Monday, September 29, 2014

First Things First

It's Monday morning after a delightful weekend on the road.  I would love to ease into the day with coffee and knitting, but first things first. I started the laundry and tidied the kitchen.  I will never understand why my kids think that filling the sink with dirty dishes and leaving them there qualifies as cleaning the kitchen.

I always enjoy traveling in the fall, and this weekend was no exception.  The fall colors are well on their way with a few brilliant bursts here and there . . . a tease of what's in store in the coming days.  The temps were on the warm side, but at least it was dry.

Here's an assortment of things that caught my eye at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.

This Cormo / Alpaca / Silk blend was very tempting.

Curly locks to match the season.

Of course there were animals.  Some real.

Some not.

There were useful wooden tools made by Stephen Willette.  

I always stop in his booth to take a look.  One of these days I won't walk away empty-handed.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth to chat.  There was show and tell, but I completely forgot to take pictures.  To the customer who drove up from Philadelphia, I hope you had a safe trip home.  It was fun to see so many familiar faces, and it was a good opportunity to catch up on your current knitting projects.

It looks like coffee and knitting will have to wait.  I'm off to make a dent in my to-do list.  In a few shorts days, I'm on the road again.

Friday, September 26, 2014


I'm wrapping up the week on a positive note with a finished project. This one was long overdue.  In fact this project was almost finished a couple times, so it felt good to finally get it off the needles.


A while back, this shawl was put on hold because I ran out of yarn. When I finally sorted that out, I picked the project up only to discover something else had gone awry.

I had worked too far on this section.

Once I had remedied that situation, I buckled down.  It was time to show this project who was boss.

There's nothing like the challenge of a project that's fighting back.  I was determined to finish this shawl one way or another, so I sat down and didn't get up until it was done.

For all its trials and tribulations, I really did enjoy knitting this shawl. Stripes are so simple.  They brighten my day and are fun to make.

The yarn is Paula, Dirty Snow and Gourd. 

Dirty Snow is one of those goes-with-almost-anything, versatile contrast colors.  I'm sure I'll be using it again for another 2-color adventure.

Intense colors often grab my attention . . . like this week's color inspiration.

Bold with a splash of bright.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On the Rebound

Sometimes the universe manages to achieve balance.  Yesterday was particularly challenging, so late in the day I decided to clear my head. I could have settled in with my knitting, curled up with a book or even gone to bed, but instead I decided to tidy up my work space.

One thing led to another, and I found myself getting deeper and deeper into the whole process.  After one little corner was neat, I had to keep going because it made the rest of the space look that much worse.  I didn't finish the whole room because that would have required an all-nighter, and I don't do those any more.  Well, maybe if the situation warrants, but in my book cleaning is not an acceptable reason to stay up all night and suffer from extreme exhaustion the next day.

In the course of my tidying, I made a discovery.  I had survived a grueling day and was rewarded for my cleanup efforts with this.

Undyed yarn.  OK, undyed yarn in and of itself isn't surprising.  In fact I have quite a bit of it.   The surprising thing is that I didn't know I had this particular undyed yarn.  This blend is no longer available in this skein size, and I'm thrilled that I stumbled across it.  I thought I had just a handful of skeins, but this is more than just a handful.  It's enough for a limited edition.

Today is a new day.  I've bounced back, and I'm off to have some color fun.   

Monday, September 22, 2014

Buy Local

Over the weekend I spent a couple days hanging out at stops along the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl.  The atmosphere was relaxed with plenty of time for chatting and knitting.

Yarn shops have different looks and personalities.  Here's a glimpse of the two shops I visited.

The Black Sheep Knitting Co.

Mentolat.  It's very striking and has been all the rage at the shop.

Lovely yak yarn.

And take a look at this.

A bracelet made from a knitting needle . . . Smashed Knitting Needle Bracelet.  Follow the link to see more smashed metal creations.

JP Knit & Stitch

In addition to yarn, this shop also features fabric - bolts and bolts of gorgeous color with plenty of sewing ideas.

When I was there, a pillow making class was in session.

And if you don't want to take a class, it's also a great place to hang out.

I love show and tell when I'm on the road, and Chris brought in a beautiful Zephyr Cove.

She used Paula, Dirty Snow and Moon Shadow.  I've been contemplating this exact color combination, and now I'm even more tempted.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  The crawl was a great reminder to get out and support your local shop, and it was encouraging to see so many people make an effort.  Your yarn shop is a great resource. Don't forget to buy local.

Friday, September 19, 2014

How Many Skeins?

Recently another knitter and I were talking about new projects.  In the course of our discussion, I discovered she selects her projects based on how many skeins of yarn they take.  Ideally they use only 1 skein of fingering weight yarn.  If she's feeling adventurous, she'll go up to a 2-skein project.  I understand her reasoning.  These days she's extremely strapped for time.  Limiting the number of skeins keeps her knitting manageable.

The other day I was thinking about this approach to project selection. On one hand, it really narrows the pool of options.  For example, sweaters are out of the picture.  On the other hand, it increases the odds you'll actually finish a project - in theory, at least.

I'm not ready to give up larger projects for 1-skein projects, but it has a certain appeal . . . especially when one of my current projects doesn't seem to be advancing.

This is a vest, not a full-fledged sweater, but for all my effort, I'm not making much progress.  I shouldn't even have the tape measure out.  I know I still need a few more inches.  I'll soldier on because, in spite of the black hole I'm knitting in right now, it really is a fun project.  

How about you?  Do you try to limit yourself to single skein projects?

This week's color inspiration made me look twice . . . plum tomatoes that aren't red.

Warm and mellow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bargaining Power

If you're in the Boston area, I have a PSA for you.  The Greater Boston Yarn Crawl is this week.  In fact, it starts tomorrow.  This year 15 shops are participating.  Follow the link for details.  Get out and support your local yarn stores.

I'll be on the yarn crawl circuit with a trunk show at The Black Sheep Knitting Co. on Friday and JP Knit & Stitch on Saturday.  That means today is decision day.   A trunk show is small and intimate, so I need to pick and choose what I take.  It's time to finalize my lists.

To help with the process, I've contrived a little incentive.  Once I've written up the lists, I can take a knitting break and work a few rounds on my sock.

But not before.  I drive a hard bargain with myself.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekend Indulgence

The pace is picking up, and my crazy busy fall schedule is looming right around the corner.  I feel like I'm standing on the shore of a rushing river and looking in.  One step further and I'll be swept away by the current and won't surface until the leaves have all fallen and we're on the brink of winter.

No matter which way I turn, I'm surrounded by work, but this weekend I carved out a little time to step away from work.

And I spent that time with a new project.

My knitting time is at a premium.  It seems silly to work on something new, but sometimes the thrill of a new project is just what I need to regroup.  This time it worked.  It's Monday morning, and I'm ready to tackle a new week.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Workbench

Recently I was cleaning out the garage, a task that had been hanging over me for quite some time.  As expected it was a good opportunity to get rid of things.  I believe in sharing the wealth, so I dispersed items through various locations - Goodwill, Craigslist, a church thrift store, friends and curbside with a sign that said Free

All of this sifting and sorting uncovered a table in the far back corner of the garage.  I remembered vague discussions of a workbench in the garage.  I didn't have a good recollection of it but always thought in terms of an oily table with a bunch of tools.  What I discovered had a little more character and charm.

My first thought was I needed to find a good home for the workbench, but the more time I spent in the garage, the more I became attached to the wooden table.  I toyed with the idea of using the workbench in my work space, but I dismissed that notion.  The workbench was too big, too clunky.

Then one day I did some quick math and realized the workbench really wouldn't take up any more space than the standard brown table I was already using.  It was settled.  The workbench had a new home.

This work surface is much more interesting than the boring brown table.

It has a built in tape measure and all sorts of information on nails, screws, bolts, washers and nuts, wood.  These days my work is just a little more interesting.

My color inspiration this week comes courtesy of our annual blueberry picking.  There's just one rule in the blueberry patch.

Pick only the ripe ones.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

And the Winner Is . . .

Mid-week madness has hit, so this post will be short and sweet.  With any luck my camera and the lighting will sort things out, and I'll have pictures to share later in the week.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway.  The August winner is Bethany.  Since I can't locate any contact information for you, get in touch and we'll work out the details.

I do read all the comments and especially appreciated this one from Kitten With a Whiplash where he discusses working with novelty yarn. "I haven't decided whether to slog on . . . or do some knitting I enjoy." Life is short.  Knit what you enjoy.  Or at the very least, mix it up with a project you do enjoy.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled knitting.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Restart

On Friday I had a blog post all ready to go, but our tenuous internet connection would not cooperate.  I was proud of the way I handled it.  I walked away, poured another cup of coffee and started to knit. There's no sense expending energy on something I can't fix.

After a weekend of sorting cables, troubleshooting, relocating my desk and more troubleshooting, I think my connection is up and running for good.  I'm starting the week more than a little behind on all things computer related, but I did make some knitting progress.

The right front of Penny is finished, and I've moved on to the right armband.  I didn't read ahead to figure out where this design is headed. I'm following blindly and enjoying it.

After a week of muddling along, I'm ready to make up for lost time. Today I hit the ground running.  Check back on Wednesday . . . I'll be announcing the giveaway winner.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

No Connection

We're in the process of changing our internet carrier, and it's been every bit the hassle I had envisioned and then some.  It's frightening to think we've become so dependent on this ever-present force.

This has been a good opportunity to assess just how much time everyone spends online.  The kids have been at a loss without internet service.  They've found other ways to keep themselves occupied, and I have a list of long-neglected household chores for anyone who complains too loudly.  

My time without the computer has been easier to fill.  The hardest part is deciding which knitting project will get my attention.  Since I'm on borrowed internet service right now, pictures will have to wait.  If all goes according to plan, our internet should be up and running later in the week.  And if not, I have plenty of knitting to keep me occupied.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Weekend Wish

I'm making my way through the long weekend.  People do all sorts of things for this last blast of summer - from travel to the beach to a cookout.  Whatever they had wanted to do all summer but hadn't done yet gets crammed into this weekend.

My weekend plan is similar, I guess.  I want to finish a project that's been simmering for weeks.

All I need is a solution to this situation.  I ran out of yarn, so I came up with the yarn on the right.  At first glance it looked like a decent match. Now I'm not so sure, but I'll give it a try anyway.  If this fails, I'm sure I can find another project that needs attention.