have enough to make longer sleeves but I am rather liking the shorter ones. It has that Baby Surprise Jacket look that I think works well with the variegated colors in the yarn. I also added wider front bands to get some additional closure as I am not a big fan of having the girls on display even if the girls are nothing to brag about. The cute little thing actually fits but I have nothing to put under it at the moment that looks right-so the mug shot is a long ways off yet.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Feet

I just came to realize that 80% of my projects are now socks AND I am waiting for a package of sock yarn to show up so I can begin a holiday gift. How did that happen?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I recently bought another 16 ounces of Corriedale from Sdspin Fibers in order to add yardage to some singles I made several weeks ago. When I opened the package I found the most incredible fiber I have ever seen. Long silky locks that are supposedly raw but already as clean as anything I have ever washed. This must have been a very well loved sheep.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Deja Vu

I seem to be coming up short all over the place this week. First it was misjudging those Corridale batts. Now look at what happened to my Gulf Coast socks. That string hanging from the toe is all I have left. I would like a toe on this sock. It's mate has a toe - so now what? I have washed some more of the raw fleece but matching the colors is going to be a real problem. I am in total awe of people who dye things for a living. I can't even imagine how disciplined you have to be to come up with things that actually match.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is That All There Is?

I just learned the hard way that 4 ounces of raw fiber equals a very little bit of yarn. Here are the singles I spun from my cinnamon mini batts. I usually order 4 oz of roving and manage to get enough for some socks, a hat or some mittens but I must have lost a lot of fluff in the processing. I am itching to ply this but now I am going to have to wait until several more ounces of Corriedale dries and joins the party. I am deeply regretting that I did not document the dyeing process as I really like the colors and have no idea now how I made them.