Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying to Focus

It's been a crazy several weeks. Lots of kid/school related activities, Thanksgiving (hope yours was great), and the typical "getting ready for the holidays" sorts of things.

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Knitter's Review Retreat in November, and had a great time. I picked up some really beautiful yarn from String Theory to knit up the "Juneberry Triangle Shawl" designed by Jared Flood. But before I begin that project, I have Christmas gifts to complete. Fortunately, progress is being made, and if all goes well, the shawl will be under way by the new year. Of course I am also working on the Wayfarer Scarf (also by Jared Flood). I love this pattern, and it works up quickly. The trick, as with everything, is to put the priorities first.

The skies are gloomy here and attempts at photos are not yielding very good results. Next time there should be plenty to show off. Until then, wishing you success in completing your holiday knitting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Joyful Heart


It might sound corny, but autumn really makes my heart swell. The colors are astounding, and I have to watch that I don't veer off the road while marvelling at a really great shade of red on an oak. The evenings are brisk and clear, although I do regret the shortening amount of daylight. And one of my favorite events, the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival is this coming weekend.

We have been going to this event for 20+ years, and even the kids look forward to going (no small feat considering the array of other choices that do not involve the viewing of farm animals). Having grown up in a house filled with wool, spinning wheels and knitting needles, I guess this just seems like a normal extension for them. This year, I'm really excited to say that some of my yarns will be in attendance. They can be found at The Spinning Room's booth, located in Building A, spot 25. I hope you'll drop by to support this great local yarn shop!

Many of the new yarns haven't made it to the website yet - some have been sold out before they got there, and others were delivered to the shop. This is one colorway that was inspired by the fields of goldenrod against a cloudless blue sky:



I hope you are enjoying as much time as you can taking in the colors and the crisp air. Soon we will be firing up the woodstove, but then, each season has its own particular joys.

Peace & Love

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Almost Fall

We're only 2 days away from the official start of Autumn. This is my favorite season. As you might have guessed, it's the colors that really top the list. But there's also the apples, cooler nights, mums, pumpkins... And the knitting! I have a few projects going, all in various states of completion. I was all set to take some photos, but the battery has died and I'll have to wait for it to recharge.

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone that stopped by our booth at the MCHS Craft Fair. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces, and I appreciate your patronage.

The dyepots are simmering again - some of the colorways sold out entirely, so it's time to replenish. Next in the pots is a lovely DK blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon. It's got a great springiness to it and is super soft. Heavier weight socks, arm warmers and neck warmers would be perfect with this yarn.

Pictures coming soon - in the meantime, get your fingers limbered up - it's knitting season!

Peace & Love

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zoom zoom



My summer is feeling like a Mazda commercial - zooming away... Three weeks until school starts for the kids, and the days will return to some form of routine. Despite feeling like a social secretary for them, I will miss their company when they are gone for 7+ hours out of the day.

There's been LOTS of dyeing (see wild purples above), as I'm preparing for the 46th Annual Craft Days in Oneida, NY on Sept. 11 and 12. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello - I'm in spot 305.

At the beginning of the month, I joined my LYS's knitalong for the Mythos cardigan. Progress is slow but steady (see social secretary note above). While I haven't made it to many of the support gatherings, knowing that there is a group of us working on the same project is an impetus to not lag behind on this.

And I also decided to join in the August wool-a-long which is part of the Knitter's Book of Wool group on Ravelry. The August breed is Shetland, which ranks among my favorite breeds. I also love Finnsheep, Icelandic, North Ronaldsay and Romney. Truth be told, I love sheep of all kinds.

In need of some Shetland, I immediately thought of my friend Eileen, who has a flock of sheep, including Shetlands. And she often has roving. Lucky for me, she had some beautiful silvery gray which has "lace" written all over it. I've got 4 ounces spun - isn't that beautiful stuff? Eileen and her family have had a booth at Rhinebeck for several years - it's Weston Hill Farm, Bldg. A, spots 32-33. Stop by this October and check out her beautiful rovings, and their farm raised herbs, garlic and honey!




Hope your summer is going well.

Peace & Love

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finis (Sort of)

Last day of the Tour de Fleece (and Tour de France as well) - my spinning progress was good, but did not entirely meet my overly ambitious challenge. A week of vacation in Maine, and a week of running kids back and forth to camp cut into my activities a bit (not to mention to regular day to day things that also had to be done). My family indulges my obsession with knitting/spinning/dyeing, but they also think I should cook for them on a regular basis...

I was happy to finish spinning a pound of Bluefaced Leicester/Angora blend. It's got a brown base, with red, yellow and lavender bits of angora slubs which make for a tweedy looking yarn. I spun singles and will probably use this for a shawl of some sort. There are approximately 1200 yards here.



While on vacation, I used my drop spindle to spin some very pretty dyed merino. There is still some left to go, but today's activities mean that I will have to make this my official count for the challenge. There are roughly 100 yards spun here:



Also accomplished in this time period was a version of the "Annis" wrap found in the last issue of Knitty. That still needs to be blocked.

Not too bad. It was nice to have the challenge, which is always good incentive to work on things. And now I'm off to an All-Star Little League game...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tour de Fleece



I have 3 bobbins full of this BFL/Angora blend. I've had the roving in my stash for quite some time - had started it, then put it away. The Tour de Fleece gives me the perfect opportunity to finish spinning it. When that's done, I'll move on to some North Ronaldsay that I have, and maybe finally get around to a few ounces of Finn that still needs to be carded...

Having a reason to spin every day puts more urgency on it, rather than spinning when the mood strikes. I'll be switching to my drop spindle when we head to Maine. That will slow things a bit, but I also like the portability of the spindle and maybe I'll take a break from biking to spin.



To wrap things up, here's our cat on a hot tin roof. He was up higher, but got himself down to this shed-roof where I was able to pluck him off. Every day a new adventure.

Peace & Love

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer's Here

Wow, what a fast couple of months! Baseball has concluded and the kids are out of school for the summer. It seems that every year goes by quickly, but this one was particularly so.

Here's the latest:



A sampling of my yarns can now be found at The Spinning Room in Altamont, NY. I love this shop and the owner, Liz Cassidy, is fabulous - so warm and friendly. The place just oozes with good karma, so head on over if you're in the area.

Here's another shot of the shop -



I tell my kids that you learn something every day. Here's what I've learned about my knitting over the last few weeks -

At this moment in time, I am not a cable-knitter. I attempted a very lovely scarf found in A Fine Fleece, but I discontinued my efforts after the sense that I wasn't making swift progress. I just couldn't get my fingers to function while working with the cable needle, and before I became completely disillusioned with the idea of knitting cables, ripped it back to start something new.

My present mode of thinking finds cables "fiddly", so I have reverted to lace (I know, a lot of people think that's fiddly with all the counting and charts...). Here's a quick knitting scarf in a yarn I dyed:



It's nearly done, so I'll snap another shot once it's blocked.

Happy summer! Hope you are enjoying some time outside.

Peace & Love

Monday, May 17, 2010

May update

May is always crazy - lots of important dates, coupled with the start of Little League season make for a fast-paced month. As each year passes, I find this quickened pace to be more disconcerting. Or perhaps it is not the pace of time that has changed, but my own slowing down that gives me the sense that I am not keeping up. Anyway, here's what's new:



Opening day of Little League season, complete with skydivers. For the first time in a long time, the weather was glorious - tee shirts and shorts (and sunburn). That was Saturday. By Thursday, we were back to parkas (really), and gale force winds.

Moving right along to Mother's Day - this year abdicated in favor of our anniversary. (Last year abdicated in favor of Alex's birthday - the first time since he was born to have the dates fall together again). Actually, we sort of abdicated everything to make it a "get out of the house so we don't have to listen to the godawful wind rattling the house and window screens".

Next day, Alex's birthday, in which he received the much sought-after iPod Touch. A pooling of gift money and the balance being contributed by us. I was leery of the addictive qualities of these devices, but must admit it's pretty cool. And he is doing a pretty good job of putting it down in favor of outside pursuits. It's only been a week, so I can't fault him too much.

In between these activities, and the other stuff I like to refer to as "things that must get done" (or work), I have been dyeing many new colorways:


I'm really happy with the results - watercolor effects on organic merino. Reskeining still underway; superwash merino sock yarn in the pipeline - those colors will be much more saturated.

And the final update - this past weekend's activies in which Alison's birthday gift was secured. She is now the proud owner of 2 gerbils. Regretably, the first pair we brought home had to be returned due to tiny mites that we had not interest in letting into our home. Luckily, we found a locally owned pet shop on Sunday - Benson's Pet Center - that had gerbils. This is a wonderful store and if you are in the Albany area, this is the place to go for your pet needs. Pictures to follow of the latest additions. They are cute...

Peace & Love

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quandry



Now that spring is here, I am like a deer in the headlights, not knowing which way to go. Suddenly, the grass is growing, which will mean cutting it before it gets out of control. This can happen overnight - one minute the blades of grass are 3 inches high, the next day, they're 10. There's a garden plot to get ready, the filling in of ruts made by tractor tires, and a grocery list of other chores to get underway. Add in the start of Little League season, and school related activities, and you've got yourself a packed calendar.

I must remember to follow my own advice - prioritize first, act second. It is so easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of things to be done. Viewed individually, they aren't so bad. And my attitude has changed a lot on what's really important. Enjoying the company of a friend takes precedence over cleaning the house any day. I could spend half my life picking things up around here, only to have "tidiness" for half an hour before the clutter process begins again.

Here is an example of what I clutter the house with:


This is the Tibetan Clouds Shawl from "The Knitter's Book of Wool". I am making slow progress (because I've picked up two other projects to work on at the same time), and am anxious to see the yarn "bloom". I'm using Harrisville Design's Shetland, kntting off the cone. This yarn is more compact, and when it is soaked, it will plump up a bit and develop a bit of a halo.

The dyepots are also kicking into high gear. I'm dyeing organic merino wool, and the results so far are making me happy. One batch reminds me of the lichen found in the woods - olive green, a hint of blue, a bit of gray/brown... Some seem so easy to name, and others I feel I should just give a random number to, like "X-29" for the batch that has varying shades of orchid and blue.

Onward to outdoor pursuits, and ignoring the dust. (It just aggravates my allergies, so better to leave it undisturbed)

Peace & Love

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blocked

I love how a lace shawl transforms from a crumply batch of stitches into such a graceful looking piece. I'm really happy with the results.



A pair of socks using Cat Bordhi's personal footprint technique made their way to my Mom. It's easy to knit up socks or mittens or a hat for her because if it fits me, it will fit her.

The Tibetan Clouds Shawl, from The Knitters Book of Wool is underway. I'm enjoying "paying attention" to this project as I did the previous shawl. Where I will wear these, I'm not sure. If any glamorous dinners pop up, I'll be ready!

Spring is on the way - this may be the first Easter in a long time that we will actually be able to wear spring clothes. I expect it will snow again shortly thereafter...

Happy Spring to everyone!
Peace & Love

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring!

Spring officially began this past weekend, and it actually felt like spring in our neck of the woods. In fact, for the last week it has been lovely - sunshine and temperatures above 50. There is still snow in the fields, but with the rain that is expected this week, maybe that will finally disappear.




Finished the Aeolian shawl, although I have not yet blocked it. This shot is the "off the needles" version. After many errors on my part, I finally got into the swing of the pattern and found that I truly enjoyed the symmetry of the design. I have just cast on the Tibetan Clouds Shawl, found in Clara Parkes' "The Knitter's Book of Wool" (which is a really great book!). If you want to knit this, be sure to check the pattern errata - there were a couple of omissions to the chart in the book. Happily, I was only puzzled for about 5 minutes before I decided to check for updates. As the pattern is a mirror image on either side of center, it isn't difficult to catch something that doesn't match up.

We've been basking in the sun - taking advantage of getting outside to do some chores while the getting is good. Our hill, while beautiful, lags behind in temperature and growing season. Plans for a vegetable garden are unfolding, and we'll work on it as conditions allow. It's risky to put things in the ground before Memorial Day - we've had wet snow in mid-May before, killing the tomato plants that I was sure were off to a good start.

Hoping you are enjoying a bit of a lift - I'm happy to bid winter farewell.

Peace & Love
Liz

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic-sized storm





Over the last 5 days, we've had unrelenting snow. 3 plus feet fell, and required Herculean efforts by DH to maintain access to the outside world. The photo above shows the birdfeeder that is typically 5 feet off the ground. The crows were seen walking over to it to investigate if any seeds were left. I'll need the snowshoes to get to them with a refill. And Alex was able to walk onto the barn roof...

As for the Aeolian Shawl - my Knitting Olympics project - I have not completed it yet, but I'm midway through the edging. I'm really happy with my efforts, though.

Here's what I think about the challenge -

It was a great motivator to commit more time to finishing up one of the many knitting projects that resides in my home. While other obligations took precedence over knitting, I tried to get in at least 1 row a day. While I didn't win a medal, I enjoyed the process and being part of the "team" of knitters who also embarked on the challenge.

I thought a lot about what this knitting addiction is, and what I came away with was this - it is a sustaining force in my life. It has been with me through thick and thin - happy moments and sad, and everything in-between. Hats, mittens, socks, scarves, sweaters - they are a chronicle of the events of more than half a lifetime. Each piece has its own story, and like photographs, conjure up their own special memories. I hope your projects do the same for you.

Peace & Love

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympics - 5; Knitting - 2

I've watched some part of the Olympics since the opening ceremonies Friday evening. But I have not knit on my project every evening. My excuses include: too late; too dark; too tired. A daytime (Sunday) attempt to work on the Aeolian shawl resulted in discovering another error, then ripping back 6 rows to the lifeline. I have added a ton of stitch markers in an attempt to not lose my place entirely when someone yells "Hey, Ma..."

It is an interesting phenomena that everyone in the house will be engaged in some absorbing activity until I sit down to work on this shawl. It is the same sort of thing as my dog hearing my eyes open in the morning and needing to be let out RIGHT THIS SECOND!

My second day of knitting was confirmation that I seem to (finally) be able to progress through the chart with a minimum of difficulty. Just like those skiers (skaters, snowboarders) picking themselves up after a fall and carrying on.

Knitting awaits (and everyone seems occupied at the moment)!

Peace & Love

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter (and Knitting) Olympics Begin Today!


This is a completed scarf, worked in brioche stitch with Sundara Yarn in "Mint Julep". I loved working this - it was quick and easy, and had terrific results.

I decided to join the Knitting Olympics - I needed the support (peer pressure) of others and the knowledge that I was not alone in this endeavour. My commitment to myself is to complete the Aeolian shawlette that I cast on months ago. It has been ripped back at least a half dozen times (I apparently have counting issues), and my aggravation with myself made me put this project aside. But it is so lovely, and is certainly not out of the realm of knitting possibility for me. So I will be carefully and methodically working to complete this piece before the closing ceremonies. Wish me luck! It's entirely possible that I will have to knit this in a closet (with a very bright light). If you know my children, just remind them not to speak to me within the next 17 days if I am knitting...

Peace & Love

Sunday, January 10, 2010


These are Alex's socks - completed earlier in the week. He is very happy with them, and I'll be curious to see how they fare...

Working on a brioche stitch scarf - simple and straightforward to work on while "watching" television. Alison is making her own pair of socks (with some help) - she's a natural, just needs some refinement and a longer attention span. I'm glad she thinks knitting is fun (she even wanted to know when we'd be going to the yarn shop again). I predict a lifelong interest, which will insure that I will have someone to drive me to the yarn shops when I am old and in need of sharper eyes.

The weather seems to be the only news event around here for the past 3 weeks. *Cold, wind, snow* repeat again and again and again. The wind has been particularly trying - I have a real phobia of it. Thought for sure we'd wake up in Oz one morning. There's just a light breeze today, bringing the wind chill to about 5. Looking forward to a warm up into the 20's. In the meantime, there is wool!

Peace & Love,
Liz

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy 2010


The holiday rush is over - I am always stunned by the flurry of activity leading up to Christmas, and then that odd sense (anticlimax)of having it all over in a day. Not so this year. First, I did not overwhelm myself with as many activities (card writing, baking, school functions) as I have in years past. Second, we celebrated for a week with friends and family, so it was not just one day of festivities, but many.

The picture you see above was frozen fog - that was the scene Christmas morning. It was a beautiful scene. I wish I could say that the weather has been kind to us, but it is still windy as I write this. Being on top of a hill, with little in the way of trees around us, the house has been battered by the high winds that have been the ongoing story here. I know it's been unpleasant everywhere - maybe the storm systems will let up now that they have reminded us all that we are very small indeed, compared to the forces of nature.

In knitting news, I am nearly finished with Alex's socks. He is dying to wear them, though I fear that they will not be long for this world with what he does to socks. I think he can wear a hole in the toes and heels just by looking at them. No matter, they are meant to bring warmth and love.

More pictures soon - the holiday knitting didn't get photo'd for fear of being seen by its recipients.

Hoping this finds you well and in good spirits. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

Peace & Love,
Liz