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.