Archive for November, 2009

well, that was fun

Monday, November 30th, 2009

whew, what a weekend; thank you for your patience during our travels and family time. no matter how long a trip we have, it seems to fly by in a rush of people, places, and things to do, always with less time than i expect for keeping in touch.

the day after thanksgiving was devoted to visiting the cemetery, as we do every year, to arrange some colorful holiday cheer at the graves of our family members. i took a whole lot of photographs while we were there, which i’ll put together in a later post.

afterward, we had a nice visit with my cousin, lynn, also a knitter, who came for lunch. my mom opened her cedar chest to show us some of her linens and vintage knits she’s saved over the years—both lynn and myself received gifts from that sorting out session, which i’m looking forward to sharing, though i need to go through them and take some pictures first.

what i DO have pictures of for today is is our fun, FUN visit to trumpet hill yarn shop, where we put on a little trunk show and socialized with customers and staff for a few hours on saturday.

this beautiful, charming, shop is located in colonie, NY (really close to my mom’s house, yay!) and offers a welcoming haven to every knitter with its gorgeous selection of yarns and projects

comfortable seating near the fireplace and regularly-scheduled knitting activities (knit nights, classes, etc), and its friendly, energetic, and knowledgeable staff

that’s robena, the owner, next to me with celeste and jean.
they are always smiling just like that; how can you not love them?

david came along for the morning’s festivities to join in the fun and take pictures; isn’t he a sweetheart? he started right away while i was unpacking and arranging the shawls and sweaters on the table.

we had it all looking good in about half an hour, at least for a few moments before the crowd arrived

and there was a crowd—robena did an amazing job of getting the word out and before we knew it the place was packed. it was amazing; thank you to everyone who came to see my work and enjoy the morning.

here i am talking to my cousins hal and peggy; she’s an enthusiastic knitter and he enjoys it as a spectator sport (but he knows an awful lot about it for someone who doesn’t knit).

a knitting circle formed at the back of the shop which grew to quite a good size, everyone sharing project progress and banter.

and loads of knitters from all over the capital district were there, too. it was so much fun to talk to each person about their work and the kinds of projects they like to make.

the knits were well-fondled and appreciated—it’s really an experience to see everything in person. that goes for me too; i met plenty of knitters who are regular blog readers and finally put some faces to names.

the pattern counter was busy, busy—that’s my cousin lynn chatting and comparing patterns with a few other customers. i swear though, we did not pad the crowd with a lot of family—almost everyone who attended was someone i didn’t know, heh.

i’m going to confess right up front that, though i did ask almost everyone their name, my memory is in shreds today and i can’t remember most of them, to my complete mortification. must make an effort to write those things down in the future.

i feel especially bad about the lady i’m speaking to on the left here in the pink shawl—she drove hours from montreal and was so nice to talk to and much as i wrack my brain today, i can’t come up with her name. ack.

and this lady too; she just could not stay away from the maplewing shawl—it was love at first sight for the two of them and she came back to look it over at least six times. she was a little unsure, but pat (left) and i talked her into trying it. in my experience, if you love something that much, you WILL find the drive and skills within yourself to knit it. we found a pretty skein of mountain colors winter lace for her shawl and i hope she sends me update photos (and her name, darn it).

i tried on the sweaters over and over so people could see what they looked like “on”; there were quite a few experienced and aspiring sweater knitters in the group

we talked shaping and fit

i had a chat with jean about finishing, one of my favorite aspects of sweater knitting. here we are, taking a close look at the way the pockets are sewn to the front of my jackie. it’s probably the trickiest part of the whole darn sweater, but if you get it right, they look amazing.

i’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is seth aaron (thanks robena), who is knitting elm row

i answered lots of questions about specific patterns—i think knitters are often amazed at how easy lace can be—with fingering yarn and a good pattern, even simpler stitch motifs can be combined to make something stunning that looks much more complex than its construction would lead you to think.

here we are discussing how the dovecote shawl and birnum wood wrap are examples of this—a very simple, repetitive diamond motif, arranged in three different ways and no lace knitting on the wrong side. almost any intermediate knitter can do it. yet, our extremely experienced test knitter, karolyn, enjoyed it so much, she’s knit three of them (that i know of, haha), so we also know it has a universal appeal.

of course, not everyone present was interested in yarn or knitting, but the awesome refreshments provided a pleasant distraction for those that did not. maybe some day, this little one will look up and take an interest in what’s happening right above her head—the exposure can’t hurt (and linking knitting with cake helps, too).

it was truly a fun and inspiring day—i am so glad we were invited to visit the trumpet hill shop. i’ll be back there again in late february to offer a weekend of workshops; we have lots of interest in bringing some sweater and lace classes at that time, yay.

after the trunk show we packed up and headed back to my mom’s for our last night in town. we had a quiet dinner and then knit while we watched TV. though i didn’t nearly finish all the projects i brought along, i did a respectable job of finalizing quite a few over this weekend.

my holidazed socks are done; i had about four inches of the leg completed on the second one when we started our trip home yesterday. because david kindly drove the whole way, i was able to finish it by the time it got dark.

and not a moment too soon—the temperature is dropping rapidly today and i can put them right into circulation. they are just the sort of useful, functional sock i wear every day in winter. the springy STR lightweight is comfortable and the fit is perfect.

i finished my paris-roubaix red scarf the morning after thanksgiving. it measures 6.5 by 65 inches and is knit in soft malabrigo worsted (sealing wax colorway).

the red scarf emergency KAL over at the knitspot ravelry group is a raging success—thanks to all who have joined or who are going to join up! this is a fun way to share your progress and feel inspired while you knit your scarf. the knitspot group is a bunch of really fun knitters, too; you won’t be able to leave after the KAL is over!
i have a short list of prizes offered by myself and some friends that i’ll post there later today or tomorrow (as soon as i feel caught up around here). to be eligible to win, you must post a photo of a completed scarf, ready for donation by december 15th.

after we got in, got settled, and had something to eat last night, i went upstairs and tossed the stash, looking for more red yarn. i have some briar rose charity in the perfect quantity, left over from david’s christmas 2007 sweater. after i worked on my henley a bit, i started another red scarf in the tweed rib stitch pattern i used for the jackie and whitfield jackets. it’s going to be pretty handsome i think . . . i actually had quite a bit more knit on it but i ripped back to make it narrower; my many mis-starts have been the theme of the weekend and this scarf is no exception, i guess.

my cornrows hat and mitten set is done, too. the hat could actually be a teensy bit bigger, so i wrote a few more sts into the pattern based on the way it fits me now and i may reknit it later this week or next to make it exactly the way i want it. but for the time being, it’s fine; we can take pictures as it is and the pattern is all set with the final numbers that i like. i just have to submit it one more time for proofing of the changes i’ve made over the last few days.

and now the mittens fit great—it was worth making the fixes i wanted (and so it will be for the hat). again, these are the type of pieces i use the most—dense, warm, functional, but not without charm. the tealiscious colorway will really pop with my deep plum ski jacket.

i worked a lot on my henley sweater over the weekend as well, but most of it got ripped out! i had several false starts on the front, reknitting it all the way to the waist no less than three times. i thought i was having gauge issues and kept restarting with different stitch counts, hoping to solve it. turns out it wasn’t me at all—it was an issue with one of the yarn skeins and since i kept using the same one each time, i kept having problems. i finally noticed what was wrong on the third pass. DUH. i got that straightened out and to get things off on a better path, i started a sleeve with a different skein, while i wait for a replacement skein from catherine. i figure i’m better off sticking with what works for now, heh.

all is going well with it and from here, progress should be MUCH better on the rest.

ok, time for me to teach my monday class already—this day is flying by. see you next time.

how can i serve you?

Friday, November 27th, 2009

well, yesterday was a whirlwind of dinner preparations and then a tornado of serving and eating, once the family and guests arrived. we spent the morning prepping the last of the dishes to be served, cooking what we could ahead of time, and getting the turkey in the oven.

by noon, the table was set and my mom was off to take communion to the nursing home, so i took a few shots during the pre-dinner peace and quiet

all over the kitchen, bowls lined up ready for arrangements of shrimp cocktail, serving dishes lined up to receive vegetables and other side dishes

and anticipation was building toward the big moment.

we had a short lull when everything that could be done was done and the guests had not arrived yet, so we sat down to knit for an hour or so

wednesday night i got my red scarf a little past the halfway point at around 34 inches. it’s posed here atop an afghan that my mom uncovered recently when foraging in her cedar chest. it’s a beauty—knit in strips of various patterns. she usually doesn’t knit with wool, but she says she got the yarn for 25 cents a skein, so she couldn’t pass that up.

this was the last of the quiet moments of the day—once the guests and the kids arrived, it got too chaotic (and dark) to take pictures, really. anika brought her “gratitude journal” which she wrote and illustrated in school (first grade) and arjun brought a star wars DVD to watch with “mr. uncle david” and the star wars encyclopedia we gave him for his birthday. they were completely entertaining for all of us to be with.

hours of eating, drinking, and cleanup later (honestly, i was amazed that we were able to return the house to its normal state), we finally collapsed into our chairs for a little TV and some more knitting.

i juuuust about finished my scarf up, but not quite—by midnight, i couldn’t keep my eyes open any more, no matter how much i wanted to finish it. it’s 58 inches now and i have just that one last ball of red yarn to go, so i think i’ll knit til it’s gone. today it will be done for sure . . .

if you’d like to join us over at ravelry for the red scarf emergency KAL, click here to see the details and join the fun. THANK YOU to all who have signed up and got clicking and to the generous yarnies that have offered prizes; your support is SO appreciated.

tomorrow, i’ll be bringing a trunk show to trumpet hill yarn shop from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm; please stop by if you are in the area to say hi and browse their selection of beautiful yarns. i don’t know if my mom will come along, but david will be there, too and we look forward to seeing you then!

happy birthdy, p-hop

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

today i am guest posting at p-phop; please take a moment to click the cupcake above and take a look!
p-hop is an organized effort on the part of knitters and designers to raise funds for medicins sans frontieres (MSF); you can learn more about it here.

red scarf emergency

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

my scarf for the OFA red scarf fund drive has been growing, with a row added here and a row added there throughout our travels. the other night we took my mom and my aunt to the movies and i knit a couple of repeats while we waited for it to start (i’m not really into knitting during the film, but it was way too dark in there anyhow).

when i was writing about it today, i went to norma’s blog to get a link and found the following important announcement:norma says that the scarf drive is in dire need of more scarves. apparently, it has not been a good year for collecting and they are very short of their goal.

so please, if you can find it in your heart and hands to make a quick scarf and mail it by december 15th, will you consider supporting the drive in this way?

these scarves are included (along with other goodies) in care packages that are sent to hardworking college kids who have aged out of the foster care system and therefore, do not have a family network supporting their progress. OFA makes sure that these kids have scholarships, supplies, counseling, and other things they need to finish their education; it is a most worthy cause.

your scarf does not have to be red or fancy in any way! a simple unisex scarf in a gender-neutral color, fiber, and stitch pattern is perfect—the guidelines and address for sending are in norma’s post today, along with a list of free patterns that you can use. it’s a great stash-buster project and something you can make a lot of headway on over thanksgiving (maybe even by knitting with friends and family instead of shopping!). you might even have one stashed away for gifting that would be perfect.

i was going to knit on other things tonight and tomorrow, but instead, i think i’ll boogie on my scarf—that might give me time to knit another one by the deadline, once i get home. wanna join me for a red scarf mini KAL?? how about if we have a prize?? pleeeze?

here’s what we’ll do: we’ll create a stickied thread in the the knitspot ravelry group where you can post a photo of your completed red scarf project and chat with other participants. everyone who commits to making a scarf can participate there, but only those that post a photo of a completed scarf will be eligible for a drawing to be held at the end.

on december 16th, we’ll pull one name from the ravelry thread (it MUST be someone who posted a completed scarf) and send that person a wonderful surprise package.