Monday, January 27, 2014

Instagram

Clearly, blogging is still not happening on any kind of regular basis.

But, I have finally figured out Instagram!!!! My username is Mommyknitter and knitterly photos actually get posted there! (I finally have a phone that talks to space and that makes Instagram and Twitter oh-so convenient!)

I think about the blog quite a bit. I think about videocasting occasionally. I have to say that when faced with the question of knitting vs. blogging, I choose knitting. Every single time.

Today though, I have no work, no car, and a cold. So today I will not have to choose between blogging and knitting - I will do both!

First up, my one, lonely finished object:
 Yup. A super boring blue hat. I had knit my husband a fair isle hat for Christmas (one that I should probably get a picture of one of these days.) It's exactly like this one, that I made my husband for Christmas 2012, but 12 stitches smaller. And it was still too big. Enter the prototype hat - another 12 stitches smaller knit with some random blue Cascade 220 in the stash. It is now too small. I will try again with 6 more stitches. But later, because I only have so much time to be knitting prototypes when there is serious knitting to be done! For those keeping track of my yardage with me, this hat took 100 yards of yarn.

The week between Christmas and New Years I cast on a Patriotic Ear Flap Hat by Marleen, in anticipation of the Winter Olympics. This time I used Cascade 220 Superwash. I'm on the fence about adding the intarsia stars to the blue of the hat, so it's just been hanging out in my awesome new knitting basked waiting for a decision. (I will say that this hat also feels a little bit big, but its for me, not my husband, and I'm not one to complain about such things.) Not finished yet, so no yardage.
 This is some Briggs and Little wool that Jacquie gifted me when I was at Rhinebeck. It's all wound up and ready to become some thrummed mittens. I haven't started them yet, obviously.
Because there are always socks on the needles - my current pair from Patons Kroy Blue Ragg stripes. You've seen them everywhere. Here's mine. I'm still trying to decide about what kind of heel to use. Any suggestions?
 And finally, the reason why nothing else is getting done - my Geology Shawl by Verybusymonkey. I have really loved this pattern since I first saw it and knew that this yarn from Creature Comforts would be perfect! The yarn is called "Exit, Pursued by a Bear" and was part of the shop's very short Shakespeare Club. The colors remind me of the earth and I knew right away it was a perfect match for this pattern.

This picture doesn't show off the texture as awesomely as it looks in real life
I've been trying to get this shawl done before my local knitting guild meeting next week. Judith Durant is coming to present on blocking and she will choose one shawl from the members with which to demonstrate! Maybe she'll choose mine! Or, maybe she won't, but at least something will have been finished!

Here's another picture to give you a better idea of the texture:
I'm on the second to last section and the last section is feather and fan, so I hope to have the shawl done by mid-week. I plan to take up my long-hibernating Dark and Stormy, with the hopes of finishing it before the Olympics. It's unlikely, but I'll try. My Olympic Knitting will be the Carmen Banana sock monkey from KnitPicks. I've never knit a toy before, so it will be a true challenge.

I've also been spinning a little bit - an Into the Whirled braid that I'm fractal spinning but wish I had just 3-plyed. I'll talk about that another day.

Or not.

But there's sure to be pictures on Instagram.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

St. Distaff Day

The first Monday after 12th Night is St. Distaff Day. You can read a bit more about the history of this day here. This year, I was able to attend this event in Westford.

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!!!

My biggest highlight came right at the end, when Judy (Hi Judy!) introduced herself to me and told me she reads/watches the blog!!!!! Totally made my day!!! This is the first time I've ever met anyone whom I didn't know before they started reading the blog. So exciting!!!

So, basically, a bunch of spinners show up, sit around the room and spin. It was neat to see all the different wheels and spindles and the different fibers that people were spinning. I had the opportunity to try a Journey Wheel, while sitting next to Mr. Bosworth, maker of said wheel! Turns out, Mr. Bosworth lived in Buffalo for a couple of years so we had a few things to chat about. Everyone there was very friendly and welcoming. I so wish I could make it to the spinning group regular get-togethers!

That's me and my new friend Terry. (I stole this picture from a post by Mrs. Bosworth)

There was also a silent auction to benefit the local museum where we were meeting. I bid on a Bosworth spindle, but the bidding went too high for me. I did however, win a Fiber Optic Gradient (Espresso to Gold) and 8 oz. of undyed Coopworth roving.I've been kicking myself for not buying from Fiber Optic at Rhinebeck and am excited to try her fiber! The Coopworth was bought for $2 - can't beat that for a new fiber!

I've been knitting lots of stockinette in the round without craving anything else, but I'm starting to feel ready for something that requires thought. Maybe that sweater will come out to play....

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

First Finished Objects of 2014

Note: I wrote this yesterday, but didn't get around to finding the pictures until today. 

In between eating, napping, and keeping the house from falling apart, I've been knitting. I've dug the Dark and Stormy sweater out of hibernation, but haven't quite found the energy to figure out where I've left off yet. Instead, I've been focusing on smaller projects.

I started a hat for Baby Girl right after Christmas. She picked out the yarn herself at Have Ewe Any Wool? when we were visiting my parents at Thanksgiving. It goes fantastically well with her winter coat, and I'm quite proud of her! Small child hats get finished in no time! I meant to have my mom make the pompom, but never got around to it. So, the pompom is wonky, but it will do.

Yeah for the first finished object of the New Year! (Boo for the blurry picture!)

Next, I finished a pair of socks for my husband. These were almost done. I just needed to add the heel to one sock. I put the heel in last night and wove in all the ends today.
Those are my feet doing the modeling

I've also started knitting a Patriotic Earflap Hat. This has been in my queue since the last winter Olympics and I've had the yarn since last spring. It was an excellent knit to start while sitting around, visiting with my parents. I'm not sure if I'll do the intarsia stars or not. We'll see how it goes....

Tomorrow, the local spinners group is having a St. Distaff Day get-together. I have yet to make it to any of their meet-ups, but I plan to go tomorrow! I'll be bringing both my wheel and a spindle or two.

What have you accomplished so far this year?


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Resolutions

My knitting/spinning resolutions are pretty simple this year:

1. I will knit from my stash this year. 
     My stash is not huge, but most of the yarn in it is designated for specific projects. I would like to actually knit those projects this year! This doesn't mean I'm not going to buy any yarn, but I will be very selective about when and why I do!

2. I will knit/spin 15,000 yards this year.
     That's slightly more than 1200 yards a month. I'll be using the KnitGirllls Stash Dash rules - if I finish the thing, I count all the yards, regardless of when I started it. I'm hoping this goal will inspire me to actually finish things, rather than casting on a bunch of projects and letting them languish. It will also help me finish a few things that have been hibernating for quite some time!


To help me with these goals, I've made a 2014 tab in my Ravelry queue. The larger projects are all things for which I already have the yarn. There are a few smaller projects that I have had queued for quite a while that I would like to try to actually knit, even if it means buying some yarn.

My personal goals are as follows:

1. Lose 10 pounds
     I've lost 5 pounds since starting work. I haven't been snacking and I've been making an effort to eat healthier. I've probably gained them all back this week, but I'm ignoring that for the moment. I think with a little effort, the pounds will come off fairly quickly.

2. Spend more time with my kids
     I tend to hand projects to the kids to keep them busy, and then I deal with messes, laundry, whathaveyou. I'd like to be more likely to sit and do the project with them. Or invite them on a walk with me. Or find the time to play a game with them. They're little for such a short time and I want to make sure that I make full use of this time.

3. Improve my devotional life
     This is something that I still struggle with - finding the time and the energy to talk with God seriously. I pray often, but I would like some dedicated time to spend with my Savior.

Do you have any resolutions this year?

Goodbye, 2013

So, obviously, there's been zero blog content in quite a while.

About a week after I last posted I wound up heading to Buffalo for the long weekend to help my parents out with some house stuff. The day after I got home I interviewed for a job and started working the day after that. I'm now working 14 hours a week as an aide in the preschool room next to Baby Girl's class. I'm not going to lie - it hurts a little to go from running my own program for kids with emotional/behavioral disabilities to be cutting out construction paper shapes and wiping noses, but the job pays some bills and is the exact same hours as Baby Girl's school schedule, so no daycare and no impact on our time together. Plus, there is zero stress with this job.

It has meant a significant decrease in my time to run errands and whatnot, and this was kind of difficult so close to the holidays. But, all the Christmas stuff got done, including special activities with the kids, so all is well.

Our Christmas was wonderful. We spend Christmas Eve at my brother-in-law's house, enjoying a traditional Feast of 7 Fishes. This year that included raw oysters and champagne! Heavenly!!!! Christmas morning was wonderful, with happy children and tired parents. Christmas Day is spent at my in-laws' house with my husband's entire family. It's loud and crowded and happy and the kids love it. I knit my 3 SILs Escargot hats which were very well received.

Usually, we leave the day after Christmas and drive to Buffalo to spend the rest of the holiday with my family. Instead, this year my parents came to us! So, December 26th we lazed around the house, playing with our new toys and relaxing and my parents arrived the next day. We've had a lovely week, relaxing and spending time together. Last night we brought in the New Year by eating appetizer-y things and watching movies.

I'll post my resolutions in another post, but blog content is definitely on that list!

As far as knitting content, I've knit three escargot hats, a pair of Christmas socks, two pairs of fingerless mitts, and a fair isle hat. Most of the projects are on my Ravelry page (I forgot to take pictures of one set of fingerless gloves before mailing them and I haven't uploaded the pictures of all the hats yet). There's been some spinning, but nothing has been completed. I doubt that I'll get around to adding pictures here....

So, a belated Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you and yours. I hope to see you around here much more in 2014!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fiber Festivals

Why, hello there! Long time no see! I actually finally recorded an episode last week, but something was up with camera, and my mouth and the sound just would not line up! I'll try again this week, at some point. In the meantime, so the show isn't just a huge line of stuff I've bought recently, I thought I'd blog about the various fiber festivals that have been going on the past month. Columbus Day weekend was the NH Wool Arts Tour. I thought this looked fun, so I piled the kids into the car and off we went! I had thought that there would be some interesting demonstrations and that the kids would be able to spend some time with animals. This was not necessarily the case. They did get to pet some sheep and goats, but they didn't really get up close and personal with the animals. The weather was chilly and wet, so most of the demonstrations were cancelled. It was okay though - the kids chatted so amicably in the car on the way up to NH and seemed to enjoy running around the farms. When I asked if they would go next year, they pretty much answered with "maybe." I decided it wasn't really worth the trip for me.
I did a tiny bit of shopping that day. I bought 2 oz. of Cotswold roving to sample at one of the farms. Friends in Fiber was vending and I bought my first rolags from her! I also picked 2 mini batts - one of llama and one of mohair, also new fibers to me. There was a vendor with large bags of white roving. I wish I had asked about price - I wouldn't mind having a sweater's worth of fiber to spin!

The next weekend was the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival. I didn't go this year, but I sent in an entry to the handmade competition. The featured item this year was cowls. I knitted the Scalloped Ruff by Pam Powers out of a merino/alpaca/cashmere blend. A week after the festival, I received it back in the mail, along with a third place ribbon!! I'm pretty excited to have won a ribbon for the second year in a row!

(I'm sorry that I don't have a decent picture of it. I'll try to get on that today!)

Finally, this past weekend was the New England Fiber Festival. This is my first time attending this event, and I went with a local knitting friend. We left early and arrived just before the doors opened. We had a lot of fun and bought a lot!!! I totally stuck to my list, except for one skein of sock yarn (and we all know that sock yarn doesn't count as stash!)

Here's the stash: A sweater's worth of yarn, Shetland fiber and sock yarn, all from Tucker Woods. A sock spinning kit from Bitsy Knits (who is AWESOME with the customer service!), 2 oz. of merino/silk/camel to spin, and a braid of Rambouillet from Gnomespun.

All the Tucker Woods Goodness!


 I wanted to take a moment to compare/contrast Rhinebeck and the New England Festival, because there's been a lot of that going on on some of the Rav boards. New England was great for shopping. The Festival takes place in a HUGE building and booths are set up in a grid system with plenty of aisle room. It actually feels like shopping in a giant yarn mall. I think there were almost 200 vendors there, so plenty of shopping options! There was plenty of yarn and fiber, a number of rug hooking vendors, and, I think, a decent number of weaving vendors. There were opportunities to learn to spin and a few demonstrations throughout the day. Food choices were limited, but tasty and reasonably priced. The vendors, although they seemed to be tired at the end of festival season, had the time to really talk to customers, and we had several really nice conversations! This is an easy day trip for me, so I could definitely see it becoming a regular event for me.

Where the New England festival fails is the atmosphere. First of all, its inside. There's just something about shopping for yarn in the fresh air that makes me happy! Because its indoors, there's a lot less wooly fashion to admire. No one is wearing hats, scarves, or fingerless mitts inside. And although there were a few animals present, there were no animal shows - no sheep dog trials, or llama limbo, or sheep shows. Sure, there are no crazy crowds, but there's also was very little stopping strangers to admire their knitwear, or bonding while standing in line.

Rhinebeck has all the things that New England lacks. Plus, it has some of the bigger vendors that I would love to see in person again - Loop!, Fiber Optic, and Into the Whirled to name a few. It also has way better food vendors - lamb burgers are totally the appropriate fiber festival food! And, as another podcaster put it, Rhinebeck is yarn prom! The big kicker for me and Rhinebeck though, is the surrounding area. I LOVED the weekend I spent in the Hudson Valley last year. I loved dining at the CIA and touring the historical houses. I hope to go next year with my husband and hike the Walkway over the Hudson.
Some of the Festival Atmosphere at Rhinebeck
So, final analysis - for pure shopping, go to the New England Fiber Festival. It's much easier to browse, it's no problem to think about your purchases and go back to vendors, and there's plenty of room to breathe and move. For Festival atmosphere and a whole weekend of Autumnal beauty, site-seeing opportunities and the chance to make new friends, head to Rhinebeck. (Plus, Tucker Woods will only be vending at Rhinebeck from now on!) Wow, this turned into a really long post!!!! I'm glad to share my purchases with you here though! I hope the next time I record I'll be able to share the knitting and the spinning!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Not Even a Picture

Hi everyone! I did, in fact, record last week. But I was in such a rush that I'm kind of spastic and ridiculous, so I'm not going to post it! Last week was the last week of school and I spent the time frantically knitting washcloths, weaving in ends of cowls, wrapping presents, writing thank you notes and attending various end of school year activities. You can see pictures of all the things on my Ravelry page. Plus, on Thursday, we had one of my oldest friends and her family over for dinner. ALL of the kids behaved wonderfully and we were able to have a great visit. They stayed until 10, which meant the kids were pretty tired the next day! Thankfully, it was a half day of school and they were spending most of the time outside for a popsicle party. They all napped after lunch though, because we hosted a neighborhood ice cream party that night. As you can see, the week was pretty exhausting! I also received some awesome birthday presents! My dear husband gave me an Ashford Competition lazy kate and a super cute wpi/diz/twist angle tool! My MIL paid for some fiber braids that I ordered from Camelot Dyeworks. One is 100% Merino in blues, whites and greys called "Cinderella" and the other is red, white and blue superwash merino/bamboo/nylon appropriately called "July". July will be my wheel spinning for Tour de Fleece, and I hope to wind up with a sock weight yarn. Today is the first official day of summer vacation (because the weekend doesn't count). Our old town has school this week, so we're headed there this afternoon to visit teachers and play with old friends after school. We'll finish up the day by having dinner with my in-laws. Tomorrow we'll be busy packing because we leave Wednesday (sans DH and oldest child) for a 10 day visit with my parents. BUSY!!!!! So, short story long, don't know when I'll record next. It might not be until fall! I'll try to keep you updated one way or another on the knitting and spinning, but I promise nothing. To those of you whom I owe an email (you know who you are!), I'm sorry! I hope to get to it soon! Happy knitting!