Sunday, April 28, 2013

Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival

What a lovely spring weekend, friends! On Saturday I went to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival and it was definitely a fun time.  

From lambs to alpacas to angora bunnies and back to sheep, this festival certainly celebrated all things fiber.  I saw my first sheep shearing and was amazed to see these giant animals put up hardly any fuss when the clippers started buzzing (my dog? Not so much...).  I also saw sheep dogs work a flock. It was highly enjoyable.

I have wanted to learn how to spin for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to watch and learn.  And finger roving and enjoy the lotiony feel of lanolin fresh of the sheared sheep. Janet, Nate's mom, and I watched the spinners corner amazed at how easily roving turned into beautiful yarn.  All of the ladies and gentlemen spinners were so helpful and answered all of our questions.  After getting a personal drop spindle demonstration from a very nice lady, I decided to put actions to words and bite the bullet so to speak.  

I purchased a cheap, basic drop spindle and another more pretty drop spindle in the Dogwood design by Spin-A-Bit.  Of course, I then needed some roving so went back to my friends at Flatland Alpacas (where I had earlier in the day purchased a yarn bowl) and picked out a 50/50 Alpaca and Merino roving blend in colors that reminded me of the sea. I also picked up a kool-aid dye kit from the 4Hers (not pictured).  When all is said and done, Janet and I will be signing up for the drop spindle class at Webs this July.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Color Wheel { 4KCBWDAY4 }

Do you ever notice that your eyes are drawn to the same colors whenever you go to the yarn store? For me, I tend to be drawn towards vibrant berries, dark teals, and cove-y blues.  My eyes are drawn, like the Bee I am, to "shiny" colors - something different, something with variegated colors, and something a little bit different from what I usually knit with. 

A quick look at my completed projects revealed a startling result.  I have a total of 67 projects listed and of those projects my color scheme falls at:

I tend to knit a lot of projects in a deep cranberry/burgundy color and I also tend to lean towards variegated projects.  

Most of the deep cranberry colors I gift even though I love the color for myself.  But the variegateds, I tend to keep and then lament that I have nothing neutral to wear with them.  

Even though I love fun, bright colors - my Hitchhiking to Candy Land shawl comes to mind - I will need to either start buying more neutral clothes....or should learn to realize that not everything I knit will go with everything I own.  

It also amuses me how much yarns that I'm drawn to linger in my stash and how many times I have to buy more neutral yarns to make a project for someone.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{WIP} Hardly enough progress to blog about

I really don't have much more completed from last week on the second sock.  The yarn used, Classic Elite Yarns Summer Sox, is pretty tough on my hands and isn't really a joy to knit with. I know, I know - whine, whine, whine.  I will be very happy to finish my first pair of socks and my mom will be happy to receive them.  I'm hoping to finish them well before I have a knitting date with my sock knitting friend Sio in May.  

Sumo desperately needs a hair cut

I'm again joining Ginny's Yarn Along this week.  I was very happy to see Ally Carter's third Heist novel at the library on my most recent jaunt.  As I've mentioned before I am hopelessly addicted to YA fiction and there are quite a few series I've read with new books out.  

From one addict to another { 4KCBWDAY3 }

When I was a wee little new knitter I suffered delusions of grandeur.  I thought I could buy yarn for the current project at hand and be content.  On my first trip to Webs I quickly realized my efforts would be futile and I could only hope that Nate would never realize he had an addict living with him.  An addict who during the first hurricane since becoming a knitter went to Walmart to buy a plastic tote for her yarn and almost forgot to buy a case of water. 

Now obviously some yarn was purchased for a specific project.  Case in point I have three skeins of lovely Candy Skein Sweet Fingering yarn just waiting for me to cake up and start the Color Affection shawl.  I also bought some amazing TARDIS blue self striping sock yarn from Quaere Fibre to make some toe-up afterthought vanilla socks. But the majority of my yarn....I have no clue what I will ever knit with it but boy is it pretty.

crudely drawn by me
I often ask myself, as I try to cram another hank of yarn into a storage cube, was this life of buying and hiding yarn avoidable? Or, was it simply inevitable that I would join the ranks of "yarn stash exceeds life expectancy?" With all of the knitters I know...I strongly suspect it was inevitable.  And yes, like other addicts out there, when I buy a house it will be with the hope of a crafting/yarn room. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Socks on the Brain { 4KCBWDAY2 }

Today's prompt involves researching a pattern or project that embodies our house.  As I said yesterday, I find myself relating to The House of Bee with an ever growing queue.  Recently I've been adding a bunch of sock patterns to the old queue.  Even though I have yet to finish my first pair I want to be a sock knitter.  They seem like they are fun bring anywhere projects and I want to learn how to make different heels and different constructions.  

Socks are perfect bee projects because they can (so I've been told) be easily turned out and there are so many different ways to make them. You could make them from the toe up or from the cuff down.  If you really want to make the most out of sock knitting you can even due two at once and if that isn't the epitome of bees I don't know what is.  If you want something simple you can make an easy vanilla sock from memory.  If you want something more complicated you can make a lace pattern or a cable pattern.  Not only are they pretty but they are practical too.  

One of these days I will be a true sock knitter.  I definitely have enough sock yarn lined up to become some awesome socks.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Buzz, Buzz Little Bee { 4KCBWDAY1 }

This week I will be participating in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  Sarah over at Crafts from the Cwtch posted about this event last week and I thought it would be fun to participate. This past year I have been struggling with my blogging - part of this is caused by the fact that I'm not really learning anything new in knitting, and this blog was created to catalogue my knitting education.  Therefore, I am hoping that the post prompts will bring some fun, new focus to my blog beyond my typical and far spaced {WIP} and {FO} posts.  

In my old knitting group we used to talk about different types of knitters.  There are the process knitters who enjoy knitting an entire project from start to finish and who can't leave a small error in their work because it will drive them nutso.  Then there are those knitters who are yarn snobs and have to use only the best or organic fibers (um, I might be a bit of a yarn snob) and for who the very though of acrylic makes them want to whimper.  Then there are the adventurous knitters, these are the ones who grab needles and yarn and just go and see what they make.  

The first prompt for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is to choose a knitting house a la Harry Potter.  This appeals to my inner nerd on so many levels but it also appeals to me on the level of discovering who I am as a knitter.  There are four houses to choose from: The House of Bee, The House of Manatee, The House of Monkey and The House of Peacock. 

After careful consideration, I feel that I most closely relate to the House of Bee.  Characteristics of Bees include: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest. 

I usually tend to work on one project at a time so as not to have too many WIPs going on an at once. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that jazz...over the past year I have definitely had a few WIPs going on at once.  But, at the moment I am back on track with just a pair of socks on the needles and a long hibernating West Knits shawl.  With that being Ravelry queue grows daily and I keep buying yarn for the next project and other future projects.  

Until I came into knitting I used to do this with other crafts.  As a person who suffers from being anal I had some issues with crafts that relied fully on my creativity.  Scrapbooking? I have a ton of tools, papers and adornments...but I've only ever made 4 pages and each of those 4 pages took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to make and I'm still not happy with them.  Cross stitching? I liked this craft a lot, but I lost interest in the projects quickly. Although the adorable samplers from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery definitely have me wanting to make a cute cross stitch sampler.  

So, really although I can relate to the other houses as well the House of Bee is where I belong. 

Join me tomorrow for another post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog week.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

{FO} Boston Strong

I have an unexpected day off from work today due to the craziness that happened over night in Boston.  My friend Dan called me right before my alarm went off telling me very briefly what happened and that the MBTA was shut down and not to go into the city today. And most importantly, don't die.  Thinking of my knitting friend Erin and glad to know she is OK today.

Last night there was a massive shootout outside Boston in Watertown.  One of the Boston marathon bomber suspect was killed, but the other is still at large.  An MIT officer was killed. Explosives were thrown. Epic scariness is now unleashed.  As a New Yorker, I always thought 9/11 would be the scariest thing I would ever live through - but, I was proven wrong.

Thinking and praying for Boston today.  Hopefully this nightmare will be over soon. My biggest fear is that, like 9/11, innocent people will be racially profiled due to the fact that the suspects are being identified as foreigners from overseas.  I pray that people make smart decisions and don't jump to conclusions about people just because they are not from here.

Sorry to get waylaid from the knitting vibe of this blog, but some things are too important not to share.  

Now back to the knitting....I finally finished my Vancouver Fog mitts last weekend just in time for the third annual Great Rhody Yarn Crawl.  They are super thick and cozy - I've been wearing them all week at work (my office is usually two temperatures: Frigid & Sweltering).

  This was a very enjoyable knit.  Quick and easy.  As I mentioned here, these mitts were part of The Fat Squirrel Gratitude KAL on Ravelry. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

{WIP} Sock Hop & Fear can it possibly be Wednesday already??? I'm sorry for such a late post. I honestly lost track of time. As most of you know, I work in Boston.  And this week has been crazy due to the Patriot's Day/Marathon bombings.  I'm still in shock that Boston was targeted in such a way - I've always felt safe in this city where I spend most of my time and to now walk in fear on the streets is something I'm not quite used to.  I will point out that I am safe and sound physically - I work as far away from the bomb site as possible in the city. It's mostly my psyche that has taken a wee bit of a beating. My heart goes out to all of those who were maimed and to the families of the deceased. Boston is a strong city though, as the president said we are a resilient bunch. 

Despite the craziness I did get some knitting done. I also spent way too much money on yarn this week as this past weekend was the third annual Great Rhody Yarn Crawl. 

I finally managed to finish my Vancouver Fog mitts which will be displayed in Friday's post and absolutely love them.  Rather then CO my Color Affection shawl, I decided to unbury a WIP and bring it out. 

That's right I am starting sock #2! I have incentive. Besides my mom asking me when she can get her socks, that is.  One of my yarn purchases this weekend was some TARDIS self striping sock weight yarn from Quaere Fibres.  Which will become a pair of vanilla socks for me :) So, please! Share your favorite basic sock pattern with me in the comments!

As I am reading an entertaining knitting mystery this week, I figured I would hop onto Ginny's Yarn Along too this week.  On my last library jaunt I picked up The Silence of the Llamas by Anne Canadeo, the author of The Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series. I've read her first one before andenjoy her writing. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

{FO} Girlie Zombies of the Apocalypse

Ever have that moment when you finish a gift for someone and you have that second where you want to hide the gift and replace it with something else? I had that moment when I finished the Zombie Vixen fingerless gloves for my sister-innotquite-law, Sarah. 

I loved these gloves.  And I loved the yarn I chose - Candy Skein delicious fingering in Blackberry. Talk about a chameleon of yarn.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not get a photo that was true to life.  It would photograph as either green, grey, or  a muted purple but never the true vibrant color it was.  

I definitely will have to make a pair of these for myself sometime down the road.  It is certainly an entertaining knit that requires a lot of concentration. Which was good for me, since I knit the second glove primarily in the hospital while we waited for my dad to come in and out of brain surgery.  I did warn Sarah that one glove might be a wee bit tighter than the other but she said they fit perfectly. 

I also have this very silly, lovely completed project:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

{WIP}Nothing? Nothing? Tra la la

For a worsted weight project...I'm certainly taking my time with these mitts! I am almost done with the second one.  Like annoyingly almost done...maybe 10 rounds? And then the thumb.

As these are part of the Gratitude KAL, I try to knit when I'm in a positive mood and try to infuse each knit and purl with thankfulness and love. 

The cables on these remind me of a labyrinth. Which of course reminds me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the babe.