Monday, November 23, 2015

This is How it Ought to Work

Oh dear, it looks like my friend Linda got together with Denise and Channyn this weekend, and she may just have gotten a little carried away. I cannot resist posting this picture. Linda is actually the most sane of the four of us. I believe that she owns maybe 2 skeins of yarn at this point. She starts a project, knits it, and then Denise and Channyn thrust more yarn upon her, which is not how the rest of us work, though I dragged my bins of yarn up from the basement last Friday and I only have 3 bins (compared to Channyn and Denise's 13). Admittedly, I do have about 700 pounds of silk and alpaca in the basement, but that's a whole 'nother story, and that's roving, not finished yarn. Linda, by the way, knits until she hits an issue and then mails her project to Channyn, who fixes it and then mails it back.

I adore these girls. They are such a hoot.

Channyn made that hat and those mitts. She took an existing pattern that was a little wonky and re-architected it to get the cables to line up right. What a gift; I'm usually taking a perfectly adequate pattern and doing just the opposite, turning it wonky.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

This Week: It's All About the Pink

This weekend I went out with my friends Channyn, Denise and Linda to architectural salvage stores and an estate sale.

I've had it in my head that I want to make knitted camisoles. The one I like the most is this, from the cover of the book Knitting loves Crochet. I love the contrast between the two blues.

Unfortunately, I don't actually know how to crochet, so this may have to wait. But while we were at the estate sale, I came across crocheted what-nots, including this one, which I am hoping is not in reality the underpinnings of a vintage chastity belt. So I am wondering if I could make a camisole by using this for the top part with my own knitting for the bottom part:

While the book above establishes that you can combine knitting with crochet, I haven't found much on combining cotton crochet with silk / alpaca yarn.

Here are the rest of the crochet treasures that I picked up:

I'm hoping that I could at least use them somehow with some nuno felting that I've been thinking of doing.

While we were out, we also came upon a most worthy piece of equipment:

I tried something fierce to convince myself to buy this. In my mind, it would sit next to me by the couch, and everything I needed, from yarn to needles to knitty noddies, would sit in the little shelves, and when I needed something I would just whirrrrrr it around. Unfortunately, I live in a wee house, and this piece of equipment would dominate the room where I spend most of my time. But still... I am a woman who likes to be surrounded by the clutter of her art. If a ball of yarn doesn't come trailing off of me when I jump off the couch, then I don't have enough projects going. But, the price was too high. The shopkeeper said she really didn't want to sell it, thus explaining the $500 price tag. If it had been $200, my husband would be spending his evenings watching tv in the kitchen, because surely his armchair could fit in there quite nicely if necessary.

Back to the architectural salvage store... it turns out you can even pick up some fancy vintage hats from the ReHouse Retro store. Can you imagine some middle-aged lady picking out this treasure over at Sibley's or Forman's back in the day?

In spite of all the shopping, there was work to be done, so I did manage to finish up this cowl. I've used two strands of two different types of yarn, which is a new technique for me. One is Holiday Yarns "Flocksock Fingering". I picked it up at the Hemlock Fiber Festival. It is 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon. It is the darker pink in the picture below. I liked working with it. It has just a bit of stretch to it and feels nice to knit with. The color is called "Cheeky". The other strand is a luscious angora called "Fluffy Bunny DK", which is 90% Angora, 10% Nylon. Its color is also called "Cheeky".

There was yarn left over, so I started another cowl this week. I am combining the Holiday Yarn with my own handspun. I like the contrast in color and texture. And I like combining my homespun with someone else's yarn; it makes me feel oddly collaborative.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Struggle is Real

This weekend I went on a girl's outing with a gaggle of women who have been annually retreating for 24 years. I've been going for the last few years, and always have such fun. They like to take hikes and go to museums. I like to go to museum stores, sit on benches and knit or spin in museums, and sleep while they take hikes. I am considering bring along long underwear next year, though, because I would like to be a good sport about the hiking thing. It says a lot about a group of people who can do something together for this long and still make newcomers welcome. I like to go because they all talk about their children and their spouses and their careers, and I like to hear the stories about where the kids are in the college process and the getting on with life process. This year also was the first year where someone had a grandchild to talk about. Certainly there will be more of that to come.

On the first night of the girl's outing, everyone brings food and we sit and catch up. I decided to bring rocks. I found an estate sale a couple of weeks ago that had something like 200 hand painted rocks. If I hand painted a rock, it would not be lovely, but these rocks were amazing. There were scenic rocks - this black capped chickadee has a place in my bathroom:

And there were rocks with flowers painted on them:

My husband, who is traditionally the most supportive when it comes to the odd things I go crazy about, was completely nonplussed by the rock obsession. "I don't understand... why would you want to pay money for... rocks?" They are, in my humble opinion, the ultimate gift. You can use them as decor. Or as a weapon. And if you don't like your rock, you can stick it in your pocket and wander down the street and leave it in a neighbor's yard. Or you can chuck it. And best of all, you absolutely never have to ask yourself if the Salvation Army is likely to want to take that rock off your hands. Because, well, like I said, you can just chuck it.

I also brought my latest knitting projects, some in process, some complete. Two of the girls found a home for some of my completed projects. Here is Tina, modeling my "I will get you through the long cold New York winter" outfit. I started by making a hat. And then I made a cowl. But the cowl wasn't warm enough, so I knit an inner lining. And then the cowl seemed to be too large, but not large enough to double wrap, so I sewed it together so the ends would overlap. But then I thought it wasn't keeping the neck warm enough, so I knit a second cowl. Tina can now go out in a blizzard, or de-layer and look jaunty with just the inner cowl. All this is made from the 1/3 silk 2/3 alpaca yarn that I made up a few weeks ago from the frosting buckets of pink yarn.

Tina is also sporting a "Fight Like a Girl" t-shirt. I brought a bunch of those along to share as well.

Next, we have Mary, who is wearing a hat and scarf set from my early "yarn over" years. I am a sluggish learner when it comes to knitting. So I learn a stitch, and then everything ends up using that stitch for a few months while I get comfortable with it. Currently I am slogging away at cabling, but so far can only do one cable on a project, because I get distracted when I am knitting and am pretty sure that if I tried to do two or more cables in the same project, I would end up re-defining wonky knitting.

Both Tina and Mary looked quite fetching with their knitted Barb-isms this weekend. But I also came with another mission in mind... this summer, my friend Lee came for a visit and went home with a hat and scarf in the baby blue that you see Mary wearing. I looked at the pictures, and there just was no way that I could leave Lee wearing baby blue. She is definitely a fall colors person. So we went through the bag of projects and yarn and agreed on a lovely maroon angora yarn. I have to finish the pink angora project that you can see below, but the yarn is the same weight, so you can imagine what Lee's might look like in maroon:

The beauty of the angora is that it is delightfully lightweight, but also deliciously snuggly warm.

One of the reasons that I adore my friend Lee is that she is the ultimate free spirit. While we were out wandering, we stopped at an antique barn, and Lee started re-organizing their outdoor statuary. I'm such a rule follower that I was absolutely aghast at first, but then it seemed Lee had a point - nobody will see these if they aren't elevated!

My husband, understanding that painted rocks are just a stepping stone to larger things, wanted to know if I had brought home a bunch of statuary. "umm... just the squirrel. We needed a squirrel."

We resisted this delightful pig, but only because he was over-priced:

By the end of our adventures, the girls had decided that we need to lose weight. "Oh". So we are amusing ourselves with the expression "The Struggle is Real", which our friend Rachel has researched, and seems apt for our problem. From

A (generally) ironic saying often used in place of the saying, "first world problems". Has slightly more urban undertones than "first world problems". Denotes a situation where the user wishes to express that they are encountering some sort of undesirable difficulty, but dealing with it. With irony, it has a comical effect of dramatizing a non-critical yet undesirable situation.

For those who find themselves suffering like we ladies with a bit of a poundage issue, I've found the perfect t-shirt, available at Sears, which ironically (or aptly) only comes in sizes 1X, 2X or 3X: