Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to one and all!

I've gotten a lot of knitting done this past week -- one entire fingerless mitt and am casting on the other today. Windy and cold here so will be a good knitting day. Unfortunately, I must run a few errands.

Otherwise the furbabies and I wanted to say Happy New Year. May it bring you health, happiness and lots of knitting time!
In the photos we have:
Golden Retrievers -- Brandeis (almost 13), Stratton (10) and Teddy Bear (5 1/2)
Kitties -- Patches (10) and Lily (almost 10)
A final note to 2008 knitting -- Irene loved her socks! She saw a pair I was wearing that were knitted from self-striping yarn and really liked them. I didn't think she would like stripes. So, next year's will be stripes. Choosing the yarn for her was almost half the battle.
New Year knitting content later in the week -- I promise.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's a pair!

The second sock is now finished. Need I say more...ummm...I don't think so.

Next up are the fingerless mitts for Celeste's birthday in mid-January. I am doing a big of pattern altering...nothing major...just making the cuffs two inches longer than called for in the pattern. I let Celeste pick what she wanted and also the yarn. The longer cuffs are her request. These mitts will be perfect for dog walking.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Ultimate Match...yarn and a pattern

Many people do a better job than I at purchasing yarn...well, at least they are better organized. They have chosen their pattern and then buy their yarn. Sounds reasonable. Yep. And, sometimes I do it that way. But most of the time I buy the yarn and then find the pattern. Such is the story with my rose and grey colored Baby Bunny yarn from Tess' Designer Yarns. I purchased it at Stitches East in November. As you can see the two colors are gorgeous and rich and where they meet they create a subtle shade of purple. The fibers are superwash merino wool, angora and nylon for some strength and memory. Aaahhh...heaven! Did I have a pattern in mind? Of course not! But I do now.

Yesterday I logged onto the free on-line quarterly knitting magazine Knitty and began looking through their free patterns for this issue. There are at least 20 on the site and they are really nice. I think this is a great magazine -- and the price can't be beat! I digress..sorry...

I came across a beautiful lacy but not too lacy neckwarmer called Poinsettia (please see photo -- taken from the Knitty site). Lo and behold the designer is Anne Hanson who creates dozens of gorgeous knitting patterns for her company, Knitspot. I have bought a lot of her scarf and shawl patterns and they are all on my to-do list.

But this neckwarmer is just what I have been looking for and it will be perfect for my yarn. A bit lacy and the design is perfect to show off the yarn.

Is this project next? No, it is second in line. Celeste's fingerless mitts are next. That darn sock is still haunting me. Absolutely no knitting so far this week but hopefully that will change tonight. I'm on a vacation day tomorrow and we are supposed to get snow, so I am planning on knitting.

Are you all done with your holiday knitting projects?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

STILL Not Finished

These socks for Irina that were mentioned in my last post seem to have taken on a life of their own...they still are NOT finished. I am relieved to say I am two inches from beginning the toe decrease on the second sock. Can't wait to be done with them. I don't care for the yarn which why I think I am not done with them. They are really nice when knitted, soft but strong and Irina will love them...I hope.

Am anxious to begin my next project which is for Celeste's birthday in January. Yes, I know January is just around the corner. More on this in the next post.

Hope this finds everyone well.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

These Socks Are Knit for Walkin'...

I am making progress albeit slowly on my socks for Irina. Fortunately, I have a few weeks until Christmas. One is done!!! Yeah!!! and the other has gusset decreases finished which leaves me with the remainder of the foot and closing of the toe. Hopefully these will be done by Sunday.

The yarn has been a problem for me to is a beautiful twist of a wonderful mix of colorways but the twist is loose causing me to split stitches. I'm sure it is me and not the yarn, just sayin'. I think I solved the problem when I was at Stitches last month...I purchased a set of 6" Stiletto dpns in size 2 which is my most frequently used dpn size. They are very pointed, yes even more so than the Knit Picks Harmony needles which is LOVE, and are wonderful to work with. Wasn't sure I would like the metal but don't mind it a bit and these socks are moving right along. Love watching that ball of yarn decrease in size! Progress. That's a good thing.

Spent a nice Thanksgiving holiday in NJ and got to meet up with Roberta in Princeton on Saturday afternoon. I have really missed her since she moved to San Antonio in March and it was soooo good to see her again. We had a nice visit and promised not to let 8 months go by again without seeing each other. Hope that is the reality and not just a plan.

I have a pair of fingerless mitts I want to knit for a friend for Christmas but might not get them done in time. Fortunately, her birthday is in mid-January! Whew! Will show that yarn in the next post because I hope by then it will be on the needles.

Also have a scarf in progress for myself from yarn I purchased at MD Sheep & Wool Festival in 2007. It is a soft, lucious hand-dyed worsted weight wool. Is knitting nicely. More on it in a future post.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiday Knitting

Right now I am knitting socks as a Christmas gift and am using Rio de la Plata twist sock yarn. The colors are right, the yarn base is soft and it is superwash! Just perfect for the young woman on the go -- not me, the person who will get these socks.

Ironically enough the only drawback with the Rio sock yarn is the splits during knitting and if your needles are not pointed is somewhat of a problem. However, my new dpns with the very pointed tips are solving that problem. The photo shows a color of Rio yarn -- not the one I'm using for this particular pair of socks but it is one that I have and am going to use for myself.

It is just amazing how many indie dyers are now marketing their yarns. There are some gorgeous ones out there...prices are going up, as with everything. But, with all the time I spend knitting an item I really want to use as nice of yarn as possible. I have a good stash and am glad for the yarns before many of the prices increased. So, I am knitting from stash and happy for it!
My holiday knitting this year consists of a pair of socks and several pairs of fingerless mitts. What about you? What are you knitting?

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Last weekend I attended my first Stitches East event in Baltimore, MD. The weather was warm and sunny and finding the hotel was relatively easy -- despite some distractions. When we arrived I learned that this was the last year for the event in Baltimore ... next year it is in Hartford, CT...which is a 6 1/2 hour rather than a 3 hours drive. Glad I decided to go this year!

One of the most pleasurable moments of the trip was a chance meeting with Debra of Debra's Garden. She is delightful and so talented. Her knitting jewelry is gorgeous and very creative.

Also got to meet Cheryl from Cherry Tree Hill and her equally talented daughter who, in the knitting world, is known as "Indie Dyer."

I bought a knitting related necklace, silver sock earrings, some special double pointed needles, and of course yarn. I think the Tess's yarn booth was my favorite. Their yarn bases are so soft and their colors gorgeous -- ranging from yummy pastels to gorgeous brighter colors. I think I could have stayed in their booth all day!

No photos to share as they are forbidden on the sales floor, I was told.

Stitches is a very different event from Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. Some of the vendors are the same, but the indoor venue is a more sterile environment than the fairgrounds where I will head in May.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Brandeis, who is 12 1/2, wanted you to see how handsome he is in his Halloween bandanna he got after his grooming at Petco. He is telling me "Trick-or-Treat" in this photo! More knitting content coming soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm Back...and I Never Went Far

Things have been really hectic at work and at home these past few weeks...I can't believe it has been 7 weeks since I last posted. I do apologize for being MIA.

I finally got some time to knit and you can see by these fingerless gloves that I am starting something new for me...a finger gusset. I got a pattern from Libby who owns "Mad About Ewes" yarn shop in Lewisburg, PA. Her pattern and it is great...terrific instructions. Since I had never done a M1 left or right, Libby pointed me to an on-line video which was a huge help! Thanks Libby!! I then pulled some instructions from Knitters magazine to use as a backup and off I went.

The first glove is finished and I am very pleased with it. As you can see, the second one is on the needles. It should be done by the weekend, if all goes well.

Oh the little guy in the photo is Teddy Bear, our rescue boy who came to live with us 5 years ago today when he was 4 1/2 months old. Took this photo at lunchtime. He loves his new Curious George that his Golden brothers Brandeis and Stratton got him to help celebrate his Gotcha Day! So glad you chose us little guy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finished Baby Hat and a New Scarf Style

This cute little baby hat was fun to knit in a cotton blend. "Rover" the stuffed Golden Retriever dog models it while Lily my little Calico cat looks on. I tried to get her to model the hat but that was a no go!

I've been busy knitting socks (am saving that photo for the next post) and a triangular scarf. Am using Noro's knew sock yarn that is one-ply and in typical Noro style is unusually multi-colored. The yarn is a bit rough for my taste, but I'm told it "blooms" when wet and blocked. I hope so. I don't think I would like it for socks but I am enjoying knitting it for this clever scarf. Doncha love how the colors change and are very different? I know I do!

No, the scarf is not an original design. I was reading The blog from Rosie's Yarn Shop and the August 2 POST (click for link) showed a finished design using the Noro sock yarn. The pattern is a simple triangle with the k2, yo knit across the row pattern once you get started. The blog writer is very clever to figure out that this yarn is good for such a pattern. I know I'm hooked. I love mindless patterns to knit while watching football. I bet I knit another one to give as a Christmas gift.

Football season opened yesterday at Penn State and we are off to a good start...although the opposition was Coastal Carolina ... a school that has only had a football team for 7 years. Humm....

The temps are cooling at night and there are signs that Autumn is in the air. I love Autumn but am in no hurry for it. Today is a gorgeous sunny day, low humidity, and a little breeze. I'd take this weather year-around if offered the opportunity.

Have a wonderful Labor Day!

I will post photos of the finished scarf later this week. It is moving along nicely.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Random Knitting Notes

No photos to share today but wanted to make a list of a few bits of knitting "news" mixed with some personal thoughts...

There is a new on-line knitting magazine Twist Collective that looks quite promising. Patterns are for sale but from what I have seen in this premiere issue, they are nicely designed and there is a good variety. I urge them to keep up the good work!

Knit Picks finally did what I have been waiting for...they just came out with straight knitting needles in their wooden Harmony design. They began this process with double pointed needles and then progressed to circular needles. For quite a while it appeared that was it but a few weeks ago wa-la! the straights appeared on their merchandise site. I use straight needles in the 10" length as much as possible because I just don't like circular needles but sometimes have to use them. Of course I now own a set of the Knit Picks straights. A good deal for 9 different sizes that are packaged in a nice fabric case.

While in the grocery store last week I picked up the latest issue of Vogue Knitting magazine and after less that 5 minutes returned it to the shelf and walked away. Yuck! The patterns appear to be retro in nature, a ton of cables, and for those pencil thin runway models. I don't see that REAL women can wear any of them. I know my knitting time is very limited these days so when I buy a magazine or a pattern I want something that will look nice and doesn't require much fiddling.

However, I did purchase the latest copy of Knit 'N Style magazine that has some nice articles, workable patterns and beautiful photos. Am waiting for my favorite knitting magazine, Interweave Knits, to hit the sales rack this week. They often don't offer a lot of patterns that suit me but for some reason I just LOVE that magazine.

On the magazine front, I read that Debbie Bliss is publishing a knitting magazine and the first issue is scheduled for debut on September 2. There is hope!

If you are a shawl knitter, go to the Elann site now. There is a gorgeous shawl on the website's home page and the pattern is free. Just click and print! But, if you are an Elann "regular" you know the site updates often and the photo and free pattern changes.

Hope you are enjoying August and are knitting. The weather turned dramatically cooler yesterday and inspired me to knit on a sock. Am hoping to relax and get more knitting done this weekend.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday!

Two of my furbabies are celebrating their 10th birthdays today. Happy Birthday my lovies and may we celebrate many more together! Mommy adores both of you. Stratton and his tennis ball is what I call "keeping his eye on the ball" and Patches is just giving me a cute pose.
Knitting content next time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Works in Progress

The past few weeks have flown by and I have had very little time to knit. Those few hours are now down to zero for at least the next 10 days. I need to make some bandannas and collar scrunchies for our Golden Retriver Rescue to sell at a Bark-in-the-Park event during a minor league baseball game in early August. I purchased a number of really nice fabrics and am telling myself NOT to stress about it...just to sew a few in as many patterns as possible. Over the past 9-plus years since I started this rescue I have made thousands of them with the money we earn going to pay for vet bills, dog food, collars and leashes, dog bed, dog toys and other things the rescue kids need. All for a good cause! The knitting can wait a bit.

I had planned to enter socks and a scarf or shawl into the annual Grange Fair, but time has slipped by and I don't have enough time to finish the scarf for entry. The rescue bandannas and scrunchie are my priority.

I do have a pair of socks completed but think I will skip entering this year. They are very rigid about when items can and can't be picked up and I will be out-of-town working during the 2-hour window that is scheduled for pick-up. I don't want to risk someone taking my project so i will knit something for next year...maybe.

See this pretty sock? It is being knit from Bellamoden yarn in the colorway Lord of the Rings. Purchased it on-line from The Loopy Ewe and I love this yarn...a very soft yt sturdy sprot weight yarn base with gorgeous colors that pop out at me as I knit. The pattern I'm using is the ever popular Monkey Socks from Knitty. Just get onto the site -- which is awesome with its free patterns -- and search for the sock name. I have to fudge a bit because of the 16-stitche repeat and the number of stitches I use for my socks. The match doesn't quite work but no one will be able to tell.

Christmas in July has arrived! This soft Feather & Fan scarf is being knit in a lovely soft fingering weight yarn in two colors -- but varying shades of each color. The brown ranges from a pale camel to a dark chocolate and the grey ranges from the palest of the shade to a gorgeous charcoal. They blend nicely and particlar work well in this F&F pattern.

This is a gift and I do hope the recipient likes it. She is very particular so one never knows.

I'm still working on other socks, scarves, shawls and a baby blanket. Most of those projects are too heavy on the lap for this hot weather. So, they will wait for a bit until things cool down.

What are you knitting?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Wow! Sock Club Box Arrives

I'm not sure how Sheri at The Loopy Ewe continues to outdo herself with the incredible contents of the sock club boxes. For those who are unfamiliar with sock clubs -- you join for the specified number for a year and then your box magically appears in the mail. I like Sheri's for a number of reasons -- you pay each time you get one and not all upfront which is much easier on the purse strings and she always amazes and thrills me with the content.

Today's box contained what is in the bottom photo: gorgeous sock yarn from Smooshy Dream in Color in colorway Spicy Smooches which is shades if beiges with a little gray to make it even more interesting; a fabulous TOP DOWN (yeah!!!) sock pattern called Hugs and Chocolate Kisses designed b Debbie O'Neill specifically for The Loopy Ewe' a cute little button thingy that says "born to knit"; a pack of peppermint candy (always peppermints in the summer and Hershey kisses in the winter -- in ALL packages sent by Sheri and the Elves); and the most fabulous notepad and pen. Lots of lines pages to make notes about patterns, a heavy duty vinyl cover complete with Loopy on the front and a cute red pen.

No wonder her sock club fills up fast each winter...I don't know how she is going to manage the number of people who will want to rejoin and join for next year. The desire to join was high this year -- can't imagine what next year will be like for her as more and more people discover her wonderful on-line shop.

Are you wondering what types of things have been in other packages? See the cute red zippered case that holds a ton of knitting accessories and necessities...that was in a recent shipment. The first box of each of the past two years has included a larger version of this zippered case. The plastic is top grade and sturdy but flexible. Very nice way to hold projects, keep them together and keep those darn stitches on the needles! There have been other cute gifites too...a tiny crochet hook on a ring holder, specially made row markers, etc. etc. All very clever and fun surprises.
Thanks Sheri and Elves! Will September's box soon be here??? hehehehehe

Friday, June 27, 2008

Look what I got!!

Last night our Penns Valley Knitters held a very delayed holiday (and yes, I mean Christmas!) potluck and and "Almost Christmas in July" gift exchange. We played the "stealing" game and had a ton of fun and lots of laughter. I hate having my photo taken -- can ya tell -- but Melissa insisted. I am wearing the prize I got -- a mobius scarf knitted by Billie. I am thrilled, to say the least! She used Lorna's Laces yarn and it means so much to me that Billie made it. I only have it draped around my neck once but when winter returns, it will be wound more tightly to keep me warm. Thank you Billie for being such a wonderful knitter and friend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Busy Two Weeks

I looked at my last post and it was 13 days ago. I'm not sure where the last two weeks have gone but those are days I will never get back. It has been wild around here with a lot of storms, but nothing like the people in the midwest have been struggling through.

On Sunday night we had major high winds and large hail. Winds strong enough to split a tree next to the garage. The part that fell landed on the fence, forcing it out of the ground. Fortunately, the man who installed it 12 years ago has a work ethic rarely seen these days. He says his former customers are "special" to him and he made sure to break from a new job and send a crew to cleanup and make repairs -- the day after the storm. What a relief ... always worried that the Golden Retrievers will escape!

Not a lot of knitting going on but I did get these self-striping wool socks finished. Don't you just love the colors? I do.

I even made some candy tonight. For charity. My neighbor and her friends are having a bake sale during this weekend's townwide yard sale event and all of their proceeds go to Relay for Life. Their team is a busy one and does all sorts of fund-raisers. I told her I would make my mother's grapenut and chocolate candy and I did. Yes, there is one piece missing. I felt it was my responsibility to taste test.

Hopefully some more knitting content next time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finally: The PERFECT Knitting Bag (I think...)

Yes, I'm a bag snob and also probably what could be called a "collector" of fabric bags. All sorts of fabric but primarily quilted. I have small bags, medium-sized bags and large bags. There they are on the closet shelf in a variety of pretty colors. I use them...yes I do. But none seemed to be the right knitting bag. You know the one ... with the interior pockets, large flap to cover the opening, a large size bag with some zippered storage spots for valuables such as my iTouch. And I need to be able to stuff it with a variety of projects and not tip over when I carry it! Oh, and since my shoulder injury one of my key requirements is a wide, long strap so I can wear it messenger bag style.

I think I found it...fits all the descriptors. Much less pricey than many I own and in a beautiful combination of red, khaki and black...gee, there was a color combination not on that closet shelf. The maker, MaggieB, who designs all sort of bags. This one must have had me in mind. No I didn't shop online but came across the bag by chance (perhaps luck) in a nearby tiny town that has a gift shop stuffed with all sorts of wonderful items.

Check out the photos. I think you will agree.

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Array of Scarves

While reviewing projects in the works, I realized I have a number of really nice scarves in the works.

First, there is the "Bucknell" scarf which will be worn at basketball games this coming season. It is shades of orange and blue, of course. It is the very popular Chevron Scarf that uses alternating rows of 2 colors of yarn. The pattern calls for 2 skeins each of 2 colors of Koigu. But, while in FLA in March, a very helpful woman at Great Balls of Yarn showed me her finished version using 1 skein each of 2 colors. Half the knitting time and half the cost. A win-win!

Oriel Lace Scarf is a nice lace pattern that I am knitting from a skein of something-or-other bought on-line at The Loopy Ewe. I can't remember what is it as the label is gone. It is in muted shades of eggplant, olive green and brown.

Last, but not least, is Eyelet from Ann Norling's 6 lace scarf leaflet. Some other cute patterns on that one, too. This yarn is in deep pastel colors of blue, raspberry and green with a little lavender. It was frogged after the photo was taken as I discovered that I hadn't cast on enough stitches. But, its current state is longer than in this photo. A nice easy pattern.

Eyelet and socks in progress will accompany me to Corning, NY this weekend where I will get tons of knitting done at the LPGA tournament. An annual jaunt for my husband and me.

Yes, there is one more bag...this nice one from Loopy Ewe. Love the combination of chocolate brown and blues. It comes with a nice drawstring brown bag to hold the yarn. Nice! This is from Ham's Jams and I love her stuff. Very well made and useful. The bottom is nice and wide and flattens nicely. I really love the adjustable strap so I can wear it across the body to alleviate stress on the shoulder. Perfect!

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New stash yarn

As memories of this past weekend at Maryland Sheep & Wool fade in my mind, I have my purchases to remind me of all that I saw, all I wanted and didn't buy, and things that were just fun to look at in the booths.

From top to bottom:

First purchase: a skein of Sockotta from The Mannings. This self-stripes in shades of raspberry speckled with other colors. I love it that this shop has most of their yarns knitted into a finished sock. Always a draw when knitters know the look of the final product.

Second purchase: a skein of sock yarn from Autumn House Farm, a small dyer in nothercentral PA. Aren't the colors gorgeous? And I love the speckles of other colors. Can't wait to knit this one.

Third purchase and my favorite: 3 skeins of Tess's fingering weight yarn in shades of lavender and teal which I will use for an oblong shawl. I have been perusing the patterns and books and am almost certain about my selection.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

These photos depict a small part of the fun day at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on Saturday. Briefly, I will describe what these photos show. I was intrigued by the shirts on the line -- one each of all the shirts and sweatshirts that were being sold with the MDSW logo (this year's was not a fav of mine so I didn't buy one), the long line waiting to make a purchase (obviously others had a different opinion than mine about the logo), the baby goats, Billie and Barb and a little stuffed hedgehog gift from Barb's cousin, and just a few shots in general.

I went with a great group of ladies on a comfy bus -- let the driving and parking to someone else! -- sponsored by my LYS, the Knitters Underground. We began the day with Molly distributing tote bags that held a fresh bagel, cream cheese, jam and a bottle of OJ. Yummy way to begin the day!

Sadly, I only took a couple of photos because as the day developed it just didn't seem to work. Next year more photos will be a priority and also seeing some sights I missed this year -- such as the music and clogging -- are already on my agenda.

I was wondering how the extremely high gas prices would effect attendance. I don't think the sales barns were as jammed as ususal but I heard vendors say they were having good sales days...which is great news because then they will want to return next year. I and others did comment on the increased numbers of buses at the show. I think double of any of the 5 years I have been attending. A bus trip is fun, someone else drives AND buses are parked more closely to the entrance which makes walking easier. This is a very large show and the fairgrounds are a lot of space to cover.

What did I buy? Humm...let's see.. patterns -- one for a cute sock, a sampler lace vest, a felted purse and a baby kimono. I also purchased some yarn but much, much less than in previous years (my stash does not need enhanced right now!). I bought a cool skein of sock yarn from Autumn House Farms in colors of red, brown, blue and off-white but it is speckled with other colors and the fiber speckles are loose on the yarn; a skein of self-striping Sockotta in shades of raspberry and 3 skeins of Tess's fingering weight yarn in shades of lavender and and teal to use for an oblong shawl. I picked up the first skein of the latter yarn for a pair of socks but loved the colorway so much I want to wear it in a more obvious manner -- and I will have enough leftover to make those socks. Last but not least I found my favorite stitch markets at Ellen's 1/2-pint Farm yarn stand. I bought a package last year and really wanted more so I bought them in 2 sizes.
Two merchandising notes: I noticed a lot more hand-dyed rovings for sale this year than the other 4 years I have attended. Spinning seems to be increasingly popular. Also, saw an electric spinning needs to manage the roving as it spins but it goes more quickly than with a traditional each his own.
Additionally, instead of 2 or 3 button vendors there must have been at least a dozen vendors selling gorgeous handmade buttons. Really unique ones that would be nice for felted bags.

I love the atmosphere at Fiber Festivals and already am planning two more events for myself this year -- the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival in Hemlock, NY in early September and Stitches East in Baltimore, MD in early November. The NY event will require missing a Penn State football game but they are only playing Temple so other than the general fun of the game I won't miss much!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Knitting Content and the Red Mug

Lately I haven't had much time for knitting but over the weekend vowed to change that. Knitting is important to me -- obviously -- and I am spending too much time on the computer or the telephone during the evenings when I could be knitting.

I got a cute wicker-like bistro set for the back porch so if it ever warms up I can sit there and knit while keeping company with Brandeis, Stratton and Teddy Bear. Oh, last night Teddy thought he could knit and grabbed the in progress shawl and bounced through the living room with it in his mouth. Fortunately, my husband was home and he cornered him and called to me. all is well. What I think Ted-ward wanted were the wooden circular needles but balls of yarn also are attractive...he thinks they are all toys. Goldens...gotta love 'em.

These photos are of several projects in the works. The striped socks are from yarn I purchased on ebay over a year ago. I really love it and am so pleased the second sock will match the first. I am a stickler on this sort of thing.

The pink/lavender/blue/green multi-colored pastel sock is from Koigu that was dyed for the anniversary yarn at Knitting Sisters yarn shop in Virginia. This is my office knitting and I pull it out about once a week after I eat lunch and do a few rows. This is the first sock but I hope to have a pair by fall.

In my last post you saw the alpacas. My Feather & Fan scarf is knitting from a DK weight alpaca yarn given to me by my friends Monica and Dennis who have an alpaca farm in southeastern PA. This beautiful stuff is from the first shearing of one of my favorite alpacas on their farm. I feel honored to be knitting this yarn. Lucio is a very special alpaca.

Last but not least is a photo of my new coffee mug. How boring..well maybe to readers, but my favorite red mug finally had to be retired. I found this one in a local store yesterday. It is a nice weight and color of red but not really the shape I wanted...I prefer the rounder ones that look like the metal travel coffee mugs. It holds coffee nicely and keeps it warm because the mug is heavy. It will work...for now.

Oh, I found THE perfect red mug that an internet yarn shop site bought to hand out at a retreat but the owner won't ship them. I offered to buy just that and pay the shipping and packing for just it. Nope, she says. Too difficult and it might get broken. I am disappointed.

Will I continue to shop from her? Of course, she has great taste and sells terrific yarns.
PLEASE NOTE: I can and will block all anonymous comments to this blog post. If you don't leave your name, your note isn't posted. I received one nasty gram from another customer of this shop. The individual was aghast at my post. I'm not saying the shop owner isn't a nice person...she is a very nice person. She sells great stuff. She's very creative. I spend lots of money there and will continue to do so. 'Nuf said.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Tough Day at the Office

I never claimed to know a lot about agriculture, but continue to learn important things as part of my job. Friday was one of those days. See these guys...I spent the better part of a day with over 2,000 Alpacas. Well, it's a tough assignment but someone had to do it!

The Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Show/Jubilee was at the Farm Show building in Harrisburg, PA and since Alpaca farmers have been declared as livestock farmers and not hobby farmers in the pending Farm Bill, I went to visit the 'pacas. Oh, I have seen Alpacas in the past but never this many or the different varieties in one place.

I was so pleased that the farmers had fans blowing in the pens so their animals kept cool. And there always seemed to be food and water available for the animals who stood or laid down on sod placed in the display area just for their benefit.

There were quite a few vendors, mainly with items for use on the farm, but some had finished garments and also yarn. I bought nothing! I saw a lot I liked but I wasn't there to shop, I was there to learn and work.

Shopping is reserved for this weekend at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. I will post next week after that trip.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Today is my birthday. How am I celebrating it ... by working, of course. This morning was nicely begun with kisses from the Golden Retrivers. My sister-in-law called me this afternoon. Tonight I guess Keith and I are going to dinner.

I hope to knit some more on my shawl I am knitting from the Folk Shawls book. I am using a dark gray yarn from Cleckheaton. The yarn is interesting as it is flecked with bits of camel colored yarn. I chose a triangular shawl in a simple garter stitch and very easy pattern -- one to knit while watching television. Just an 8-stitch border with the yarnover at each side to increase the shawl size.

I had the yarn in stash and bought it years ago when a shop went out of business. I think I purchased at least 16 skeins for $10...I only need about 8 skeins for this shawl so will have enough to knit something for someone else.

Only a couple of weeks to Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and I can't wait. I really don't need any yarn but I LOVE the atmosphere of all the fiber people, the animals, the food vendors and the bus trip with friends. Something I have been anticipating for weeks. This will be my 5th festival and I hope the weather is as good this year as it has been in the past.

I am interested in the attendance. With gasoline prices creaping toward the $4 a gallon mark many people choose to stay home unless the trips are something they feel are vital. Those high gas prices will surely take away from yarn purchase money.

Back to work and then home.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Yarn Shop Review

I think I found my new favorite yarn shop during a nice weekend trip to southern New York state -- Finger Lake Fibers Yarn Shop It is a small shop but it so well organized, is bright and welcoming. The young woman who was working in the shop was very helpful as was the owner when she returned to her shop.

I am a sock knitter -- as is obvious by the title of this blog. I called on Monday to double check their hours of operation. I asked if they sold sock yarn and was told, "yes, we have lots." OK, seeing would be believing. I had hear similar before. Well, they were not joking...they do have lot of sock yarns from at least a dozen different manufacturers and indie dyers. I was in sock knitting heaven! And the shop stocks numerous skeins from each company. The choices were endless.

They also pride themselves on selling locally handspun and handpainted yarns, including Scahefer Yarn. Finger Lakes Fibers Yarn Shop sells colors of the latter I have never seen.

In addition to beautiful yarns and an enchanting atmosphere, the shop owner actually stocks patterns for socks knitted from the TOP DOWN! Amazing. I found 3 patterns I liked and they are now home with me.

I knit socks on dpns from the TOP DOWN. So, shoot me. I know a lot of people knit from the toe up and that is their choice. TOP DOWN is my choice. I am so tired of people turning up their noses when I asked if they have patterns for TOP DOWN socks. I am in the second year of a Sock Club from an on-line shop that I frequent (too often). The every other month boxes always have a cute giftie or two included. To date (4 boxes last year and 1 so far this year) ALL patterns have been toe up. I will ask again to have at least 1 TOP DOWN sock pattern. I am betting it won't happen. If it doesn't, I won't rejoin next year. I was assured that 1 of last year's 4 patterns would be TOP DOWN. It didn't happen.

Finger Lakes Fibers will mail order. They might become my new place to spend most of my sock knitting money.
Well, off to unpack and go pick up the Golden Retrievers from the kennel.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Flu Season/Signs of Spring

Found this beautiful little Crocus in my front yard earlier this week. A small, but important sign of Spring.

Little knitting done the past two weeks. Last week I was very ill with the stomach flu and this week missed 2 days of work with a bad sore throat and cold. Am trying to finish a pair of sport weight socks and have about one inch of knitting on the toe before I reach the decreases. Hopefully I will feel like knitting tonight. I have been working on them forever. They seem to be the project that always gets set aside. It is still chilly enough in Central PA to wear socks. And we are heading to Corning, NY for the weekend so they definitely can be worn there where the temps are always cooler than at home.

Hopefully some knitting photos next time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Safe Travels Roberta

I really dislike saying good-bye. I also don't think my friend Roberta is fond of the idea. Yesterday we chose to say, "talk to you soon" rather than good-bye.

We have known each other for about 6 years -- since I started the knitting guild in Centre County, PA. Roberta was (can't believe it is past tense) employed at Penn State University but is now heading deep into the heart of Texas to a new and exciting job at a major University there. They are lucky to have her. The warm temps, new people, and new job are perfect for her. She will make many friends quickly.

Roberta is an accomplished knitter and like many of us, often frogs as much as she knits. But her finished products are awesome. She first encouraged me in sock I guess she is one of several people who are to be credited for my addition. During the past year or so Rob has encouraged my attempts at lace knitting and helped me decide that perhaps I need to use sock weight yarn rather than lace weight.

For quite a while now we have been meeting several times a month in the Cafe at the local Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Trips there will never be the same now. We have our own version of "show and tell" with our knitting, new yarn purchases and patterns -- primarily free ones we find on the Internet. We met there for the last time yesterday.

When that moment arrived, and we were standing near the front door of the bookshop, our minds seemed to be working on the same track. Instead of good-bye, we both said "are you going to NJ for Thanksgiving? Me too!" So we have plans for a get-together in Princeton. We are dedicated to calling each other weekly, emailing and of course will continue to check on each other through our blogs.

Safe journey next week Roberta and your adorable kitties, Frannie and Maggie. This is a new phase in your life and a wonderful adventure. I will miss you but the distance won't change our friendship.

Please drive safely and don't speed! Remember, speeding tickets cost money ... yarn money...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday Brandeis!

This handsome fellow has a busy birthday scheduled today -- we already made his ground turkey/carrot/parmesean cheese meatloaf birthday cake; he goes to the groomer later this morning and tops off the fun with his annual trip to McDonald's. Oh, in between we have to stop at Barnes & Noble Booksellers to meet an adopter and foster parents to adopt a wonderful 2 year old Golden boy to his forever family. Whew! What a day.

Look for knitting content next week.