29 September 2006


Fauxganization: "Fake organizing. When you take all the junk you have, stack it in size order and arrange the stacks in parallel rows, you've 'Fauxganized.' Nothing is any clearer, no decisions have been made, but it seems like something has been accomplished." - Nayland Blake - a brilliant term and beautiful blog. Prepare to look at the pictures for a very long time.

(Term discovered here, just to explain the random knitting connection.)

Blake says he is very good at it. I think it may be a skill common to many. I know I for one seem to excell at this, especially in that whole non-productive aspect of it all.

Anyway, as I posted yesterday, I’ve been doing a little stash “fauxganization” in my fear of Lone Knitter’s dream moths invasion and I decided to get some of my famed lists going to whip this knitting chaos into shape. Of course I rarely complete these lists, but that’s beside the point. It’s fauxganization after all. And there are lots of links, in case any of you feel tempted to take add a few things to your "to knit" list."

Stashing... Yet Again

Tomorrow is also another festival… the Knox Fiber Fest. I’ll be caffeinated and on the go bright and early for a very quick trip (as my ride has both a three-year-old and a very tight schedule) so I thought it best to do some planning prior to the dizzying intoxication of alpacas. And then Socktoberfest starts on Sunday… and then I need to get started on the Leapin’ Lizards project… and possibly the mitten knitalong… and the cables. Ay yi yi, busy little fingers (and their ADD owner) are going to need direction!

So, we’ll see how tomorrow’s haul goes, but I’m going to try to be good. I need to enter the world of Kureyon for the afghan as it’s one of the few yarns that I’ve always coveted but never stashed. Well, that’s about to change. I’m still looking to pick up some solid color sock yarn, although I did find a pretty shade of grey recently. This may be a long shot, but I’d be interested in finding an apple or lime green skein or two of Lamb’s Pride worsted wt. for a mitten/scarf/hat set. Finally, I could use some additional sets of Addis, in US 8 and 2.5mm. Yeah, you know I’ll likely come home with none of this and a ton of other things!

Fall 2006 Knits

These lists are absolutely false and made-up and unrealistic, but I wanted to collect all my random thoughts and links in one place so when I start to drift into new pattern territory, I can remind myself of all the things that I really want to work on in the next decade or so.

Cables, Cables, Everywhere - but especially on cardigans

1. Central Park Hoodie – Knitalong
2. Angora Scarf
3. Trellis Baby sweater
4. Irish Hiking Hat (to match rest of set)
5. Interlocking Balloons from Scarf Style for alpaca stash
6. Samus
7. Mariah

Socktoberfest… and beyond

1. Opal socks for Mom
2. Grey toe-up socks
3. Cable socks from old Interweave – Mountain Colors BearFoot
4. Green/black striped socks from Yarn Aboard exchange
5. Knee socks of some variety

Leapin’ Lizard Afghan Knitalong

Warm Hands

1. Burlyspun mittens
2. Spun Magazine flap top mittens (with matching scarf and hat – possibly London Beanie)

Another baby sweater/bonnet from purple stash yarn

Well, now doesn't that seem all neat and orderly. Yeah, right, I'll consider this whole process highly successful if I finish one of these projects before the snow melts away next spring!

28 September 2006

A Little Cuteness This Way Comes

Even a misanthrope like me can't be too grumpy around baby knits. Well, maybe, but I swear I'm only a temporary grump. I'll be cured the minute I walk out of graduation... in twelve years...

Anyway, the past few days I got inspired to clean up my stash a bit and I happened to run across a great little pattern for a baby sweater. Knowing exactly where the perfect yarn for the pattern would be, I hopped to it.

Pattern: 5 Hour Quickie Baby Sweater and Matching Bonnet (There are several versions of this online, also search for weekend baby sweater. This link has all the extra patterns for booties, bonnets, blankets, and baby paraphanelia.)

Yarn: Mystery Yarn from the stash, part or all acrylic, worsted to heavy worsted, very soft and cuddly. As always with my pics, the color is off in the pics. It's a pretty mauve/taupe color, not overly cutesy, for the modern fashionista baby with more mature color tastes.

Needles: 10.5 Addis

Dates: 24 Sept - 28 Sept, 2006

Recipient: Baby H in Texas

Notes: I basically followed the pattern for the button-up version although I changed the cuffs to garter stitch to match the bottom, rather than ribbing as specified. The pattern was easy and straight-forward, but I did have to finagle my row count a few times to be sure I was on the right side when the patterning came around. If you knit this, just be careful when you start to knit the second sleeve. Since you knit across the first sleeve before you start counting rows, you need to do the same on the second side. It also isn't terribly clear when you go to knit the body after the arms, but it's pretty self-explanatory what you need to do when you're holding the sweater in your hands.

I love the little buttons. Also from the stash from the Hancock Fabrics store closing extravaganza this summer. It's hard to tell from the picture, but I think they look like little mice with a graduation cap and a briefcase. Perfect for the daughter of a future professor.

The bonnet does require crochet and it makes a huge difference in the overall look of the project. I ended up using a J hook which felt a little bit clumsy, but kept the edge nice and loose. I tried the crochet ties but they looked pretty tacky so I used grosgrain ribbon through the first row of eyelets. I hope this isn't too far back on the baby's head, but the mom is crafty, so if this doesn't work, I'm sure she'll improvise.

I have several more babies to knit for so you may see a few more of these. I think this could easily become my standard baby pattern. Quick, simple and cute results!

25 September 2006

9 Months and You Popped out This?

Last fall I got one of my wild ideas to knit lace for my grandmother's birthday and my aunt's Christmas present. Got a little cocky after the scarf turned out successful and assumed the Christmas stole would as well. I think at one point I even gushed that I thought I might even finish the present on time.

Gush and ye shall be stricken down with the fuglies.

At least I got to play with my new blocking set...

The Christmas Stole

Pattern: Arrowhead Lace from a basic stitch dictionary, with 4 st. of garter edging

Yarn: Knitpicks Shimmer Morning Mist, 1 skein

Needles: Crystal Palace 6, bamboos... my new favorites in this size. One reason I kept starting and stopping this project is because I'd rip out the needles to do something else. I'd usually put the stole on a spare #6 from a set of dpns, but that one time in the Atlanta airport at about 1 a.m., the needle tried to make a run from this fugly thing (do you blame it?) and there was a bit of creative re-knitting to get it all going again.

Dates: Nov. 05 - Sept. 06

Notes: Ugh... I think this is the happiest I've been to do a final cast-off. So why do I dislike this so much? First, the yarn. In my mind, when I was making my plans, I was thinking subtle. There's nothing subtle here. I don't like the abrupt color changes and may overdye it when I visit home again. (I just put the thing in a box and mailed it off today because I didn't want to think about it any longer.) The other colorway that I used for my grandma's scarf is similarly abrupt in its color changes, but there was a certain shine to it after I blocked it. Here, nothing. It was reasonably easy to knit, but it just doesn't have any punch to it. I've got another skein of it too... joy.

Second, the pattern. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the pattern, but I didn't do a very good job executing it here. You really can't see the pattern at all, which I think is due to the size of needle I chose. I did a swatch and really liked it, but final outcome, not so much. I wanted fairly straight-forward lace and looking back, I think I should've stuck with feather and fan or maybe something like several repeats of the Branching Out pattern.

Third, the size. Geez, a stole is a big, honkin' thing. I think I really ended this one too quickly, but it was either bind off, block and mail, or throw the whole thing away and go to Target and buy a new toaster for the gift. I was thinking that it wouldn't be that much more than the scarf and since that went quickly, heck, no problem. Yeah, not so much.

Well, I suppose this was a live and learn kind of project. I enjoyed knitting Branching Out but my other lace endeavors have been a little on the questionable side. For anyone keeping track, I decided to put Sarcelle on hold. I did one repeat of the lace with the fancy butterfly thingys (they look like butterflies until you get them blocked out), and I nearly lost my mind trying to do some of those stitches. As Christina said with the yarn that I was planning to use, it's yarn to grow into. Maybe lace is something I still need to grow into.

Or maybe part of growing is choosing your project wisely. I keep coming back to look at Evelyn Clark's Flower Basket Shawl pattern that I bought. As any horsey person knows, you've got to get back on after you're thrown in the dirt. But this time, I'm using solid yarn in a heavier gauge with the needle size that someone else picked out!

I wanted to apologize for being a little bit grumpy in posts as of late. I've been in one of those fall cleaning modes where I'm trying to wrap up some unfinished objects (or rip them as I did to several blobs of fugly) and I'm discovering why these things languished. I think I may be on to happy knitting for a bit, or more ripping!

And to balance the pics of the fugly stole, here's a bit of Buffalo. Last Friday evening Rachel and I went on a little sailing expedition with the graduate student group on campus. Dorks on a Boat, it's going to be the next greatest hit.

24 September 2006


Knitting and quilting are so appealing to me because they are so tactile. I could spend hours just petting the yarn or running my hands along the surface of a nice, crisp cotton fabric. I visited a friend in Rochester, NY last weekend and had the chance to experience that kind of tactile sensation with stone. Perhaps it is morbid, but I couldn't pass up the artistry of the gravestones at the Mount Hope Cemetary.

One of the famous residents of the cemetary is Susan B. Anthony. Her marker is simple and mixed in with her family. Surprisingly, the generations which have come after her have maintained this simplicity. There are tours of her home in town, but nothing here except a few small signs to mark the way and a bench if you wish to rest and admire the unexpected beauty surrounding you.

21 September 2006

It All Evens Out in the Wash

Have you ever paid attention to your verbal ticks? Ever really thought about the phrases that you say on a regular basis? More than the “umms” and “ahhs” that we all slip into our regular speech, I think the phrases that we throw in there are pretty telling.

I dated a guy once who said, “Whaddya gonna do?” at every pause in the conversation. It was fitting, really. He was a very nice, attractive guy who was extremely athletic and active, but he was also on the downer side. He thought of himself as a dork with no friends, someone who basically lost at the game of life way back in high school and was doomed as a result. His phrase was his way of letting everyone else know that some people win, some people lose, and he was always going to be the one left alone with just his rock collection and his pet orchids. Yeah, seriously, he collected rocks and orchids and refused to even entertain the possibility that there may be more to life than a highly regulated schedule and a budget figured out to the penny. He stopped drinking orange juice because he calculated the daily expense and deemed it excessive. He switched to making his own kale juice for breakfast. We weren’t exactly a good match. Whaddya gonna do?

One of my phrases is “It all evens out in the wash.” When my friend Erica and I go out to dinner, inevitably one person needs to chip in an extra dollar or two to break the twenty or get the tip to work out. We try to take turns so it all evens out in the wash.

I always thought that my job evened out in the wash. I’m supposed to work 20 hours/wk in an office for my grad stipend. I basically just guessed it, working extra when things were stressful and assuming that the days I took off early, came in late or just plain ol’ goofed off probably made up for the late nights. But last week was a doozy so I decided to actually count my hours… 34. I’m pretty sure I don’t goof off 14 extra hours a week. Not really evening out in the wash there. Makes me wonder, should Erica and I start keeping better records on our dinner dates?

And so it goes with knitting. I’ve learned that my stockinette is quite different between in the round and flat. I’ve heard that’s a common problem so wasn’t too concerned. I recently finished a plain jane, top-down raglan Cotton-Ease sweater with a very deep v-neck and while knitting, I knew there would be a slight difference between the top section and the lower once I joined in the round. But hey, just throw it in the wash and a good block will cure all, making all those wonky stitches even. Um… not exactly.

I did a little bit of homework and discovered that for those of us with flat vs. round issues, there are a few “fixes” out there, namely to tug on each stitch when you’re purling during the flat knitting. There are also different ways to knit continental. I can’t seem to find the link at the moment, but in the round, and for most knitting, you’re knitting into the front loop. When I was taught to knit, we knit into the back loop. The matching purl stitch corresponded and evened out the stitch you were essentially twisting and overall, your stitches turn out nice and neat, very even and no gaping line at the back. Yes, clear as mud, but I swear I’ve seen this written out somewhere on a real knitting site and when I knit this way, my stitches don’t turn out twisted. So in general, I do it my way for flat knitting and the “right” way when in the round. But what to do when you’re doing both on the same sweater? (I’ve actually got a few fixes in mind that someday I’ll swatch up and see if I can figure this out… my own little knitting experiment, how exciting.)

Honestly, there are so many other problems with this sweater that this is a very minor concern at this point. (I’m saving the full sweater shot for later when I get a chance to finish a post I’m working on about knitting and body image. Betcha can’t wait for that stimulating reading.) Part of me is even looking forward to doing some swatching to figure out my “issues” and what way works best for me. (I’m also planning to order the E. Zimmerman books so I feel a wee bit more “bad ass” with knitting my way or whatever seems to work.) Anyway, as to the knitting issue, eh, I’ll figure it out eventually… like maybe after I catch up on my other washing… like the dishes, the laundry, and my living room floor.

What struck me in this whole debacle is just how wrong I was about my assumptions about what “evens out.” I suppose in a fairy tale world where most people are kind and giving and fair, it does even out if you give a little extra here and get a little extra there. But I think it’s also one of my ways of not thinking about things. I just assume that it’ll be fair, no need to really keep track, just go with the flow and don’t make much fuss about precision.

But, ya know, this knitting thing… lots of precision, lots of fussing, lots of thinking. Sure, there are lots of things out there that don’t require precision, but sweaters to actually wear in public, well, more precision than I gave to this one. As to thought, well, I tried to give it thought. I measured and figured and tried it on and allowed for the droopage of cotton, but still, fugly sweater. I know that part of that is due to feeling less than confident about the body in the sweater since I’ve fallen off the gym/healthy food bandwagon lately. But more than how my jeans are fitting, I’m a little disturbed by how unconscious I am about things. I just take it on faith that things will work out, that all will be well, and then I’m surprised when they aren’t just peachy at the end. As with work, I assumed I was in the right range of hours at the office and have been wondering where all my time goes. (And let’s not even start thinking about all those other areas of life (reading knitting blogs) where I assume I’m just spending a few minutes and actually hours go by.) Huh, guess it doesn’t all even out in the wash.

This summer I was thinking a lot about happiness and what makes it and how I could get more of it into my life. One of my realizations was that I needed to live more consciously, think more about what I do and how I spend my time, assess rather than obsess over events, interactions, and so on. I guess in some ways I’m a lot like Orchid Man, too often assuming that I’m the losing side of life, not having it together, not being as good/pretty/smart/attractive/confident as others so it’s easier to throw up my hands and say “Whaddya gonna do?” I just prefer to not think about things so I adopt a que sera sera attitude which only makes a lot of the negative thinking worse rather than better.

So, in trying to be more conscious about my knitting, I’m starting to think that maybe I want to be consciously unconscious. I knit this sweater because I wanted something casual and easy. Wouldn’t I have had the same experience working on an afghan or a scarf, projects where you don’t have to worry so much about even stitches and getting gauge and fitting a body’s bumps and lumps? Sure, I admire those knitters who test and rip and plan, plot and scheme about their knitting adventures. I’m thinking about Grumperina and her awesome socks that she knits just to figure out how to do some fancy, complicated technique. She repeatedly writes that that’s the kind of knitting that trips her trigger. Me, eh, not so much. I’m starting to think that I’m more the Mason-Dixon warshrag kind of knitter, even if I don’t want to admit it. Maybe I’m a garter stitch kinda gal? Or maybe right now I just need comfort, non-committal, non-thinking knitting that’s going to turn out just fine, or that in the end, I won’t care if it has wonky stitches. Hopefully someday I’ll want to pick up my thinking cap again and restart all the lace patterns that I’m pretty sure I’m going to abandon for a few months.

I suppose the lesson that I’ve been trying to get through my head is that I’m more mindless than I realize or care to admit and I promote my ‘mindlessness’ in ways that I never realized. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with mindlessness. In fact, I think it’s essential. After all, I do most of my knitting in front of old CSI episodes, a little mindless treat that I am completely comfortable allowing myself. I suppose I was just struck by physical evidence of the outcome of a way that I think about the world around me and how that evidence flew in the face of my assumptions. It doesn’t all even out in the wash. You can’t just bury your head in the sand (or the stash of yarn beside the couch) and always end up with a finished object that you’re proud to post on the blog.

However, it’s pretty easy to allow for mindless knitting. Pick up scarves instead of sweaters, stick with socks over lace. If all goes well, mindless time and thinking time will “even out in the wash” and you’ll end up with a whole wardrobe of knitted objects to wash.

20 September 2006

Dressing Up a Bit

I've "migrated" to the new Blogger Beta so I could play with all the new features. I mean, if you're going to be a part of the Knitting Blog Ring, can't be all shabby and out of date.

Now let's see if this works. Let me know if/when there are problems! (Depending on when you see this, I may or may not have been added yet, so I already know that the features for the ring don't work yet. If that's my only bug, I'll be very, very happy!)

17 September 2006

Accessorize, Dahhhhling, Accessorize

As any good fashionista knows, it's all in the accessories. While no one will ever confuse moi with a fashionista, I do like me a good bangle, bebob, bedazzle and bling. And knitting? Oh yeah, we're down with the accessories. So this weekend I sat myself down at the sewing machine and the bead boxes and made a few little items to trick out some knitting caches around Blogland.

The fabric is Henry Glass & Co. (it has small balls of yarn, if you can't tell from my pic) and the pouch pattern is a tutorial on Crafster, just in case you're interested. (See, Lone Knitter, I will get you into sewing, oh yes, I will get you into sewing...)

My own knitting cache was boosted this weekend with the arrival of my prize from Marisa. (Go check out her gorgeous hat. I'm thinking about a nice little set, paired with the Kureyon scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Would certainly brighten up those dreary winter days that are just around the corner...)

Here's a girl who knows how to accessorize. Not only did she send yarn, but a pattern and "sustenance" to keep me knitting. All topped off with a South Dakota postcard to feed my fantasy of escaping to the middle of nowhere with nothing but my yarn and coffee.

And since we all like a little yarn porn... gotta love the Trekking...

16 September 2006

Since You Know I Love Shopping

The past week, work totally kicked my hiney so I kinda fell off the internets there for a bit. I guess it figures that when you actually have things to post about, you don't have time to do it, but when it's boring, you get to post ad nauseum and announce to the world that you have an entirely empty calendar. Oh well, not that you want to hear the joys about designing posters, websites and conference abstracts anyway...

So, first things first. Pam in Niagara Falls asked me about yarn shops in the area so I thought I’d type up a completely subjective list of shops that I frequent. Thought I’d share to help any visitors to our fine, fair city spend a little moolah and find some stash additions. This isn’t a complete study (not that I’d mind pursuing such an investigation), but just places that see and will see my credit cards in the future.

Elmwood Yarn Shop
1639 Hertel Ave, Buffalo

This is probably my LYS, if I were to choose a single brick & mortar store to remain faithful to. They’ve got a solid collection, nice variety and excellent classes to support your habit. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and helpful, especially when it’s quiet in the store. Saturdays are busy, so be forewarned that you’ll get more individualized service if you can make it on a weekday. This is the kind of store you can go to and find yarn and a project that you will actually make and wear. They have some trendy, novelty type stuff, but it’s pretty minimal, or maybe I just haven’t been looking for it. They change stock with the seasons, generally adding more every time you vist, but you can go in and always know you’ll find a worsted weight wool or basic sock yarn with no trouble. Also expect to find a few goodies in the sale bin every time you go in. Basically, they have good yarn at fair prices and a staff that knows their stuff. I’ve taken numerous classes there on everything from fuzzy mohair mittens to felted fair isle bags and I’ve come away with lots of knowledge and excitement every time. This is the real deal.

And while you’re on Hertel, be sure to make time for lunch. Taste of Thai and Romeo & Juliet’s are my favorites. Definitely worth your drive from the Falls, Pam!

Looped Back
Neighborhood Collective, 810 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

I actually read about this on Annie Modesitt’s blog before I ever knew it was there, despite living blocks away, walking past the shop on a regular basis and having a friend that worked in the restaurant part of this establishment. (I’m pretty sure my friend was trying to help my yarn diet by not telling me about it… which was a good thing.) The one time I really checked out the wares, I only saw the small corner in an artist collective where she always has stuff on display. She does classes and I believe some, if not all, of her own hand-dying. The selection is small and the day I visited there were only two color schemes, but I think she’s expanding the business. From the website it looks like there are days where you can check out more of the wares, but I’ve yet to see what looks to be a real gem. Although, that may change as of tomorrow… I can say that it’s really nice yarn and the dying is very exquisite. This is the “treat” kind of yarn that you want to get for a special project.

If you’re coming to Buffalo, Elmwood Ave. is a must-see anyway with all the boutiques and shops. I’d recommend hitting Elmwood Fabrics just down the street if you’re into sewing. And again, because it’s Buffalo, you’ll have to eat again. Go anywhere… it’s all good.

Karma Knitting & Clothing
5446 Main Street, Williamsville

I’ve actually got a gift certificate for this shop sitting on my desk as I type. I’m not really going to review the shop because I don’t know it well enough. I went in once, found the yarn organized in a very confusing manner and the staff entirely unhelpful. I also have read blogs of devoted customers so I’m just going to say that it was probably because I was grouchy and they were having a bad day. I think I was turned off because the novelty yarn display in the front window just wasn’t me. I’m sure when I go back in this week it’ll be a great shop and I’ll find another place to spend money!

The Wooly Lamb
Main Street, East Aurora

Two words… yarn overload. Seriously, if there can be too much yarn in once place, it’s here. Don’t be in a hurry when you visit because there is so much to look at, you’ll be there for hours. It has the usual East Aurora historic Main St feel to it and yarn is stuffed in every square inch of the shop. You will find something to buy here… it’s inevitable. You’ll find all the yarns you’ve read about and many you’ve never heard of. My only suggestion is to go in with a project or two in mind and have the yarn specifications handy. Most likely they’ll have the book you want to knit from anyway, but this is the kind of place where it’s easy to get overwhelmed and walk away knowing there are things you want, but you can’t remember what they were because you want everything in the shop. If you aren’t really sure what you want to knit, this would be a magical place to do some daydreaming. Take your time, come up for air and enjoy!

If you’re going to attend the Knox Fiber Festival, I definitely recommend giving yourself time to go into town and check out this store.

Embraceable Ewe
Hamburg, NY

This is an adorable little shop that I wish was a little closer so I could pop in regularly to knit. The selection doesn’t appear huge, but it’s all very nice yarn, there’s more of it than you realize, and all is well supported by patterns. They seem to do a good job of getting the various trunk shows from designers and magazines as well so beware. Walking in and seeing the latest Debbie Bliss sweater will easily make you cave and buy yarn to make it immediately! Their classes are fun and have a nice variety. I took a dinner class there where the shop owner’s husband cooks up a big meal and you work on a small project. We did bead knitting on teeny tiny needles (hmm… a project I never finished, imagine that) and it was the kind of thing where you needed some help getting started but not so much that you needed a long, in-depth class. Oh, and you needed wine to make you forget that you were knitting on sz. 0000 or something like that… wine was provided. You’re on your own with the credit cards that you’ll need here.

Those are my usual haunts. I’d also suggest the Knox Fiber Farm which is having a festival in a few weeks. I bought some of their handspun last year and love it. Will have to be digging out that scarf very soon, I think. I believe there may be another shop somewhere in Williamsville but I haven’t found it. And I know there’s a place called Yarn It All in the North Tonawanda/Pendleton area. I took one class here on double knitting (the technique discussed in the recent Knitty article on doing two socks at once) and learned a ton. I haven’t been back only because it’s on the way to an ex-boyfriend’s parent’s house and well, just not on my route any more. I can’t seem to find a website for them, but they had a really extensive selection and from what I remember, it was a mix of Red Heart type stuff and higher end yarns. I remember thinking that it was an odd assortment, but I’d be willing to bet I could find something I had to have without too my effort!

Hope this helps anyone looking to explore the WNY yarn shops!

09 September 2006


You know it’s been a doozy of a day when you’ve had two Tim Horton’s runs and a latte from home and you’re still exhausted at 7.30 at night. Well, I can report that the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair was all that and a bag of roving. Knitters came in droves, filled all available parking lots and every square inch of a rather large ballroom. And boy did we shop.

So… the damage...

All in all, I managed to hit the jack pot on the bargains. As far as the list goes, well… I did manage to check off a few things and then there was that caveat about being able to buy things that I just couldn’t leave behind…

10 1/2 skeins of heavy worsted hand-dyed wool in various shades of blue and purple... over 2000 yards of wool for $10 Canadian.* See what I mean? A bargain that can't be passed up. It looks like this was a bag of leftovers and it's on the scratchy side and contains a bit of vegetable matter funkiness, but I'm thinking I can do some major felting here. And for $10... can't resist...

The same booth also supplied some really cool green, blue and teal Handspun Silk Noil, 410 g of unidentified yardage/weight. This will take some swatching (and a nice bath of some sort).

And since I was already clearing out their clearance bin, I snagged two skeins of lt. lavendar fingering wt merino just so I can try out my new Flower Basket Shawl pattern and blocking wires. I mean, I had to buy it because you know I just don't have any lace projects around here. *cough, cough*

And the bargains... they just didn't stop...

9 skeins of Briggs & Little Regal for some sort of dark grey cabled cardigan/hoodie with teal blue accents. It works in my head... and for $27 Canadian, it'll work on me too!

Lest you think I've become too wool-oriented (is there such a thing?), the softest yarn ever award goes to this little purchase... 2 skeins of angora for this scarf (go to the scarves link and check out the cabled goodness). So unbelievably soft (And no, I didn't pay $65 for the yarn... only $14. And worth every penny.)

But wait, didn't she go up there to buy sock yarn?

Well, seems solid color sock yarn isn't exactly the thing to display at a knitting festival. I guess it's kinda boring or something. But when a girl's gotta have socks, a girl's gotta have socks.

It was a challenge, but I did find some patterned yarn that I just had to adopt... 4 skeins of Scheepjes Invicta Coloris (one of which will be making its way to the contest winner... announced below). Initial impression is that it seems a lot like the Opal I've been using recently, although perhaps a tad softer.

And if you've got to just force yourself to buy multi-colored yarn (because you can see how much I have to struggle to make myself buy yarn), you may as well do a teency bit of splurging...

Sweetgeorgia Superwash Sock in Paris
Sweetgeorgia Superwash Sock in Marina

So... to sum up...

Sock Yarn: 8 skeins

Total Skeinage: 30

Lone Knitter, great guess! There will be some sock yarn headed your way. (Hope you don't have to use your twine yarn retrieval system on this one!) And since I did go off course a bit, I'm going to send a prize to CJ as well for coming closest to my total purchase of 30 skeins.

All in all, it was a terribly fun excursion and the bargains were a pleasant surprise. I feel rather hedonistic right now with my haul spread out all over my bed, but so far no buyer's remorse has set in. I'm pretty sure that petting the angora will cure any if I do get a case!

Oh, and if you are planning your own international yarn excursion, don’t worry about any border delays. On both sides, we were let through immediately when we said we were in Canada to attend a knitting festival. I’m not sure if the friendly guards were reminded of grammies and past Christmas gifts or if they just thought we were too bloody crazy to be a danger, but they gave us a blank look and a big wave as we went about our way. Good thing too, I needed to get home and start knitting!

*I suppose right now the exchange rate is so bad that there isn't a huge difference between the Canucks' dollar and ours, but I still remember the good ol' days when it did. It was like walking into Ikea and having everything be on sale. Rather than actually doing the math (because English grad students don't do that, ya know), we could just walk around and say that everything was about $20. Funky pillow? $20 Kitchen utensil set? $20 Uncomfortable but hip looking couch? $20 Meatballs? $20. See, it all evened out in the wash.

07 September 2006

Um... hi!

Wow... thanks for all the guesses on my little sock yarn adventure. I didn't realize so many of you were actually out there. I'm going to try to get around to visiting everyone's blogs in return as soon as I can. (And, Pam, I'm working on the yarn shop list too. I want to be fair in my write-up so no writing when I'm tired and cranky... I'll save that for my dissertation!)

Anyway, I just wanted to put this up here while it's on my mind and since the blog world is abuzz with Rhinebeck stuff at the moment. Blogger Bingo? Yep, so cool.

If anybody is thinking about or planning to go, let me know. My various local partners-in-crime may not be able to go and I really want to make the trek... possibly even wearing my trekking socks. Yeah, couldn't resist. Just kinda putting out a plea for ride or room sharers... I'm willing to drive alone but would be nice to have someone to meet up with there. Guess it's kinda the grown-up version of fear of having to sit alone at the lunch table. But wow, is it lame to put out a blog plea for friends?

Well, I never said I wasn't a dork.

05 September 2006

Contest! Contest! Contest!

I just found out that I was a lucky winner in a contest over at Lost in the Woods. (She's from South Dakota and some of you know my fantasy about escaping to the Dakotas or Wyoming or somewhere cold and sparsely populated... think of all the sock knitting I could do there...) Yay! More trekking goodness. So... to spread the knitting contest love I thought I'd do one over here.

This weekend I'm planning to attend the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair hosted by the guild there. Yes, I'm traveling to a foreign country to buy yarn. Don't laugh. You know you'd do it too given the opportunity. And like any good knitter, I've made my list and checked it twice so hopefully I'll be able to stick to it.
  • blocking wires
  • sock needles of various sizes, long enough for magic loop
  • matching sock needle for my favorite Addi which I think is 2.5 mm
  • patterns for Lace Leaf or Flower Basket shawl
  • solid color sock yarn... this is really the main mission... must.buy.sock.yarn. Well, maybe not MUST, per se, but REALLY, REALLY WANT TO...
  • any other sock yarn that I just can't live without
  • and possibly, maybe, if it's a really great deal and I can't live without it, other yarn that floats my boat, but it better be absolutely amazing and next to free since I have enough stash to last me for ages and I have to save some purchases for the Knox Fiber Fest and Rhinebeck after all.

So, that's my list and I'm sticking to it... I hope.

And here's where you come in. Since sock yarn is really my main focus, particularly solid colors to try out some of the lace patterns out there, how many skeins of sock yarn will I buy?

The person who guesses closest will get sock yarn of their very own... most likely out of the stash that I import. (Here's to hoping border guards don't get all fussy about yarn... I really don't want to have to buy them off by giving up a skein of the good stuff or anything.) If the winner is not a sock knitter (I know, hard to believe but there are a few people out there who haven't come over to the dark side), she'll get... um... something... Canadian? Well, provided I can think of something Canadian. At the moment the only thing Canadian that I can think of wouldn't be so good to toss into an envelope. I can just imagine the joy my aunt would feel opening up a box to her very own warm bottle of Blue. (It's a beer, for all you non-close-to-Canada folks. It's a Buffalo thing. You walk into a bar, order wings and a Blue. I don't get it either.)

So... leave a comment before Saturday noon EST with your guess on how much damage I'll do. Here's to lots and lots and lots of warm toes!

04 September 2006

I think I can... I think I can...

All summer I've been yapping about wanting to go on a bike ride. Haven't been on two wheels* in years so I figured I'd better give it another try before old age sets in. Today, to mark the end of summer, I finally got the chance to put my tootsies to the pedals. Well, the tootsies made it, but the hiney is feeling it. At horsey camp we'd sit around the campfire and complain about the rather unpleasant sensation of feeling like you were sitting on tennis balls. Seems like biking gives you golf balls, but hey, aren't all unpleasant sensations in the nether regions pretty much the same?

But what better way to close out summer than with a ride along the water, fried food at the marina and good friends who don't laugh (at least where you can hear them) when you have to get off and push on the big hill? And hopefully today's outing will also mark a transition into fall and my goals of getting more exercise and trying out new sporting adventures. I'll be sure to let you know which regions are hurting with each new outing. Betcha just can't wait to read those posts... If I have some really good bruises, I'll be sure to share pics too. Boy howdy, that'll be fun.
And if you're going to be sitting on tennis balls, it's always a grand idea to sit there and squirm with a difficult new knitting project. I cast on for Sarcelle this evening and have managed to knit the simple part before any charts.

Please don't laugh when I have to do the knitting equivalent of getting off and pushing.

*There was a little two-wheeling action going on last summer but that was on the back of a very fast motorcycle with a very fast boy *cough, cough* and all I remember about that whole experience was holding on and thinking that this was definitely not knitting. Anyway, let your imaginations run where they may with that one...

03 September 2006

Mixin' It Up

Just as I can't seem to stick to a single project long enough to finish it, I can't stick to a single craft. Right now I'm generally bouncing between my knitting needles and my sewing machine, but who knows... next up? Decoupage? Scrapbooking? Basket weaving?

I finally finished this quilt and picked it up recently. This is one of those UFO's that marinated for a long, long time. I bought the fabric while I was working on my first master's... yes, I have two because one useless master's degrees just wasn't quite enough. Anyhoo, who could resist fabric like this:

We all know my inability to resist the siren call of cool fabric. So I bought... and I stashed... and stashed... and stashed. Y'all think I kid about my concern for dry rot in my stash. This little gem started in my college town in Missouri, moved back to the parental homestead, then made it to four different addresses here in Buffalo before ever feeling the whack of the rotary cutter. Serious stashing... When it finally came time to rip into it, I stacked and whacked to make a bunch of these:

And then you whip 'em all together and make this:

Put this onto the back:

And you've got yourself a quilt! Easy Peasy, right? So why'd it take me 8 years to finish? (No jokes about how long it takes me to finish things, Mom... quilts and dissertations demand long marination times... years... decades... eons...)

Pattern: Stack 'n Whack (Don't quilt names just sound so violent... rotary cutters and seam rippers make pointy little knitting needles seem quite passe.)

Fabric: Um, a bunch purchased in unknown locales... notably the Ben Franklin in Macon, MO... because you never know what little gem is waiting in Backwardsville, USA

Dates: 1999 (maybe) - 2006... see, marination is key

Quilter: Joyce R., a.k.a., The Princess (not sure how she feels about her full name on the internet... Oh, the stories to be told about The Princess... but I'll save those for when I finally get around to recapping my recent Quilt Camp adventures.)

02 September 2006

Rainbow Brite Socks

These socks are dedicated to all you children of the 80s. Socks to help you, Starlite, and Twink save Rainbow Land.

Rainbow Brite Trekkers

Pattern: Chevron Pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Trekking 135, gift from Christina
Dates: Summer 2006
Recipient: Miss Brite herself, or maybe just a kid who used to watch Miss Brite on Saturday mornings with powdered donuts and a strict order not to wake up mom with any nonsense like beating up my little brother
Notes: This pattern used a forethought heel which I really liked. I suppose there may be a concern about how well this will wear, but it's not like I'm really planning to run around saving Rainbow Land in these puppies. (Excuse the gaping hole on the right sock... Twink had an emergency and called me away before I finished sewing it up. The work of a super hero is never finished.) Anyway, love the little bull's eye effect the heel creates and there are no stitches to pick up, although I did have a bit of a challenge with getting my provisional cast on stitches back onto the needle without twisting them.

The chevron pattern looks great in the wide stripes of this yarn. I liked it so much I started it on a more subdued colorway of Opal sock yarn for my mom (to make up for all the times I did wake her up on Saturday morning by beating up my little brother). So far, I'm not liking it so much on a colorway with uneven stripes and a lot of variation. Choose yer stripes wisely, O sock knitter.

If you need any Rainbow Brite refreshers, try here and here. Since the 80s are back in, I'm sure I'll be seeing Rainbow Brite baby tees on all the students on campus. Should I reveal my age by telling them that I remember when the show was actually on TV and as a result demanded that my room have a rainbow theme? Nah, didn't think so.

Nor will I be revealing that I knit Rainbow Brite socks. No need to encourage the old lady comments from the hip little youngsters!

01 September 2006

Just a Walk in the Park

So did you start thinking I just sat around and received presents all the time? I actually do some knitting once in a blue moon. This week I started the Central Park Hoodie and got to put my new stitch markers into play.

I'm using Cascade 220 Quatro color 5016 and Addi Turbos (sz 8). The color is waaaaay off in the pic but I liked the composition so there you go. The illusions of the internet. The real color is here if you want to investigate. It's a pale pink/lavendar combo and I'm a bit concerned that it's a wee too twee and not enough tweed but I'll give it a go and maybe with the right buttons, I can avoid looking like I'm wearing an Easter sweater from Baby Gap.

So far I love how the ribbing transitions into the cables neatly and it's a very easy knit. I'm thinking I could be seeing my Rhinebeck wardrobe here...