Sluggin’ out Tuesday, Jun 24 2008 

It’s been very, very weird here in Western, Mass. The past three days have been filled with rain and thunder, unnaturally dark days with little tenuous bits of sunshine. It’s like ‘The Happening’, which I happened to love, but I’m pretty sure 60% of my love for it is a desire to be contrary and a girl crush on Zooey Deschanel (anyone want to go see this with me? Anyone?).

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting of course, mostly for the store. Knitting for the store like mad is a bit of an addiction, I’m afraid. We’re compensated in store credit which feels like Monopoly money, and though I really, really don’t need the yarn, I just can’t pass it up!

My latest contribution also marks a bit of a milestone for me–I finally figured out how to make a PDF and put up a pattern page here on the blog. I made a cozy scarf with Cuzco, a scrumdiddliumptious new Berroco yarn, 50/50 wool/alpaca with a nice bouncy twist. I’m totally digging Crotona, but it might just be the outfit in general, she reminds me of these fashionable sheep, still clinging to the ‘dark leg’ trend. I can see why, it’s a classic trend, if there is such a thing.

You can find the pattern for the Brûlée Scarf on my new pattern page!

Brulee Scarf

Also there is a link to a pattern I did for J. Knits that I think I forgot to blog about! I’m calling it the Downtown Clutch and it will also appear in an upcoming book from Storey Publishing. The yarn is called Charming and well, it is! I actually can’t describe the feel of knitting with it, but it is good. The last time I was this flummoxed by a yarn (Socks that Rock in this post) I started talking about it’s mouthfeel, so yeah. You’ll just have to see for yourself. There is already an adorable finished Downtown Clutch over at Ravelry, I simply love her mods. I am certainly planning to embellish mine similarly, hopefully before fall!

Downtown Clutch

Time to make the donuts,

CR

High in the sky apple pie hopes… Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

Spring yarns are trickling in at the store and they are super tempting! I have so much cotton, linen, hemp, etc. in my stash, I’m forcing myself to NOT gorge on anything from Berroco or Classic Elite, specifically the highly tempting Seduce and Soft Linen. Trying to ignore the totally adorable patterns from Norah Gaughan and Pam Allen. To quash these cravings and celebrate the fact that I think this is the year I’ve finally accepted that I’m a fledgling designer (long time readers will know that there has been much internal consternation surrounding that self-appointed title), I’m working up a little pattern that will take just a few skeins of these gorgeous new yarns and hopefully be a cute mid-season accessory. I wasn’t allowed to buy the yarn on Saturday because it is just that new (not in the Webs system) but hopefully by next weekend because it’ll be a quick knit, and I want to wear it!

Now, for some heart-stopping cuteness. In November (my month of knitting a million sweaters) I hinted at some unphotographed FOs, two tiny dog sweaters I made for a (very talented) friend’s adorable pomapoo. Shara snapped some pics and left them for me in the comments but I want everyone to meet the very dapper Diego!
Diego

And his new little sister Sadie, wearing the elfish green hoodie I originally made for Diego!

Sadie

That face!!

Sadie

I used the very adaptable Basic Hound Hoodie (Ravelry link but you can Google it for a free PDF). The first beige hoodie was knit with about half a skein of Tahki Soho Tweed which is a very nice yarn, soft and quick knitting. The green hoodie took half a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. In the store the Cascade 220 is right next to the Ultra Al and…it makes the Ultra Al look really good. For about 1 dollar more you get a vastly more luxurious yarn in totally unique, complex colors. I’m not knocking Cascade 220 (or it’s awesome rival yarn Northampton) but if you haven’t used Ultra Al, I implore you, buy a skein, knit some little gloves or a hat (or both). You’ll fall for it.

More handspun…I need to start knitting it before I have yet another stash to manage. This is what I’m calling Wheat Sheaves, spun from 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts, most hilarious color name ever. I’m actually kind of happy with the pictures I got of this one, so lots more at Flickr.

Wheat Sheaves

I’ve also been practicing my photo skills on the Sundara Season’s Club shipment (this is Tickled Pink, the spring selection):

Tickled Pink

It’s been interesting, I chose Autumn and Spring, my favorite seasons in real life but I’m thinking I should have stuck with my CMB season, Winter. Those skeins have been deep reds or weird combos of green and charcoal or magenta and black. I live for weird colors! I sold and traded my silk lace weight because I’m just not that masochistic. If I ever really get into hardcore lace knitting it’ll be with something sticky.

What else? Oh yes, I had some exciting scores at Target the other day, got a creme brulee set for 5 dollars!! Steve, owner of Webs and wisecracker overheard me telling a coworker and shouted, “you know why it was 5 bucks, because no one makes creme brulee at home!!” I beg to differ, I made it immediately and had a very delicious breakfast the next morning!

Creme Brulee

Won’t be making a habit of it though. They include a “low-cal” version but it’s probably not worth the dairy. Besides a momentary freak-out about the butane torch (visions of explosions, probably the REAL reason no one makes them at home) I had success. I also made paneer (Fresh Cheese in Bittman) the other day, which was very fun. I’m having a streak of food luck, what should I make next??

CR

And the winner of NoSoNaFiSweMo is… Monday, Dec 3 2007 

Dharma! I’m going to have fun putting together a custom prize package for her, she is a fellow graduate student and used to live in Northampton. She correctly guessed the # and name of the sweaters that I would finish by my deadline (which I unscrupulously extended to include this weekend)!! Until the weather clears up and the sweaters dry, the promised runway show is on hold. You’ll have to be content with this, the remnants of the FOs:

FOremnants

Clockwise from the top these represent the Hudson Hoodie (which ended up hoodless), T-Storms, Blood Orange cardigan and the Tilted Duster. Technically I also finished Thermal…and by finished I mean chucked it into the wastebasket! That pattern is too cute to knit in such a droopy, pill-tastic yarn.

I learned a lot from this endeavor! I learned that, like Grumperina, I don’t think I’m a sweater knitter! It could be the deadline that was making it unpleasant but as I worked on these long abandoned projects I realized that I almost never wear the sweaters I’ve knit. I actually sort of hate them. There are always little flaws that bug me. I’m not a fashionista or even all that well put together but I’m insanely particular about fabrics and the way things fit. If an outfit is itching, sagging, riding up or doing anything weird it will ruin my day. Most of my hand-knit sweaters are imperfect, and I’m fine with that but I don’t know how sensible it is to keep making things I’m not going to wear.

Of course, last I checked I had enough stashed yarn to make…50 sweaters. It sounds crazy and inflated but it’s true and probably a low ball estimate as well. UGH. My plan of attack for the time being is to finish Treeline, Enid and Forecast. Then I want to emulate Siri and knit up my equally insane sock yarn stash. Socks get worn.

So do hats! Jenny and Nicole were reading my mind last week with their excellent episode on my absolute favorite thing to knit. Gudrun was as well, check out her adorable Unst. Julie at Team Knit has got me plotting a Brownie’s beanie redux! Hat love never dies around here.

Spinning is also kicking lots of ass. Jenna stopped by on Saturday with her wheel and it quickly turned into a night of spinning Q&A, chocolate munching and raspberry wine swigging (it was made by a Webs co-worker). Somehow, we ended up wearing a batt and a flyer.

Jenna wearing a flyer

I’m not as drunk as I look, I promise.

Cirilia wearing a batt

The same Cormo I spun and plied on the drop spindle was given the same treatment on the wheel:

First wheelspun

I like!

First wheelplied

I’m currently waiting for two packages from Spunky Eclectic, a lazy Kate and some assorted stuff to try (I’m especially excited about this, which I purchased in Night Flower). Hot damn, it’s fun to buy fiber. Speaking of Amy, I finished the Girl Power shawl. And two dog sweaters. Wow, it was a busy November.

Finished object runway show in the very near future,

CR

!!! Wednesday, Nov 21 2007 

So I’ve decided to try and streamline my Internet life, and making the switch to WordPress seemed like a good idea. Can’t tell you why yet, still exploring, but so far so good!

I haven’t posted much new yarn lately…this is because I’m really not buying much (well, compared to what I usually do), but it’s also because entering it into Ravelry feels like enough. I purchased yarn for the Colette sweater in the new Interweave (I chose burgundy and grass green Whiskey). I special ordered an Autumn Rose kit. I got two Ravens:

J.Knits generously sent me a few skeins of her new spring yarns to sample. I’d never seen these yarns, but Andra reps them in New England and speaks highly of them. They are GORGEOUS, look at this Camel in Nebraska (it feels thick and luscious, yarn Haagen-Daaz):

jknitscamel

This is Charming in Iowa. The yardage and the fiber content are really excellent–300 yards of lambswool, cashmere and angora. I’m thinking ridiculously luxurious socks.

Charming

And speaking of socks I had to grab this skein of my favorite ice cream flavor from Keegan Lane Yarns (I love the realism of the chocolate ‘chips’:

Mint Chip Sock Yarn

In other news, a Ladybug has landed in my apartment! Jenna and Melissa graciously rang me up past the official Webs closing time so I could take my Ladybug home. Thank you both, ladies, I know it was an annoying sale on a few levels =/ I did assemble it and find my ladybug (she’s on the right side of the…the part the looks like a phallus, I’m sorry, it does).

I’ve decided to name the wheel Lexie Sedgwick, a double homage to how I earned it and a theorist I’m fond of who writes about gender, performance, deconstruction and textiles! I didn’t know naming wheels was a “thing” but I used to name my cars, so why not the wheel?And speaking of spinning, check out my first plied yarn, this was spun and plied on the drop spindle.

First plied yarn

I totally love it, flaws and all! Those fat fuzzy slubs (and the uh, unspun bits) are right up my alley. I couldn’t believe how cool plying was, it went from overspun, kinky singles to a relatively balanced, pretty yarn. I really think that this fiber (wish Foxhill Farm had a website to link to) is what prompted me to pick up the drop spindle again. As for the wheel, it was equal parts Adrian and Jenna. Again, it makes so much sense that my next fiber endeavor is spinning, I’m the sort of knitter who is somewhat ashamedly in love with miles of stockinette–I’m in it for the fabric, and beautiful yarns speak to me more than complicated stitch patterns or ambitious construction. There, I said it. I’m a knit simpleton, with expensive tastes.

CR

I suppose I should blog… Wednesday, Oct 17 2007 

Yeesh, October is crazy! I have let a backlog of events, purchases, etc. pile up and now I’m a little overwhelmed by it all. Here are a few highlights from Rhinebeck, I’ll tackle Stitches East in the next post. Sorry for the links to pictures, I sized them incorrectly and they looked really bad here. I’ll figure it out =/

This was my first visit, and it was lovely! Jenna and I used the buddy system and had an excellent, relaxing time. Maybe we were a little antisocial, we skipped meet-ups, the Ravelry party and Blogger Bingo but we’re both having insane semesters, we’re running on empty.

We feasted on the famous artichokes, as well as apple pie a la mode, milkshakes, and many tiny bits of cheese. Jenna’s old BF Max showed us around Rhinebeck and we caught a snippet of the Darjeeling Limited from the projection room at his family’s theater, Upstate Films. Met Jessica, that was awesome. I love meeting bloggers I’ve read for a number of years, it’s really bizarre–we were both like, “haven’t we already met?”

Minor purchases were made (Jenna was hyper-restrained/disciplined!). I picked up only one skein of yarn, tie-dyed angora from…I’m not sure where. I think it’s the same booth and same yarn that Jenna and Huelo purchased from at Cummington Sheep and Wool in May, Acker Acres Angoras? I asked the woman what it looked like knit up and she said “I dunno, I just dyed it and haven’t knit it!” I’m thinking it might end up looking like the sky in my favorite Van Gogh.

Some insane roving that looks like intestines from Foxhill Farm Fibers and Sheep. I’m regretting not picking up a bag that was really beachy, as well as two tiny ones that were yellow and bubble gum pink. I also grabbed some very cool wool fabric–tweeds and herringbones in amazing colors. It’s actually pretty hard to find small amounts of soft wool in interesting colors, so I was excited to learn where they’re hiding (rug hookers hoard them!). I’m hoping to try a Denyse Schmidt style scarf.

I’m starting to feel the pull for a spinning wheel! It’s a big purchase but I’ve been really good this year. It might seem like I spend a lot on yarn, bags and shoes (and I do) but I’m really good at budgeting everything else. Clothing, food, books etc. are all done on the cheap. I really like this blogger’s thoughtful approach to buying/shopping for a wheel. I have some offers to try some different wheels. The smaller/more compact the better so I’m thinking castle or folding. I know double treadle is supposed to be easier but I have an ankle problem that makes it hard to do things evenly with both feet…I might be better off with a single treadle. Aesthetically I’m drawn to the Kromski Sonata and Minstrel, the Ashford Kiwi, the Louet S75 and the adorable Schacht Ladybug.

One of the shopping considerations is what sort of yarn you’d like to spin. I love Jacey’s yarn and I lust after Spincycle Yarns. What has really sent me over the edge is all the handspun garter stitch stuff that Adrian and Jared are churning out. Remember the Spunky Eclectic roving I bought at Cummington? Well, Jenna spun it up for me on her Louet S75:



It came out BEAUTIFULLY, and it’s highly inspiring. It’s South African Fine from Spunky Eclectic, colorway Rocky Mountain High. I originally thought I’d make a hat and mittens (Jenna reserved some of the roving so I could thrum with it) but it’s so pretty I might do a really simple shawl instead, a Spunky pattern in fact! Full circle, nice.


More later,

CR

Tap tap… Thursday, Sep 6 2007 

Is this thing on?

I disappeared! And I didn’t even know it but the last post I made (on August 13th) was my 100th post, at least at this blog address. Cool.

I’ve been busy with moving and grad school has started up again so I’ve been consumed with those two things. I’ve been having almost constant agita since moving–the yarn is just out of control and there is very little closet space so while it’s a much bigger apartment than the last, the yarn has nowhere to GO. I’ve had to invest in a set of vacuum space bags. I thought about posting pictures, but the hard squished bricks of yarn are too sad, I could almost be accused of yarn abuse!

If there is anything that makes me feel like I have too much yarn it’s calculating the amount I spend on STORAGE for the yarn. I could knit a cashmere afghan with what I’ve spent on plastic storage bins, no joke. And those vacuum bags aren’t cheap either. I read on Ravelry that you shouldn’t actually vacuum out the air because it could permanently compress the fibers.

Anyhow, I am knitting and hope to be able to post a picture of my Minimalist cardigan soon which I am close to finishing. It’s looking like it will be an adorable wearable sweater and I already have two orders for them. I don’t think I’ll mind because it’s such a straightforward pattern, really quick and easy knitting. I’ll probably be knitting a second for myself as well!

My modeling has been truly exciting recently–in the next Webs catalog you’ll see me modeling a garment I designed and knit in what I think is the nicest Valley Yarn yet, Sheffield, a merino/silk/angora blend. I’m actually pretty pleased with this sweater and hope it finds some fans. It was really fun to work on the entire page of the catalog, from the copy to the garment to the modeling it was all DIY!

The next job on deck is seriously fantastic but top secret for now! All I’ll say is that I had to give my measurements to a very cool lady today…

I’ll be back with pictures!

CR

Welcome to Linkland… Monday, Jul 16 2007 

I am still without photodock, so no photos can be uploaded. The battery life is pulling one of those biblical stretches of longevity, I’m trying to avoid creating too much of a backlog for myself. To compensate, it appears I’ve gotten a little link happy.

TKGA was, to quote Count Blah once again (scroll way down), ‘aiii-ig-it’. Kathy and I were immediately deflated when we learned that Brooks Farm had to cancel due to floods in Texas. Our sadness about this was at least 51% not about yarn. I’ll be making my usual beeline to them at Rhinebeck.

There were some purchases, a skein of deliciously speckled Koigu for a Purl beret (not unlike the birthday cake version I got at Stitches West), some hilarious albino (#269) Silk Garden, Lexie bags and some patterns I’m really excited about: a steeked Fair Isle wrap knit in Reynolds Whiskey (if I ever finish Enid I’m sure to have leftovers to work with) and a drop dead cute cardigan with (channeling Anne Shirley) short PUFFED SLEEVES. I’m sorry I can’t link to either of these, Google yields nothing! I do know that the latter is a new Jordana Paige design for Stitch Diva and it’s called the Trapeze Jacket. I love their patterns with all the excellent information but the layouts are so cramped, it gives me mee-graine!

TOO BAD IT ISN’T AS USER FRIENDLY AS….RAVELRY!! What else?? Just as Kathy and I were flagging on a slow Saturday in the booth, Jess and Casey stroll by, causing me to short circuit. Speaking of Johnny Five, I can totally picture the two of them replicating the encyclopedia massacre, hands flailing saying “Imput, moorrrre IMMMPUT!”


Picture borrowed from Jess, but I’ll post my own when my dock arrives. Fun fact: out of all the Ravelers, my #1 neighbor (based on # of projects we have in common) is Jess! Casey is on the verge of joining the ranks of needleworking men, who never cease to amaze me with their fearlessness. I almost pulled one of these:


More later, with pictures (bitte Mutter, padded envelope, automated mailing center…I will send yarn in exchange…)

CR

Yeah, I got some problems… Monday, May 28 2007 

Remember when I was going to not buy any yarn in 2007? Well, as you can probably already surmise, I “forgot” about my oath promptly after I made it. Last weekend I moved and came close to weeping when I realized how much yarn I’ve stockpiled in two short years. Eric was ridiculously patient with me and I suspect he finds the mania a little endearing but it was just unfair–his belongings took up about 1/6 of our tiny dwelling and of my 5/6s, 4/5 was yarn! Ugly.

I have plenty of stuff that I am no longer in love with and will try to sell, trade or donate. There is also some that I am in love with but I have a new philosophy–Knitter, know thyself. Maggie Righetti and the Stash and Burn ladies have really helped me with this, as well as knitters like Melissa, Ysolda and Adrian who design from scratch and make things that they actually wear.

What’s troubling is the random loose ball/half balls…those aren’t worth selling unless I put together some sort of grab bag. I think I’ve come up with a solution though. Maybe I will knit a bunch of hats with the beaded flowers I like so much. Come fall I’ll try to get a table at some craft fair or farmer’s market and maybe put the rest up on Etsy. I know I’m a slow, non-finishing knitter but I can make hats! That I can do. Come to think of it, I can probably make hats for little girls who hate wearing hats, like 8-year-old me, who quit the Brownie’s because I thought the brown beanie was demoralizing (read: unflattering) chapeau. I have no television this summer and limited Internet access…kinda by choice. Of course I love both and I’m not morally opposed to either indulgence but when I thought of the reading and crafting I could get without them…the decision was easy.

End rant,

CR

Cummington 2007… Monday, May 28 2007 

…was WAY TOO FUN! I am so happy to have a gang of ladies nearby who are as over the moon about spending a day huffing lanolin and giggling at bleating animals as I am. I was on the fence about Rheinbeck but I decided that Sheep and Wool festivals are pretty much the best ever.

As we arrived, Jenna’s car passed THE ELKINS-MOBILE exiting. That whole adage about logging ‘facetime’ with your bosses is all the better when it’s accidental! We (Jenna, Huelo and I) were half-shamed and half-proud to be revealed as total wool junkies. But I’m pretty sure the Elkin’s knew about our collective habit the day they hired us!

There are a lot of pictures of adorable animals and happy knitters over at my Flickr. Just a taste:

You can’t see my contribution, but this is Val, Spunky Eclectic and I modelling our handpainted hair!


Happy Knitters! Huelo, Jenna and Dena:


Bloggers…bloggers who blog bloggers…are the luckiest bloggers in the worlllld…(Megan and Melissa)


After a hard and fast deliberation, Jenna decides that this lamb burger probably had an excellent life on a posh farm…


This picture reminds me of Carnivale…maybe it’s the empty pew-esque seats or the old fashioned fonts on the posters…I love it!

You want to see what I bought?? Not THAT much, but definitely more than I expected to!!

Greenwood Hill Farm Merino 2-Ply DK in Pewter, a blend of natural greys. This was the only thing I was “looking” for…I wanted a soft, rustic wool for a really basic garter stitch shawl, like the Prairie Shawl from Folk Shawls. This stuff is really, really, really nice.


Spunky Eclectic spinning fiber, 8 oz. of South African Fine in Rocky Mountain High. Jenna has generously agreed to spin this up for me! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! Hopefully enough for a hat and thrummed mittens with whatever is left over. I just noticed that this matches a favorite fabric of mine.


Shearling inserts! Probably for the inside of some felted slippers that I’ve been promising to make for yeaaaaaars. A pair for Eric and a pair for moi, both doing first position in this photo. All the comfort of Uggs, but on the DL.


Now to commence with my crazy week. First, to tackle these:


Then, to move. Lots and lots and lots of yarn. Then, working the Harlot event and easing back into Webs life in general (after this school year, it will actually be more like a 6-year-old running towards a pool to do a giant cannonball!). Speaking of her, she has written that when you move, somewhere in the old house, there is yarn. My apartment is so small that I doubt this could happen to me but I sort of feel like leaving a ceremonial ball anyway.

Speaking of yarn, JENNA AND KATHY, YOU WERE RIGHT. I have seen the light, and it is Log Cabin-y! To Jenny and Nicole of Stash and Burn, this is what you do with the “stupid single ball of Noro,” of which I have puh-LENTY. P.S. ladies, I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I love you both. You had me at Macintosh square!! Hey, maybe I can Log Cabin a Macintosh square!!?!


Over and out,

CR

Minuteman Pride… Saturday, May 26 2007 

Andrew Card was booed throughout the presentation of the advanced degree he didn’t earn and doesn’t deserve. Pretty amazing that the UMass administrators refused to acknowledge the almost university-wide rejection of this action. While I’m being a bit political, I would like to say that I’m truly bummed about Rosie stepping down from the View early. It was exciting to see a show honor the fact that some people are spitting mad about the actions our government. It did sometimes devolve into bickering but it was bipartisan bickering, from ladies, on daytime TV! Elizabeth made an excellent point–male pundits engage in the same sort of hotheaded arguing all the time but no one reduces their passion as a symptom of gender.

In keeping with my spring cleaning frenzy, I got rid of even MORE hair!



With the blue bangs it’s looking a little Cookie A. which is funny because I just bought a few of her sock patterns at WebsFlicker and Twisted Flower, both very botanical. Since I’ve finally mastered the short row toe/heel, my sock confidence is on the rise.


Gotta say, I’m not in love with the Fleece Artist Merino Sock. I love the non-pooling/striping variegation, as I’ve said before, but the yarn itself is almost wire-y. It could be because I’m knitting it on size 0 needles, my 1.5 Knit Picks are in use and it felt a bit loose on those anyway. I’m hoping a wash will relax it a bit. I can’t wait to try the zig zag bind off on the toe!

Speaking of Webs, I’ll be working there over the summer. That will probably mean a decline in yarn purchases arriving via post, but it’s been fun to be a “civilian” yarn shopper this year. One of my favorite sites is so good I feel like I should keep it a secret, but that’s silly. A lot of people are already fans of Handpaintedyarn.com. There is a link between Malabrigo and Handpaintedyarn.com…the main differences seems to me Malabrigo’s focus on merino and the very good prices at HPY.com. I prefer the heartier wool over at HPY.com, it’s still plenty soft and reminds me of Manos. By the way, how adorable is this tiger hat?!

This is Colonia in Madre Perla (top) and Marmol.


This is the lace weight wool in Lettuce:

And Emerald Viv:


All delivered within days, and for a song! So pretty it almost doesn’t have to be knit…almost!

See some of you tomorrow in Cummington! Here’s what a friend of mine had to say about it:

“I hope you have fun at your Sheep Versus Dog event. I think it’s pretty effed up that you get such pleasure from seeing such cute animals rip each other apart, but who am I to judge? I’d put my money on the dogs.”

Ha,

CR

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.