Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Digs

I decided to upgrade the old blog and carve out some webspace of my very own. From now on, you can find my blog at! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rhinebeck Roundup


I am just now coming down off of my Rhinebeck high enough that I can talk about it without using the words cool, awesome, and incredible five times per sentence. All day yesterday, I daydreamed about my fantastic finds and vibrated with excitement over what I would knit first. I had intended to take photos of everything in the sunlight, but due to unfortunate and boring circumstances, I didn't get home until dark, so indoor shots will have to do.

I'm sure you've read by now that the crowds on Saturday were unbelievable. Amy and I arrived at 9 a.m. when the gates opened, and there were already a lot of people there. An hour or so later, the crowds seemed to reach their peak and stayed there until about 5 p.m. Ordinarily, I can't handle crowds. I feel constricted and claustrophobic and need open space. These crowds, however, were the nicest crowds I had ever experienced. Only one time during the whole festival, and late in the day, did I experience anything bordering on rudeness. The rest of the time people were respectful, kind, and patient. Everyone was having a great time, it seemed. It made me think that if only knitters ran the world, we could really get somewhere toward world peace!


The great thing about the crowds was the people watching. For about an hour or so on Saturday, Amy, Nell (who we met the night before the festival and had so much fun with!), and I sat and watched people. It was like the world's biggest knitting fashion show, and it was so great to see so many designs in person.

The vendors were amazing, naturally, and just what I was hoping for. First of all, I found a Plisse kit! I was certain there wouldn't be any Falkenberg kits at the festival, so I wasn't even looking for them. I turned around in one of the barns and saw the familiar plastic totes and audibly gasped. They even had it in the leaf green color I wanted! If I had found nothing else I liked, I would have been satisfied with just this kit. But fortunately, there was plenty that I liked.


The first stall we visited was Ellen's Half Pint Farm. I had heard good things about them, and they did not disappoint! The browny-purple sock yarn in the front is their merino/nylon blend, and this skein was the last of its kind in the bottom of the basket. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't buy variegated yarn in this trip (I rarely actually knit with it), and the only thing I wish Ellen's had had was more solid yarn. In the heavier weights, the hanks for sale were enormous! I'm talking sweater-sized, and very reasonably priced. Another favorite booth was the Skaska booth. It was draped with exquisite shawls, and full of beautiful laceweight, including a merino/cashmere in the perfect shade of green I've been searching for to make the Estonian Shawl! While I waited to be checked out, I pawed through a basket holding balls of Australian merino/cashmere and found a nice gray one. The single ball is enough to make a generous shawl, and it was only $15! Since I had found the two things I was hoping to find (the laceweight and the kit), I concentrated on finding some patterns and kits. On Sunday, it was much less crowded, so I decided to check out the wine. I asked one of the purveyors about ice wine, something I heard a lot about when reading about Rhinebeck, and learned that most New York ice wines are not true ice wines, as the grapes are not harvested frozen. He said that if the grapes were left to freeze, the birds would eat them all as they migrated from Canada. He gave me a couple of samples of dessert wine instead, and as you might notice in the picture, I've been enjoying that. It comes from Clinton Vineyards, and is called Nuit. I've been having a glass at night as dessert, but I think it would be outstanding with a flourless chocolate cake. I plan to order more wine from this vineyard.

Of course there were loads of other bloggers at Rhinebeck. Most of them, I just saw from a distance or passed by on the walkway. We weren't aware of the Ravelry meetup, so sadly missed it, but I did spy Jess and Casey twice. I also saw Adrian from Hello Yarn, but each time she was in conversation and I didn't want to be rude. We stopped and chatted with Cheryl from Seed Stitch, who was wearing a gorgeous Imogen. Our hotel was a happening spot, too. Saturday night, rather than hit the parties happening around Rhinebeck (we were pretty wiped), we went back to our hotel and had a nice evening with a rather large group of knitters. I had the pleasure of meeting Ann of Purling Swine, Vickie of Knitorious, Tara of Knittable Kitten, Cara of January One (though I decided not to harass her about how much I love her blog as she didn't seem to feel well), blog-free Liane, and Kate Gilbert. As I said before, I was pretty tired, and on top of my shyness I wasn't very talkative, but it was so nice to just be with a group of people who were all excited about knitting!

When planning our drive to Rhinebeck, Amy and I discovered that WEBS was almost exactly in the middle of our route! How could we not stop?


This time I came prepared, armed with a list of yarn and projects. It really helped! The first time I went to WEBS, I sort of wandered around the store, completely overwhelmed. This time, even though I didn't come away with exactly what was on my list, I had some guidance. The Rialto is a substitution for RYC Cashsoft DK, which didn't have any colors I liked together. I'm using this yarn to make Briar Rose for a super girly-girl, hence the double pink. I planned to buy some Shibui, since I'm hearing so much about it, but I had no intention of buying Knitscene when I went. This issue of Knitscene is the one with the famous Central Park Hoodie, so how could I resist? My brother has expressed an interest in Cobblestone, but seems to have a genuine sensitivity to wool, so Amy had the brilliant idea of trying a hat in the yarn I want to use and see how it feels to him, so that's what the Mission Falls is for.

It was a weekend for a bit of gluttony, sure. Maybe someday I'll get to the point where I don't feel like a kid who has to eat all of the ice cream right now, but for my first Rhinebeck, I wanted to really go all out, and I did! I'm already thinking ahead to next year!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gearing Up

Tomorrow morning, even earlier than I usually leave for work, I will be heading out with my partner in crime for Rhinebeck! I've got myself all packed, and am just about to cast on for a simple toe-up sock. I will bring my scarf, too, but just in case I want some variety. Speaking of Rhinebeck, I mentioned before that I'm a square in Blogger Bingo! The following picture not only fulfills my promise of a photo of my face so you can identify me at the festival, but it also shows off the skirt I finished.


So, let's talk about this skirt. You may remember it from April, when I said I would be soon hemming and finishing and wearing this skirt. I finally finished it the other day. I was pretty proud of it when I was finished. It hung well, I took my time with tacking down the lining, and I loved the fabric (are you noticing the past tense?). I proudly wore the skirt today, and was actually pretty proud when no one commented on it, since I took that to mean it didn't look hand made. So, at lunch I went to the bank, and when I returned to work, I stopped in the bathroom and did a quick once over to assess my hair/outfit. I did a double take when I checked the rear view. One of the side seams had come completely undone, and my underwear was totally hanging out. I have no idea how long it was like that. I suspect that the reason for the disaster had to do with my inexperience and the boucle suiting that I suspected was trouble from the moment I cut the pattern. The fabric is rather loosely woven, and came unraveled quickly. I don't really know what I could have done differently, but I think for now I'll stick with easy fabric and work my way up! As for this skirt, I think I'll put it aside until I can figure out the best way to seam boucle, and then I'll attempt repairs!

The Cabled Turtleneck continues to cause me trouble, through no fault of the pattern this time. I was happily knitting away last night, and as I approached the final stripe sequence, I decided to measure and see if I was at the required 18 inches. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the piece measured 24 inches! I picked up the pattern again and reread the directions. Yep. I was supposed to begin armhole shaping at 18 inches. Sigh. That was a big rip.


As a consolation, at least when I reknit, it'll be decreasing rows.

When next you hear from me, I'll have finally experienced Rhinebeck!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sorry, can't concentrate... Rhinebeck!

I can hardly believe that one week from right now, I will be either home or on my way and Rhinebeck will be over. Amy and I have been planning for Rhinebeck since, oh... February? I can hardly believe that it's not only October, but Rhinebeck week. I have no idea how I'm supposed to get any work done. Amy and I have decided to become squares, but I don't yet have a decent picture of me with my new haircut. I promise to post one by Friday, so watch this space!

I wish I had started the sweater dress sooner, because judging by the weather here, it might be cold enough to wear it to Rhinebeck! Since taking the picture below, I've completed another repeat, and am just about finished with the back!


I'm not quite sure what's going on with the color in that photo, I don't remember choosing any wonky settings. The yarn is actually shades of brown. I modified the simple cable twists so they mirrored each other, instead of all being alike. The pattern is very easily memorized, and conveniently, the stripe sequence coincides with the diamond cable pattern perfectly. I hardly have to think at all while working on this, which is nice!

I'm two acts in on my first Sidewinder, and it's shaping up pretty well.


There's still some pooling, but I'm living with it! I've been completing one act at a time, which is working well, but since I've been devoting most of my time to the dress, it's slow going.

I love both of these projects, but I don't think either of them are right to bring to Rhinebeck. I'm thinking of a nice, simple toe-up stockinette sock, so I can talk and knit at once. I suppose I'll also bring the scarf, since it's an easy one and has to get finished. I can't wait! Who else is going to Rhinebeck?

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Yesterday was the Memory Walk, and this is the last you'll about it for another year, but I had to share my final donation.


What's even more incredible than that amazing donation, is that I was not even close to being the top fundraiser at my walk. The third place fundraiser raised more than $2,500! It felt great to walk up to the registration table with my donation, though. I'm already looking forward to next year and hatching plots.

In all of the excitement last weekend, I completely forgot to share my exciting stash enhancements I picked up while at Purl Diva!


I bought two balls of Reynolds Whiskey for a pair of mittens, the sweater pattern that Anna just finished (which I love), and a hank of J. Knits Superwash Me sock yarn in Montana (does anyone actually need a reason to buy sock yarn?).

In other news, I finally casted on for the cabled turtleneck that I've been thinking about ever since I got the Fall issue of VK. I haven't been able to find a picture online, so I snapped a photo of the magazine.


Can you see why my heart palpitates? The subtle color changes! The exaggerated turtleneck! The sheer eighties-ness of it! I can't wait to wear it, but I think I'll have to. Here's where I was at Friday night:


On Saturday, I frogged that back to the ribbing. There were two issues. One was my own fault, but to be fair, the pattern gave me reason not to trust it, which is why I thought one of the cable charts was lying to me and I screwed it up. The second issue gave rise to the first, and has to do with the Beaded Rib on the side panels. First of all, in the stitch pattern guides, it's called Beaded Rib, but in the actual pattern they have written Broken Rib. Second of all, the right side and wrong side have been reversed, which meant that the crappy wrong side was showing up on the right side. I tried to ignore it, and I thought that maybe I was wrong and it was supposed to look like that, but I just couldn't live with it. And come on, I had only done like seven rows with US10.5 needles. Like it would kill me to go back. I'm now past that point again, and everything is looking much better.

Now to work a provisional caston and start a pair of Sidewinders!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Due to the damp weather we've been having, Cobblestone took three days to dry! Even stuffed with plastic bags! I was starting to regret giving it a full soak when I arrived home today to a dry sweater. It was worth it to soak it, the garter stitch was a little lumpy pre-blocking.


The boyfriend prefers his shirts to be close-fitting, so I made this sweater in the smallest size for his 36" chest. He has room to wear a shirt underneath, though he finds the Cascade 220 soft enough to wear next to his skin. Speaking of Cascade 220, I used only five complete balls and the tiniest bit of a sixth for this entire sweater. Not bad! I still have a complete ball and most of a leftover ball of this yarn, so I'm thinking of making a matching hat and possibly mittens. I'd do socks, but they wouldn't stand a chance. They'd be completed felted in no time flat.


I love the garter detail on the sides. At first, I wasn't sold on it, but as I worked the body, it grew on me. I was actually surprised that I enjoyed the garter stitch so much! There's something so clean and streamlined about it. I don't know if I personally would wear a sweater entirely knit in garter stitch (it would be a little bulky!), but I do want to try to add some more of it to my projects.


I mentioned in my last post that "third time's a charm." Well, this is the third sweater that I've knit for my boyfriend. The first one was way too big. It was my first ever adult sweater, and it took me about a year to finish it, during which time my tension kept changing. I knew nothing about seaming or finishing, and basically sewed the seams (with whipstitch), instead of weaving them together.
Here, check it out yourself!


He still has this sweater. He wears it when it's totally freezing, at home. Oh, the kicker? It's 100% acrylic, baby. And not just acrylic, acrylic with aloe!

I don't have a photo of attempt number two. Let's just say it was not pretty. I did a ribbed raglan, and I knitted my fingers to the bone to get it finished in something like two weeks. Turns out, I stopped too soon. The term "belly shirt" comes to mind. That one I frogged (maybe I'll use the yarn for another Cobblestone).

Next on the needles? Some Sidewinders and that fabulous cabled turtleneck from the Fall VK!

Monday, October 01, 2007


The De-Stash and Do-Good Charity Stash Sale at Purl Diva a resounding success! In the first half hour of the sale, we raised over $400, and by the end of the day, we had over $800. Including online stash sale purchases, we raised over $960! I am beyond excited, and want to thank everyone who purchased yarn, donated yarn, or just left encouraging words about the Memory Walk. I appreciate all of it. I am especially thankful to Ellen, who not only had the idea, but also offered her space, stash and time to the effort. She also offered her jacket and a hot cup of tea when the wind became a bit too much for my thin sweatshirt! Thank you so much, Ellen, I could never have done it without you.
I barely had time to price everything before the knitters came, but I did snap two quick pictures of the stash for sale:



Now, the walk isn't actually until this coming Saturday, so if you feel moved to donate a buck or two, there's still time! You can donate online (using credit, debit or PayPal), right up to the day of the walk!

In other news, guess what I finished this weekend?


Proper FO shots after it's had a nice block. In its unblocked state, it fits very well, and the recipient wore it for a little while yesterday and pronounced it "very comfortable." I guess third time's a charm!