Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yes, I'm still here

I've been AWOL for a while with no good reason. Well, I guess my reason is that I am lazy and get distracted easily. So here we go with a little update.

Last weekend, I flew to Maryland and met up with friends in St. Michaels, Maryland.

I can definitely understand why it is a tourist town. It was so beautiful and we had great weather. A highly enjoyable time and it was great to catch up in person with everyone. **ETA: Oh, yeah, I found a yarn shop on the main drag of town. Of course, some yarn came home with me. I'll take a picture of it soon. It's hand-dyed by a woman in town and is a pretty purple with metallic. What is with me and the sparkly stuff?

The only problem with the weekend was that my flight home was delayed so I spent more time than expected waiting in the airport. Luckily, I had my knitting (ha!) and was able to finish a project. This is the Queen Anne's Lace Shawl (rav link). I finished it while waiting in the airport and finally blocked it on Friday. I'm actually wearing it today at work and it has been really well received.

Having finished with it in the airport with 2 more hours of waiting and 1 1/2 hour flight to go, I had to create another knitting project for myself. I had a drop spindle and fiber left but I really wanted to knit. Luckily, I had all of the parts of the QAL pattern, my needles and enough leftover yarn from the first shawl. Of course, that meant I was starting the shawl (with a cast on of 8 stitches) with a 60 inch circular needle. Magic loop anyone? I got pretty far with it and, once I got home, I spliced on another ball of yarn and kept going.

On this second shawl, I did a couple of things differently. The cast on and first 30 rows or so were on US 4s. Then I changed to US 6s. The plan is to then change to US 8s for the last chart or two in order to have a really lacy outer ring. It should be interesting to see the differences in size from one shawl to the other.

In other FO news, I finished a burp bib from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I really liked this pattern. It was so simple to memorize and you could knit it without thinking. It also looks really pretty. I don't know what was going on with this picture but it actually is a rectangle with completely straight sides and top and bottom. Who knows what happened. Crazy camera and grass.

Next up, fiber! (Like I don't have enough!) I saw a note on Yarnzombie's blog about her opening an etsy shop. Well, you can't let something like that pass you by. You have to click "Add to Cart" as soon as possible. Then you get something wonderful like this in the mail the next day.

Ah, WISP, I love you. I thought I liked you in the picture but that was just a lie. In person, you are better. Much better. Your different metallic colors and soft yellow roving are beyond words. I've found another batch of roving which is almost too pretty to use.

I think I am going through a shiny metallic period. Four purchases within the last 2 months have shiny bits. Hmmm. And look what Jacki threw in the package! Cute! I think I love the bronze.

And here are some more pictures of pretty roving.

While I was taking pictures outside, Lily just sat on the brick walkway thinking that I was a foolish, foolish human. Doesn't her expression say just that?

Her left eye looks really strange in this picture. I think my camera was having a very off day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Knitter's Connection

I was debating with myself about going to the Knitter's Connection market this year. Recently I've been trying to buy less and use my stash more. So going to a market wouldn't really be helpful in this. Today was my day off and, this morning, I made a last minute decision to go.

I checked the website before going and did a little bit of research about some of the merchants there. One of them, Misty Mountain Farms, is a Majacraft dealer. I decided to stop by their booth to see what they had. I've been wanting to order a lace kit which includes 2 bobbins and a special flyer for lace but hadn't done it yet. When I stopped by the booth, I didn't see any Majacraft items (though they did have roving) and kind of lost hope, not that I really expected them to have anything. When I asked if they had a lace kit, the lady running the booth thought about it for a second and rummaged in a basket full of various spinning items. And what should she pull out?

A lace kit! Talk about a huge coincidence! I can't believe they a) had one b) had it with them and c) that I didn't have to order it from them and wait weeks to get it. At the same time, I bought 4 ounces of roving from a Finn sheep with which to practice my lace spinning.

It is a very nice white roving that should spin up very well. Now the next step is to finish spinning up the llama roving Martha gave me and to ply up the tencel blend from Maryland.

I stopped by the Waters Edge Jewelry booth and bought some stitch markers for Mom. She also had some horse charms so I bought 2 for myself. Mom has been getting back into knitting slowly. I sent her off on vacation with some cotton yarn, a circular needle and a pattern for a simple baby bib. Hopefully she will enjoy these stitch markers.

Then I had a slight falling down. By slight, I mean approximately 850 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Do you see that silver sparkle in it? Well, it actually is a strand of sterling silver. It is going to be a shawl instead of a couple of pairs of socks. I can't wait! See, this is why you don't go to markets when you are trying not to buy yarn. Must. Knit. Faster.

Then, I ran over to the North Market (no, I'm not obsessed. I can stop any time) and bought a pint of Jeni's Cherry Lambert sorbet. I had gotten a cone of it last Thursday when I was at TNNA but bought a pint of Pear Riesling instead. Today, I wasn't going to miss out on a pint of this sorbet. It tastes exactly like the Cherry Belgium beer. Yummmmm.

I got home around 4 pm and what should be waiting there to greet me?

This is the best day off ever.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Random Wednesday

What do I spy lurking above me?

Ferocious hunter kitty!

(I know, pretty weak blog post today but you'll get some knitting talk later.)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Birthday, FOs, and TNNA. Oh, my!

My work is nice because it gives you your birthday off. So Wednesday I basically did nothing except knit and spin. I'm not big on birthday celebrations but I think Mom felt guilty because she didn't have anything planned. So she threw together a small thing after riding last night.

We had been having heavy, heavy rain all morning but, miraculously, it cleared up in the afternoon and I was able to go riding. The horse was so thrilled about that :) Because the arena didn't have much time to drain, there were huge puddles that I made him go through. It was a little too hot for the full Grand Prix-style trot (knees up to his chin and very collected) but Java did a huge extended canter through the puddles. I love making him work through puddles even though he really hates it. But he loves going through the "pond" (oversized puddle) in the back and loves going through creeks. Go figure.

I finished spinning up a tencel blend that I got at Maryland Sheep and Wool and started up on some llama a friend gave me. It is really interesting to spin llama. I think I might make a hat from it.

I was also knitting up some more baby bibs. My reserves of baby gifts were getting a little low and I wanted to get rid of some more yarn from the stash.
I've now finished up 2 bibs and am on the strap section of another one right now. I still have enough yarn to make up another bib so I might do that in the next couple of days. They only take about 2 hours (at most) to make so it is a really simple and fast knit.

In other FO news, I made some more cat toys but these ones weren't knit. Instead they were needle felted balls with blended roving. The right one I blended some darker wool with lighter to get nice dark brown streaks. The left one I blended some dyed roving with the light colored wool. These are going to be gifts along with 5 catnip mousies in exchange for a couple of raw Jacob sheep fleeces (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Did you see the Little Acorn Project Bag pattern? It is a crochet pattern. I saw it the other day and pulled some yarn out of my stash to get a start on it. This acorn bottom doesn't look like much until it is paired with the top and then it looks much more like an acorn. I need to tweak the top because my crocheting abilities kind of make it look rippled and I want to make it look more acorn-y.

Today (Thursday), I was able to go to a sock class taught by Cat Bordhi (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) at TNNA. Kim wasn't able to use her ticket so she generously gave it to me. The class was soooo interesting. You can definitely tell that Cat is thinking all of the time and her brain is definitely working differently than everyone else's. It was fascinating to hear her explaining how to design your own socks. She was really funny, very helpful and a really good teacher.
Here are the baby socks that I made yesterday during class. They are made from a Panda Silk something or other, doubled because even though it says it is DK weight, it is really fingering. The class was 6 hours long but it felt like it just flew right by. Such a fun late birthday gift!