on thursday, with a holiday weekend in front of us, david and i piled into the car and headed to albany to visit with my mom for a few days before my next travel dates begin. we didn’t get to spend time with her over the christmas holidays, so we had some catching up to do.
i drove for the first half of the day, so i didn’t get started on my knitting til we hit buffalo, but once i got in the passenger seat, i pulled out my squeeze me hat and got going on that. i had just cast on and done the first row before leaving home, but this piece goes fast.
i’m knitting with our new breakfast blend merino/alpaca DK; the more i knit with this yarn, the more i love it. sometimes when i knit with alpaca, my fingers start to burn a little after too long, but so far, i’m not experiencing that with this yarn. the quality of the alpaca used is very high; it’s been quite thoroughly de-haired. a good measure of merino in the blend probably acts as a buffer as well, though i don’t know if that can be proven.
my hat knit up very quickly; by the time we passed through syracuse, i was almost to the point where i needed to start decreasing (and that included about half an hour of napping time, haha). the pattern continues through the decrease section, getting incrementally smaller with each reduction. soon though, the light was too dim to work and i had to put aside my knitting for the last hour or so of the trip.
the yarn knits into a delicious, light, cohesive fabric that feels warm, but not too hot and is incredibly comfortable to wear. i often find alpaca a bit prickly against my bare skin, but i can wear this around my head and neck.
you might be wondering why, if i have sensitivities to this fiber, would i choose to produce a yarn with alpaca? well, first of all, i feel like my sensitivities are very mild. but also, i guess it’s a bit like buying super-chic shoes that are not all the comfortable or good for my feet—sometimes the qualities i admire about a fiber win out over what seems sensible. and when it comes to alpaca, there are many admirable qualities i cannot give up permanently—lush hand, an array of beautiful natural colors, gorgeous sheen and drape.
i have just a little bit to go on this hat; the pattern should be ready by the time we’re ready to list the yarn in our online store. erica is knitting up a squeeze me cowl to go with it; we just need to get the pieces together for a photo shoot.
on friday, we drove with my mom up north to visit a mill we are working with and pick up a couple of sample yarn batches they spun for us.
we love this kind of outing; we got the full tour, got to see all the machinery at work, and talked to the people who make things go—the only contributors we didn’t see up close were the sheep, haha.
but we certainly saw the results of their labors—these are tests for a blend we’re developing to offer in the near future (not a club yarn). we’ll tell more about it as things develop, but the test samples are promising; there is one that i’m quite smitten with.
this mill is in one of my favorite parts of upstate new york—which is saying a lot, because NYS has so many hidden treasures once you venture to the upstate and central regions. of course, i may be biased because i grew up there . . .
after that we headed back toward home, stopping for lunch on the way at a place that had yummy sandwiches, soups, cakes and pie. i wish i had thought to take a photo of the chocolate cake we all split for dessert—it had strawberry buttercream frosting, mmm.
yesterday we got up early to take advantage of what looked to be a beatiful day dawning. over breakfast we lamented the demise of both our batches of pink impatiens, though my mom’s african violets looks a good as ever.
i just love this one with the pink and green variegated leaves. haha, when my mom first saw it a couple of years ago, she thought something was wrong with it. as for the impatiens, she has established a backup plan by giving cuttings to several neighbors, who so far, are successful with rooting them. we are all hoping they make it; our cousins down south also lost theirs, so everything hinges on the last surviving batch.
later, i went for a nice long run while my mom went to church; the temperature was pretty brisk, but the sun shone and i warmed up quickly. i like the roads near my mom’s house because the busy service roads lead away into the pine bush, where they soon turn into the narrow winding farm roads i remember from when the area was much less developed. we don’t have this kind of terrain where we live in ohio and i enjoy running or biking these lanes when i visit.
in the afternoon, we met up with my sister’s family at an indoor soccer facility, where arjun plays on saturdays. he’s the kid in the dark uniform right at the center of the photo (it’s hard to see them in such a vast space).
i really did watch the game . . . but anika and i are multi-taskers; she played her game and i knitted. i don’t think arjun really noticed.
i resuscitated an ancient WIP to put in my purse for travel knitting—a pair of fine cabled mitts i started back in like 2006 with a ball of quiviut i purchased as a splurge. somehow—and i really don’t know how this happened—i set it aside and then completely forgot about it. i unearthed it recently while rooting through the credenza in my study, in a cabinet i don’t open very often.
the fine cabled mitts are one of my favorite patterns and i don’t have a pair. i know i intended to make these for myself to fill that gap, but somehow it never happened. i have to say, it’s not the easiest yarn to knit with—it’s a very dark color and quite fuzzy in a way that makes it snaggy. plus i have the project on these old bamboo needles, which have a lot of drag. they will be transferred to a smoother, more preferred set as soon as i get home. and if i keep them in my purse, they’ll eventually get done.
they made for just the right kind of knitting to get through a soccer game.
afterward, we all went to dinner at karavalli, a favorite indian restaurant that cooks specialties from the region where the arjun and anika were born. YUM!
today we’re going to visit with cousins and hopefully go out to the movies after dinner. in the morning, we’ll head for home to begin another work week. the day is warmer, but VERY windy; i’d like to get outside for another run or walk as long as the rain holds off.
hope you are having an equally relaxing and fun MLK weekend; enjoy your monday off!