Archive for February, 2010

i might get a medal after all

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

because it’s been such a busy trip, my olympic goal—to finish five socks and knit a hat for david—has not really been at the forefront of my thoughts this week. despite my lack of focus on it, bit by bit, my knitting has progressed and if david drives most of the way home (so i can knit), i might actually finish.

and with a hat like this, who wouldn’t want to support a knitter’s dream of getting gold?? this was knit with a special skein from chris at briar rose, dyed on super-squishy mountain meadows merino worsted. i don’t think she has it listed in her online shop, but it may be something you’d see in her booth at one of the shows or possibly on chris’s page of selections from the dark side. it’s just yummy—so soft and squeezable, yet sturdy.

haha, i really love the rustic-ness of this hat—it’s perfect for david; he looks like a man of the forest in it. and he seems to like it a lot; he’s worn it nonstop since i finished it (he really needed a hat). we’ve even got plans for at least one more; maybe one that he can tuck his braid into. i knit until my yarn ran out, so the length wasn’t completely optional, but a longer one might be fun (and good for wearing in heavy snow).

once i got going on it, it knit up very quickly on 6mm needles, but my beginning was, as usual, fraught with indecision and false starts. i had to cast and reknit the first few rows on a couple of times.

then, halfway through the first repeat of the cable, i decided that i wanted the cable to cross differently, in a way that looked more “interwtwined”. i did NOT, however, want to rip back what i’d done (sixteen rows—big deal, right?)

so i commenced to doing some surgery. i dropped down a cable rib on the right side and re-crossed it the other way (under, instead of over), then worked those stitches back up

then the one on the other side needed to be recrossed to match it, so i took that one out too and changed it.

finally, the center one got changed as well (why not; as long as we’re change-happy, we might as well reconfigure the whole thing, right?).

i dropped the three knit sts of that rib down and recrossed so it went under at the center instead of over.

when i was all done, it looked like this

then i had to repeat the sequence for the big cable on the opposite side of the hat.

the whole process took about half an hour—probably almost the same as it would have taken to rip and reknit, but sooo much more interesting, heh. maybe i just wanted to see if i could do it successfully. sorta like adding a triple axel to my program, for a few extra points from the judges.

so far, i’ve finished the hat and three out of five socks. sock four is almost ready for toe shaping and sock five is completed to about halfway down the foot.
i could do it.

omg, it is STILL snowing outside—it’s been snowing all week, ever since we left hyde park on tuesday. there’s a big storm circling around and around out there and i guess it’s going to remain in place for a few more days yet. we are headed back to ohio today, too—i hope the drive home isn’t too painful, ugh.

the weekend was great—i taught classes here in albany at trumpet hill on friday evening and saturday. we had a fantastic turnout, despite the weather—i am so impressed with the intrepid upstate knitters—everyone who was supposed to come arrived with bells on and we had lots of fun.

barb, ruby, and barbie o. (otherwise known as the gang from montreal) drove four hours from canada for the full the weekend of classes. impressive, right??
i think they had a pretty fun friend’s weekend; i hope their drive home today is free of complications.

i was a little nervous friday night (it’s always like that when i first start a class), and i completely forgot to take pictures during the lace knitting class (sorry!).

saturday though, i managed a few before we got going for the day with our sweater fitness class.

we had the use of this incredible, state-of-the-art classroom room provided by berkshire bank—they make it available to groups as part of their “give-back” to their community. that’s one thing i love about where i grew up—businesses in the capitol region provide a considerable amount of community support and it makes a big difference.

that’s jen in the middle above; she came all the way from cape cod to join us! her family owns sage yarn in falmouth, MA

we had almost thirty people participate in this session and boy, did we ever dive in to fitting—these knitters were ready for it. a truly awesome day; i think most everyone went home very excited.

i had a wonderful time too—it was SO good to be teaching in my home town and i really appreciate that robena at trumpet hill provided this wonderful opportunity.

last night we celebrated my mom’s birthday by having dinner at the standard restaurant with my sister’s family and my aunt. afterward, we cut that cake i was telling you about

and finally got a chance to see what was inside

whipped cream and strawberry preserves, mmm.
i gave my mom the dark red hat and neckwarmer set i knitted last month; she loves the color of the hat (but declined to model it for the blog, haha).

it’s funny how everyone runs when i pull out my camera now . . .

well, i need to go—i have to pack up my stuff so we can get going this morning. have a great sunday and i’ll see you back in ohio.

longjohn socks

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

everyone needs a good traveling companion and for me, the longjohn socks have played that role nicely this month, when david hasn’t been along for the trip. worked in a knit/purl pattern so easy it does not require a chart, these socks can be tucked in a pocket or purse to take along on any excursion, short or long.

and i haven’t even mentioned yet how cozy-warm they are—just like real longjohns for your feet, yum. the thermal rib stitch traps warmth right where you need it for these last chilly days of winter.

shown above: size medium in shalimar yarns zoe sock (david’s favorite new sock yarn), colorway cayenne.

shown below: size small in shalimar yarns zoe sock, colorway catalina.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

kristi johnson’s beautiful, hand dyed shalimar yarns can be found at many local and online retailers, including her own eleganza yarn shop in frederick, MD. you can also see them on ravelry.

kristi and paul have become wonderful friends and i hope that we have many more collaborations together in the future!

cooking up a storm

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

on monday we left maryland under overcast skies and headed for new york state to spend a couple of days visiting with friends. we had a wonderfully relaxing evening and overnight with them and i got lots of knitting done on my french quarter socks while we visited. i think that was the longest stretch of continuous knitting time i’d had in quite some time and it felt great.

tuesday morning a gentle snow began falling soon after we were up and about, which seemed innocent enough as we sipped coffee and knit some more. once the car was packed and we headed of to our next destination, all of that changed almost at once—the snow became a storm almost before our eyes.

it was a little slippery, yes, but our minds were on our next stop; a greatly-anticipated lunch date at CIA, yay.

you might remember that that this is a favorite stop for us during our rhinebeck trip each october and i was excited to be bringing david as my dining companion his time.

david and i joined nathalie and john fischer for a really fun afternoon of sampling food in the american bounty restaurant.

where we dove in to a beautiful three-course lunch of appetizers, fish entrees, and luscious desserts (sorry you weren’t there, kim!)

outside, the snow continued to fall and get heavier as the afternoon progressed, but we didn’t care, except to admire its prettiness. we had the restaurant almost entirely to ourselves, which made the day feel even more special.

afterward, they treated us to an “insider” tour of the school—looking into the kitchens, storerooms, and classrooms down in “the bowels” of the building.

chefs in training are scurrying back and forth in one classroom after another. in the store rooms, massive quantities of this and that are carted from the loading dock to their temporary homes on the shelves—the quantity of ingredients is truly impressive

but not surprising when i think about it—the kitchens at the school turn out dishes at a constant pace throughout each day and into the evening, to supply their many restaurants and classes

see these onions?
below, in one of the classrooms, students were busy at work, mincing them for a timed exercise (sorta like that scene in the julia child movie)

we even got invited into a pastry class to watch the chef put the final touches on a beautiful cake—a flower, some fruit and a marzipan basket to hold them. when he was done, he turned to me and asked if i would like to take it home! since my mom has a birthday this weekend, i accepted this unexpected gift for her.

back upstairs, we walked through some of the “dressier” parts of the school—the first stop was the main dining hall, which used to be the chapel in the old seminary

we took our leave of john, who had to get back to work, and followed nathalie through a few winding hallways and out into the weather for the first time in hours

the world outside was transformed—snow was piling up everywhere and that hushed quiet that comes along with it had descended. everything was so pretty!

we headed next to the library building, which is the home of nathalie’s office—she is the director of the school’s publications division and she has lots and lots of pretty cool books.

she sent me home with a few that are right up my alley—bread, soup, and cheese (i could live on just those foods . . .).
see that top book? take a closer look at the author

this is john’s new book cheese—part of the school’s pro kitchen series. he told me about it back in october and now i have my very own copy.

cheese is my favorite food (well, ok, maybe i have a few favorites) an this book is the kind of guide that i love to have for learning more about specific foods.

instead of organizing the contents alphabetically, as do the other cheese books i own, this one organizes the contents by type; when i look up a specific cheese, i can learn about similar ones at the same time (good when i need to substitute or want to explore further).

and who can resist a book with a full spread of cow photos?
i’m looking forward to reading more of it in depth. i’ll keep you updated on the books as i get to explore them more. that soup book couldn’t have come my way at a better time—i’ve been wishing all winter long for new, interesting soup recipes.

after visiting the publishing department, we realized that we had to get serious about getting back on the road—the weather outside was looking nastier by the minute and we had to drive north to albany yet.

it was smart of us to get going while it was still somewhat light—the roads were slippery and the driving was slow, at least on the east side of the river. we fell into line with a bunch of other intrepid travelers and made our way slowly upstate.

our delay could have been worse—it took about an hour longer than usual, but we still arrived in albany ahead of the biggest part of the snow dump—by morning it would be much, much worse, with widespread school closings and power outages.

once we were there, we settled in to watch the olympics and enjoy some knitting time by the fire. i finished my french quarter sock (my third olympic sock to be completed).

i love the way it feels on my foot, too—cozy-warm and yet, sleek and sturdy enough to wear with shoes. the twist-stitch pattern is delicate, but has strong stitch definition to show of the sheen of the yarn (woolen rabbit kashmir).

kim will be offering kits with sock pattern and yarn from her booth at the SPA event this weekend in freeport, maine. next week, when her online shop reopens, you can find the kits there. the pattern will be available as a standalone item in my own pattern shop as well, beginning monday, march 1.

once i had the sock finished, i finally got to work on david’s cabled hat, yay. i’m having a wonderful time knitting with big yarn on big needles for a quick change of pace (and david is really happy to finally be getting the long-awaited hat). i’ve already changed my mind about the cable and spent some time today doing surgery on it, but i’ll tell you more about that next time.

now that we are settled in one place for a few days, we also had a chance to take some nice photos of the longjohn socks, which means i can finally release that pattern tomorrow . . . just in time for more snow, heh.

well, i think i’ll join my mom and david now to watch some olympic action—can you believe that last night was the first time i actually got to watch any of the games?
i gotta catch up and being snowed in seems like the perfect opportunity.

thank you, eleganza yarns

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

a quick post today, with many thanks to paul and kristi, owners of eleganza yarns, for organizing such a wonderful event in frederick! the classes were exciting and fun, the fiber event was a big hit with knitters and other visitors, and the entertainment was an exceptional bonus to our visit.

their beautiful shop in historic frederick is a real gathering place for area knitters—they have a lot of enthusiastic friends and fans (and rightly so).

with a beautiful array of yarns, pattern, accessories, and a full range of class offerings, they work hard to participate in their community and create an atmosphere that makes the shop a tantalizing destination.

the fiber event this weekend was augmented by frederick’s monthly “first saturday” gallery walk—that event was suspended on the actual first saturday of this month due to the grand blizzard that occurred that weekend. it was rescheduled for this weekend, complete with ice sculpture, balloons, lights, and all the usual festivities.

we enjoyed bits and pieces of it saturday evening after the fiber event ended, as we made our way to a most delicious delicious ethiopian dinner at a nearby restaurant.
(it’s been a great trip for food—at this rate, we may not fit into the car to get home!)

on sunday morning, another group of knitters convened for our sock design class. this is the only picture i ended up with—sorry! what can i say; we were working hard.

we worked all day in this class, learning about what goes into a sock design and then swatching and crunching numbers to come up with something new.

afterward, we said our goodbyes at the shop and headed off to see james again for one more evening before heading off to our next destination.

in colombia, we were treated to yet another incredible meal—this time korean, at the lotte asian plaza food court. it sounds a bit pedestrian, but it’s one of james’s favorite places to eat and we have greatly enjoyed meals there in the past.

when we set out from ohio, david specifically mentioned that he’d like to have another bowl of seafood soup and noodles there. sunday is the day to go—that’s the time when lots of big, laughing family groups gather throughout the day to enjoy a meal together in the food court; it is always packed and the food is constantly fresh. mmm.

and ps: i haven’t forgotten about my knitting this weekend; it’s just been so hectic that i kept forgetting to take pictures (and, i’ve been kinda beat at the end of each day). back at the hotel after dinner, i put the finishing touches on my second longjohn sock

i’ve been using kristi’s shalimar zoe sock yarn to knit them—that is colorway catalina on the left and colorway cayenne on the right
i think we’re all set to go now with this pattern, as soon as i can get a few nice pictures. later today, i’ll ask david to model them so we can get the longjohn show on the road, heh.

today we head up to new york state. we’ll be visiting friends in the catskill region overnight and tomorrow, we’ll also be visiting with the fischers (YAY!) over lunch at CIA—i can’t WAIT to see them. this will be david’s first visit to the school and i know he’s excited (he’s a big fan of anthony bourdain, a graduate of CIA).

david also maybe chiming in soon to add a post about his day of wandering around washington with paul. they spent sunday in the capitol and i know he has a lot of photos.

see you at the next stop . . .