Posts Tagged 'yarn'

The problem with work travel

… is you are constantly reminded that there is a great world out there that you could see, but you’re inside.

I did manage to see lots of great landscapes, but I was there for an eyeblink and then had to go somewhere else. On Saturday I did manage to walk around. A lot. I found the yarn store (it was closed) and I found the local museum (20 minutes before it would close). But I did manage to take a train to one of the hills overlooking the Zurichsee, and nearly expired walking up the rest of the way to a restaurant at the top of the hill (10 minutes easy walk … not so much). Evidence that I was in a place where people value wool, even if I couldn’t get in to shop:

Closed on the weekend, like most of the small towns in Europe.

Closed on the weekend, like most of the shops in small-town Europe.

Shopping small on Saturday

I know that an American credit card company started Small Business Saturday® for the day after Black Friday, to give small businesses a chance in the USA’s big box store consumer culture. But it’s something shoppers can embrace while using cash at their favorite small stores (if they don’t want to use credit). It also encourages all of us to visit new small stores we’ve never been in before.

One store near me, Lovely Yarns, has a collection of local yarn to buy. It’s an easy sell to someone who knits, even better for someone who shops for those who knit. For the SBS, they had cupcakes out. Other small yarn shops that I would shop at if I had a time travel machine:

This is a small sampling of places I either used to shop at, or have visited while on vacation. All of these (except the departed Tangled Yarns) are pretty good locations to do to find gift cards for knitters, or yarn and needle selections for knitters.

More ideas later on gifts that don’t require a trip to a big box store. I’m hoping this is the year I get to “shop small” or craft the rest.


Simple knitting projects – socks

I have nicknamed this project “Miami vice socks” or “Tequila sunrise socks” because the yarn looks like an explosion of colors from Miami South Beach (the neon pinks, the greens and blues of the ocean, the yellows and oranges –> it’s either that, or it’s yarn inspired by Fiesta Ware). The pattern is simple: Adult Socks by Dierdre Wallace.

I will admit the yarn colors are complicated. They’re from Regia, and are meant to be for children’s knit socks or clothing. There are still a few places that seem to sell Flusi das Sockenmonster, but I think the color I’m using has been discontinued.  Which is a pity because it’s a pretty nice yarn to knit with, with lots of fun color changes (thanks Regia). (I just made the mistake of looking at Webs’ online catalog. I’m kind of glad they’re not down the street from my house. I’d be broke, and we’d need better storage.)

Blocking in the sunlight

babybatcapeI’ve been working on this little project since before I moved out of the old house. That’s marination, not “putting on time out”.  I think I might have started Baby Bat Cape II in 2007 right after I created one for a friend of mine (preRavelry access in my case). Yarn details: needles were circular needles, US5 (3.75 mm). Yarn: mostly Manos del Uruguay (it is most close to the Classica line, in a mix of space dyed patterns and at least one stripe of bright blue). The extra dark stripe of blue and the stripe of dark burgundy/purple were from extra leftovers from another long-ago project.batcapeschematic

I have basic instructions on how to make another, if anyone is interested. I will try to get a decent photo outside with an actual person wearing it, once it’s warm enough that my model (victim) can just wear a non-outdoors clothing and a small capeletl.

Interior thoughts on a knitting project

  1. I wish I had figured out how long the thumbs would be before knitting these mittens.birdinhand-stump
  2. I want to redo the Bird in Hand Mitts again, in a smaller scale (extra small here I come)
  3. I’d love to shorten the fingers and thumbs (but they’ve already felted beyond the ability to tink back).
  4. I wish I had known how great this wool would be — I would have acquired Foxfire Fiber Cormo Silk Alpaca for a hat and cowl.
  5. The colors I used were aster and white.

The wool just gets lovelier as I keep wearing the mittens. And the mittens are the perfect thing to wear on your hands during our deep freeze winters. But if I lived in Wisconsin or Michigan right now –> thrums would be better. They “marinated” in the projects pile since 2010 (started while watching the Olympics). This year, other projects that have been malingering are getting done.

Round-up hat

Round-up hat by rjknits
Round-up hat, a photo by rjknits on Flickr.

It’s summer. There is air conditioning on in the house. It’s been a sweltering day, but I’ve been wearing this completed hat. Luckily, the neighbors can’t see and think I’ve lost all my senses.

Stats: Pattern by Sue Burke (leaflet) with Icelandic Wool from Solitude Wool in Virginia, using size 7 circs from a friend. I was lucky enough to buy  both pattern and wool at Maryland Sheep and Wool. Between this and the cherry pie I made, it’s been a festive 4th of July weekend.

Test driving knitting books

Now that I have discovered where [Fine Arts department, near the sheet music] the main branch of the library has stashed the knitting books, I am test driving The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. I’m currently struggling with the same emotions I experienced when first reading Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

How do you pick just one recipe to see if you like the book? Which sock is the one that will salvage my pink Lorna’s Laces yarn (it’s been tried on 2 sock patterns from other books already, and now I’m dithering between Stepping Stones, Isabella d’Este, or Darjeeling). The recipe that sold Classic to me was the chicken stuffed with 2 lemons, and I’m hoping to find something unexpectedly simple and fun in this test drive.

Knitting content: Lana Bambu yarn

Just finished one very large book (a biography of Edith Wharton), followed up by another large book (Blackout by Connie Willis) so I continue to want something simple to knit on, now that book 1 has helped me finish 1 neck wrap, 1 Vanilla Bean cowl, and I believe the end of a pair of socks. I’ve cast on for what I hope will be another small neck warmer using Lana Bambu Yarn from Cascade Yarns. I bought the yarn last time I was at Halcyon Yarns. It’s a lovely mix of 79% wool and 21% viscose from bamboo, and it seems very soft to my hands.

I’m trimming it with a ruffle of Classic Elite Yarns Fresco (61% wool, 30% baby alpaca, 10% angora). I have bad luck with yarn stock, since it “marinates” so long that by the time I discover that I love it…. the yarn company has stopped manufacturing it. In this case, both these yarns are still around, even if the colors I used are out of stock now.

Vanilla bean cowl

Vanilla bean cowl by rjknits
Vanilla bean cowl, a photo by rjknits on Flickr.

Vanilla bean honey cowl from Madelintosh. The pattern is from Madelintosh (listed in Ravelry under the title “Honey Cowl”), the yarn is Madelinetosh’s “vanilla bean” color, sadly not available now.

To finish, all I need to do is coax the hedgehog out from inside of it, weave in the ends, and block it. The Gardener has received the “not quite Christmas present“, and is eagerly waiting to be able to use it.

Second sock syndrome

I’ve finally gotten past turning the heel on a second sock, and have reached the always discouraging “knit in same pattern until 3-1/2 inches from the end of where you want to be” stage. Eh. So how many nights of knitting 5 rows a night will it be before I’m surprised by progress? And how many dark, bleak days will there be, until I’m able to take a picture of that doesn’t look like mud? The yarn is so lovely (Mountain Colors Bearfoot, in the Alpine color combination).

If you want me, I’m lost somewhere in the second arch, knitting along. It’s the Lichen ribbed sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. The first sock turned out wonderful after a few broken knitting needles and gauge issues. You can check my Rav page for more details if you have access.

Next project: something on larger needles. But it may still be a “finish up” project.