Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And We Have A Winner Folks!

The luckly random generator chose............

Morticcia! I'll be contacting you for your address soon to send you some goodies! Thanks for playing along everyone! I appreciate the advice regarding the blocking. I admit to being busy working all weekend, and just crashing today! I've been knitting on-and-off on a new BSJ in cotton. Pictures to follow in another post!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Clap and a Contest!

I've finished the clapotis! YEAH! It's actually a mini version, but here's a photo of it. It's been very rainy and dreary here, and unseasonably cold. I sat at a ball game last night with a hooded sweatshirt and a fleece blanket. Thank heavens the coaches were merciful, and cut the game a wee bit short. It still lasted an hour and a half! Anyway, I'm tired of waiting on nice weather to photograph the thing. How's that for attitude! Here's some more. The nice weather is predicted for this weekend, and I'm working. All three days of it! I just pray I'll be a blessing to someone on the holiday weekend!

Started - I really can't remember. Maybe February, March? I started so many times! GEEZ!
Yarn - Wollmeise 100% Sockenwolle Superwash in Dornroschen colorway (Translates to Sleeping Beauty) - less than 1 skein.
Needles - US #4
Pattern modifications - nothing much. I added one more section of straight rows, and I probably could have added two. I have a small ball of the yarn left. But definitely enough yardage for another 12 rows, which is the length of the increase section.
Thoughts on the pattern/yarn: Wollmeise is lovely to knit. I highly recommend it! Of course, its rarity is a problem. The pattern was really, very simple. The hardest thing was to let go of my inhibitions, and just drop the stitches when I got to the straight rows. After I lost my fear of the dreaded dropped stitch, I found myself looking forward to those particular rows that called for dropping stitches. I think there may be a lesson in this somewhere, but I'm not going to go there in this post.
I guess I should comment on the size of this scarf/stole. It's pretty small, compared to other clapotis patterns I've seen in person. It's more along the lines of a scarf. But I knit it with fingering weight yarn, which made it just a nice size for a wider scarf. I think I'll knit up some more of these for Christmas gifts? Where did that thought come from? I know...I tend to dream big. I should probably start knitting now, if I'm planning that. But seriously, if you're not really into knitting scarves, this pattern holds your interest a bit longer than most, and yet remains relatively mindless at times.

Back to the finishing and the CONTEST.....
I've yet to block a piece of my work (shhhhh....don't judge). Tell me your favorite quick and dirty way to block this FO, and win some yarny goodness. Oh, and because I'm being a little cautious with money, you can post a comment at will, but the prize will be selected from a random generator, and I will only mail domestically, to the continental US.....Thanks for understanding and playing along! Leave a comment by Friday, the 23rd of May, for your vote/recommendation to count.
Here's to finishing knitterly things (this is called an FO - a finished object - for all you muggles), and to new beginnings (my favorite)!

Friday, May 16, 2008

And Some More Maryland Pictures

Because I feel the need to defend myself, I'll make this next statement. I have been knitting, and yes, this is still a knitting blog. BUT, I've also been busy every night with tee-ball and soccer games, and then little league games, and just, well, very busy. I'm trying to knit during all of it, but sometimes, it's nearly impossible. How can you miss the team when it's their turn to bat, and that great hit by your child or nephew? How can you not partake of the hotdog fresh from the grill after you've been sniffing the wonderful smell for the last hour, or the chance visit with your friend that you haven't seen for a month? Well, the bottom line is this: sometimes I succumb to a couple of rows of knitting instead of a couple of hours. At least my needles are still clicking, albeit a bit slower. At this pace, the turtle could outknit me! BUT, I have never claimed to be a process knitter. No, I have not! I dream about it at times, but I have never staked any claims. I am, however, feverishly trying to finish up a few older knitting projects, so that I can begin knitting with the new yarn from Maryland. I'd like to think that's an "adult" thing to do, but to tell you the truth, I'm dying to knit with the new stuff!
So, without further musings....here are some more photos....

First up, a lovely hand-woven bag. It was a present for my birthday from my Mom and Dad. Of course, I gave my mom a HUGE hint about how much I loved the bags, so on Saturday afternoon of the festival, she said the magic words. "Let's go back to the main exhibit hall so that you can pick a bag!" YEAH! I loved all of them, and I probably spent more than a half an hour trying to decide which bag I liked best. They were all unique and beautiful in their own way. I loved this style because it has a TON of pockets. And of course, the colors were beautiful!

Next up, and destined to become my next clapotis - 4 skeins of worsted weight yarn from Brooks Farm. It's their 50% wool, 50% silk blend in worsted weight, and get this, it's called Four Play! I love it! It's an absolutely lovely yarn, so squishy and soft. I can't wait to knit with it, but as I'm currently finishing up the clapotis in Wollmeise, I think I'll try my hand at another pattern and yarn first to mix things up a bit. And as summer is coming, I tend to gravitate towards smaller projects, and put away the worsted weight things away until fall.

The last picture in today's post is of a sweet market lamb. The girl of about 12 years old keeping him "in-line" for the showing, didn't know what breed he was, but he had a sweet little face, and I felt so sorry that he had just lost his fleece. Shouldn't there be a nursery rhyme for that? Not little Bo Peep who lost her sheep, but poor little sheep, who lost his first fleece....

Well, on that note, I'm glad today is Friday. I'm looking forward to the weekend!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Been A Long Time

It's hard to believe that last week at this time, I had already made most of my major purchases at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I was a lady on a mission, and this year, I had a plan! I remember standing in one of the check-out lines at Maryland with a lady, and she said that being surrounded by all the yarn and fiber just made her so happy! I have to say, that I echo that sentiment! It was fabulous to be around people who understood why that one particular skein of yarn could bring such a goofy smile to ones face!
If you've never been to a fiber event of this scale, it's a bit daunting at first. Where to go? What to see? What to purchase? Last year, I felt pretty overwhelmed and amazed. It's almost as if I'd been hit with a stun gun, really. The brain becomes a little fuzzy, you try to focus, and then you are distracted by another site.
This year, I had a plan. I made up a map with a list of all the vendors to see, places where I thought I might make my purchases. It turns out, that all of my purchases, with the exception of maybe one, were purchased at those planned stops! YEAH for lists and planning!
To start off the weekend, I was just SO excited, I had trouble sleeping Friday night. Considering that my alarm was set for 3:30am on Saturday, this was a terrible thing! I think I managed to get 2 and 1/2 hours of sleep total! I sometimes take longer naps than that during the weekend! I picked up my Mom at 5:00 am. We hit the nearest Starbucks for some reinforcements (I must tell you that the nearest Starbucks is at least an hour away). We arrived at the festival at 8:00 am, and that was just perfect. Mom made a bathroom stop, and I high-tailed it to the Fold's booth (STR). I know. I can order it on-line, but I must say, it's so impressive to see it all hanging there together. And so, we bought some STR, and stood in line to pay, less than 15 minutes - awesome! :) Later, the line for payment at The Fold was over an hour long, and wrapped a good way up the main street of the fair (STR pictures to follow in the next post). It paid to get there early, and I got some great colors, ones that I might not have purchased by viewing the pictures on-line.

So, I can't reveal all pictures/purchases in one post, so, I'll show you some purchases here.
This fabulous yarn above is from Dancing Leaf Farms. She has beautiful yarn there, and her sense of color is fabulous. Her farm is located pretty close to the Fairgrounds.
This yarn (the main skeins) are called Waltz, and it's 50% wool, and 50% Alpaca. The bottom skein is Peace Fleece to add some highlights. It's destined to become the Ballet Wrap Cardigan from IK.

The next picture up is from Tess Designer Yarns - my typical colors! The big blue skein on the left is destined to become a cute little Easy Breezy Top from one of their original designs. I thought I might start small first. I've never knit an adult sweater before, and thought that a vest-like pattern might be a good start. The skein on the right is a skein of their sock yarn, and destined to become a sweater for my niece who is yet to be born! I've got to start knitting it pretty quickly!

Lastly, we visited a lot the sheep barns on Sunday morning. Here's a picture of two beautiful Blue-faced Leisters......poor man's cashmere from their fleece! Aren't they sweet?
Stay-tuned for more pictures, and a contest! Happy Weekend - at last!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are We There Yet?

With all the excitement of the upcoming wool festival, I'm having a lot of ADD lately. I think the wool fumes are migrating a couple hundred miles to PA! Actually, I'm a little under the weather too. I'm not sure how to make it through work tomorrow - it's a pretty average day on my schedule, but sometimes those days turn into nightmares! YIKES! I'm so looking forward to Friday afternoon and leaving work! :) And to update you....thank you all for your good thoughts. I am not required to work this weekend! :) So, to make up for it, I'm thinking of working Memorial Day to thank them. The lady who broke her ankle, was scheduled to work Memorial Day, and now they need someone to work. I'm already scheduled to work that Saturday and Sunday, so why not Monday too? And the pay will be at the overtime pay rate. It just might pay for the yarn spending from this festival!
Tonight, I'm in the middle of packing. It's hard to decide what to take! It's just an overnight stay, but my list looms very large. I've never been a good packer. I do make lists and just throw things in from there, but I usually leave things until the last night before trips and such. I'm very jealous of those who can pack a week or more in advance. I just can't comprehend that concept.
I have two lists started, actually. One list is for the personal items like clothing, toiletries, etc. The other is for vendors and yarn requirements for items I'd like to knit. This is my attempt at TRYING to be organized and not overwhelm the budget. I fully expect to overwhelm the budget, but I'm trying to be organized and not play into the frenzy of it all (that last statement cracks me up, because I'm in a frenzy as I type, just thinking about all the possibilities. Gosh, can I just say, that I love being a knitter?).
I will try very hard to take lots of pictures for all of you, and I think there will be a surprise contest/giveaway upon my return. It's time, don't you think? And next week is my birthday - what better way to celebrate than to spread a little yarn love? Have a great weekend! Maybe I'll see you in Maryland????

PS. Can I add that I am SO excited that I get to spend the whole weekend with my Mom? I love it that even though I'm a thirty-something mother of my own children, I still love my Mom time! And my Mom loves yarn....how cool is that?