Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just Keep Knitting

I keep knitting on my WIP's to get them finished as part of Stashdash 2014.  Yet, it seems as though I'm going nowhere quickly.  Is it possible that I'm knitting on too many projects at once?  

I did finish these socks (they were started last year in October 2013).  I'm not really sure why I never finished them.  They are all of my favorite colors.  Sometimes I start a relatively plain sock (though hand knit socks are never plain to me), and it becomes a bit boring to me.  The yarn was nice.  I knit it on size 2.25 mm (US #1) and got a nice fabric with it.  I knit it with a picot edge - which is a cool way to add a little pizazz to your knitting (in my opinion).  The knitting was mindless and good for times when I didn't want to focus entirely on my knitting.  But they just didn't fly off the needles.  

Now that they are done, I like them, and I like the fit.  But I think I need a bit more of a pattern or something to distract me.  Or not.  Sometimes I think I over-think this knitting thing.  
Knitting is more than a hobby or craft to me.  It is a love that calms my spirit and fuels my creativity.  I'm so glad I'm a knitter.  

STR socks in Medium Weight, unknown color way (Mill End).  
2.25 mm (US #1) needle
385 yards down, 5,083 yards to go.  
Just keep knitting, knitting, knitting!  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Time For Everything

 As much as this is a knitting blog, there are times when events in my life compel me to write a little more about my private life.
I am the oldest (certainly not the best looking or the smartest), grandchild on both sides of my family.  Up until two years ago, I was blessed to have all four of my grandparents in my life.  A couple of weeks ago, my Papa passed away.  He had been in ill health for quite some time, but had been able to be at home with my Nana until the last six weeks kept him in the hospital and rehab settings.
     Losing Papa has been hard for the family.  I used to live with my Papa and Nana while my parents were in college.  I'd stay the week at their house, and spend the weekends with my parents.  While this was difficult for my parents, especially my mother, it was a huge sacrifice for both my parents and grandparents.  I was actually the lucky one who benefitted from it all.  I received so much love and care from both my parents and grandparents during that time and throughout my life.
My grandparents were so supportive of my family.  They attended concerts, athletic events, church activities.  We spent most Friday nights and Sunday noon times at their house for dinner.  We took vacations together in their motor home.
I can credit so many things in my life to my Papa specifically.  He is the one who taught me how to ice-skate.  He taught me how to play badminton in the back yard, and could still beat me well into his 50's, clearly a feat against a seventeen year old (PS-we are a bit competitive in our family).  Papa loved gardening, and always raised and stored many fruits of his labor every year.  He taught and shared in my canning process many years.
One of my favorite memories is hearing my Papa sing.  He had a beautiful tenor voice, and he sang for the church choir and weddings.  As I grew older and more accomplished on the piano, I was able to accompany him on the piano when he sang.  I have many fond memories of our performances together.  In older years, we shared many goofy gifts at Christmas time.  It was always our mission to find funny gag gifts for each other each year.
While I know in my mind that Papa enjoyed a life well lived and loved, we miss him so much.  My heart hurts especially for my Nana who was his wife for over 65 years!  What a great legacy he has left our family!
                         (September 1998 - my wedding day, his 50th wedding anniversary)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

5K Stash Dash

I've tried to participate in stash down programs in the past.  What is stash (ask the muggles - or non-fibery people)?
Stash is the yarn in your posesssion - no matter where the storage location.

Some of you might not know what a stash down program is, or some may wonder why a knitter might be willing or excited about participating in such an event.
Here's the deal.
Knitter and spinners like yarn and fiber.  Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) we purchase yarn or fiber that we might not feel a need for at that exact moment, but it inspires us.  So we purchase it with no intended purpose in mind.  You might have problems believing this fact, but honestly, it happens more than you think.  I know very few knitters who do not possess more yarn or fiber than planned projects.
Sometimes we save yarn that we just can't bear to knit with because we haven't found the perfect paring of pattern and yarn.  Or maybe we are finishing other projects first before we are knitting that special skein of yarn we own.

There are many ways to use stash yarn.  You can knit it.  You can trade or sell it, if you no longer like it (Let's face it - yarn and fiber are sometimes like clothes - sometimes your taste changes and you no longer love that clown barf color you purchased when you started knitting 10 years ago).  You can gift it, you can donate it.  
Right now, I prefer to knit or spin it, so I have joined two of my favorite podcasters - the Knitgirllls, who are doing a 5K Stash Dash knitting event - beginning on May 23, 2014, and ending on August 7, 2014.  So between this time, the goal is to knit or spin 5K of yarn or fiber from your stash.  
How much is 5K of yarn if you are not a metric person?  Great question!   It's 5468 yards!  That's a lot of knitting and spinning!

You might be wondering how anyone could knit or spin that much yardage during the time allotted, considering that the average plain hat usually takes up about 100 yards.  There is a caveat that you can include yarn, fiber, or projects that you have been working on from before this period, but have not finished.  To see official rules for this event, please visit Ravelry, and the Knitgirllls group.  
This is a great motivation for me to finish a couple of projects that have been "on my needles" for way too long.

I've have been knitting blanket squares for probably over 5 years on and off for a Log Cabin Square blanket.  
This is a very portable project, and you can make it as big or as small as you would like.
I'm using this project for part of my stash dash goal.  I figure if I can finish it (I only need to knit the squares together and sew the blanket together), I can get quite good yardage to complete this task.
And the best part?  I will have my awaited blanket finished in the end.
My husband made me a beautiful shelf years ago, and my father-in-law added a beautiful dowel to it to display this blanket.  It's time for it to be done.  
This next photo is my favorite square.  My next job is to arrange them in some sort of order that I can  begin to block them and knit them together.  
I am thankful for the inspiration and motivation to finish this project.  I forgot how much I love it.
What are you enjoying this weekend?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day in Review

We enjoyed dinner out at one of my favorite local Italian restaurants on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday and Mother's day.  
Sunday we went to church, where all the Mothers received beautiful long stemmed roses.  
Sunday lunch was a picnic at our local ice cream shop.

I had afternoon drinks on my Mom and Dad's deck, and Mom surprised me with a gorgeous shawl pin in Denim blue, and a Willow Tree Angel (Mom's gift is the trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool each year).  

I got to spend some of my afternoon on my deck, spinning some merino and silk from Hobbledehoy Fibers.  I love her fiber so far - this is my first spin with it, but it is incredibly soft and look at these colors!  

I am still learning my Lendrum DT spinning wheel.  I have yet to name it.  Do you name your wheels?  I have never come up with a name for my Ashford Traveller. 

This Lendrum is a beautiful wheel, so pleasant to spin on.  I plug in my Pandora on the Indie Folk Singer-Songwriters channel and away I go.

And I'm almost finished with this little spot of knitting - a Woven Cowl

It's knit in, you guessed it, The Plucky Knitter yarn.  It's primo worsted in the Edwardian colorway.
I got great little buttons for it from Melissa Jean at Maryland.  I love handmade.  How about you?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Podcasts and Peeps

Okay, maybe I was a little adventurous in hinting that I would post every day about our Maryland trip.
I'll be a realist in that I don't have time every day to post here, though I would like to post more often.
I dream about doing things like starting a podcast or running a yarn shop, but I figure the first goal is to establish a regular routine, and a blog is a good place to start.
Maybe I'll consider weekly posts.  I have to be honest.  The photography (or lack there of) is really is hard for me to accomplish, and is what holds me back from posting more often.

But enough about my procrastination habits, let's talk today about podcasts.  Do you listen to them?  Do you watch them?
Since my love of knitting (and now also spinning), I have long loved media around the fiber community.  So these days, I find myself listening to podcasts on my drive to and back from work, and also watching a few while I knit at night.
TV and radio are at times less appealing to me.  I try to tell myself this is not a sign of my advancing age, but I really do think my age contributes.
Please don't get me wrong in that I never watch TV or listen to radio.  I do.  I just prefer to control the content a little more than even the prime time stations do.  So, I have turned to podcasts.

Now, I bet you are wondering how this whole conversation (because reading a blog or watching/listening to a podcast is like a conversation too) relates to knitting and Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I'm getting there, wait for it.

One of my favorite video podcasts is the Knitgirllls.  They are two talented fiber girls who put out a weekly podcast.  They are best friends that used to live together and knit together, but now they live states apart.  So they put out a podcast together, and it's amazingly fun to watch them while I knit.
Anyway, I got to meet both of them at Maryland Sheep and Wool festival, and they were so kind.
Here's a picture of us together - which I'm sure they don't remember, but I surely do.
They took time out of their festivities to spend with their viewers, and I was extremely grateful.
Leslie is on the left, I am in the middle, and Laura is on the right (as you look at the picture - reverse it if you are anatomically oriented).
Anyway - in case you are interested in watching them - click here!  I highly recommend it.

Now, as much as I love the virtual world of knitting, I love my local knitting peeps even more.
Here's a shot of us prior to entering the festival on Saturday.  I must say that my Mom and my Aunt are missing from this photo, but they were with us too!   I love spending time with each of these ladies at our knitting group each week.  They make me laugh, they inspire me to be a better knitter/spinner and crafter, and most of all, they are awesomely cool and smart.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Maryland 2014 Friday

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (always the first full weekend in May) was amazing as usual!

This year we took two festival newbies, and it is indeed incredible to see the festival through their eyes.
We left for the festival on Friday morning.  First stop was at Starbucks for a little fuel (as if our excitement wasn't enough)!
Then, a new stop this year, initiated by our newbies!  The Coach factory outlet.  We had a grand adventure there, and a special coupon savings!
We arrived at PF Chengs in the early afternoon, and after a delicious meal, did some more shopping after that at Sephora and BestBuy.  We picked up cheesecake to go at the Cheesecake Factory.  YUM!
We finally arrived at our hotel at 4:30pm.
We unloaded the cars, took a wee nap, and headed to a local establishment for supper.
There we met a waitress who made RBF (Google it) look like something pleasant.  But the food was great, and the company fabulous, as we met up with our friends from Virginia.

After dinner was a trip to the local liquor store for some adult refreshments.

We found this bottle of wine (though we did not purchase it) and had to laugh!  Adrienne, however,  found some Moonshine cherries!
Off we went to the lobby to knit, and plan for Saturday.

Since this is a knitting or spinning blog, how about some related goods?
This is 4 oz. of a merino/silk fiber braid from Hobbledehoy Fibers.  It's color is called Butterfly Wing.
I purchased it on Saturday of the festival.
It is currently being spun on my new Lendrum DT spinning wheel, which I really love.

I'll write more each day about our adventures, and slowly reveal my beautiful purchases.
Hope your Monday was wonderful!