Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And The Winner Is . . .

Stephanie wrote:

There's lots of activity here as Mona and I get ready to hit the road. This weekend is Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, and Dye Dreams will be there. We had fun at this event last year and are looking forward to it again. The Festival has moved to a new location in Tunbridge, Vermont. If you're in the area, check it out.

In the midst of all the festival preparations I've managed to sneak in a little knitting time on Harmonia's Rings.

By the way the yarn is Celestial Dark Charcoal - 50% alpaca, 30% merino, 20% silk. Celestial is a worsted weight yarn, and this 3-way blend makes for knitting pleasure. It's great for next to skin wear - soft and cozy.

I'm blindly following the twists and turns of the cable and loving every minute of it.

It's fall in New England and time for apple picking. We had a gorgeous day to head out to the orchard.

This was the biggest apple we found. It makes the hand of an 11 year old boy look small.

Thanks to all who entered the blog contest from last week. Paula is the lucky winner and will get to select one skein of our sock yarn. This contest was fun, and I'll be running another one. Stay tuned for festival updates, contests and more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Knitting As Art

Stephanie wrote:

I am in awe of people who think outside the knitting box. They develop a new technique, write a clever pattern or decorate the urban landscape.

Consider this case in point. I park near this pole on a regular basis and always admire it. The other day I got my act together and finally took pictures of this structure clad in knitting.

It is a colorful, fun work of art that adds so much to this corner. While I couldn't get a close up of the fish at the top, there were other things in my range.

A bunny with a red scarf and fluffy tail. I think this was made by the Beatrix Potter of knitting.

These creatures are adorable, and I'm sure many kids have wanted to take them home. I wanted to take them home.

And this work of art is signed. Good job, South End Knitters. You should be proud of your cleverness and creativity.

Last night I was obsessed with starting a new project - it was my reward for a long day of work. I decided that I wasn't going to bed until I had started something, anything.

I picked Harmonia's Rings from my queue and proceeded to get started. It was midnight, but I was bound and determined to have something new on the needles.

Casting on involved watching a YouTube video of Cat Bordhi demonstrating the Moebius Cast On. This method is totally outside the box. I watched the video a couple of times and ripped out my first attempt. Yes, it was late and my eyes were glazed, but I was on a mission.

I don't think I completely understand why it works, but sometimes knitting is just a matter of believing and doing. When all was said and done, this is what I had to show for my midnight knitting session. While it doesn't look like much, I went to bed feeling very satisfied with my accomplishment.

And this is what greeted me when I got home today.

A delivery from the Land of Enchantment - New Mexico green chile. It wouldn't be fall without roasting green chile.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. I've enjoyed reading the comments and added a couple more projects to my queue. There's still time to leave a comment and enter the contest which closes on Sunday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mistakes and More

Stephanie wrote:

Mistakes are a fact of knitting. They are as much a part of the process as everything else. Everyone makes mistakes - there's no getting around it.

The issue is which mistakes can you live with and which ones do you have to rip back and fix?

I was cruising along on my Colorful Splendor Lace Scarf. While I enjoy knitting scarves, I often get bogged down in the middle and progress seems slow. So I was excited to be past the half way point and was plotting when I could cast off when I discovered a wee mistake.

While I was debating whether or not I could live with said wee mistake, I examined the scarf more closely and noticed that my slight imperfection was larger than I had first observed.

Notice how the beautiful columns running along the edge of the scarf are rudely interrupted several rows from the top. I knew I could not live with this mess and proceed to rip out the offending rows. While ripping back the rows, I consoled myself with the fact that I noticed the mistake after several rows. It would have been much worse for the mistake go have gone unnoticed for several inches. The mistake was fixed and the frogged rows re-knit. The scarf is back on track and even closer to completion.

This whole issue of fixing mistakes is a matter of personal preference. There are some knitters who wouldn't have ripped back to correct the messy edge. And that's fine. But it's good to know your comfort level when it comes to mistakes. If a mistake is going to take away from your enjoyment of the knitting and wearing, by all means go back and fix it. On the other hand if it doesn't matter so much to you, you can probably live with it.

New on the needles . . . Fine Filigree Fingerlings.

I'm making the mitt version of this pattern. The pattern is worked from the top down to the wrist.

While I'm enjoying the pattern, I'm still not too sure about the sizing. Time will tell. In the meantime I'm loving the yarn - Bunny Sox Sweetest; 60% superwash merino, 25% angora, 15% nylon. This blend has enough angora to make a difference - soft and scrumptious. Bunny Sox will soon be up on our website.

My color combo for the week.

Tomatillos fresh from the farmers' market.

Finally, a contest. I've been thinking how great it is that knitters are so willing to share with each other. We're always looking for inspiration and new ideas. Leave a comment with your favorite current project or technique. The winner, drawn at random, will have his/her choice of one skein of sock yarn. Contest ends next Sunday, September 27.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Color Choices

Stephanie wrote:

Mona and I were recently talking about color. What else is new? We were talking specifically about color choices and preferences. For instance, are there regional differences in color preferences?

Our very unscientific research indicates that people on the west coast lean toward lighter colors. Not necessarily brighter, but definitely lighter. I will qualify that by saying that Sock Summit has been our only west coast show. With the exception of Stitches East last fall (Baltimore), the only other shows we do are in New England.

We carry a full range of colors and noticed a significant increase in the sales of lighter colors at Sock Summit. We know that the darker colors do well at our other shows. Maybe geography plays a role in the spiked sales of the lighter colors. Or maybe it has to do with the season. The academic in me thinks there's a research project in all of this.

Speaking of projects . . . the Colorful Splendor Scarf is more than half done and the foot on the Oak Ribbed Sock is taking shape. I'll spare you the boring photos.

But I will show you this.

Pieces of mostly stockinette that will come together one day as a vest. At the moment this is my totally mindless knitting project - when I stand in line, wait for kids or need a knitting fix but am too tired to see straight.

Detail from the bottom edge. The colors are rich and very seasonal.

And they go well with these flowers that made their way into my house.

If l didn't know better, I would say these are fake. Trust me - they are real. Sunflowers in intense red, orange and yellow. They scream fall, and I love them.

Finally, I have to share a shot of a visitor I had last night.

I was working away at my desk minding my own business when this ladybug dropped in. She kept me company for quite a while and then flew off to explore the rest of the house. A quiet but entertaining guest.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Season's End

Stephanie wrote:

In an effort to enjoy the remaining days of summer I've been out and about quite a bit. While that means less computer time, it doesn't mean less knitting time.

I've started more than my fair share of new projects. This indistinct blob will one day be a beautiful lace scarf.

This is Colorful Splendor Lace Scarf from HeartStrings.

Shown here in Panda Sox Teal - 80% superwash merino, 20% bamboo. The color is actually more intense and more blue - a hard one to photograph. No, it's not on our website yet - we're working on it.

I've used this yarn before in knitting up the Fiddlehead Sock. It's soft and a bit squishy with nice drape. The bamboo reminds me of the tencel in the Twinkle Toes.

Project update . . . Oak Ribbed Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks - almost a pair.

The second sock is about ready for the heel flap. In case you're curious the yarn is Luster Sox Medium Denim.

There are a couple of interesting details with this pattern.

Back seam - down the leg and continuing through the heel flap. The seam is created with a purl stitch.

A round toe. The original pattern from which this one is written calls for casting off the toe stitches and seaming the toe. Instead of the cast off Nancy Bush has written the pattern with instructions to thread the tail through a tapestry needle and draw the tail through the remaining stitches - just as you would do for a hat or mittens.

I love kitchenering my toe stitches but decided to stick with the pattern and try this method. I'm curious to see if it wears differently than my usual toes.

The pace is picking up as we move into fall. I love it when we head into wool weather but feel a sense of urgency this year as I look at my calendar. I've rearranged and cut things out of my schedule to make it all fit. But no matter how I look at it, it's going to be crazy hectic.

To savor the last of the lazy days of summer I leave you with this.

The JFK Library as seen from across the bay at Castle Island. This picture was taken while Ted Kennedy's body was lying in repose at the Library. If you look closely at the boats, you can see a flag at half-staff.

I have a feeling I'll need the peace and tranquility of Castle Island to carry me through the coming weeks.