Friday, May 27, 2011

Adirondack Interlude

Baz, Jim and I managed to get up into the north country for 2 days last weekend.  The weather report for up there was about the same as here, rain and maybe rain but a few degrees cooler.  We decided we could stay dry or wet as well up there and at the same time get a bit of change for 48 hours.

We got most of the stuff unloaded and into the cottage before this deluge hit.

These pics were taken in full color.

It didn't rain all the time, just felt like it was going to.  We managed to attend the Mountain Man Canoe and Kayak Festival and take a nice walk in the woods.
The rain has produced the most wonderful shades of green and since it hasn't been hot much yet, the wildflowers are still blooming.

foam flower

blooming spring viburnum

violets and trout lily

tiny white violets

 star flower

 red trillium

Oh and some knitting, of course.
toe up socks with a cableless cable in Bistro Woody.

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are putting together baby showers for military wives all over the country, Joining Forces.  Each woman receives a very nice layette for her expected little bundle Pajamas, Baby Gown, Blanket-swaddle or sleep sack, Blanket-lovie, Blanket-Large for stroller or floor, Onsies, Baby Outfits, Socks-2pr., Hats-2, Shoes-Pre Walker. 
I belong to Knitters for Obama online in Ravelry, where we do service knitting along with political support.  We have committed to making 100 pairs of baby socks plus 100 swaddle/sacks and as many blankets as we can.  If you are interested in helping you needn't be a member, just send the item to me and I will mail it along with mine.
The kick sack started above is meant to use up leftover sock (washable) yarn on size 4 needles.  Easy knit so I did most of what you see on the drive up and back (only 8 more inches to go).  We need to have our items in to our Missouri rep by the end of August.  I hope we meet the challenge.

And- since I am counting this as my May knitting present project, it should be done soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Alas the Bistro Shawlette v8 has been ripped ripped ripped.

At some point realization set in that the design was too complex for my mood.  I did not want a pattern that tied me to a table following at least 2 charts, maybe 3.  It was pretty but not what I had envisioned.

So with that dawning light and a glass of wine ....

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I love designing patterns.  There are so many parts.  It's like putting a puzzle together only I get to make the pieces.  Challenging, fun, creative.

I thought of a shawlette knit from the yarn I made from Bistro bfl/silk plied with alpaca/corriedale (see previous post).  I could just see it in my mind but when I went to chart it in my design book it morphed a bit.  Then my normally succinct design sense flew out the window and I waffled on which patterns to use.  Sheesh.  Hours were spent pouring through Barbara Walker's stitch books along with several others.  Finally I took myself down to Panera's to spend a couple of hours with no distractions and came up with a plan.  These crossed out, erased, rewritten notes, after about 2 hours with Knit Visualizer, became Version 1 below.

v1  At least it got blocked so it counts as a swatch.

Well it didn't take me long to realize I needed to use a smaller needle (US7) and modify a couple of things.  This became the modus operandi for this piece.

Version 4 is below.


By yesterday I had frogged v1, 2 (was just typos and recharting so not knit), 3, 4, 5 (was similar to 2) and 6.  Fortunately each time I could see the problem before I had done more than 25 rows so only a few hours were ripped back.

Just how many iterations could there be before I got this pattern right?
V7 was to be IT.  I was sure.  
Past Row 25 and onto fresh yarn from all the kinky stuff I had been reusing.

Row 36 brought me to a good stopping point as I was anxious to see a completely knit pattern set and excited to have moved on.  The coloring is working out really well, with nice bands of striping. I went to bed rather tired so left the shawlette to critically look at today.

The light of morning shone on the fact that we were back to Square 1 and my good friend Knit Visualizer.

Monday, May 9, 2011


One of my favorite things to do at a Fiber Fair is to trade products with another vendor who likes my stuff as well as I like theirs.

Karin, who runs Sprit Wind Farm, uses some of my colorways to enhance her naturally colored batts.  It gives the batts bits of color here and there, kinda like mat finished sparkles.  She was another vendor at Artistry in Thread.

Usually time has to be found early in the day to go and pick out stuff as I rarely leave my booth during fair times but at this one alas, there was plenty of time to choose.  Karin had time also.  Once we were settled on our choices, I wrote up an invoice and she did too.  Then we swapped and whomever had a balance needed to pay up.  This one came out in my favor.  :^)

I chose some silver alpaca blended with fine corriedale for myself

plus some deep grey baby alpaca blended with merino to spin up for my sister.  This stuff is incredibly soft with some lanolin left in.  My hands are going to be like a baby's after spinning it.

The last week was spent spinning 4.5oz  of the silver blend, with an eye toward fingering yarn. I then plied it with some blue face/silk dyed to Bistro and spun almost as fine.

The resulting ball weighs in at heavy fingering or light sport weight yarn.  Close. Cool.

A faroese shawlette is planned for this yarn as as soon as I can decide on which stitch patterns to use. Then a swatch can be made.  Although I am so chomping at the bit it's gonna be hard to take that necessary time.  Usually I'm not a wishy washy decider but, as you can see, a whole lot of stickies have been used on possibilities.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dissaproving Rabbits

"The time has come", the Walrus said..........."To speak of many things............"
And the time sure came to groom Keeper and Gummy. Since angoras love winter, the colder the better, they work up a nice furry undercoat through those months.

Then comes a slow time of late winter/early spring when they start to adjust and then release a lot of that furriness.  However this spring the weather has been rather unpredictable.  We had a couple of 75 degree days where I even put a fan on the buns.  Char and I were having trouble connecting for her to come groom the girls but we were both worried about how much matting Keeper would make with her coat blowing out.  

Last Wednesday, Char called and said she could come over late morning, so I made time and we sat on the deck with the buns. Well.... that is after we caught Keeper.  Those girls will come for snacks but they have never liked sitting on laps and are so fast.  So really fast, that catching them for grooming is a comedy.

However catch Keeper we did.
This is one very Disapproving Rabbit. (I should probably submit this photo to the Disapproving Rabbit website.)

She mats so easily as her fur is super fine.  Not only did she have mats she also had dreadlocks on her head.  All winter, every few days, I would sneak a scissors out with me, feed her a green bean, pet her and then, as I was bringing the scissors forward, disappear she would go. Rabbits are a lot brighter than the press gives them credit for.

Char had to shear and comb and shear and comb and shear and shear this poor girl. She really was extremely patient for about an hour. Then she decided she had had enough.  Keeper began digging and then without warning, bite down on Char's jeans.   We added a towel to Char's lap and my job became not only the fur holder but also the one to replace the towel in time to keep the bite to the towel.
Notice that bit of blue?

Eventually Keeper was as groomed as we could get for the nonce.

We gave her a green bean and let her go.  She hid for all of 5 minutes and then was back watching the game on Gummy.

Gumdrop does not have as much or as fine a coat so rarely mats.  She was done in 10 minutes.
Feisty little girl too.

In another couple of weeks, Keeper will look more presentable but be infinitely cooler.

  Meanwhile I have lots more angora to blend into Pixie Batts.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quoth the Raven

Jim and I spent a lot of hours during the past few weeks readying ourselves and our products for Artistry in Thread - A Fiber Arts Celebration at the Rochester Museum  and Science Center.  We sent out emails announcing it and the debut of Jim's new wheel (write to Susan for more info).

When we register for shows, part of what we are paying is expected to go to advertising.  This year the fee was upped quite a bit and we were told the increase was earmarked for advertising.  When we do out of town shows our costs skyrocket - motel for 2 nights, eating out for 2-3 days, gas there and back, U-Haul rental, booth rental, undyed fiber costs, wood costs, etc.  We do not complain because the results are usually more than adequate and we thank you all for coming.

Friday afternoon we set up at the museum.  

On one of our trips to the SUV I saw a big black bird in the grass which turned out to be a raven.  Ravens don't often live in cities.  

 For some reason the people in charge thought we would all be done setting up by 4.  Never mind that some of us come a distance and some have day jobs so don't arrive before 2.  Still at 4:15 we were being told we shoulda been outta there already.  This was our 4th time at this show but the first with these crazy hours and the second with it being run by folks who don't know much about putting shows together.  We then left a few things to be done in the morning.

As we were driving down East Ave toward our motel we saw the billboard sign outside the museum entrance announcing:

Artistry in Thread
April 30, May 1
11- 4
Wrong - as Sat was supposed to be 10 - 4.

Another tell tale item - the museum website only posted the show on their home page last Monday.

The owner of our motel had not heard anything nor seen anything about this show.

Our guild was not officially notified except for me and neither were any of the guilds in Syracuse or Elmira or Canandaigua.

Looking out the window of our motel room I watched a lone raven walking around and pecking in the grass for quite a while.

Saturday morning we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast.  Their credit card machine was not working so we used some of our vending cash for breakfast.  I decided to go pee before we headed out of there but the handle on the Women's Room door was missing.

 We were all set up by 9 and, despite the signs, ready for a good day.
By noon we had seen but a few souls. Jim filled a spindle.

In the afternoon on Saturday, Kristin came by with miracle baby Julia.  Julia was born last November at 1.5 pounds but was due in February. This beautiful feisty miss now weighs in at 9 pounds.

 I got to feed her most of a bottle and hold her while she slept.  Kristin remarked that at any other fair she just says hi 'cause I am so busy I can't stop for very long to socialize.  BTW this is one knitted for baby. She has enough blankies and sweaters to last until age 2 (mostly in purples and pinks).

 I want to show you how much knitting I accomplished on Sat and Sunday.  That's most of a sock foot, done in Bistro.  It takes hours to knit that many stitches, the majority of which was done at the show. I always take knitting but usually get to work maybe 2 rounds, if that.  Oh and the cables are mock cables, done without a cable needle over 4 stitches.  Very fun to do if you have very pointy needles, which I do.

What little traffic there was during the show did purchase and try out Jim's new wheel but there were maybe 100 people in 2 days?  Sorry no.
Our little Roc Day Show in cold snowy January does 2.5 times that.

So the positives are that I have very little dyeing to do to get ready for the next show in June, I got to play and visit with Julia and Kristin, we got to vend across from Anne of Watershed Designs (the project sack folk), and we had a great breakfast at a local diner with Anne, her brother and SIL.

 While one of the negatives is that we did not even meet costs. 

We probably should have heeded the raven but didn't understand the warning until too late.